There is nothing casual about death metal. From the technicality it takes to execute, to the themes the music explores, its very much an all-or-nothing culture.
After nearly a decade of asserting their own identity among the genre's contributors, it's evident that Skeletal Remains have been all-in for the very start.
From their earliest backyard, house party gigs, to touring the world with the same bands they grew up listening to, the quartet is emerging among a new generation of classically-influenced death metal artists hellbent on two things - tradition and progression.
The band now finds themselves poised to make a unique impact, armed with what is arguably their best recorded effort to date, The Entombment of Chaos. A fluid combination of classic death metal, executed with modernity, Skeletal Remains have transitioned from participants in the culture to contributors of it's lasting lexicon.
The band's frontman and guitarist, Chris Monroy offered his take on the progression of Skeletal Remains and how keeping in step with the tradition of death metal is always a priority.
There is a very classic quality to Skeletal Remains. How important that classic sound to the identity of the band? MONROY - We tend to take most of our inspiration from a lot the old classic bands, with exception to a couple newer bands but Skeletal Remains has, and I think will always be, a band that tries to recreate the classic era of death metal while adding our own take to give it somewhat of a more modern feel.
How stoked are you guys to have Dan Seagrave do the art for this record? He’s done everything from Morbid Angel to Entombed to Suffocation. MONROY - Working with Seagrave has always been a dream of ours. We wanted to work with him since our very first release as he’s done a majority of the albums we worship and take influence from. Obviously being just a small band and not having a big budget to work with on our first couple records, that wasn’t possible. But now having a label like Century Media involved, we had the opportunity to make it happen and we we're so impressed with what he did on our last record that we had to use him again on this one.
How has touring the world and living out of a van/bus changed your perspective as songwriters? MONROY - It feels just as exciting writing an album now as it did when we wrote our first album. I guess you can say there is a bit more pressure with each album because we want to do our best to try and improve when it comes to songwriting and the overall musicianship in the band.
Death metal is very traditional. Is it hard to evolve as a musician and still keep it real among the death metal crowd? MONROY - No, I don’t think so. I don’t really think death metal has boundaries. We tend to take influences from many different styles of death metal and I think we are still evolving as a band.
What has it been like having such a quality record as Entombment of Chaos and not being able to perform it live? MONROY - It really sucks but we are just trying our best to stay as positive as possible through this crazy time and hoping that we will be able to get out there sooner rather than later to be able to perform all these new tracks for everyone. But the most important thing is for us and our loved ones to try and stay healthy.
Skeletal Remains, at one point, was playing backyard parties in Compton. How did those early days of the band shape who you guys are now? MONROY - We definitely learned a lot in the last 10 years of being a band. But I gotta say those backyards were some of the most fun times of our lives. We were just kids playing music for more kids and those shows were always raging.
The band have been compared to the greats of the genre - bands like Pestilence and Obituary. Do you feel any pressure to live up to that kind of comparison? MONROY - Not at all. It actually inspires us to keep doing what we do. To be compared to all these bands we grew up listening to and being able to tour with some of them is really like a dream come true.
Is there a particular song you are most proud of from this record? MONROY - "Eternal Hatred" would definitely be one of them. Me and Mike (De La O/guitarist) wrote that song while we were going through a lot of personal shit and it's the one we had most trouble with, especially recording it. I gotta say its turned out to be one of my favorites from the new album so I’m really proud what we did with that song.
Pre-order The Entombment of Chaos from Skeletal Remains on Century Media Records HERE