It all started ten years ago: Simon Neil and Mike Vennart sat in the back of the Biffy Clyro tour bus and played each other the heaviest, most confrontational or downright weird music they could find. In case he ever formed a band that played this kind of sick heavy music, Simon always had the Empire State Bastard name in mind. Which now presented Mike with the challenge of writing music that would live up to the name.
Now the moment has come: Empire State Bastard will release their debut album »Rivers of Heresy« on September 1st. And the excitement surrounding the debut single »Harvest« and the UK headlining tour that followed, which suddenly sold out, made it clear: the fans are hot.
After the gauntlet thrown down by »Harvest«, the rest of »Rivers of Heresy« follows with sheer sonic destruction. Mike's songs, which adventurously explore almost every imaginable niche in the alternative metal landscape, hit like a full-throttle collaboration between Siege and Slayer (»Stutter«, »Palm of Hands«), play with math chaos and grindcore untamedness ( »Blusher«, »Sold!«) or stagger in slow motion with stoner rock threats (»Sons And Daugthers«). The biggest surprise in this aha-filled set is "Tired, Aye?", in which guitars and drums are put aside and vocals and drums take the stage - a song in the tradition of John Zorn's "Naked City".
The stylistic bar was therefore high for Simon Neil. He counters the challenge by eliciting an impressive range of at times grotesque sounds from his voice, ranging from screams and gasps in the vein of Mike Patton's work with Fantomas to guttural death gargles reminiscent of Morbid Angel or Mayem. Appropriately, the lyrics are fairly accurately outlined with the words “morbid and misanthropic”.
Mike describes his approach as follows: "I set out to make the most fucking toxic, vile music I could make, just pure hate in musical form." Of course, Simon couldn't be inferior either: »On a lyrical level, it's more misanthropic and nihilistic than anything I've written before.« The sound of Empire State Bastard called for a drummer like in the book. So why not take the best in the business right away? Dave Lombardo from Slayer, Testament, Dead Cross and countless other projects. Like an uncontrolled speeding train, in constant danger of derailing, the propulsive intoxication of manic fills and light-footed double kicks pulverizes and grooves in equal measure. The band is completed at their live shows by Naomi Macleod (Bitch Falcon).