Bestial Warlust I
by Niklas Göransson
Dwellers of the Bottomless Pit – herein lies the story of Bestial Warlust, as told by the original members. In the first of three instalments, we chronicle the early days of Corpse Molestation.
DAMON BLOODSTORM: Back when I first started playing in bands, we’d rehearse and try out different people – as you do. Then, probably around 1988 or ’89, Brad, a drummer from South Australia we’d met by chance, moved to Melbourne. He jammed with us, playing VENOM and BATHORY covers, and then we began writing a few things here and there. Nothing too great, but it was still kinda worthy if you like that sort of thing.
In 1990, KK Warslut – who’d grown up with Brad in a small South Australian town called Whyalla – moved to Melbourne. Soon thereafter, KK, Brad, and Damon Bloodstorm founded CORPSE MOLESTATION. Around the same time, the young men got hold of the July 1990 demo of American death metal band SUFFOCATION: “Reincremated”.
KK WARSLUT: It was the fastest thing out there at the time; it blew us away. ‘Fuck! If this is how heavy music can be, then we gotta lift our game and fucking pump it up a bit.’ We were still playing thrash beats – but then it was like, ‘It’s fucking on.’
BLOODSTORM: We began rehearsing regularly and worked on new material. The first songs we wrote were “System Desertion” and “Burning the Veil of Falsehood”. In January ‘91, we were looking to make the band more stable by adding another guitarist. One night, the three of us – me, Brad, and KK – were drinking at the Sarah Sands Hotel in Brunswick when some friends introduced us to Joe Skullfucker.
WARSLUT: He was wearing a cut-off t-shirt like… I suppose you could say Quorthon, or – as we saw it – a woman <laughs>. I remember thinking that was a bit fucking odd but, obviously, I liked him. Also, he knew how to tune a guitar which was a big bonus. I was a terrible guitar player: I’m not very good now but was even worse back then. I’ve never taken lessons or anything, just had mates fucking show me a few things. It took years before I learned how to tune properly. Joe could actually play scales; he’s the one who taught me that after the twelfth fret, it starts over again. I had no idea.
With Skullfucker – an American expat who’d lived in Melbourne for the previous few years – brought into the fold, CORPSE MOLESTATION set out to recruit a bass player.
JOE SKULLFUCKER: I put up ads in various music shops all over Melbourne. You know, the old-school way of advertising: an A4 with phone numbers you can tear off at the bottom. ‘Death metal band looking for a bass player who likes this and that style of music.’ Before finding Chris Corpsemolester, we had quite a few failures with people who didn’t make the cut.
CHRIS CORPSEMOLESTER: I came across that poster in a punk and hardcore record store called Missing Link. I can’t remember what the ad said, but it sounded much heavier than what I was doing then; I’d started looking for something a bit more extreme. That was in ‘91, so I would’ve been twenty years old. I’d played in different bands around Melbourne for a couple of years, so I had some experience. I grabbed one of those little tags, ripped it off, and called them up.
BLOODSTORM: Corpsemolester was just some random person. He came up playing in a lot of popular underground hardcore and thrash bands and that sort of stuff. After contacting us, he came over to The Bunker in Box Hill South where we used to rehearse.
CORPSEMOLESTER: They showed me their songs, and it was just a big wall of noise. I mean, I’d never played anything like it. Some of my bands had fast sections, but there was no blasting throughout the whole song. I’d done a lot of crossover stuff where you’d have a fast bit, then a slow bit… but this was just intense. ‘Fuck, that’s pretty fast riffing.’ It was completely new to me: playing that fast and hard for three or four minutes straight. Once you finish a song, you’re pretty fucked.
WARSLUT: Strange, quiet fella, that one. The main thing Chris brought to the band was a tuning pedal; it revolutionised CORPSE MOLESTATION. First, we got Joe, who actually knew how to tune, and then along comes Corpsemolester with this thing. We were awestruck. ‘What the fuck?’ You didn’t even have to know anything – you just pressed the button.
The first outward sign of life from CORPSE MOLESTATION was an official rehearsal tape from October ‘91. Besides “System Desertion” and “Burning the Veil of Falsehood”, it featured the new line-up’s first collaborative effort: “Sudden Combustion”. The former two songs are influenced mainly by BLASPHEMY and the SUFFOCATION demo, whereas Skullfucker’s appearance introduced some technical death metal to the mix.
SKULLFUCKER: I would definitely agree with that; I was really into CARCASS at the time. However, Keith (KK) and I had many of the same influences – like DESTRUCTION, one of Keith’s favourite bands. POSSESSED’s “Seven Churches” is one of my favourite records, and it’s also one of Keith’s favourite records. So, we had a lot of musical tastes in common. IMMOLATION. You know, one of my favourite demos is actually MORBID ANGEL’s “Thy Kingdom Come”.
BLOODSTORM: We started out playing mainly nasty, primitive stuff – which was fucking great – but Skullfucker brought other sorts of death metal influences. He’d played in bands and jammed with people back when he lived in the US, so we had his musical experience merging with our raw simplicity.
WARSLUT: The lyrics certainly changed. “System Desertion” contained quotes from Mikhail Bakunin, the Russian anarchist. “Burning the Veil of Falsehood” had a similar theme: leaving the system and tearing down the veil of liberal democracy. “Sudden Combustion”, on the other hand, was about spontaneous human combustion – a topic I had very little interest in.
Two months after the rehearsal tape, CORPSE MOLESTATION entered TT Studios to record what was supposed to be their first demo.
WARSLUT: We managed to book the studio that DISEMBOWELMENT used for “Deep Sensory Procession into Aural Fate”. That tape had a big impact on us, especially the sound. For death metal at the time, it seemed almost like international quality. We locked in the same studio and even borrowed the same fucking amp they used, so it was a big deal to us.
BLOODSTORM: We went home after the first day of recording. And the next day, we were waiting to do some more drums – but Brad didn’t turn up. We’re like, ‘Where the fuck is he?’ One hour goes by… then two hours, three hours. KK, Skullfucker, and I went ‘Fucking hell!’, drove to Brad’s house, and knocked on the door. He answered, all fucked up. He was playing cards with some other dude. It was around midday and they were both very, very drunk. I was like, ‘What the fuck are you doing!?’ KK went crazy, grabbed Brad and slammed him to the ground.
WARSLUT: ‘You fucking wanker, you cunt!’ We spent years gearing up to this one point, Brad included. I think his nerves got to him, so he just went out drinking and fucking drugging all night. We had to rebook, I think, for two weeks later, and we’re waiting at the studio and the exact same fucking thing happens. But this time, he eventually turned up – about four hours late, off his fucking tits… speeding, pissed. The fella he’d been out boozing with came along as moral support. Brad did do a recording, which… um, I don’t know what happened to that tape. We probably went over it and deemed his performance inferior to what it could’ve been. But! To be fair to the man, it wasn’t too bad considering his state. Actually, it was fucking excellent but far below his usual standard. So, even though drummers were rare as hen’s teeth, we had a tough decision to make.
BLOODSTORM: We told him, ‘You’re not playing anymore. Fuck off!’ And then we had to find a replacement. If not for Brad’s carrying on, that demo would’ve come out in late ‘91.
In his stead, they brought in Rick – the drummer of local death metal act DAMNATORY.
SKULLFUCKER: I played guitar in DAMNATORY for about two months, so I’d gotten to know their drummer. Rick was quite young; he would’ve been about sixteen when we recorded the demo.
“Descension of a Darker Deity” was recorded in June 1992, six months after the first attempt. I’m curious how much CORPSE MOLESTATION evolved during this time – how differently the demo came out from the one they were supposed to record with Brad.
WARSLUT: Brad’s style is… hm, taking MOTÖRHEAD as an example: compare Philthy Animal Taylor to Mikkey Dee. Or the first MAIDEN drummer, Clive Burr, to Nicko McBrain. The latter two are probably better in terms of technique, but Brad – just like Philthy Animal and Clive Burr – had a unique style. Brad was very hands-on, real hard-hitting; a bit rough around the edges, but every hit meant something. When death metal started, a lot of the drummers used two kick-drums.
Instead of blasting with just one kick-drum, the drummer uses both interchangeably – which makes playing fast easier and requires less effort.
WARSLUT: Brad thought that was disgusting. ‘I just spent two fucking years learning how to grind, and these clowns come in and think they can cheat their way through.’ He hit hard and had a primitive style, whereas Rick was a typical death metal drummer: all about technique. It’s all pitter-patter but very precise, more machine-like. I guess it was the difference between a thrash drummer and modern death metal drummers.
Can you elaborate on that?
WARSLUT: Well, when you hear death metal bands playing covers of old thrash songs, everything sounds better except the song itself. It’s performed well, but the drummer is playing below his skill level. He’s not a young kid pushing himself to the limit, fumbling and mumbling along the way; it’s a guy who’s playing down, and everything is precise. The drums are all miked up evenly and might even be triggered. Yeah, so that was the biggest difference. We got reliability and technicality but lost that uniqueness and ballsy down-and-dirty drum style. Not that Brad was any slouch, he definitely knew some tricks.
Many musical elements from “Descension of a Darker Deity” were honed further as the CORPSE MOLESTATION journey progressed. But one ingredient left behind is what sounds like the occasional doom metal influence, such as the breakdowns.
SKULLFUCKER: Yeah, I definitely had doom influences. Doom was something we all liked: CANDLEMASS, early PARADISE LOST, and BLACK SABBATH. For example, those doomy bits in the middle of “Sudden Combustion” made for an effective break. You must have a slow part between blastbeats for the song to sound heavy; when you go from grind to grind to grind, a lot of heaviness is lost. You need some sort of mid-pace or bridge.
WARSLUT: There was some slow stuff going on in death metal at the time – especially with the Swedish bands, I think. I haven’t listened to this stuff in fucking thirty years, mind you, so I’m going by memory here. One of my fave death metal tracks is from the first UNLEASHED demo… I think the third song? “Violent Ecstacy”! That starts off slow as well.
SKULLFUCKER: Keith and I both wrote to UNLEASHED and – unbeknownst to each other – ordered their “The Utter Dark” demo and a t-shirt. Back then, merch was usually limited to print runs of fifty copies, so if someone in your band buys the exact same shirt… and the same thing happened with IMMOLATION. So yeah, we were basically on the same wavelength in terms of musical style.
WARSLUT: I think we left the slower stuff because I discovered BEHERIT and became obsessed with everything being fast. Which, objectively, might’ve been detrimental to the songwriting process. I wanted everything played faster, even the notes. If there were too many notes higher up on the fretboard, I’d put ’em all further down – on the first four frets – and turn them into chords.
Bloodstorm’s vocals sound to me as if they were more influenced by Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds of BLASPHEMY and BEHERIT’s Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance than anything death metal. Not only in sound and delivery but also the multi-layered vocals, which weren’t common back then.
BLOODSTORM: Absolutely, Black Winds was always a big inspiration and a great friend. But there were also lots of death metal influences, like early 90s stuff. Ross of IMMOLATION is a killer vocalist. There’s some variation, but I’d say those two are dominant in what I like.
WARSLUT: The screamy backup vocals are all me; I probably picked that up from BEHERIT as well. I don’t think Holocausto did much layering, but I wanted some dynamics. I was always looking for dynamics… despite what I just said about insisting that everything be too fucking fast and heavy. I actually wrote to Holocausto at the time; I remember he wasn’t too keen on the CORPSE demo – except for “At the Graveyard of God”.
Besides “Sudden Combustion” and a new track called “Loathsomeness”, the demo includes “At the Graveyard of God” – a monster of a song which really showcases this magical meeting between Skullfucker and KK’s riffing styles.
BLOODSTORM: “At the Graveyard of God” is one of my favourite songs to this day. Total classic. A lot of straightforward, old-style, simple riffs but with minimal variations – all merged into one strong, unique song. I think the way it came together was through Keith’s magic fucking touch to the riffs, which were freaking amazing. And then Joe brought his elements as well. The entire structure and vocal arrangements for that song just came out; we did put some effort into it, but not much time. That song in particular made us think about where to go next; it inspired us to pursue other things.
CORPSEMOLESTER: Throughout every BESTIAL song that was ever written, I took no active part in the writing. I might’ve had a say here and there in the arrangements but didn’t write any riffs at all. I didn’t really have any influence over the songwriting.
How was the response to the demo?
BLOODSTORM: Good. We had a lot of communication with other bands who helped us out. We sent the demo around to friends worldwide. I remember that Black Winds received a copy. Even the IMMOLATION guys liked it. And fucking everyone else got it, and they promoted the fuck out of it.
SKULLFUCKER: Things went slowly initially, but then distributors like Nuclear Blast and Relapse got in touch. Bill from Relapse began by sending an order for a hundred demos. Then it got to the point where he called me asking for three hundred more. So, long story short, perhaps sixty per cent went out to distributors, whereas the rest were shipped one by one to each person who sent for a demo tape.
BLOODSTORM: And who else… Wild Rags! Wild Rags also bought some, but they ended up bootlegging it and making illegal copies. Anyway, that’s another fucking story. All of a sudden, it just went crazy – interviews started coming in and heaps of people wrote to us. Many who ordered it now work in the music industry or play in big bands or whatever. Things started sort of slow, but once word of the demo spread it went out everywhere and we had to do another pressing.
WARSLUT: With the second press, we got up to like two thousand copies. It’s weird that a demo could sell that much back then – these days, you can release an album that’ll sell the same amount. It did have a pretty reasonable sound for its time, as well as a colour cover and so on. We put a bit of effort into it. The underground was so fucking big then as well; it was thriving.