Have you heard of Cerberus Unchained? I’m guessing you probably haven’t. They’re a melodic death metal band from the UK. They might only have released one song so far, but it’s a corker, and more than enough reason for you to start keeping an eye on them.
The passion the band have for the music they play is evident not just in their words below, but also in their debut song, Warm Blooded Beast, which you can listen to at the bottom of this interview. Do make sure you take the time to give it a spin, as it’s melodic death metal of the highest quality – with none of the dross or overly commercialised stuff we’ve, (Sadly), come to expect from the melodic death metal sub-genre tag these days. No, Cerberus Unchained have shown that they’re potentially on to something special with this song, so it’s with much eagerness that I now await their future output.
As I frequently say – good music should always be supported – so with that in mind I caught up with the band to find out more about them, why you should be paying them attention, and why they could very much be ones to watch…
Introduce us to Cerberus Unchained!
Cerberus Unchained, readers, readers, Cerberus Unchained.
What are your influences?
We’ve got a pretty wide range of influences to be honest, but we all like it loud. Anything goes really from, Heck (sorry about the swearing), to Corrosion of Conformity, Children of Bodom to Dream Theater and then back to Iron Maiden for good measure. Sam recently professed enthusiasm for Babymetal as well so we’re keeping an eye on him just in case he does something silly.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
I think the best band I’ve discovered recently has to be Allegaeon, their work is just mindblowing; technical, smart lyrics and badass delivery. Beyond that I’d have to recommend the new Countless Skies album, the new Children of Bodom album, and absolutely anything by Ghost B.C. and Clutch. Oh, and the Dorylus ‘Rapture’ EP! – Simon
Portal of I by Ne Obliviscaris, if you haven’t heard it you’re in for a treat. – Rich
As a new band, what’s the story behind how you got together?
Sam (guitar and Babymetal) and I (Simon; bass and disco king) used to be in a band about 3-4 years ago called Embers of Angels. After that ended neither of us really did anything musical for a few years until we both acknowledged that the itch was still there and, in fact, it would be awesome to be able to take up the mantle of metal again in our own little way. We started jamming again about a year ago with a slightly different line-up and, following a couple of exits, found Andy (guitar, massive beard and all round talent holster), who I’ve also known for a few years now. I knew Andy had played metal before in various bands but I didn’t know if he’d be interested in firing up the amps again. I sent him a message and sent him some early versions of the songs which he duly removed parts from, added bits to and then sent it back. From that point he didn’t really have a choice, he was ours. Richard (vocals, vocal ventriloquist and the smiliest man in metal) was the final addition to the band. Again, we sent him a rough instrumental demo of what would become Warm Blooded Beast and asked him to overlay it with whatever came to mind and he came back with what my Dad now describes as ‘serial killer lyrics’. We got him down for a jam and despite his penchant for dark lyrics, he fit right in with the bands generally pretty relaxed approach to life in general. Naming the band…well, that’s a story for a long winter evening when the power is out, all the guitars are broken, Cards Against Humanity has been stolen and nobody else has a less frustrating story to tell…
What are your aims with the band?
At the moment we’re just having fun gigging and introducing people to our sound. We played our first gig a few weeks back and the response was so positive – more of that sort of thing. Myself, I’m a sucker for having recorded material, so I imagine we’re going to be loading people up with EPs for a while. I think we’d also like to try for Bloodstock at some stage as well, as that’s been a dream for the longest time.
How did you decide on the sound for your band?
It wasn’t really a conscious decision to be honest, we try not to write with any one style in mind. For example one of the songs on the upcoming EP has a bit of a black metal vibe in places. Having said that though, there’s a certain satisfaction in playing fast that just can’t be beaten, so I imagine we’ll always be on the higher end of the BPM scale! – Simon
Vocally I’m pretty influenced by bands like Carcass, Suicide Silence, Amon Amarth, etc, so I wanted the lyrics and the sound of the songs to be vocal somewhat similar, but unique for me!
So far you have unleashed a single on the world – Warm Blooded Beast – tell us about this
This was our first taste of Rich’s lyrical abilities and we bloody loved it. We wanted something short enough to keep people’s attention but with enough muscle and power for people to see where we might go next. – Simon
Warm Blooded Beast was the first song I wrote for the guys and the first time I’d ever written a death metal song, it was literally a case of showing a bunch of strangers what I could do with my voice and hoping they liked it, turns out they did! Was pretty nerve wracking but the single has gone down pretty well! – Richard
How was the song written and recorded?
Warm Blooded Beast was the first song that we all worked on together as a band, and before Andy and Rich got their hands on it the song was very different. The original underlying structure was written by Sam and had been knocking about as an idea without the opportunity to be used for a few years. When vying to recruit Andy we sent him the Guitar Pro file for it and he added some brilliant melodies and additional guitar parts which added a new dimension to it that we weren’t expecting. When Rich approached us we did the same thing; trial by fire. Record something over it and let’s see how it sounds! So really this song kind of cemented the band lineup, as everything that people added to it just improved it (to our ears at least).
The recording that you find on Bandcamp/Spotify was recorded from scratch and was completely self-recorded and self-produced, with the only element done in a recording space being the vocals. (Personally I see nothing wrong with screaming THERE’S NOTHING THAT I CAN’T KILL at home, but apparently it could warrant some sort of ASBO, so hey-ho…)
Sam is our mixing and mastering wizard. I don’t know how he does it, but he seems to know what he’s doing and we’re all psyched about the finished product! – Simon
I’m a pretty big fan of Carcass, especially the Surgical Steel record, and lyrically it’s pretty brutal so I wanted to go down that route. Pretty generic for death metal, writing a song about a serial killer but for my first time ever writing death metal lyrics, a gruesome story to go with some cools riffs was a good starting point (plus a chorus with a hook for super fun sing along audience participation). – Rich
What’s this I hear about a full EP appearing in September?
WHO TOLD YOU?!
Yes, we’re currently about ¾ done with recording our 5-track debut EP with just vocals, backing vocals and a couple of bars of re-records to do before we mix it down. Excited isn’t the word. Neither is gusset.
We’re also considering hiding an Easter Egg in one of the tracks for eager listeners, but more on that as/when it arises…
What I can tell you though is that the EP name will be Di Inferi, which is Latin (because we’re pretentious) for The Gods Below.
Once this is released, what plans do you have for the rest of the year?
Gig the crap out of it and become general social media pests until every household has a copy. Even if we have to post a copy through everyone’s letterboxes at 3am while they’re sleeping. – Simon
And write new shit! – Rich
With music becoming increasingly digital in nature, what’s your take on the digital/physical debate?
Ooooooh, this is where the line gets drawn in the sand for some people. Personally I have no problem with the digital revolution as I have bugger all space in my flat (and I mean that: I don’t have a cat but I have two dogs. I tried swinging them in my flat and it just didn’t work for any of us), so for the quantity of CDs that I used to buy each month when I was younger I just can’t keep up that habit. However if it’s a band that I’ve followed for a while or an album that’s truly blown my mind then I’ll spring for the physical copy. I like to buy an EP or an album at a gig as well if a band puts on a good show as I feel you make more of a connection with the songs when you see them performed. – Simon
I’m all for both physical media and digital downloads, it’s a real shame how easy and common it is to steal music online but that’s just the world we live in today. I think the idea that if your content is good enough, people will want to buy it, having a ‘pay what you want’ option is always appreciated as it let’s the listener decide how much they think the artist’s content is worth. That being said nothing beats buying a physical CD at a show, artwork, lyric books and shelf space will always win for me!
How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?
There’s a whole big debate about streaming over purchasing isn’t there? I used to be very much anti-streaming, I didn’t get the point. Then I was introduced to Deezer and Spotify and my perspective shifted, especially when you take into account the lack of space and money that a lot of people have these days. I can say I’ve discovered more great bands in the last 2 years of using Spotify than I did before, simply because it’s more accessible. Is that a good thing? I think it depends on your goals as a band. If you play for the love of playing and just want people to hear your music then yeah, streaming is amazing. If you’re a struggling career musician then I can see why streaming is considered a rip off. I don’t think there’s one answer to whether it’s good or bad. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than just illegally torrenting. Hopefully the industry learns to work with the new technology in order to improve it for artists and listeners alike; to a certain extent I think the industry is just digging its heels in and trying to put templates of the past onto emerging technology, which just doesn’t work. At all. -Simon
Playing in a band is really kind of eye opening, I had no idea for instance that many of the biggest bands in metal (and other genres) make next to no money and often can barely afford to keep going as a result. It’s such a shame that an area with so much hard work and passion, (sometimes) can’t support the people creating the music. It’s a big subject, maybe I’ll write a blog about it on my ipad from Starbucks, that’s what the cool kids are doing these days right? -Rich
What plans do you have to engage with the music industry side of things, if any?
I don’t think we’re in any kind of hurry. Despite the speed of our songs and the visceral nature of our lyrics we’re generally a very laid back bunch of guys who just want to have fun (Cyndi Lauper cover incoming, duck while you can). Whilst we’re able to book gigs and record songs ourselves I don’t think there’s any kind of rush to dip our toes into the bigger pool, but hey, never rule anything out! -Simon
I think once we have a solid base of a few gigs under our belt and a CD or two to show the world, we’ll be looking into taking the band as far as it’ll go. The market might be over-saturated but that doesn’t mean we wont try! -Rich
Do you have any upcoming live shows you want to plug?
YES! Depending on when this goes out here’s what we’ve got!
26/08 – The Wheatsheaf Inn, Banbury, Oxfordshire
30/09 – **EP Launch Show** Club 85, Hitchin, Herts
Why should someone listen to Cerberus Unchained then?
Because if you don’t our band T-Rex will stomp you. He’ll stomp you hard! In all seriousness though, we all have a long-running passion for heavy music and we like to think there’s enough riffage, drum-pummelling and shouting to keep people’s attention. What have you got to lose?!
Any final words?
Yes: Busty Minotaur. What does it mean? Come to gig and we’ll tell you…