Canada’s Detherous already impressed with their debut full-length ‘Hacked To Death’. With their new album ‘Unrelenting Malevolence’ being one of the sickest death/thrash albums released in 2022 we reached out to founding member Damon MacDonald (guitar/vocals) to find out all about this killer band.
Hi guys. First of all congrats with the new album ‘Unrelenting Malevolence’. First thing I noticed is the change in the line-up (once again). Seems you haven’t been lucky in that
department? And on the new album both Scott Cressman and Ryan Hunter are in the band picture but according to some sources they were hired guns. What can you tell about that?
Thank you! We are glad people are enjoying it. So with the member changes over the last couple years it has mainly just been due to scheduling and personal life balances, we are a busy band, we practice 3 days or more a week if possible so it is pretty time consuming to be in the band as well as tour as much as possible so there are a lot of commitments to be made. In 2021 we were planning out a massive North American tour and at this point it was just myself and Dimitri in the band so we needed some fill ins, I as well needed someone to help out with lead guitars on the album as I am very new to soloing, so I asked Ryan Hunter if he would be willing to tour and record some lead work for us, we met Ryan in 2019 when we toured with his tech death band Wasted Heretics and he was such a strong guitarist then and had gotten even better over the last couple years. And as luck would have it he agreed. We needed the bass to be filled out as well so we contacted Scott, we toured with Scott’s old tech death band Widow’s Peak for a month so we he could handle this no problem and we’ve known him for so long we knew it would work really well with him. So now we had a whole filled out line up for this tour and we wanted to shoot some music videos for the album which Scott and Ryan agreed to do. We put them down in the album credits and the band photo in the album because they were going to do this tour and we were going to see if they would potentially join full time with us. The tour folded due to some family issues as well as booking in the US is very hard for a smaller band and we need visa paper work filled out, Scott wasn’t able to join us full time on bass but Ryan said he would. In December of 2021 we got Jared Wysiecki in the band to fill bass duties and he is an amazing bassist and the strongest bassist we have ever worked with, we are now the strongest line up the band has seen and it seems like it will stay that way!
Another person appearing on the album as a guest is Skeletal Remain’s Chris Monroy. He did some additional vocals as he already did on a song on the 2020 split with Stench of Death. How would you describe your relationship with Chris?
Chris rules! He is a great guy and amazing to work with. Skeletal Remains and Demolition Hammer are my 2 favourite bands so to be able to work with him and as much as we have has been an absolute blast. Aside from working with us he is super cool to talk with whether it be merch, tours, new albums, etc. It is just really cool to be able to talk to someone I look up to greatly. I have been following them since 2014 and to watch how far they have come and all the amazing stuff they have gotten to do is just very inspiring and they couldn’t be a more deserving group of guys, they work very hard and it shows.
Next to some vocals he also tracked the leads on the Demolition Hammer cover you recorded. When you listen to your music these legends must have been a major influence on you guys? Any other bands you can mention that were inspirational?
Demolition Hammer would absolutely be the biggest influence over our style, but there are so many bands we are all individually influenced by. To name a few though Malevolent Creation, Slayer, Solstice, Sepultura, Kreator, Devastation, Obituary, Pestilence, Asphyx, Cannibal Corpse. A lot of the 80s and 90s thrash bordering on being death metal and just a lot of straight up 90s death metal is where we sit a lot on influence, it just sounds so intense and brutal and we really just clung onto that.
What I really dig about your recordings is the fact you are fairly original in the sense that there’s not a lot of younger bands that play such a ferocious death/thrash style. Being this particular in style might be difficult too when it comes to finding suitable band members, or is that no problem at all?
When Detherous was first started it was very difficult to find members, we we’re still very young and still in school, playing abilities weren’t there yet and we still lacked a musical direction. It wasn’t until about 2016 where we finally latched onto a style and molded into our own. From 2016 to now finding members became easier as the style peaked interests as well as how active a band we are from touring and playing shows and generating a bit more of name for ourselves. The line up we have now with Dimitri, Ryan, Jared, and myself has been the best for working, and most suited line up that we have been needing for a long time now.
How did you actually start out? Was it easy to form the band? Is there a good scene in and around Calgary?
So in 2013 I was in the 10th grade, my friend Chase Hamilton (who now drums for another Calgary band Citizen Rage) had been playing drums for about a year or 2 at this point and I had just gotten my first guitar, we loved the same music like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, etc. So we decided to jam and maybe try and get something going. I initially lied to Chase saying I could play decently and do vocals as well as do both at the same time, I couldn’t at all haha. So for a year it was a lot practice and cover songs but began writing our first songs, from 2013- summer 2015 we were nameless as a project went through so many different names and then we finally got the name Detherous, the original line up under the name was Dylan Spicer on lead guitar, Chase Hamilton on drums, Brett Nicholls on bass, and myself for rhythm guitar and vocals. Forming the band was actually difficult just a lot of members coming and going so was hard to have a stable line up especially because we were young and everyone had different priorities. The scene here in Calgary is great, some great bands and great people here. Support is shown and shows are usually well attended.
You’ve been signed to Redefining Darkness, which comes across as a dedicated label that even makes sure we can buy the records over here in Europe. How did you actually hook up with them? It’s pretty neat they do vinyl too, right?
Working with Redefining Darkness has been great from the start! We are very lucky to be working with such a dedicated label. The way our deal worked out was actually pretty crazy. So we have a friend named Jonny Myrick who plays drums for the band Toxic Reign in Tacoma, he showed me Oxygen Destroyer back in 2018, I found Jordan Farrow of Oxygen Destroyer shortly after and we became friends and to my surprise he liked our music, we only had a demo and a live EP out at this time. We were about to strike another deal with a small label in Italy but they didn’t want to release our album ‘Hacked To Death’ since their release year was full so we went ahead without them. Jordan sent our stuff to Redefining Darkness and they liked what they heard, shot us a message and we have been with them ever since. Yeah! The vinyl they have put out for us and the other bands on the label looks amazing and every one seems to enjoy them.
Talking about availability of recordings; any plans to reissue the debut demo and the aforementioned split with Stench of Death? These were very limited and even when they are available digitally a lot of metal fans want physical products.
The demo and the split will most likely never be reissued. We like the idea of keeping those very exclusive to people who found us a long time ago. Especially with the demo, that mainly only ever got sold in Calgary. But maybe one day we will do a compilation or something.
Seems you also have an ongoing relationship with Devin Schum who has recorded, mixed and mastered all of your recent releases. Does he run a local studio and it is it easy to record with him? Did it take a long time to finish the albums?
We are Devin Schum’s biggest fans haha. We love working with Devin, very easy going and makes the recording environment very relaxed and stress free which produces a better final product. Black Page Studios is more of a “if you know you know” sort of place but I think Devin has gotten a couple more offers to record since we started working with him, which is nice to see. The albums didn’t really take long at all; we tracked both albums in a weekend and the split we tracked in 2 days or so. The longest hold up was the vocals, I wasn’t happy with some of the takes so I kept redoing them until I was happy with how they sounded. And mixing was quick too, Devin is amazing with mixes and getting them back to us quick, he also likes to add his own ideas in with how it should sound, he has a great ear for the smaller details and that is another huge reason we like working with him and Black Page Studios.
Seems you’re active as a live band too. Have you got many opportunities to play live in Canada and maybe the US too? Any plans to cross the pond?
We have played a lot within Canada, since 2018 we have done 4 Canadian tours, 2 of which were for a month or longer. And this past May we played in Vancouver for the 2022 Modified Ghost Festival playing along bands like Skeletal Remains, Deicide, Sacrifice, Exciter, Dying Fetus, Frozen Soul, just to name a few. With the US and Europe we are actively trying to go to both places but the visa processing is a little difficult and costly, as well as being a smaller band it gets harder to secure shows and get promoters to agree to sign visa contracts. If a booking agent is reading this hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org haha
Alright, I guess I covered it all. Any last words you want to get out to our readers?
We would like to say a big thank you to you for reaching out to us to do this interview, Redefining Darkness Records for getting ‘Unrelenting Malevolence’ around to everyone and a big thanks to anyone reading this! We have a new strictly death metal band in the works as well currently, we should have a demo out in the winter so keep an eye out. ‘Unrelenting Malevolence’ is out now on every major streaming service and vinyl and CDs are available for purchase through Redefining Darkness Records!