Interview with bassist Terry Butler
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: May 12, 2021
Floridian Death Metal trio Inhuman Condition don't need much introduction when know the band features former Massacre members Terry Butler (Obituary, Death, Six Feet Under) on bass, Jeramie Kling (Venom Inc., The Absence, Goregäng) on drums and vocals, and Taylor Nordberg (The Absence, Goregäng) on guitar. That should give you a pretty good idea of what the band is all about. When Death Metal veterans Massacre released their comeback album, Back from Beyond, in 2014, there was supposed to be another album soon after but it never materialized because the band broke up over some inner conflicts.
Jeramie and Taylor wrote a lot of material for the follow-up Massacre album in 2019-2020 and rather than waste it, they put together Inhuman Condition and asked Terry to join them. The rest is history.
We contacted Terry and he was keen to tell us more about the band and the band's debut, Rat°God, to be released on June 4, 2021...
Hey Terry! How's life in Palatka, Florida, these days? Do you see light at the end of the tunnel after the total lockdown of the whole world?
Terry: Hello, everything is fine here. I actually live in Dover, Florida now. I moved from Palatka many years ago. Everything here is starting to loosen up a bit as far as the lockdown. Florida wasn't severely locked down like some of the other states. There have been a few shows here and there, small shows in little clubs. Everyone's social distancing, but I think it's going to slowly open up more and more towards the end of the year. Hopefully, the world can get back to normal soon and all the bands can get touring again, and we can get on with our lives.
WHAT'S INHUMAN CONDITION ABOUT?
We are here to talk about your position in a band called Inhuman Condition, which comprises Jeramie Kling (Venom Inc., The Absence, Goregäng), Taylor Nordberg (The Absence, Goregäng) and you. Can you tell us how you became a part of this gang?
Terry: I'll rewind a couple of years. Rick and Mikey were out of Massacre from Kam, which, to me, is kind of funny. In steps, Jeramie and Taylor played a few shows. They approached Kam saying, "Hey, these old songs are killer, how about us writing some new tunes?" He says, "Sure, why not?" So, they wrote 14 songs. For various reasons, it fell apart, which doesn't surprise me.
Those two dudes quit the band. They had 14 songs sitting there. They approached me and asked if I would like to record the bass on these songs. Once I heard the songs, it was like, "Absolutely, yes!". They're amazing riffs, totally in the vein of old-school Massacre and Death, which the songs were supposed to be for Massacre record, so they were written in that vein on purpose.
I thought they were amazing, killer songs. I said, "Absolutely, yes!". I recorded the bass and things took off quickly. Here we are now with an album completely recorded, and it's being released very soon, June 4th, so it's pretty exciting.
When you were asked to join the band, did you feel right off the bat you were all on the same page regarding what this band should be all about both music- and lyric-wise?
Terry: Absolutely! We've all been on the same page from day one. The main priority was to get the songs recorded, mixed and mastered, get a record deal and get them out there. That's exactly what happened. Lyric-wise, the same. I think it's a really cool stuff Jeramie came up with. We even had Taylor write some lyrics. Paul from Cannibal Corpse wrote some lyrics for a song, so we hit some contributors. I think it's a perfect blend.
CLONING THE PAST
The band logo reminds me of Massacre's logo on the band's classic 1991 album, From Beyond, on which you played bass. Was it your intention to create a logo for this band that would remind people of that Massacre logo?
Terry: Yes. Obviously, we used the Massacre font for Inhuman Condition, that was done intentionally. I wrote the song "Inhuman Condition". I have been in and out of Massacre various times since 1986. Kam has stated how much he hates that logo, so it was the perfect thing. If you hear the music and see the logo you definitely pick up Massacre vibes, but as we said, that's intentional. Even the artwork is reminiscent. I have no problems with it, and if anyone has a problem with it, they can, you know, F right off.
Would you say that you tried to come as close to the same vibe and feeling that were captured on the From Beyond album? You know, uncompromising and heavy old school Death Metal without any gimmicks or bullshit?
Terry: Yes, we definitely tried to capture that old-school feeling as my favorite music is from that era. Jeramie and Taylor also like a lot of bands from that era. That's, to me, what kicked off death metal, a lot of the old-school bands. We wanted to capture that vibe and straight up, no frills, not a lot of bullshit, straightforward killer music, lots of awesome, catchy riffs in the songs, and that's exactly the vibe that we were going for.
A MONSTER OF AN ALBUM IS COMING...
The songs for this album were written in September of 2019, mostly by Jeramie and Taylor, right after they left Massacre. How much did you get your fingers entangled into these songs? Will you also be credited for writing on this forthcoming Inhuman Condition record?
Terry: Yes, the songs were written in 2019 by Taylor and Jeramie for a Massacre record. It didn't work out. They quit the band. A lot of drama going on there, but if you know anything about Massacre or certain people in Massacre, drama is always there. I'm glad they didn't record it because I was able to play on it later in hindsight. Yes, they're killer riffs and it's a killer album. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to do it. The songs were already written, so I didn't have much to contribute as far as writing riffs, but I put my own style on the recording via the bass.
In the future, I will have a hand in writing some songs because we're planning on this not being a one-off deal. This is an actual band, and we have a lot of cool, creative ideas. Taylor and Jeramie have a lot of cool ideas. We're a team right now. We're going to try and pump out as much music as we can. It's all going to be in the same vein and there will be more to come.
The album was recorded at Jeramie's and Taylor's own studio. What's finished and what's still left to be done? Who will mix and master the album?
Terry: Yes, the album is recorded. It was recorded at Jeramie's and Taylor's studio, Smoke & Mirrors Recording Studio. It's done, it's mixed and mastered now. Jeramie mixed it, Taylor mastered it. We all signed off on it. We all agreed that it's a killer mix. We like it. We kept it really old school. I think it sounds killer and I think people will enjoy it.
You have a couple of guests on this record, Paul Mazurkiewicz (Cannibal Corpse) and former Massacre/Death guitarist Rick Rozz. What were their roles on the album and how happy are you personally about their involvement?
Terry: Yes, we have a few guests on the album. Paul from Cannibal, he did some lyrics on a song. It turned out killer. He's written lyrics plenty of times before for Cannibal Corpse, so it's a familiar thing for him. He did a killer job. Yes, Rick did a handful of leads on the record. This was in the works right as I joined, and Rick came in and put down some killer Rick Rozz leads. That's about it. Paul put his own spin and flavor on the lyrics, and it sounds great.
How many songs will it contain, and can you reveal any song titles?
Terry: There are nine songs on the album. We recorded 14, so there are five sitting there for the next record. Some of the song titles are "Killing Pace", "Rat°God", which is the name of the album, "Grave Bound", "Tyrantula", "The Neck Step". Awesome song titles and lyrics.
JEKYLL AND HYDE PRESENTED IN THE DAN GOLDSWORTHY STYLE
The album cover of Rat°God, looks really stunning in my sincere opinion and it's been done by Dan Goldsworthy, who is responsible for covers for bands like Accept, Cradle of Filth, Xentrix, and Alestorm. How did you find about the guy?
Terry: Yes, again, we intentionally wanted an album cover reminiscent of the old days of Death and Massacre, which would be an Ed Repka style.
Dan Goldsworthy did an amazing job. I think it's a killer album cover that perfectly fits the whole vibe. I think Jeramie and Taylor contacted him about doing it right before I joined, and he presented the amazing album cover. I think it shows a Jekyll and Hyde kind of condition for the person, an inhuman condition if you will.
Dan's artwork for Rat°God has a strong Ed Repka-like vibe to it. I guess that observation does not bother you, does it?
Terry: For someone to say your album cover looks like Ed Repka did it is a compliment, obviously. Dan did an amazing job, and that's what we wanted. We wanted something to capture the vibe of the music, the lyrics, the attitude of the band, and for that old-school vibe, and I think Dan did an amazing job.
You are working with Blood Blast Distribution and Black Serpent Records for the release of your first album. Was it a no-brainer to ink deals with them? Did you guys approach them first or was it vice versa?
Terry: We wanted to keep it kind of hands-on and definitely underground for the first release. Black Serpent has worked with Jeramie and Taylor in the past, so I think that was obvious for them to approach Black Serpent. I think Blood Blast also got involved. I think they contacted Blood Blast. We've got deals set up for around the world. Spiritual Beast in Japan. We have a Mexico release and a Brazilian release. We have the globe covered pretty well. Like I said, that's an old-school underground, hands-on approach.
Have you set a release date for the album or are you still going through negotiations about the best time to get it released?
Terry: June 4th is the release date for around the world. We've already started some pre-orders. If you go to inhumancondition.bandcamp.com, you can find links for some of the stuff, but I think April 30th is when the European link will be ready for pre-orders. There's going to be vinyl, CD, there will be package deals; the Rat°Salad, Rat°God package deals, Rat°Pack deals with some of them come with a pic, a patch, sticker, CD, vinyl, shirt, all that kind of stuff. Just be on the lookout for those links and get some Inhuman Condition stuff.
PLAYING LIVE SHOWS AGAIN
Naturally, it's been tough for bands to get gigs booked due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, there seems to be some faint light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, you guys played your debut show at Verona, Florida, on April 17, 2021, supporting Deicide along with Hate Tank. I guess you felt pretty darn excited about having this opportunity to play live again after many months of inactivity?
Terry: Yes, we played a show with Deicide. It was a nice show. A small club obviously, during Covid-19, but it was great. I think the fans loved it. I loved it. It was a nice release to be able to play in front of actual people. It was exciting. Hopefully, this happens more often. Hopefully, the door starts opening for more bands to play. It's just been really brutal, if you think of all the people affected as far as musicians, the booking agents, the clubs, the tour bus drivers, the road crew, etc. It's just been absolutely brutal, but I think it's going to start opening up here real soon, and we can get back to normal.
I am curious to know if the whole state of Florida has been open for gigs this spring after this unfortunate virus outbreak, or do some areas in Florida still have restrictions for doing live shows?
Terry: I think all of Florida is open for shows as long as you follow the guidelines and some of the places have limited capacity, you have to stay six feet apart. If it's a real small club, hands-on mom-and-pop kind of place, you can probably get away with putting 150 people in there. We all hope towards the end of the year that it gets opened up more and more and bands start playing more shows.
You did a studio livestream with Obituary on April 3, 2021, playing The End Complete album in its entirety. So apparently, as you mentioned already, bands can actually play live over there in Florida, but with some strict restrictions...
Terry: Yes, April 3rd, we did some livestreams, Obituary has been fortunate. We have a good, cool studio, and we have all everything we need. We did some livestreams, we did the Slowly We Rot, The End Complete and Cause of Death albums in their entirety. Then we did a couple sets of just the songs we like to play and stuff, and we had Power Trip come in for the last one to do a song. Those have been fun, and those have been a way for us to generate a little bit of revenue for ourselves and give the fans something. I know it's not a live show, but that's the best we can do right now.
In Florida there are a few bands playing small gigs here and there, but there's really not much, not like it was. Hopefully, we can start playing more shows, bigger shows, and everyone gets their vaccines and all this and we get back to some normalcy.
What about your personal time management between Obituary and Inhuman Condition?
Terry: That's the thing that we all understand in Inhuman Condition. Jeramie is also in The Absence and Venom Inc. Taylor is in Venom Inc. and Goregäng. I have Obituary, but we all understand that our main bands are the priority. When there's time and when we have the ability to put in some Inhuman Condition shows/touring we will do that.
Everyone's under the agreement that their main bands are the priority. I think once this gets back open, people are going to see music a lot. There's going to be a lot of opportunities for Inhuman Condition to play shows abroad and locally. That was definitely something talked about right off the bat.
Well, that is it from my part, Terry. I would like to thank you for this "chat" with me and in the very same breath I would like to wish you all the best with all of your future endeavors, both with your bands and outside of the band life. If there's still something you'd like to add to this conversation, then feel free to do so now... ;o)
Terry: Thank you for allowing me to talk. I hope some of what I said made sense [laughs]. I would like to encourage all the fans out there to hang on. This is going to get back to normal soon. I know it's probably going to be two years since bands were touring, et cetera, but we'll get better. Hang in there. We all want to be out there, watching bands play and touring. Thanks for all the support for any of the bands I've been in. If you see me out on the road, just come up and let's chat, talk about whatever. Hopefully, we can all get back to doing what we love, watching music and playing music. Thank you.
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