Inhuman Condition Creates Monstrous Terror On “Fearsick” (Interview)
Floridian death metal band Inhuman Condition was born out of the ashes of what was to be a new Massacre album written by drummer/vocalist Jeramie Kling (Venom Inc, The Absence, Ribspreader, Goregäng, FORE) and guitarist Taylor Nordberg (Deicide, The Absence, Ribspreader, Goregäng, FORE) with vocalist Kam Lee (ex-Death, Nattravnen).
After jumping the Massacre ship in the fall of 2020 over musical differences, the duo took those songs they had written with them and teamed up with fellow former Massacre bassist Terry Butler (Obituary, ex-Death/Six Feet Under) and created their debut album Rat°God. Even taking the band name from the title of Massacre's 1992 EP, Inhuman Condition created an album that embodies that band and that era's classic vibe. On their second full-length album Fearsick, Inhuman Condition has stepped up its game to prove that their debut wasn’t a fluke.
"The music that became Inhuman Condition… what Taylor and I were trying to do is just write music that sounded like Massacre," Kling explains during a recent Zoom chat. "[Music] that had the same embodiment, the same swampy, dirty feel that we as Floridians have down here. We just pulled from all of our influences and wrote accordingly. Taylor and I had already decided that if we went forward with the project, we wanted to name it Inhuman Condition. Because we didn't want anybody to be confused as to what this was. The reason why this came about is this was the new Massacre album. Terry actually wrote that song 'Inhuman Condition.' Him and Bill Andrews (ex-Death, ex-Massacre drummer) own the likeness to the logo, so we just went for it. If the shoe fits, wear it and fucking walk around in that motherfucker! We were so surprised by the response from this project. We had no idea what was going to happen. And it's been just such a warm welcome. It's pretty killer."
Recruiting Butler into the band was a no-brainer. As a former Massacre member, he already had a grasp on the material and the aesthetic of what Taylor and Kling were trying to convey. Once Butler heard the songs, he was on board to join Inhuman Condition.
"I've known Terry [Butler] for a very long time," Kling begins. "The second he even started playing bass when he was up here tracking for Rat°God… he laid down the first bass line and I looked over at Taylor's like, 'Holy fuck, that sounds like Death!' We're all smiles at this point. Everybody has a big shit-eating grin. We know what's happening. We can feel it, the energy is there. He bought his bass at a pawn shop on the Scream Bloody Gore tour in '87/'88, and he’s had it ever since. I just found it fitting to be the bass that we used for Inhuman. It just naturally was all there. The tone was there. Everything he played was perfect. It was exactly what it needed to be, and it just all fell in line."
Although Inhuman Condition is made up of all former Massacre members, it’s not Massacre 2.0. Kling and Nordberg wrote 14 songs for Massacre while they were in the band, so naturally the songs have a familiarity. Plus, the majority of both albums were written and recorded at the same time.
"There's nine songs on Rat°God, so that left us five… and that was a hard pick," Kling says. "It wasn't because we left five off because they were weak, we wondered what pairs well together. This is where I trust my brother Taylor 100%, he just has such a keen sense for picking the album orders. He just has the knack for that, he's an avid music listener. So he narrowed it down. Of course, I wanted all of them on there. Because everything else made it onto Fearsick, and then we had to write four new songs. So Taylor and I wrote those four new songs together. So we had five leftover tracks and then wrote four new ones."
Both Inhuman Condition albums are decorated with pummeling rhythms, killer double kick drum patterns, dive-bomb/whammy bar guitar solos and vicious vocals. With Kling pulling double duty on drums and vocals for the band, his approach to both is what works best for the songs.
"With The Absence, I play really flashy, and with Romancing the Stone, I play pretty flashy as well," Kling says about his drumming style. "There's lots of stuff happening. With [Inhuman Condition], it was a completely different approach. [I] scale it back. Naturally, I interject my stuff and I have little 'isms' here and there that make it unique to me. And it doesn't sound like I'm copying anybody's vibe, but that was the approach for drums; keep it simple, stupid, which is just as effective. Vocally, that's a whole other ball of wax. Whatever comes to mind, we just go [with it]. On Rat°God, Taylor wrote four songs, lyrically, and vocally. I think we collaborated on vocal patterns. We have no ego between any of that stuff, it's like a wide open book. [It's] how we best serve the song no matter what scenario we're in, and it doesn't matter which project we're in."
The production was handled by Kling and Nordberg at their own professional recording studio Smoke & Mirrors Productions in Spring Hill, FL. The overall tone and sonority on the new album embodies the spirit of '90s death metal and the Morrisound Studios vibe.
"I grew up with Morrisound records, a lot of them," Kling admits, "and a lot of those were really just the band playing, and a touch of reverb at times. Other than that, it was pretty much like just a hard-edged sound. So that was always the goal, and then, of course, making it a bit more modern and fatter like what started happening in the early 2000s. Since Taylor's mastering everything, I can sit there while he's mastering and let's say the guitars would be too hot in a master, we could either adjust it in the master or we could just go back and rebalance out a whole another take with balance and just make some adjustments on the guitars and then try a master right again. There's no sending it to a mastering house and waiting a week or two, we have instant changeability, which is why we do everything ourselves anyways."
The album artwork was created by Dan Goldsworthy (Corpsegrinder, Accept, Cradle of Filth), who also illustrated the band’s debut album. He successfully channeled his inner Ed Repka and that classic '80s heavy metal album art style. With Fearsick, Goldsworthy knocked it out of the park once again.
"On the [Fearsick] record, while Taylor was tracking guitars, I'm just sitting there writing on a scratch pad with a pencil and I drew this wall of bodies," Kling explains. "I took a meeting with Dan and I pitched this idea and I sent it over to him and I even did some watercolor color palettes over the scratch that I did. I just kind of see this wall as a continuation of the stairs [from Rat°God]. This Rat°God fellow is kind of like his M.O., and then we get to see a little bit more into his universe and where he's at. Then Dan comes back with [what you see]. We call him Babe Ruth, because he just fucking knocks this stuff out of the park. He's just so talented. I can't say it enough about him or his work ethic. He's a top-tier fellow."
In addition, featured guests Rick Rozz (ex-Massacre, ex-Death) and Paul Mazurkiewicz (Cannibal Corpse) participated on this new album as they did on its debut with the former contributing a killer guitar solo on "I'm Now The Monster" and the latter writing the lyrics for the raging track "Recycled Hate."
"We had our buddy Paul [Mazurkiewicz] from Cannibal Corpse… he wrote lyrics and patterns for 'Killing Pace' on the last record," Kling explains. "So when you listen to that song, if it feels a bit like Cannibal Corpse, that's because the fellow from Cannibal Corpse did that to us. He allowed us to have that vibe, which is awesome. So he wrote patterns and everything. And that's the same thing on 'Recycled Hate,' that was Paul as well."
Rat°God created a decent buzz within the underground death metal scene and the band completed two successful US headlining tours over the past year since the album’s release. With all the Inhuman Condition members in various other successful bands as well, this band won’t get put on the back burner, according to Kling. With scheduling between their other bands worked out way in advance, the future for Inhuman Condition is full speed ahead.
"[For] the future and onward, we have a Deicide [support tour] playing Legion and then we have Kataklysm playing Serenity in Fire, and then Inhuman's going to open up that and that's going to be a fucking blazer. It's gonna be a full US tour; I think we have some Canadian dates in there as well. As far as what we're doing after that, schedules are really heated up, so it's going to be difficult. I know that we have some offers for some South American stuff and nothing yet for Europe, but it's all on the horizon, schedule permitting really. Those are the goals now, just to see how far we can take it. Just see if we can take it to the top till the wheels fall off."
Fearsick releases today via Listenable Insanity Records.