“Extirpated Mortal Process”: Stabbing Unleashes Bludgeoning Brutality (Interview)
When it comes to brutal death metal, Texas’ Stabbing is one of the newest up and coming powerhouse bands who are creating a decent buzz within the subgenre. Formed in 2021 in Austin, the band quickly assembled tracks for their three-track demo, followed by their EP, Ravenous Psychotic Onslaught, the same year.
On its debut full-length album, Extirpated Mortal Process, Stabbing takes their brutality even further with 12 relentless tracks that pummel the listener from start to finish. Featuring frontwoman Bridget Lynch, guitarist Marvin Ruiz, and husband and wife rhythm section—bassist Meryl Martinez and drummer Rene Martinez (Flesh Hoarder, Martyred)—Stabbing’s vicious aural assault is the perfect combination of sick guttural vocals, slamming blast beats, menacing guitar riffs, and terrifying lyrics. During a recent phone interview, drummer Rene Martinez talked about the band’s new album, the Texas BDM scene, touring plans and more.
Stabbing is signed to Comatose Music. Their roster is insane and they know how to deliver quality brutal death metal. What’s the experience been like being associated with them and owner Steve Green?
First of all, it's been awesome. Me and Steve go back from my old band called Disfigured, we were signed to Comatose. I've had two releases come out with that band. I've known him for over 10 years, probably almost 15 years now. Having that long relationship helped get us signed to Comatose and it's been really good for Stabbing. It's been really great because Comatose is an awesome label. He's always on top of his stuff, running his label, putting out really good quality death metal.
Stabbing has the husband/wife dynamic. How did you and Meryl meet?
I met her through Facebook and I was playing in a band called Diminished out of Houston and we were playing a festival in Colorado and she was playing bass for a band that I can't remember the name of right now… but I met her there in person. I was very flirty with her of course and a few years later we ended up hooking up.
Scattered Remains was a previous band you both were in, so Stabbing isn’t your first band together. How did you discuss starting this band?
She and I played in a band called Embodiment of Suffering together. Her being a bass player and me the drummer; I had a friend with some riffs and we started jamming with him. We did an EP and a few shows and a fest, but then that didn't work out. The Scattered Remains thing… she was going to fill in on a show, but we never ended up doing that. We had a practice together, but the show fell through so that never really happened. But me and Marvin started putting together Stabbing. It was just me and Marvin jamming back and forth with guitar riffs and drum parts. We thought we had something and we just needed a vocalist and a bass player. He knew Bridget and I knew Meryl, so there you go. We got a band. So that's how we put that together. And it was pretty easy. We didn't really expect to put together a full band like that. It was out of me being bored. I learned how to track myself on drums in my jam room and I needed some riffs so I could mess around with my recording. Marvin had just released Nephilim Grinder, a one-man band that was really sick. So I hit up Marvin for riffs but he used up all his resources for that release. He asked if I had any drum parts that he could put riffs over. So I threw on a metronome and just started writing, just jamming and recording. I sent it to him and he sent me back the riffs and I thought it was awesome. So that's how we first came up with our first song, which would become “Pulsing Wound.” And then we just kept going with two more. I posted those up and we were getting positive feedback. We actually tried out a few vocalists before we went with Bridget, but she was the best fit for it.
Bridget is just a beast on the mic. You don’t really see a frontwoman in this genre, which adds a great dynamic to the band.
Yeah, for sure. (We weren’t trying to) get a female to front this band or anything. I didn't care about that. I just wanted someone who's badass and who sounds really sick, and she sounded fucking awesome. I said, “Hell yeah, she’s the one!”
To the untrained ear, the critique of the brutal death metal genre of "it all sounds the same" is often thrown about. Although Stabbing isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, you certainly have a passion for this style of music. What do you try to convey or achieve with your music?
It’s just to play the style of the bands that came before us that influenced us to just keep that going in that style. Like you said, we're not reinventing the wheel. We're not doing anything that hasn't been done already. We're just playing what we like and just hoping that people like it. I’ve been doing this for years and this is probably the best received project I've ever done in my entire brutal death metal career. It's awesome. People actually really like this band. And I'm glad they like the music that we're making, because we're just jamming. We're just having a good time. We're not trying to do anything extra crazy out there that hasn't been done before.
The Texas BDM scene is on fire. I think the Austin/San Antonio and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has always been a hotbed for metal. What’s the current venue situation, the metal scene in general, and the band camaraderie around your area like?
It's awesome. Texas is one of the best in the country for death metal especially. It’s always been like that ever since I've started playing in the scene. But we're all homies. We have good friends in Houston bands like Putrid Womb, Architectural Genocide. Of course in Dallas we got our homies in Reviled. We’re all really good friends. The scene is awesome because of it. Being friends with Skylar (Taylor) from Reviled, he puts on this fest called Gored the Heart of Texas. And it's really cool because half of his lineup will be all of us that are all in these bands and we're all playing brutal death metal and we're all friends. So whenever he throws his fest, it's just a giant party of us getting together and doing what we love and all hanging out. It's a really good time. It's really awesome to be in Texas and have that camaraderie with all the bands.
I was going to mention that you participated in the Gored in the Heart of Texas Fest, in association with Miguel “Goregrinder” Medina’s Chicago Domination Fest as well as Slamdakota in South Dakota. How was that experience, as it’s a great avenue for the BDM scene.
Miguel is really awesome at what he does. He puts on that Chicago Fest and it’s a whole lot of fun. He has some really good headliners too every year for his fest. It's cool to go up there and represent Texas with all of our homies playing the same bands that I listed. It’s so cool to be a part of that. Slamdakota, I’ve played that with my other band Flesh Hoarder. We played that one year and that fest is just as cool. It’s cool that they have those three associated with each other and help each other out. It's a pretty unique thing to have in brutal death metal where all these fests are helping each other out. And we all just get together and put on a really awesome brutal death metal fest. There's not that many fests like that where you can do that kind of thing.
Stabbing made a great first impression with last year’s Ravenous Psychotic Onslaught EP. Things are happening pretty quickly, do you feel your trajectory is going in the right direction?
Oh yeah, definitely. It's cool because when we first started, we just put the demo out and then we just kept going with songs and songs. We didn't want to wait to write a whole full-length and have to wait so long, because it takes a while to produce a full length album of all new songs and then put it together with the label. We wanted to keep that momentum going. After the EP, we were already working on more stuff. Me and Marvin were just grinding out songs. We just put it together real quick because we wanted more content to get out there. The longer you wait, the flame kind of dies out and people just forget about you. So we wanted to hurry up and keep this momentum going. We're just trying to ride that wave of momentum. The fact that (our full-length) is going to come out in a month, we're still trying to ride that wave and it's going really well. We'll see what happens, but it's gonna be pretty good, I think.
How would you compare your EP to your debut full-length album Extirpated Mortal Process? Was there anything you consciously tried differently or explored more within the genre?
Yeah, I would say we did more grooving and slamming parts with this new album than we did with the EP because the EP was just really fast. We were just balls to the wall. We do that a lot on this album too, but we also did a lot more grooving parts and more catchy parts. There's a lot more technical parts, too. We were just trying to push ourselves musically, I think; not overdo anything. We’re still keeping the formula the same, but we're starting to add different things that we weren't doing on the EP. I think the EP was more straightforward, more like Disgorge or something. This one has a little bit more experimental elements I would say.
The hallmark of the BDM and the slam genre is that tight pinging snare drum and I noticed yours is a bit higher pitched on the EP, but on this full-length it doesn't sound as tightly tuned. Were you trying to achieve a different sound in the studio for this one?
Not really, I think the difference was the EP, I tracked those drums myself in my jam room and I don't have the best equipment for recording. That sounds amateurish a little bit, but I went ahead and did that. But for this album, I wanted to go to a studio and do it right this time. My friend Josh has a studio and we came up with that drum sound for this one, which is less pingy snare. It’s still a high-pitched snare, but I recorded in an actual studio with a big giant drum room. So we were able to take a mix from a bunch of mics, we had room mics all over the place; overheads and everything. So I think we were able to get rid of that more dry ping. This one’s different and it wasn't like I was trying to get away from it. I just wanted to see how it sounded, and I think it sounds pretty cool.
I also noticed that you play open handed/left-hand lead, especially on the blast beats. How did this style come about because most drummers still do that traditional crossover style?
I get that from coming up watching my favorite drummers like Ricky (Myers) from Disgorge back in the day. I got a lot of influence from watching him doing that kind of blast, and also Cannibal Corpse. Paul Mazurkiewicz does the open hand on his bomb blasts and stuff. So I've been just kind of mimicking what I came up watching and it just always stuck.
The mixing and mastering duties were handled by Januaryo Hardy (Pure Wrath, Waking The Cadaver, Brodequin, etc). The production keeps it powerful and direct, what were you trying to achieve in the studio and with the overall mix?
In the studio… I wish we would have done it together, I think the next time we'll do it together. But I did the drums in Austin by myself with just a click tracks and the guitar going in my ears. We just did our own parts separately. I know Bridget and Marvin went to a studio together and laid down the guitar and the vocals at the same one, and Meryl did her bass at Marvin’s apartment. We were just piecing it together separately and then the mix, Januaryo did the mix also for our EP, and it blew me away when he first sent what he mixed. I was just surprised at how well he was able to make my drums sounded out of me just recording in my jam room. That's why we went with him again for the album. He's really talented at mixing and mastering, so we just wanted to get that again. We just let him do his thing. For the most part, he nailed it the first time he mixed it.
For the album artwork by Daemorph Art (Aborted Fetus, Black Dahlia Murder, Iron Fire etc), how did you connect with him and what did you convey about the overall concept?
We were on tour when we were talking to the artist (Andriy Tkalenko) about the concept. It was mostly Bridget and Marvin coming up with the concept of how it was going to look. Because I'm not creative like that, I just play drums. They told him what they wanted and he sent the mock up while we were on tour, and we were like, “Wow, that's fucking sick!” So he just kept going with it and put the colors on it and everything. We're really happy with the art. The guy is pretty amazing.
As for your other bands, you’re also in Flesh Hoarder, Martyred, and others. Most musicians these days are in multiple bands. How do you balance your schedule and more importantly, keep music separate and appropriate for each group you’re in?
It's a lot, to be honest. Even tomorrow I have practice with Martyred. Thursday I have practice with Flesh Hoarder. Then I go play a show with Flesh Hoarder on Friday. So it's a lot to keep separate and I have to keep my head straight on what band is doing what. But I manage to do it. In the middle of a Stabbing tour I had to go play in Chicago with Flesh Hoarder, we were playing the Chicago Domination Fest, and I had done nothing but play Stabbing songs for the entire month. And then I had to go play with Flesh Hoarder. The day of the show, I was listening to the Flesh Hoarder songs that we put out and was just practicing on a practice pad with them; just getting familiar with them. And that helped. Flesh Hoarder went on and played, we didn't fuck up at all. Then after that I had to play with Stabbing. That was fine too because I've been playing those songs for a month. It’s just a lot of training your brain and practicing. That's how I do it. It's hard, but I manage to do it.
What’s next for Stabbing for the rest of 2022 and into next year, including touring plans?
We’re going to have our CD release show in Houston. We have some things in the works for next year, but I can't really say yet. But as far as right now, we're just closing the year out with a show in Dallas in a couple of weeks with Embalmer and Immortal Suffering. Then that's it for now. Like I said, there's a couple of things in the works, but they're not a done deal, so I can't really say what they are yet.
Extirpated Mortal Process released December 9th, 2022 via Comatose Music.