Teratoma Summon “Purulent Manifestations” On Their Debut Release (Interview)
If you're not already familiar, I strongly suggest you do not go look up what a 'teratoma' is—it's gross. Now, Teratoma, the German death metal band, is also gross, but as is often the case with death metal their abhorrence here is an overall positive. It's not the end of the story, either: as a band formed in Germany but consisting of members from four separate countries and boasting diverse musical backgrounds, the death metal that Teratoma spews forth is streaked with all manners of bile and evil. United in their love of classic, decidedly anti-modern death metal sounds, their debut release Purulent Manifestations contains a host of creepy-crawly riffs bolstered by a chunky rhythm section and packed into songs long enough to fit a few different gory diversions.
Purulent Manifestations carries listeners along on a tide of momentum, indulging in primitive double-bass-driven savagery, but it also breaks away from these extremes to put them in context. On "Detached from Existence," the drums often take a step back to let bouncy and intricate riffs ricochet off the tighter grooves before ratcheting back into high gear once said riffs are firmly etched into listeners' minds. These 'quieter' segments also show off the nasty bass tone, which I'm sure could cause a disease or two by itself.
Things even get close to progressive territory on "Oceanum Inferni," which sees the band indulging in some doomier death moments after initially delivering some of the most interesting and melodic passages on the record—now, we don't actually need to tag every death metal band who plays slow as death/doom, but this song certainly "dooms," as they say: the pensive harmonies that made the first half's riffs so engaging add a morose sheen to the proceedings when they slow down to a crawl. Again reflecting the band's unusual composition, this song as well as "Nero" come with Italian lyrics instead of English like the rest of the record—not that I could have figured that out without lyric sheets, though.
Throughout the record, there's a constant and welcome feeling of fun: from reveling in filthy tones to indulging in massive, ignorant grooves and wild solos, Purulent Manifestations is the work of musicians who love death metal in all its forms. As such, it's easy to recommend to even passing fans—even if you can't name what band might influence any given riff, it's easy to sense the energy and excitement within the album.
Below, read an interview with the band.
"Tortured Voices," one of my favorite tracks, kicks off Purulent Manifestations - what can you tell me about this song?
Hi there Ted and readers. First, we would like to thank you for the opportunity and interest in Teratoma.
This tune, the first song of our first album, encapsulates very well most of the sonic nuances of the band and give hints to what direction people can expect the album to be, but also it was the first track written in the early stages of the band's inception back in February 2020. Sandro had a basic sketch of it, I guess it was sitting around for a while waiting for the proper time to fully bloom in what it became. I listened to it while working in a bar where we would often meet, was instantly hooked on it, and a week after we were jamming together. It was the catalyst for the creation of this band and the songs that came after that.
Your members originate from all across the world - how did you come together and form Teratoma?
We are five dudes coming from four different countries (Brazil, Chile, Italy, Ukraine) who all met in Berlin, going to gigs in squats, and for beers and doobies at gritty bars. In February 2020, just before shit hit the fan. I, Sandro, and Giacomo started playing together to celebrate death metal with a generous touch of punk and DIY ethics to back it up. Within a couple of rehearsals, Rolo joined us and we practiced like this for the next months, writing what would be most of the material of this album, trying a few people on vocal duties. It all clicked together when Dany came to a practice and it just gelled right away. We never played this style of music before even though we all are maniacs for death metal for many years. After that all being said, it was the typical case of starting a band during a bar conversation that sprawled this whole thing.
How did your members' varied backgrounds and past bands impact Teratoma's sound?
To be honest, I think it all has some sort of impact, the past and other bands we still play and especially our background. We have a very specific view for Teratoma. It is also an outlet to do and try things that do not necessarily fit in the other projects. We love metal, punk, and hardcore but we still are in very much touch, with the consumption and production of other musical genres like hip hop, cumbia, and Latin music. Not that we are going crazy putting timbales on death metal or such (hmmm.....) but like I said, Teratoma is a strong common vision between the five of us and we follow nothing but our natural musical instincts and gut feeling when writing or arranging songs. We have somewhat a 'meat and potatoes' approach with this band but will never deny room for trying different things inside our field.
What's the death metal scene like in Germany right now? Do you feel like your local scene accommodates your style, and how are live performance prospects looking?
It is a bit hard for me to say about the Teutonic DM scene because we pretty much hang out at this Berliner micro cosmo of scruffy punks but some of us do like to check out new (and old) bands and be up to date when there's good stuff around. Despite all the setbacks caused by the virus in the last years, Germany is a metal country with a well-established circuit of venues, festivals, and bands. As for our local scene, I already do feel a kind of acceptance due to the nature of our sound. Most death metal bands from town are full-blown on blast beats and cookie monster vocals, which is also cool, but there was no one practicing the kind of DM that we are fond of.
As for live performances, venues are gradually re-opening here with the usual measures, and looks like it is gonna be a packed summer with a lot of previously postponed tours all happening simultaneously. We, like all the other bands, are craving hard to play live gigs again, do a proper release concert and ultimately go on national and international tours with Teratoma.