Friday, January 5, 2024

an interview with Plague Bearer

Plague Bearer have been around in various forms since the early Nineties, but their recordings were not widely available until recently. Their first official full-length, titled Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation, has finally brought their blasphemous black/death metal to the public. Bassist/vocalist The Butcher was merciful enough to respond to my questions via email instead of an axe.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Plague Bearer - who are you, where are you from, and how would you describe the music you make?

We are Plague Bearer, from the depths of the Infernal Abyss! Plague Bearer is Plague Bearer – guitar, Nihilist – vocals, Defiler – drums, and The Butcher – bass and vocals. Plague Bearer plays Unholy Satanic Black Death Metal exclusively!

DoC: What led to the band forming, and what were your goals at the time? Have you accomplished those goals - why or why not?

Plague Bearer was formed to exalt Satan. It has taken a number of incarnations, each with its own aims which may have shifted shape over the ages; these may have included Total Death, Satanic war, cult promotion, weapons proficiency and others. Many more goals have been accomplished than not so; however, Satan will always have a new task awaiting us.

DoC: The history of Plague Bearer goes back to the early Nineties. What was the scene like at the time? Who did you see as your peers, either locally or internationally?

Legends tell of the Plague Bearer name spoken that far back, indeed. In our circle of Hell at the time, a so-called scene was miniscule, with only a handful of deathlike bands and a couple shitholes to play. Our peers were whatever other characters had their shit enough together at the time to perform a live set – some remembered names like Infester and Blood Ritual, and some less-so such as Disbelief, Butchery and Misanthropy. We certainly aspired to the level of national acts, but we also knew we were not there. Had some of the early Plague Bearer line-ups been more stable, only Satan knows what might have happened, though….

DoC: Over the years, Plague Bearer released a number of demos, an EP, and compilations of these recordings. In your opinion, how well do these releases represent the band now? What would you say is the biggest difference between Plague Bearer in the Nineties, and Plague Bearer in the present day?

The Plague Bearer Bubonic Death recording bears very strong characteristics of early 1990’s Death Metal; a listen today will easily give up its secrets (and from where they came.) It is a recording by young Metal maniacs possessed by all the radical new ideas they were hearing, and it sounds like it. After a handful of live performances, though, this band would enter dormancy, to re-emerge two years after, now bearing the mark of Drawn And Quartered. The rest of this tale has been often told.

However, Satan was far from through with us. Near the death of the last millennium, Plague Bearer was reincarnated as a vessel for concepts of evil which were unusable in other dimensions. Drummer Defiler and bassist Saint Disemboweler were brought into the cult, and The Butcher was summoned to provide vocal grimness. Musically, this is the unholy birth of Plague Bearer as known today; an unreleased demo and an unreleased full-length, recorded on a 4-track recorder over a couple of years, are the source of much of the material heard on the debut Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation. Following these recordings, Plague Bearer was again returned to the grave for years.

In 2004, guitarist Plague Bearer began secretive acts with another co-conspirator, the mysterious “Mike”. With four works composed, and the assistance of The Butcher and Saint Disemboweler, they entered the Autopsy Room and emerged with a recording entitled Rise of the Goat. This would finally see the darkness of night via as a 7” release by the exalted Nuclear Winter Records four year later. This remained the only official Plague Bearer release until the compilations emerged more recently. And those are nice to have out, certainly. But they – and possibly the band itself – would likely have remained a mere curiosity had Plague Bearer not risen from the dead….

In 2017, Plague Bearer began to again receive transmissions from Satan, a foreboding omen that an era of death and suffering was nigh, and knew that the band’s time was again coming. Together with the powers of Defiler and The Butcher, he summoned the renowned verbal hate amplifier called Nihilist. Plague Bearer was unborn again, and began honing a selection of back-catalog weaponry. Ultimately, live ceremonies were undertaken, until at last the Pestilence was successfully brought from Hell.

DoC: Tell me about Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation - what were your intentions for this release? How old are the songs on this album? Would you say this is the definitive recording/version of these songs?

Our sole intention is to corrupt innocents and recruit souls for Satan with Unholy Black Satanic War Metal! As mentioned, these songs are old. Some of the earliest concepts were probably birthed as far back as the mid-90s. Most of it is old enough now that it could obtain a driver’s license. The newest are a couple of cover songs of Winds of Pestilence, which existed for a period in the mid-00’s. Some have remarked about the album that “no one writes songs like this anymore,” perhaps this is part of why that is.

I would absolutely say that these are the definitive versions of these songs, and the reason is that this recording lends some coherency to a rather varied collection of material. Of course one might compare a given song against its demo (or 7”) version and decide one likes the faster version of this, or the rawer version of that, it is always going to be like that. But overall the new recordings stand head-and-shoulders above the previous ones, and is by far the best production this material has seen. This is also the representation of Plague Bearer today, with our current line-up and double-vocal Satanic panic.

DoC: Where/when did the recording of this album take place? Who were the individuals who handled the mixing and mastering, and why did you choose to work with them? What would you say they brought to the sound of the album?

Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation was recorded over a period of months in 2021. Mixing was handled by Andrew Lee from, and mastering by Loic Fontaine of Krucyator Productions. These evil souls were recruited for their tasks as we were already in contact, and they were available and capable for the jobs in question. Both contributed immensely to the albums massive Satanic soundscape, Andrew insuring a proper warm yet old-school mix to the recording, and Krucyator insuring a thunderous final master. Devil Praise to both exalted beings!

DoC: Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation is Plague Bearer's first official full-length album. Why did it take this long for you to release your debut? Now that it's complete, how do you feel about these songs going out into the world?

It was the will of SATAN! Until He guided us in 2017 to portend the future Pestilence, Plague Bearer was more of a secondary endeavor from the time its initial incarnation evaporated. The material is a bunch of cryptic relics, which we ransacked as we began reincarnating. In time, this grew into a set for live conjurations, and with successive rituals, we began to feel a need for something beyond archival recordings.

Oddly enough in hindsight, we questioned ourselves whether re-recording these arcane works was the wisest choice to make. Yet, at minimum, we sought a document reflective of our current approach and line-up, and had little other choice at that point. Thus, we forged ahead and strove to make it the best we could, hopefully with enough added elements or character to distinguish it from earlier Plague Bearer recordings. With the assistance of the aforementioned, the results surpassed our expectations. Reactions so far seem quite positive, so it seems clear to us now that it was indeed a wise choice.

DoC: How did Nameless Grave Records get involved with the release of Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation?

As with others involved in the release, Nameless Grave was an existing co-conspirator of ours. Once the recording was completed, they expressed interest in helping bring Satanic Plague upon the rest of the world via CD and LP. And so it came to be.

DoC: How important is touring/playing live for you? What would it take to get Plague Bearer on the road?

Live Satanichaos has become an important aspect of Plague Bearer. Many omens must align for Unholy Black Satanic Touring (though we do seek this) – to note a couple, we would require a fair tribute, and it must be a spectacle, as well as some additional mundanity.

DoC: What's next for Plague Bearer?

What’s next is continuing to spread the Anti-Gospel of Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation near and far! A couple of live attacks are in the near future, including an appearance at Seattle’s venerable Northwest Terror Fest. In addition, the cauldron is in fact starting to bubble with some new evil… to which some individuals have already been exposed. It is not yet worth laying into stone exactly what might become of this, but rest uncomfortably that the future holds new Plague Bearer compositions for the first time in over 18 years. HAIL SATAN!

Plague Bearer on Facebook

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Plage Bearer on Bandcamp

In League With Satan:

Episode 304:
Episode 222:
Father Befouled