The whole dynamic of the band has changed since the EP. Influences have changed. I don't like staying in the same spot for too long musically. I get bored very quickly.
Plaguewielder are an Ohio based band who specialise in a bludgeoning blend of black metal and and sludge metal and this heady mixture is fully formed on the band’s new album Covenant Death. Gavin Brown spoke to the band’s vocalist / guitarist Bryce Seditz to hear all about Covenant Death and its creation as well as the pandemic and the effect on Plaguewielder, US black metal, covering the notorious GG Allin and his most influential albums.
E&D: How did the creation and recording process of your new album Covenant Death go?
Bryce: Writing Covenant Death was very smooth as writing comes naturally. Some of these songs were written on the spot. No ideas. Just hammered them out in an hour or so. Recording wise was another story. I scratched the album three times for various reasons. Certain approaches we took did not work out in our favor. I ended up recording the bulk of Covenant Death in my bedroom over a span of a couple of weeks during quarantine.
E&D: How was the experience of working with Jeff Wilson on the album?
Bryce: Amazing as always. He’s very helpful in a “this isn’t good enough” kind of way. Just the way shit works with us. “Want it done right? Then bust your ass and don’t half ass it.” That’s the kind of motivation I need to hear and Jeff doesn’t candy coat that shit. He’s a huge part of the reason why any of this record has gotten done. Mixing and mastering wise and promotion wise. Needless to say a lot of this shit couldn’t have happened the way it did without him. I’m very grateful to have him as a close friend.
E&D: Did you want the new album to continue with the same intensity as where your last release, the Suffering From Self Inflicted Wounds EP left off?
Bryce: Personally, no. The whole dynamic of the band has changed since the EP. Influences have changed. I don’t like staying in the same spot for too long musically. I get bored very quickly.
E&D: How was that EP received?
Bryce: Overall it was fair. Nothing huge. Very underground shit. People seemed to dig it though, which is all I can ask for. Can’t complain.
E&D: You covered ‘Bite It You Scum’ by GG Allin on the EP. How was it tackling that track and what made you choose that song in particular?
Bryce: Tim’s old band used to cover it. So we figured why not? Song is 4 chords… Super easy to add our style to it. Came out sick! Always in the live set.
E&D: Have punk rock and hardcore been an influence on Plaguewielder at all?
Bryce: Punk and hardcore was big part of how I grew up as a young teenager. Pretty much all of my friends I kicked it with were into it. So I was always around it. Always playing hardcore shows when I was younger in high school. I didn’t realize how much of an effect it had on me till I was older and understood how it influenced my playing style.
E&D: Has the global pandemic affected the band in terms of recording or any other way?
Bryce: It’s basically ruining everything band wise. The only thing that’s been good about it is the free time to write and record. Hence, getting this new album written and recorded as fast as we did. I just wanna hit the road and play fucking shows again and see my homies. It’s incredibly frustrating.
E&D: What has the reaction to your new material been like so far?
Bryce: Everyone has been loving it. I’m glad people are noticing how much poppier the single is. Exactly the direction I wanted to go in. More accessible for everyone. No fucks given.
E&D: Covenant Death is your third album, how do you think you have evolved as a band since your first album Succumb To The Ash?
Bryce: From Succumb To The Ash till now.. Jesus.. we’ve had about 6 member changes, and numerous changes stylistically. It’s just a never ending progression without realizing it to be honest. I think this is where I’ve wanted to be musically for a while now. It just takes a lot of time and work to get there. It’s not for the faint of heart. I can’t write the same record twice. I have no interest in doing that what so ever. I think this record rips.
E&D: Do you think that the new album is your most diverse offering yet?
Bryce: Easily. A lot of new elements on Covenant Death, including some singing. Which I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t find the right voice for it. But some of these songs it just happened and it fits really well. A lot of big catchy choruses and a lot of goth rock/post rock vibes.
E&D: Your music does combines black metal, gothic rock, death metal and post rock. Did you always want an amalgamation of those different sounds to create the music of Plaguewielder?
Bryce: The album is crossover for sure. There is a lot of goth rock and post rock influences. To me it’s very noticeable. Of course the black metal and death metal influences are there, but it’s not something I think about really. The songs are there. I just reach in and pull them out. I make music I wanna hear and I think we’ve accomplished that.
E&D: Can you tell us about the artwork for Covenant Death, who did it and what it represents?
Bryce: The album art was done by Jef Whitehead (Leviathan / Lurker of Chalice) His style of tattooing and art is very unique. The cover represents the albums concept. It’s a vampire bat that’s surrounded by these demons sucking people into a void of teeth.
E&D: What are your favourite black metal albums from the United States and what are your other favourite black metal albums?
Bryce: Leviathan – Massive Conspiracy Against All Life, Twilight – Monument To Time End, Wolvhammer – Crawling Into The Black Sun. Nachtmystium – Assasins and Addicts. My favourite black metal album hands down is Tribulation – Children Of The Night.
E&D: How did you get into black metal in the first place and what attracted you to it?
Bryce: It kinda found me. I got into Cradle Of Filth and later on I found Darkthrone and so on. It was the different vibe than death metal. It was more “me” I guess.
E&D: What have been the most influential albums to you and what made them so influential?
Bryce: Slipknot – Iowa. This was basically my childhood growing up. Easily one of my favorite records ever. Still one of my favourite bands. Tribulation – Children Of The Night. Type O Negative – World Coming Down. NIN – The Downward Spiral.
E&D: Who inspires you as a musician?
Bryce: Peter Steele. There isn’t a bad Type O song. His voice is amazing. Rounds out everything really nice. It’s deep. His lyrics are very relatable. I love him.
E&D: What was the extreme music scene like in Ohio when Plaguewielder were first starting out and what is it like today?
Bryce: There was always shows or somewhere to play till our regular place closed down. Pittsburgh is hit or miss. But it’s usually a good time. Now no one is having shows and it really sucks. But I understand why. I just miss driving and playing out.
E&D: After the album is released, what are Plaguewielder’s plans for the rest of 2021?
Bryce: I dunno what is gonna be happening to be honest. Just writing more music. Hopefully we can shows again!
E&D: What have been some of the most memorable gigs that you have ever played?
E&D: What have been some of the greatest experiences in your time with Plaguewielder so far?
Bryce: The greatest experiences? Making new friends and seeing my homies! Touring with our brothers in Mammon from Detroit. Check them out! They are some of my best friends. Just all around being able to create and getting all of that negative shit out. It’s all I live for. Nothing else in my life makes me feel good like music does.