I grew up listening to Swedish and Finnish death metal more than hardcore music. On this one I put more of those influence.
Japanese heavyweights Kruelty have just brought out their brilliant new album Untopia and it combines intense hardcore with pummelling death and doom metal to create one of the heaviest albums of the year so far. Ahead of their upcoming European shows, Gavin Brown caught up with Kruelty guitarist Zuma to discuss Untopia, how their tour is going and get an insight into their crushing music.
E&D: Your new album Untopia has just been released. Have you been pleased with the reaction to it so far?
Zuma: Basically yes, but I’m sure we can do more. Hopefully we’ll get more attention with frequent touring.
E&D: Was the creation of the album a smooth process for you?
Zuma: I tried to do a different-but-still-Kruelty thing on this one. I took some time to decide the concept of the album but writing was done in about 6 months, so I can say it was smooth!
E&D: What have been the biggest influences on the songs and sound of the new album?
Zuma: I grew up listening to Swedish and Finnish death metal more than hardcore music. On this one I put more of those influence. The slow parts could sound like some Finnish death metal bands like Rippikoulu or Purtenance but also the fast ones are more like Dismember or Entombed I guess. Also I combined crust punk vibes too since I’ve been into them for this 3-4 years. No hardcore bands except us play with Paledusk (huge metalcore band from Japan) and Framtid in a same week haha. Definitely we’re still a hardcore band but we would love to play with any kind of “heavy” bands.
E&D: How have Kruelty evolved as a band since your last album A Dying Truth?
Zuma: Hmm I don’t really know why we turned out like this haha! Maybe a lot of tours and mixed bill shows created this style.
E&D: You released the The Ruination Of Imperialism split with Terminal Nation last year. How did you hook up to do the split and how was it received?
Zuma: I personally have known their singer Stan since 2019 or so. We talked a lot and 20 Buck Spin liked the idea, so we could make it happen. I believe we love same music and have similar political view, so it was easy to work together for me. Hopefully we will play together soon.
E&D: Who would you love to do a split release with in the future?
Zuma: Tough question but Vomit Forth from USA came up first.
E&D: You are currently on tour in Japan. How is the tour going and what have the highlights been so far?
Zuma: It’s been so nice but we have to realize Japan is still a small scene. Technically we could be one of the biggest hardcore or underground death metal bands in Japan but we barely can pull 100 people in Tokyo. We could do 200-300 easily in other countries despite we’re still new to people there. So we’re gonna have to think about how we can evolve or improve our scene in the future.
E&D: How did your recent tours of New Zealand and Australia (with Honest Crooks) go?
Zuma: It did very well considering it was a first time for us to be there. Honest Crooks had good sets every night and I believe we could do good performance. Also I was surprised so many people came to see our headline shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Would love to be back in the near future. Next time maybe we will play with metal or grindcore bands.
E&D: Have you been playing a lot of new material from Untopia?
Zuma: Yeah recently we mainly play songs from Untopia. Feeling like people love the new stuff.
E&D: Are you looking forward to the forthcoming UK and European live dates and what can we expect from those shows?
Zuma: Yeah we’re very excited to be there again. You can expect that we’re way more heavier and tighter than the last time haha!
E&D: What have been the most memorable live shows that Kruelty have ever played?
Zuma: We have some but the Paris and Bandung (Indonesia) shows last year were amazing. I really love to see some aggressive crowds.
E&D: What is the extreme music scene in Japan like at the moment and what bands would you recommend for us to check out?
Zuma: Mixed bills are very popular here especially in Tokyo. I think a new grindcore band Termination will be one of my favorite once they drop some music. Also a deathgrind band called Hydrophobia is insanely tight so everyone of you should check them out.
E&D: Who are your all-time favourite Japanese bands?
Zuma: Damn I have too many but Second to None, Coffins, and Edge of Spirit came up quickly.