Our Malignant Beloved: Metal in the Mountains

First impressions are futile and my first impression of Our Malignant Beloved is that they hustle to be heard and have everlasting energy and enthusiasm. With Matthew Bowles on drums, Jacob Harper on rhythm guitar, Chris Berry on bass and Jami Asbury on vocals and lead guitar, OMB are rowdy and can represent. Being from Beckley, West Virginia, they don’t have many matches when it comes to the metal scene so they have to make the most of it and leave their mark, which they have definitely done. Formed in the spring of 2007 the band promtly produced a local buzz and began working on their first full length studio album entitled “THE ANTI-SCIENCE,” which was independently released early 2009. The track “Anomic” from the worthy work was featured on what would be the last issue of Metal Edge Magazine’s March 2009 compilation cd.

It is not only obvious that OMB work hard and therefor rock hard, but they also have heart and pay homage to music, featuring an instrumental on their cd. Their music makes my skin tingle because they not only rock with unbelievable rhythm but make music with a mission with lyrics that are laureate and passion that is uncomparable. Their song “Pain Affliction Apparatus” is an example of the kind of edict they are emitting: “We can’t stand the way you pretend/And the ways that you gloat/Now swallow your contradictions/And we’ll watch as you choke.” They are not only vocally, but visually viscious as well: “Gather now my fellow cons/Plead no guilt, post your bonds/Chastised our first offense/Getting rich at our expense/Losses to their dire cause/Suffer to distorted laws/Populations doing time/When punishments don’t fit the crime/And you’ll be carried by six
(your casket lined)/Before I’m judged by twelve (with hundred-dollar bills)/Before the gavel crashes down/Vengeance and wrath will be felt.”

One of the things I admire the most about their music is the metaphors they make in such a short, skillful, straight shot, as both “They pushed too far they brought it on themselves/Now the swarm is angered from the hive that fell” from the song “No Longer Frail” flaunts and also “This little black sheep’s got the wolves running scared” from the song “Anomic” asserts. However, “The Anti-Science” puts it all in perspective: “Cease and desist/Or face the protest/ Until the day technology can reverse human stupidity/Lock it all away/Anti-science, who’s alliance?” They also have some capricious commandments that they live by in the studio. For instance, my three favorites are “Thou shalt not let thy drummer smoketh the herb of the land before tracking, save thy work before thine computer crashes (or get thyself a mac), and beers belongeth on a table, not on top of expensive ampeth.” Jami and Matt from the buoyant band amicably answered some questions:

Sara Fincham: It seems you have a very loyal local following. How did the buzz begin— was it your live shows that kept them coming back and the word about you circulating, or something more?

Matt Bowles: Well we always try to put on the best show everytime we perform, however we would also like to acknowledge the fact that our live shows also incorporate a light show as well. We like to think there’s more to entertaining than just playing our instruments.

Jami Asbury: Our local following is very loyal, we have quite a bit of regulars that we always see at our shows. You guys are fucking awesome and we love seeing you there! I think people either like us a LOT or not at all. Every person that comes to see us for the first time, and sees that our show isn’t typical of a metal band from a small redneck town, will come back again and tell others that we don’t suck hopefully!

SF: Some of your songs are instrumental, and I must say, GREAT! What made you decide to include those and (this should really be a seperate question), but it seems that you are showing that songs can still have a point, still tell a story, still send a message, even without words. Is that an accurate assumption for me to make? Continuing on with this neverending question, haha, songs can be bogged down by all the “baby, baby’s” and “ooohs” and other fillers that some people pass as lyrics—did you purposely include instrumentals to prove a point, or was there not so much of an intention behind it? Feel free to answer those seprately.

MB: We like how in-depthly you thought of the instrumentals, and it makes a lot of sense, and we may had also done just that on a sub-conscious level. But for me it seemed more of a way to express diversity in a metal CD. We love to do different things and not be one sided as a band. Broaden our
horizons so to speak.

JA: We actually only have one song “In Cognitive Dissonance” that is designated as an actual instrumental. Anything else we present for people to hear that has no vocals is just a demo that hasn’t had vocals put on it yet, such as the newest demo of “Mechanics of Mass Extinction”, unless otherwise noted as an instrumental. As tred and true musicians we strongly believe that instrumental tracks can speak to a person’s emotions just as well as anything with lyrics. It’s all in how the underlying mood of the song is presented. We will most likely have an actual instumental track on our next album which we are now writing material for. As far as lyrics and vocals go, we try to write stuff with meaning that has a sort of theme to it, but without being so abstract that it doesn’t make sense to most people, but then again it can’t be so bland and off the shelf and boring that it compromises the artistic integrity of the song. It seems that a lot of music these days has lost that lyrical essence. Anything that can be screamed over a chugging riff will work for a lot of people, but to us that’s just generic and lazy. Bands shouldn’t be afraid to use big words and rhyme them a little bit!

SF: Could you elaborate a little more on your work ethic that sincerely shows in your music? How much time do you spend on non-musical endeavors, if any!

MB: We like to think we are very hard working. We practice every other day for atleast two hours. We provide and set up our own PA and light rig at the shows we set up.

JA: We practice as much as possible without having to beat each other over the head with clubs and drag each other in to practice caveman style. We put a lot of hard work into our local shows. We usually have to get up and get started well before noon to get everything situated when we do those local shows. When we have the means to take our local stage show on the road with us, we will do so. Putting on a GOOD show to us is more than just showing up and playing. We’ve incorporated a pretty sweet light show (for a non-touring band anyway) that makes coming to see us live worth it’s while. Much audio and visual stimulation!

SF: Is there an end in sight, are you if slowly becoming successful, that you CAN quit your day jobs?

MB: We like to joke about quitting our day jobs, but at this point if I could pay a bill or two I’d be happy. Quitting my job would be grand.

JA: I spend more time working on band stuff than I should. This is my passion, Iv’e tried to give it up and take on other things in life but I always have that itch to play. It’s all I can do to keep up with college and the band. Since I am a full time student I don’t have to keep a full time job during the fall and spring semesters, but in the summer I operate a recording studio and work at a music store. So, music is my job in some way always.

SF: In your song “Pain Infliction Apparatus,” some lyrics are “Bring in the new and the cure/For the plague we’ve all endured.” I’m sure there are many ways this can be interpreted, but is one of them referring to a musical plague which it sometimes seems we are somehow enduring and slowly recovering from thanks to bands like you who still play MUSIC?

MB: Well there are many interpretations to be made, but its more specifically directed towards someone polluting the ideas of others (the plague) and there needing to be change (the cure).

JA: Those lyrics relate to a really stale and lacking music scene, reffering to people not having a good local band to look up to. We chose that song as the second track after the intro track on our album “The Anti-Science” to kind of announce, “Hey we’re coming full force and here to kick ass and remedy your lack of quality entertainment!” Gotta understand, we’re from a small town where it’s hard for people to have a good metal band to look up to because metal just isn’t accepted here

SF: I love your ten commandments! If you had to have one commandment for crowd etiquette at your shows, what would it be?

MB: Thanks, we like to think it was funny! Well I would say it should be, “Thou shalt cometh to a show AND participateth!” Its aggaravating if everyonejust sits at a show and acts like they are bored. We like to see people enjoying themselves and when we do, it makes what were doing more worthwhile.

JA: The first commandment for crowd etiquette at shows would have to be, GET THE FUCK UP OFF YOUR ASS AND PARTICIPATE!!!! People pay to get into shows and then they stand against the wall or sit in the back like they’re afraid to be seen by other people. why are you even there? Go show the bands some support, be intimate and get up front! I promise you’ll have way more fun that way.

SF: What’s next—the album is available—will there be a tour to follow?

MB: Unfortunately we won’t be touring for “The Anti-Science.” However, we are currently writing new material and are trying to figure out a way to at the very least do some weekend long stints in the summer outta town. Gotta learn to crawl before you can walk, right?

JA: We independenly released our debut album in the winter of 2009. Since then we just play as many shows as we can afford to play! Since we’re from a small town where metal isn’t accepted, we have to drive at least an hour usually to play a show at a club or something. It can get expensive and none of us have rich family members to pay our way through anything. We’re doing what we can right now, but we’re looking to get a van and a trailer soon and hit up some tour circuits. but in the mean time we will be writing new material for the second album. It will have much more of a progressive influence than “The Anti-Science.” We have all developed more as musicians and continue to evolve our sound into something you won’t be able to take your ears off of!

Our Malignant Beloved

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