Lately, the New Jersey music scene has been booming with fresh talent across the board. Especially so is with the ever looming and darkened culture of New Jersey’s hardcore and metal scene. It’s almost as if these scenes have had a renaissance of sorts within the last year due to all of the recent records being dropped from both aspiring and veteran acts. Better yet, these musicians and artists have been keeping in touch with the long standing history of our state’s ability to manufacture the heaviest, violently impacting, and most deafening noise that we have all come to be known for harboring.
Again, we are known for our darkened sensibility, our aggressive demeanor, and housing a scene based off of a tormenting environment that engulfs all of us in its wake. Cemeteries, is the latest example of this notion as this band is able to feel inspired from life’s woes and constant miseries in order to produce one of the most gut wrenching sounds we’ve heard in a minute.
A unique blend of hardcore laced with black metal attributes and an overall attitude of belligerence is what one would hear at first listen. The self titled release is raw, yet, that factor only contributes to the acceptance of this act as one should greatly appreciate when a band prohibits artificialness from their music. Cemeteries is capable of displacing a room into chaotic shambles through this wall of noise while leaving only a energy of dismal dismay in its path.
As of now, you can stream their debut Self Titled EP over at their Bandcamp. A mixture of black metal and hardcore is a phenomenal blend of music that very few bands can ever attempt to pull off. Cemeteries has proven that they understand the formula and but need to craft this harrowing sound into something whole on their full length. A sound that I feel will be executed quite well on Filth Ritual. The wait won’t be long for they are slated to drop their sophomore release on April 6th (digital only) via bandcamp with a record release show in the works.
Interview with Nick Shedlock
HEAD WALK: Cemeteries is a rather new act so quite simply, how’d this all get put together?
Nick Shedlock: Cemeteries was originally a small side project that was started by myself, Mike Lafalce (drummer), and John Sell (bassist and ex An Aborted Memory), back in 2012. It was intended to be more of a doom inspired band but nothing really came of it. Then in 2016, nearly four years later, as things were coming to an end with my old band (An Aborted Memory) I decided to reach out to current Departed guitarist Frederick Hare, and Mike Lafalce to begin working on the project again.
This time around, instead of focusing on being a doom worship band, we began gathering influence from Pig Destroyer, Trap Them, Weekend Nachos, and various other hardcore and grind bands, in order to create what is now Cemeteries. We later enlisted Fred’s friend Tim Krieger on bass so we could fill the roster and begin writing. The intention was to make a band that was an all out assault on its listeners. A mix between abrasive noise with added elements of hardcore and crossover to make our music moveable, you know?
HW: Cemeteries’ self titled debut was recorded nearly a year ago over at Landmine Studios and serves a fine hardcore demo influenced by elements of grind and black metal. With the approach of your latest release, Filth Ritual (unsigned), how would you say this EP differs from the previous self titled EP?
NS: This time around, we went to a different producer, which is a long time friend of mine and has recorded previous acts I’ve been in, whom is Bobby Torres at Frightbox Studios in Clifton, New Jersey..
With the original EP, we were still testing the waters of what we wanted to do musically, and with defining our sound. On Filth Ritual, I think we really nailed the direction we wanted to go in.
Mike, Tim, Fred, and myself have come a long way as far as writing, so it’s now becoming a lot easier to produce music now.
HW: Let’s talk about themes and topics within the lyricism of this project. You’re debut self titled EP focused on various subject matters including: self loathing fear (night Creep), corruption within the political sphere (New World Gluttony), and an overall image of violent and horrific proportions. What influences your lyricism and where can we expect to see your writing take us on Filth Ritual?
NS: Filth Ritual, to me, is the state of the world as of now. Everyone is up in arms. Everyone is doubting and unsure of the future. If you’re not scared? You’re naive. It tackles subjects of depression, mankind’s constant motive to choose profit over humanity, the digital age of conspirators and internet trolls, and etc.
We are living in dark times. The uncertainty of where the country and the world will be in the next year has caused unrest.
HW: From what I hear, you are quite the horror fan in terms of movies and literature. What was one of the earliest works of film or book in your life that sucked you into that wormhole of fear? Is it relevant within your music?
NS: To be honest, it was George A Romero’s film Dawn of the Dead, that sucked me into the horror genre. Romero has a message in every film, and in Dawn of the Dead, he showcased a group of survivors fighting another group of survivors over the shelter of a shopping mall, rather than inviting them in and helping them survive. I think horror films can paint a picture of how ugly mankind can be. Whether it’s the depiction of a serial killer, a war atrocity, or something like Dawn of the Dead, it’s effective than something on the lines of a 9th Saw film, or another found footage ghost movie.
HW: What are the intentions of Cemeteries this year and where do you plan to push Filth Ritual?
NS: We would love to do more out of state shows. Trying to do a few weekend outings, fests (if possible), and just continue to play out and bring people our sound. Would love to get to the west coast eventually.
HW: Who is responsible for the artwork behind Cemeteries or is this a revolving door of artists contributing?
That would be me (laughs)!. So far, I’ve designed one t shirt and have done the artwork for Filth Ritual. If you want to view more of my art, you can go on Instagram and look up @NickShedlockArt. I recently just did art for the hardcore band All Out War.
HW: Any last words or shout outs before we wrap this bit up?
NS: On the behalf of Cemeteries, I would like to thank you for this opportunity chat. As for shout outs, I would like to commend all the promoters who have booked us thus far: Joe Stanley (Departed and owner at Nameless Prints), Hounds, Kevin Oakley, Skuz, Pink Mass, Gloves Off, Gabe Romero, Dissent, Joe Anastasio (owner of LoneWolf Audio), Len Carmichael (Landmine Studios), Bobby Torres (Frightbox Studios), Gutterchrist, Replicant, Head Walk for giving us this interview, and everyone who has either downloaded our songs off of Bandcamp, made it to a show, or have given us a general shout out. Thank you.
Photography courtesy of Last Light Photo & Video and Adam Leota of Prophecy 21 Photography.