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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Meth Drinker interview + Open Tomb split review

A few words from Sam Thurston of Wellington's filthiest sludge merchants METH DRINKER!

1- The music and name of Meth Drinker creates a mental image of the band being a bunch of filthy, derelict, glue sniffing, methylated spirits drinking drop kicks. How close is this to the truth? Who would you actually describe yourselves personally (not musically)?

Picture a scummy flat in Newtown that hasn't seen a vacuum cleaner in 15 years. There is assorted crap strewn everywhere, used plates with dried crusted floor all over the floor. The occupants are unconscious... occasionally coming out of their drugged out methylated spirits haze to start jamming on the various instruments set up around the room. Nah seriously we're some of the most cleanest, tidiest civilized people Lance knows.
Lance - "sam, tony and james are probably the most cleanest/tidiest/civilized people that i know of "
2- You released your Self titled on Vinyl and CD in early 2011 through AlwaysNeverFun Records to what seemed like a huge underground response internationally.This included a rave review in Terrorizer magazine and my review on Subcide Webzine has attracted more than double the amount of hits of any other article I've posted. What do think has attributed to this level of attention being paid to Meth Drinker?

We just tried to write music that we wanted to hear and didn't think there were all that many bands these days doing sludge that wasn't 10 minute long self-indulgent wanky boring shit. Trying to write nasty shit as heavy as possible. So we're not surprised that other people may be into it.
Meth Drinker s/t album reissue cover
3 -Still on the subject of the debut s/t Album. It’s been re-released for Europe by Raw Birth Records. How did this come about? For those that missed the original release how can they get this version? Why should people get the album?

We were compared to Bottom Feeder from Denmark on a blog review and one of the members co-runs Raw Birth Records so they liked us and wanted to repress the 12" and got in contact. So we're stoked about that and they're gunna help out large with a Europe tour in May next year. People can get the album off Raw Birth Records blog. Why should people get the record...? Why not? 

4) Going back to the first question, you say that your music doesn't reflect the members of Meth Drinker as people. Yet it's (your music)  up there with some of the most dark, sick and twisted sludge there is.  Where exactly do you draw your creative inspiration from for these dark musical and lyrical themes?

We never said our music doesn't reflect us personally but it's not hard to draw influence from the ongoing pain and suffering endured in this world.

5 - You own and run “AlwaysNeverFun Records” (and Zine?) that released the Meth Drinker debut. Tell us abit about the label,it’s focus, what it’s released and going to release. How can people check out your catalogue and make orders? Additionally, Tony does a blog and label called Drug Violence. What can you tell us about these?

I just started Always Never Fun to release records on my own terms and there were no labels in NZ I wanted to be on. I've released mostly our own shit with the exceptions of a 12" NZ comp and the Electric Mayhem /Numbskull split cause they're good cunts. Tony started Drug violence to make local NZ demos available to local friends but there has been subsequent international interest.

6 - You have just released a split album coming out with Hamilton band ‘Open Tomb’. How did this come about? What can we expect from it? Musically how does it compare to the debut? How can it be obtained?

We're friends with the old cunts from Open Tomb so it was natural to do a split with them. It was originally gunna be a Gawj / Drug Problem 12" but both bands broke up. Musically, it's more of the same. It's available for not much longer and 

Note: See the end of this article for a review of this release
Open Tomb split cover art
7- Meth Drinker members are also involved in a number of other bands including Scab, Shortlived, Influence, Rogernomix, Invertebrate, Drug Problem and Baboon King. Could you please give a brief description of each band including styles, which members are involved, current status and any links or releases that readers can check out.

Too many bands to go into. Just search them and you can easily figure it out or check

8 - You’ve made a pretty unsettling music video for the song ‘731’ off of the Open Tomb split. Who put this together and where did the footage come from? What was the intent of it?

We got the footage from Doctors of Death (Killer in a White Coat). It's basically about the history of humans testing on humans. 

9- You played a gig a short while ago at ‘Strathmore Gun Placement’. What was that all about?

There is a lack of decent AA venues in Wellington and we got sick of playing at the shitty bars so we decided to release the 12" in a bunker on generator power. Keeping it punk as fuck. DIY. There will be more generator shows in Wellington to come so stayed tuned. Illegal shows are the best shows.

10 - What is next for Meth Drinker? Any last comments?

The future for Meth Drinker is a European tour in May/June of 2013. The first two weeks are with US sludge band Graves at Sea and then one week with Danish Grind band Dead Instrument. Then we head to Ireland to play three shows over there. Hopefully coinciding with the tour will be another repress of the s/t 12" on Raw Birth Records(Denmark) a new 7" on crucificados records (Germany)and Raw Birth records, a split 12" with UK sludge band Moloch on crucificados records and Feast of Tentacles (UK) and we're also working on something new which may or may not be ready by then too, we'll see. For info on the tour dates with Graves at Sea check and for the rest of the tour details will be posted on

Meth Drinker/Open Tomb split 12” (Alwaysneverfun/United Blasphemy Music)

This split vinyl 12” contains two tones of filthy sludge doom. One ‘Open Tomb’, a dark grey sewage silt with streaks of darker grey effluent. The other, ‘Meth Drinker’, a disgusting dark green bile with curdles of brighter green pus. Both are improvements, particularly in the area of songwriting, from each band’s previous recordings.

First we get three Meth Drinker tunes. ‘Dehumanize’ continues in the vein of the dirty sludge we heard on the s/t album. ‘Beyond The Grate’ starts moving into new territory with creeping climbing riffs, rising into an aggressive peak which includes samples of suffering, torture and insanity. Both of these songs seem to build up toward the ultra disturbing, and most musically diverse, epic that is ‘731’. Despite the lack of visuals from the music video, I still find the level of unease in ‘731’ to be up there with a rare few things I’ve ever heard in recorded music. Those include the ‘Khanate ‘Things Viral’’ album and the first time I heard ‘Altar of Sacrifice’ while listening to ‘Slayer - Reign In Blood’ aged fifteen in the dark through walkman headphones. A quick Google search shows that the theme of this song is based around the WWII Japanese biological warfare and human testing ‘Unit 731’. I think Meth Drinker have succeeded in capturing the horror of that place accurately. 

The two song ‘Open Tomb’ contribution (‘Off with his Hands’ and ‘Hostile Womb’) for some reason reminds me of the atmosphere that is projected the first ‘Grief’ album ‘Dismal’ (The really good album they did in ‘93 before all their albums started to sound exactly the same and kind of boring) i.e. a kind of grind sludge that is engaging rather than a wash that plays as droning background music. My observation over the past 20+ years of bands with Sean Carmichael (and associated musicians) in them is that they seem to last a couple of years, start getting really good and then end before they get a chance to develop into something really awesome. Therefore I’m going to be an optimist here and hope that they stick with Open Tomb and see where it goes. In the meantime I can tell you that the material on this split is some of the best and most engaging music I’ve heard from the Sean Carmichael collective in the last almost quarter century....... Jesus we’re a bunch of fuckin’ old cunts! 
Get it if you still can. Beg for a re-press if you can’t.

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