Last week (September 1), Italian sludge quartet Grime released their new LP, Circle of Molesters, through Argento Records. The album marks the first release for the label and is the band’s second full-length, following 2013’s crushing Deteriorate. The new release captures a more mature take on Grime’s corrosive, groove-filled sludge sound that is exceptionally gritty, bleak and depressive. American Aftermath recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Marco Matta to discuss Circle of Molesters and how adding another guitarist has had an impact on the band, as well as the record’s disturbing artwork, perverse themes and more.
Congrats on your second LP, Circle of Molesters. How are you feeling about this new album?
Thank you. We are very excited for this release, we feel that we progressed greatly from our previous albums in every aspect, including the writing process and recording. Jason Barnett did a great job for the cover artwork; when he sent us this masterpiece we were blown away. It’s been hard waiting for almost a year to finally share the record with people, but we’re really satisfied with the result and we can’t wait to hear what people think about it. We’re happy to be the first band to release an album on Argento Records, a newly born label that is the result of efforts of our two great friends; this made things a lot easier for us. We’re honored that two guys who have great taste in music and know so much about it like Michael [Bertoldini (The Secret)] and Clio [Leeuwenburgh (Headspin Records)] chose Circle of Molesters as their first release.
It seems like Grime has progressed a lot with Circle of Molesters, following the band’s 2013 album and 2011 EP. How do you feel this release differs from your previous material?
The previous material was based more on pure instinct. It was way more rough and more essential, it was exactly what we were looking for at the moment, the essence of our sound, and we found it with Deteriorate. As we started to compose the new material, we all knew that we wanted to take that sound and style forward, without losing our identity. We felt that we were ready to take our songs to a new level. We invited another guitar player to join the band in order to add some more dynamics on the guitars. Chris worked a lot on the drum parts and added the double-kick. I tried to work better on vocals and lyrics, and all of us concentrated on every aspect and passage of each song. We can say that this album is way more mature than the previous ones, it’s certainly our best work to date.
In what ways has the new line-up had an impact on the band?
The core of the band has basically remained the same, consisting of me (Marco), Chris and Paolo but, as I mentioned before, we felt that our new songs needed a second guitar. That’s why we asked our longtime friend Ans to join the band. In a way Ans has always been a part of the band by following us on the road and spending countless hours with us listening and talking about the music we loved. We always shared the same feelings about music, as well as the same idea on how to make music, so it’s been easy for him to become an active member of the band. Originally he is a bass player, but with Grime, this is his first experience playing guitar. He worked very hard and achieved the level necessary to do what we do. He also has plenty of ideas for riffs and had a great part in composing this album. Grime always wrote songs as a collective, songs are always built together. So the chemistry between the band members must be perfect and with Ans it’s in place.
What was the writing process for Circle of Molesters like?
The writing process has been easy, songs came up very quick. We rehearse a lot together and every time one of us comes up with an idea we work on it. As I already mentioned, this time we tried to work harder on every detail of each song and passage. We tried to write real songs, not just a bunch of mammoth riffs put together. We tried to write songs worthy of the name of the record and the band.
How was it working with Lorenzo Stecconi (Ufomammut, Amen Ra, Zu) and Brad Boatright (Sleep, Corrosion of Conformity, Nails) for this release?
Working with Lorenzo was awesome! He is a very professional and nice guy. He came to Trieste (our hometown) with his “mobile studio” and he immediately made us comfortable. He is great at both picking up a huge sound and making the band perfectly comfortable while recording. He did a great job, this album sounds way better than the previous ones. Brad also did a great job for the master, working with him has been really easy. He’s a cool and down-to-earth guy, and he mixed and mastered many albums that we love, so it was the right choice that we would call him again.
You’ve described Grime’s sound as “rooted into rotten burial grounds and their songs are the sound of a decaying swamp filled with trash,” which is one of the best descriptions ever. Where did that come from?
It actually is funny. The description comes from Michael Bertoldini, one of the Argento Records founders. When we formed Grime in late-2010 we needed a band description to introduce us to the audience, but we felt weird and embarrassed writing it on our own – you can’t be objective when talking about yourself. So we called our longtime friend and asked, “Mike, we’re not able to write a description of the band. Help us, we’re fucked!” And he came up with these words. Thinking that Michael did this for our band at the beginnings and that now he’s releasing our new LP is curious, it’s sort of closing the circle.
The album features some disturbing artwork. What’s the story behind it?
The genius behind the artwork is the great Jason Barnett, who also did the artwork for Deteriorate. We love his art, and he’s the coolest dude to work with. We contacted him once the mix was ready and we got the album title an simply told him, “Hi Jason, here’s our new album, its title will be Circle of Molesters. We would like you to paint a panel on this theme, a sort of Infernal Circle.” And he came up with this oil on canvas masterpiece that we love as fuck. In our opinion it’s one of his best pieces. We love this album cover and we will always be thankful for it.
Is there a specific theme that ties the music, lyrics and artwork together?
The theme can be “Perversion.” We feel that our music has something perverted in it, and it’s what we try to express through our instruments. Perversion intended in all of its forms, literal and metaphorical. I found that there’s something perverted in human life, I’m interested in the dark side of the human being and the way it integrates to form a whole. That’s basically what’s behind the lyrics. I’m interested in metaphysic – the left hand path in particular – and one of the aspects that fascinates me the most is that salvation can come from below, not just from above. So you can channel everything that is considered scummy and perverted in an “esoteric” way.
What’s coming up next for Grime?
We’re booking some gigs to promote the album, and we have a great tour that will soon be announced. We really hope to play some cool festivals next year, and we’re also writing new songs for some future release (we would love to make a couple of splits with some cool band). We hope that people will love the new album and to tour as much as possible. Also we hope that Michael and Clio have a great success with Argento Records, and hope to keep working with them.
Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to you, man! Keep listening to evil depressive music!