DAVE LOMBARDO 'Fell In Love With' EMPIRE STATE BASTARD's Music When He First Heard It
May 22, 2023
During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Jasta Show", hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta, legendary drummer Dave Lombardo (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, MR. BUNGLE) spoke about his involvement with EMPIRE STATE BASTARD, the extreme metal band founded by Simon Neil (BIFFY CLYRO) and Mike Vennart (BIFFY CLYRO live guitarist and solo artist, ex-OCEANSIZE).
Dave said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Simon Neil and Mike Vennart [are] from a very popular band in the U.K. called BIFFY CLYRO. [A lot of people in the U.S.] don't know who BIFFY CLYRO is, but they're massive in the U.K. They headline Download and Glastonbury [festivals]; they headline Download the next day after IRON MAIDEN. So there guys are massive. But Simon Neil, the vocalist for that band, and Mike Vennart have a love and an affinity for hardcore music. And for the past 10 years they've been talking about this. And they hit me up during the pandemic and took a shot in the dark and said, 'Well, why not? Let's ask him. He might not wanna do it.' But they asked. At first, I fell in love with the music. I was, like, 'Wow. This is pretty fucking cool.' Odd time changes. It's a little thrashy. It has a little bit of grindcore in it. It's hard to describe. It's its own entity and it has a personality of its own. So to give it a description is really difficult. But it is in the hard music vein. And when I heard the music, I was blown away. And I agreed. And they sent me the files [for the album]. And I recorded the drums in my home studio, and I sent it back. And they were pleased. And it's gonna be out — I hope — sometime in September."
This past March, EMPIRE STATE BASTARD released its debut song "Harvest". The track is available now on all streaming platforms and accompanied by a visualizer which can be seen on the group's YouTube channel.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD, which recently signed with Roadrunner Records, also features Naomi Macleod (BITCH FALCON) on bass.
Bursting with aggression, "Harvest" sees Vennart's inventive, barbed riffs complementing Neil's feral vocal attack, with Lombardo's battering ram rhythms anchoring it all.
"Harvest" features artwork from BBC Radio 1 "Rock Show" host Daniel P. Carter, who described the track as "a blistering noise/metal assault."
The idea behind EMPIRE STATE BASTARD emerged when Simon and Mike would spend downtime on tour sitting at the back of the bus sharing the heaviest, most avant-garde or the most sickeningly confrontational music they could find. When thoughts turned to making their own sonic wasteland, Simon already had the band name in mind, leaving Mike with a particularly grotesque challenge: what music could he write that would live up to the name?
It took around a decade to find both the time and ferocity to make it happen. With Mike writing the songs and recording all guitars, and Simon focused on vocals and lyrics, they eventually emerged with a collection of songs which adventurously probes almost every dark crevice imaginable from the myriad sounds of metal and genre-adjacent extremity.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD's terrifying tourist trail visits slamming hardcore in the vein of SIEGE; frenetic, visceral thrash in SLAYER's ballpark; the claustrophobic sludge of MELVINS; the freeform vocal dexterity of Mike Patton; and the gargantuan stoner riffs of SLEEP. It's a band that’s rooted in the tradition of metal's forefathers, but informed by more recent waves of leftfield aggression.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD played a short series of sold-out U.K. shows in March, with festival sets confirmed for this spring and summer at U.K.'s Download (June 9),France's Hellfest (June 18),U.K.'s 2000trees (July 7) and U.K.'s ArcTanGent (August 17).
Neil previously told NME that working on other projects, including EMPIRE STATE BASTARD, got him "through not touring — just knowing I can spend the year making new music."
He added: "I like putting myself in these positions where I'm like, 'I should never be doing this, so this is what I'm going to do.' I don't just want to do the same shit. Every time between records, I want to do something that's fucked up and off the wall. It brings me back to BIFFY, and I'm more in love with it now than I've ever been."
Lombardo, who has spent most of the recent years between crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS, hardcore supergroup DEAD CROSS and MR. BUNGLE, was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the group's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other bandmembers. He was later replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001.
Lombardo rejoined TESTAMENT last year but has since stopped touring with that band.
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