Justin Longshore - Through The Eyes Of The Dead

October 21, 2005

Photo Credit: www.prostheticrecords.com

Tell me a little about the band.

We're a five piece melodic death metal band from Florence, SC. We're on Prosthetic Records. We have a new full length coming out October 25 which would be next week actually. We're on tour right now with The Red Death and Embrace The End.

You hail from SC. Is there a real big metal scene there?

Definitely not. There's a few metal bands that are doing the same thing we're doing. Not as many as other places we've visited. There's this band called The Classic Struggle on Iron Clad and they're really good friends of ours but as far as a whole tight knit scene, it's really nonexistent where we're from. We're trying to build that back up maybe and try to build a good scene.

There's no lack in trying. How did you guys come up with your band name?

It's actually pretty stupid. There's a Cannibal Corpse song titled "Staring Through The Eyes Of The Dead" which we actually realized after we came up with it. Our old guitar player who's no longer in the band was having a discussion with someone about being a mortician and having to stare through the eyes of the dead as an occupation and the phrase just clicked. He came up with it and let us know and we liked it. Ten minutes later "oh shit, it's a Cannibal Corpse song." That's pretty much how it came along.

That gives a nod to Cannibal Corpse too, right? Who are some of your major influences outside of Cannibal Corpse?

It'll probably be At The Gates. We get our whole melodic feel from them. I'm really into Carcass, Death, Morbid Angel, and bands like that from that era in the '90s.

You guys are said to incorporate many more elements than metalcore bands do. What makes your band different from other bands out there?

We try to push the boundaries and add in more elements from all of our influences. We never really try to jump on any metalcore bandwagon or anything. We just keep it heavy and throw in what we listen to and have a different combination of stuff. We definitely have a more death metal influence than most metalcore bands out there.

You guys have a new guitarist. Did your old one decide to become a coroner or whatever?

No, he actually got married and he decided to leave the band after that. We left on good terms. We actually got a new bass player and a new drummer as well since then. We've been through some member changes but I'm really happy with the lineup we have now. Everybody is really good as musicians and everybody is 100 percent dedicated.

You think this lineup will the main one for a while.

Yeah, no doubt about it. Everybody is really easy to get along with which is important in a touring band. When you're in a band with four other dudes, you have to get along because there are plenty of bands out there who absolutely hate each other but they're just doing it because they have to. I definitely don't want that to happen to us.

That's a rather strange thought process. You don't have to be in a band. You should want to or desire to. A lot of people tell me that being in a band is like being married.

Yeah, pretty much. You're with these people every day constantly for months at a time so I definitely can get that vibe.

You have to choose your partners carefully. Tell me a little about Bloodlust which I've had the pleasure of listening to.

We recorded it April of 2005. It was recorded with Jamie King of The Basement. He actually recorded the new Between The Buried And Me and Glass Casket. Stuff like that. It was recorded with our old drummer and bass player. Our drummer actually quit right after the recording so he never toured with us. I think it's our best album. We have two other albums before but I think this is our best and heaviest album to date right now because we've matured in songwriting and musically we're inspired by a lot of different things. Being on the road as well is another inspiration and an influence that we have on the new record because we just toured prior to the record. We toured right before the record but the records before, we've never toured prior to those records. I think it's a lot more mature than the previous material that we recorded before and I definitely think it's our best material to date.

You're more comfortable touring around the country with this record.

Exactly because before we were a really young band. We didn't really know much. Being on the road, you have tons of experiences on the road and they definitely impact you even musically I think. Touring with other bands you get inspired by other musicians.

I think you have to write a couple of albums before you get the hang of it.

Right, exactly. We're still young and we're still learning things every day. We actually can't wait to start writing the next record because we get inspired daily. It's pretty much a big motivation to start writing but our new record hasn't even come out. That's a crass reality.

Some people are hog wild about that. They'll put out a record and tell me they're already writing the next one. I'm like "don't you want to hang out with this one for a little bit?"

Exactly. We're going to do a lot of extensive touring on this record. I'm not really sure until when but we're trying to keep busy and just promote the shit out of it so it sells and it gets out there and we gain some new fans.

If you were to pick three songs off the record to best describe your band, what three songs would they be and why?

I would have to say "Bringer Of Truth". It has that whole melodic vibe that we have going. We're a heavy band but we also have a melodic element as well. I think that's one of the more melodic songs that we have on the record. A song called "Force Fed Trauma" which is the last song on the record. That was our newest song and it's pretty much going in the newer direction that we're heading. I think it adds what we're about in one song and I think that would actually be the song to listen to if you wanted to get the whole vibe of Through The Eyes Of The Dead. Probably the song we put out that's on the Internet right now, "Two Inches From A Main Artery". Like I said with the other one, it goes in the newer direction that we're heading and it's just really heavy as opposed to a lot of the songs. It's the most heavy song on there. I think those three songs would definitely sum it up for us.

You guys really enjoy writing about real nice gory death oriented things which is cool. How do you feel that your writing has matured? Do you feel that your songs are a bit better structured?

Oh yeah, definitely. With this album, we were toying with the idea of different song structure. Bands like At The Gates put songs together really well and we were focusing on that. Adding verses and choruses which before that we just wrote riff after riff so we've definitely matured in the songwriting because we actually took time to repeat certain riffs and just throw choruses in there where they needed to be. Lyric wise, I don't write any lyrics because our singer does all that so I couldn't really touch base on that.

Tell me about the tour that you're on.

We've been out for a month and a half now. We've been out with The Red Death the entire time and the first month we were touring with Ion Dissonance on Abacus. They were headlining the tour and we went up North and then all the way out West to California and back. Once we hit Maine on the way back, Ion Dissonance dropped off and Embrace The End on Abacus jumped on the tour and the shows have been really awesome. The only thing is we've been through three vans on this tour. Our first van actually caught fire and burst into flames so we've had a bad string of luck. We're learning from all of these experiences and it's definitely influenced us. Our second van had mechanical problems. It was overheating constantly so we ended up driving 30 hours to Topeka, Kansas because our drummer lives there and his dad works at a dealership. We ended up picking up a third van and this is the van. This is the one that is actually treating us well so everything is going smoothly now. We've been through a lot of stuff this whole tour but it's a tour and we realize that but we keep moving along because you can't just give up. That's a total of maybe six shows or something.

Well they do say that the third time is the charm.

Yeah, exactly and this is definitely the one. If it's not I don't know what to do.

God damn. I hear about bad van stories a lot. That keeps me away from the idea of ever purchasing one I think.

Yeah, we've been through a few.

I'm glad you're safe and okay from the first one that burst into flames.

Yeah, it didn't reach our equipment luckily. We just lost clothing and personal items but all that can be replaced. We're just really happy it didn't reach to our trailer and get our equipment.

That would be the ultimate death metal experience right there.

Yes, definitely. We have all this on video so if we ever plan to make a DVD, that's definitely going on there. We have it from start to finish on video. We got out of the van really quick and had the camera on. We decided to turn it on and tape the entire thing while everyone is freaking out.

I have the feeling that will be the basis for a video at some point.

Yeah, exactly. It'll be all over the Internet.

Are you guys planning on making a video for any of your songs?

Yeah, there were talks with Prosthetic about it. We were actually suppose to film it I think in New York City but the time we were supposed to do it, EJ our label owner realized that we were on tour because we had a different tour with Invocation Of Nehek I think and we weren't able to shoot it but we have a short break in November before we go out on tour again so I think we might shoot it then. If not it will be definitely early 2006.

Have you decided what song yet?

Yeah, we're going to use "Two Inches From A Main Artery" as the video.

When you guys tour in November where are you going?

It's actually bypassing the North just because of it being December and it's going to be snowing a lot. We did a Southeast tour. It actually goes out to Texas and comes back and it's going to be with A Classic Struggle and The Knife Trade. We had a tour with A Classic Struggle booked before and we had to cancel it so we're making up for that by doing a little three week thing with them.

You might come out to see me this time.

Maybe. I'll have to check the dates. We'll definitely keep in touch and I'll definitely let you know when we're coming to the area.

You better because Opeth came all the way over from Sweden to see me last night. Any other thoughts and comments?

Just make sure everybody knows that the album comes out October 25 and pick it up so we can eat.

Have a safe trip and make sure your van doesn't blow up.

We're working on that. We're expecting the worst.

Through The Eyes Of The Dead