Rage Against the Dying of the Light
CoC interviews Matt Kuykendall from All Shall Perish
by: Aaron McKay
Sometimes there are things you just have to look beyond when gazing upon life's bigger picture. On one hand, I am thrilled to have recently become familiar with California's All Shall Perish and their (re- issued) debut _Hate. Malice. Revenge_, but by the same token I'm a little pissed it took this long to come across these guys. It's not like I am just now discovering Slayer or anything, but frustrating nonetheless to someone fairly involved in the scene and who writes for a metal magazine. Sweeping generalities about faith ("Herding the Brainwashed") and government policies ("Never Ending War") aside, All Shall Perish have managed to deliver on their strongest point: an album thick with riffs and massive chops entirely palatable to even the most discerning tastes. Chronicles of Chaos got a hold of ASP's drummer Matt Kuykendall, on the road with Agnostic Front, for an e-mail interview to find out if we can see the both the forest -and- the trees in the bigger picture here. Have a look...

CoC: Please elaborate to the Chronicles of Chaos readers how the band came to settle on All Shall Perish as a name and what inspired the title _Hate. Malice. Revenge_, other than the obvious aggressiveness of its sound.

Matt Kuykendall: All Shall Perish is just a real name. We were trying to do a death metal / metalcore sound and not limit ourselves lyrically... Also just be very real about what we sing about, so the name is just a truism, but is still something that we all too easily forget in life.

CoC: Generally speaking, how is the metal scene in Oakland and how has calling California home helped or hindered the band's development to this point in your career?

MK: Oakland has a weird metal scene; the underground bands' shows have maybe 200 kids on a good day, but when bands like Dying Fetus or Hate Eternal comes to town, people come out of the wood work -- don't even get me started on a Testament show! <laughs> Overall being from California has helped a lot, because between the nor cal and so cal scene there are a lot of fucking people out there who support the underground and come out to shows, plus there are a lot of influential people who live in California.

CoC: What was the thinking behind asking Caysen Russo to leave the band? How did this affect All Shall Perish so soon after releasing _Hate. Malice. Revenge_ on Nuclear Blast? If you would, please introduce your (newer) second guitarist.

MK: Things were just no longer working out, which is a natural progression in bands, and our new guitarist, Chris Storey, rocks. He's a crazy little guy who loves music and practices his guitar non-stop... I'm serious! We are on tour with AF right now and even Vinnie Stigma is asking this guy for guitar lessons.

CoC: How does it feel to be on Nuclear Blast? A little bit of a switch from things at Amputated Vein, I would imagine...

MK: It's a dream come true -- I mean NB is one of the biggest metal labels in the world, so it's a huge jump from AV. We are really happy with NB though; they treat us really well and believe in us, which is more than anyone can ask for from a label.

CoC: Why re-release _Hate. Malice. Revenge_ rather than record new material for Nuclear Blast?

MK: A lot of people have never heard this record and NB felt it deserved worldwide distribution. Also we had a lot of shit going on that we had to take care of and NB was nice enough to accommodate our situation. Again NB is fucking incredible people and they help us however they can.

CoC: Never having seen you guys live, I can imagine the crowd getting worked up something similar to a Skinless show. How far am I off base?

MK: Well, on the west coast I'd say that a lot more hardcore kids come out to our shows than, say, a Skinless show (at least the times that we have played with Skinless), but on the East coast I'd say it's pretty much the same deal. On the east coast death metal and hardcore might as well be the same word. We just played in Long Island, New York and all the kids we were hanging out with looked like metal dudes from the west coast, but the second a breakdown came, they looked like a bunch of hardcore kids in the pit -- it was interesting.

CoC: On the road, where has the band met with the best reception fan-wise?

MK: Besides California, Detroit, MI, Long Island, NY, and Carrboro, NC, so far.

CoC: I imagine the New England Hardcore and Metal Fest would have been a great forum for All Shall Perish...

MK: Yea, but we had to give it up to play a month with Agnostic Front, which was a tough decision, but in this game you have to do those kinds of things. Scott Lee (the mastermind of that 'Fest) did tell us though that we would be on it next year, so watch out!

CoC: Sharing the stage with Kreator before the Agnostic Front tour kicked off must have been a real experience, yes?

MK: Yea, it was quite an experience. Both shows were sold out and we learned that Kreator is Canadian for Gods of Metal. Kreator has a crazy fucking live set up and equally crazy fans, they also play forever! We caught what we sane people would call a full set and decided we needed food and strippers, Montréal style, and by the time we got back some two hours later, Kreator was still playing to an even more crazy crowd. Yea!

CoC: While you guys are no strangers to touring, obviously, is there a band or bands you would like to play with in a live setting at some point?

MK: Bleeding Through, Unearth, Suffocation, The Acacia Strain, Despised Icon, Lamb of God, Irate... there are just so many good bands right now touring...

CoC: Let's talk about the band's sound for a minute. Tell me about the thick, choppy, crushingly heavy riff laden approach All Shall Perish features.

MK: We just like all kinds of music. Metal or not, we try to throw in a lot of different sounds into the mix; chug riffs, thrash riffs, melodic riffs, doom riffs. Our band is definitely riff-based and we spend a lot of time arranging.

CoC: There is also a good deal of variation vocally on this effort. Is this technique to drive a point or points home during the track or something else entirely?

MK: In a way, yes, but, I mean, I always hate monotone vocals or a vocalist who only has one kind of scream, etc. Our songs are more like stories than structured songs sometimes, and varied vocals help that whole approach come across.

CoC: Word around the water cooler has it that "Deconstruction", the album's opening track, has some special importance...

MK: It was mostly written by our bassist, Mike Tiner, and Craig Betit (vocals) wrote most of the lyrics to it about his crazy ex. We have some personal songs on the album because we are into that kind of thing and we use this band as an outlet in a lot of ways.

CoC: Does the band get saddled with comparisons to other acts in the genre inordinately, do you think?

MK: Eh... I don't get too hung up on reviews or comparisons; I think people usually compare us to bands I would [as well] and give honest reviews of our music.

CoC: Does the entire band get involved with developing new material? Is All Shall Perish working on new stuff on the road currently?

MK: Yea, our new guitarist is all over the place riff-wise; he is writing constantly with our guitarist Ben. The whole band always has a part in the music. We have to agree on fuckin' everything and it can take some serious time.

CoC: I greatly appreciate the time you took in answering these questions for Chronicles of Chaos. Please end with any parting words you might have.

MK: Thanks for the interview. We are about to drive five hours to Florida from South Carolina and our van stinks... See you on the road!

(article submitted 27/4/2005)

8/22/2011 A El Naby 8 All Shall Perish - This Is Where It Ends
1/20/2005 J Smit 6.5 All Shall Perish - Hate.Malice.Revenge
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