Music For Depressed People – A Interview With Rigor Sardonicous   Leave a comment

One of the most original sounding bands in the Doom Metal scene has to be Rigor Sardonicous, the two piece band from Long Island, New York have carved out a unique place with the Doom Metal community with their distinctive sound. Slower than a slug on sedatives and not for people with a queasy stomach, they have made 5 full length studio albums and a live album which must be one of the greatest live recordings ever made by a doom act. That album called “Vivescere Exitium” released last year flew under the radar for most doom fans but why that is, is still a mystery. I think they are one of the very best US doom acts in existence today, here is an interview I did with the band. Doom On.

1. I guess we should start with the history of the band because not many people would know you started way back in 1988. Can you also give us some history of the band members musical background?

   -RS-  The concept originated around 1982 for my end of it. There was nothing out there as heavy and crushing as I wanted to hear. Some of old Trouble came close, but they didn’t have the vocal sound I thought it needed.
Glenn’s only actual musical learning was playing the recorder in 7th grade while Joe has a minor music degree and continues to study privately and on his own.

2. The first full length was “Apocalypsis Damnare” released in 1999 and re-released in 2005 by Paragon Records. How did that come about, as Paragon is more well-known for its quota of Black and Death Metal bands?

   -RS-  Actually “Principia Sardonica” was the first to be issued by them in 2004. Joe knew the guys from Paragon through DImentianon and plied them with lots of alcohol and before they knew it they signed us.

3.  How do you see the progression of the band since those days back in the late 90’s ?

   -RS-  I would say it is more of a continuation than a progression. Other than the theme albums/songs, all the music can pretty much go together.

4. I must ask, where did the name come from ?

   -RS-  From the movie Mr Sardonicus. The affliction was resus sardonicus, resus was changed to rigor because it was more guttural and easier to say. The “O” was added to sardonicus to make it Sardonicous because it looks more balanced.

5. The band plays a kind of apocalyptic, crusty doom metal. How do you get the inspiration to unleash such disturbing heavy music ?

   -RS- I wouldn’t say it is inspiration so much as what we want to hear. Ok, maybe there is inspiration…Or inebriation. I get those two confused.

6. One of the great shames is the live album, “Vivescere Exitium” didn’t get the underground media coverage it deserved. Does this surprise you though because Doom Metal and especially Doom as extreme as Rigor Sardonicous seems to get ignored even by a lot of the doom community.

   -RS- It does not surprise us at all. The media, whether underground or mainstream, are all run by a secret cartel sworn to repress us for our free thinking. Let them play their games because we are not going anywhere.  Besides, we always hovered in that realm between the Death and Doom scenes anyway.

7. One of the trademarks to the sound of the band is the vocals. How did that vocal style develop ?

   -RS- We had learned about harmonics and figured if there are infinite upper harmonics, there must be lower ones too and we wanted to use that idea for vocals. We never did make the device capable of such things, but we did find an octave pedal which did pretty much what we wanted. That was around 1990. Before that we were doing the vocals “clean”.  We do not rely on the pedal to the full extent that we used to and many feel that the vocals are more intelligible now as a result.

8. The lyrics are sung in English but the song titles are in Latin, is it because Latin is considered the “dead language” ?

   -RS- We like to use Latin because it makes us look smart. It also helps to repress the repressive cartel because it foils their spell checkers.  There indeed is a mystique about the Latin language which blends with us as well.

9. Some of the material seems a bit tongue in cheek, Little Rigor Boy” being my favorite track that fits that description. Do you do this because you think some people take Doom Metal seriously or is it just a sense of light relief from all the doom and gloom that the music evokes ?

   -RS- We do nothing to be purposefully humorous or tongue in cheek. We are  very serious people and like to be taken as such. “Little Rigor Boy” was done as a tribute to Christ. We did not have a proper gift for him, so we played my best song for him pah-rum-pah-pum-pum.  Plus the song is crushingly heavy!

10. This is related to the previous question but do you think Doom Metal is very misunderstood ? I feel that people think you must be a really depressed person to appreciate Doom Metal but it’s quite the opposite I find ?

   -RS- Most things in life are misunderstood. If people do not understand Doom Metal, they are just being typical. The depressed people looking for outlets in depressive music, such as ours, may be doing so for the endorphin release that the low frequencies are proven to release by a study conducted by our laboratory.

11. Rigor Sardonicous doesn’t have any real obvious influences, the music has a very original edge to it which is very rare within a genre that is limited to a point. Would you agree, and if not, what influences do you think shines through your songs ?

   -RS- We like to think the influence comes from the future. Like in that movie Back to the Future where he goes back in time, but brings future music with him. We are not saying we are time travelers. Just that we are advanced beyond the 1980s that the original movie was made during. We know it may not seem obvious upon first listening, but you can really hear the End of the World if you listen closely.

12. Back to the live album, what was the reason for recording an album live ?

   -RS- Obvious answer, because it was easier than recording it dead. Actually, it was something we had wanted to do for a while and we got the opportunity for to finally do it and so we did.

13. Has the New York scene been kind to the band over the years with booking shows and with the general support of the local underground community ?

   -RS- Glenn is not much for playing live, so the general support is not really an issue. We can pretty much play if we want to, but we hate dealing with the incompetence and stupid people due to politics. Parties are always good to play at though.

14. Something I don’t know too much apart is your touring history, where has the band played so far and what are some of the bands favorite live experiences ?

   -RS- As stated above, we don’t play out much. Probably my favorite live experience was we were done playing a show in New Jersey and we were coming back home, now this was about 1 month after the 9/11 disaster, anyway, we were going through the toll booth for the Lincoln Tunnel and the cop on guard was sitting on a stool and he noticed our car full of BLACK BOXES and as we pulled away he yelled “WAIT” Of course we didn’t and happily drove on figuring there’d be a road block on the other end. Nope, nothing. We drove home. What an exciting tale. Thank you for letting me relay it.

15. So what is planned for the rest of this year and 2011 for the band ? When will we hear a new album ?

   -RS- There are things in the works. Hopefully a new website, the old one is BORING. New album, hopefully sooner rather than later. It is being worked on so have no fear.  We just need a label willing to release it.  Recording is taking place this week actually.

16. That is it for now, thanks very much for the interview. Any final words or thoughts for the listeners ?

   -RS-  Final words seems pretty final, almost like a firing squad deal. I guess now it is time to be profound and leave some real words of meaning and wisdom. In all our years on this earth we have learned 3 things: 1) Water is polar. 2) The bread falls butter side down because you aren’t dropping it from high enough. 3) Most importantly, if there’s a chair, sit in it. Seems simple until you really think about the freedom it gives you. I hope these words help someone who is lost in life. It is our way of giving back.
Rigor Sardonicous Official
Rigor Sardonicous @ MySpace

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Posted November 7, 2010 by doommantia in Rigor Sardonicous

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