Interview with Dying Whale vocalist/bassist Matt Zagorski | By Lord Randall

Last Moments of Misery by Georgia’s Dying Whale – unleashed Feb. 3 via Nefarious Industries – is a lumbering yet frantic beast. Fresh off a Southeastern U.S. tour, founder, vocalist, and bassist Matt Zagorski explains the origin of their strange moniker. “So, when naming the band, we all were sitting around practice, and our vocalist at the time was playing a solo that sounded like a dying whale,” he begins. “So, we all just went with that.”

Aside from Manowar and Motörhead, an outfit’s sound is sure to morph over time, to add and remove elements in that sometimes-fruitless search for their own “sound,” a transformation and struggle with which Dying Whale are well-acquainted. Zagorski explains, “Me being the only [remaining] founding member of the band, I have finally shaped the band to the sound I’ve wanted since the beginning. Also, when [drummer] Eli [Werth] joined, we completely dropped playing every song from the previous record and just focused on writing stuff we were both proud of. The first tour we did with him was the first time I felt 100 percent confident in [our] music. I knew we were making something unique, and everything just clicked naturally. Also, this is the first record we did where I am doing lead vocals.”

From these rebirth pangs has been spawned a monster, Last Moments of Misery, bringing to mind Keelhaul, Kylesa, and Kalibas—along with other bands whose names don’t begin with “K.” Sludgy in spots, hardcore in others, but all the while held together by threads of aggression and—if you listen closely enough—subtle beauty. “We actually recorded this album with our previous vocalist,” Zagorski reveals. “I had to go back in and record all the vocals from scratch, which was a struggle, but we couldn’t be happier to finally show everyone the record.”

Back to balance and dynamics, nowhere on the album is this more evident than the midpoint of “Dreading My Exclusion.” The bottom falls completely out, yet the riff manages to sound as triumphant as it does painful. “We definitely tried to not make a record with 12 of the same songs,” Zagorski notes. “I like to think every song on this album takes a separate journey, and [‘Dreading My Exclusion’] goes along with the theme of the lyrical content. It’s about the moment you realize you just wasted a whole year on a person who never even cared about you from the start. The explosive ending is relative to destroying that time in your life and starting new.”

Zagorski concludes with a statement that echoes not only his impeccable taste in music, but also his willingness to confront a challenge: “I just want to make listeners feel the same way I did when I first listened to Botch’s We Are the Romans.”

Purchase Last Moments Of Misery here.


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