Interview with vocalist/bassist Ben Anft and drummer Harley Phillips | By Addison Herron-Wheeler
It’s 2019. Trump is in office, global tensions are high, and there’s never been a better time for angry, visceral deathgrind. Noisem are mad as hell, and they aren’t afraid to show it. Their newest album, Cease To Exist, released March 15 via 20 Buck Spin, is, in the words of vocalist and bassist Ben Anft, “a lot more bleak, a lot more blasts, different vocals, of course. More reminiscent of old-school deathgrind bands.”
“I feel like, with this one, it was a bit of a right place, right time thing, and we ended up making an equally primitive yet chaotic record that I hope will resonate with everyone interested in all aspects of heaviness,” drummer Harley Phillips adds.
When it comes to the primitive heaviness that the band embrace, it partially does come from a place of anger at the status quo. “In general, we’re all a lot more pissed at the state of things, [and] that definitely translates into writing the actual music,” Anft says. “Lyrically, I tried writing about political corruption, drug addiction, and mental illness, surviving in a world that couldn’t care less about the individual people who live in it.”
In addition to railing against the state of the world, Cease To Exist has been a long time coming, so it’s bound to bring up some stored-up emotions. A lineup change and other setbacks have delayed the final product, but Noisem are still stoked they were able to make it happen. “I’m just glad it’s finally happening; it’s been a pretty long, arduous, and uncertain process,” Anft says. “Now that the wheel is turning again, things are looking up.”
“Yeah, a big portion of this record was written during the touring cycles for [2015’s] Blossoming Decay with the past lineup, excluding lyrics,” Phillips explains. “By the time we were able to record it instrumentally, though, we had just dealt with the changes in lineup, which kinda set it back a little for the sake of getting the vocals dialed in.”
“Writing and recording of instruments were pretty much finished by the time I joined up,” Anft admits. “Vocal recording took quite some time; with Harley living so far away, we had few chances to play the songs together. I had to write lyrics and vocal patterns along with the recordings, which made it much tougher. I think it gives ’em some extra chutzpah.”
Necessary chutzpah, lineup changes, and recording hassles aside, Noisem are just happy to be putting out another record and touring in support of Cease To Exist.