Interview with Ryan Beevers (vocals, guitars) of Unflesh
Interview by Kira Levine
We caught up with Unflesh founder Ryan Beevers to talk about their upcoming album, the story behind the band’s name, and more.
Hello! Thank you for your time, hope that you are keeping safe and well. How old were you when you began creating music and how did you discover that this was the field that you wanted to work in?
I started playing the guitar when I was about 12 years old. I’d say 4 or 5 years later I started to write my own music and wanted to start releasing records and playing in bands.
Did you have any advice from people already established in the industry? What pointers would you give those at the beginning of their music career?
I had a lot of advice from various guitar teachers I had over the years and from close friends who had already started their music career. Their advice was helpful and continues to be helpful. The best advice I got and that I could give to someone starting out is to be prepared to work very hard if you want to see your vision through. Don’t expect to have anything handed to you and be very careful and selective on who you trust.
How did Unflesh begin, and why was this specific name chosen?
The band started with me writing some songs that I believed in very strongly and the band that I was playing in at the time did not want to use them, so I decided to slowly build my own thing and the rest is history. The band name came from a Dark Fortress song that I really enjoy called “The Unflesh” but over time the band name has grown naturally to become more of a symbolical way of describing what the lyrical topics discuss. So I got lucky there!
For those who haven’t heard Unflesh’s music yet, how would you describe the band’s sound?
I would describe our music as extreme metal, only because I find trying to tag all those subgenre names gets a bit ridiculous and over the top. We have a lot of melody and dissonance in the music, it can be really fast and aggressive or slow and slightly groovy at times. There are elements of old black and death metal, some thrash metal, traditional heavy metal and more in the sound. I’d like to think that there is something for everyone that enjoys metal in the sound of Unflesh.
Your second full-length album Inhumation is due out for an early April release. What would you say sets it apart from your debut Savior?
I would say that there are a lot of factors that set the two records apart. First, the goals in the songwriting were a bit different. With Savior, I think I was trying to write the craziest and fastest stuff I could come up with at that time for the most part of that record with a few exceptions. This album focuses more on the vibe and atmosphere in the music and how it works with the lyrical content. We worked with a new engineer on this album which was a great experience and there is also a different lineup within the band and they brought their own sound to the record. All these variables resulted I think in a very positive evolution in the sound. I still am proud of the previous releases of the band but it’s important to be constantly trying to develop and push your own envelope so to speak.
1. Behold Nightfall
2. Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers
3. To Renounce Flesh and Blood
5. Amongst Horrors Must I Dwell
6. Holocaust of Stars
7. The Sepulchral Depths
8. Dehumanized Legion
Did any other metal acts influence the creative output on Inhumation?
There were definitely influences from some of my favorite bands and albums from the past. Bands like Emperor, Dissection, Iron Maiden, Old Metallica. I think I spun the …And Justice For All album like a thousand times during this whole recording process. The new album Inhumation does not sound like Metallica or …And Justice For All really at all. But …And Justice… is definitely an all-time favorite record for me to listen to.
Which came first, the instrumentation or the lyrics? Are the writing duties currently handled by one person in Unflesh, or shared?
The instrumentation for the most part always comes first as that’s just the way I do things. I write all the music and lyrics for the band. For this album, I was the only band member during the writing process of Inhumation. I didn’t have a line up for a while until I, fortunately, managed to get Jeff and Orin on board to play on the album.
Penultimate track “Sepulchral Depths” boasts a guest guitar solo from Jim Gregory. How did you reach out to him about working with Unflesh?
Well, Jim is a very close friend of mine and has been for over a decade now and we played together in the band Solium Fatalis for years. We did a lot of solo trade-offs in Solium so I thought it would be really awesome to have him contribute a solo on this track. We are working on some new bands together as well which the world will be hearing about very very soon.
What gear was used on Inhumation?
For Inhumation I used my ESP E-II 7-String Arrow and for amplifiers, it was a 6505+ head through an Engl cabinet. For vocals, it was the Shure SM7B microphone. Orin used his Modulus 6 string bass guitar. For drums, I believe Jeff used a Pearl drumkit and Paiste cymbals if my memory serves me right.
You guys have chosen to self-release your forthcoming album. What are the pros and cons of doing that?
Well, there are not too many positives to self-release, to be honest. I think it’s good to know that nobody is pulling a contractual fast one on you in regards to who owns your music because there is only one correct answer to that question. The cons on the other hand are too many to list quite frankly.
Are there any other music projects that you are a part of, or any bands you have done live/session work for?
Currently, there is a lot of exciting stuff in the works for these new bands that I’ve gotten involved with which are coming along quite well. There will be news about these very soon! Also, I do an occasional guest solo here and there for friends.
Aside from music, do you have any hobbies or interests you would like to speak about?
Apart from music I started getting into hiking. I like to read quite a bit and also watching old school 70’s and 80’s horror movies. I like going to the gym but with the whole pandemic situation I’ve been just working out at home for the most part.
Who created the album cover for Inhumation, and how did this collaboration happen?
So the artwork for Inhumation was created by Junki Sakuraba. I had some ideas of what I wanted for the album cover and shared some rough ideas and then he created this artwork that you see now. Junki is very talented and easy to work with and does a really great job creating a strong visual representation of the music which is really awesome. He also did all the artwork for the Savior album as well and various other art designs for us that are really fantastic!
Did the pandemic cause any significant delays to the recording or writing process of Inhumation? What would you have done differently, if anything, without the restrictions that the lock-downs have imposed?
Fortunately for us, the album was completed, mixed and mastered by September of 2019. So it has been finished for quite some time. We had some delays with the vinyl pressing and stuff like that which was not really COVID-19 related but the pandemic definitely did not make things any easier. I would’ve liked to have done a tour of some kind to build up the release and generate some more awareness that the album is close to coming out and play some new tracks. Obviously with the pandemic that was not possible.
What is the current extreme metal scene like in the American Northeast? Would you say that it has become easier or more challenging to make a name for yourself as a musician emerging from this area during recent years?
The scene in the Northeast has some cool bands around for sure, I think that there are a lot of bands with great potential. With the pandemic, I think all bands all around the world lost an entire year. I would say that it’s incredibly difficult to grow and emerge from any sort of underground with no touring or any shows to speak of. Hopefully, with time and the virus thing coming to an end there will be greater opportunities for new up and coming bands.
Do you have any contemporaries from New Hampshire that you admire, and would like to give a shout out to?
Extreme metal bands from New Hampshire are very few but some bands that are nearby that are quite good are Soul Remnants, Obsidian Tongue and Excrecor.
You can pick 3 extreme metal releases by bands from anywhere in the world. Which ones make the list?
I will choose for this list just what I’ve been spinning lately for extreme metal:
Vampire – Rex
In Reverence – The Selected Breed
Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos
Do you enjoy listening to any genres outside of metal?
Yes absolutely. I enjoy a lot of film soundtracks both orchestral and also the more sound design type stuff. I really like old Russian composers like Shostakovich and Prokofiev. I also really like rock and roll from the ’60s and ’70s like the Doors, 10 Years After, Thin Lizzy, Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green. I always loved flamenco guitar as well, my favorite would be the one and only legend Paco de Lucia.
Are there any plans ahead for Unflesh hat have not been covered already?
With the pandemic, we are just focusing on promoting the release of the new album. Hopefully, once the Covid-19 thing is all over, we can go out and tour a bit and play live again.
Thanks again for doing this interview! Do you have any closing words for our readers?
I appreciate the interview, thank you very much! I’d like to thank you and your readers for all the support and I hope you all will enjoy the new record! Cheers and stay safe out there!
Ryan Beevers – vocals, guitars, orchestrations
Orin Hubbard – bass guitar
Jeff Saltzman – drums
Inhumation is available to pre-order through Unflesh‘s Bandcamp here!