Interview: HORRENDOUS talk 'Idol,' upcoming shows, and art direction for the record

A conversation with the progressive death metal unit.

Photograph by Scott Kinkade.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past several months, you've most likely come across the progressive death metal masterpiece that is HORRENDOUS' Idol. The record has garnered high praise and rightfully so, given its eclectic instrumentation and raw aggression. With several exceptional records under their belt, HORRENDOUS continue to evolve and stay on top of their game years after their inception.


The band celebrated the release of Idol with several performances, giving fans an opportunity to bask in their finest work to date. They're ready to take their talents to the West Coast this coming spring with OF FEATHER AND BONE joining them on the track.


We talk to the band ahead of their upcoming shows on the Western Anhedonia Tour:

IDOL has been making the rounds, ranking among the best records of the year on various metal site lists, including ours, where it ranked #2. How exciting is it for you as a band to have your work acknowledged as such?


Well first of all, thanks so much for digging what we’ve done! Having your work acknowledged by a variety of people in a variety of ways is always totally unreal. You work tirelessly towards some barely discernible horizon and eventually have to say okay, the thing’s done, and let it out into the world. Talk about terrifying! But then to see it flourish in people’s minds, see the praises and critiques, it’s a bit of a rush and an affirmation.


That said, we don’t want to give too much to the “listmania” recognition. We really believe in the music we’re making, and I’d like to think we’d be just as excited about Idol either way it fell. I say that because I know there are so many unheard musicians out there making amazing work, and I hope it’s their belief in what they are doing and not any thought of accolades that keeps them going! But it’s all so thrilling and we really appreciate the support.

Following many spins, it’s clear that IDOL represents your best work so far. Anareta was a strong record but you took that a step further and followed up with excellence. Musically, what did you want to accomplish with IDOL?


Thanks so much, again. “A step further” might actually be a perfect summary of what we set out to do on Idol and I think what Horrendous has always set out to do from the beginning: simply to push ourselves, try new things, and make an album unlike anything we’ve released previously. We’re never entirely sure about the specifics until we get down to making music together and hit the recording process (which ends up being another stage in the writing). It always seems to be a result of where everyone’s at in life and in their listening to the surrounding world.


For example, on Idol I think you can hear the tumultuousness of our lives and the world at large during the period that it was made—a definite chaos and looming feeling of alienation, confusion, and defeat. You can also hear the creeping, persistent light of human resilience in the face of all of those things, with the high-flying melodic passages and solos woven in. Either way, we’re just looking to make music that scratches all of our different musical itches and perhaps surprises us a little along the way.


Here at Heaviest of Art, we like to appreciate and highlight metal album covers. Brian Smith has done an exceptional job on your last 3 records. How was it like working with him on IDOL and what kind of twisted shit did you give him for inspiration?


Brian is one of a kind, no doubt about it. Interestingly enough this was the first time we chose a pre-existing painting rather than commissioning one specifically for the album. Through much deliberation we came to realize that it was a perfect fit in all aspects—“Idol” is actually the name of the painting itself! In a way, Brian gave us the “twisted shit” for inspiration since reflecting on his painting actually helped illuminate new aspects of meaning in what we’ve created. Perhaps after working closely with him to make the previous two album covers we rubbed off on each other!


You celebrated the release with a few shows alongside Tomb Mold and Daeva. How did that go?


Where could I possibly begin?! Those shows were incredible, 4 sold-out nights in a row. The dudes in Daeva are good friends from Philly and they brought pure power to the stage every night. And Tomb Mold, are you kidding? They’re the best at their game that I’ve seen and heard. Not to mention they’re the sweetest people in the world. We couldn’t have imagined a better tour situation. Hopefully we’ll do more together in the future!


How well have the new tracks been translating live?


Translating from the studio to the stage is always an adventure. These new tracks really kicked our asses at first—everyone was playing at the limits of their abilities when we wrote the Idol material. Not to mention the layering which took a little problem solving to figure. But we’ve come to understand how to deal with them and they’re really soaring now. Come hear them this year and let us know what you think.


You have an upcoming show with Outer Heaven and Foehammer, where you’ll also be releasing your OBOLUS beer collaboration. How did that go about happening?


We met Mark Osborne from Adroit Theory Brewing when we played the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest last year. We were getting interviewed by our friends over at Metalheads’ Podcast when we got introduced and he asked us about doing a collaboration. We were of course thrilled, us being a band of avid beer drinkers. It’s a pilsner, in case anyone is curious! If you’re on the East Coast, you can drink as much of it as you like at the upcoming show.


You’ll be making your first-ever European appearance this year at Graveland Fest alongside Immolation, Marduk, Krypts, and more. Quite a lineup for your first time ever in Europe, right? How excited are you guys about that?


Playing in Europe has definitely been on everyone’s bucket list so we’re very excited. It’s just one show for us on this trip though, so we hope to return soon and cover more ground!


With a bright future ahead, are there any bands that you’d like to tour with in the years to come?


This is a tough question; everyone probably has a different take on this. I think Opeth is a big one, we’d all kill to tour with Opeth. We admire them for being a constantly evolving and innovative group in metal over all these years. Cynic is another one, perhaps Dismember since they’re doing a reunion show coming up, and something with Revocation would also be rad.


Aside from these couple of shows, what does 2019 look like for Horrendous? Any interesting plans in the works?


We have a short run of West Coast dates with Of Feather and Bone coming up in April—that’s going to be a blast. Beyond that we’re considering our options for a bigger tour come the Fall/Winter season. We’ll see what happens!


Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you guys on the West Coast soon.

HORRENDOUS will be joined by Denver's OF FEATHER AND BONE for the Western Anhedonia Tour this spring. This will be the first time HORRENDOUS plays the eloquent tracks from Idol on the West Coast. Find the dates below and get your ass there:


HORRENDOUS w/ Of Feather And Bone:

4/17/2019 The Echo - Los Angeles, CA [tickets]

4/18/2019 Elbo Room Jack London - Oakland, CA [tickets]

4/20/2019 The High Water Mark - Portland, OR [tickets]

4/21/2019 The Highline - Seattle, WA [tickets]



Give Idol a second, third, or hundredth spin because it's just that good. You can stream the album in full over at Bandcamp.

Cover art by Brian Smith

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