„I hope this new/final album can do that for us.”

Back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s the death/doom scene became quite strong. A lot of newer acts were popping up those times and one of them was the New York based Sorrow. After the release of the Forgotten Sunrise Ep (1991) and the Hatred and Disgust record (1992) the band split up. To my biggest surprise they reunited 2022 and will release their next album Death of Sorrow on the 8th of August via Spanish label Xtreem Records. Reason enough was to feature this cult act and the answers were given by the whole band, drummer Mike Hymson, guitarists Bill Rogan and Brett Clarin and bassist/vocalist Andy Marchione.

Sorrow, you released your debut album Hatred and Disgust in 1992, after which the band kept writing new stuff, but for personal reasons you had to break up, what were these reasons?

MIKE: We put out Hatred And Disgust. Roadrunner didn’t promote it. It didn’t sell. We eventually got dropped. At that point, we had a new album written and rehearsed. We shopped a demo (just a live recording of the entire new album) to a few labels that we thought would be interested and they weren’t. We were frustrated. We started the band in 1988 and now it was 1993 and we just felt burned out and underappreciated. It just seemed like it was time to move on, try different things, jam with other people, explore different genres.

Did you part ways on a friendly term at the end?

MIKE: Well, you never really know how much shit people talk about you behind your back, right? haha. I always liked and respected everyone in the band. Great players-great people. My problems were only with the metal fans who didn’t like us-and the industry clowns who didn’t think we had any potential-not the guys I was jamming with.

Would you say that the scene became oversaturated at those times?

MIKE: We probably thought that in 1993…but there are 100,000 more bands doing heavy music now. I can’t say it’s oversaturated, really-because if you love death metal, then you should play death metal. You can’t tell a guy (or girl) who loves Morbid Angel ‘Don’t start a band that sounds like Morbid Angel because there are already too many bands that sound like that.’ He (or she) is not going to listen. So I think it’s cool that so many people and bands love heavy music and want to play it. From a financial or popularity viewpoint, I don’t know how you can stand out from all the other bands and rise through the ranks…but if you play underground music I guess you have to accept that going into it…a life of poverty and obscurity awaits you.

By the way, how was your relationship to Roadrunner? How much were they supportive?

MIKE: We had a bad experience with them…and they had a bad experience with us. Back then, they would put out 4 or 5 releases in a month. One would take off immediately and the others would flounder. Their mentality was to push the one that made it out of the gate and forget about the others. It’s just a business decision and business is shit for 90% of the population. It’s nothing personal. If Hatred And Disgust came out and sold 5,000 copies in the first week-they would have sucked our dicks. Looking back, we signed to a label that was a little too big and business oriented-and they took a chance on a band that was a little too obscure and quirky. We didn’t want to use Scott Burns and Dan Seagrave. We didn’t want to have photo shoots in a cemetery…haha. We probably would have thrived on a label like Peaceville…but Roadrunner offered us a deal and we just went for it.

Were there any shows/live performances in the support of Hatred and Disgust?

MIKE: Probably a few. I honestly don’t remember. This is 1992 we’re talking about. We never really toured in an official way. Of course, this didn’t exactly help our popularity-haha.

What have all of you done after the split? Did you remain in touch with each other, were all of you involved in any groups, acts?

MIKE: We all kept in touch and made a lot of music with other people. Most of that music wouldn’t be of interest to death metal or even regular metal fans-so for the sake of brevity-I’ll just list Brett’s solo project ‘Journey Into Darkness.’ It’s kind of symphonic black metal-but way cooler than you would think based on that genre. I’m not a social guy anymore. I used to be in my 20s, but I’m just done with people. I still email Brett, Andy and Bill. I find music online that I think they would like and I go ‘Yo, check this out’-hahaha.

BILL: Mike and I actually played in a few different hardcore bands (Leech Implant) with some various members from Death Cycle and Kill your Idols and managed to play some shows and living rooms (haha). Brett put out a compilation for this as well back in the day.

In 2022, Sorrow decided to reunite with the same line up of Hatred and Disgust, how happened? What made you to come together again?

MIKE: This crazy MFer named Andy Marchione really wanted this project to happen. He could explain how he pulled it off better than I can-but he was definitely the driving force behind it.

Was it easy to persuade of the other guys getting together? Was there still the old/same chemistry among you?

MIKE: It was easy because of technology. We could all record our parts at home on a laptop and then Andy could put all the files together and mix it. If we had to get together and actually rehearse and record in the old fashioned way, this album would not have been made. Same chemistry…basically…I’m still an asshole cracking jokes…Andy is still quiet…Brett is still the visionary…and Bill is still the fast right hand. We always got along. I went to high school with Brett and Andy-and we all met Bill shortly after that. It’s not like we’re best friends having sleepovers and roasting marshmallows-but there’s never been any ‘beef’ either. Musically, we were always a little different than each other, but we understand what Sorrow is supposed to be, so we’re all working towards the same goal. A killer death/doom album that should have come out in 1993.

ANDY: Actually, no, it was not so easy to persuade “everyone” in the band.  because we all have grown and have different availability and lives.  At first, our intention was to do 1 or 2 songs and see how it came out.  Apparently everything sounded great to us and then we just started recording more and more songs.  I kept pushing the guys and bothering everyone daily.  Brett called it “Andy wants to tell everyone when he is taking a shit” time.  Seems after 30 years, we still like to bust each others chops the same way though.  But anyway, if it sounds good, we all did a great job.  If it sucks, its all my fault.

BILL: Andy and I got together a handful of times at his apartment and he beat me into submission along with his cat while I sweated out some chords and solos. Truth is while we all live in this digital age I prefer the old school way of recording in a studio. It’s all hard work regardless but I enjoyed our brief time hanging. And the brunt of this was all on Andy and Brett’s shoulders. They are really skilled. I wish I could have contributed more but as Austin Powers would say “That’s not my bag baby”.

You recorded the 7 songs that you wrote back in the day for your 2nd album and that were never registered, did it follow the musical path of Hatred and Disgust or are there any differences between the both materials?

MIKE: The new album was written after Hatred And Disgust-and I think it’s just a continuation of that sound. We like death metal. We like doom metal. And we like metal with a little bit of musicality. Not ‘technical’ or ‘progressive’-just musical. Our sweet spot is like 45% Death 45% Autopsy and 10% Slayer…haha…if we’re striking that kind of balance-then it’s going to sound great. Of course, no one is consciously aware of that-but your main influences get formed early on and the things that naturally come out are going to have that flavor to it. I don’t think any of us expected to ‘reinvent the wheel’ with this album. It’s more of the final statement from that era of our lives.   

ANDY:  All of these songs, except for Hidden Fear, where the next step for us musically.  Of course, we advance and have different ideas, but we did not stray too far from the previous album.  Being that it is 2023 and in the digital age, we were able to do a few more things and “experiment” more easily.  I think maybe because Brett and I were more, “steering the ship”, because we had the recording tools at our disposal, we were, well, i should speak for myself here… I took a lot of liberties and just added shit that i felt could go in.  Then submitted it “for approval”….  haha…..

How did the recording sessions go?

MIKE: Recording was fine. Everyone played their parts at home. We emailed the files to Andy-and then he put it all together like a puzzle. A very heavy puzzle.

ANDY:  It took a while.  Lengthy. Everybody is so busy now that it was difficult sometimes to get parts from the guys at times.  But it all got done.  It’s like the old Orson Wells wine commercial.  Where He is listening to the stereo and lowers it and says “it took Beethoven 4 years to write that symphony. Some things can’t be rushed.  Good music & good wine.  Paul Mason will sell no wine before its time.”

Not that I’m comparing our music to Beethoven, before y’all jump all over me…

Can you give us any details regarding the new record?

MIKE: It’s called ‘The Death Of Sorrow.’ It’s coming out on August 8th, 2023. It’s a heavy album. It will be our last album. It’s coming out on Xtreem music. If you liked Hatred And Disgust-you will like this. If you never heard us-but you like bands like Death, Autopsy, Obituary, Bolt Thrower-you will like it. Buy 2 copies…one for you and one for your hot girlfriend. If you don’t have a hot girlfriend-the second copy you buy will magically get you one. And then you can give it to her as a declaration of your love.

ANDY:  I think its our best release to date.  But when you listen to it, you have to remember the songs were written in the early 90’s.  So, that may make things a bit confusing for everyone.  But for old school death heads, itll be great.   Not so much details to give, but I think just have fun listening to it and enjoy it for what it is.  and I think you would get the best listening experience using headphones.  Just my suggestion. 

In addition to those 7 songs, the band has re-recorded the song Hidden Fear from your demo Human Fear, that was released under the name of Apparition…

ANDY:  Right.  That is the oldest song on the album.  Written pre 1990’s.  It was the last song we recorded for the new album.  It was not originally going to be included.   But all was going so well with the recordings and we found we still had some time and patience left so we just went for it.  It was the quickest song to complete.  It was the most fun to record.  I think it sounds great.  And Bretts solo is his best work right there.  That is an award winning solo. When all hope is lost, when you have nothing left to give and nothing left to live for, you will hear that haunting solo playing through the trees.

During those times Rich Figlia and Chris Richards were also involved in the band and you are/were good friends with Josh Barohn, how about them these days?

MIKE: Yeah, things were cool back then…because we were young. Now we’re old. Young is better than old. Rich was a big part of the band when we started. He played bass and there were a few songs he actually sang on. He got Andy into the band. Rich answered an ad that Brett and I put out-and he randomly brought Andy down when he came to meet us. He was always a cool dude. Chris played bass with us after Rich-and he was a great player and a great dude as well. He just got the opportunity to join Suffocation-so he took it. There was never any bad blood or falling out. As for Josh, I was good friends with him back in the early Suffo days. I knew all the Suffo guys-they were cool. They just had the right sound for that time and they took off like a rocket. And they’re still going. I love it. Terrance is a legend and there’s no reason for him to stop. Anyway, Josh was a driving force in Suffo at the time, because he was really the unofficial manager of the band. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I was there. I saw what he did to push that band forward. Jay Fligman was their official manager at the time-and he did a lot for them, too. But Josh was the guy on the phone every day-trying to get them shows and get them signed. I can’t even imagine what his phone bill was in 1989/1990…haha. You asked about Rich, Chris, Josh…I have to say that most of the people I met through the metal underground were very cool. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we somehow avoided the assholes of the music world and had good interactions with just about everyone…I’m talking about bands, of course…not labels or venues.

Is it correct, that in the very early days of the band you started as Cyanic Death?

MIKE: That was Brett and I jamming while we were still in high school. Just mid 80s thrash stuff…very raw and primitive. i barely remember it.

The 8 songs (50 min.) of Death of Sorrow, having been written 30 years ago, keep the essence of that time intact, sounding as heavy, doom and soul crushing as they were 30 years ago. How do you explain this?

MIKE: It was intentional. We didn’t want to put out a new album of new material-written in 2023. If we did that, it would sound very different. Maybe it would be great-but it wouldn’t be Sorrow. We could have called this album ‘Hatred And Disgust-Part 2.’ This is an album of unfinished business. This is the album we wanted to put out in 1993-just with better production and with a slightly more evolved take on the genre. I was skeptical going into this. I thought ‘We’re all so different now-how the fuck is this going to work?’ But it did. Mainly due to Andy and Brett busting their asses and taking their time with it. Bill and I are more ‘dirty punk rock style’-set up your gear-play through the songs once-and then go out drinking…haha. Not literally, but you get the picture. However, Brett and Andy can really focus long term on a project and make sure that every element comes out exactly the way you want it to.

Did you manage to achieve/reach a cult status?

MIKE: I don’t think so…not yet. I hope this new/final album can do that for us.

What are your future plans? Any shows/tours in mind?

MIKE: God, I hope not.

Thanks a lot for the interview, what are your closing words for the Hungarian readers?

MIKE: Thanks to anyone who ever checked out Sorrow (Or Apparition). We were never a big band-but we always had some fans. And even though we never played Europe-we always had fans in Europe…mainly from zines back in the day. And Roadrunner was obviously a big label in Europe back then, too. We appreciate you-and if you like old school death/doom-check us out. Also, thanks to David for the interview.

Vélemény, hozzászólás?

Az e-mail címet nem tesszük közzé. A kötelező mezőket * karakterrel jelöltük