Malignancy gels into a cohesive mass of insanity

interview malignancy death metal

Malignancy is a Yonkers, New York based technical death/grind band formed in 1992. Combining elements of the non-conventional, Malignancy push forward to create the perfect mix of insanity and technical prowess. The album "Eugenics" is released and as I rate it with the full 5 stars, it was time to ask some questions to Danny Nelson, founding member and vocalist.

Hi Danny, Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for Brutalism. First things first, my man, I have to confess Malignancy are one of my all time favourite death metal bands, everything you guys have ever done truly captivates me in every aspect. Its simply awesome. How are you today and how has the response to your latest album "Eugenics" been?
Hey brother!! Thanks for liking what we do, we really appreciate it. Our style does not easily resonate with too many listeners. We are doing well at the moment. NY was hit by an hurricane and then a snow storm, it has been a brutal few weeks. No power for over a week and a gas shortage on top of that. It has been really crazy here as of late. The response has been excellent so far. The fans, the magazines and web zines all seem to dig it.

Tell us a little about the album please? Tell us about the artwork? How did it come to be? I notice the titles are somewhat "simplfied" to your previous ones, any particular reason for this? What are the lyrical concepts and how do they differ from previous works?
Eugenics is a concept record, the first of it's kind from us. The cover has a cool old school thrash feel for me, reminds me of Ed Repka works. We all agreed that this release was not going to depict violence or gore. There is no need. Sven from Aborted told us about Justin from Slasher Designs so we asked him if he wanted to do it and he said yes. At the time there was only a brief outline of the concept and Type Zero. He built on that and from notes that I supplied though emails.

I took a different approach when writing the tunes for Eugenics. I did not consciously make the titles more simplified. The titles just seem to fit the album and keep the concept going. Most of the songs I have written for Malig have dealt with things that could happen, science fiction rooted in science fact. This one is no different, I like to explore the ?hat ifs

Have you got many gigs in the pipeline for this release? Are you guys hitting Europe for this one?
We did a pre-Eugenics tour in Europe with Cephalic Impurity this past July. We hit Extreme Fest, Obscene Extreme and Houten Deathfest. A killer tour and a good boost for the new record. We have been playing gigs to support this album. Our record release show that was originally slated for November 2nd was postponed due to the hurricane damage. We are also gearing up for a 9 date US tour with Cerebral Bore and Dying Fetus in December. We are hoping to go back to Europe early 2013.

I see Roger J Beaujard is back with you guys, this time on bass, hes a huge influence for me also, how has it been to have him back in the fold. The guy is a genius, is there any instrument he cant play!?
He is a genius indeed and a long time friend. It was awesome to watch him transform into this sick bass player. He is a very accomplished guitarist to begin with and is no stranger to the bass. He did play without a pick on the album and live.

One has to ask, Danny, how the bloody hell do you guys begin writing a song? I heard that Ron (guitars) is a huge Rush fan, is that where all the crazy patterned riff lines come from?
Ron is a Rush fan but also King Crimson, Randy Rhodes, Van Halen, you name it. He has an amazing repertoire of musical influences. We begin a song with a riff or drum beat and then build around it. That has been a small part of the Malignancy formula.

Your vocals are quite unique to these ears, they go from insanely guttural lows to seeringly serrated highs. How is this unique one might ask but for me its the length of the passages seem to go on forever!! Your definitely one of my favoroute vocalists on the scene and always have been. What are your techniques? Do you avoid tobacco and alcohol to look after your vocal chords etc?
Thank you again brother, you are too kind. It's awesome to have fans that appreciate what we do. I always tried to not sound like what everyone else was doing. It is extremely difficult to be original or establish a fresh, new sound but we try anyway. I approached Eugenics a little different than the other albums. I took my time and wanted to test my limits. I do not smoke but I do indulge in alcohol. But before gigs I like to only have a few before performing. Alcohol dries your throat and it makes it more difficult to deliver an almost perfect performance.

For me "Inhuman Grotesqueries" was a little bit too technical and lacked those suckerpunch hooks and grooves amidst the chaos which have been rightfully returned for "Eugenics", how did you feel those albums differed? I really dig the return to the more..... and I mean this very loosely "primal" sound.
Inhuman was fun as hell to write, it was the ?o holds barredapproach. We wanted to create a brutal technical beast and we did. Eugenics could be considered a more mature outing. Ron, Mike and I perhaps had a deeper connection for it. It just all seemed to gel into a nice cohesive mass of insanity. Controlled insanity if you will.

I love the re-recorded version of "Rotten Seed" on Frailty Of The Human Condition, would you guys ever do a whole cd of re-recorded Malignancy hits? The sound on that recording KOs me everytime!! It would be fantastic to hear other songs with the same treatment.
We have talked about re-recording old songs. Not sure if it will ever be officially released but you never know. It will have a more Eugenics sound rather than Frailty. That is not one of our favorite productions to be honest. We have lots of fans that love it.

You guys, alongside, Suffocation, Incantation and Mortician are some of the longest serving bands in New York, how would you say the New york scene has has changed from your inception to present day? Would you have done anything differently?
The New York scene has changed quite a bit since the early 1990's. It seems like there is more of a mixture of metal bands. Not many death metal bands these days. Back then there were a ton and they all seemed to want to be Suffocation clones. The one thing I may have done differently is to be more aggressive with our label search, or more serious for that matter. By 1995 we had enough material to put out a full length but didn't. On the other hand, the Ignorance Is Bliss line-up was the best one to record Intrauterine Cannibalism. So I am glad it was done by them.

May I ask what would you say Malignancy's influences are? How would you describe them to someone who has never heard you guys? I have a hard time describing you guys and I been listening to you guys for years.

 I have a hard time telling people what we sound like myself.
Our influences range from King Crimson to Yes to Van Halen to Human Remains to Testament to you name it. Jazz has a larger influence on the music these days. There is always very complex structures and runs that seem to be perfect for Malignancy. I would say it's all of our influences coming together and somehow it works.

Mike Heller has been with you guys for a considerible length of time now on the drums, hes a goddamn animal! Insane stuff altogether! How did you feel when he went to Fear Factory (I'm a big ff too) and did it affect Malignancy at all?
Yes, it has effected Malignancy but we are dealing with it. Mike wants to be a professional musician and to do that you have to make sacrifices. We were happy for him but at the same time we cannot hold the band up. So we enlisted a session drummer, Alex Cohen (Pyrrhon), to help out with tours and local shows. When Mike comes back we plan to write some new material.

Would you say this is the strongest Malignancy line up yet? Do you still speak to with past members like Desmond Tolhurst and Lance Snyder?
Every line-up for me was fun and memorable in it's own right. The Eugenics incarnation of Malignancy is a steamroller indeed. I do speak with Desmond and Lance on occasion, awesome dudes. Ron and I may be jamming with Desmond on another project in the future. More news soon.

You guys have played all over the place! Any favourite spots to play in world and why? Any fond memories or crazy road stories youd like to share with the readers? Who are the party animals in Malignancy?
Europe has always been amazing for us!! Colombia is also an awesome country to play. Both places have one thing in common, Metal is Life!! Here in the U.S. the scene is strong too. Party animals? Hahaha, that would be me and Ron. Road stories? What happens on the road stays on the road. m/

Where can our readers see you guys next?? Anything else youd like to share with us?
We are playing our record release party in Brooklyn, NY on November 30th. Thanks for all your support and see you on the road soon. Stay Malignant and enjoy Eugenics!

Danny, thanks again for taking the time amigo, well done on a superb album,loving every last second of it mate! Cheers from everyone at
Appreciate all the kind words about Eugenics and the band Connor. It was my pleasure to be a part of this interview. Feel free to contact us about anything in the future. Cheers!