Skeletal Remains is an old school death metal (OSDM) band many of you might already know. When I found out they will be releasing their third full-length this year, I just had to ask them a few questions. I already believe this will be one of the best releases of the year. A band like Skeletal Remains working together with Dan Swanö and Dan Seagrave, you just can’t go wrong with that. The record, entitled ‘Devouring Mortality’, will become a contemporary OSDM classic. Frontman Chris Monroy was kind enough to tell me a little more.
Hi Chris, how are you doing? I’ve seen you announced the release date of the new Skeletal Remains album, Devouring Mortality, recently. Can you tell our readers something more about it?
Hey Laura, I am doing fine. Thank you for asking! Yes, we announced it a few weeks back and it will be released April 13th via Dark Descent Records in North America and Century Media Records for the rest of the world. I’d like to think it’s just a step up compared to our other releases. We also had the opportunity to work with Dan Seagrave for the artwork and that’s something we been wanting to do since the first album and he exceeded our expectations. We are really happy with his work! Dan Swanö also mixed and mastered this one and it sounds killer, really heavy! So we got the chance to work with two legends this time around, but the music will speak for itself the next chapter for Skeletal Remains is the best way to put it!
The lineup changed a little, right?
Yes, Mike De La O is now back in on guitars. Me and him started Skeletal Remains, so it was quite a natural change. We have been friends for a long time and have always kept contact, so it all worked out great. He is a great guitar player as well, so he was the first one that came to mind when Adrian parted ways. Johnny also left right after the album was tracked. For now we have our good friend Carlos Cruz helping us on drums, but I feel we are the tightest we have ever been.
I heard you’ll be touring Europe this year, is that correct? What about the USA?
There is talk of us doing some touring after the album is released, both in USA and Europe. Also some stuff in Asia, but nothing I can announce at the moment. So all I can say is just keep an eye out for announcements in the next few months.
What releases from last year did you like?
Necrot‘s Blood Offerings was at the top for me, just overall a great record. There is a few more as well.
I really enjoyed:
Resurgency – No Worlds Nor Gods Beyond
Rude – Remnants…
Phrenelith – Desolate Endscape
Venenum – Trance Of Death
Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
Acephalix – Decreation
They all got a lot of spins in my car!
What made you want to play guitar? And what made you decide to become a vocalist aswell? Who were some of your early influences?
My older brother actually played guitar, so I guess he was one of the main reasons I started playing. Although he played a different style of music, but I think it started with him showing me how to play a few songs back when I was younger. Then I kind of just started learning how to read tablature and I’d just sit for hours a day and learn my favorite songs. I started with all the classic stuff like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Black Sabbath etc. Also a lot of virtuoso guitar players as well like Steve Vai, Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul Gilbert etc. All big influences. Later I started discovering more extreme bands like Cannibal Corpse, Death, Demolition Hammer, Coroner, Obituary and Morbid Angel.
I never really was supposed to be the vocalist for Skeletal Remains. It kinda just happened and I still till this day don’t really consider myself a vocalist (laughs)! But the way it happened was just not being able to find someone to do it when we started Skeletal Remains. We had a few songs written with lyrics, but we couldn’t find any vocalist that fit the style or where into what we where trying to do. So we just got tired of looking and decided I’d do the vocals. I am very into the style that Martin van Drunen, John Tardy, Chuck Schuldiner, and Marc Grewe were doing. I just preferred it over the low guttural style of vocals. I found It more interesting. So I just did my best to try and go for a style like that, but I am still learning as we go. I feel like I’m learning more and more and my voice is changing with every record, but I feel more comfortable doing it now then I did back when we started.
How do you experience the metal community in California? Any bands we should check out?
It’s great! I mean it doesn’t compare to the European scene. There is nothing like the European scene, but I think it’s very different, but also good in its own way. L.A. itself is a whole different story though, which I prefer not to get into (laughs). Hmm… Some bands to check out and also friends of ours, that I think are doing a killer job, are Necrot, Rude, Blade Killer, Crematory Stench, Demon Hammer and Sakrificer.
Last but not least, what do you do in your daily life?
Skeletal Remains tends to keep me pretty busy. So I try my best to be with my family as much as I can when I’m home and not out playing shows or touring/recording. I also try and make it to shows as much as I can when a good band comes around. It’s not as easy as it was for me when I was younger, but whenever there is good band playing nearby I do my best to try and go to the show. Besides that I have a daily job because I still need to pay bills here at home. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Thanks for your time Chris! Anything you’d still like to say?
Thank you for the interview Laura and thanks to everyone who took the time to read it and thank you for the support! Make sure to pick up our new album Devouring Mortality out April 13th 2018!
Live picture of Chris taken by Rev Aaron Michael Pepelis (RTTP).
Originally written for Headbangers Zine.