“The metal underground is an exciting place — I always want to shout about cool new bands,” Max said. “New music is the most exciting thing. It keeps me young at heart, too. I don’t want to grow old and turn into an old fart that only listens to stuff from the ’80s. Don’t get me wrong, I love CELTIC FROST and POSSESSED, but there’s great stuff happening now too. I was recording the new SOULFLY album and Arthur Rizk was the producer. He’s heavily involved with the underground and he showed me Lesions of a Different Kind by Undeath. They’ve got those killer catchy riffs and that groove. That’s my beef with some extreme metal sometimes — it loses the groove. But UNDEATH have that and it makes death metal much more fun to listen to. My taste goes towards that caveman, ’90s death metal vibe.
“Zach [Coleman], the drummer from GO AHEAD AND DIE, was the one who showed me UNDERGANG,” he continued. “Efter Obduktionen is so f*cking catchy and it hooks you right from the beginning. They have some crazy, brutal vocals too. One of my favorite things in the world to do is to tell people to check bands out and have people tell me to check bands out. It’s the human contact that shouldn’t be lost because of the modern way of doing things.
“Back in the day, we’d find out what the bands were actually listening to from the thanks list on the album cover. We’re all on the internet now, but I think that’s basically how I found SWAMPBEAST. They’re from LA and their record is f*cking kick-a—s, man! When I heard the name I thought it was a little bit silly, but Orc’s Anvil really does sound like a beast from the swamp coming to life.
“BLACK CURSE made another one of my favorite records of last year. It’s Zach‘s other band, and that’s how he got the gig in GO AHEAD AND DIE. When I heard “Charnel Rift,” it was another level kind of metal. It’s so dirty and so grimy. It’s pure grunt. That’s the perfect word for it, grunt metal! GRAVESEND are filthy too. ‘Rats Among Us’ is off their demo. I love how it represents that dirty New York City vibe.
“I’m a huge BØLZER fan. I love everything they’ve done. It’s so cool how the guitar player makes those riffs. He plays the small strings to add melodies to the riffs, and I find that fascinating. I don’t really play like that. I do caveman riffs! I only have four strings on my guitar so I couldn’t do that if I wanted to, but I can appreciate someone who can! ‘Entranced By the Wolfshook’ is old-school BØLZER.
“I remember doing an interview and I said that they’re the best thing to come out of Switzerland since CELTIC FROST! I stand by that statement. I saw a picture of Trey [Pemberton, guitar] from CREEPING DEATH wearing a SEPULTURA Schizophrenia shirt, so I figured he must be an old-school Max fan. ‘World Decay’ from their Wretched Illusions record is very ‘Schizophrenia’-influenced metal, that kind of death-thrash. Those guys are from Texas and I love the Texas scene right now, with bands like TRIBAL GAZE. When I saw their name I thought it would be some kind of tribal metal. But nope, listen to ‘Astral Nameless’ and it’s old-school death metal and straight up! They all look like they’re 18 or 19 years old, it’s amazing stuff.
“It’s cool to see the bands that worship ’90s death metal but put their own twist on it,” Max added. “I love CELESTIAL SANCTUARY from the UK, too. Everyone should listen to ‘Relentless Savagery’ from their new album. They’re part of the New Wave of British Death Metal and I f*cking love all of that.
“Finally, there’s BECERUS from Italy. I just found out that they don’t have lyrics! It’s truly caveman, to the teeth! It’s such a great idea. ‘Balordicus’ has great riffs, the production is killer. These are good times, man. I always say that music is a weapon. If I’m feeling sh*tty, I’ll put on any one of these songs and it gives me that adrenaline rush, and it makes me want to be a better musician. The world of metal is magical, man!”