If you are a fan of grindcore, sludge, hardcore punk, crust or just extreme, heavy, fast and angry music in general and you have not heard Corrupt Moral Altar, you are missing out. They are one of the most furious bands in the UK underground, but also one of the best. Speaking to their drummer Tom Dring (far left in photo), we had the chance to talk about their recent tour with grindcore legends Venomous Concept (of which CMA guitarist John Cooke is also a member of), their excellent Mechanical Tides album, their upcoming follow-up, future plans and more.
Jack: How are you doing at the moment?
Tom Dring (Drums): Fine, thanks for asking!
Jack: You just finished a short tour with Venomous Concept, how did that tour go?
Tom: Messy and over too quickly, the 4 dates we played were fun, but we were just getting going really, more gigs were craved immediately.
Jack: You finished the tour at the legendary Camden Underworld. What do you like about this venue?
Tom: Aside from the abundance of parking around the venue, the stage sound and setup is something I’ve always enjoyed there.
Jack: Your fantastic debut album Mechanical Tides was released two years ago, looking back on the album are you happy with the response?
Tom: Yeah it seemed to go down pretty well, we put a lot of effort into it so it was nice to see that people didn’t think it was a heap of shit.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Tom: It’s always fairly relaxed as we record everything in my studio, Vagrant Recordings. Time is never particularly of the essence, but we usually get stuff done pretty quickly anyway.
Jack: Jeff Walker of Carcass fame appears as guest vocals on two of the songs, what was it like working with such a legendary figure?
Tom: I guess for John who has known Jeff for some time it was just like another day at the office. For me it was slightly surreal, having the vocalist of Carcass stood next to me growling into a mic with a cup of tea in his hand. Good experience though. He brought some nice touches to those tracks.
Jack: What was your favourite song on the album?
Tom: I went through phases of liking different ones, I guess to play live I’d have to say ‘Father Tongue’ or ‘Die Glocke.’ For listening to, perhaps ‘Blood Harmony,’ purely because of the vocal arrangements in it.
Jack: Is it hard fitting round the band around other projects and day jobs?
Tom: Yes and no. My only job is running my studio so the only challenge is finding someone to take over if we’re away on tour. Chris Reese (Vocals) and Adam Clarkson (bass) both play in other bands (Horsebastard and Man In The Dark) but we seem to be able to coordinate our schedules pretty well. John is away quite a bit with Napalm Death at the moment so that impacted our touring abilities last year. We’ve been working on a way around it though… Watch this space.
Jack: In an interview with GetYourRockOut John said the new album has been written, what is the current status of the new release?
Tom: Yes! Written and recorded, aside from vocals. We plan on finishing those in March, when Reese is back from tour with Horsebastard. We also recorded a couple of tracks for a split 7” with Hicks Kinison last year, which should hopefully be out this month.
Jack: How will it be different from Mechanical Tides?
Tom: More fast bits, more experimentation, more loathing. A lot more raw sounding, too. Kind of how we approached our first EP, Luciferian Deathcult.
Jack: You played a house show in February, what appealed to you about playing in a house?
Tom: For me, personally, it’s a throwback to when house shows were happening all the time in Leeds about 8/9 years ago. I never got to play one but always wanted to. It’s a totally different energy in a basement/kitchen/living room than a bar or club.
Jack: You’re also playing a six day tour with Magrudergrind in March/April. Are you looking forward to the tour? What do you like about Magrudergrind?
Tom: There’s not much to dislike about Magrudergrind really. Consistently fast and harsh, and they create a hell of a racket with just 3 members. Mostly I’m looking forward to actually being able to see them from less than 50ft away. We played with them at Bleh Fest a few years ago at the Unicorn and it was 100% rammed.
Jack: You’re also playing Temples Festival in June, are you looking forward to it? Have you been to the festival before?
Tom: Oh yes, it’s mine and John’s birthdays while we’re there so we’re contracted to have a good time. I’ve not been before, the first one was last year (Edit: It was actually in 2014) and I already had plans before it was announced!
Jack: The Melvins are headlining, are you a fan of theirs?
Tom: Of course, is anybody not?? Can’t wait to gaze upon the majesty of Buzz’s hair.
Jack: Lots of people are saying grindcore/extreme music is getting more popular. Do you agree or do you think that social media and festivals like Damnation and Temples are just uniting like minded people?
Tom: I guess so. Maybe there’s just more of it going around? It’s certainly easier to access it in a digital format now, naturally that’s going to send it out to a wider audience. I think production style has a role to play in increasing popularity too. Polished production equals appealing to people who maybe would have been put off by the rougher sounding records of yesteryear.
Jack: A lot of bands I’ve interviewed have said that Europe is better than the UK, do you agree?
Tom: Overall, yes. We’ve definitely played some absolute shockers on the continent though. “European hospitality” is a phrase that’s slung around quite a bit, but there are a few UK promoters who still put their blood, sweat and tears into everything they do. Hats off!
Jack: I’ve heard playing the Czech Republic is insane, what was your experience of that country like?
Tom: When we drove to Obscene Extreme Fest it was marvellous. Weather was great, drove through some lovely scenery, the fest itself was mental. The next time we were in shitty weather at the back end of October, having to drive with the window open to de-mist the windscreen as the fan was broken. Curving through backwater farm roads at 25mph, we arrived at what looked like a cow shed. But, it was full of people and a great night was had by all! So, Czech Republic gets a thumbs up from us.
Jack: Finally what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Tom: Get this goddamn album released and book more shows! Oh, and we already started writing the next one… maybe we’ll finish that too.
Jack: Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to the new album.
Tom: No problem, thanks for the questions!