Cover shot – MUNT
Emerging from the unground Melbourne metal scene, MUNT quickly gained attention for their signature style of blackened grinding death. We had the opportunity to chat with the band about their latest offering ‘Pain Ouroboros‘.
1. After a challenging few years, what has been your favourite part of returning to the live circuit?
I think it’s just good to expose fans to new music, or earn new fans with said new music. I’ve also had some health issues in the last 12 months and playing live though exhausting, is also a massive adrenaline boost and confirmation that you are alive and can fucking do sick shit if you put your mind to it.
2. MUNT’s 2019 release ‘Towards Extinction’ centred around a world hurtling towards its own destruction, is this theme expanded on in your upcoming EP ‘Pain Ouroboros’?
No not really, that release was very specifically written with each song being inspired by one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is not something we stated anywhere at the time, and no one has ever picked up on that themselves. Pain Ouroboros was a challenge for me because the process of putting this release together was a bit different. We’ve had a LOT of demos written by Spud, Sol and myself floating around and we nearly crammed them all into a full length before we made the more intentional and deliberate decision to curate the strongest and most cohesive release. A lot of these songs were written during times of isolation so even though we could collaborate online the foundation at least was set in stone while in isolation for at least several of these songs.
Because of this I didn’t quite feel there was an overarching story in the musical narrative that flowed on with itself. It very much feels like each song has it’s own statement to make, but most importantly and the reason why we chose these five songs, is they’re the most high energy and relentless songs we had written at the time. So I kind of ran with that as kind of a grounding point for me to figure out what I wanted to write about. It happened very naturally that I reflected on a lot of world events such as the pandemic and hysteria tearing people apart and seeing them turn on one another for their views and values in a time of “survival”. I also thought a lot about protest, conflict and fighting back against oppression which ironically coincided with the events in Ukraine when we started to come to releasing this record. Like when is violence justified and when can we lose ourselves to that violence. Communion of Thorns was very personal about my own struggles with mental health and OCD but also connected to how socially people very easily turn on and condemn one another and we can start to internalise these very sadistic and masochistic narratives. Zero Sum, sounded like a Napalm Death song to me and it was originally very hard to write for. I am currently studying social work and a lot of the discussions around cost of living, inflation, capitalism and growing fears of corporatocracy were injected into that one as a very direct critique of socio-economic collapse. Lastly the odd one out, but it kind of brings it full circle is Apostate Sermon. This one at face value looks like a typical anti-religion song, but it’s really about rebuilding oneself and finding and optimistic outlook after losing one’s philosophical (mainly religious in my case) grounding. It’s kind of a call to arms to find strength, but it’s not without acknowledging you’re out on your own to find your own feet and that’s metaphysically confronting.
3. The ‘Ouroboros’ is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail, does this hold a significant meaning with the new record?
Sol came up with that title and at first I didn’t like it! It’s not to say I don’t like it as a phrase, it is fantastic. I wanted something wordier like a short sentence (and more pretentious, haha). But I mention this because Sol has a really great intuition and insight into distilling ideas down and discerning nuance and intention. I’m not sure if this is just something that came to him and he meant this as I interpret it, but it really is about devouring oneself. The collective theme is that in one way or another pain or struggle whether self-inflicted, inflicted by your fellow man or something existential and systemic is destroying us. Really it’s about the cycles of pain consuming us in various ways.
It actually worked out so well in the end and now I fucking love the title and only wish I had been able to play into it more!
4. MUNT’s sound has always been filled with blackened grind, the new single ‘THE VENGEFUL MARCH’ brings some fresh chugging riffs, what inspired this evolution?
I think Spud was really pissed off at the world when writing that song and it translates very obviously into the feeling of the song, haha. I actually wasn’t sure on this song when I first heard it because it is very high energy and several of the songs on this release feature dare I call them “breakdowns” more prominently. I think it may just have been a result on what was going on at the time and what was being listened to by members of the band! I think it feels kind of fitting for a release following the lockdowns like us barging out of the gates that held us back.
5. The video of the new track MUNT looks like you all are having a blast, what was it like working with the Grim Reflections production team?
David is fantastic honestly and it has been a pleasure working with him. He really has an eye for detail and capturing the energy of a performance. He loves to get right in there and also really loves to bounce ideas with you, ultimately making the experience even better. He’s one of those creatives who just seems to get what you’re about and be on the same wavelength and even maybe a step ahead of you as far as ideas you’d think of!
6. Tell us a little more about the meaning behind the name you chose for the lead single ‘THE VENGEFUL MARCH’.
So that song as I mentioned is about rising against oppression and the use of violence and when it is and isn’t justified. I guess there’s kind of a duality I slightly touch on with those lyrics around how what is justified can really depend on the people involved. The vengeful march as a mental image, could be those empowered to make a stand against some issue or threat. It could also be what is being seen as people fear or condemn this kind of response. The name came about as I finish this song with the lyrics (painting a mental image): “In the fever of hate, the vengeful voices cry out “the cowards must be hanged” Because I had this mental image of a crowd who have finally gotten their hands on the perpetrators or victims and are rallying to punish them whether justified or not by extreme manners.
7. The new EP features five tracks, is there one song in particular you are excited for fans to hear?
I think Apostate Sermon is my favourite song on the EP, it feels like a perfect record closer and is also a great closing statement. It’s leaning a little bit more into the “brooding vibe” I resonate with most and the lyrics alongside the music draw you in to a swirling din of miserable yet anthemic melodies. Personally, it feels like a great way to finish the record on such a high note and sets a standard I hope we follow and supersede with what comes next!
8. MUNT’s records and merch have always featured great cover art, who did you work with for the cover of ‘Pain Ouroboros’?
Stan Ivan (@art_stan_ivan) from Russia did the art for this record. It took a really fucking long time to find someone who captured the kind of vibe we wanted. Initially I wanted to use photography depicting a scene of violence, or implied violence to make a bold statement. The rest of the guys weren’t sure on the idea thematically and the effort in doing photoshoots. So instead, we decided to hunt for painters as we all decided to try something different from an illustration. Personally, I didn’t just want cool looking death metal painted artwork and had a very particular look in mind, so it wasn’t a quick decision. All of us tried for a while looking at more experimental and expressive painters and spoke to a few, but we couldn’t find someone who would deliver something exciting and expressive but also structured and illustrated. Somehow I came across Stan’s work and despite doing some painted looking “metal art” I was stunned by his violently textural and expressive brushwork. He also has an amazing sense of physical form. If you look at his work, there are many pieces that have human forms twisted and bent and warped into themselves and alongside the bleak and disgusting use of colour, I felt what I feel in some of the music for the EP.
9. MUNT has supported some great Aussie bands such as Burial Pit and King Parrot, who has been your favourite band to play with so far?
Aussie band wise? I wish I could say The Amenta as they’re one of my all-time favourite bands but they had to cancel their tour we were on the Melbourne show for due to Covid and lockdown related issues.
So as far as shows that happened I think Burial Pit are a fantastic compliment to us and that first show in Sydney in a bowling club playing in a carpeted room was just magic. We’ve played with them twice now and I expect we will many more times.
10. If you could put together a dream tour line up, living or dead, what bands would you include?
Munt, alongside The Secret, Black Sheep Wall, Weekend Nachos, Plebeian Grandstand and Vermin Womb.
Special thanks to the MUNT crew for taking the time to chat with us!
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