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Death Metal, Texas Style: An Exclusive Interview With COLESON COWDEN Of DESECRATE THE FAITH

By The Hermanator, Contributor
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 @ 11:21 AM

"It was a great feeling being accepted into the community as friends and brothers, and earning the respect of our peers who appreciate our musical vision."

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Texas has long had a history of underground bands that made a mark in the music scene. In the 80’s, Texas produced a number of punk bands that became leaders in the music scene. THE DICKS, the BIG BOYS, REVOLTING COCKS and BUTTHOLE SURFERS made headway into making the club scene an important part of the music community. In today’s scene, the music has transitioned into a culture based on the “Death Metal” bands and their music. Bands like INTERMENT from Dallas, ID from Austin, and SPECTRAL MANIFEST from Houston are creating music that is in your face, brutal and fairly intricate. These bands have become part of what is known in Texas as the Texas Death Metal Scene or TXDM in short.

One such band that has taken the scene by storm is Houston’s own DESECRATE THE FAITH. The band first got its start in 2012 when Mike Caputo on drums, Johnathan Bayliss on guitars, Coleson Cowden on bass and Joe Banks on vocals got together to bring some music to the scene that was musically complicated and also blasphemous in its lyrical content.

The band quickly became a leader of the Houston TXDM and other bands and venues quickly would approach them for local and touring shows. In 2013 the band made a few changes. Joe Banks left the band and John Hull of SADISTIC BUTCHERING took over the vocal chores. The band also added Tyler Shiery on Rhythm guitars. The band produced their first CD,Disfigured Arrangement, in 2014. The band kept on working and touring Texas, the United States and eventually Europe. This hard work ethic led the band to write material for the follow up album. The band again took it’s time but produced a follow up that was more brutal and intricate in its style then the first. Intensity seems to come easy.

So when they were approached and signed to a music label, few were surprised. The music and its lyrics are not for those with a thin skin. The music comes at you hard and heavy and to some might be a little extreme with its subject matter. But for those who know this band, know they wear their beliefs on their sleeves and play and speak their minds exactly how they feel. Few will think of the band as strictly an underground band. This is one band that is ready to explode on the metal scene. Recently I managed to get some questions in to Coleson Cowden. The following is our conversation on the status of the band.

KNAC.COM: Who is all in the band, and what style of music do you guys play?

COWDEN: We are a 5-piece Death Metal band from Houston, Texas featuring John Hull on lead vocals, Jonathan Bayliss and Tyler Shiery on guitars, myself (Coleson Cowden) on bass guitar/backup vocals and Michael Caputo on drums. Our style has evolved over the years to include blackened, technical and slamming elements. One might say we are a Blackened Brutal Slamming Technical Death Metal band!

KNAC.COM: How did you guys meet, and how long have you guys been playing together?

COWDEN: Early in 2012, Bayliss was searching for a drummer to start a project with. He met someone through Craigslist who happened to be Mike’s neighbor, who would go on to recommend Mike. In March of 2012, I discovered DESECRATE THE FAITH through a Craigslist post looking for a bass player, and joined after a brief audition. Roughly a year later we decided to bring in a second guitar player, and after hosting auditions selected Tyler, who had recently moved to Houston from San Diego. We knew John Hull from his work with UNCLEANSED and SADISTIC BUTCHERING (with whom we had the pleasure of sharing the stage with during our very first performance), and added him to the band also after auditioning some very qualified candidates. Shortly after this lineup was complete, we began putting together tracks for our first studio album, Disfigured Arrangement.

KNAC.COM: You’ve earned a reputation quickly amongst the Texas Death Metal scene, which has put you guys into the spotlight. What sets this band apart from others?

COWDEN: Our dedication to practice and rehearsal has allowed us to succeed where many other bands would fail. For many years we have managed to host full band practice twice weekly, often times more for string section practice or when preparing for shows/tours. Anyone who has been in a band can attest to the difficulty of getting five band members together for practice twice a week! With enough practice, we are able to overcome many issues that typically plague bands.

KNAC.COM: Speaking on the TXDM scene, how has it affected you, and also how has it elevated the band being a part of it?

COWDEN: It is humbling to be a part of the TXDM music scene, where fans display true dedication not found in many other music genres! We were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ossuary Industries to release our first record, and become great friends with Brian Ferrell and Dacando Casey – two true TXDM Hall of Famers. It was a great feeling being accepted into the community as friends and brothers, and earning the respect of our peers who appreciate our musical vision. We have since performed at many festivals as the only band from Texas in the lineup, and we are proud to fly the TXDM banner!

KNAC.COM: You are about to release Unholy Infestation. Describe how the album was put together musically, and how does the band feel about the finished product?

COWDEN: All of the guitar riffs were composed by Bayliss, Shiery and Caputo, with some contributions by me. The vocals were written by John Hull, and I composed the basslines and performed backup vocals on Unholy Infestation. We all have a wide range of musical influences that contributed to some unique approaches to composition. When we began to hear it come together in the studio early in the tracking process it was an amazing moment. We are proud to be able to present what is a very polished record in Unholy Infestation!

KNAC.COM: The production level of the record, as well as the craftsmanship is incredible. Who all was a part of the process of making the record come alive, and how was the experience?

COWDEN: Our experience with Origin Sound Production and Southwing Audio was absolutely top notch! Craig Douglas was the central figure in the production and mixing of our album. He was always happy to share his wealth of knowledge and applied it with great effectiveness. Chris Kritikos and Mark Lopez handled the majority of the tracking process and made the experience relaxed and easy, while still coaching us to our best performances. We spent many hours together as a band with the sound engineers working to shape our record into the product it has become.

KNAC.COM: You’ve been playing big events alongside bigger named bands for a while now, as well as toured both here in the U.S. as well as in Europe. How has this benefited the band, and how was the experiences you guys had traveling and living the life of a hardworking, successful death metal band?

COWDEN: Touring always provides the opportunity to meet new fans who go on to become die hard supporters of the band, sell merchandise, make new contacts in the music industry, but most importantly we get to do what we love together as a band and bring our music to new audiences. Our tour in Europe provided us with the biggest opportunity yet to do this, and it was a huge success thanks to Vladimir Prokos. Fortunately, we have discovered that we can survive each other on the road for a couple of weeks!

KNAC.COM: How did the deal with Comatose Music come into play, what’s the band’s thoughts on the signing and how do you think it will benefit the growth of the band?

COWDEN: Bayliss traveled to Chicago to attend Chicago Domination Fest in 2016, where he met Steve Green, Owner/Operator of Comatose Music, a well-respected record label specializing in Death Metal. Upon listening to a demo containing new tracks, Steve offered the band a contract for Unholy Infestation. We are thrilled to be partnered with a record label that provides their bands such a wide range of services. Publishing, promotion, and the carefully coordinated release of several singles from the record were handled with extreme attention to detail. Our public footprint has grown significantly since our partnership with Steve and Comatose Music and we are certain that it will continue moving forward.

KNAC.COM: As the band continues to grow rapidly, how do you feel about the success you’ve received so far, and do you think it will help the local scene in any way seeing a band rise to the occasion and making their dreams come true?

COWDEN: We are fortunate to have enjoyed many successes, but they certainly did not come without paying our dues, and spending countless hours in the practice space. A passion for music performance and a good work ethic can be a vehicle to success. Watching bands like OCEANS OF SLUMBER work hard and produce quality, innovative music provided us with a model for success that we hope to be for others going forward.

KNAC.COM: Comatose Music is a leading record label amongst the death metal scene across the globe. How do you feel this opportunity will benefit the band, and the future endeavors you will feast upon?

COWDEN: Comatose Music has worked hard to bring Unholy Infestation to an international audience, and the singles released have been well received. In the months following the release, we hope to continue enjoying the success of our partnership.

KNAC.COM: Is there anything else you’d like to close with in regards to this release?

COWDEN: A very special thanks to our friends, family and the TXDM community for the support we have received since the inception of DESECRATE THE FAITH! Be on the lookout for Unholy Infestation, worldwide release March 4! Be prepared to catch the band live on tour after the CD release show.

Catch them on the road in a city near you.

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