EMPIRE STATE BASTARD has signed with Roadrunner Records. Founded by Simon Neil (BIFFY CLYRO) and Mike Vennart (BIFFY CLYRO live guitarist and solo artist, ex-OCEANSIZE), the grindcore extreme metal band also features the legendary Dave Lombardo (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, MR. BUNGLE) on drums, with Naomi Macleod (BITCH FALCON) rounding out the live lineup on bass.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD‘s first single, “Harvest”, will be released worldwide on March 24.
The idea behind EMPIRE STATE BASTARD emerged when Simon and Mike would spend downtime on tour sitting at the back of the bus sharing the heaviest, most avant-garde or the most sickeningly confrontational music they could find. When thoughts turned to making their own sonic wasteland, Simon already had the band name in mind, leaving Mike with a particularly grotesque challenge: what music could he write that would live up to the name?
It took around a decade to find both the time and ferocity to make it happen. With Mike writing the songs and recording all guitars, and Simon focused on vocals and lyrics, they eventually emerged with a collection of songs which adventurously probes almost every dark crevice imaginable from the myriad sounds of metal and genre-adjacent extremity.
EMPIRE STATE BASTARD‘s terrifying tourist trail visits slamming hardcore in the vein of SIEGE; frenetic, visceral thrash in SLAYER‘s ballpark; the claustrophobic sludge of MELVINS; the freeform vocal dexterity of Mike Patton; and the gargantuan stoner riffs of SLEEP. It’s a band that’s rooted in the tradition of metal’s forefathers, but informed by more recent waves of leftfield aggression.
Up next, EMPIRE STATE BASTARD is slated for a run of sold-out U.K. shows later this month, with festival sets confirmed for this spring and summer at U.K.’s Download (June 9),France’s Hellfest (June 18),U.K.’s 2000trees (July 7) and U.K.’s ArcTanGent (August 17).
Neil previously told NME that working on other projects, including EMPIRE STATE BASTARD, got him “through not touring — just knowing I can spend the year making new music.”
He added: “I like putting myself in these positions where I’m like, ‘I should never be doing this, so this is what I’m going to do.’ I don’t just want to do the same shit. Every time between records, I want to do something that’s fucked up and off the wall. It brings me back to BIFFY, and I’m more in love with it now than I’ve ever been.”
Lombardo, who has spent most of the recent years between crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS, hardcore super-group DEAD CROSS and MR. BUNGLE, was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the group’s Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other bandmembers. He was later replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER‘s drummer from 1992 until 2001.
Lombardo rejoined TESTAMENT last year.