- Please tell us about the about the band and its members.
Unholy Baptism consists of two members, Mantus (Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals) and Moloch (Lead Guitar). Currently, the band is a studio-only project, but the band is actively seeking management and distribution in order to take our own brand of Satanic black metal on the road full-time.
Initially, the band started as a standard project. Mantus and the band’s former drummer Hate formed the band in the fall of 2008 with the intent of playing live shows and recording albums, with Moloch being added in the winter of the same year. Though the band has seen numerous lineup changes, Moloch and Mantus restarted the project in 2012 to continue driving the project forward. In 2017, Unholy Baptism released their debut album, …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss to exceptional critical review. The album was written to evoke the band’s influences of the early Norwegian scene (Burzum, Mayhem, Darkthrone, etc.) and is still available for download on the band’s Bandcamp page unholybaptism.bandcamp.com.
Unholy Baptism has returned, bringing with them new levels of songwriting and production with the beginning of a trilogy of albums, the first of which is entitled Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude, which will be releasing October 5, 2018. The album is the first installment in a trilogy the band is writing, exploring new themes and songwriting techniques. Staying true to their black metal roots, "Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude" has cemented the band's signature USBM sound while bringing a more polished production to the table.
- Who does the majority of the writing? Is it a group thing or does someone handle the writing duties?
Our writing has changed rather drastically over the last few years. In general, it is a collective effort, where the two of us will be in our practice space and bounce ideas off of each other until we hear something we like, and then explore those ideas that we resonate with. Moloch is exceptional at the guitar, so we do tend to explore his ideas a little more than mine.
We definitely start with exploring themes and concepts for the album that we’re working on. For instance, in our new album, Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude, I had a very clear concept of what I wanted the theme of the album to be. It was very important for us to have the music reflect the concept we wanted to explore. We believe that with this new album everything from the music to the lyrics to the artwork works together to tell a story, from beginning to end, and while the album can certainly stand on its own, it will also bleed into the second volume of the trilogy that we are working on.
- Where is the band based out of ? Where did you want to the band to end up? What was the dream city to have as your home base once you got out of your scene?
Currently, the band is based out of Flagstaff, AZ, which is in the mountains of northern Arizona. There is a lot of misconception around Arizona, that we only have deserts here, but where our band is based out of gets a surprising amount of snow, with pine trees everywhere. We feel like having that environment helps us to create the type of black metal we set out to create.
Ultimately, both Moloch and I are very flexible as far as where we live. I think we would have done a little bit better as far as recruiting and live shows in a bigger place. Because Flagstaff has a significant transient population due to it being a college town, the scene here is not really conducive to making a full time living in music, and we still very much have a pay-to-play culture.
- What is your genre? What bands do you use to explain to people what you sound like?
Genre can be a very slippery slope. There are a lot of bands out there that don’t like to pigeonhole themselves into a genre for fear of being typecast when they want to try new things, which I do think is understandable.
Unholy Baptism is not one of those bands. Unholy Baptism is a black metal band, and will always identify as such. We take a lot of influence from the early Norwegian scene, especially Darkthrone and Mayhem, but we also take influence from a variety of other styles of black metal, such as Marduk, Watain, Inquisition, etc. We strongly identify as a Satanic black metal band specifically and explore the themes and concepts that go along with that identification.
Both Moloch and I also have our own eclectic tastes in black metal as well, so we both bring those perspectives into the music as well. For instance, I am a huge fan of DSBM, so I bring a lot of my love for that style into our writing as well.
Can we buy anything from you Cd's shirts etc and where can we buy them?
Right now, we do not have a lot of merchandise available. Our first album, …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss, is still available for download. When we released that album, we knew that the production was lacking and we were just starting out, so we decided that we would give the album away for free in its entirety. As such, anyone can download the album on our Bandcamp page for a price of their choosing.
With the release of our new album, we have the intent of printing CDs and T-shirts, so make sure to keep an eye on our Bandcamp page for that. We are also looking into printing our first ever T-shirt as a limited edition. The best way to know when we do that will be to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or to check out our website.
- Do you have studio time lined up anything new coming soon?
Well, as mentioned, we do have a full studio album coming up, entitled Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude. We think that fans of our band, both old and new, will really appreciate the huge leap in both production and songwriting that we have brought to the table with this album. A huge amount of thought and effort went into writing and producing this album, and we feel as though everything that you hear and all the accompanying images tell a story that we have crafted meticulously.
We are doing everything through Mantus’ new studio, Black Goat Studios, which is where we recorded “…On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss.” Mantus has been learning a lot and upgrading his gear over the last year, so what began as a pet-project studio is quickly approaching a professional level.
- Have you ever been on tour? If so where and with who?
Early on in our career (2008-2010) we did play a few live shows in Flagstaff, supporting a variety of touring bands including Cattle Decapitation and Warbringer, but we have not been on tour as a band ever. Being that we don’t have a live drummer at the moment, it would be extremely difficult to put on a live show of the quality we want to bring to the table, but we are actively seeking more opportunities to bring our project into the live scene.
- What is your favorite band? Who are the bands who influenced you?
It might be a copout to say Unholy Baptism, but I am so focused right now on what we are doing that it would be a lie to say otherwise. My other favorites, and primary influences, are bands like Hellhammer, Darkthrone, Leviathan, Inquisition, and Behexen.
Outside of the various projects that I have my hands in, I am a huge fan of Inquisition, Marduk, Watain, the early Norwegian scene (Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, Emperor, Burzum). There are a lot of bands that really speak to me, and I’m finding myself more and more enjoying the DSBM genre, so bands like Psychonaut 4, Happy Days, old Bethlehem, etc. Really anything I can find in a black metal styling that speaks to me influences me in some way.
- Do you have a website? And do I have to verify that I am 18 to enter it?
Yes! www.unholybaptism.com is our homepage, open to all who dare. From this nexus you can find all of our various social media and merch sites, check up on our news feed, or contact the band.
- What about your music do you want people to remember? What is the quality you want to hit people when they hit play?
We approach creating music holistically, so we want people to be able to completely immerse themselves in the atmosphere and the story and to feel like they are there, in our heads. If we are able to transport the listener into our perspective, and allow them to contend with dark and interesting new ideas, then we have succeeded. It’s a big task, but that is the ultimate goal.
Also, we have always been very intent on creating our music where it really emphasizes the themes and concepts we went into it with. Our first album, …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss, told a story from beginning to end, but the album doesn’t really feed into our new work. We try to capture these themes, concepts and atmosphere in everything that we put out, so it’s very meticulously crafted to tell a story.
- Name a person who is integral to your band that nobody knows about , what person drives your band like they are part of the band? Who is the extra member ?
Unholy Baptism is a two person band, and it is very personal. While our style and ideas are influenced by the outside world, everything that comes out is filtered directly through the two of us and is a personal statement. I have friends and family that support me, and I appreciate them tremendously, but in the end my music is my own.
- Tell nerds like me tell us about your live rig and equipment.
I have quite a few pieces of gear that I use, due to how many instruments I play. For guitar stuff, I have an ESP LTD 401C that I’ve had for years, and I had it modded out with Seymour Duncan Black Winter pickups, running through a Legion 100W head and matching cab. As far as bass goes, which is where a lot of my musical skill was developed, I have a Spector Legend 5-string bass running through an Ampeg B2RE head and an Ampeg 4x10 cab. I also run through an MXR Bass DI+ for distortion, which is integral for the tone that I use.
I play an Ibanez Iceman, because dark, heavy music should be played on a dark, heavy guitar. My current amp is a midrange Marshall, but for recording I use a modelled 5150.
13.What is your musical guilty pleasure that you are ashamed of?
You should never feel guilt or shame about any pleasure! But I suppose, people would probably be shocked to learn that I love the band Heart.
I grew up on 80s hair bands, so periodically I will listen to bands from that era, possibly owing to a sense of nostalgia for what I grew up listening to.
14.If you could custom build a band who would be the members?
I’d love to just fill out our roster for live shows with a fantastic drummer, like Frost or Hellhammer, haha!
15.Message to the fans? What is it?
If you liked our previous work, you are going to love what we have put together in Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude. Get ready to steep yourself in some harsh, unforgiving Black Metal that will scour your mind and inflame the dark center of your being! And the Deed is done, the Journey has begun.
Volume I: The Bonds of Servitude will be out on October 5, 2018. We put an immense amount of effort into this album and we feel like it truly represents us as a band. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and check out our website. We think you all will truly appreciate the music that we have created, and we appreciate each and every one of you!