It has been a rather long while since I last heard a release as intense as Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire’s recent EP release, Visceral. Blending elements ranging from the most blasphemous war metal to classic grindcore, CTTTOAFF has created a sound that is at once crushing and intense. We talk to the band to find out more.
HMT: Greetings CTTTOAFF! The band’s name is certainly a mouthful, before we begin the interview proper, would it be possible to give us a brief history of the band? How did the band finally settle on the band name?
We met each other through the local music scene. By just playing shows with each other’s bands and what not. We settled on the band name because we would not agree on anything else. It was supposed to be temporary.
Are there any particular meanings behind the band’s name, and if so, can you tell us more about it?
It comes from the idea of holding on to something completely hopeless and ruined.
The band’s latest EP, Visceral presents a sound ranging from grindcore to old school death metal to a more bestial form black/death metal. How did the band’s current sound come about?
We try to create a melting pot of different heavy styles of music because it is difficult for us to pick just one .
From the past 2 full length albums to the Visceral EP, there is a noticeable increased intensity, heaviness and also darkness in the music, especially in the suffocating atmosphere that is present throughout Visceral. Was this a conscious progression on the part of the band from release to release?
I think that we just got better at expressing our ideas as we got older. We don’t generally sit down and talk about writing anything specific. It just happens organically. I can say that the way that Visceral came out, as well as the songs we put out on our split 12” LP with Nesseria are in our opinion the best material we have ever written and the closest to the sound that we have wanted to achieve.
On top of the crushing atmosphere, the riffs are also heavy as fuck, with the band often alternating between fast sections and painfully slow, doomish sections like on Lower than Life, High as the Sky. What was the songwriting process like for Visceral?
Usually we will all write riffs for before coming to practice and then we put them through our filter. Songs never really become finalized until we all have a chance to jam on them and give our input.
For the most part of the album, the songs on Visceral are of rather short run times, especially Garbage and Special Education that have a heavy grindcore feel to them. However, closing track Asthmatic provides a different sound and feel to the release. Was writing the track any different from the rest of the tracks on the release? How did this track come about, filling more than one-third of the total run time of Visceral?
Asthmatic was written and arranged the same way the rest of the songs were. There was no special reason that track is longer than the others. It just kind of happened. I actually didn’t notice how much longer it was than the other tracks until you pointed it out HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
When one closes his eyes while listening to Visceral, one can almost visualize a scene of destruction and hopeless chaos through the music. What was the band’s initial vision before actually sitting down to write Visceral, or did the writing of songs on Visceral happen spontaneously?
Well, I (Ethan) write lyrics and riffs all of the time and they are usually centered around dark and disturbing inner thoughts/feelings so I guess everything was spontaneous other than the mood we were trying to create. The songs are all arranged as a group and they just come out in a way that we think is best.
The themes on Visceral seem to bear a strong hatred for mankind, with song titles like Garbage and Special Education. Would it be possible to elaborate more about the lyrical themes on Visceral?
Garbage is about Denver’s passive attitude towards Neo Nazi’s in the metal scene. It’s also about how I fucked a white supremacist’s girlfriend and felt dirty about it after it was over. Special Education is about being a special education teacher.
Where does the band draw such deep disdain for mankind, and why channel it through the band’s music?
The world is a cold, and hard place, that is full of piece of shit people and we all have had some hard times in our life so the music reflects that. We channel it through our music because it is the most positive outlet you can find. The alternative would be total violence towards our enemies and none of us really want to end up in prison.
The band is currently a three piece, after Ben’s departure in 2010. Has this in any way affected the band’s writing of new material, and if so, how has it affected the band’s dynamics?
It hasn’t effected writing new material at all. It has actually been easier because that is one less person with ideas that we have to incorporate. It has been very cohesive. Plus he was not that much into the direction that we were going on SOIHAD so it was best for both parties when he decided not to continue on with us.
CTTTOAFF’s latest release is the split with Nesseria. How did this collaboration come about, and why release material in the form of a split?
Throatruiner records approached us about doing a split with Nesseria and we were really excited about it. We were already fans of their previous full length so we were thrilled when they agreed to do the split with us.
Since the inception in 2005, CTTTOAFF has had numerous releases. How, in your opinion, has the band grown over the years as individual musicians and as an entity?
I think that we have gotten better at communicating our ideas with one another. As well as better at our instruments in general. We are kind of a well oiled machine when it comes to touring and getting things done.
We have come to the end of the interview, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!
Thank you very much for reaching out and giving us the opportunity!
Album Review: Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire – Visceral