Interview: Jeremy Turner of Unmerciful
Wrath Encompassed is your third full length, but your first with Willowtip Records. How did you end up moving from Unique Leader to your new label home?
Ravenous Impulse was our last album under the Unique Leader contract. We wanted to work with another label, and we had heard nothing but good things about Jason and Willowtip. Everything seems pretty smooth and professional so far.
What is different about this album than your previously released material?
With “Unmercifully Beaten,” Clint and James (King) wrote all but 2 songs, which I wrote ("Mass Execution" and "Seething Darkness"). James’ drum style was really straight forward and relentless. With Ravenous Impulse, there had been a 10 year gap between albums. Clint, Justin and James had written most of that material as well. The song “Unmerciful,” was a collaboration between Clint, Justin and I, and I wrote the album closer instrumental on the album “Methodic Absolution.” We had John Longstreth record the drums for the album, which added another element to it as well.
With “Wrath Encompassed,” Clint wrote 4 of the songs, I wrote 3, and Justin wrote 2. We all have a different style of writing, so we fee there is more of a variance between the songs this time around. Trynt’s drumming is kind of a cross between the aforementioned drummers, as well as bringing his own style to the table.
What are you most looking forward to with the release of Wrath Encompassed?
We are hoping to reach more people, get on bigger and better tours, and play live for all of our fans, new and old.
The band has been through a number of member changes over the past few years. As far as songwriting, does each member contribute?
Different members have contributed to songwriting throughout the years.
Lyrically, what are some themes and messages throughout Wrath Encompassed?
With this album, we have served into things such as the detestfulness of the human psyche, and the different aspects of that, as well as the imminent self inflicted human demise.
Who handled the album artwork and what is it depicting exactly?
Santiago Francisco Jaramillo handled the artwork for the new album. He’s and incredible artist from Ecuador. The artwork depicts what we feel is the embodiment of wrath. We decided to go with a black and gray theme with this album, as we wanted this album to have a darker feel to it.
Last album Jong Longstreth was on drums, a little Origin reunion if you will, was that never meant to last for more than one album?
John helped us out of a what would’ve been bad situation with the abrupt departure of James King. It was just recording drums for our album. He actually went with us on a short tour we did in 2016 in support of the album as well. The whole experience with John was very cool.
How were Trynt Kelly and Joshua Riley found?
Trynt Kelly was in another KC band MARASMUS. We had heard him play, but didn’t really think about having him join our band since he was already in one. We started talking about having him handle live duties for us, and it just grew from there. Trynt is an absolute monster on the drums, and a great guy to have in a band, so it was a no brainer.
With Josh, our former vocalist was unable to do a show from an emergency appendectomy, so we decided to have various people do a song with us during our set. Josh killed it on a song, and we remembered that when it was time to look for a new vocalist. The vocals in UNMERCIFUL are actually very hard to pull off correctly. It’s mostly rhythmic, but sometimes follows the guitar riffs as opposed to the drums, while still being in time. Josh is also a guitarist, and his sense of timing is great. I think our current lineup is our strongest yet.
Coastal people like myself like to pretend it’s not possible that anything happens in the middle of the country. Prove me wrong, what is the local metal scene like in Kansas?
The KC metal scene is actually really damn good! We’ve had some raging shows in KC, and we all know each other, so it’s a pretty tight knit metal community. Bands like TROGLODYTE, TORN THE FUCK APART, GOURMAND, KOHNERAH, ATHME, and plenty more!
What does the future hold? Will we see tours or just one offs, fly in shows?
We definitely want to tour. We want to tour everywhere. Bigger and better tours. There are a lot of people we have met and befriended over the years that we’d love to see, hang out with and play for again!
Has COVID-19 derailed any plans for Unmerciful?
Yes, we had a tour planned that we’ve had to “postpone.” We are currently working on others that we hope to have actually materialize, and not cancel.