Like pretty much every other local group of musicians, Missoula deathcore legends Walking Corpse Syndrome had a rough go of things during the pandemic.
“The pandemic really derailed our plans,” said Matthew Bile, who plays guitar in WCS and is one of its two original founders. “We had just released (our last single) Open Wound when everything got shut down. We had planned out a huge promo campaign followed by touring and then ‘poof!’ - It all went away. So we took the opportunity to really focus on our songwriting.”
“We could individually focus on improving our musicianship and tech skills,” agreed Tana Starkey, WCS’ lead guitarist. “We worked on writing new material. One problem we faced was that we all grew somewhat apart and were focused on our own stuff. Coming back together was a challenge - getting us all pushing in the same direction again. Those times were stressful for each of us personally, and as a band generally.”
“Not knowing if or when the pandemic was going to lift (was really hard),” lamented Leif Winterrowd, WCS’ vocalist. “A lot of venues straight up just closed down. It left so much uncertainty with everything, even my motivation went down because I was like, 'What’s the point? Are we going to WW3? Is it gonna be like the Book Of Eli? Am I gonna have to eat the dog to survive?' I still wrote a lot, but I wasn’t sure if it would ever see a microphone.”
Luckily for all of us, Walking Corpse Syndrome pushed through and have crafted a new batch of songs that did eventually see a microphone - and a recording studio. They’ve developed a new EP they plan to release in 2023, starting with the first single, Threat, which was released on March 24.
As the de facto manager for WCS, Matthew is especially excited for the upcoming releases. “We recorded this latest EP with Gabe Mangold from Enterprise Earth (an internationally-known deathcore band out of Spokane, WA), and the latest tracks sound so fucking good and brutal! Threat is the first single to come out... and then after that we’re planning to release two more singles before dropping the EP.”
“Working with Gabe really influenced us to take a look at how we structure songs,” added Nocktis, the other founding member of WCS and one of its two percussionists. “Let the really catching parts have the spotlight and cut the unnecessary stuff out. We love the parts we write but to make a song great we had to learn how to be okay with cutting parts that we really loved as they didn't make the song better.”
Walking Corpse Syndrome has made strides in recent years to differentiate themselves from the crowded deathcore scene when it comes to their songwriting, and it sounds like this EP takes their efforts to the next level.
“I’m always pushing to go a little faster, a little proggy-er,” Tana said. “I also wanted to write using minimal riffs and changing how that riff is presented to get the most out of it. My example being This Love by Pantera; they use the same riff 3 times in 3 different tempos – cool effect!! So, (our song) Obliterated by Design is in this vein – only a few riffs that change just a little here & there to make the song unique.”
“With every new song, we push ourselves to write more interesting and overall better and better songs,” said Nocktis. “This new material has more technical drum parts that are extremely challenging.”
“One of the biggest challenges is to know when a song is done,” Nocktis continued. “This band is full of very creative people and we could modify/change/rebuild a song for months and still have that ‘what if we try this’ feeling.”
“We learned from Gabe that we don’t need to fuss every detail,” Tana added. “The studio can work out lots of those specifics, (and help) get what’s in our heads to come out in the song.”
In contrast to many of their prior albums, WCS recorded their new EP right here in Missoula, allowing them to enjoy a focused and comfortable recording process, which is reflected in the intensity and precision of the songs.
“Threat is a huge step up from anything we've ever done,” Nocktis said. “Gabe not only did an outstanding job on this EP but he really helped us look at our songs from a different angle. This recording process felt more like a collaboration and it really allowed us to make sure every part of every song fit perfectly.
“(It’s) a new level for us,” said Matthew. “It features the first (clean) singing from Leif. It’s catchy as fuck.”
“We haven’t had that before,” added Tana. “And the beginning is very anthemic. And I get to sing too now!”
“I took a piece of advice from Gabe on this one,” Leif said. “I just kind of sat back and, as he put it, ‘sometimes you just gotta shut the fuck up’. And he is 100% right. Huge thank you to Gabe for making this the best sound we’ve ever put out . Dude is a true master at his craft.”
Keep an eye on Walking Corpse Syndrome’s social media for more info on their upcoming releases! The brand new video for Threat is now available on Youtube - you can watch it at the link below: