-- Serial Butcher gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
As a sort of early Christmas party I went to the Roadhouse rock and blues bar in Ronse on December 23, 2016 to go and see the fun grindcore/death metal trio by the name of Steengruis, Serial Butcher and Putrid Inbred. And it was Serial Butcher that got crossed off the Metal Shredder's list that night.

Kurt, Kenneth and me sat together after the show to talk about their latest album Brute Force Lobotomy and its inclusion in Troma Entertainment's upcoming flick, their participation in the A-Box-Sized-Die art project and the beautifully macabre artwork created by Tony Koehl. Enjoy the meal, folks!

BMS: Hi Kurt and Kenneth. How did 2016 go for Serial Butcher?
Kurt: Overall it was a calm year for Serial Butcher. We had few shows in 2016 but next year promises to be much busier. We've got plenty of gigs scheduled for 2017.
BMS: How come you did so little shows this year?
Kenneth: The main reason was because our former bassist Koen Van Goethem left right after we released our second full length Brute Force Lobotomy in fall 2015. So we had to look for a new bass player which we eventually found in Koen Verstraete. He quickly learned his bass lines and we're very happy to have him in the band. And now we're back in full flesh cutting force!

Serial Butcher from left to right: Kurt Termonia (vocals), Nico Veroeven (drums), Kenneth Keysers (guitar) and Koen Verstraete (bass).
BMS: Speaking about Brute Force Lobotomy, how's the overall feedback been for the album?
Kenneth: I'd say the album was received very positively, especially on the other side of the Atlantic! This is mainly because our label, Unique Leader Records, has its main market in America and therefore they promoted our album a lot more in their home country than here in Europe.

Kurt: But we can't complain about our European fanbase either. Tonight's show was awesome and the crowd went home happy.
BMS: Yeah, I saw you were wild and energetic on stage all the time.
Kurt: I sure was! You know, I may look like a calm and collective guy at first but as soon as I get on stage and those first bone crushing death metal notes start playing, I become a grunting, screaming, headbanging, howling metal machine of death!

Kenneth: Personally I believe that when people go see a metal band, they don't just come for the music, they come for the atmosphere! And when they see a band that not only plays their music but also genuinely enjoys it just as much as their fans do it becomes a fucking party for everyone!

BMS: One thing I love about your albums is their artwork! It's gory and stylish, realistic and cartoony. Tell me something about it.
Kenneth: The artwork was made by Tony Koehl, founder of Sketch The Soul Studios and who is known for contributing his creativity to movie franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean and who has already drawn cover art for over 100 extreme metal albums including both of our full-length studio releases.

Kenneth: We give Tony a few song titles for the album and then he just lets his imagination go wild! He combines hand-drawn images with digitally imposed photographs. For instance, a friend of Tony's posed as the mutilated corpse you see on the cover of our latest album, Brute Force Lobotomy and the saws, hammers and knives on the cover art are also photographs of real objects.

Kurt: And that's how you end up with this combination of realistic torture and cartoon violence as you mentioned before, Stijn.

BMS: Very interesting. Are there any countries you would like to play?
Kurt: We would prefer to do some local touring around Western Europe. The thing is some of our guys have a wife and children to support so we won't be forcing anyone to go on tour for many weeks on end.

Kenneth: The main issue when you want to organize a tour is that everyone in the band has to be capable and willing to spend an equally amount of time away from home. We just take as many shows as we can and see how things will evolve in the following years.
BMS: What are your other activities aside from Serial Butcher?
Kurt: Aside from my job I dedicate most of my spare time to Serial Butcher. This year I also worked together with Kat from the music bar Elpee in Deinze to help her renovate the bar. The Elpee will reopen in January 2017 with a new, bigger concert stage and there will be plenty of bands playing there next year including Putrid Inbred and us!

Kenneth: Aside from Serial Butcher I also play drums for the comedic grindcore band Steengruis and I play bass for the death metal grindcore hybrid Moker. I've got a degree in sound engineering and that helps save money as we can do some of the recording work at my home.

BMS: I'm very impressed that you're able to fluently play three very different instruments.
Kenneth: Thanks! My musical career began when I was 15 years old and started playing guitar and thus formed a high school metal band. I began drums as a replacement for the old-school hardcore band Time Out. I recall a Time Out gig I visited with a friend of mine and at the end of the show the band's singer said they were looking for a new drummer. I joked at my friend that I should become their new drummer. I had my friend's drum kit at home and I played on it on those few occasions when I was tired of playing guitar. So I auditioned to become Time Out's next drummer. Shortly after that Time Out gig I received a call from the band to invite me over to rehearse with them and so I became a drummer as well. And my introduction to bass is a similar story, I like to play multiple instruments.

Kurt: Our drummer Nico is also a guitarist. So we've got two drumming guitarists in the band and together they work on our songs' drum and guitar lines. For Brute Force Lobotomy Nico and Kenneth shared the writing duties for the album's main riffs.
BMS: How has Serial Butcher evolved over the years?
Kurt: Although Serial Butcher has been a death metal band since the beginning our music has become more technical over time. I found out that the longer you've been part of a music act, the more demanding you become of your own performance both on stage and on record. It's the constant desire to improve your craft and in our case, we want to show how deep and artistic death metal can be. And I've got to say that we've got several fans who dig our sound despite having little interest in the death metal subgenre at all.
BMS: Well, I don't listen to much death metal either but your band manages to sound both brutal and melodic and that's what I'm looking for in extreme music acts.
Kenneth: Serial Butcher's sound is inspired by various bands. Personally, I take some cues from the American death metal band Monstrosity while Nico has more classic heavy metal influences such as King Diamond and Racer X. However, we both share a mutual love for Anthrax and their signature pulse pounding riffs sporadically make an appearance in our sound.

Kurt: I'm a huge grindcore fan and although Serial Butcher isn't a grindcore band per se I feel my vocal style fits very well with this band.

BMS: Share with me some of your best memories with Serial Butcher.
Kenneth: Our show in London with Deicide was a huge moment in our career. But we particularly have fond memories of our participation in the worldwide art project A Box-Sized Die created by Portuguese artist Joao Onofre. He created a sound and oxygen proof measured 5 ft 10 (1,5 m) on all sides wherein a death metal act had to perform for as long as possible. The box wasn't monitored at all so the band who was inside had to decide for themselves how long they would be staying in there. In 2013 the box was placed in Aalst and we managed to play in it for nearly 25 minutes straight.

Kurt: According to Joao we were one of the longest performing bands in that box!
BMS: An awesome feat given the fact that your style of music is very physically demanding! Is there anything else you wish to tell me before we all go home?
Kenneth: I'm proud to announce that some tracks from our Brute Force Lobotomy album will be included in the soundtrack for the upcoming B-horror movie Return To Nuke'Em High Volume 2 from Troma Entertainment. The studio is best known for the Toxic Avenger series and the infamous Tromeo and Juliet film. We're huge fans of Lloyd Kaufman's work and are beyond grateful that our grunts and shreds will be in his newest film.

Kurt: I'm thankful for every moment I've spent with Serial Butcher thus far. Every time we go out and play we meet new people and our fanbase grows further as a result. I look forward to our next show already!
BMS: So do I. See you soon!

Serial Butcher - Flayed Human Skin