So Orcus Nullify is a wonderful project by Bruce Nullify out of South Carolina. Bruce is one of those wonderful people in this scene that is always going out of his way to help everyone else in the scene around him. So I was really excited to get this EP and really dig into it. The sound has a lot of heavy old school goth guitar riffs, I would almost call it doom metal. His voice is a deep mellow chant and his lyrics are extremely theatrical and over the top. I get how it might even ride that line too much for some, but not for this guy. I think Bruce glides the absolute razor wire of creating a dramatic picture of allegory while keeping just enough in reserve to not cross the line into cheesy. It’s a real art in this day and age to create something this involved without coming across as ironic. Where as a listener you have that question in your head but you also have to face that this is extremely well done rock music with depth and substance. The Sisters of Mercy did this, Rosetta Stone did this, and I feel like Orcus Nullify is walking the same path. I think another great strength of this EP is that Bruce is doing every voice, guitars, bass, drums, when it all comes together I think it really gives the songs a singularity which are essential to the effect he is creating.
This was a four song EP I found myself wanting more of. He covers a lot of ground artistically in just four songs. Bruce got some help from Ant Banister of Sounds Like Winter who is an incredible song writer in his own right. He really smoothed out some of the edges and added in some drums beats that give motion to the tracks and make it feel more modern. Leonia Teaneck did the lyrics for Death Hag and Rose Veneer which are two of the strongest tracks. I don’t know any of her work but the lyrics here are truly unique and wonderful. “Drags her fingers through the leaves, and in the night, the veil is lifted.” This EP is full of power and vulnerability at the same time. It’s a memorizing combination.
Since it is a 4 song EP the best tracks could be any of them, but I will narrow it to two.
Rose Veneer – This is the quintessential bomb track and single. Powerful driving drum intro. Textured guitars that have a very old school Alien Sex Fiend British goth feel. When Bruce comes in with those winding thick vocals describing a crawling graveyard culmination of life and death. It really optimizes what Orcus Nullify does so well. It keeps you guessing as to how serious this is and leaves you as a listener questioning your own perceptions.
The Wind – Here things kick up a notch, a slashing static whip of guitar undercut by a driving Peter Hook bass line. Bruce’s vocals again are a chant in an off kilter rhythm that captures your attention. Then the chorus jumps up an octave in a traditional Cult like rock ballad. I love the dynamics here.
Overall this EP is a brave and fresh challenge to the so much cooler than thou feel of modern post punk and goth and I found myself falling in love with it’s unabashed extreme darkness with a standard rock feel. This is an album that needs more appreciation and attention.
Interview with Orcus Nullify:
(Ken) This record was a real joy to hear for it’s poetic and dramatic lyrics. Tell me about your inspiration for writing them and tell me about who Leonia Teaneck that helped write them?
(Bruce) I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity, torture and anger and hate… I believe in murder. I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink and every crawling, putrid thing… every possible ugliness and corruption. This is what inspires Bruce Nullify. I believe I may have heard this before. Leonia Teaneck wrote two poems from which Death Hag and Rose Veneer were adapted. Like 99.9% her. They are about the impermanence of youth and inevitability of decay. She’s my wife, soul mate, muse and all around everything.
You do all these instruments yourself beyond the drum tracks, tell me does that make your process easier or harder? How do you go about crafting these songs using all those different parts?
I think easier. Not to say that I couldn’t benefit from having other creative individuals to collaborate with. But the upshot is that I don’t have any problems with infighting, egos, making it to practice, money…
The process usually start with the bass line and a tempo. I may already have some lyrics written. But it usually comes together as a 90 second, amorphous, half song. A premature headless baby of a song. With the parts all jelly like and cold. Then after many, many iterations it coagulates. Hopefully into a beautiful baby brother. That’s perfect in every way. I think I heard that somewhere else before too.
I hear a lot of old school goth and metal in your songs, tell me about there scene you grew up with and how you found this style of music?
I was a teen back in the eighties. I lived in Melbourne Florida, then a mid-sized beach/redneck town. Fortunately, it had a small alternative music scene. Mostly the scene was fueled by the local college. They had an outstanding radio station. They played all the good stuff from Minor Threat to Depeche Mode. But they also played local music too. There were some great local acts. One act of notoriety was “Disorderly Conduct”. It was fronted by Casey Chaos. He later played bass for Christian Death, fronted Amen…
I was fifteen when there was a announcement at a local hardcore show. The opening band needed a bass player. That was the start for me. I auditioned and got into BONG. Go ahead and laugh now. BONG actually stood for Birth of a New Generation. We opened for most of the hardcore bands coming through. Bands like 7 Seconds, Agnostic Front and Gang Green. All tiny venues, loud music, interesting company and an occasional cop or two showing up.
People play music for lots of reason, Artists who play to tell a story, Musicians who have a sound they need to find, performers who need to feel the energy of those they are playing for. What lead you to playing music? What do you play for?
I remember hearing Bela Lugosi is Dead on the radio when I was a kid. It gave me the feeling like I walked into a crypt. The hairs stood up on my neck. Hearing David Jay plucking out that gut thumping bass line. That’s probably what did it. My hope in making music is to draw out a feeling, set an atmosphere. The song writing process always does that for me. I get that as a benefit too.
As a primarily solo artist, if you could recruit any musician living or dead to play with you on your next album who would it be and why?
David Bowie. He was one of the true originators of alternative culture and music.
You do a lot to support the scene, I see you sharing and talking about other musicians all the time. Who is a new band that inspires you, and how do you feel the dark music scene is different than it was 15 years ago?
Sounds Like Winter has been a huge inspiration to me. Their sound pulled me in about two years ago. They have a finely honed dark quality about their music. There’s a gravity to it as well. It will give you an ear worm that you won’t soon get rid of. Ant Banister is golden!
Alternative music 15 years back often was programming driven. EBM and Aggrotech were big. It seems like the pendulum is swinging back the other way now. It seems like more and more new bands are using traditional means. Just a composition of vocals, strings, drums and maybe some keys.
This is a question I always ask for my gear head readers, what is a piece of equipment you absolutely couldn’t have made this album without?
My Ibanez Roadstar 2 bass. It’s mostly what I pick up when I write a tune. I have several basses, but this one in particular I’ve had since I was a teen. It still plays great.
What is your hope for the future of your music? What do you want to accomplish as an artist by the end of 2019?
Hopefully, inspiration and new songs. If I could get Leonia practicing her bass skills then there may be chance at playing a gig or two.
If you were at the crossroads and a demon offered you anything to sell your soul and music what would you want in return?
The ability to raise the dead.
Last Question I brought in Victor Sevilliano of Eterna Obscuridad Radio a big fan of Orcus Nullify. Check them here.
(Victor) What is the ideal state for Orcus Nullify in the future? Do you see music changing for you with your next release?
I’m confident that Orcus Nullify is better for having Ant Banister and Leonia Teaneck involved. Which is a relatively recent development. I’d be happy to see this continue. But the future is unwritten. There’s no planned changes. But I’m always trying to improve my work. Dark nature seems to be my thing. So you can count on that much staying the same.
Band: Orcus Nulify Album: Death Hag Label: Self release Members: Bruce Nullify – Vocals, Guitar, Bass/Leonia Teaneck – Lyrics on Death Hag and Rose Veneer/
Drum tracks, mixing, mastering and all around big help Ant Banister of Sounds Like Winter and Lunar Module.