Issue #17 Sept. 15th - Sept. 28th, 2006

Exitium: Grind Over Matter
By: Ryk Weston

Metal musicians are no strangers to the physical endurance which its music demands. Those who play in even more extreme genres, such as black metal or death metal, will tell you without hesitation that the similiarities are much like training for the Summer Olympics. Now take metal’s most unrelenting cousin, grindcore, which is undoubtedly as fast as it gets in the metal realm. Grindcore musicians often relate playing this style of music to running a decathalon and solving algebra equations simultaneously. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Andy Beard, bassist for Norman’s own grindcore band, Exitium. “We’ve been together as a band for almost five years now, and as members, we all grew up playing really fast material. We often refer to our drummer, Brian, as a personal blast-beat machine. It just comes as a kind of a second nature. Executing the material live often presents its own challenges though. We’ve played in Houston warehouses with no air conditioning. When it’s that hot, sometimes it’s hard to keep from passing out during the really strenuous vocal parts.” Welcome to grindcore!
Exitium was formed in late 2001 with members Brian Carrigan (drums), Kirk Kirkwood (guitar), Justin Jones (vocals), Cody Stanley (guitar), and Andy Beard (bass). Like many of today’s metal greats, the band started off playing as many shows as possible from garages, basements, to tiny venues. Within time, Exitium developed into a furious machine of insane guitar riffs and blindingly fast drum patterns. By 2002, Exitium had released their first proper album, Mechanical Expressions of Purpose, which was later released by Compulsive Blasphemer Records. Their most recent effort, Outsourcing Morality, is nothing short of unmatched brutality. But it certainly wasn’t an easy road to get there...
Nobody ever said it was easy to be a grindcore band, and the stakes are even higher when you’re a grind band in Oklahoma. Chances are that most in attendance just simply don’t get it. Says Andy, “You could produce a doctoral dissertation on this phenomenan. Our music rides a really fine line between lots of different genres. We’ve played with tons of different bands, and received just as many different responses. We’re not completely brutalitor death metal, and we don’t deliver a lot of breakdowns for the “karate kids”, but we’ve never let anyone down as far as I know. We’ve always had a really crazy response from the crust-punk crowd though. Those kids have been jamming Phobia and Napalm Death for years, so I guess for them we’re like a new take on the staple they’ve always loved.”
The truth: Nobody gets rich playing this style of metal. You’re in it strictly for the cause. Even only a handful of todays leading extreme metal acts can boast of selling over a million albums, notably Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, and Morbid Angel. “Absolutely,” says Andy, “We do this style of music because it’s our style. We’ve poured time, energy, and money into what we do for years because it’s what we love, and also because a lot of people get it. Not that making a living off of grind isn’t preferable, or feasible for that matter, it’s just that we enjoy blast-beats and d-beats too much to consider alternative options.”
With Outsourcing Morality being released through Deep Send Records, Exitium is only pushing the envelope further in the grindcore scene. As for goals, Exitium sees only positive steps for their continued musical onslaught. “Right now we’re writing a new album and playing tons of shows. The new material is actually going to be a bit different from Outsourcing Morality in that we’re moving slightly away from the deathgrind sound, and in more of a true “grind” direction, if you will. The songs are still technical but with a little different structure. Tentatively, there’s also a tour in the works with our friends Catheter for the East Coast this winter. We’re playing tons of shows in the surrounding states and keeping the new stuff coming for anyone who comes to see us”, remarks Andy.

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