Cadaver – Returning to SplatterTuesday, 2nd June 2020
Originally coming into existence in the late 1980s, Cadaver released some material in the early ‘90s before the band ultimately folded. But it was briefly resurrected around the turn of the century (for part of the period as Cadaver Inc.) but again vanished for over a decade. But the band is back once again, and this time in a more solidified way, with Anders Odden joining forces with Megadeth’s Dirk Verbeuren to carry the torch for old school death metal glory. The band recently released a short EP called D.G.A.F. and has plans to release a full-length later this year. We spoke with Odden about getting the band back together, a look back at Cadaver’s past (and ahead to the future), and his thoughts about metal over the years.
Dead Rhetoric: What made you decide to bring the band back together a few years back?
Anders Odden: It basically had to do with meeting Dirk Verbeuren at 70,000 Tons of Metal Festival. He was filling in for Frost in Satyricon, in which I play bass. He learned 16 songs in a few days, which was quite impressive. I realized he was an old school death metal fan, particularly of old Cadaver. At the time, I had been recording, and programming the drums, for some new stuff that I thought had the Cadaver riffing in it. He really wanted to contribute, so I sent him a bunch of riffs and files and things, and he came back to me with insane drums. I was like, “Wow, this guy really fucking delivers!” So we talked again and we recorded 10 demos within a month or so. We realized that we had something.
In 2016, just before he joined Megadeth, he was in Norway and we jammed together and recorded a few songs in my studio. We realized that we really needed to do this. Fast forward to three years later, we had enough songs and ideas together to meet again in the studio in LA, where he lives. We recorded an EP and a full-length, altogether it was 13 songs. It’s been a hell of a ride from just sitting and talking about it, to starting to release things and get it out there. It’s been incredible and I love it.
Dead Rhetoric: So you have the EP, but there’s also a full-length that is going to come out too?
Odden: Yeah, it will come out later this year. Because of the situation we are in [COVID-19]; it was going to be the other way around. But because of plans postponed – festivals going to hell, and the album was supposed to come out in the summer. All of the plans for vinyl and cds for a proper release closed down. One or two weeks into the quarantine we talked to the label and decided to turn it into an opportunity. People are sitting around and going mental at home, waiting for the summer that will never be.
We decided to release the EP and push the album back a bit. It seemed to work really well with both a way to say that we are back, and to give people some music to bang their heads to while going crazy at home. Maybe it was for a reason, I don’t know? It shouldn’t be this reason anyway, but it seems to be working pretty well with where we are right now.
Dead Rhetoric: How’d you get hooked up with Nuclear Blast?
Odden: Since I’ve been in the business for such a long time, and know most of the people that run those labels, personally, when we recorded this on our own expense – what we had was where we wanted it to be. So when you have a product that you are really proud of, you can send it out to the people and labels that you know and see who comes up with the best ideas to join the party, so to speak. They were the ones who believed the most in this, and I’m really happy that they put in the time and effort to make this release bigger than it would have been if we had just done it ourselves. Labels are, in fact, important for bands to get as many people into it as possible. It’s still a major factor.
Dead Rhetoric: Carcass helped to get the band off the ground way back then. Was it a tip of the hat to have Jeff Walker on a track?
Odden: That was definitely the story around the whole thing. He signed my band when I was 17. I think he was 19. But he was older than me [laughs]. He believed in me when I was a kid and he was kind of an older kid, but he’s always been there for me. I wanted to tip the hat back to him as a mentor and kickstarter of my own career by having him involved, but also with the artwork. It resembles Carcass’ first album covers, which were very graphic and extreme at the time in the late ‘80s. They found an artist who was inspired by them to do our artwork in that direction.
Back in those days, because they were British, they had that Monty Python-esque humor going on with everything. They had forks, knives, and spoons along with the corpses. We didn’t do that this time, because it would have been too over the top. But that’s when the spatter thing meant something a bit different in the US compared to the UK and Norway – the humor is similar. I felt a kinship with Carcass immediately and shared a similar outlook on things. We have been following each other thoughout the years. Jeff is someone I’ve known for the longest time in the scene.
Dead Rhetoric: When I saw the cover, I knew there had to be a story behind that.
Odden: Yeah, it’s a tribute to late ‘80s spatter and the British humor around it. In America still, Monty Python is still regarded as more of an avant-garde thing. They always had, especially The Meaning of Life, with the organ donor who has to be killed to donate his liver and a guy is exploding from eating too much food. I just saw the Carcass thing as part of the British finger to everything. There’s such a strangeness to their humor that really appealed to me. The black humor of the British has been a big thing for Cadaver too.
We used images that were different from other death metal bands. We had the three of us in a picture back in ’89 where there’s a baby goat just randomly walking by in the photo. Things like that – we saw it as a bit of a finger to the people who were too pretentious about being metal. It’s a bit risky, because you want to come across as an artist who has some seriousness, but at the same time, there’s so many times to being a human being that are so not serious that you have to reflect it into what you are doing as an art somehow. There’s a fine line. If you can touch a little bit in both directions, I think you are more in touch with your humanity than if you are just trying to be too serious about everything. Of course, somethings should be serious, but lots of things in life are both.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you remember about those early days of the band?
Odden: I remember that we started out in this new path in ’89 and ’90 where we added more extreme stuff to our music. We were the first Norwegian death metal band to get signed outside of Norway. We released the first Norwegian death metal LP ever with Hallucinating Anxiety. We were a part of the small scene here with Darkthrone and Mayhem, and all of these bands. The Swedish bands like Entombed and Dissection, and what became At the Gates.
When we had our pinnacle moment in ‘92/’93, the three of us were different personalities and the age difference was a little bit weird. We just kind of folded at the moment when we should have exploded. But it’s just one of those things. You part ways with some people and join in with other people. Most bands don’t last that long, but it was always an idea that I had to fulfill at one point. This time, I will not give it up again. This is truly my personal outlet for being a musician. I feel like I am doing something original and I will never get rid of it again.
Dead Rhetoric: Being that you can span that time from the late ‘80s to now, what do you see as some of the differences in the musical landscape?
Odden: There’s a huge difference. First of all, this metal thing has never been bigger, internationally, than it is now. Back then, it was international due to tape trading and things like that, but the level of festivals and all of that stuff with metal culture being a universal thing – being able to go anywhere in the world and find metal people somehow – it’s truly unique. Without metal, I would not have traveled the world like I have done.
I have this app where you can see how many places you have been to in the world. It’s all because of metal. I have covered the whole globe. It says that I have been to 70% of Europe and 22% of the world with my music. It’s pretty insane. It’s like 50 countries or something. Exotic places, back in the day, I did not think I would go to somewhere like India to play metal. But now, it’s like sure, you can do that. You can go anywhere, there are people who listen to this music and it’s truly unique.
Dead Rhetoric: What have you learned from playing with so many bands and touring the globe?
Odden: Quite a lot – that’s a huge question. What I think I have learned the most is probably to appreciate the fact that we can do this at all. Right now it feels like what we did last year is impossible to do this year because of the situation we are in, but the whole thing about traveling around the world and being able to play music that you love is so unique. I don’t take it for granted. Right now it feels like maybe we did take it for granted, but we never thought it would be possible to do this. It makes you humble and grounds you.
Even though we are releasing things on one of metal’s biggest labels, it feels like our project and I think that fans will always be thing between bands. It will always be between the fans and the bands, not so much between the fans and the labels/agents/other people around it. It’s always about the artist and fans – there’s direct communication, whether it’s online or live. That’s appealing to me. In that way, I’m the same person I used to be. At the same time, I am learning how to do things practically, or learning who to work with on production, sound, or booking. That’s the business side of it. But it’s important if you want to do this as more than just a hobby.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you enjoy about extreme metal?
Odden: I still enjoy the energy and excitement it gives as a performer, writer, and player. The physical side of just playing and the pure enjoyment of doing something. It’s challenging but it gives me life and power back somehow. That’s why I’m doing it I think.
Dead Rhetoric: Any plans for the future at this point? You mentioned the album is also going to be coming out.
Odden: This time gives you the opportunity to archive things. I have a lot of things archived that I want to dig deeper into now because of the time I have to do it. Things like unreleased tape stuff that I haven’t digitalized – I want to sort that stuff out and scan things too. I am also working on new stuff. I am recording and mixing it up. I am starting to build a plan to get more of the old stuff out. Rereleasing and reissuing things – as well as setting up for touring next year if it is possible. Jamming with other musicians as something I wanted to do with this project.
I want a stable line-up with myself and Dirk. Because he is also drumming for Megadeth, which is slightly bigger band that we are [laughs], I have other stand-in drummers who can perform live. I have started to rehearse with one Norwegian guy, which is good to get myself ready for gigs. There’s always something to do. I am also a part of Satyricon’s live act, so we are going to have a couple of rehearsals as well. There’s plenty to do when you are involved with different projects.