by RS Frost
Gene Palubicki is the guitarist, songwriter and lyricist for Tampa-based black/death metal band PERDITION TEMPLE. With two albums and an EP under their collective belt, I made contact with Gene to gather some insight into his plentiful past, current musings and what desolate chaos lies ahead.
How did your involvement in extreme music begin?
- I was maybe 12-13 years old, around 1985-86. First, it was through hearing some SLAYER and MEGADETH stuff, then moving on and on to find wilder more crazed stuff like DARK ANGEL, SODOM, POSSESSED etc. As I was learning to play guitar this was the stuff that always stuck with me the most, so naturally my musical creativity would lean this way... sure, during all those years as a kid and then as an adult I was also into more traditional metal and rock and learned a lot from all that too, but the aggressive and dark stuff was always closest to my heart.
Are there any bands from this period that have stuck with you as musical influences or motivators?
- After some 30 or more years now it is hard to narrow down... suffice to say that lots of ‘70s British rock and metal, over the top ‘80s American speed metal, some pretty out-there classical music and lots of horror soundtracks have all added up to much of what I’m about.
The first release under the Perdition Temple banner, ‘Edict of the Antichrist Elect’, hit the shelves in 2010. Although the guitar work on this album is recognisably yours, the overall feel of the songs, and album as a whole, is noticeably different from that of your previous works.
- The PERDITION TEMPLE sound is basically 100% my influence on the songwriting for music and lyrics, whereas in the former band, ANGELCORPSE ,there was a shared contribution by other members. So, although my stamp was all over the previous band, with Perdition Temple you get the complete picture of what my vision is at the time of each sequential release.
Prior to Perdition Temple, Gene had spent the better part of a decade as the guitarist for Angelcorpse. After parting ways after their third album, 1999’s ‘The Inexorable’, the band reformed in 2006 and went on to release ‘Of Lucifer and Lightning’ in 2007, before disbanding once again two years later.
Can you talk at all about your time with Angelcorpse, given the considerable legacy the band has left behind, and the on-and-off nature of the band’s activities in the later years?
- I'd spent many years from my late teens into my early twenties trying to form/find members to create a band. It was not until 1995 when I found the members to create what became Angelcorpse. A lot of great ideas were built and produced in those first five years of the band, but things got strained towards the end, around 2000, and we ended it due to a lot of artistic disagreement and other more personal strains. We gave it another go in 2007-2008 with the fourth album and some touring again, but at that point, as band members, we were all beginning to pull into directions that were alien to one another so it rather promptly dissolved again.
Flash forward to 2016 and there was the LP and CD re-release of the back catalogue. It prompted interest in the band doing a reunion, so we did it and during 2016 and 2017 there were a series of festival appearances and some touring, but no new album was ever intended to emerge from this, so it is now permanently dissolved as any sort of active band.
I was lucky enough to attend one of these reunion shows in Australia during the winter of 2017 and, being a long-time fan, was thoroughly chuffed with being able to experience a live performance.
How was the experience of going out on the road again, knowing it would be the last time with Angelcorpse?
- It was very thrilling to know that such a following for the band remained and attendances for the performances were quite full! We played many places internationally that the band had previously never been. Lots of good memories from that, but it was for sure finite and once concluded it was to be no more... we had no intention of dragging it out into infinity doing endless years of shows just for the sake of it or to make money etc.
Perdition Temple’s latest album, 2015’s ‘The Tempter’s Victorious’ was very well received within the extreme metal underground at large and was released through legendary label HELLS HEADBANGERS RECORDS. With a step up in production and Gene’s signature stringed assault, this album sounds like a natural progression following ‘Edict…’.
- That album was the one that really began the full separation from the limitations of the previous band, with wild harmony ideas and song elements that pushed far past the nature of previous works and have opened the gates to ideas that will really explode with much of the new material on the next album. I think that as people hear this record they will begin to understand the full depth of how far this music can go and, at the same time, still have understandable songs with riffs and arrangements that are still "classic" metal song structures.
Perdition Temple also appeared on the 2018 compilation ‘Tribute to Blasphemy’, contributing a cover of ‘Weltering in Blood’ which was initially released a few years before on the ‘Sovereign of the Desolate’ 7-inch.
How did you become involved with this compilation? I’m going to guess that BLASPHEMY has been an influence of yours over the years?
- I'm not sure whether that compilation ever saw the light of day, and from some recent things I’ve seen concerning the label that allegedly has released it, it may not be a reputable release. I for sure never received any band copies of it as was promised. But all that aside, Blasphemy’s releases from many years ago were always a part of my influence in some way... so among all the cover tracks done over the years by various bands I’ve been a part of, it should not come as such a surprise choice for a cover song. Forthcoming releases will have some cover tracks done that will for sure disclose even more of my influences and also pay tribute to some other great bands from the past.
As well as Angelcorpse and Perdition Temple, previous years have seen Gene contribute his talents to IMPIETY (US) and APOCALYPSE COMMAND, and more recently BLASPHEMIC CRUELTY and KERASPHORUS.
What can you share about these projects, how you became involved, and any potential plans for future releases?
- Some of the projects, like Apocalypse Command and Blasphemic Cruelty, were sets of ideas that were a bit aside from exactly what I was doing with Perdition Temple. One was more leaning to a sort of nod to old bands like BESTIAL WARLUST and Blasphemy, and the other more attuned to the stylings of extreme evil speed metal stuff from the mid-‘80s done with a modern leaning towards arrangements. Some great stuff that I'm proud of from all that, but in these times it is best for me to focus on one band and that is Perdition Temple, since with working jobs, horror film involvements, and show schedules, one band is for sure enough to keep me busy.
Horror film involvement?
- The films I've been involved with were in 2015 and 2016 and were released by UNEARTHED FILMS, which specialises in over the top indie horror films. At the time it was a local Tampa-based company (now based in Los Angeles) that had hired me to do some soundtrack and acting for one of their films called Bloodshock. Then again the following year as a more involved actor and soundtrack and as an associate producer for the next film called Song of Solomon. Both have since been released on DVD and Blu-ray disc. An interesting bit of work in film making with a very small team and very independent and grassroots level stuff, a whole different skill set artistically than what one would do in the realms of music alone.
You were an active musician throughout the whole “Floridian death metal” explosion, having been around at the time and working around Morrisound and Audiolab studios. Did you guys feel like you were a part of that “scene” in the late 90s at all?
- By the time Angelcorpse relocated to the Tampa area, which was really for the purpose of being in the same city as our then drummer, Tony (Laureano), and also because it was a better staging area to get onto tours etc, it was already 1998 and the whole "Florida death metal" explosion had long since faded to only a minor rumble. This was due to a lack of any new blood coming out at that point – which could be said for a lot of places worldwide also – so I don’t think we were, or should be, so much associated with that.
Morrisound Studios were quite expensive for what work they would do... at the time in the area they were about the only facility to be able to really encompass bands like this, but over time, as technology for home use became more accessible, their business faded and they closed several years ago. There are several studios operating that are metal-friendly in the surrounding Tampa area now though, so bands can once again have that option as part of their production.
I’m interested in how you see the underground community as a whole, given your time spent within it?
- As a whole, to sum it up, nothing so much has changed with the exception that finding the diamonds in the rough is that much harder since, in these times, anyone can throw up a release, especially through YouTube/social media and compete for space for awareness. This means a lot of bad stuff gets as much exposure as the great stuff, but there are still some great new things that come along - you just have to know how and where to look. Word of mouth, or in these days, "shares" on the interwebs, can do things to make folks aware but you really need to want to find stuff. If you just float on by you would likely believe that no good bands have existed for years.
Having spent your fair share of time on the road, I’m curious if you have been subject to any significant maleficence along the way?
- Never really anything all that out of control... the normal sort of pitfalls that happen to most bands out and about doing this stuff. I’m glad for that and not to have had some disaster story to tell about vans flipping over - despite there having been a very bad van accident in 1999, but we all lived and were doing a gig two days later.
What do you have planned for the future, with Perdition Temple or otherwise?
- A new full-length for Perdition Temple should hopefully be out around October this year. We have a few festival shows coming up like Brutal Alberta 2 in Canada and DTF 15 in Houston, Texas, and in October we are participating in a massive US tour that will be announced around summer this year!
Thank you for your time and insight into your work. I now invite you to offer any closing sentiments you may have.
- Thanks for the great interview and thanks to all the followers of any of these works I’ve done over the many years now!