Interview with Altar of Flesh – Death Metal
from the United States
Posted on January 26, 2015 by CDPROD • 0 Comments
Interview with Jason Santos – Guitarist/Vocalist of Death Metal band
Altar of Flesh
Hello Jason! Can you introduce us to Altar of Flesh and give
some history of the band? Are you currently on a record label?
J.S. First off, thanks for talking to me and taking interest in our
band. We are an extreme metal band from Tallahassee, Florida. We’
ve been in existence since 1999, but have gone through quite a few
line-up changes and with that the direction of the songwriting has
also changed over the years. Our current line-up is: myself, Jason
Santos on lead vocals and guitar, (my brother) Matt Santos on
drums, Nick Ward on guitar and Birtchum Thompson on bass. We
are unsigned, and did all of our distribution to Itunes, Spotify, X-Box
music, etc. through Tune Core.
Your first full-length “Vilified” was released in 2009 album. Can
you tell me about this album? How well was it received? Are
you satisfied with the work? What is your favorite song off the
album? If there was one thing (if any) you could change about
“Vilified”, what would it be?
J.S. Well, ‘Vilified’ was a very ambitious project right from Jump
Street. It was my first foray into computer recording and I had a
musical vision that exceeded my experience within that medium.
The album was self-produced and I feel that I could have done a
better job in the mixing and mastering but I am over-all satisfied with
it as a whole. My favorite song off the album is ‘Suffering to the
Wicked’, but ‘Blood of the Impaled’ holds a very special place in my
heart. The main thing I would change about the album is that I
would have recorded the guitars with my Carvin tube amp and a mic
instead of using the Line 6 Pod Pro that I used. The Pod put some
really nasty under tones in the guitar that caused me to have to
make the mix really thin, whereas an amp and mic would have
eliminated that problem. I’m also much more experienced now, so I
feel that if I hadn’t lost the original tracks when my old computer
crashed, I could remix it and make it sound ten times better.
Being from Tallahassee, Florida which is located north above
the peninsula is quite far from Tampa. Do you find it as an
advantage and reap the benefits being a death metal band from
Florida, or does the distance somewhat impede your
connections to the legendary Tampa scene?
J.S. The advantage Tallahassee has is that you can drive less than
5 hours in any direction and be in a major city. Tampa, Orlando,
Atlanta, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Mobile, even the Emerald Coast
are all within driving distance so we have in the past done our fair
share of out of town gigs. As far as “reaping the benefits” of the
‘Florida death metal’ tag, I can’t really say. We don’t really focus on
labeling ourselves so that’s left up to promoters and internet
commenters I suppose. I notice we get called ‘old school’ a lot so I
guess that’s synonymous with the Tampa death metal scene of the
late eighties and early nineties, so I’ll take that.
On that note, would it be fair to say that Altar of Flesh has a
very old-school feeling and sound to it?
J.S. Yeah, I suppose. It seems like anything that doesn’t have
elements of metalcore and deathcore to it are called ‘old school’
these days. We play guitar solos and don’t have breakdowns or
punch dancing during our sets. My main focus is always on
songwriting. I notice a lot of bands stick to a regiment today, a
whole album will basically be written with very few distinctions
between songs; in contrast, the ‘old school’ bands like Morbid Angel
and Carcass had full albums of songs that were very different from
one another. I personally strive for that type of characteristic in our
music, for each song to be distinct and have its own personality. If
that’s ‘old school’ then I will wear that badge with pride!
When I interview a death metal band I name four random death
metal releases in which you can comment on. Can you please
give your thoughts on the following albums?
1. Monstrosity – Imperial Doom 1992
J.S. A great album by a great band. Man, Corpsegrinder’s neck was
so much smaller then. We had the honor of playing with them twice
(When Jason Avery was the vocalist). Lee and Tony were gracious
and all-around cool dudes.
2. Deicide – Legion 1992
Deicide – Legion 1992
J.S. The classic album by one of my favorite all-time death metal
bands! The production wasn’t the greatest, but had some of the
strongest songs of their entire career, in my opinion.3. Suffocation –
Breeding the Spawn 1993
Suffocation – Breeding the Spawn 1993
J.S. Terrence Hobbs is an amazing guitar player and such an
innovator. His use of the Floyd Rose tremolo is unlike any other
player in early death metal.4. Malevolent Creation – Stillborn 1993
Malevolent Creation – Stillborn 1993
J.S. A true death metal classic. In my opinion, some of their work
that followed ‘Stillborn’ is a little unremarkable, but there was no
denying the awesomeness of this album.
How has playing live been for Altar of Flesh? Who were your
favorite bands to play with and best memories? On the flip
side, have any shows turned out to be disasters?
J.S. Since the current line-up was assembled, playing live has
been great. Luckily, the live music scene in Tallahassee has been
on a little upswing so we have been able to play more shows at
home instead of needing to travel all the time like we did back in
2003-2009 when the scene was totally dead to live music and
especially metal. Over the years we had the honor to play with
Morbid Angel, Monstrosity, Malevolent Creation, All That Remains,
Bloodlet, Jucifer, and other national acts. Lately we’ve been doing a
lot of shows with local/regional bands like Doghead and Invert the
Idols who are good friends of ours and always fun to party with so
everything has been positive lately. As far as disasters go, I think
back to when we had our previous bass player who shall remain
nameless. The guy focused more on straitening his hair than tuning
his instrument, would show up to out of town gigs five minutes
before show time, never helped with load-in and just had an all-
around crap attitude, so plenty of gigs went to the dumpster when
that guy was in the band.
When can we expect a new full-length from Altar of Flesh?
We are currently working on some new material and hope to have a
new full-length out this year. As opposed to the method we used
when recording ‘Vilified’ we are taking our time on this one. With
‘Vilified’ we wrote the songs then focused exclusively on recording.
This time will work on a new song, then we will record it, then start
the process over again. It takes the stress out of recording and
allows us to still focus on shows and all of that. We have three
songs tracked so far, and have a few more partially written so
progress is coming along. We are shooting for eight songs this time
around. Someone came up with the idea of doing a slit E.P. with our
buddies in Doghead recently, so that might be on the horizon as
On some of the songs of the album there are some clean vocal
parts. This is somewhat unique for a death metal band. What
was the idea behind this?
Well, it goes back to what I said about letting each song have its
own voice and personality. I focus on songwriting and am inspired
by so much different music that I feel like I should be able to
channel it in my songs even if it breaks the “rules” a little bit.
Besides, I have seen internet eggheads have full-blown arguments
in the comment section of Metal Injection and others about whether
a band is “brutal death” or “tech death” and crap like that. I have
never felt the need to fit into a category or label as a musician.
Clean vocals, acoustic guitars, keys, or whatever we feel will
enhance the song is within our reach in this band and will be used if
the song calls for it.
What merchandise do you currently have available for Altars of
As it stands, we have t-shirts, ladies shirts, stickers, and copies of
‘Vilified’ on CD. We are actually needing to reorder shirts, they’ve
been selling pretty fast. We’ve been looking into getting can coozies
and other little novelty items like guitar picks, but the funds are a
little thin so we have to get what we can when we can.
Well Jason, that about wraps it up. I enjoyed “Vilified” and
hope for a new album soon. Please close with anything we may
not have covered in the interview and thanks for your time!
Well, thank you for the interview, and thank everyone who took the
time read it. Make sure to visit us at www.altarofflesh.com, keep up
with us on Facebook and Twitter. Our music is currently available in
all of the usual places, Spotify, Reverb Nation, Band Camp and
each of those sites have some free downloads you can get as well.