Assembled from the twitching corpses of London acts Ted Maul, Meta-Stasis and The Defiled, Red Method are using shock and awe tactics to cut a bloody swathe through the UK underground. Rich Holmes caught up with vocalist Jeremy Gomez and keyboard player Alex Avdis to get the lowdown on the band’s debut, For The Sick – and why horror still has a home in metal.
Consuming live maggots. Dumping bodies into skips. Some poor soul trapped and writhing within a slimy flesh chrysalis. Red Method’s nightmarish videos aren’t for the fainthearted. And the band aren’t apologetic about that fact either.
“Metal has gone a bit stale to a point,” explains frontman Jeremy Gomez. “I think we are missing that shock horror, like Antichrist-era Marilyn Manson and White Zombie. The idea behind Red Method when we came out was to have that kind of ‘shock horror’ on stage and we try to bring that across in our live shows.”
And anyone who saw Gomez’s former band, Ted Maul, rip stages apart back in the noughties, or witnessed Red Method’s Alex Avdis (aka the AVD) smash his keyboards to pieces while on stage with The Defiled, will know that these Londoners can walk the walk. They’re not fucking about.
“The whole goal and exercise of being in a band is getting on that stage,” Avdis says. I don’t understand how bands get onstage and look bored. We try to give it everything we’ve got. Exorcise those demons!”
And while we’re on that subject, creating Red Method’s explosive debut – For The Sick – which dropped in February, has also been a cathartic experience, especially for Gomez.
Describing the album as “his heart on a plate”, For The Sick is an emotional rough ride: Adriel deals with the suicide of the singer’s friend and The Absent focus on the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease on his grandparents. Mental health problems and tumultuous relationships are put under the spotlight, to a punishing soundtrack of sinewy riffs, contorted rhythms and beautifully twisted choruses. A cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box fits perfectly into the record’s lyrical and musical palette.
Gomez reveals: “I can’t write lyrics about dragons and Satan and stuff like that because I don’t believe in it. I write about what’s happening in my life and the life of the people who play in the band. I think that deep personal issues, tackling life, society and all that… it will always be part of me.”
Given their respective pasts, the members of Red Method have a lot to live up to. Bassist Will Myers, drummer Fred Myers and guitarists Quinton Lucion and David Tobin all played in Meta-Stasis with Gomez, releasing two explosive death/industrial metal hybrids in 2012’s When the Mind Departs The Flesh and 2015’s The Paradox Of Metanoia, while Avdis was a key part of The Defiled’s upward trajectory before the cyber metallers split in 2016.
And as part of Ted Maul, Gomez spearheaded a raging sonic assault that drew on death metal, hardcore, drum and bass and electronica, and laid waste to festivals such as Download in the 2000s.
Speak to Avdis, he’ll affirm that Red Method is much more than just the sum of its parts (“Red Method is not The Defiled, plus Ted Maul plus Meta-Stasis, it’s a new band”), but there’s no denying that there are echoes of all three acts in the sextet’s uncompromising sound and aesthetics.
“There is a huge link between Ted Maul, Meta-Statis, The Defiled and Red Method and we are happy that something was born from our past experiences,” says Gomez.
And fans of those bands have quickly caught on to what Red Method are trying to achieve.
“When Red Method came out I got nothing but positive feedback before they had even heard a note,” Avdis reveals. “Now they are at the gigs and it’s nice to see familiar faces in the crowd. I am really thankful to them to be honest.”
Gomez adds: “We still get the odd diehard fan even from 18 years ago, you still see them by merch from Ted Maul and Meta-Stasis and they still ask for demos. It’s great to see those people supporting us, it’s a really nice thing!”
Another link to the past is Scott Atkins, who recorded and produced For The Sick. The acclaimed studio guru – who has worked with the likes of Amon Amarth, Cradle Of Filth and Sylosis – handled production duties for Meta-Stasis and he admits to being a huge fan of Red Method, tipping them to become a household name.
Gomez was delighted that For The Sick received the Atkins touch…
“For me he is one of the best out there,” states the singer. “He is like a friend, family… he did us a lot of favours. He is easy to work with, he is very adaptable and most importantly, he loves the style of the band.
“Recording with Scott is an experience in itself. He pushes you to the absolute limit. He has the best ear I have ever heard in my life. He can tell immediately what works and what doesn’t.”
Certainly For The Sick’s granite hard, muscular attack is the work of a producer and band working in close harmony: every note of songs like Split and Cycle Of Violence hits home hard. Power and precision are built into the album’s DNA.
Helping hands from star producers aside, Red Method are well aware that they have to work harder then ever to achieve any level of success. The landscape has changed since Ted Maul and The Defiled were rampaging across Britain.
“It’s a whole new world,” suggests Avdis, when comparing Red Method’s journey to that of The Defiled. “Nothing is the same. It’s never perfect but maybe it’s even more saturated now. My band was really lucky to be honest, we rode the wave and went with it.
“And everyone tells you it wasn’t like it was when we started out last time. There are less platforms, people are paying less attention to the major outlets.
“Getting people’s attention is a lot harder now: that is the difference for me.”
But thanks to the slick (and sick) videos for the likes of Messiah and Split, plus a total assault on the senses akin to some famous masked Iowans – that attention is set to grow throughout 2020 – despite Coronavirus putting a block on the band’s spring tour.
Gomez signs off: “I am happy with where Red Method is at the moment. The experience of all the previous bands we’ve been in has now been put into one. And we are moving forward with it.”
For The Sick is out now on Depraved Records.