Sanguisugabogg may have the most unpronounceable moniker in rock history, but their name is sure to be on every death metal fan’s lips in 2021…thanks to debut album Tortured Whole. Rich Holmes talked gore, GWAR and grooves with frontman Devin Swank.
“My first show was Cannibal Corpse when I was 12 years old. I saw Nile play in my hometown when I was 16. We are playing music that I have been listening to forever.”
Sanguisugabogg vocalist Devin Swank is relishing the chance to emulate his childhood heroes.
And he can’t quite believe his band’s rapid ascent.
2019’s debut EP, Pornographic Seizures, drew praise for its ‘Neanderthal’ approach to death metal and by January this year, the Ohio outfit had bagged a deal with Century Media.
Tortured Whole, Sanguisugabogg’s first full-length, drops this month.
And DM fans have already tasted its low slung, festering gore-grooves thanks to videos for the likes of Menstrual Envy, Gored In The Chest and Dead As Shit.
In fact, they’re lapping them up…
“Everything is still a surprise to me,” says Swank. “Our demo and EP got a lot of attention right off the bat, which was crazy to us.
“When people started sharing it and spreading it like wildfire it was definitely a big shocker and then when we started selling out shows it was blowing our minds.
“There are people that I wouldn’t even think would listen to death metal who are talking about it too.”
The quartet’s bowel-rupturing onslaught echoes the putrid pulse of bands like Obituary and Mortician.
Swank’s lyrics are drenched in blood, slime and brain matter.
This isn’t mind-expanding tech-death, it’s slasher flick music made for sweaty basement venues, where hacksaw riffs trump seven-string shredding.
“We used to call our songs ‘corner store bangers’,” reveals Sanguisugabogg’s frontman. “You put a song on when you drive to the liquor store, like one or two minutes and then you’re out.
“It is so easy to mosh and headbang to our music.”
Swank continues: “I think that people have a short attention span, now more than ever. If you have a really catchy riff that you can groove to – and it doesn’t get too weird with solos and weird time signatures – it is more accessible for people.”
Accessible isn’t exactly a word you’d use to describe the NSFW videos for Menstrual Envy (“about taking a bunch of drugs and chopping your own dick off” according to guitarist Cameron Boggs) and Gored In The Chest.
Given that they were made in collaboration with low-budget splatter supremos Troma Entertainment, that’s no real surprise…
Swank sheds some more light on the partnership: “Me and Cameron have been Troma fiends for years and Terror Firmer is one of my favourite horror movies.
“When Century Media said, ‘we are giving you a budget to do a couple of music videos’, the first thing that came to mind was working with Troma.
“As soon as we hit them up they were ecstatic about it.
“The music video for Menstrual Envy was my idea in terms of the concept behind it. We pitched it to Troma and they ran with it. They made it above and beyond what I could imagine it would be.”
The Dead As Shit video, meanwhile, is an animated tale of global warfare sparked by an acute cannabis shortage…
“With the Dead As Shit video we just thought it would be funny if people died over the last marijuana joint on earth,” laughs Swank. “We wanted it to be different. I have watched music videos in the past and if it’s just the band with cameras panning around and they are in a warehouse or a circular stage or something…well everyone does that.
“We wanted to make it more theatrical and fun for the viewer.”
Sanguisugabogg and the new wave of OSDM
Sanguisugabogg join a slew of North American death metal bands, including labelmates Frozen Soul, Undeath, Necrot, Tomb Mold, Skeletal Remains and Gatecreeper, who are dominating label release schedules – and flying the flag for old school death metal.
The Columbus crew – who also include bassist Ced Davis and drummer Cody Davidson – wear their influences on their sleeves.
According to Swank, they’re proud to be part of a movement that is pushing OSDM into the ears of a new generation.
“It is cool that we are all finding success at the same time so that we can be the forerunners of this style of death metal, which is catching on with the younger crowd,” he says. “The guys in Frozen Soul and Undeath are like our best friends. We all support each other.
“We’ve toured with Undeath twice and now that Frozen Soul and ourselves are on the same label I am sure we are going to do a lot of things together.”
What’s in store for Sanguisugabogg?
Devin Swank is a busy guy.
As well as fronting Sanguisugabogg and Cleveland brutal DM act Limbsplitter, he’s working on Skag, a d-beat project with Davidson.
Inspired by the likes of Skitsystem, Black Breath and French grinders Blue Holocaust, it will see the frontman and sometime drummer indulge his passion for gnarly crust punk. An EP is in the works.
As for Sanguisugabogg…
“We have written four new songs since we have been done with the album and we plan on doing an EP this year or a split with another band,” says Swank. “We are writing pretty hard right now and I am already excited for the newer songs that we have written.
“They are a lot quicker and crazier…but still brutal.”
And there are some intriguing plans for live shows, once they are up and running again.
“We have thought about something on stage, like a huge bong that emits smoke and pus.
“Something GWAR-esque would be cool!”