As long as mankind continues to devolve, the members of Denver’s Of Feather and Bone will find inspiration in humanity’s atrocities. The band formed in 2012, and its members — bassist/vocalist A.S., guitarist/vocalist D.G. and drummer P.W. — sing about everything from the horrors of animal agriculture to the tyranny of religion.
The independent Canadian label Profound Lore Records took the band on and released its latest, Bestial Hymns of Perversion, in March. The new album signals the group’s dramatic shift from riff-heavy thrash punk to full-blown death metal in the vein of Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel.
We asked A.S. about the act’s evolving aesthetic and which of the world’s maladies fuel its lyrics.
Westword: Sometimes when heavy bands get more popular, they lighten up in order to make their music more accessible. This new record seems to take the opposite approach.
A.S.: In 2016, we put out a demo tape [Pious Abnormality] that we recorded ourselves. The last full length [2016’s Embrace the Wretched Flesh] took about a year to put out. While we were waiting around for that record to come out, we got antsy and started writing again. In that time, we started the shift from a crusty-punk hardcore band to a death-metal band. So now we’re battling this idea that people are like, “Oh, this band just automatically changed and wants to jump on this trend of death metal now because it’s getting really popular.”
What most people don’t know is that we’ve been changing for a long time. We embrace the change, and as long as we’re happy with what we write and it’s still fun to us, I think that’s the most important thing.
All three members are vegans and have sung about animal rights in the past. This record is a concept record about the Aztec underworld. Tell us about that.
A lot of the early stuff and the messaging of the band at the time was very personal and taken a little bit from my “vegan anger.” [Laughs] I don’t sing about those things directly anymore, but still include this across-the-board misanthropic style of thinking that humans pollute everything around them. Not just animals; the Earth itself. It’s just kind of this idea that humans are parasitic.
On this record, though, I wanted to focus on religion and my heritage. It’s kind of taking the stance of indigenous people losing their land, culture, their way of life and their whole way of thinking to Christianity. I’m an atheist, but I do recognize that God and Jesus belong in this world. In my personal opinion, though, the biggest issues arise from schisms between people’s religious beliefs.
Christianity has ruined so many cultures, not just Mesoamerica. It’s ruined pagan cultures in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia. So many indigenous cultures and their way of living and their identities have been wiped out because of this religious belief system.
Even though you are trying to shy away from personal lyrics, as a Mexican-American these things still upset you.
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Oh, yeah. When you look at Mexican, and Mexican-American culture even more, it’s very rooted in Catholicism. The imagery of the Virgin Mary and typical depictions of Jesus are very standard in Mexican homes. It means they’ve lost the identity of their people. I think that’s the most frustrating thing, is seeing our own people losing touch with where they came from.
You recently played in Mexico City. How did it feel singing the lyrics of the new record in the country you wrote the lyrics about?
I honestly didn’t think about it at all. I was more focused on playing well. [Laughs] We played a festival called Total DEATH Over Mexico City. We’ve never seen such hospitality and met so many awesome people. The people there are die-hard maniacs who love metal, and playing to people who were just stoked to bang their heads made the whole trip worth it.
Of Feather and Bone album release, 9 p.m. Saturday, April 28, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $10, 303-733-0230.