Astral Slaughter and Odinsgoat: An Interview

Astral Slaughter is a band from Alberta and Odinsgoat is a band from Maryland. 

They join forces on a new split, and we had the chance to discuss in advance of its release.

Weirding: How did you come to the idea to do a split?

Odinsgoat: We became friends on social media, and I listened to his songs and really dug them. 

Astral Slaughter: I think it was Odinsgoat who approached me and asked if I'd be interested. I was familiar with his music and enjoy what he's up too in that regard quite a bit.

Odinsgoat: We started sending each other what we were working on — to kind of bounce ideas off of each other. Next thing you know, it was kinda like “so, do you wanna do a split?"

Weirding: So it just made sense to do something.

A.S.: When he asked if I'd be interested, I was definitely down to do a split with him.

Weirding: Tell me a bit about your background playing music. 

Odinsgoat: I grew up in a strict household and ended up alone most of the time. Playing music was a way to escape all of that — and I guess it transferred into my adult life. Coping mechanisms to old patterns and whatnot.

A.S.: I played guitar in several projects before starting Astral Slaughter. I had actually almost given up making music before I started the project. Previously I played in a grind and speed metal project with a close friend — who I am working with again now on another project called Universe Cathedral. But that original project broke up as my friend sometimes has reclusive spells. 

Weirding: It can be tough getting multiple minds all working together in a band.

A.S.: Yeah, I had some bad experiences with the last project I tried to form. The drummer was a good friend of mine. He wanted to play more along the lines of In Flames — which isn't really the sound or style I'm used to playing. So we introduced another friend of mine to play lead guitar, as my lead skills for that type of project are weak. Well, it wasn't  a good fit for the vision I had originally had — and the two of them sort of inadvertently really shook my confidence in my playing. So I was at the point of giving up completely. 

Weirding: So what happened?

A.S.: One day after not playing anything for about a year, maybe longer, I got very inspired. And I thought a lot about the DIY nature of the second wave of black metal. I thought to myself: "What's stopping me from doing it all myself? I can learn what I don't know along the way.”  

And thus Astral Slaughter was born.

Weirding: And Odinsgoat, for you, why did you start playing as a one-man-band?

Odinsgoat: The one-man-band thing came out of necessity. Odinsgoat is my way of getting all my negative shit out.

Weirding: Makes good sense. And I really like how the split comes across as having a cohesive sound. You guys certainly get a lot out in these tracks. And it practically sounds like a short album. When you think of splits that have been done in the past, which ones stick out to you and what is it about them that works?

Odinsgoat: I like when bands have a similar sound, but still come up with something different to bring to the split. Like you can tell that they’re contributing their own style. Some of my favorite splits are Faith/Void, Spires/1994!, and Moldar/Matsuri — specifically for that reason.

Weirding: That Faith/Void split is legendary.

A.S.: This is the first split I have participated in, but I think both parties need to have a similar vision. Odinsgoat is playing blackened grind. And I am not a hundred percent sure how to describe what I do, but if i had to boil it down to one specific genre, I would say I am playing blackened chaos [laughs] — but it feels like a good fit. 

Weirding: Whatever it is or whatever anyone calls it, it all works together. It’s tight.

A.S.: And I think that's the most important part of a split — to have two artists that can use the music they are creating to complement each other well. And I think me and Odinsgoat have done this quite well for this split.

Weirding: Tell me about the artwork. It's really striking and seems absolutely perfect for a split.

Odinsgoat: We both had a ton of different ideas, but wanted to stay true to the classic black metal aesthetic. So, naturally a lot of church imagery came up [laughs].

Weirding: The two spires on the cover just scream “split”.

Odinsgoat: I don’t remember the exact church that’s in the picture, but one thing that stood out to me was those two spires. In my mind, each spire was a symbol of each of us.

A.S.: We had discussed and shared several ideas for album art — some of which was just throwing out ideas. But Odinsgoat came back with what’s now the cover for the split and instantly I thought "this is it!" 

Weirding: So it just clicked.

A.S.: We decided on that rather easily.

Weirding: So, you each come from what on the surface seem like very different parts of the continent.

Odinsgoat: I live just outside of Baltimore. Growing up here, I spent a lot of my time going to shows. It definitely shaped my perception of certain styles and contributed to my overall sound.

A.S.: I hail from central Alberta, Canada — basically the Texas of Canada. Lots of cowboy boots and country music. Not my thing at all. I've always been into metal — since an early age. But it's been hard to find people to connect with even among the metal community. It feels like the older I get the more extreme and underground I want my metal to be — and my friends have sort of softened in their tastes and go to the more mainstream end of metal. So it's nice to find people like Odinsgoat through Twitter. 

Weirding: Each of you have very striking band names, could you elaborate on where they came from.

Odinsgoat: There are a lot of elements to the music and art and stories that I’m into that don't necessarily make sense. But I like when themes and ideas and imagery overlap. 

Weirding: That makes sense. There’s a long history of poets creating new ideas by string two unrelated words together.

Odinsgoat: Yeah, I thought it would be a good reflection of that overlap idea to switch it up. You know, Odin doesn’t have goats. But, I thought it sounded better than Thorsraven.

Weirding: I’d have to agree.

A.S.: When I had decided to start the project, I had no idea of a name. I originally had planned on calling the project either Concrete Aggressor or Kandarian Steel, because, yeah, I'm a huge Evil Dead fan. But something didn't feel right about either for what I had in mind. Concrete Aggressor feels more like a skate punk name for a band. And Kandarian Steel makes me think of a Manowar clone. 

Weirding: Granted, we can never have too many Manowar clones.

A.S.: So I had no idea what I was gonna call the project. As I thought more about it, I remembered really wanting to be able to astral project when i was younger — still want to be able to but have never had any success. It was the lack of success in astral projecting that made me think maybe my astral form is dead — and the lightbulb flashed in my brain.

Weirding: So last thing… What are the benefits or disbenefits to working as one-man-bands, particularly when working on a collaborative project like this?

Odinsgoat: One big advantage is not answering to anyone else — with the exception of Astal Slaughter in regards to the final project. Working with multiple people to make one song is always tedious. And since it’s a faster process doing it myself, it always feels like I’m able to get my ideas out as a whole rather than revisiting the same idea over and over with multiple viewpoints.

A.S.: The benefit for me is that when I do have time to work on music, I don’t get bogged down with having to cater to the sounds and visions of the others participating in the project. In one of my previous projects it took almost five years to write like four songs.

Weirding: Yeah, that’s can be a huge issue.

A.S.: I attribute that to a combination of a sort of ADHD music writing style and repeated revisions and changes — not to mention that none of us at the time knew much about writing songs. It was just back to back riffs. 

Weirding: So what does your writing process look like now?

A.S.: So that part is easy when it's just me creating. I usually start with a general idea for a song — maybe lyrics. Or a riff that I like. Or a drumline. I work outward from there. The disadvantage is I find I am always second guessing my skill levels on everything other than my guitar playing, 

Weirding: Yeah, that can definitely be an issue for bands where one or two people are handling the duties on all the different instruments.

A.S.: I was always primarily playing rhythm guitar in my other projects. So, when I decided to do the other parts, well, that was one thing I was unsure of. I don't like to use midi for my drums and so I program them all note by note. And vocals are something I've always sorta done behind closed doors — or in the car on the way to and from work. And I didn't have much confidence in my abilities there as well. But having done this project for around a year and a half now, I can say that I feel much more confident and more proud of my abilities as a musician. 

Weirding: That’s huge.


Astral Slaughter


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