The New Jersey band has been on the DIY warpath since the 2013 release of debut album From Where We Came Is Where We'll Rest. Touring nonstop with Cult Leader, Full of Hell, The Banner, Exalt, and more, and releasing music via various splits and EPs, all the work of the past two years has led to The Suffering Spirit, a new, thrilling slab of art that sounds simply massive.
Old Wounds' alliance with Good Fight Music began officially last fall with the Death Projection EP, which earned these words from Pitchfork: "Emotionally charged, stylistically diverse metalcore, refreshingly devoid of the sugary melodies and bone-dumb breakdowns that propagate so freely within the mainstream hardcore scene... It's a furious – and meticulous – piece of work." That four-song record hinted at greatness to come but it was still the work of a scrappy young band; with The Suffering Spirit, this band has advanced to another plane.
From Day One, Old Wounds has proudly paid tribute to its influences – in particular, the heaviest hardcore bands of the late '90s, like Turmoil, Disembodied, Buried Alive, and Indecision. That foundation is stronger than ever on The Suffering Spirit – the songs chug and churn with machine-like power and vocalist Kevin Iavaroni belts out hair-raising screams on par with the best of them – but there is even more. The Suffering Spirit is the sound of an underground band evolving into something greater. On many of the album's songs, clean vocals and dark melodies arise up out of the slugfest, pointing to other influences: Type O Negative and Deftones are two. Old Wounds makes no apology for this evolution, nor should it. The Suffering Spirit is the sound of an underground band ascending; the album oozes with confidence, as does the band in the live setting. (At recent shows, Iavaroni, decked out in ghostly makeup and a pompadour, stalks the stage with the prowess of a young Phil Anselmo.)
New Jersey has always been home to punk, metal, and hardcore bands that go on to rep their state across the world, and Old Wounds has the energy and talent to do just that. With a sophomore album fresh in their minds and a fan base that's growing as they make their way across the country, Old Wounds gave us the lowdown on some favorite tour spots and why presentation is important:
Tell the Feed The Beat community about Old Wounds in one sentence: We're hardcore kids playing metal in a punk band.
You all have been out on the road for most of the summer - what's been the most exciting part of these tour dates so far? Any cities you were glad to come back to, or places you were stoked to visit for the first time? This tour has been incredible. It's been over a year and a half since we've hit the western part of the US so it's exciting and refreshing to be back. Pomona was definitely one of our favorite shows of the tour. All of the bands killed it and we had a lot of friends come and hang out, which always makes for a good time. Eugene, OR was definitely a pleasant surprise as well. We've never played there before and the turn out was incredible.
What is your biggest "must have" while out on tour? Socks. There is no better feeling in this world then putting on a nice clean pair of socks, especially after being out on the road for a while.
There are lot of great visuals that Old Wounds have put forward, from album covers to music videos - do you feel like there's a particular "vibe" that the band has that makes you, you? Having a graphic design background, I've always been heavily involved with the visuals behind this band. I think it's super important. There's nothing worse than seeing a band that you really like and be disappointed with how they put themselves out there visually. It's also important to stand out and stand alone. All of the greats eventually created their own aesthetic and that's ultimately the end goal with Old Wounds, both musically and artistically.
Your album The Suffering Spirit just dropped at the end of June; congratulations! How does it feel to be playing these new songs for audiences across the country? Are you already thinking about sharing new music? Thanks! We're super stoked on how this record came out. It's always refreshing to be able to go out and play stuff that we've never played before. Kids are already starting to sing along to the new songs, and that's always an incredible feeling. I think the goal is to keep pushing this LP. We haven't even begun to think about any new material yet.