Seraphic Punishment – Maul
Art: Jason Barnett
Maul is a five-piece Death Metal band from Fargo, North Dakota. Since 2017, ‘Midwest Death’ has blended elements of brutal death, sludge, doom and hardcore to bring an energetic and often described as an unhinged live performance.
Many of my lyrics are taken from a personal space, emotions/traumas, flaws or observations and then depicted through violent, descriptive death metal scenes. An example is in the song ‘Carrion Totem,’ which takes the compulsive need to pick yourself apart and try to perfect the old you by literally sawing yourself to pieces and rebuilding them into some reverent trophy.
The only thing that gets sacrificed is a lot of weed and beer. We rely on writing everything together through jamming; whether it’s three or five of us in the room, we are all pretty locked in on knowing what feels like us and is fun or paints the right mood. When it’s that full connection clicking, it’s hard to deny why we don’t limit what influences or directions we take in songwriting.
I’m not sure I truly dive or subscribe to anything fully; there is plenty of absurdism while also wondering if things or paths in life lay out how they were always going to. I know that most of this shit is made up; a lot of the stressors and traumas people face with work or debt are unintentionally gladly taken on with a fake smile because it’s already ingrained that there’s one blueprint to life and then go on virtually wholly unfulfilled. I’ve stubbornly lived my life for me and have no problem protecting the few things I know I can to keep that balance somewhat in harmony.
Extreme music has saved my life in many ways; I’ve always been enchanted by heavy grooves or even bluesy rock rhythms, which immediately grabbed my attention as a kid. Somewhere in those dirty distorted waves and driving beats connects with a deep primal need that I’ve always known feels right. Younger, I’ve had musicians and pro wrestlers that shaped a lot of my scope on personal belief, presentation and performance, and genuinely manifesting what you see that you can create, but as far as idols, I can’t say I do. You know a lot of ‘heroes’ that are just as flawed and maybe more fucked up than others because they genuinely believe they’re a hero or use their platform for abuse. Take inspiration from others’ moves, the good and the bad ones, and you’ll learn everything you need to know about yourself as you forge your moves.
I smoke a lot of weed; that’s been my preferred medicine and crutch for about four years now after an unhealthy bout with alcohol in my early 20s. Writing for Maul has been a vast and necessary creative outlet where I’ve been able to hash out a lot of traumatic experiences and super-low points in life. There have been times when I try to conjure up those pains to tap into writing which has been cathartic and sometimes leaves me pretty empty.
I mentioned before, but professional wrestling was my first love. The live performance art and drive to convey a character fully. Storylines, violence and adrenaline are the absolute high you get from a crowd invested in your work. My lifelong passion for this sport/crazy wrestling world has massively influenced my creative endeavours with music, touring, and booking. Seeing how important the full package is made with love and how far minor details will go.
Music, and especially live music is a spiritual experience that connects us; much like the wrestling experience I mentioned, when an entire room is there for one purpose, and everyone is feeling what you’re expressing, there is no more powerful feeling or greater high.
I am a huge country music fan, on the more underground level of singers/songwriters. Charley Crockett is my favourite currently; I love Colter Wall, Orville Peck, Sierra Ferrell, Sarah Shook, and Joshua Ray Walker. Along with classic outlaws like George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings. Also, I love synth wave/pop stuff like Boy Harsher, Nuevo Testemento, Public Memory, and Carly Rae Jepsen.