HM: Certainly! I started writing material with the intent to release it under the Engulf moniker sometime during my sophomore year of college (2015) after I realized that my old high school band (Chapel of Ruin) wasn't going to work out. We were all in school or working jobs at the time, and we were all in different locations. The music I wrote/write for Engulf is a continuation on the musical styles I was aiming for in Chapel of Ruin. I was going to look for other musicians to play with, but I didn't have a desire to work with anyone else at the time, so I went the "One-man band" route that others in the genre have before me (Putrid Pile, Bloodsoaked,etc). Currently the project is just me writing and recording all guitar, bass, and vocals (some lyrics contributed by friends) and me handling the drum programming as well.
2.In November, you have an ep coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
HM: Musically, it is the conscious (but also non conscious) effort to blend my old school death metal influences (Suffocation, Gorguts, Morbid Angel) and funnel it through a more modern sounding audioscape. I also try to structure the songs in a fashion that they are digestible and memorable. I really hate records that take a million spins to remember anything that you listened to. The only objective I have going into a writing session for Engulf is Death Metal. Whatever comes out naturally to me is what you hear on the record. I've found that if I get too detailed into what I want for an Engulf song, it sounds forced and usually pretty bad and/or boring.
3.This ep is the first in a 3 part series, can you tell us a little bit more about this concept?
HM: At a high level, they will be tied together by a lyrical concept which was initially explored in my aforementioned high school band. The antagonist, an all knowing sentient being, "recruits" 3 otherworldly beings to terraform the earth. Each of the 3 beings have a unique background and description that I came up with, which will all be described in more detail in the planned liner notes for each release. I would divulge into more detail, but I would like the listener to read the liner notes when they come out and develop a visual all of their own. I owe huge thanks to my best friend Gary and brother Nick for the overarching lyrical concept; they laid the original base idea back in the CoR days, and I ran with it, expanding it into my own original story. They each contributed all of lyrics to the 2 songs on the Subsumed Atrocities EP.
4.Some of your lyrics cover fantasy, space and comics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topics?
HM: To put it simply, I feel like there is the most "new ground" to cover. I'm not an angry or hateful person by any means, so it's really hard to write anything along those lines that you might hear in a hardcore song, and the gore-themed lyrics that so many bands talk about are just not of interest to me and I believe they are overdone. I have always been a fan of sci-fi movies, as well as comics books. While you're watching/reading, you're able to put yourself into that world and disconnect, so to speak, from your current situation. I always thought that was a cool effect that those types of movies and books had on me.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Engulf'?
HM: To be honest, not a whole lot. I didn't want a super long name, and I wanted something that sounded "huge" enough to encompass the lyrical themes I was going after. Engulf wasn't taken, and fit that criteria, so I went with it. I was trying to think of the biggest thing that could happen to planet earth out of our control, and I though us being sucked up or "Engulfed" by a black hole. So I guess that is what spawned the name.
6.Currently this project is all solo, are you open to working with a full band or do you prefer to work by yourself?
HM: At the moment, and at least for EP II, it will be a solo effort. The songs planned for EP II were actually all written at the same time that Subsumed Atrocities was being written, so I could have released them all together. The songs for EP III and the full length are not fully written, so if an opportunity comes along in the meantime to collaborate, and I feel like I need some help finishing the songs, I am certainly open.
7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of brutal death metal?
HM: So far, reception has been 99.9% positive. I've had a further reach due to the help of Tito and Giorgio from Everlasting Spew Records, as they have been able to show alot of people the music on their side of the pond. The comparisons that have been made to other bands are humbling and the enthusiasm for more material showed by both my label owners as well as those who have found the material online is very encouraging.
8.Are you or have you ever been involved with any other bands or musical projects?
HM: As I mentioned before, I had a band back in high school, Chapel of Ruin. It was a death metal project, similar to what you hear on the Engulf releases, but much more crude and not as well put together; my writing style hadn't fully developed and it showcased me and the rest of the band learning how to construct songs. I also play live and write with a Philadelphia based Melo-Death/Black metal band called Blasphemous. I joined that band in June 2016 and we have played many shows in the Northeast area. We are looking to record a full length before the end of the year and continue playing shows in 2018.
9.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
HM: I would like to continue playing with Blasphemous to get my live performance fix as well as collaborate with the guys in that band; I've really enjoyed it so far. We'd like to try and play more shows along the coast as well as other places in the states. The good thing about the Engulf project is that I will always have a desire to write that style of death metal, and since it is at the core a solo studio effort, I can do it anywhere, anytime. I'd like to continue writing for Engulf and see what comes of the style as I gather more influence from other bands in other genres as well as my peers.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
HM: As far as my influences go, some of the traditional old school death metal records that inspired me to pick up the guitar include:
Suffocation-Effigy of the Forgotten (the solo in Liege of Inveracity and the sheer brutality of the record as a whole is still unrivaled)
Gorguts-Considered Dead (I really loved Luc's vocal delivery, as well as the unique nature of the riffs. Gorguts' later, more disjointed material is also a big influence on me)
Morbid Angel-Covenant (Vincent's vocals were absolutely monstrous on this record and the 7 string songs on the album are sooooooo heavy. Definitely a big influence musically and guitar tone wise; I love the dark tone Trey was able to achieve)
I've really been digging what Dark Descent has been doing (Spectral Voice, Desolate Shrine, Krypts), as well as Profound Lore (Bell Witch, Artifical Brain, Pallbearer, Grave Miasma). Extreme metal is in an awesome place right now, and the blending of styles that you see in some bands is just getting darker, heavier, and more twsited. I love it!
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
HM: I really enjoy going to the gym every morning before work, as well as cycling when time permits. Both activities really help me clear my head and get in good "thinking time". I also like watching sports and exploring new bars and restaurants with friends and family. I'm also a big foodie and love to cook (check my personal instagram for proof! @halmicroutsicos)
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
HM: Just want to say thank you for the opportunity for being able to talk about the project a bit and the feature! Also thank you for everyone who has supported the EP and has had kind words to say, it really makes me want to continue writing more sick death metal for the Everlasting Spew Crew!