Interview with techno-slam-deathcore band Cuff


The metal scene is not a static thing. It goes on, and you either participate or accept it as is. For this reason, many of us are looking into newer styles of metal.

Cuff combine Cryptopsy-inspired deathcore with slam and a Voivod-inspired technological fascination. Comprised of only two guys, Bob Shaw (vocals) and Zach Smith (all instruments), this band has bashed out an incredible number of albums.

Zach Smith took the time between beard agriculture and research of tortures to answer our questions:

You’re a two-person band with one person doing all vocals and the other doing all instrumentals. How does that work out? Do you collaborate on the songwriting or contribute roles as you can?

Mostly the songs are written by me, with input from Bob as to where or how the song structures should be. I think it works well the way we do things, at least it’s worked for the last 8 years We both write the lyrics , so it’s pretty equal what we do as a band.

As a Canadian band, you have a rich history to live up to… including both Cryptopsy, for your general musicality, and Voivod or Dead Brain Cells perhaps for the sci-fi lyrics. What made you choose to go in this direction?

It was an obvious choice to us to go with the sci-fi stuff, it felt like it matched the music and tone of the band perfectly.

The French metal scene is amazing, we made a trip out to Montreal last year and were met with open arms by some of the coolest fans/bands on the planet.

As for our influences I think we borrow more from American brutal death metal than anything Canadian, but Cryptopsy is an obvious candidate for an influence.


Inevitably your album will be compared with West Coast technical gore-grind but other influences seem to be there. I hear Cannibal Corpse, and notice at least one of y’all wearing a Dying Fetus tshirt. Can you tell us what your other influences were?

My influences vary between styles of music, anything from Zeppelin to the Beatles and back to Devourment. It’s a whole mish-mash of interesting things indeed! Bob’s influences include of course Dying Fetus along with Wormed and Jenovavirus.

Transient Suffering Through the Ergosphere is your third album. What were the other two like? Is there a continuing storyline between them? If so, what part does this third album tell?

Well actually it’s our 8th full length and 24th release in total!

The album is a continuation from our last album from Gore House Productions called Forced Human Sacrifice to the New Gods of Earth. We have plans for a third album in the storyline somewhere down the road but try and keep that between us!

With only two men in the band, it doesn’t seem like you would have the advantage of being able to jam on this material. How do you compose? Are mathematical formulas, laser pointers and graph paper involved?

Lots of riffs and demos in the recording process, and we rehearse with our drum machine named Montgomery a few times a month. We’ve played live with a lot of bands as well over the years. Almost played with the legendary Anal Cunt but Seth had to kick the bucket right before the show was drawing near!

How do you describe the music you make?

Our music, to me, is organized chaos. It has a real dark vibe to it that stands out among other little things like sound design and song structure. We’re heavily influenced by Jenovavirus, Dying Fetus and Devourment mostly for their ‘slam’ elements.

Can you tell us about recording this album? Was it a challenge, where did you do it, and did you achieve the sound you wanted? Were there any production hacks necessary to make that come about?

We recorded it in a little building down the street from our houses with a good friend of ours Ken Coul.

The studio is called Black Cloud Recording Studio and we did get the sound we were looking for and more. It’s our best sounding album to date with the most crushing slams and fastest grinds we’ve written. No frilly production was used other than amp presets and some reverb. It’s all natural!

What’s next for Cuff?

An EP, a new full length, new merch and definitely a tour are sometime in the near future. We really need to get out there to our friends across the world (and also to please our label GHP! Haha).

All in all, we’re keeping busy and that’s what matters.

You can check us out on Facebook and our Bigcartel sites.


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38 thoughts on “Interview with techno-slam-deathcore band Cuff”

  1. Richard Head says:

    Band is excessively boring. Want modern slam that is actually fun to listen to (or, at least, more fun than Cuff)? Check out Visceral Throne. Interview with them would be way more interesting; they take their music seriously enough to at least hire a fucking drummer.

  2. Heretic says:

    ^ Don’t say that, please.

    Music is not boring unless you are fundamentally bored. In which case, there’s a problem.

    1. Richard Head says:

      You are off your rocker if you’re being serious, buddy. Don’t even know why you would say that unless you’re a member of this band, in which case I don’t say what I say with the intent of being hurtful, but I won’t participate in a hugbox either.

      What makes you think music is not boring? Do you mean music in general can’t be boring? Have you ever heard of Steve Reich? Or house music? Shit is straight-up boring. Have you ever heard of anyone into EDM like house who doesn’t do drugs? That should tell you something about how engaging those artists’ compositions are.

      1. discodjango says:

        I really like “Music For 18 Musicians”. Some people find it boring, but if you listen carefully you notice the subtle changes which keep the composition interesting.

        Most house/techno is idiotic and seems to be made for ‘happy’ drug using party people. Only a few artists create compelling stuff. Check out Cosmin TRG, Robag Wruhme and Shed. Naturally their music is based on repetition, but they build their tracks (I do not call them songs) with care.

        1. Richard Head says:

          Truthfully I own the Nonesuch Retrospective collection of Reich’s work. Electric Counterpoint is my favorite aside from 18 Musicians. I also own several Philip Glass albums.

          As for EDM, I can take it or leave it. I’ve checked out various artists over the years but I’m not really interested in music that doesn’t require coordination of the human body.

    2. yoyo says:

      This is the blind cultural optimism of someone who thinks Taylor Swift and Kanye West are producing “great, important” music. Face it, some music is stupid shit for stupid people, and not even the charming kind of stupid.

      1. optimistic relativist says:

        Hey man, maybe Kanye’s music is not “great, important” or whatever but how could u say that anyone’s music is better than another because it all comes down to taste u know? Like if I like Kanye’s music and u don’t then ur the one missing out because I get to enjoy more music than u do so really ur just preventing urself from having a good time and isn’t that what life is all about in the end?

  3. Shit 666 says:

    “The metal scene is not a static thing. It goes on, and you either participate or accept it as is. For this reason, many of us are looking into newer styles of metal.”

    This band’s style is not in any way new nor do they have their own identity. It sounds like any other post-2000 internet band that uses EZ Drummer (static, unless the year is still 2005 somehow). Devourment and Dying Fetus are listed as influences, the first sign of weakness (they might as well just list Slip Knot as well). Listening to this band is painful and depressing (not in any way “good” or a compliment).

    1. 1349 says:

      The idea behind the couple of sentences that you quoted is that the future belongs to those who act, not those who whine.

      We the humans of today will be represented in the tomorrow by those who do something. Those who play & record music (carry out projects; have kids etc.) the way they think is right.

      There was a time when i was looking at my local underground scene and thinking/whining “what are these fucking morons doing? They play boring shit and they can’t even play.” But at least i joined a band and recorded some material that seemed better, at least to me; some type of music that i felt the scene was lacking.

      1. Richard Head says:

        Sometimes the best you can do is the best you can do. Criticism carries more weight if you are actually involved in the musical zeitgeist, so to speak.

    2. Richard Head says:

      More or less echoes my feelings in a comment in one of their last articles. Agreed on all points. The fact that these guys are such try-hard beardos with so many albums released (24? Are you serious? You expect that they released 24 quality albums in just a handful of years or does it seem more like they are just churning them out like burger patties in the mcdonald’s grill line?) suggests that they probably hopped on that “next-level of Cannibal Corpse attention-whoring grind band with electric drum machine” train just as it was chugging out of the Myspace station. Choo choo! None of these wannabes even own an Agoraphobic Nosebleed album, I betcha.

      Finally, where the hell is the Cryptopsy influence coming through? That is one of my favorite bands and None So Vile (along with Considered Dead, another Canadian band that evidentally got totally overlooked by Cuff) got me into death metal in the first place, so I know that style pretty well and the only resemblance I hear in Cuff is fast drumming. Cool, my band is directly influenced by Slayer in a huge way because I yell all the lyrics and use my whammy bar all the time.

      1. trystero says:

        The track in the first Cuff article has some Cryptopsy reminiscent riffs but I think its a second-hand influence (Cryptopsy -> ??? (the influences listed by the band) -> Cuff).

        1. Richard Head says:

          No, be quiet now, you’re just contradicting me for the sake of it. You always do this! I’m going to my room! *slams door*

          See, it’s still stupid because if Cryptopsy isn’t a direct influence then why mention them at all? Why mention them and leave out all the other bands that indirectly influences the music? Obviously doing so would be a clusterfuck of a list so the thing that annoys me is that they have to pick out cool bands to try to legitimize their sound by claiming legit bands as influence. It doesn’t work and it’s fucking weak.

          1. trystero says:

            Its just the writer fixating on Cryptopsy then sneaking in mention until assent occurs. Usual tactic. Like constantly trying to get members of Suffocation to say Morpheus Descends or something. The influences cited by the band themselves arent legit.

            I dont know why everyone is giving this act such a hard time, there is definitely some music to these dudes which is quite rare. I mean it doesnt make them good or worth your time necessarily but it certainly doesnt make them worthy of total derision.

            1. Richard Head says:

              Sure it does. This style of music is corny and obnoxious. Agoraphobic Nosebleed got it right, most everyone else needs to hang it up. I’m not even hating on the “brootal” style, I’m just not hearing any narrative in the music besides “look at me, I’m dangerous, pay attention to me now, are you sorry for how you treated me now dad?”.

                1. Richard Head says:

                  The Deadhead track had some mixing issues; those guitars need turned way up. Otherwise sounded cool; I’m neutral.

                  The Invocator track was killer. Made me want to go skateboard. Could benefit from removing those stupid synths but all-around a really good song, great flow and vicious expression in the vocals and riffs, and I will try to hunt down that album. Thanks.

                  1. Nester says:

                    Richard Head, another song from the same album.

                    I highly recommend this album. I think it’s one of the best speed metal albums made.

                    1. Richard Head says:

                      I am a big fan of this style, sort of straddling the transition into full-on death metal and this is really good stuff.

  4. Jewdas Priest says:

    I believe Brett Stephens is trolling us all with occasional silly posts like the above. Ara anyone?
    He’s laughing at us …

  5. Jewdas Priest says:

    Instead of this bullshit band, why not write about classic heavy metal band Riot instead? This year Riot realeased their album titled Unleash the Fire.

  6. Meek Metalhead says:

    Reaching out for a wider audience perhaps?

  7. Deaf Today says:

    The best thing about this is the Massacra reference.

  8. Grass says:

    “My influences vary between styles of music, anything from Zeppelin to the Beatles and back to Devourment.”

    That’s heavy, man.

  9. yoyo says:

    Is this trolling, or stockholme syndrome? “The future belongs to those who act, not to those who whine.” Yes, but praising and giving a platform to mediocrity is not substantial action. This place might be jumping the shark.

    1. trystero says:

      Its neither, its digs at critics because well, not everyone is good at taking shots especially when things dont seem to be going your way and everything you are doing seems to be wasted on people. More specifically, its sophistry.

    2. 1349 says:

      Reforming the cultural landscape – for example, by churning out and publishing release after release – that’s what is substantial action; regardless of whether those releases are crappy or groundbreaking. If one doesn’t wish to shape the cultural landscape his way, then the only options left for him are emigration, toleration, or whining.

  10. Celtic Frosted Flakes says:

    You entreated death, the answer will come
    Debris of faith, even you are false
    Immortal morals, catch up with time
    Vault of darkness, filled with hate

  11. Cuffling says:

    I managed to link my way on Metal-Archives from Cuff’s member list to — you’ll never guess — Black Sabbath’s page. Of course, the degree of separation is 3,000,000 members or so, but nevertheless a connection is a connection. This is how the chain [roughly] goes: Cuff -> Chamber of Farts -> Intestinal Rot -> Howl -> Opus Draconis -> Curelty -> Black Communion -> Horrifica -> Death After Death -> Dorsal Atlantica -> Erosive Exhumation -> Gangrena Gasosa -> Tony Martin -> Black Sabbath. Yeah.

  12. Lord Mosher says:

    I’ve been listening to Graveland after Prozak’s suggestion of the “Thunderbolts” album; also their previous EP “Cold Winter Blades” which has caused a fair amount of controversy here:

    1. trystero says:

      Reading those comments was painful. The majority of the commentators on that website have obviously absorbed the (elite) western consensus on any expression of whiteness but in between you see much more reasonable points of view. I have found it usual for metalheads, even if more… mainstream, to be quite tolerant of perceived problematic politics. Invisible Oranges really is the toilet of the scene.

  13. Massive Cunt says:

    Is this a pisstake?

  14. Genderless Hessian says:

    I am appalled that Chronicles of Chaos doesn’t have one single
    review nor entries for:

    Rigor Mortis
    War Master

    They ignored Summoning and Sammath’s latest albums and even worse, they gave Imprecation – _Theurgia Goetia Summa a negative review with an appalling low score of 4 out of 10.

    For the humanity!!

    1. loangoat says:

      They gave me 8/10 ( but they don’t have the same standards that has; being that Imprecation released stronger material.

      B-level material gets me by (heck, even a C is passing).

      1. Wolves says:

        When will Goatcraft plan released a A+ album?Wait in hope

        1. kvlt attakker says:

          No idea, mate.

    2. trystero says:

      Chronicles of Chaos has sucked for years and years now. The administrator has a fetish for doom metal (of the pussy variety) and a couple of years ago they opened the door to a new cadre of international reviewers with absolutely terrible taste. Their best writers are long gone, but I still recommend checking out stuff by Todd DePalma, their best writer by a mile.

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