Interview: Zom Drummer Sabbac Talks About His Favorite Albums & Ebola Virus

Hailing from Dublin, Zom bring a decidedly new and different atmosphere to the sound of Irish death metal. Draped in cosmic fuzz and wrapped in shades of pummeling brutality, there’s nothing on the emerald isle quite like these guys. I spoke with Sabbac (drums) as he discussed the band’s inception as well as their origins of their moniker. He also went at length to talk about his favorite albums and his thoughts on the dreaded Ebola virus. Ready yourself for the vast galaxial fissure that is Zom!

First off, let’s talk about how three Dubliners got together to craft the metallic sorcery that is Zom. What does Zom mean and where did you get the idea for it? Do you think it fits the band?

Zom initially started somewhat as a bedroom project between Cthon (bass/vocals) and myself. After a while we drafted in Sodomaniac to play guitar and things just went from there really. There was no great master plan or long term goals. I wanted to learn the drums and Cthon wanted to learn how to sing and play better. We just made the music we wanted to hear and played it. Everything else was secondary. As for Zom, he is a character from the Marvel Universe created centuries ago by unknown forces. He exists only to destroy. A fitting name.

Flesh Assimilation is a terrifying mix of crushing death doom and cosmic fervor unlike any that I’ve ever heard. I think the fuzzy production really makes it explode even more, as a cleaner production would take out a lot of the muscle. How was the writing process for the album? How long did it take to piece together before you went into the studio?

The album came together a little slower than we anticipated because we were all so busy outside the band, that and we didn’t want to rush anything either. All in all it probably took us about a month or two to really get everything in place. Our approach is usually quite straight forward in the rehearsal room. Someone might come in with a riff or a full song and we all piece things and ideas together from there. There’s no grand architect or master plan just driving chaos.

Where did you record Flesh Assimilation and how long was that process? What was the atmosphere like while you were recording? Were there any other bands in there with you at the time?

Flesh Assimilation was recorded in a miserable industrial estate somewhere in Wicklow in the dead of winter. The music was recorded live over two days in December then the solos and vocals were put down in a day in January…I think!? I don’t remember much of the process to be honest other than it was a lot more focused an effort from all three of us…that and the atrocious weather we’d find ourselves taking cover in while trying to smoke some weed.

Ireland’s biggest export seems to be doom metal and folk metal, of which both are executed beautifully, because you have a strong cultural history and have faced a lot of pain and hardship. As of right now, you guys are one of the first real death metal bands that I’ve heard coming out of the country. What do you think of that?

I think you haven’t heard Malthusian yet and you should get on that. Our particular style of Death Metal isn’t really practiced here in Ireland but we’ve always had this technical “brutal” stuff going on, which I totally don’t get at all. That’s how we became involved with Invictus Productions, we were exactly the kind of band Darragh wanted to work with and his was exactly the kind of label we wanted behind us.

Lyrically, what are your inspirations for the work? Fancy Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft, or is there something far more sacred at work here? Do you actually practice what you preach on the record? As in some sort of occult sorcery?

I don’t deal with the lyrics so I can’t really comment. I know a lot of the lyrics come from a more Sci-Fi background than occult but again, they’re not my lyrics so I don’t know for sure.

What do you gentlemen do when you’re not playing music? What are some things we wouldn’t guess about you?

I just play music really…in five/six other bands and projects. ZOM is the only band I play drums in and the rest is all guitar. Same with the other two, everyone in the Dublin scene is usually in several different bands at the same time. Other than that, there’d be a lot of anime, video games, cats, booze, cats, comics, weed, more music, toys, cats, internet TV, art, guitars, cats and cartoons spread out between the three of us.

What could you say helped to influence this work? What are some of your favorite records ever recorded?

What influenced this record and some of my favorite records ever recorded couldn’t be further away from each other. For Flesh Assimilation there was definitely a heavier Altars of Madness vibe going on combined with more Discharge and D-Beat elements. As for my personal favorites, off the top of my head I would have to say:

Motorhead – Overkill

Despise You – West Side Horizons

Rory Gallagher – Live in Europe

Metallica – Ride the Lightning

His Hero Is Gone – Fifteen Counts of Arson

Mountain – Twin Peaks

Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More from the Road

Assuck – Misery Index

MC5 – Kick Out the Jams

Slayer – Reign in Blood

Annihilation Time – Tales of the Ancient Age

Dystopia – Human = Garbage

Black Sabbath – Vol. 4 … and this could go on for a long time.

Being that the Irish scene for metal is quite small, I’ve always felt that it needs more representation. Primordial really set the stage, as well as Cruachan and now we’ve got some absolutely stellar acts like you guys, Sinocence and several others I’ve heard as of recent who are really kicking some ass. Do you think that in the coming years, Ireland will finally get the musical representation that it deserves?

Hard to say, that’s not something that I really think about to be honest. I can list a load of amazing bands though, as there is some serious talent on this island. Check out Malthusian, Slomatics, Wild Rocket, #1s, Putrefaction, Cat Piss Brain Rot, Strong Boys, Tome, No Spill Blood, September Girls and Contort. The upcoming Vircolac demo will probably turn a few heads as well.

How worried are you guys about the Ebola virus? I mean, you’re quite a ways from it, but the fact of air travel makes things a bit sticky. This thing could literally wipe us all out.

(Laughs) I am far more concerned with where I’m going to get money for a drink tonight. Contracting Ebola would probably be as much as a blessing for me as it would be a curse.

Let’s talk about upcoming shows and travel, despite the pandemic crisis madness. Where are you going to be playing in the next few months? Are there going to be any major European tours?

We’ll be hitting the road with Dead Congregation in mainland Europe at the end of December. I’d urge everyone to check out the dates online and come bring us weed when we hit your town. Other than that, things are pretty quiet on the gig front. If anyone wants us to play somewhere feel free to drop us a line.

Thanks for making a hugely crushing death metal release and I hope to hear more from you in the future. Be safe out there! – Eric

Thanks a million for your time and interest in the band, it is very much appreciated.

Zom Tour Dates:
with Dead Congregation

25/12 Hamburg (DE)
26/12 Brussels (BE)
27/12 Paris (FR)
28/12 TBA
29/12 TBA
30/12 TBA
31/12 London (ENG)
01/01 France TBA
02/02 Zurich (SWI)
03/01 Oberhausen (DE)
04/01 Berlin (DE)
05/01 Copenhagen (DK)


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