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Though Hollywood, California’s Rusty Eye have been in existence since the mid-90s, the power-trio’s brand of horror-influenced prog/thrash is still somewhat of an underground phenomenon. With the release of Possessor—their third LP proper—it seems as if Rusty Eye are beginning to make some headway, even garnering the attention and contribution of legendary Goblin-mainman Claudio Simonetti on the tracks “Mondo Cane” and “Wings of a Demon”.
“We’ve always been huge Goblin fans,” enthuses the band’s bassist/vocalist Mr. Rust, “and it’s an undeniable musical influence to Rusty Eye; working with Claudio Simonetti has been my favorite career moment thus far, for sure. For Rusty Eye, this whole horror thing is far from being a gimmick: it’s our lifestyle, and we go to all types of horror events such as screenings and stuff, so we are always meeting interesting people. Our Stendhal Syndrome album gave us a lot of notoriety in the horror world and Miss Randall [drums/vocals] met Claudio a few years back. Years later, we sent him some demos for Possessor to see what he thought, and we asked if he would add some synth.”
He continues, “Horror has been an influence to us in the same way as metal. We watch films to get inspired in the same way we listen to albums. We made the whole horror thing more noticeable on Possessor intentionally, and—perhaps because of that—some people think that our lyrics are about specific horror movies, similar to the Misfits. That’s a big misconception, however, since it’s all about referencing and paying homage to these influences. We don’t have a single song whose lyrics follow the plot of a horror movie. As for the atmosphere, indeed, we provide texture in the sound and once the mood is set we narrate tales of existentialism. Naming the previous album Stendhal Syndrome is the perfect example: as the name works both ways, both as a reference to the Dario Argento movie as well as the name of a pathology where art produces a physical reaction on an individual. We do consider metal an art; performed with passion and not just for profit.”
Given that the music of Rusty Eye shoots for atmosphere with a technical edge, the result difficult to categorize. As a result, the band still exists on the fringes of underground and label acceptance, a point which Mr. Rust is quick to take up and defend.
“A lot of people over the years have tried to label the band, and categorize it to a certain defined style,” defends the bassist. “Because of the vast influences we have and how much the sound changes over time, it’s always been a difficult task to come up with a concise accurate description…it’s even hard for us. We’ve tried many things, but narrow minded people always get it wrong—they feel offended and then they attack us online and such. For example, if we say we’re progressive—because of that technical edge—people get angry, because we don’t sound like Dream Theater or Opeth. So to keep things simple, we’re just going for ‘Heavy Metal’ nowadays. A very cool writer in the UK coined the term ‘Tech Thrash n’ Roll’ for us, which I think is awesome…but then again we got complaints because we’re not quite Retro-Thrash, we aren’t sixteen, and we aren’t exactly doing carbon copies of Megadeth, either.”
“Every single recording has been self released and self distributed,” adds Mr. Rust. “Every time we put out a recording, we take a lot of care to make improvements over the previous one. The only difficult thing is that there are people out there that don’t know the difference between garage band, local band, unsigned band and DIY Independent band. They assume that if you don’t have a label, then you must suck, and they refuse to even hear what we do. We always fight against this sort of mentality, because it always closes doors of opportunity for us.”
Though the torrid tales of indie bands fighting for recognition has been told time and time again, Rusty Eye remains determined to succeed on their own terms. “We’ve been promoting a lot, and putting a lot of effort to get the name out before we actually go out on tour. We’ve been through a lot to get to where we are, and we wouldn’t put our music at risk for anything. Just going out on tour blindly to gather bar flies one by one is not going to get our message anywhere, and we’d most likely fail in the same way as 99% of the bands that do it that way. We want to go out to where we are expected, and put a good show, so that’s exactly where we are right now, trying to spread the name out. Once we’re certain that we can draw something significant in a place, we will go to that place. It kinda blows, but labels don’t seem to be interested in completely original stuff. I’d love to have someone invest in us and further our career; it would be great to tour and get promoted, or even developed—a concept which apparently has completely ceased to exist—but in the meantime all we have is DIY. It’s not the coolest deal in town, but that’s what we got, this is who we are and we sure are going to keep doing it with or without labels.”
Video for Rusty Eye’s “Mr. Cannibal”