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April 19, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Although the space is tight, Chris Durk, 26, is able to transform a small room into the source of all things dark and brutal. Before a short touring hiatus and a new band lineup, Intracranial Butchery boasted more than 15,000 fans on the music website ReverbNation, the most of any other rock band in Columbia.
The walls of Durk’s home tremble each time a large rush of traffic zooms down Interstate 70. Durk’s practice room has a small, open space in the center of it, surrounded by technology and furniture. An iMac and desk sit at an angle in one corner and a large flat-screen atop a shelving unit in another. The entrance is cramped with an amp to the left and a dresser to the right. With the exception of posters and a calendar, the walls are relatively bare. A multi-colored curtain is hung on one side of a narrow window.
Despite the small space, it’s all Durk needs to practice, write and record tracks for his death metal band.
As the only consistent band member since its creation in 2008, he writes the most brutal guitar riffs and records them in this room. Durk also uses a classic ’91 drum machine, which looks like a bulky old answering machine.
He describes his song-writing process as delving into the mind of a child, which is pure and limitless. “I just like to write music for myself, kind of like an artist painting a picture,” he says.
The band performs on a whim, but Durk practices alone by playing along with pre-recorded tracks. Sometimes instead of standing, he’ll play while sitting in a wooden chair, occasionally glancing back and forth from the computer screen to the fret bars on the neck of the guitar.
But when he stands up, his shoulder-length brown hair sways up and down as he headbangs and thrashes to the beat. Stage presence is important to practice as well.
“I just make the music, send the dudes all the stuff, and then they practice on their own,” Durk says about his two bandmates. “We meet up right before the show, and we just play. It’s kind of crazy, but it works out.”
Performing in the midst of musical chaos, Intracranial Butchery’s gory name describes the band’s sound accurately. With low guttural vocals, progressive drum beats and shredding guitar riffs, songs such as “Adipocere Hymn of Decomposition” will make listeners feel like they’re experiencing a mental butchery of sorts.
Produced by Leanne Butkovic
Intracranial Butchery isn't your typical death metal band. Hear from the group's songwriting mastermind, Chris Durk, have a jam session for one and talk about how his band has evolved.