The Mojave Desert Guttural Machine: Meet Clayton Meade

Clayton Meade is one of the most recognizable names in slam/brutal death metal these days, especially when we look at bands that came up after the start of the new millenium. Even those who aren’t big slam aficionados will know names of bands that he is or has been associated with, namely Condemned or Pathology. Throughout his musical career he’s been involved with many bands and musical projects too many to list here. Other than in the two aforementioned bands he’s also in the slamming deathcore band Implements of Hell, which started in the early 00s and recently made a comeback. My personal favorite is a studio project called Umbilical Asphyxia which Clayton has with the Taiwanese purveyor of all things slam Larry Wang. Clayton really lives and breathes death metal. His hometown Las Vegas is one of the hotbeds of modern death metal and deathcore and you can tell that music is ingrained into this gents soul. We talk to Clayton about music and also about his passion for collecting metal merchandise.


Hi Clayton, thanks for taking the time. I wanna start by asking you how it all started for you as a vocalist. Did you get into music gradually, by learning an instrument etc., or were you the kind of person who thinks to themselves I wanna front a band and go out there and tear up the clubs and then went and did it?

My first instrument was actually an electric bass guitar that I got when I was about 12. Around that time my stepdad had a drum set in the house so I would occasionally mess around on that as well. I wasn’t particularly good at either, actually terrible at bass and guitar. My first band was actually an all sxe hxc [note: straight edge hardcore] band called Veracity where I played drums. We played some shows with locals like Folsom plus some shows with Ceremony, Trash Talk, and Lewd Acts. Eventually I got a Metalblade dvd that featured videos for The Black Dahlia Murder’s “Funeral Thirst” video and Cattle Decapitation’s “To Serve Man”. I decided right then and there, that guttural vocals were what I wanted to do. In 2011, I also played drums for a grindcore/powerviolence band called Open Wounds from St. George, Utah featuring members of Fever Dreams. We played one show with Bone Dance, that was great. 

Your first band Implements of Hell [IoH for short] is from Las Vegas. Did you actually grow up there? I’m trying to imagine what the metal scene there is like. I imagine Las Vegas has all the bands in the world performing there, because it’s a party town and also because of the proximity to California, a real hotbed for modern death metal. Which can be a blessing or a curse I guess. If people see big acts all the time maybe support local artists less… Do you feel like the scene there is quite specific or nothing too much out of the ordinary?

I was born and raised in Las Vegas, besides a couple younger years where I lived in Lincoln City, Oregon. I primarily went to hxc shows but there was a lot of crossover. In the early to mid 2000’s, Las Vegas was a hotbed for extremely violent shows. It wasn’t uncommon for fights or injuries to occur at each show. Definitely more violent than any of the shows I attended at nearby states during those times. We had lots of great locals like Misericordiam and Molotov Solution plus out of state bands that played here often like Elysia, Impending Doom, and Knights of the Abyss. The deathcore scene was booming at the time. I’d still catch some amazing brutal death metal [note: BDM for short] shows like Devourment with I’ve Been Shot and local legends, Guttural Secrete.

Las Vegas was a hotbed for extremely violent shows. It wasn’t uncommon for fights or injuries to occur at each show.


You’ve started as a 16 years old in a then deathcore band Implements of Hell. You guys released one demo in 2006 but your debut came more than a decade later. At that time you also got involved with Pathology and Condemned. Was that a sort of incubation period for you before you threw yourself into all the music projects that you’re involved in?

My first band Implements of Hell was quickly signed to the Japanese Label, Macabre Mementos and had plans to release our debut album with them. Unfortunately we took too long to record and the label was no longer around to release it. When I started that band, I already had a ton of influences, namely Condemned’s first album “Desecrate the Vile”, plus my favorite slam band of all time, Digested Flesh who was also on Macabre Mementos. We wanted to play heavy slams and breakdowns, kind of taking the heaviest aspects from both genres of BDM and deathcore. After playing a ton of amazing shows, IoH took a hiatus until about 2016 so I tried finding other bands to join. It was difficult to find BDM musicians at this time so I had been involved with a few deathcore bands like Hallowed Reaping and State of Decay. I was able to play shows with bands like The Red Chord, No Zodiac and Nasty. Once IoH found itself a solid line-up we reformed and signed to another Japanese Label, this time to Amputated Vein Records.  


Condemned is the highest profile band that you’re in right now I would say. How did you become a member?

California brutal death machine Condemned

Well initially, my involvement started when I reached out to Steve [Crow] to make us a logo for Implements of Hell and also a back print for our unreleased Mark Riddick shirt design that we had made back in 2007. Then my other band Depulsed went on Condemned’s headlining tour in Europe where we became good friends. I would hop on guest vocals for Condemned almost every night of the tour. They saw what a huge fan I was of Condemned and they saw each night what type of vocals I could supply. Eventually they decided to go back in a more guttural direction so they reached out to me and I tried out. Luckily, they decided I was a good fit so I became an official member. Things were moving in a steady pace until the very saddening passing of our bass player Ryan Reidy. We have since been working hard to create this upcoming album in his honor. 


I can’t reveal too much about our upcoming album but I can say that it’ll definitely be a combination of all the best aspects of Condemned thus far with an added intensity that will set it apart from prior material.


The band has a new lineup and a studio. What can you reveal about upcoming releases and other plans?

We have plans to tour soon. We recently revealed that we’ll be joining Decrepit Birth and Pathology for a leg of their tour. We’ll also be playing at this year’s Chicago Domination Fest. I can’t reveal too much about our upcoming album but I can say that it’ll definitely be a combination of all the best aspects of Condemned thus far with an added intensity that will set it apart from prior material. It’s sounding ferocious in rehearsal so we’re really excited to get it recorded and get it released to the people. 

Condemned has been in a process of regrouping in the past year or two, so I assume that the impact of the pandemic wasn’t all that relevant. What was the situation in Nevada? Did you feel like the Covid restrictions there were too strict compared to some other places in the US, or were they reasonable in your opinion? Is it getting back to normal now with regard to live shows, band practice etc?

Covid hit here about as hard as anywhere else as far as I know. Shows were shut down for quite some time which ruined tour plans I had with Depulsed plus any shows with Condemned. Luckily our restrictions have been less strict in comparison to some states like our nearby state of California. Things have been pretty normal lately though, I had Depulsed and IoH play the recent Sin City Slaughterfest. I recently drove down to an Anaheim show for the Defeated Sanity tour and as of writing this plan to see their final date here in Las Vegas this Saturday. 

Clayton Meade and Larry Wang

How did you start collabing with “Boss Twin” Larry Wang? How long have you guys been in touch? What gave you the impulse to start Umbilical Asphyxia?

I first met Boss Twin at Las Vegas Deathfest 666. I got to hang out a lot with him and Chris [Peluso] of Splattered/Coprocephalic. We instantly connected on a musical and goofy level so it was meant to be. It was also notably my first time meeting a lot of good people like Didi Spindler and Bob Shaw (RIP) at that show. I had wanted to be featured on a Coprocephalic track but unfortunately that band had not been working on anything so Larry decided to crate a project together where we could share our guttural talents.

Slam as a genre is the biggest it’s even been if you consider how many bands there are now so doing something experimental and unusual is important and luckily.


Can you tell us more about how you collaborate? Who came up with the Final Fantasy theme for the last album? I thought that was really interesting and unusual for a slam band.

Larry writes all the instrumentation and we both share vocal. I came up with the band name plus album concepts and I’ve written all the titles for the songs/albums plus adding the samples for the second album. The first album’s samples were chosen by Larry. I’ve always loved Final Fantasy, most notably FF7 so for our last album I pulled together samples from the game and decided to go with that theme. I did my best to use the samples to compliment the slams because the album is so rhythm based. The samples kind of act as a lead guitar melody to make an interesting contrast. It’s almost a slam cheat in a way. I also used samples in a chronological manner to emulate playing through the game from start to finish. A few samples were actually from FF6 such as Kefka’s laugh and some others were from $uicideboy$ and Ghostemane. Slam as a genre is the biggest it’s even been if you consider how many bands there are now so doing something experimental and unusual is important and luckily, I’m really happy with how it turned out. 

Do you have any new music coming out with your other projects (Grieve, Depulsed, Scorbutus)?

Depulsed has been a slow brew because our main song writer Jose [Lopez] is always super busy with kids and work. We hope to get it finished this year and Depulsed is set to play New Standard Elite Fest, which is also later this year. Grieve is about to unleash its debut album with Sevared Records so we’re stoked on that. Jacob [Vargas] writes some of the most filthy slamming shit I’ve ever heard so this album is going to crush. I haven’t heard much on new Scorbutus but I don’t doubt that we may work on some more in the future. Larry and I are currently working on the new Umbilical Asphyxia Album so it’s possible it will be read later this year or definitely early next year. 


Would you recommend some underrated local band? Something like Nevada’s best kept secret?

There’s a new project featuring Andrew [LoMastro] on vocals from Cerebral Incubation plus members from Guttural Secrete that comprise a new outfit called Nemesism so keep your eyes peeled for that and follow them on FB. Some past Las Vegas bands that I’d recommend to check out but are no longer active would be: Weirding Way (members of Curl Up and Die and ex-Guttural Secrete) I’ve uploaded their album “Panspermia” on youtube.  Misericordiam of course, earlier material is more on the deathcore side but the last EP they released was more of a blasting BDM sound. Both of these bands are underrated and need to come back. Definitely listen to the new Cerebral Incubation EP if you haven’t.

There’s plenty of sweaty band rehearsals in garages and practice spaces that really work to fill you with aggression and exhaustion all at the same time.


How is it to live in a state that’s mostly a desert. Do you feel some sort of spiritual connection to it?


Well I personally liked living in Oregon much more. I loved the trees, fresh air, rain and Las Vegas lacks all of that. I don’t know if there’s a spiritual connection but as I recall, there’s plenty of sweaty band rehearsals in garages and practice spaces that really work to fill you with aggression and exhaustion all at the same time. You definitely want to make your efforts worthwhile when you’re suffering in 115 degree heat. 

You’re a big merch collector. Can you name two or three holy grails from your collection?

Definitely my Guttural Secrete demo cd, shirt, and hoodie. I also have the first Cepholtripsy shirt with almost everything else they’ve released. My Orchidectomy hoodie is another rarity that I’ll never let go. Honorable mentions would be my collections for Dripping, Digested Flesh, Inhuman Dissiliency, and Devourment which is mainly “Molesting the Decapitated” and “1.3.8.” stuff. 

Final question: have you ever rocked a mullet?

No, luckily I was never into that but I will admit to rocking a few devilocks in my teen days since I was and am a huge fan of The Misfits (old lineup) and AFI. Thanks for the interview! 

Photo Credit: featured photo by Martin Eberhard, all other photos by Lauren Meade

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