Sunday, April 8, 2012


 Exmortis demo-era line-up promo photo. Many shots from this day were distributed to zines worldwide. (scan - Alan Moses)

" Confidently heralding a finesse and conviction that was heard world wide by those with a discriminating ear, Exmortis also became witness to the 'casual killing' of the scene, and their material was some of the last to be released before production lines took over the day."
-Glorious Times

 Glorious Times recently spent a little time catching up with Brian Werking from Frederick MD legends EXMORTIS, considering the release of the new mcd 'Resurrection: Book Of The Dead' was imminent. The release is available now - so you know what to do - without further ado we share with you the results.

 The long awaited mcd that precedes a full length album due sometime 2012 by Xtreem Music - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - It's been a dam long time since we've been able to communicate with you Brian, about 20-21 years. It's excellent to be able to once again drop you a line and this time not have to wait for weeks OR even months for a hand written letter. Can you recall when it was that you first got online and were you still involved in music at the time?

Brian - When I first got on line was back in the early 90’s when Windows 3.1 was released and joined AOL and CompuServe. There weren’t very many friends to write at the time so it was used mostly as an online resource for knowledge gathering. You have to remember, the internet was just evolving to a GUI style so there wasn’t that much too really do with it at the time. Music has always been a passion of mine so it’s never been far out of my reach. During this time period I’d just completed the “Fade From Reality” 7 inch release for Rage Records in 1991 with my guitar, bass, drum machine and rusty pipes. 

In 1992 I started delving into the world of computer sequencing and let me tell you, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me to explore. The ability to sequence many tracks of midi generated drums and keyboards to outboard gear had a major impact on me at the time so I started to write from what I knew was a new type of music. Some of you might have heard a sample of it on the 1994 Growing Deaf Entertainment CD titled “History of Things to Come”. The name I went by was Shockwerks and still is to this day. Shockwerks still exists for anyone who cares. There was a band on there named Bloodless as well. It was really me using that name instead of Exmortis because I did not own the rights to the name Exmortis at the time like I do now. 

During the years of 1992 and 1993 there were a couple of unreleased Exmortis songs recorded by myself and Giles Weiss. We created a new song titled “Life”, re-recorded “The Resurrection” and created an industrial song which title escapes my mind at the moment. There were also two Shockwerks demos released titled Insidious (1992) and Creation (1993). The two combined demos totaled 9 songs in all. They were all recorded sequencing with a computer while using VCR’s for sampling devices. I know, this was cutting edge technology for sure. Hahahaha Anyway, this was the early years after I got on-line.

As far as snail mail goes, I kind of miss it's personal aspect. Being able to write people and get letters back in the mail that you can hold on to was just incredible. I still have bags of it in my attic. I didn’t mind waiting a month to get responses from someone in another country. It was a part of life and one that I’ll never forget as long as I live. 

As we all did before the days of instant gratification. Brian at his desk doing mail - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - You were as much a slave to the pen and type writer as any of us back in the GT, do you miss that aspect of keeping up with things at all?

Brian - Yes, I do. As stated, it’s something I’ll never forget. These days it’s all about instant gratification. Back then you had to wait and it felt good because it always gave you a reason to anticipate the outcome. But, as things change so do humans and we all evolve to new levels. I wish some of these kids could have been around back then to see it all happen or partake in the ritual we all considered a comfort no matter how long it took to do it. I remember in the early days penning interviews quickly, even funny one or two line answers because there was just not enough time in the day to get everything done with another hectic life to lead.

 An eternal spiral madness - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - So would you say your music related work load has increased or decreased these days compared to the hey-days of Exmortis?

Brian - The workload has decreased dramatically. I’m taking it day by day now because life is more important than music at this stage. I have a family that needs me and lots of bills to pay. Life has changed quite a bit from the early days of just living with my parents and doing anything I wanted, going anywhere I pleased. I had a car so I took advantage of it at the time. These days I have pretty much everything I need and that’s important to me. 

Up to some shockwerks of his own...(courtesy Brian Werking)

Music comes and goes but it’s never far from my mind. Believe me, almost every moment of time I have drums, guitar rhythms or guitar leads flowing through my head. The problem is, when I pick up my guitar all those thoughts have already passed so new shit flows out. If only someone would invent a mind recorder, I’d sell my brother in-laws, half sisters, and grandmother’s cousins’ life for it. Hahahaha 

Since Exmortis was at its peak in about 1990 things were under control but hectic at the same time. We were happy with what we had accomplished but craved more. Unfortunately time stopped for us and we all moved on. What I hope for the near future will be another spike in interest. I’d like to see the old underground exist again but I know it’s impossible to do so. I have an idea, let’s create a secret society of underground fanatics that were around back in the day and not let anyone else in unless we deem them worthy… That’s not out of the league of possibilities with today’s technology.

One of the few, one of the proud, drummer Lee Coates - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Drew Elliot was well known for his band artwork well before the Seagraves and others which came next, once record deals started to get negotiated with death bands. Do you still keep in touch with Drew and if so how's he doing these days?

Brian - Drew is a madman. He plays bass for a band up in Philadelphia now and doesn’t really create many pieces of art work anymore (at least, not that I know of). In his early day’s he had short spiked hair and looked more like he was in to hard core punk which we all liked at the time anyway. Now he has long hair and very large sideburns. Kind of reminds me of the hippy era. It’s funny for me to say that, but I have a brother that looked similar to that in the early 70’s. We still talk from time to time, like on the phone every now and then but more via email. It’s quicker and easier that way. As far as I know, he’s doing well. He has his personal life as well as everyone else. 

Legendary underground artist Drew Elliot, when you could count people who did artwork on one hand. - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Since Drew IS a great talent and a long time friend of the scene, and he did the demo covers for Exmortis, could you share any special memory that you shared from life that includes Drew? 

Brian - I was at his house a few times back in those days. Went to a couple of shows and was stuck with him and a couple other people in a hotel in Fort Lee, N.J. because my car had broken down. One very cool moment was at his basement studio where he did all his art. He let me see the Necrophagia – Season of the Dead album cover artwork he was working on for a shirt design I think it was before it was complete. I guess he needed to change it around a bit to fit a shirt design. There was no photoshop back then.

Pete Eicher. Pete did the Immortality's End Keyboard Intro - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - I can still remember the day Ted Hartz showed up in Tampa, having come down by Greyhound from Baltimore, it was some time in 1991. Ken Karnig had picked him and Giles up from the station and brought them over to the Morbid Angel apartment at Barcelona where I was living at the time. When was it that you moved down to Tampa exactly?

Brian - That’s funny, I remember someone telling me via phone or mail as well that this had happened. I was surprised to hear that he tried out for Morbid Angel as well, do you know if this is true or not? (not on my watch - Alan). Well anyways I heard he didn’t make the cut, most likely for his leads and picking style. His picking was a bit strange and was never really in synch with what I showed him but it sounded good to us all. Anyway, I moved to Tampa in 1997 with my wife to continue my education in college and get my bachelor’s degree. Not for music…

 Ted Hartz. (courtesy - Brian Werking)

GT - So other things were other things the driving force behind the Tampa move then...

Brian - I moved to Tampa with my new wife to strictly complete my studies and get a bachelors’ degree in Electronic Engineering. That never happened as I got engraved in Corporate America and was then again lost for many years working my ass off but making some decent dough… So, it had nothing to do with the music business and all to do with schooling. You know life’s battles. Believe it or not but since I’ve lived here I’ve not ventured out to many shows or met all the influential death metal musicians here in Tampa. Not that I don’t want to but I’m not one to break down doors and force myself into other people’s lives. To me, that’s just invasive and against my morals to intrude.

The Shockwerks Media release 'Unhallowed Grave' - (photo - Alan Moses)

GT - What sort of work have you been doing to make ends meet all of these years brother? The last time I saw Lee, he had moved down to Tampa as well, and was a dishwasher with Gene well before Angel Corpse.

Brian - Well, I moved to Pittsburgh in late 1990 because I was dating Sharon from Derketa. While I was there I worked a couple of jobs. I sold perfume for a short while, worked in a warehouse sweeping floors, worked in a warehouse picking and packing orders to be shipped, worked for Fed-ex prepping driver trucks with orders to be delivered, worked as a gas station attendant, worked in a convenience store, worked in another warehouse supervising a small team. 

When I turned 25 I started school again to gain an associate’s degree in Electronics Engineering. While I was going to school I worked my way up through a computer store called CompUSA. I started out as a cashier, then got promoted to software sales and finally ended up as a computer technician. That’s when I moved to Tampa. Once I moved to Tampa, and before I was able to sign up for the Bachelors degree program I got a call from a computer technology consulting firm. That landed me a job working at a bank fixing all of their computer and telephone related problems both at the desktop and at the routing levels. It was fun but that contract ended. 

 Brian and Sharon - (we'd like to thank you Sharon for digging through the stash to find and scan these for us to share after so many years)

I was then placed at an international financial firm doing the same type of work as at the bank. That contract ended and a week later my company got a call from the financial firm wanting to buy me out of my contracting job. Everyone won in that deal. I finally started making some real money all while working my way through the firm. I ended up having four different jobs that ending in the computer security field before I was laid off along with 100’s of other IT staff. I got a nice severance package and am now looking into getting some new certifications to enter the technology field again. This time at the router LAN/WAN side of things. I’m done with desktops and servers for now but if needed I’d obviously take a position performing that type of work again.

Mike Malloy, Pete Eicher (who played keyboard intro on the Immortality's End demo) & Dave Hudak : the road crew if you will, seen here in Pittsburgh PA. - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - So when did you decide to pick things up with Exmortis? I dare say the first 2 tapes were the most well known to the hard-line underground, but what about the final recordings and the present day - how much time has passed and what's the general game plan you have now?

Brian - In 1991 I released the Fade From Reality 7 inch with Rage Records and produced another two songs for the History of Things to Come CD in 1994. A couple of years passed and I was contacted by a record company called Dwell Records, a subsidiary of CMH Records. They pitched an idea to me to record any Death song I wanted for a tribute CD they were releasing for Chuck. I picked Baptized in Blood. After I finished this recording and submitted it they started asking me to contribute other songs to other tribute CD’s.

They knew I wrote another style of music as well so they included my Shockwerks name as well. All in all I recorded 6 songs for them for 6 different tribute CD’s between the years 1999 and 2000. The Tribute artist and contributed songs were as follows: Death – Baptized in Blood (Exmortis), Morbid Angel – God of Emptiness (Exmortis), Ministry – Breathe (Exmortis), Kraftwerk – The Man Machine (Shockwerks), White Zombie – More Human Than Human (Shockwerks), and Marilyn Manson – Man That You Fear (Shockwerks). Dwell Records was a short lived company and soon after, passed themselves. All of these CD’s made it to large retail stores around the world but to this day I have no idea how well they sold. 

Brian with scene life-line, the 'zine, this time Japanese 'Satanic Death' - (courtesy Brian Werking)

In 2004 I created the website It was an informational website for a while but a year later decided to start selling the old demos. Around the same time I created a new one called Necrotic Visions which has the two songs from Fade From Reality and an unreleased song recorded at the same time as well as the two songs from the History of Things to Come CD. Hardly anyone knew about the site so sales were not very good at all and I had no idea how to market it since I’d not ever created website before. Plus I was out of contact with a lot of my friends from years back and had no clue as to how to contact them again. About this same time I had wrote a few songs and presented them to Lee Coates to possibly record a new demo. He agreed to do so but was heavily involved with Diabolic at the time so we practiced together a few times and that’s as far as it went. 

Until a few years ago I was lost in limbo again until I created a MySpace site and the people there were very nice. Exmortis started to again get a small following. I had fun with it and when Facebook started to pump up I created an Exmortis Facebook page which quickly drew thousands of friend requests. Someone, who I’ll name anonymous must have turned me in to Facebook as having a page that was unsuitable to their rules and regulations so they removed my access to the page. Bastards, I know, but there was nothing I could do about it because their customer support is the worst I’ve ever encountered. 

Anyway, I started going through all my old cassette tapes filled with guitar riffs I never used in the original Exmortis and decided to start piecing together a new release. Once I completed a couple of songs I was approached by Xtreem Music for a full length CD but I told them that couldn’t happen until 2012 at the earliest so they wanted to do an EP instead for a 2011 release. As far as the future goes, it’s anyone’s guess, I still plan on writing music and am only in it for my own happiness and nobody else’s. It’s my way or it doesn’t happen. Very little leeway will be given on what I write or how it’s presented. I’ll self release everything if I have to.

 Ted & Chris can make fart sounds too - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - These days, I mean we all knew this back in the 1980's, but today - Exmortis is still heralded as one of the premier unsigned bands of the glorious times, yet on the whole remains underrated. What went wrong dude? What do you see now as being the primary factors to why the band just didn't get to the level it should have?

Brian - Well, I thought we were at our peak in 1990 but the first two demos didn’t pop out at me like they did with other people. I’m very critical as to how I approach things and I was not completely happy with either of the outcomes. I was happy that people liked it but I feel we could have done much more with what we had in front of us. 

A couple of years back when I heard that people were still into Exmortis I was thinking to myself, what in the hell is this all about. Then I started getting emails from record companies asking to re-issue the demos. I actually didn’t know which way to turn at the time or had the time to worry about such a thing. It wasn’t until Roy from Necroharmonic convinced me that it was a good idea. Anyway getting back to the subject, I’d like to say a few things and I’m not trying to play the blame game here but there were quite a few factors that led to our demise. I’m just now coming out with them because I’ve been trying to keep people's name clean but not anymore. 

Necroharmonic Records has done a superb job on this release 'Darkened Path Revealed' - (photo - Alan Moses)

This whole new stretch in the Exmortis world needs to be told and from an honest opinion. You can ask people around the underground from those days and they’ll all tell you some of the same stories. Nobody in the band had their priorities straight. Everyone was thinking in different directions. There was a major lack of discipline as far as work ethic went. My patience was wearing thin because I did everything to help build the band to where it was and nobody helped, they just took credit for it. I paid for everything we did because nobody ever had any money to pitch in. Certain members which I will not name had drug, mental and or alcohol abuse issues and I could not stand for that anymore. Whenever we played live we couldn’t get through a set without someone screwing up massively. In the end and which I thought was the final blow was, we lost our practice facility. 

I think you can see the picture I’m drawing here. It’s all sad but what are you going to do but let itself play out and see where it goes. So, I said fuck it and moved to Pittsburgh.

Left to Right: Imran, Ed Farshtey, 2 dudes from Injustice (whom we can't identify at this time), Chris Wiser & Dave Hudak partying in NY - (photo - Brian Werking)

GT - Do you see what we see today....that, STILL, crappy generic bands get the deals and real innovation gets ignored. What's your take on this whole mess? There was a time when we thought we'd finally seen an age where the truly excellent bands were starting to get recognized, I mean, before it all fell apart and most everything got signed that sounded like a fad or some other successful band.

Brian - Fads come and go but real musicianship will keep on slaying no matter what year it is. I saw this starting to happen in about 1992 and it was devastating to me. There were so many bands that got signed and the truly deserving ones did not. What kind of crap is that? I can only assume the record company reps and executives couldn’t find the hole in their own asses from this time going forward. It is hard even now to find a band that sounds half decent. 

Cherished by the old guard - (photo - Brian Pattison)

In the beginning of this you had nothing but bands that sounded just like their predecessors (or trying to sound like them). Then we had a huge wave of sub death metal genres come about which totally blew me away. They were making money and the truly deserving bands weren’t. hmm, I wonder why? Could it be the influence on these new bands via the record companies? I don’t know but I think it may have played a part in it. Heavy videos started rolling out on the TV from time to time but no one knew anything about their ancestors. I wonder why? At least our generation was smart enough to look back and see where we originated? Hell, I’m not afraid to admit that I liked Van Halen, Motley Crue, Dokken. Most of my heavy roots came from bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram (Maryland) and Celtic Frost but most all of my speed came from Slayer. To this day Slayer is my all time favorite band and I’m not afraid to share that. They have proven to me that real musicians stick it out until the bitter end and won’t budge for quality of work. Every CD they release just seems to get better and better. But nothing shreds more than the Reign in Blood CD. That was just an amazing piece of work that I don’t think will ever be topped. Before I finish, let’s see how fast we can play or how low we can tune. It’s a joke to me and I hope I pissed a few people off. No offense. You are into what you like and so am I. That’s what free will of opinion is for.

Brian Werking - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Don't you just LOVE how everything we'd worked so hard to bridge, the different scenes playing together and the freedom to move around in all of them - don't you love how it's been broken into fashions pretty much again? 

Brian - It’s a piece of work indeed. I can’t believe what it’s become as it used to be a tight knit group of people. But that was when we only had a handful of bands out there and if you could count them, 100’s of thousands of fan into it. Now there are probably 20 thousand bands out there with millions of listeners. That’s bound to make an impact on the way people link us all together. They took over though didn’t they? Back in the early 90’s there were even bands that you’d never expect to change that went in the wrong direction. It seemed like they just wanted to make another sound for themselves but if they stayed the same they already had their own sound…

Another thing is I’m not sure about this progression thing. People always say, "well I’ve progressed and moved on."  To me that’s like saying I’m not into what I used to be into and I’m changing my entire style and thoughts of the way I want the music genre to be viewed. True death metal heads will never change and should never change for any fad. So what if they’re not picked up by a major label. At least they’re doing something they believe in and can say so.

Snapshot into a far different era - EXMORTIS - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Can you keep up with all the shenanigans of all the different styles the kids have labeled everything by now - a hundred forms of death metal, blah blah? We don't even want to keep up and can't even use the terms.

Brian - Never would I want to. I know only one true form of death metal and it’s the old original style, most of the 2nd generation and some of the 3rd. Anything after that either sounds like bands they idolized or have no musical ability at all. Well if you want to talk shenanigans then you should mention all the money they ripped from the bands that actually deserved it. I’m not saying that Exmortis ended up in a situation that would be a contender for that but it just seems to me that bands pay no dues these days and it pisses me off. The scenario seems to be band meets then writes a crappy demo then a small time label picks them up (we know there are many of those out there). They release a CD, start touring and if they are lucky make some money from merchandise sales. The labels make all the money and rip the bands off. That’s how it’s always been in death metal with the exception of a few bands that got a nod from some executive or influential person in the scene.

One of our favorite Exmortis line-up shots - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Do you still follow any of the old bands today, is there anything at all among the new bands that you do enjoy? Hardcore punk, metal or whatever....

Brian - Well, I follow Slayer and buy everything they release but not much of anything else. I’m done with Morbid Angel and all their followers that think the blast beat is everything. It’s unfortunate that the death metal genre has ended up as nothing more than a fast paced sound bouncing off the walls like it was torture. Every now and then I’ll hear a newer band play a song that some of the riffs remind me of old school death metal but for the most part none of it interests me. I’m highly into Movie soundtracks and like the technical aspects of it mostly. The clean sound is very inspiring as well.

GT - So how do you respond to the advent of the modern day 'fest', compared to what we knew them to be in our day?

Brian - I’m not surprised at what I see these days. There are mostly top notch death metal bands headlining and tons of newer bands opening for them getting exposure to the public. The festivals these days are huge and sometimes last for days at a time. It’s crazy for sure. You have the old school group that hangs together and then the rest that have no idea who the hell you are. Anyway, back in the day when a festival took place everyone went to it that could make the trip and all the bands were bands we all knew personally via snail mail or other means. Things were way different back then and had an entire different feel to them.

 Lee Coates doing what he does best - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Turning inwards on to Exmortis' legacy, what can you say about that?

Brian - Legacy….. I can’t really comment on that. I don’t know why people have deemed it cult as we were just a few kids having fun and doing what we wanted to do. It just so turned out that we must have been doing it the right way. I wish some of that old mentality would surface again.

 Lee, Brian, Chris - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Care to share one anecdote not covered in Glorious Times? I remember well, our first meeting in Baltimore, when I was working for Morbid Angel in 1990. We played a club called The Rage. Can you still remember that even?

Brian - Dude, I was probably drunk as when we didn’t play live we partied a lot. I remember a lot of things that went down when during that time but I’m sorry, I can’t remember that. If you gave me some more info about the time it would probably jog my memory. We were a band of merry men that were just average joes doing what we wanted whenever we wanted and like I said, that partly let to our demise. (Let me just say it was a huge deal for ME to finally meet Exmortis, you guys were Buttface mag faves for sure - Alan)

Chris Wiser - (courtesy Brian Werking)

GT - Not related to music at all here, but since so many years have gone by, is there any tale to tell from life in general?

Brian - Let’s see, I was married to Sharon of Derketa for a short time. I ate Mac and Cheese for dinner for a couple of years trying to make it to the next day. My father died in 1993, my mother died in 2001. I’ve had quite a few other deaths in my family. A good friend of mine Giles committed suicide. I got re-married and we had a little girl. I went to college and got my associate degree. I’m a video enthusiast. My wife and I bought a house. I’ve had 3 cats in which 2 of them are still alive. I had 2 dogs which are now deceased. I had a huge Iguana that I ended up having to sell because he was getting too big for me to keep him in my apartment. Plus he’d whip people he didn’t know with his tail. I’ve went through quite a few friends because I’m the type of person that doesn’t give too many chances to redeem themselves after they fuck me over a few times. Don’t be a no show when we make plans because if you waste my time you’re done… Many other things but I’m sure I painted a pretty good picture here.

Another great shot of Brian and Sharon during those early years - (courtesy Sharon Bascovsky)

GT - Musically speaking, will this current Exmortis activity end after the release you have scheduled? Will you be carrying on with music in some other manifestation?

Brian - Funny you should say it because the new Exmortis “Resurrection…Book of the Dead” has just been released and a full length CD is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012. I plan on working with a few other friends that I’ve known for 20+ years on a couple of projects. I’m also planning on another Shockwerks release in the future but this time it’s going to be a bit different from what it sounded like in the past. It will be more modern. I’m also planning to keep on with my antics on trying to write movie soundtrack worthy music because I really think I could at least write some music for some low budget films in the future. It’s a lifelong dream of mine. I’ve also wanted to act in a film as well so if you know anyone putting a horror film together that isn’t too cheesy let me know and I’ll read some lines for it.

We'd like to thank Mrs Werking for this great and most current shot of her husband, whom has brought a great deal of enjoyment to underground music fans the world over. 

GT - We'd like to thank you once again for taking part in Glorious Times (the 2nd edition), we're really happy that it was managed and from what we've heard from the fans, so are they! The final words are yours old friend.

Brian - Well, first off I want to thank Glorious Times for your support. I’ve known you guys for such a long time and I hope it continues until the day our lives come to an end… To everyone else out there, it’s very important to stay as brutal and old school as possible. We need more people to rise up and take control of this scene again. Most of the old school fans and band members are starting to come back now so I think it’s a good thing so I fully expect that you give them the attention and respect they deserve as they are the ones responsible for what sub genres are out there today. Most importantly, keep true to yourself and never let anything get in the way of your plans for life. We’re only here once and so don’t want to be 50 without a plan. That’s not smart and you would be a fool to do so. I know there are a lot of people out there in that situation though so, my hat’s off to you and I hope you can pull yourself together and get on the right track. Now, you know, these are only my opinions. Thanks you all for your support and long live death metal………..

Brian with his copy of GT - got yours yet? - (courtesy Brian Werking)

CONTACT XTREEM MUSIC FOR THE EP RELEASE 'Resurrection - Book Of The Dead' which is available NOW 

CONTACT  NECROHARMONIC RECORDS  FOR THE 'Darkened Path Revealed' release.



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