Published Feb 01, 2000Without a doubt, Eyehategod's feedback-drenched, syrupy sludge-core down-tuned dirge Bayou-doom has proven to be one of the more influential sounds in metal, spawning like-minded groups such as Cavity, Grief, Noothgrush, Sourvein, and Iron Monkey. Their latest platter, 10 Years Of Abuse (And Still Broke), is the band's sixth full-length release for Century Media, and its title aptly describes these New Orleans homeboys' last decade of decadence. "It sums it up perfectly," quips front-man Michael D. Williams. "Eyehategod is still out there playing. We're not making any money to speak of a little, but not a lot. We're still out there doing it because that's all we know how to do."
10 Years Of Abuse also completes the band's contract with Century Media, ending a long and frustrating relationship with the label. After 1996's Dopesick, Eyehategod were itching to be released from their record contract, though they still had obligations for three more albums. "We signed a screwy contract to begin with, but when we initially wanted off, it was about seven years ago when the label really sucked. The people there weren't helping us, there were constant arguments between us and them over royalties, advertising, and things like that. Fans were telling me they had ordered T-shirts and never got them. We wanted off, and it just took us this long to get off the label."
With Williams' escalating drug problems and touring pressures, Eyehategod practically split up in 1998 with hopes of wiggling out of their contract, but Century Media stepped in and released last year's rarities compilation, Southern Discomfort, without the band's consent. "We didn't really break up, we had to just sit back and look at a lot of personal problems and label problems. Then the label put that [album] out and didn't really even ask us about what was going to be on it. Some of it wasn't meant to be released, like Dopesick Jam' we didn't even call it that and that version of Methamphetamine' with the scratch vocal track in the background. It was just a real mess, and that album sucks."
After the Southern Discomfort debacle, a new studio record (last year's Confederacy Of Ruined Lives) followed, and now 10 Years Of Abuse has completed the band's contract. "The thing is that now that we're off, Century Media's a whole different label," Williams says in an intelligent about-face. "There are cooler people working there younger people that are into the music and into our band. So now they've offered us a new deal, and we're actually considering going back! There was a period when it was just horrible, but they've helped us out a lot recently, so now I do give them credit."