Fueling the Fire: Philippine Death Metal Act August Mayhem Proudly Spreading Sonic Brutality

Words by Joey Dizon


One dizzying spin of local death metal act August Mayhem’s music and you’ll immediately know that they mean business: a flurry of hyper-sped drumming and furious blast beats, extra thick and chunky riffage, and guttural vocals that’ll wake the dead in any place or language. The band—made up of vocalist Ver Sagum, guitarists Ero Pelaez and Jan Fernandez, bassist Jenric Gonzales, and drummer Renz Arcilla—have finely crafted their sound into one that’s downright intimidating and wonderfully sinister.


Listeners will also notice from their previous sonic output—2020’s self-titled EP—that their sound has been shaped by years of experience and a unique journey through various genres of the heavy kind: starting off as a metalcore group, then evolving into heavier styles like deathcore and ultimately ending up as a modern death metal group with vintage sensibilities of the sub-genre.


Truly, August Mayhem is making sure that the sound and style of their band both survives and thrives during these musically confusing times. Recently, PULP learned that the band is kicking things further into overdrive with the upcoming release of a full-length album called Incredulity and scheduled shows outside the country.



PULP: So tell us everything we should know about the band: how you all got together, started, and basically the journey to being where you are right now.


Ero: August Mayhem started in 2006, and our journey has been quite the rollercoaster. The band’s name was derived from our deceased guitarist’s birthday (which was in August) and since the celebration was insanely chaotic, we decided to call it “August Mayhem.”


We started out experimenting with different sounds, and by 2008, we were more of a metalcore band; it really helped us find our groove. By 2010, Renz joined the band, and that brought about another shift in the sound, since he brought a deathcore vibe with him, again taking the sound to another level. The hard work paid off, and we were able to release a self-titled EP in 2014. Despite being a significant milestone for us, we went on hiatus for five years after that, until 2019. We felt it was a necessary move so we could regroup and reflect on our direction as a band.


When we came back in 2020, we were ready for something fresh. We assembled a new lineup of incredible musicians who shared our vision, and the sound evolved to straight-up death metal. Through all the ups and downs, we’ve stayed true to our passion for music and our desire to evolve. It’s been a wild ride, and we’re super excited about where we’re heading next.


PULP: It’s always a bold move to evolve the sound and direction of a band.


Renz: Switching genres has definitely been a big part of our journey – the catalyst was really the evolving dynamics within the band and the members who joined, alongside our desire to push our creative boundaries: new influences, the desire to grow, and the collective passion in exploring new musical territories. We like challenging ourselves and we like keeping things interesting for ourselves as a band and as individual players.


PULP: What were the immediate challenges in the studio and on the stage, since it was a departure from your previous sound and ethic?


Ero: Shifting to a new sound with our 2020 self-titled EP definitely came with its challenges: It took a lot of experimenting with different recording techniques and equipment to get the sound just right. The challenge was bringing the same brutal energy in the studio live. We had to up our game with tighter coordination and more intense performances; it really was a lot of hard work.


August Mayhem – Altar Of Malice (Official Music Video)


PULP: Your upcoming album Incredulity is slated for a release this June via an Indonesian label called Brutalmind. Feel free to share how the connection was made and the decision behind releasing it on a foreign/international label.


Renz: We’re really excited: the connection came about after we submitted our music to multiple labels that we were interested in. We then stumbled upon Deni Liasin, the man behind Brutalmind, who really liked our sound and was interested in working with us. Choosing to go with an international label like Brutalmind was all about reaching new audiences and expanding our reach. They have a strong reputation and presence in the metal scene, especially in Indonesia. We felt that Deni and his team really understood our vision and could help us take our music to the next level.


PULP: The songs you sent over for us to listen to sound great! Tunes like “Altar of Malice” and “Unholy Infestation” definitely aren’t fucking around! What inspired these songs sonically and lyrically?


Renz: Thanks for the kind words! When it comes to our creative process, we each have our own roles in the band: I’m the lyricist, and my lyrics draw from a mix of stories about religion, plague, and horror. It gives our music a dark approach.


Ero and Jan handle the riffs—they bring the fast and brutal sound that defines our tracks. Jenric takes care of the band’s PR, making sure we stay connected to social media and show promoters, and Ver manages all merch-related transactions. This time around, the creative process was more collaborative and focused. We stuck to our individual strengths, which made the whole process smoother and allowed us to create music that we feel is some of our best yet.


PULP: August Mayhem does have scheduled shows abroad! Do tell us about them.


Ero: We’re super excited about our upcoming headline shows! We have gigs scheduled in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan this September. It would be our first time playing abroad. We’re also planning to do an album tour across Asia soon.


August Mayhem – Unholy Infestation (Official Music Video)


PULP: What do you think is the current state of heavy, underground music these days?


Renz: The underground music scene is very much alive. There’s so much raw talent and creativity out there, and it’s great to see bands pushing boundaries and experimenting with new sounds and approaches.


PULP: What else is going on with the band?


Ero: We’ve been keeping busy making sure our live shows stay as chaotic as ever by upgrading our gear for good sound quality. We’ve also been working on expanding our footprint in the music industry: to sustain our passion and ensure the longevity of our band activities, we’ve launched some businesses that are closely related to the band and music in general. 


One is Audio 747 Recording Studio/Production, where we’re able to bring our musical ideas to life and help other artists do the same. Then there’s The Shred Locker, a spot where musicians can find all the gear they need. It’s been an exciting journey, and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next!

Keep up with August Mayhem on Facebook and Instagram.