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Cardiac Arrest - There’s No Escaping the Vortex Part I

By: Mike Sloan

Hot on the heels of their latest release Vortex of Violence, Chicago’s South Side has one hell of a quality death metal band on its hands in Cardiac Arrest. Following a similar approach to previous album Haven for the Insane and Cadaverous Presence before it, Vortex of Violence is a super-charged slab of raw, rotten American death metal done the correct way.

Without gimmickry or trendy nonsense, but most importantly without mercy, Cardiac Arrest is poised to dominate what has been labeled a surge of neo death metal, a renaissance to the glory days of the genre’s earliest days. However, some of the members in Cardiac Arrest have been around since the fetal stages of the death metal scene. Tom Knizner, guitarist and backing vocalist, has been a part of the Chicago scene for over two decades. Having lent his talents to Dogod and Severed, Knizner’s signature style oozes from the speakers with Cardiac Arrest, especially on
Vortex of Violence.

Blistering.com recently caught up with Knizner on one of his off days to pick his brain about the latest creation he and his cohorts have unleashed upon the world, the band’s drummer issues and why it took so long to get
Vortex of Violence out. Read on…

Blistering.com: Congrats on the new album. I think it’s strong. Haven for the Insane was an absolute monster and Vortex of Violence is right up there with it. I’m willing to assume that you and the rest of Cardiac Arrest are pleased with it and probably believe it’s your best record to date?

Tom Knizner:
Yeah. Well, we’ve actually got a ton of new songs ready because we kind of sat on this one for a while. We already had these songs [for Vortex of Violence] ready right when Haven was [released] because once we finish something, we immediately start writing new stuff. So, by the end of 2010, we started recording this album. We had the album done at the end of 2010, but I don’t know, we kind of just sat on it for a while. There’s kind of no reason to, I don’t know, force stuff on people.

Blistering.com: When I interviewed former drummer Jim Deabenderfer after Haven came out, he told me that you guys already had several new songs written.

Yeah. We kind of work pretty fast. We practice every week and work on our set if we have a show coming up. If not that, we’re just always writing.

Blistering.com: When you went into the studio to record Vortex of Violence, considering how long you all sat on those songs, did anything change with them by the time you actually started recording it?

No, we didn’t change them. When we go into the studio, what we have is what we have. We work on that stuff in practice. That’s where we get into our arguments and verbal exchanges [laughs]. When we go into the studio, we just want to be ready.

Blistering.com: The reason for you guys sitting on these new songs for so long, was it more because Jim had exited the band or because you really wanted Haven to breathe more?

Kind of both, really. It’s a little hard to explain. The thing with Jim is that, well…we were kind of quiet about that whole situation because we believe that a band doesn’t have to announce every single little thing that happens. This obviously wasn’t a little thing. But we go onto all these websites and read that so-and-so left this band, so-and-so left that band; we just didn’t want any of that crap. We just wanted to keep it quiet and let things blow over a little bit. There was no drama or anything like that. It was nothing bad at all but we wanted Haven to still be fresh. We were doing a lot of shows last year and the album was still selling. So like I said, there really was no reason to force new stuff onto people. When people are still buying the previous albums, it’s kind of a good sign, you know?

Blistering.com: When Jim left the band, what was the reason? Was it a mutual agreement or did he just lose his passion for playing?

Hold on. I gotta go back inside because of these planes flying over my house. Fucking Midway [Airport]!

Blistering.com: [laughs] I hate that.

[laughs] Sorry about that. Stupid planes! But to answer your question, Jim had a lot of personal stuff going on. He simply had to move. He got a really good opportunity out in Iowa and he just had to move. He couldn’t pass it up. He wanted to stay in the band and travel back and forth, but we’re not the kind of band that wants to practice only once a month. There’s a lot of bands that do that, and that’s fine. They’ll get together for a tour or practice once or twice before a show and that’s it and they may not see each other for the remainder of the year. Not us. We enjoy going to our practice spot and hanging out and writing music. We hang out together and we all work for this. Jim wanted to stay aboard, but that’s like a five-hour drive and after a while, it just wouldn’t last. It wouldn’t. Not for him, not for us. We were kind of pissed about it at first because we were rolling along pretty good there and then BOOM! What are you going to do, you know? But it all worked out and we are happy where we’re at, so whatever [laughs].

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