Putting Finland back on the death metal map – Interview with Jad Batrouny of Eradication of the Unworthy Infants

Author John Hagen - 14.1.2022

Eradication of the Unworthy Infants is pushing beyond death metal’s traditional boundaries. They smash together a perfect blend of earth-shattering riffs and distressing breakdowns for a new, never before heard sound in the death metal scene, merging the sheer velocity of grind inspired riffs with the gut wrenching, abysmal groove that is brutal death metal. Jad Batrouny of the band sat down with Chaoszine to talk about the band and their latest release, “Change Is Good,” which just came out today. You can read the full interview below:

Jad, Eradication of the Unworthy Infant’s first album just came out today. You released a slew of singles over the past few months, garnering a lot of attention from heavy music fans in Finland and abroad. How does it feel to finally release “Change Is Good” to audiences?

Jad Batrouny: It feels relieving, to say the least. We have songs on this album that have been ready to go since 2017. Most of the album are brand new songs though, written within the past two years. Anyways, it was difficult having less songs released than songs we performed, and it is relieving, being able to finally show more of our arsenal to the world.

Can you tell us about your experience writing and recording this album, and what sparked some of the ideas behind “Change is Good”?

Jad Batrouny: It was interesting. “Calamity“, “Inhumane“, and “Eradication” were written in 2017 and 2018, we’ve been playing them live for ages without any solid plans to put them out. Summer 2019 I got an email from Joonas when I was visiting Boston, it was the guitars for “Blastocyst“. We didn’t even finish writing the rest of the instruments until about a year ago. Once I moved to Helsinki it all kicked into overdrive, we spent days on end just jamming together and piecing together songs, which quickly gave us enough material to finally put out a debut album, a plan we had to delay one too many times. Despite the setbacks we had to work around though, I don’t think we’d do anything differently if we needed to do it all over again, we’re both very proud of this album and the process behind it happened for a reason.

EOUI is, in many ways, a Finnish band, but the background of its members is quite varied. Where and how did you meet your bandmate Joonas?

Jad Batrouny: I was born in the US, but because of my dad’s job we had to move around a lot. Same with Joonas, the guitarist. We started the band together. He’s definitely from Finland though, no American in him. We were both living in Moscow at the time, we were classmates and we just started jamming and things took off from there. Growing up in different places means you don’t stay in one place for long though, and we eventually had to find a way to work around that.

On “Change Is Good,” Joonas tracked guitar and bass while you, Jad, took care of drumming and vocals. Drums are notoriously hard to get into—is drumming a long-time passion of yours?

Jad Batrouny: I owe it to my parents, honestly. It would have been very easy for them to just say “no, drums are too loud” and that would’ve been that. I was playing piano as a little kid but never really enjoyed it. Once I had the chance to try drums for the school band I signed up instantly. Since I was like 10 I was interested in getting behind a kit and learning how to play. And once I did, I just couldn’t stop. Now almost 9 years later here we are.

Like many bands in this day and age, EOUI started as a remote affair. How challenging was it to get through the songwriting process while living so far away from one another?

Jad Batrouny: Honestly, it wasn’t too difficult at all. The internet really makes things a lot more convenient that’s for sure. Everything from our first release, “Solitary Confinement”, to our split album, “Collective Evisceration”, was written and recorded remotely. The culling, which we put out just February last year, is the first song we put out where we actually sat down together for the writing and recording processes. The album is just full of songs like that, except for “Blastocyst“, though. That one was written remotely in 2019.

Finland still has universal male conscription. Every male has to enter service after his eighteenth birthday. Did this affect the band in any way? What about this release?

Jad Batrouny: It really does affect the band, especially considering release is in two days. We’d definitely have loved to start playing as much as we possibly could this year, not sure how possible that might have been with the new restrictions. But yeah, it’s a major setback, we had to hold off on gigs until 2023 when they boys are out. The release is gonna be put out and hyped up and all that as usual, but we’re just gonna do a private thing instead of a proper release show, Tino wouldn’t have been able to make it anyways he couldn’t get that week off. The army works around COVID in a way that really benefits us though, taking 2 weeks off every for 4 weeks, so we’re definitely gonna use the time to our advantage, going right back to writing our asses off again.

“Change Is Good” is primarily a death metal album, but there’s definitely a few “outside” influences, such as slam and hardcore. Is there a lot of cross-pollination happening between the different musical scenes in Finland?

Jad Batrouny: There’s a little cross-pollination, yeah. It’s very recent though, it’s extremely new in the underground scene here. I love a whole bunch of different types of music and so do the other guys in the band, and we’d rather our music be a reflection of our tastes as a whole than be a band attributed to a certain style or sound or genre. I feel like setting such limitations to your music could get confining and tiring in the long run.

Beyond your local scene, what artists had the most influence on EOUI’s sound? What would you recommend to fans that are just getting into extreme music?

Jad Batrouny: Well, I don’t mean to speak on behalf of my bandmate but we do listen to and take a lot from a lot of different bands, and they’d range from Abominable Putridity all the way to fucking ABBA. I mean we listened to a lot of ABBA during the writing of the album, I think you shouldn’t listen to much metal when writing, you’d tend to end up sounding like someone else completely unwillingly. Some of our favorite bands that we draw inspiration from would be Cannibal Corpse, Turnstile, Knocked Loose, Wormrot, Guns N’ Roses, Analepsy, Vulvodynia Cattle Decap, Bad Brains, fucking ABBA. I don’t know, Joonas really likes those Attila folk. I still gotta get used to them. We could do a whole other interview about this topic alone, I think we’d wear ourselves out just listing every band, we were considering making a public playlist where we can show our listeners the comprehensive extent of our music tastes.

Let’s talk about your name. Eradication of the Unworthy Infants, often abbreviated EOUI. How did you come up with it?

Jad Batrouny: Oh my god, it was a dumb origin. I was 13, living in Moscow at the time, and I just started discovering slam metal. I had a hard time remembering band names so it took forever getting into the genre, but one I ended up remembering was Necromorphic Irruption. They had a song called “Eradication of the Innocents“. It became a running gag in our friend group, a stupid inside joke that pissed off all the teachers. Over time we forgot the name of the song, “Innocents” became “Infants”, became “Unworthy Infants”. When “Solitary Confinement” was written in 2018 and we wanted to publish it, I went ahead and published it under EOUI because I didn’t really have another name in mind. Joonas was real fucking mad at me but eventually he came to terms with it, I think it’s kind of become recognizable even though we really didn’t expect it to.

For the album’s artwork, you chose a striking piece by Indonesian artist Ardha Lepa. When you saw the artwork for the first time, did it click with the vision you had for the album?

Jad Batrouny: Definitely. It absolutely caught my attention. So much so that I bought it long before we had a name or a solid plan for the album. I just knew that I would use it someday, I just needed to find out what for. I think it reflects society in a modest way, it would be a cliche to say this but I think it’s true that the world has lost its way. Divide is such a widespread thing now, and everything seems to be collapsing, from world economies to household relationships. It felt nice using artwork that didn’t depict graphic violence or the undead or what have you with the majority of death metal releases, and after witnessing the raid on Capitol Hill last year, this specific album art is exactly what came to mind. It was at that moment I knew for a fact that I would use it for our debut release, because it’s due time for some change.

Finland has a long history of metal, and had a thriving death metal scene in the 90s that brought us greats such as Sentenced and Demilich. Are we witnessing a revival with bands like EOUI? Are there other up-and-coming Finnish bands we should look out for?

Jad Batrouny: I think we are. There’s a group of four bands I could list off the top of our head, we all hang out in the same circles. Us, Azatoth, Gorekaust and Cryptic Hatred have been gaining some traction here in Helsinki the past couple years, and I feel we’re all set on the course of putting Finland back on the map, and re-establishing this place as a legendary death metal boiling pot. The scene before wasn’t too alive, it really hasn’t been since the 90s. Albeit, the other 3 bands I listed have a way more old school death metal sounds. Regardless of that old school sound, however, they have unprecedented energy and an attitude towards their music and audience, which I feel will take them far, and make Finland proud.

Despite being a two-piece band in the studio, EOUI performs live. Are you joined by other musicians on stage?

Jad Batrouny: Yeah, Tino [Oksala] and Pablo [Rojas] fucking kill it every time. Tino helps fill in bass duties, while Pablo rips it up behind the kit. They’re more than just session musicians though, we’ve grown to be really good friends with each other too, which I think is a lot more important than the music itself. I’d rather hire a good friend that can get the job done than a maestro with an ego. Not that they’re not great at their instruments though, they put me and Joonas to shame a lot of the time.

 “Change Is Good” just released today, but you must already be looking toward your next project. What does the near future look like for EOUI?

Well, I previously mentioned the 2 week bursts when Joonas is off from the army which we’re gonna use to write, and we’ve got an EP in the works. Hopefully we can put it out by the end of the year, but I’d like to focus on this release for now, at least for the time being. For 2022, expect us to be spending a lot of time writing, not really much else is in the plans honestly. 2023, back to gigs. Full-time gigging actually, we’re trying to set up tours all over the place and get ourselves back out there. And with brand new songs under our belt, it’ll be all the more worthwhile.

Thank you Jad for taking the time to answer these questions. Best of luck to you and Joonas with the release of “Change Is Good.”