RVA#40: Terror Cell From Power Violence Demos to “Caustic Light”


This is Taylor from Beggars; I’m talking to Joey from Terror Cell. Does the name Terror Cell come from anything? 

It’s just a cool name. 

Gotta have a cool name. Tell me about how you guys came together. How’d you all meet? What’s the dynamic of the band?

Terror Cell originated as an offshoot from a band that three-quarters of us were in prior called World Waker. It was me, Steven, and Atreyu. We had been playing music together for eight years, all living in Richmond. We’ve all been in and out of a couple of different bands since high school. I had some shitty power violence demos that I recorded on a laptop that Atreyu encouraged me to try to do something with.

Atreyu is the other guitarist?

Yes. Hunter is the drummer and Steven does bass. And then Wesley is our new guitarist who’s been filling in for Atreyu, who’s in his 12th year of college.

terror cell by michael d thorn
Photo by Michael D. Thorn @razorbladesandaspirin

And you do the vocals? 

Yeah. And guitar. So World Waker wasn’t really doing anything and Atreyu, Steven, and I were getting sick of it. We turned a couple of pretty bad power-violence demos into some songs that weren’t power-violence at all. That eventually was our first EP. 

Were you plucking out old ideas and filling them into something new? 

Everything was super Frankenstein. Yeah, we were looking at the demos and were pretty quickly like– we don’t want to do this. But this riff is kind of hard. So we’re going to take that piece and run. 

You said power violence, but you guys have this ambient, but super big sound. And your lighting setup is super dope too. What are your stylistic influences?

You hit the nail on the head. The name of the game is heavy and ambient, for the most part. Sometimes the balance is a little bit skewed in one direction or the other. I would say it’s not quite post-metal, not quite hardcore, and not quite mathcore.

The tempo on the records you guys put out has some hyper-fast blast beat parts. And then it’s complemented with this slow cloudy atmospheric part.

That’s something I was originally a little bit worried about– having it sound like two EPs from two different bands stapled together. But I think we found a decent medium. We’re editing ourselves, but also doing what we want to do.

You guys put out a new record, which is called Caustic Light. What label is it on?

Fisher King Records. It’s actually a label that I started right before the record came out. Right now, the roster of the label is us, our friends in Flesh Machine. Doll Baby, a band from Boston called Crippling Alcoholism– who are amazing, DB Cooper from New York, and we actually just signed Camp Werewolf today.

Did you have a production element involved in Caustic Light as well?

I did all the tracking and all the mixing and then Brad Boatright at AUDIOSIEGE did the mastering.

You’re on top of your stuff.

I wear a lot of hats.

terror cell by michael d thorn
Photo by Michael D. Thorn @razorbladesandaspirin

How many venues did you guys do for your last tour with God’s Eyes?

God, I don’t even know. I want to say we were out for 10 or 12 days. We did in northern Pennsylvania down to southern Florida. The Camel show was on day 2. Those guys are mind-blowingly good.

They’re amazing live. Any local shows coming up?

Yeah, we’ve got one Friday, February 17th at Ipanema with Thin and The Wind in the Trees, who are both phenomenal bands. And we’re doing a battle set with Black Matter Device, which is a first for us. That should be fun.

A battle set? Please elaborate.

I don’t know what the logistics are going to be, but I’m assuming it’s going to be a mess of both bands setup and then alternating songs.

Who in Richmond right now excites you? Who do you want to play more shows with? And what do you think about Richmond in general as a place where hardcore metal bands blur genre lines?

Killing Pace is destroying it right now. I think that sound is something that Richmond’s been needing for a while. Gif from God is putting out something new this year and the single they dropped is sickening. Their new shit is amazing. Black Matter Device is killing it. There’s so much good shit– Enforced, Flesh Machine, Antichrist Siege Machine. There’s so much good music, it’s actually hard to keep track of. I know I’m missing like 30 people. 

What’s next for Terror Cell?

We’re working on something right now that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about along with a couple of other bands. Then we’re casually working on an EP for 2024, or late 2023 depending on how fast that process goes. I’m tentatively planning on producing and engineering that as well. 

I’m renting a house right now and I converted the entire downstairs to a home studio. So my dining room is a control room and my kitchen is a drum room, which is not the most convenient, but it sounds great.

You can eat food off the bass drum.

Something like that. They’re no longer very functional rooms, but it works for a studio. And the 16-foot ceilings help. 

Give Terror Cell a follow @terrorcellnoise

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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