Casket Robbery are a five piece Death Metal band based out of Madison, Wisconsin. They are made up of drummer Erik Schultek, bassist Bryan Bykowski, guitarist Cory Scheider, guitarist Troy Powell, and vocalist Megan Orvold-Scheider, who is also a voice over actress for The Monster Factory. The band debuted with their first self-titled album in July of 2011 with vocalist Dustin Foesch, followed by a 2014 release of Evolution of Evil that featured Megan as a guest vocalist on the song Night Stalker. In 2017, the band fully adopted Megan as their full-time vocalist and released an EP titled The Ascension. Fast forward to 2022, the band unveiled their latest album on November 11th titled Rituals of Death.
Megan began screaming when she was in her first Metalcore band, at the time she was attempting to do a different kind of scream than she does with Casket Robbery, where she learned how to fry scream, a scream that Maria Brink of In This Moment and Lacey Strum of Flyleaf do, “It’s really hard to do. It takes a lot of work. And I took lessons with Mary Zimmer at VoiceHacks, who is absolutely incredible, the things that she has done for my voice early on. She has all of these amazing videos up and gives voice lessons. She taught me the guttural-false chord screaming, which is what I picked up right away and brought it to Casket Robbery.”
Megan also revealed that she would practice to a lot of Cannibal Corpse, Lamb of God, and would mimic Trevor Strnad’s voice from The Black Dahlia Murder to develop her voice to how it sounds now, “On this album, I typically do the more guttural screaming…But I do throw in a few new, almost like Deathcore rise and tunnels and a little bit of frys in there. Being surrounded by all of these male Musicians that we’ve toured with constantly has really pushed me to try new things and hear new things that they do…Like Keith from The Convalescence taught me a little weird tongue thing like how I told my mouth, and that’s how I do it, and some of that.”
The Ascension EP was Megan’s first foray into doing all harsh vocals, whereas in her previous band she would do both harsh and clean singing. Three months before she joined the band, Cory asked if she wanted to fill in on vocals on a month long tour. Soon after her first tour ever, they recorded The Ascension, “I’m so, so proud of it. Pockets Lined With Flowers is still so many people’s favorite song, and we play it live today. It really was the start of me really stepping into my own voice in this. I learned a lot about stage presence and things like that. I had been performing, but it’s different, and as time kind of has gone on with this band, we’ve really evolved into our own branding, which is really important now. So, I got to be a few things along this ride and see how they developed. I’m really happy with where we’re at right now and what I bring forth, being able to be this terrifying little creature on stage every night is real fun!”
Casket Robbery released a Claymation video to their song Bone Mother last year, which is the sixth track from Rituals of Death. Shane Minott from Blood Budget Productions, based out of South Africa, created the dark, yet whimsical video. “I would have never thought to do a Claymation video, our guitar player Troy had showed us one from Ingested…. I was like alright, if there’s a perfect song for it, it’s going to be this little witch hiding in the woods eating people! We kind of let Shane have free reign when it came to the storyboard. I gave him a very basic outline I wanted to happen, and there were a few tweaks I made along the way, but he took that and ran, that was a lot of him. And you can see it really pays homage to our whole tongue in cheek horror aspect that we’ve got going because you can go super cheesy with it, but I feel we ride that line pretty well where it’s not overboard. But yeah, it’s such a great video.”
The lyrical inspiration of Bone Mother comes from the story of Baba Yaga from Occult Folklore, a story of an old-decrepit witch who lives in a magical hut that imprisons and eats those she encounters, “I have my phone full of lyrical ideas at all times, things that I want to go off of…I’ve been really drawn into the occult and occult folklore and stuff. So, when I had started reading about Baba Yaga and all of the Folklore surrounding that, and how it’s even been developed into mainstream culture in certain things, that so many things take that from that original story in folklore. I really just wanted to get dark with it and the boys actually like, Cory and Shane went even darker than I got with that video. It was really cool, it was great. It was gross!” Megan shared while laughing.
There are two tracks on the album that feature guest vocalists Mary Zimmer and Keith Wampler from The Convalescence. Mary is featured on the fifth track, Beautiful Death, and Keith is on the second track called Don’t Forget The Eyes, “I really Love their voices and what they bring to the table. I Love what Mary’s voice and mine find this really fun, harmonious balance on Beautiful Death that I really Love. And Keith, Don’t Forget The Eyes, is one of my favorite songs. It’s one of the first songs that we wrote on this album, and we had actually played live previously before we recorded it. We were looking for something for him to jump on because his voice is so different and creative with what he does, I really Love the tone of it and what he brings to the table. I think that sounds really fun, us like together on that song too.”
Post Mortem, the fourth track on the album, was released as a video a little over two weeks ago. The video was shot at an old, haunted schoolhouse, complete with an autopsy room inside. Megan shared some of the cool details of what went on while filming and creating the video, “I Love doing live performance videos. We did have on the docket to do a different video from this album that was honestly mostly storyline, so we switched over to this one. It really helped where we shot the video. We shot it at this creepy, old, haunted schoolhouse about twenty minutes from our house, it’s being converted into a haunt…And it has paranormal investigators over and we– actually that night we stayed and did investigations with them.
So, that kind of added to everything, but they also have things set up as a haunted house downstairs. So, we were able to use this autopsy room and some of the props and stuff like that, I’m just like pouring fake blood on everything…At one point I’m stitching my mouth shut with makeup to get the end of that video. So, I think that with live performances in videos, we all give 110% the whole time, to where we’re almost just like on the floor by the end of it. I Love that video!”
Casket Robbery also released a single with a lyric video for their very first track on the album, titled Worm Food. When Megan is not touring, she works in Death Care as a Death Doula. She’s constantly reading and inspired by Horror and the lyrical inspiration for the song came from her writing down being buried alive, “I had started reading about Death practices around a time, and how they would worry about people being buried alive and they’d tie their foot or something to a string, to a bell, that would go outside so if you were buried alive, it would alert someone that you accidentally– you know, you’re not dead…So, that’s kind of how that one started and I just really put myself, what I would be going through if I woke up, and was just in this coffin in the dark…A lot of people have been drawn to that one, like that one is terrifying.”
The album Artwork for Rituals of Death was created by Digital Artist, John Scott, who also created the cover for the new Saint Asonia EP, Extrovert. Megan and Cory had gone through quite a few different Artworks for this album, but nothing really captured what they were hoping to… They would get something, buy it, and then not quite feel it, “John did such a great job. All of the Artwork we’ve had lately, the From Hell Artwork, and the Hideous, the stills that we got from the movie, that Artwork, and even Worm Food was–those pictures were actually taken by Shane, that did the Bone Mother video. So, he did a really, really great job. Even for Return To The Sky, we had a friend throw together some Artwork for that…For the lyric video for that one. So, he did a really great job, and we were just looking at more of his stuff last night and he is really finding his thing right now on Instagram, and is developing really, really well. Looking forward to more stuff with him. ” You can check out more of John Scott’s work here!
Casket Robbery are on all social media platforms, and they even have a cool Facebook group called The Coven Of Souls, as well as a Discord Channel, “we have a lot of different channels on that, we are in it constantly, and our fan base–they’re family at this point and are just wonderful. We have movie nights on Saturday nights in our Discord, where we watch usually Horror, but sometimes it’s just fun stuff like Ninja Turtles.” You can join their Discord here!
Article and Interview by Jenna Williams ‘The Scream Queen’