"It's flattering to be considered an influence, but to be honest with you, I rarely hear it in the bands we were supposed to have influenced," Starkweather guitarist Todd Forkin tells Noisecreep. The Philadelphians have always been hard to sum up -- they have a hardcore intensity that's undeniable and the technical mastery of the band has always rivaled any prog or snow-borne metal act. The band named after a killer of who slayed 11 has always stood alone.

"I suppose there are bands that take the spirit of what we've done and factored it through their own sensibilities," Forkin empathizes, "just as we did with Amebix, Articles of Faith, Voivod, but as far as hearing a direct take on what we've done, I don't hear it.

"I've heard the tag on a number of occasions that we, along with a handful of other bands, are responsible for metalcore, but to me that's like being told you're responsible for spreading cancer. You just pray that it's not true."

It would be hard to lump Starkweather's newest offering, 'This Sheltering Night' -- their first in four years -- into the cleaned up heap being flagged as metalcore today. The continued existence of the band, despite barely playing and spreading out recordings, only encapsulates the 21-year-old outfit -- there is no desire for fame or a financial security created through their music. "The band is a pressure release valve for the garbage we put up with in our lives outside of the band. It's part therapy, part bloodsport, but it always comes back to the rehearsal room," Forkin explains what keep the band in movement.

"When the band is no longer challenging, when we no longer write songs that are better than our previous songs, we'll go not so gently into that good night. It's hard for me to speak for the band when answering this question, but I can tell you that my life has been somewhat of a disaster for the last decade and there were times when Starkweather was literally all I had left. Though things have gotten better, it's still the healthiest and most positive thing I've ever accomplished and without it I tend to run off the rails."

This intensity is truly felt by the fans of the band, and the guitarist sees it. "The people that like the band tend to relate to the songs on a visceral level and to me that's the most honest reaction you can have. I hope that they can hear the desperation and sadness that went into writing the songs."

Truly an album of atmospheric madness in its scraping layers and clenching, vicious approach, it's hard not to hear those elements. But Forkin sees the album as their vision executed better than ever before, saying,"['This Sheltering Night'] is the only stuff we've ever recorded that I can listen to without cringing."