Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:
Our latest release is ‘Psalms of the Risen Dead’ which is inspired by the book of Psalms in the bible. I wrote most of the lyrics when I was going through a challenging time in my life and could really relate to what was being said in Psalms. I didn’t plan the songs to follow any particular theme, the continuity is more a result of my personal experience at the time.
Fans should expect something a little different, even from our previous release. We’ve incorporated a few different styles of metal with symphonic elements throughout. There are also eastern influences on a few of the tracks as well as electronic sounds to compliment here and there. Some fans had us down as black metal but this will probably change as the new album doesn’t really fit into that category.
We essentially want people to be encouraged by our music, I believe music has great power over people in a way they may, or may not acknowledge. We don’t really mind how far our release gets us, but hope that, as a result of hearing it, each individual would be impacted positively.
Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
In 2008 when the band was formed, my first ideas were more along the lines of Viking Metal, however we soon decided we wanted to incorporate other elements into our sound. So with ‘Apocalyptic Visions’ we attempted make sure we gave fans the idea that we were going to start with a large ‘palette’ of sounds, and avoid obvious clichés. In the latest release I hope the fans would agree this has still been the case.
How does your writing process normally work out?
It varies from song to song, I start some with a guitar riff, others with a chord sequence or melody, and some with words or a theme; though the latter is a more recent thing. When I wrote ‘Psalms’ I would write lyrics and music separately, then work out which lyrics suited which song best. Ideally it’s best to write lyrics with a melody in mind, but that rarely works for me.
I record songs as I write them, recording demo guitar, bass and vocals as well as mocking up orchestra and drums. Then when the pre-production is ready, I would get each part recorded properly by the right musician making tweaks as I went.
What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?
Hannah has been learning how to sing classically and is improving rapidly! I would also like to pursue this. For future releases I’d like to learn some percussion and orchestration; I’d also like to improve my song writing abilities so that fans can expect better music every album. Neither Hannah nor I want to get so well known that we don’t have time to chat with fans. Currently we don’t have plans of becoming a live band as we would need many more members, not to mention the strain playing live puts on family life!
What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?
The album was made over a period of 9 years, so it’s hard to pinpoint what I was inspired by at what time. Nightwish as well as Seventh Wonder, Dream Theater and Symphony X have certainly inspired me at various points, as have classical composers such as Dvorjak and Mozart. Regarding their impact I cannot say exactly, but obviously what you listen to filters through almost subliminally.
Hannah and I both like a bit of folk, so aspects of that have crept in on various tracks. As I don’t listen to much true eastern music, the eastern influences in our sound must be inspired by the little I have heard of it, maybe in modern music, or the odd eastern compilation. A few techniques have been applied to our songs which come from electronic music (breakcore, ambient) these can be heard on most of the tracks especially ‘Mortality’ and ‘Thousand Fall’. I may eventually purchase some software to experiment with this on future releases. One very obvious influence is Lord of the Rings and anything else Tolkien wrote, the most obvious example of this can be heard on ‘March of the Risen Dead’.
What’s next for you?
I would like to aim at getting a new release, with as little sampling and as many real instruments as possible, within the next 3 years. Our fans have been so patient so I don’t want another long wait. I would love to find more classical, folk and metal musicians to work with on new material!
Answers by: Gabriel