English Black Metal is seeing a strong revival with bands up and down the country laying down their own perception of the genre and making the sound their own. From the WW2 addicts Eastern Front and Stahlsarg to the folkloric bards of the heathen lands Winterfylleth and Fyrdsmann, now Old Corpse Road are ready to join the celebrations.
Having recently released their new lyric video 'Herne Of Windsor Forest', Durham's sons of nature-based Black Metal Old Corpse Road are going places with their second album 'Of Campfires & Evening Mists' due to drop 27th May via Cacophonous Records.
Therefore GMA decided it was time to hunt down these beasts of the forest, pin them down to the mushroom-engulfed forest floor and interrogate them in their own backyard. Four members escaped with only The Dreamer giving into mercy...
Guys, how does it feel to be releasing your second album "Of Campfires & Evening Mists"?
The album has been a long time in the making so it is fantastic for it to finally about to be released.
Also, how does it feel to be releasing your first album via Cacophonous Records, of whom have a long-standing record of supporting Black Metal?
The band grew up listening and following Cacophonous, as teenagers we idolised everything they brought forth. This period was a special time and Cacophonous was responsible for cementing Britain's name in the Black Metal history books, so to be connected to this is very meaningful to the us. I still remember journeying to Newcastle HMV to purchase Cradle Of Filth - the Principle of Evil Made Flesh shortly after its release.
The dedication and support from a legendary label is incredible. For Cacophonous to have faith in our vision and music is a humbling experience. It is a great honour for the Old Corpse Road moniker to sit alongside many of the bands that inspired our journey. The Cacophonous label history speaks for itself, but to be part of its future and to be joining our brothers The Infernal Sea and The King is Blind in the next chapter of the label is a truly incredible opportunity. We hope our partnership with Cacophonous proves to only strengthen the burgeoning UK Black Metal scene.
Since you sing about British Folklore, and bands like Winterfylleth, Cnoc An Tursa, Wyrdsmann, etc sing about very similar topics, could it be said that British Black Metal holistically is finding a newer refined identity?
There is definitely a historical and heritage aspect to all of those bands, however there are many British bands representing other aspects of black metal, be it misanthropic, satanic or esoteric. The wonderful thing about the British scene is the lack of a uniform identity, for example there is no defining sound (as you may find with the classic Swedish, Ukrainian or Norwegian sounds). The uniqueness of British bands is our identity, and has in turn lead to a more unified scene as there is a lack of competition.
Could you shed light on the inspirations behind "Of Campfires & Evening Mists", what have you done different? How did you go about the writing process?
The album came about as a natural reaction to our previous album 'Tis Witching Hour'. Where 'Witching Hour...' focused on the dark and gothic, 'Of Campfires and Evening Mists' is an illuminating album drenched in autumnal evening glow. The key to the album is summoning the primeval awe within our listeners, where the spiritual effects of campfires and evening mists upon those gathered is given life. To this end the music, artwork and album title have been created and adapted in such a way as to present this theme in a cohesive and unifying manner. Natural colours, earthly tones and a simple lyrical narrative are key features of the aesthetic.
Initially inspired by a Wiccan Beltane gathering at Thornborough henge the concept has grown from a simple pagan ritual into a full concept. Using the principle of the druid rites as an analogy to those who gather in the wilderness and share tales of old, the album is broken into 3 parts. In terms of what we would do different I don't think there is anything that comes to mind. Due to the amount of time it has taken to complete the album I believe we were able to evolve and modify the music until we were entirely happy.
The writing process is very organic in the band, we tend to jam ideas and bring songs together in our rehearsal room. In all of our creativity we let the music tell us where to go, riffs lead comfortably into other riffs, ambient sections grow and expand as we play them. Where most bands processes can be very formulaic we tend to rehearse songs in a live environment for months modifying and evolving the structure until completion. Although the themes and atmospheres were very obvious from the outset, the ideas evolved steadily as the music grew and this is a very slow but enjoyable process, lacking in any dramatics. We found, as with our past works, that as we prepared and researched ideas they came together in a very organic way.
Relating back to question 3, could you argue that your music can be used to educate people, especially those studying British Folklore and / or mythology?
Our approach to our lyrics relies heavily on remaining true to the tale. We avoid poetic license as much as possible and for this reason our lyrics can be used effectively as a teaching tool. A strange aspect is that we are carrying on the folklore tradition by passing on the stories as our ancestors did albeit in extreme musical form rather than spoken word.
Assuming there will be a tour in support of the new album, are you looking to target new areas to perform? Perhaps continental Europe?
We are always open to playing new places in support of our music. The band would love to break into Europe and will be taking any opportunities we get.
What would you say is the greatest challenge for any unsigned metal band to overcome at the moment? (Feel free to use your own experience(s)).
With the advent of easy home recording and the ability to collaborate and share music online the musical landscape has changed a great deal since our first experiences of being in bands. Along with this dramatic change has come a whole new raft of challenges for bands. Some of these are simple such as trying to stand out in a scene that is flooded with artists, others are far more damaging. The biggest one for Old Corpse Road is trying to stay afloat financially. The growth of downloading and streaming services has made a huge impact on physical sales. Although we all support the digital era, it is hard to deny it is not having an effect on bands. There no doubt need to be a shift in the current systems that allow greater rewards to bands and allow them to continue.
Finally are there any greetings, thank you's, etc you wish to send out?
There are way too many people for us to thank easily, as we have been fortunate enough to have met so many incredible and dedicated people. In keeping with the new album it is perhaps easier to say Hail and Farewell to all those that have ever supported us!
'Of Campfires & Evening Mists' is out 27th May via Cacophonous Records.