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Recently unveiling their debut album after taking the heavier worlds swiftly by storm earlier this year, Brisbane heavy-hitters Citadel have instantaneously become fan and industry favourites via their authentic lyricism, complex arrangements, and perfectly balanced metal and melodic flourishes.
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In 2022 alone, Citadel have snagged performances alongside Voyager, RedHook, The Dead Love, Mass Sky Raid and The Stranger, while also winning a recent Good Things Festival battle of the bands heat and, finally, releasing their divine debut album Decompose in early November. While none of the band members behind Citadel are newcomers to the Aussie music scene in general, with the group combining a sweltering array of local talent under the Citadel moniker, the first official record under their belts was ultimately a labour of love years in the making, as the band revealed recently to Hysteriamag.com just before the release of Decompose.
“The album first started coming together in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic which honestly feels much longer ago than it actually is,” shares Citadel guitarist Liam Kelly. “Nat [Patterson] was writing what eventually became Decompose then and we had a final product in 2021. It’s honestly hard to believe we’re finally here given how long we’ve been working on this, especially after the year we’ve had. But we’re incredibly excited for everyone to finally be able to hear it, especially with the positive responses we’ve received for the singles.”
“It really does feel like this album has been in the works for a lot longer than it has,” adds guitarist Nat Patterson. “I started writing songs mid-2020 and honestly didn’t know where it was going to end up. I’m really proud of what we as a collective have put together, and I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of Decompose.”
With Liam, Nat, and Citadel vocalist Russell Miller previously teaming up for another project together at the end of 2019 and in early 2020, the obvious creative chemistry outlasted their previous musical endeavours, with the original members ultimately deciding to continue to make music together in a new endeavour. In its earliest phase, Citadel consisted of Liam, Nat, and Russell, before the trio eventually teamed up with drummer Dane Pulvirenti and bassist Lewis Blakey following the recording of Decompose.
Offering a fresh take on the progressive metal and heavier genres, the end result of Decompose is one of melodic beauty and harsher delights lying in wait throughout the space of nine tracks. And in conjunction with some iconic influences underlying the broader Citadel signature sound, there’s also significant personal undertones driving Decompose, as the band reveal.
“Nat is an incredibly prolific songwriter, so he’ll put together the base of a song, and then we’ll all sit down together and change parts that we don’t love or think could be better,” Kelly says of the Citadel typical creative process. “For Decompose, we spent months reworking songs together as a band. As for influences, we’re pretty open about Sleep Token being a huge influence for our music, as well as Loathe, Dayseeker and Spiritbox. We all bring our own personal influences, and for myself Periphery has been a huge inspiration for guitar playing and composition. That being said, Dane and Lewis bring some really exciting songwriting and influences that haven’t yet showed up, so the future looks bright!”
“Honestly, most of the song ideas and influences came from different emotional experiences I was having throughout the pandemic and the various curveballs life was throwing me at the time,” Patterson says of some of the key thematics permeating Decompose. “As Liam said, Sleep Token was and continues to be a massive influence on us, but I personally take a lot of inspiration from electropop and old-school metalcore as well. It’s a bit of an eclectic range of tastes, but I think pieces of each of them has made its way onto the record.”
And as to what the band ultimately hopes a listener takes away from spending time with Decompose?
The album is themed around things ending or death, which unfortunately is something that a lot of people can relate to, but it’s also something that everyone experiences differently.
[ Russell Miller ]
“There’s so much variance on this album,” says Miller. “The album is themed around things ending or death, which unfortunately is something that a lot of people can relate to, but it’s also something that everyone experiences differently. I hope people can find a little bit of something in every song on the album that connects with them in some way. Either lyrically or instrumentally. That being said though, my favourite song on the album is Eons, and I’m really looking forward to its reception.”
As for Blakey: “The lyricism on Decompose is very cathartic and I hope listeners can connect and find a release through the writing.”
“For me, I hope that a listener can go from crying themselves to sleep to punching a hole in their wall across the nine tracks!” Patterson enthuses of the new Citadel sonic baby.
“I hope people take away that we aren’t just a one note band,” Kelly concludes of the band’s hopes for Decompose. “We have a vision of what we want Citadel to be, but we also don’t want to constrict ourselves so I’d hope that Decompose does a good job of showing off the different influences and genres that we’re trying to blend. I think there’s something for most listeners on the album. Hopefully, it leaves the listeners wanting more!”
With Gareth Hargreaves on production duties for Decompose, who has previously worked with the likes of Polaris, Young Lions and The Brave, Citadel were seamlessly able to further fine tune their razor-sharp vision they have pursued since day one, with both Kelly and Patterson elaborating on the team-up with the prolific Hargreaves for their debut LP.
“We spent a long time working on these songs, doing pre-production and most of them sound drastically different to the first demos,” Kelly reveals. “There was a clear cut idea, it was more an idea of what Citadel needed to be rather than what each individual song needed to be. We were making changes even in the studio with Gaz, but all the changes just felt like they fit our vision of the band.”
“I love working with Gaz, he has a great way of drawing out some really great stuff,” adds Patterson. “I’ve done a number of recording projects with him over the years and we’ve developed a great dynamic. He really helped take what was already a solid and defined piece of work and mould it into something special.”
With a plethora of live shows already under their belts, the sky is clearly only touching the limit of where Citadel will erupt to next in a live setting. But for the time being, the majority of eyes are focused on the band’s recent win at a recent Good Things Festival battle of the bands competition; a win which may very well place them alongside the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Deftones, TISM and many more this December.
“We’ve played some amazing shows, but a standout moment has to be the Good Things band competition heat we just played – and won!” enthuses Kelly. “It’s the first show we’ve played with all of our singles out and seeing the crowd getting into those songs and singing along felt amazing.”
“I have to say the same as Liam. We went into the Good Things competition with no expectations and just partied with some of our closest friends and family,” adds Blakey. “We’re so ecstatic to have come away with the win against some very tough competition in Lunchtime and Soulstate. I just want to give a massive shout out to Lunchtime for finding out less than 24 hours in advance they were playing and they crushed it!”
But for vocalist Miller, his standout live moment so far in the Citadel journey boils down to some wholesome observations witnessed while onstage (as well as his microphone status).
“My favourite moments so far have just been the little things I’ll see during a set, like someone I’ve never met throwing down or singing along, or someone sitting in the back of the room with a smile on their face enjoying the set,” Mille shares. “Of course it’s great seeing friends of ours having a good time at a show, but it’s really exciting seeing new people sharing a moment with us and having a great time. It’s also fun having the loudest mic in the room, saying stupid things and hearing people laugh.”
With nine new tracks out in the world now via Decompose, Citadel have plenty of material to toy with forging their upcoming live sets as they close out 2022 and cast their gaze to 2023. But throughout 2022 some noticeable Citadel fan-favourite tracks have also inevitably revealed themselves along the way.
“Parasyte is definitely a crowd favourite as far as sing-alongs go,” reveals Patterson, “but from our first show I’ve noticed our audience really getting into Sundered Souls. It has both a really catchy chorus and a really catchy heavy refrain that I really love watching the crowd sing along to.”
“Is saying all the songs an option?” says Kelly of potential emerging Citadel audience faves. “But genuinely, I’d have to say Parasyte. The chorus is basically made for the crowd to sing back at you and it’s the one that I’ve noticed people singing back the most. Oolacile is also a crowd pleaser, it’s the most energetic song on the album so it’s a great opportunity for the crowd to get a little physical and mosh.”
Pending the outcome of their recent heat win at the Good Things Festival battle of the bands comp, Citadel are certainly not slowing down as 2022 draws to a close, with hopes for interstate shows, “pipe dream” overseas tours, and bigger and better plans in general on the menu for the new year ahead. And, as Miller shares, Citadel fans can rejoice – new music is also certainly on the cards.
“On top of those things, we want to release more music next year that’s further refined and will take us to a new level,” says Miller of the band’s 2023 plans. “Nat’s already got some stuff for us to start working on and the boys are itching to get on it.”
With November marking Australian Music Month, and Citadel themselves taking the Aussie music scene by storm in 2022, there are plenty of local band crushes for the members of Citadel, with the band kind enough to divulge their own personal favourite Aussie artists right now.
“One of the bands that caught my attention this year was Inertia,” enthuses Blakey. “I saw them live on a whim and they won me over instantly! Their Memoria EP is ridiculously good and I can’t wait to see where they go from here. AlphaWolf don’t need any introduction and to see the drive they kept during covid and their hard work has been nothing but inspiring. They’re starting to appear on some massive bills including just being announced for Knotfest Australia. I don’t think anyones ready for what they’re going to cook up for the next LP. Lastly, Make Them Suffer coming back with Doomswitch was crazy and the live show they put on after 3 years out of action was absolutely mental! Another band that are going to have a busy 2023 and I’m excited to see what direction they head.”
“Ambleside are consistently one of the best DIY bands in the Australian scene,” shares Kelly. “They’ve been a bit quiet recently but just released a killer single and I’m stoked to see what else is coming. Ocean Grove have put two amazing albums out over the course of the pandemic and are fantastic live. Windwaker dropped easily one of the best albums of the year and have had huge tours and I’m excited to see what they do next, though it sucks that Will had to step away from the band, his vox are phenomenal.”
For Patterson: “The three bands everyone should be keeping both eyes and ears on are Reliqa, LiveConformDie, and Lune. All three do what they do so well and lift the already high standard of Aussie music even higher.”
And as for Miller: “My fave three Aussie bands are currently Inertia, Reliqa and the hometown heroes Deadlights. I’d be real stoked to get the opportunity to play with any of them in future.”
Decompose has already charmed ears all over town since its triumphant recent release, with the band continuing to snag streams, airplay, and ever-growing love for their debut full length album. And, as the band conclude, there’s a whole lotta love and some clever song titles ultimately behind this incredible collection of melody, mayhem and masterful composition.
“Fun fact, the album title is actually an acrostic!” reveals Kelly of Decompose’s ultimate moniker. “All the song titles combine to spell the album title, though we do also have a title track.”
“We’ve been sitting on the album for so long that we genuinely appreciate any love that it’s given,” Miller sums up. “We poured a lot into these songs and we really hope people fall in love with them.”