Few names invoke as much majesty in the world of melodic death metal than Swedish …
From Crisis To Collapse are the next biggest thing to come out of the Byron Bay area. You could say they’re Byron Bay Area Thrash Metal.
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Yes indeed: a melting cauldron of thrash, Swedish guitar sweetness, and death metal edge. All overflowing in their first clutch of belters, The Seventh Tree. A mystical, heavy-hitting EP almost two years in the making. We had big expectations as FCTC made a lasting impression at Halloween Hysteria. Stepping out of left-field to carve up a sweaty Bar Stage, they left metalheads with sore necks and requests for “more of that, please.” Fellow metallers King Parrot, Black Rheno, and even Ireland’s Abbadon Incarnate dug their sound too, bringing them along as supports last year. With guitarist Chad Ellis on the line, Hysteria caught up with these death dealers come proud fathers of their first musical baby.
You guys just exploded on to Halloween Hysteria last year. Now, we have your long awaited EP. Tell us how it all came together.
We started working on this thing a long time ago. Songs had been written for like close to two years ago. Then we actually went in the studio. Let’s step back to 2017. We recorded Dimitri and Crisis at Palpitation Studios in Brisbane and then released those later in the year, just independently. Then we went back into the studio in January and tracked drums for another four songs. Lift the Veil, Crystals are Us, Turning the Gun, and Slow Burn. And then we didn’t get back in the studio to track the rest of the tracks until I think it was August last year.
It was quite a while between drinks just because we had lots of shows, we supported some really bands and were just forever getting geared up to play shows. So we didn’t have time to go back to studio, but anyway when we did, we tracked it all, Chris Ross started mixing it all and it was just getting insane but, we had this other one, No Promises ready to go.
We rang Chris one day while he was halfway through mixing the other four song and asked, ‘Chris do you reckon we can book in the studio time and just quickly smash this song up? Two days, that’s all we want, two days of your time’. And he was going ‘Yeah mate no worries’. We went up there a couple of weeks later and laid that one down. Went up there on a Saturday up as a weekend thing.
And then I think it was around September, October, we had like a mentor of ours, Elias Soriano who sings in a band called Nonpoint from Florida. He works in artist management and stuff. So he actually referred us to Art is War Records, a label in the states.
So while The Seventh Tree was getting mixed we linked up with that label, teamed up and agreed to licence and release this record early in the new year, which we’ve managed to achieve.
I suppose being unsigned, you need to find the time, the money, and the will to see something like this over the line.
Yeah especially, you can see the big big recording artists, you know, they just record bits and pieces generally. Then they’ll go into a studio and do the full pre-production process, and actually rehearse the songs, and finish writing them together over a few week period. And then they actually enter the proper studio and start recording the record. For local bands starting out, it is a long process, and you’ve got to fit it in between all the rest of your life’s endeavours. So yeah, it ends up being a pretty drawn out process. We’re all very fortunate Chris is a really great producer, the record label’s been unreal to work with, and have made things simpler, but it’s amazing that when you’re a band, you’ve got the music side of the house, and then you’ve got the business side of the house as well, and the more people you have in the mix with management, record labels and booking agents and stuff, the more things get drawn out.
The press packet describes your sound as “old school Swedish melodeath like At the Gates and Dark Tranquillity” Is it old school? Then one realises Slaughter of the Soul is 25 years old almost, and you’re like damn.
Yeah. A couple of us are in our thirties and one of the prime song writers today, and we have a guitarist, is in his thirties too. We love our Swedish death metal, traditional sort of metal. Some of us come from a nu-metal background, so there is a blend there, but certainly the Swedish and the more traditional riffing and sort of style, definitely have a huge bearing on us musically. And that’s the stuff we still gravitate towards for sure. We definitely dig more modern bands like Lamb of God and Revocation, Misery Index, bands like that. We love hardcore like Parkway Drive, too. As for Crystals are Us, I think there’s definitely a huge At the Gates vibe. In the choruses you’ve got this guitar line up where you’ve got this clean guitar just plucking out notes of chords, like arpeggiating chords. And that’s very typical of a band like At the Gates but it also provides that eerie, almost diminished ambiance … gives off a bit of uniqueness.
We love our Swedish death metal, traditional sort of metal. Some of us come from a nu-metal background, so there is a blend there, but certainly the Swedish and the more traditional riffing and sort of style, definitely have a huge bearing on us musically. And that’s the stuff we still gravitate towards for sure.
What’s the story behind Crystals are Us?
Our singer’s very much involved with naturopathy and shamanistic type rituals and things like that. So Crystals are Us, he’s done a lot of studying regards to our human connection with the Earth, and there’s actually scientific evidence to prove that crystals have a very similar, sort of, DNA makeup with their minerals, to what we do as humans. So a lot of it is linked to that, the connection between us and others. And then also if you go back to the bridge, you hear this Gregorian vocal chant part, just after the guitar solo. Our base player Unai is from the Basque county in Spain, and we’ve always had this idea of crystal even when we demoed it a couple years ago that it would be nice to put a vocal chant in there.
So on the day that we were tracking the vocals for that, we had Unai coming up with some Basque native tongue lyrics that we could sing and literally about ten minutes before we attempted the vocal chant section, he finished the words. So we’ve actually got that Spanish influence in there as well which connects it to his homeland tradition, which is great.
Dimitri is actually code word for a natural hallucinogenic called DMT. [laughs]
And so Dimitri itself is about remaining open minded about unlocking consciousness and unlocking true self and potential and yeah, just chasing that and being true to yourself.
So The Seventh Tree, the title of the EP, sums up that Ayurvedic, holistic viewpoint?
It is, yeah very much for The Seventh Tree there’s a few synergies with the reference to the Seventh Tree, like as in seven tracks. But also there’s a greater linkage to Dimitri because the Ayahuasca vine is considered the seventh medicinal tree in a lot of cultures. And the album artwork is an ayahuasca vine, which forms a ladies face, and it’s got the reference to the DNA there as well. And it’s also got the cube around her face which sort of represents consciousness and a higher level of thinking. So yeah, there’s a great linkage there. There’s basically a direct linkage to what you’re thinking and that holistic living.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
We’re planning to record again in the second half of the year. So we’ve got a few new songs already well under way, and demoed and trying to sort of hone those. Yeah were definitely planning to record, sort of post July again.
So we’ve got a heap of shows booked in and some really good ones as well including festivals. All of which are unannounced but hopefully shows will commence in April, forming part of a tour. Again it will be about a week or so before that’s actually announced, so I can’t give away too much, but we’ll have to go up to international, so that will include some international support. In the back end of the year we’re also going to be supporting some highly regarded, high profile international bands.
We’ve got one of our beloved festivals in Brisbane in mid-year that we’re playing, and also another highly revered festival in May that we’re going to be playing as well. I can’t say too much unfortunately, if we were talking about another week or two I’d be able to give you more detail! [laughs]