Aboriginal led punk rock band Chasing Ghosts have just dropped their new single Summer off …
Sydney-based horror-themed deathcore duo Ten Thousand Crows have stepped onto the scene strong with their debut single The Hanged Man, the first of five planned tarot card inspired tracks, forming the group’s Macabre Arcana project.
MORE: IN HEARTS WAKE: The Age Of Kaliyuga // DEFTONES: 20 Years Of Whit Pony REVIEWS: NOFX/FRANK TURNER: West Coast Vs. Wessex // MAKE THEM SUFFER: How To Survive A Funeral // EMMURE: Hindsight // FANGZ: But No Thanks // IN HEARTS WAKE: Kaliyuga // TEN THOUSAND CROWS: The Hanged Man
While tarot cards are well known for the mysticism surrounding the figures they depict, according to vocalist George Mackenzie, this first single from the band has its own message unique from its namesake.
“If you look at the meaning of the actual tarot card, there’s quite a big discrepancy between that and what we’re going for in [The Hanged Man]. I think the track is definitely an extension of how we were feeling during lockdown earlier this year, very much this sort of, very intense feeling, and that’s the song … So, it was kind of born out of conceptual stuff as well as trying to take this tarot card and add a sort of a darker twist to it as well.” says Mackenzie.
Through their Macabre Arcana project, Mackenzie and the other half of the band, guitarist Jordan Hurst, are taking a non-traditional approach to the release of their music. Rather than the standard EP or full-length album for a local heavy band’s debut, they’ve decided to take the approach of releasing a series of singles, something that gives Ten Thousand Crows a point of difference from other local acts.
“Really this project was born out of us trying to do a bit of a different kind of release strategy. Like a lot of metal is done in the sort of typical album format, and we wanted to do something more in this Soundcloud rap realm, something a bit fresher, a bit newer where we’re putting out content more regularly then having, you know, an album every two years.” Says Mackenzie.
I think if COVID-19 hadn’t happened, this band wouldn’t be happening. We had this song written for a decent amount of time, and it was just sitting there.
[ George Mackenzie ]
“I think there’s so many bands putting out music these days, even during isolation and stuff, and I think it’s important to do something that distinguishes you from other people, even if it’s just a small image thing.” adds Hurst.
Viewers of the band’s recent music video for The Hanged Man will see some clear connections to the band’s more thematic horror side–between Hurst sporting some bloodied bandages around his eyes and a murder in the woods taking place–which is a large part of the band’s identity as well as Hurst and Mackenzie themselves.
“George and I are both super into horror, like the main genre of movies, it’s what we always watch when we’re hanging out together and stuff … So, obviously our music video was really like horror based on kind of like, eighties and nineties slasher films, or just a guy running through the forest sort of thing. I think we’re playing to our strengths a lot when we do that kind of stuff, because we just know it really naturally. If George and I ever directed a horror film, I think it’d be pretty good.” says Hurst.
“I think for our sound, it works well, you know, Slipknot is a band where they’ve got an amazing image and their brand is just so strong, you know what you’re getting when you’re going to a Slipknot show, you know what you’re getting when you sing a Slipknot song. And I guess we kind of wanted to, not necessarily emulate, but have a bit more of that: ‘Hey, this is what you’re going to get when you come to listen to Ten Thousand Crows’.” adds Mackenzie.
While COVID-19 has meant for many bands that any immediate plans for touring are at a stand still and many album’s release dates have been pushed back significantly, there’s somewhat of silver lining in this state of the world for Ten Thousand Crows.
“I think if COVID-19 hadn’t happened, this band wouldn’t be happening. We had this song written for a decent amount of time, and it was just sitting there. It was all recorded, the guitar and the bass, everything was recorded, and I just needed to write the lyrics. Then COVID came through and I just was like, I had to start writing music, you know what I mean?” says Mackenzie.
“The Genesis of this was like, I have to say something about this. I have to try and get something out. So, then it just sort of snowballed from there. Now we’re really, really, really focused on this project and the next six months of material that we want to put out. So, yeah, COVID impacted it, but in a good way. I’m not saying that COVID is a good thing. Cause you know, there’s been so many lives affected and it’s a tragedy what’s happened. But, from us, you know, there was some kind of positive that we brought out of this” continues Mackenzie.
Even though Ten Thousand Crows are a band born out of isolation, touring still isn’t off the table. While restrictions stopping live shows have been around as long as Ten Thousand Crows have been a band, making their live debut is something Mackenzie and Hurst are eager to do–however long it takes for the live music scene to rise again.
“Look, we’re optimistic, we’re really optimistic. I know everyone that I speak to in all the circles and everything is just so keen to get back into it. I know so many bands are just itching to play. We’re really excited to play as soon as we can, and we’ll be out there doing the runs, doing the circuits if we can. So, I think that it’s going to be in good hands when the time comes.” says Hurst.
“There is always going to be that intimacy of like, ‘Hey, there’s somebody in that room, screaming their ass off at me. The sound waves are blaring in my ears.’ It’s that experiential aspect that people are just hungry for, and it’s so intrinsic to metal. Yeah, I think it’s going to bounce back. And it’s going to be great. It’s just getting through this period is a tough time.” adds Mackenzie.
For the meantime, Ten Thousand Crows are planning on getting out as much content as they can from their homes, with four more tracks upcoming for this current Macabre Arcana project. While this release strategy may prove to give Ten Thousand Crows a leg up from other bands in the scene, a full-length album isn’t something that’s completely out of the picture for the band’s future.
“I’m an album guy, you know, I fucking love albums. If it was up to me, if I had the resources and the time, I’d just put out like a 12 track, like this year, like I’m super into it. But I’m also realistic about it.” says Hurst.
“Yeah, I’m the bad guy here. I’m the guy saying if we invest our time in 12 songs and release that in one go, you know, that’s like, ‘Boom! It’s all gone’ in one go, you know? But I definitely see a point in a few years’ time where we’re dropping an album, and that’ll be one of the proudest moments of my life. Because I’ve released EPs and singles in other projects, but I’ve never released an album.” adds Mackenzie.
“Yeah, it’ll definitely happen. It’s a guarantee it’ll happen. It’s just timing.” continues Hurst.
Until that day, we have The Hanged Man and whatever comes next from the band. Despite the band’s strong thematic approach to their music and all the mysticism surrounding the current tarot card inspired project, when it comes to what Hurst and Mackenzie want fans to take from their songs, it’s more about the music than anything else.
“I don’t really write music to instil a message, personally. I just want to write stuff that’s aggressive and pumping and angry and hard hitting, anything that just makes you kind of want to move and like, grit your teeth. Like that’s sort of really what I’m going for.” says Hurst.
“This is very much born out of love. I know it’s horror and it’s heavy and it’s screaming and it’s really dark…but you know, at the end of the day, we’re just two dudes, just being creative and, you know, just as a cathartic, heavy feeling that, blast it, and if you’re angry or you want to feel something, hey, this might be a good avenue to get that energy out of yourself.” says Mackenzie.
“We’ve had some people already saying stuff like, ‘This is my favourite song. I’ve been pumping this nonstop’, and like that for me, that’s the goal already right there. Just to leave an impression on some people. Cause I’ve been writing music since I was like 12, and this is really the first time when it’s actually managed to get out there to a bigger audience. So, for me, that’s like, humble as I am, that’s it for me. That’s more than enough.” continues Hurst.
In short, keep you’re eyes peeled: because you haven’t seen the last of what Ten Thousand Crows have to offer.
“Oh yeah, the next song, man, like if people think The Hanged Man is heavy, then the next song is going to make people shit their pants, I’m so proud of it. Like we just finished the vocals up the other day and I’m just there sitting with my jaw dropped to the floor and I’m like, ‘Holy fuck. That is amazing’.” says Hurst.
“Just stay tuned for the next track. We’re very much excited to get that out… We’re going to be here for a while, so stick around.” says Mackenzie.