The sounds of restless drums, and heavy fast riffs pervade your spine, as the demons growl a satanic mantra, warrior cries are heard and the deep arctic bass resonates in the icy mountains; you realize black metal is playing loud and furious. The Nordic and Swedish, among many have created a sound that is unique portraying deep dark feelings and ideas that only the “insane” could imagine. We have heard the sonic waves by Abbath, Dissection, 1349 and Mayhem multiple times and each note brings that “je ne sai quois” to our hollowed souls.
However, the sounds from New York have always added their unique style, giving genres a distinct powerful energy. Black Anvil has created black metal and added their own personal touch, with heavy, melodic black metal; this band breaks boundaries and ignores classic rules. They have written music they love, and the target audience will surely be succumbed by this dark, aggressive sound off their new album As Was. There is a distinct feeling you get as those six strings are strummed while Black Anvil’s Paul Delaney’s demon voice growls loud. Now, some have heard it and tasted their dark sound, some have not. This album is a creative one, both musically and vocally, each track is a prelude to black metal, one that will make your skin crawl as you hear the clean singing by Paul Delaney and majestic guitar work by Sos and Travis Bacon. Black Anvil has strategically recorded some clean singing, more like chanting, which adds that darkness to this track. It sets a tone of solemnity and melancholic requiems. There are twist and turns in the 6 minutes songs and the melody and fury evolves as the song transgresses, inflicting hate, sadness, and eternal sorrow.
Black Anvil is the change in the black metal world we were expecting, it is tasty and evil. The track titled, “Two Keys: Here’s The Lock” starts with a mellow riff, and rhythmical drums. As time passes by, you can hear constant change in atmosphere, specially past the 50 second mark as the distortion kicks in. With the clean backup vocals, this song is by far my favorite, those gores express sorrow, and tell a story or despair. The tremolo is a key element from the classic black metal purveyors and this band has it down. Past the 5 minute mark the track picks up, and delivers the goods only to mellow your brain down again but in a mind bending style. When you think black metal, you expect satanic lyrics, songs that will rip your head off with the distortion tone and relentless drumming, but Black Anvil made this genre their own, giving it a subtle demonic possession. One can only stand and feel the evil around us as we listen to the self titled track “As Was”, it will surely instill darkness in your dead body. There is a trace of Swedish melodic metal in this track, and that riff towards minute five gives the song life, and compels metal heads to headbang. Black Anvil will start their tour with Mayhem, and Inquisition two black metal icons, and we had the chance to chat with Paul Delaney and get a scope of what drove the changes in vocals:
We are gonna take it back 7 years, to Triumvirate and get a sense of what you guys did then and are doing now.
The blackness on that 2010 release was ominous, are you guys writing music based on the circumstances or you are experimenting with a more 50/50 clean/gore singing style in the new release “As Was”?
PD- “This is record # 4 the time line tells the story, it was written in a raw fashion, on top of why we wanted to do it and get a band started. it was new, the first one came together really fast and really innocent, for the second one it was time to write a record, to play shows and the third was a bigger challenge, who are we becoming as people, we screw a bit more with the music here and there. If we heard melody there, we would put it why limit your self when you like the sound. I feel its a complete aggressive record, maybe its a slower one but its still heavy.”
I dont want to say you have changed black metal but you do make this style your own, why not play the traditional way? With all due respect, the music is black metal just slower at times but still dark.
PD-“It’s pretty important because we come from an area of the world that is different from other areas, so we want to play our way but still be black metal, what we sing about is what fires us up. It would be fake if we emulate a sound that was not natural to us. I don’t care about any rules, we are different musicians from a different area and we want to project that sound we know best.”
The new album “AS Was” reminds me of dare I say Enslaved, are they big influences on your style of playing?
PD-“Enslaved is not an influence, I don’t follow them or have heard their music just because I have much more music i check out, if i have the time I’ll listen. Im not completely familiar at all, no ill will toward them but there is no influence there, I do take that as a compliment though. They are a huge band, I just never had the time to experiment with their sound.
I always ask what would type o negative do, that is my inspiration, even the new Metallica I love what James Hetfield does with the vocals, I always try to get inspiration from those two bands.”
This new album, is the definition of Black Metal musically, minus the gores respectfully, how do you anticipate the crowd to react during live shows?
PD- “We are pretty aggressive live, not to sound cocky, I know what we do when we play live and we always bring it its really on the individual about liking us or not. Some people just wont stand there and give it a chance, or want to network and there is always a bar and merchandise booth for that feel free to go there.”
You have some 6-10 minute like “Nothing” songs in the new record, which are elegantly composed, what pushed you to do that instead of your traditional 3-4 minute pure mayhem tracks? not that there is something wrong with the length.
PD-“If one os us had the idea we’ll take on it and give it a twist so it can become ours. In terms of length, I feel personally some of the riffs (for lack of a better word), are of such proportion that they need to breath and go places. I don’t want to sell any song short and write verse chorus, verse chorus structured songs, it needs light and growth and breath.
It goes back to Metallica, their albums are 70 – 80 minutes but they have some great work, I don’t know some people don’t like those albums i guess. Also some people’s attention span is short and they cant focus on those long songs.”
Being the frontman of Black Anvil what what goes through your mind while you are giving hell to the fans? What track are you looking forward to play live?
PD-“We are going to play all new material, we do not want and give it our all. We will play “Nothing” for sure.”
Now, directing towards shows, you are starting a tour with Mayhem and Inquisition two huge Black Metal icons, how did you prepare to showcase your blasphemous sound on stage?
PD-“I’ve been in bands before when sometimes you want to write a set based on the crowd, a couple people wanted to play faster shit because of the tour we are on and bands we are opening for, it doesn’t matter if we are playing with a band that plays a million miles an hour, we are gonna play new stuff, we play what we want we want to play our own stuff, Mayhem will do their stuff, Inquisition will do theirs and so are we. This tour is en eclectic one, with closes proximity to the genre.
There is good individuality from this bands i feel all three bands have their own way of doing their own shit.”
Are you guys planning on doing any headlining tours? we are working on other stuff not yet confirmed, a headliner in New York, and an album release show.
PD-“We will be doing more shows but as a support band.”
You have done some work with TOMBS as a guest vocalist, whose idea was that and how brutal was that recording?
PD-“They are friends that I’ve know for a pretty long time, Mike invited me to do backups and I had no problem filling that spot.”
Do you believe black metal is slowly dying and what was the impact the forefathers had on your life from bands like Marduk, Dissection, and such if any?
PD-“I don’t think so, its only dying if you are over it and if you let it die.there is always something, maybe them mainstream isn’t so focused on it anymore. it becomes an old thing, Pentagram sold out a show with the venue at 400 capacity and it was filled, I missed it because I was on tour. About 8 months later they played again and the crowd was half the size of the previous show. People just want to be part of that movement once and say “I was there” post it on their Instagram and social media just to do it.”
What do you think about people with their phones recording half the show, or snapping shots of the artists? I say leave it to the professionals or take a quick one and enjoy the rest of the damn show.
PD-“It’s interesting, because Mayhems production manager mixed our record, we have a really good relationship, he asked us to record a message to be played before the show starts. We worked on a message to make fans stop using their phone during the show, people are going to do it regardless, just don’t put it on anyones face and keep the flash off. I feel that I’m guilty of that, I’ve done it before, it kills the experience.”
Thank you for your time and the insight, we are looking forward to watching you live with Mayhem in Los Angeles.
PD-“Thank you, see you at the show!!”
That tells us a lot about who this band is, their sound will definitely make a mark in the black metal community. After all it is black metal, filled with rage, darkness and sorrow. Make sure you get your copy of their album, “As Was”
Reported By: Hostile Jo
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