SPECTRAL VOICE´s debut full-lenght “Eroded Corridors Of Unbeing” was one of the best albums released last year, an apparition of atmospheric, yet brutal, ghostly, haunting death-doom. I inquire more about the band´s artistic dark aura on this interview answered by E. Wendler...through the lurking gloom...
If I´m not wrong the band was formed by Paul and Eli and worked as duo for a long time, how exactly was the beginning of the band?
Paul and I started the band as a two piece because we couldn’t find a lineup that understood where we were coming from. The beginning moved quite slow as a result, but we decided to record the demo as a two piece and worry about a full lineup later. Pretty shortly after we recruited Morris and Jeff and its been solid ever since.
With this line up you recorded the demo "Necrotic Doom", was it easy from the beginning to get the right sound and style that you both had in mind? What do you think now about the demo?
We were (are) both on the same page as far as which currents of death metal we wanted to tap into. (Early Finnish scene, Winter, dISEMBOWELMENT, etc) At the time, no-one we knew in Denver cared about this type of music so the output became very concise and meticulous since our vision was so natural and intentional. I still love to play the demo songs, and I think in the future, our sound will be a synthesis of these primitive approaches in the demo, with the more expansive songwriting of the full length.
Did you talked about specific influences to “build” Spectral Voice? Ie bands, albums, vocalists… Please name some of your favorite albums and how did they affect you to start playing this type music?
Demigod, Thergothon, Symphony of Grief, Rottrevore, Sentenced, Abhorrence, Carcass, and plenty more all play an active part in what keeps death metal so captivating to us. For me ‘Slumber of Sullen Eyes’ is my favorite death metal album, but the demos and early EPs of the Scandinavian bands are brimming with the essence and energy that attracted both of us to the genre in the first place. Those are the relics that made me inspired to contribute to the tradition of PURE death metal!
After the release of necrotic you released two splits, one with Blood Incantation and one with Phrenelith, adding new members to the line-up, did they shared the same visions as you about the music?
The song on the split with BI was actually the first song we ever wrote, so the band was still a duo at the time. On that recording, the vocals were handled by CH who was the original live vocalist (he is on the BI split and did our first tour with us), which was the introduction of new members joining. By the time we recorded “PeeledVeins” for the split with Phrenelith we had a concrete lineup (the current one). I don’t completely remember but I think that was the first song that was written with input from all 4 members.
Jeff and Morris both share our love for classic death metal but both come with their own influences, which helps us expand the core of the sound. The songwriting process has transitioned more to a group process, but the filters and essence of the approach are still very much the same.
What are your thoughts on the splits and now looking back? Are they still available? What´s your opinion about Blood Incantation and Phrenelith?
Neither split is currently available but we are working on reissues on some format or another for both. I still love both of those records. The Phrenelith session was our first time in a “real studio” and I think the production of it came out a little too high, but other than that, very proud of both of those release. Also extremely proud to share a record with both of those bands. Phrenelith and SV started around the same time, and since we have been friends since before that, it felt like a very special placeholder in the history of both bands and friendships. Blood Incantation share members with us, and its safe to say the brotherhood is very strong between both bands. We support each others endeavors and both bands are able to push the other band a little further.
Last year you release your debut great debut full length, and I say great because really love the album, you managed to create a unique atmosphere on the album, and the response has been very good; Eroded was included in a lot of “best of the year” lists. What do you think about the result of the album? Were you expecting that your album would be received in such a great way by the underground?
So far the response has been surprising and humbling. I hardly ever read reviews, but the ones that get passed my way are cool to see. Its very nice to hear such praise of our artistic output.
Would you like to highlight something about the recording or composition process? Something you feel very satisfied with…
The time leading up to the recording was extremely intense and stressful. We were rehearsing 4-5 times a week, as much as possible. Once we entered the studio, we were able to transform the room into an atmosphere conducive to katabatic reflection. We were present during the entire mixing process and I would say thats the part I am most satisfied with. To me the album has an encapsulating effect, which the production guides the listener along a journey into themselves.
People referred to your style as doom-death, death-doom, or simply doom metal, do you give much importance to labeling your music?
Not so much, we view our band as playing DEATH METAL. death-doom, slow rotting death metal, grinding funeral doom all work as well.
I guess that as a musician you write and play the music that satisfies your feelings and ideology/philosophy, but how would you like people to interpret and comprehend your music?
One of the things that makes art interesting to me is the element of interpretation and personal connection. Our music is made with our own intention, but at the same time we are attempting to tap into something outside of the human realm and therefore any other person is just as capable of reaching into. If we can command the listener into a place of trance, whatever that may to the individual, then thats good enough for me.
What does the lyrics deal about, what´s your inspiration? Tell me about the meaning of the album title.
The lyrical approach is that of an inward meditation to confront and reveal the shadow of the Self. Only with confronting the darkness within, can you discover true will. The unconscious affects the conscious and the lyrics serve as a dialogue between the two, in an attempt to bridge the gap and unveil the Self. “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” attempts to convey the remnants of the ego along the pathways to acausal darkness and nothingness.
Is there any lyric for which you had a special connection?
The overall theme of the album is vaguely personal, so no one particular song sticks out but the overall context of the theme certainly connects with me. “Terminal Exhalation…” is one song where the music and the lyrics fit completely well together, and that is in part thanks to Paul who helped finalize the lyrical aspect of that song.
The artwork looks intriguing and mysterious, tell me about the idea/concept behind it and about its author.
Manifester has handled all of our art aside from the Phrenelith split, and we give him pretty much free reign. At the same time we work very closely, and during the artwork for the album, we worked together sometimes 20 hours a week. We explored different formats and layout options, going over lyrics with sketches and discussing certain feelings/auras we wanted to capture and portray. Once it came to the actual execution, he interpreted the sounds into his own vision and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the outcome. The lyrics were all transcribed by our friend Samu Salovaara (of Swallowed) and we operated in a similar way. I sent him the songs, and lyrics, and he was able to perfectly represent the abstractions of the lyrics and subtleties of the songwriting. Strangely enough, when we paired the two side by side, both artists showed some similarities in the forms and compositions, which was interesting and intriguing for me.
How did Dark Descent contact you? Are you satisfied with your business relationship with them so far?
Ive known Matt since around 2010 and we’ve always been friends. The business relationship is very much secondary to the personal relationship which makes the business aspect very relaxed and casual. We are extremely satisfied with the pact between SV and Dark Descent.
Vinyl, CD, tape, digital…among all this formats which one do you like to enjoy metal and what´s your favorite for Spectral voice´s music?
I love the vinyl format for the obvious and cliched reasons, they are more permanent than a tape but more delicate and involved than a cd. The accessibility and low cost of the cassette is also very appealing to me, as it allows a wider range of people (typically younger generations with less money) to hear your music. All three formats of the album had their own separate mastering, and I think the tape is the one that sounds the best to me.
What can you tell about your Local scene?
What can you tell about your Local scene?
Not much, I’m not too up to date with the happenings of it. Our scene of underground/DIY bands has been pretty small, with a lot of the same core musicians spread across multiple genres. Recently Denver has received a lot of attention and people seem to think its a huge bolstering scene, but in reality its a fairly small group.
How would you describe your live experience so far? What do you like most about your shows?
Each tour we’ve done, we’ve honed in the atmosphere a bit more. We play with as little light as possible, sometimes in complete darkness. We have lots of fog and incense with the intent to creat an enveloping and disorienting experience. The live shows are more visceral than the recordings, as an extension of the violent side of sv.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
On our first European tour, we attempted to drive into Russia from Ukraine, which ended up being a 12 hour ordeal running all over the place in the freezing rain, with a huge language barrier and guns pointed at us, while they attempted to seize all of our merchandise. After all of that we were denied entry and had to turn around which started a whole other journey to get from Ukraine to Finland in 3 days. On that same tour, we played in Tel Aviv, Israel. We decided to go to Jerusalem and that was quite the shocking experience as well. Fanatics and tourists everywhere, with chanting, crying, yelling, ecstatic dancing and the like. Very overwhelming and bizarre for sure. Excellent hummus though!!
What is next for Spectral Voice , Any new material in the works?
We already have some ideas for 2/3 songs but nothing concrete as of now. We take our time and reflect on everything that we do, which slows the process down quite a bit. We will be going on a west coast tour in June with Mortiferum and Superstition, as well as returning to Europe to play Beyond the Gates, Killtown Deathfest (!!!) with a 2 week tour supporting Demilich to follow.
Thanks for your time, I hope you enjoyed answering these questions last words are yours...
Thanks for the support and thanks for the interesting and in depth questions. Print zines are the veins of the underground!