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Darkest Era (July 2014)

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adg211288 View Drop Down
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Black Metal, Prog/AG Teams

Joined: 05 Nov 2010
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    Posted: 22 Apr 2015 at 12:22pm
This interview was originally conducted for my website Heavy Metal Haven and is now reproduced to MMA due to the site's closure. Some parts of the article may therefore need to be taken in context, including the date of the review, which will not be recent. 

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Northern Irish band Darkest Era have recently released their second album Severance via Cruz del Sur Music. Heavy Metal Haven spoke to guitarist Ade Mulgrew:

Heavy Metal Haven: First off, congratulations on the release of your second album Severance. What can fans of your debut The Last Caress of Light expect from it?

Ade Mulgrew: An opening up and progression of the sound which we began to forge on that album. It's a darker, heavier and more melancholic album - twin guitar riffing, powerful vocals and marching-to-war percussion, laced with the black folk atmosphere which we are beginning to call our own.

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Severance (2014)


HMH: Severance has proven to be quite a rare album for me, as I didn't really know what genre to call it when writing my review. I actually did something I don't like doing and checked to see if any other sites have published anything yet and found reviews that genre-wise, seemed to describe a different album. Personally I settled on 'folksy traditional metal' but I'm sure you have your own way of describing your own music...

Ade: To us it is as good sign when people struggle to define it, as they also recognise it's not a random mishmash of sounds and subgenres. It's difficult to describe because, I think, it has it's own unique voice and character. You aren't far off with your description, and indeed we've been called many things; celtic metal, epic metal, trad folk metal.. in the end we just think of ourselves as a heavy metal band. 

HMH: I may have settled on folksy traditional metal to generally describe the album but I also think that Severance has sections of music that can easily attributed to a number of genres. The faster bits on the album remind me of power metal while some other riffs strike me as being more black metal than anything, except the band only uses clean vocals. It makes me curious what particular bands or artists inspired such a varied album?

Ade: There are many different influences in the band, both collective and personal, and one of the goals of this album was to fine tune those elements which make their way into our sound. There is a certain intangible traditional metal spirit which is the backbone of our sound, an influence that comes from bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Saxon, even more obscure bands like Warlord. But in terms of our delivery we didn't feel restricted to simply paint from this palette alone. Some of us take influence from doom, black and neo folk. So for example to name some bands, Candlemass, My Dying Bride, Agalloch, Emperor, Destroyer 666...Sol Invictus, Blood Axis.. a wide range of stuff which might seem surprising at first. We feel what have is essentially a traditional heavy metal sound but filtered through 25 years of underground music.

HMH: Though the reviews I mentioned above didn't really agree on the style of music, they did agree that Severance is a quality album. How are the finding the response so far?

Ade: Very positive indeed, I think it has generally been better received than the first album. The scores have been roughly the same or a little higher but actually reading the reviews it's clear it has really clicked with people in a way that perhaps the first record didn't. People find it a very unique listen which is very encouraging, and it also seems to have connected with a lot of people on a certain emotional level which is very humbling. It was very difficult to be objective about this record, because of the circumstances of it's creation and the intensity of the writing process - so really we weren't sure what people would make of it but we're very pleased so far. 

HMH: You've had a couple of line-up changes in the group between albums; did this affect the writing process of Severance compared to that of The Last Caress of Light at all?

Ade: Yes undoubtedly. It was a very difficult time to try and write an album, with the band falling apart pretty much. We had no permanent bassist at that stage and Lisa was in the process of leaving the band. We came back from a European tour at the end of October 2012 and started writing most of the album within a 10 week period, which was very intense. I remember trying to look at it positively, thinking that this is how Iron Maiden would do things, but truth be told it was tough as a lot of the pressure to come up with the initial ideas fell upon myself. It's a cliché but you have your whole life to write your first album, so it's a lot tougher second time round. On top of this our label pulled out at the 11th hour so this was added stress. In the end though it all contributed to the vibe and atmosphere on the album and we got a strong record out of it which is all that matters. 

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Darkest Era


HMH: What themes inspire your lyrics?

Ade: It varies from each release. Our demos were heavily inspired by celtic mythology, but with our albums we've moved away from that somewhat - keeping the writing style and imagery but writing about other things. Most it's quite introspective and philosophical, occasionally commenting on the world around us. Sometimes I create a character and story-telling but within the context of the overall themes on the album. I did this with 'The Scavenger' for example. and I guess it's in the same vein as 'The Sentinel' or something by Judas Priest. On 'Severance' the main theme is the decay and falling apart of all things physical and metaphysical. 

HMH: Can you pick a personal favourite track from Severance?

Ade: It's hard to say, I'm particularly fond of Beyond the Grey Veil as it is the thematic centrepiece so ties together the main themes on the album. I think it's quite a powerful and emotionally charged song. Aside from that we've already played 'Songs of Gods and Men' and 'The Serpent and the Shadow' live and they work really well. 

HMH: You recently released a video for Beyond the Grey Veil, what made you choose this song to get the music video treatment as opposed to the lyric video for Sorrow's Boundless Realm, which was the first song released?

Ade: As I said it was the thematic centrepiece to the album so it was a natural choice. It was also a bit different for us. With 'The Morrigan' and 'An Ancient Fire Burns' we did videos and they were quite fast upbeat tracks, so we deliberately wanted to do a video for a totally different kind of track. We felt it was important that people hear this song so decided to do the video for it. All being well we'll put together a video for another track on this album later in the year. 




HMH: Now that the album and video are out, what further plans do you have to support it? Any live shows lined up?

Ade: Yes we have our first ever headlining tour of the UK which we're very excited about. It'll be our 4th or 5th time in a few of the places as we've been to each city before on previous tours so we're really looking forward to it. We'll be doing some Irish shows around the same time and hopefully in the Spring we'll be hitting the European continent. It should be a busy 12 months, all being well. 

HMH: How do you look back on The Last Caress of Light now? Anything you would have done differently with a few more years experience do you think?

Ade: I don't think so, an album should be a document of where a band was at a particular point in time, I have no regrets about anything I've recorded. Of course everything is a learning experience and you can always do things better but to go back and do things differently, it wouldn't be the same album. I'm definitely proud of that record, it is what it is. 

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The Last Caress of Light (2011)


HMH: What can you tell us about the album artwork? Does it symbolise anything in particular?

Ade: It was created by a very talented artist named Costin Chioreanu, who has done a lot of great work including the new Arch Enemy cover. We were thrilled to work with him, especially as when he heard the album he understood and loved it straight away. He was really on the same page in terms of what we wanted to create. The cover art symbolises the main themes on the album but is directly derived from 'Beyond the Grey Veil'. It is what Costin literally felt guided to do when listening to the song, and he absolutely nailed it. 

HMH: Any recent releases (2013 - 2014 releases) that you've been enjoying lately you'd like to suggest to our readers?

Ade: In Solitude - Sister
Argus - Beyond the Martyrs 
Behemoth - The Satanist

Those are the main ones at the moment! I have a lot to catch up on..

HMH: Thanks for your time answering our questions, if there's anything you'd like to add, please feel free:

Ade: Cheers, metal or death! 

Darkest Era on MMA: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/darkest-era

Find Darkest Era online:

http://darkestera.net/
http://darkestera.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/darkestera
https://myspace.com/darkestera
https://twitter.com/darkestera



Edited by adg211288 - 22 Apr 2015 at 1:07pm
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