Monthly Archives: August 2011

Discovering Impossibilities – An interview with In Solitude

Here’s my recent interview with the trad-metallers for

In Solitude are a group that take themselves and their art seriously. They are far from pretentious though; they just have a naked strength of conviction in themselves and in the music they create together. Rather than indulging in some half-baked publicity posturing that overcompensates for weakness In Solitude simply walk the walk and talk the talk. Knowing this it’s probably best not to get the title of their album mixed up in the very first question- a tip for next time perhaps. In a bout of WikiLeaks style probity and a position taken in contrast to governments worldwide there won’t be any redacting here- just my foolish truth. So here it is: an interview with the heavy metal band of the moment.

R13: You’ve just released ‘The Flesh. The World. The Devil’ are you pleased with the results? Did you achieve what you set out to create with the album?
In Solitude: The album is called “The World. The Flesh. The Devil”. Anyhow, it certainly took on (and opened) shapes and depths that we never could have imagined. Of course, we were fully aware of the spiritual and emotional value of the work, but we didn’t expect it to become so intense on us. I don’t know how others experience the album, but to us, its shakes the foundations of who we are. We are very pleased with the results.

R13: How important was getting the artwork right for ‘The World. The Flesh. The Devil’?
In Solitude: It was very important. And it took a very long time to find the right artist and the right piece of work. Thousands of ideas were in motion and many artists were in consideration, but we were very particular with what we wanted and waited for the perfect one. And we came across the American artist Jesse Peper and specifically his number of “shadow portraits” that to us felt like if they were born out of our album. It was as if we remembered them from somewhere. From that place where In Solitude grows out of, and where we are headed. So it felt perfect to use them. Blessings to Jesse for his great work.

R13: Have you been pleased with the critical reaction the record has been getting?
In Solitude: I really don’t keep track on such things unless someone puts a magazine in my hands or if someone comes up and tells me face to face. And as far as that goes, the reactions have been fairly good. I seldom find any value in what major media has to say. I prefer when people personally takes the time and comes up and tells me what they think with their honest opinions. That is far more rewarding than any reviews.

R13: People are keen to discuss the dark aesthetic of In Solitude. Does the interest from the largely secular music press in this aspect surprise you?
In Solitude: No it does not surprise me. It’s a part of human nature to be interested and drawn towards powerful things that lie outside the confines of their own world and life. And it’s a part of human nature to be drawn towards things that are for real and that are written in blood and tears. And I think that people are in need for real, sincere and honest music. Music that has heart and soul. Music that actually can cause change and growth in people. Music that can open inner eyes.

R13: What attracts people with outspoken, possibly marginal views such to metal? What comes first, do you think, the metal or the beliefs?
In Solitude: Well, I can only speak for myself here. And I have always been writing, painting and playing music in order to translate the essence of something far greater. For me personally, beliefs come first. Art is always reflections. Music is always reflections. The artist translates the vision. He reflects it. And what we do with In Solitude, is to translate, reflect and capture fragments of the far greater darkness that drives us.

R13: The lyrics for Serpents Are Rising is based on a poem by Viusiudad of Reveal also from Uppsala � is the metal scene close knit there?
In Solitude: There are a handful of bands from Uppsala that we are very, very close with and share a lot with, and have for many years. Reveal is one of them. Viusiudad is an extremely close brother in life and death and it felt very natural for him to contribute with a poem since we come from the same “place” when it comes to these kinds of “things”. His impact on my lyrics was already pretty distinct and a lot of the lyrics deal with experiences we have shared together.

R13: Do you feel any particular kinship with Ghost?
In Solitude: We feel particular kinship with them because of who they are and because of their great work. May they haunt this world for a long time to come.

R13: Older listeners will recognise plenty of NWOBHM and eighties metal sounds on the album. Where does that influence originate from -older brothers, friends for example?
In Solitude: We all started to explore music and dig deeper on our own in a very early age. And those first life changing experiences are still extremely important. And not only when it comes to metal music.

R13: Members of the group have spoken about the ritualistic nature of In Solitude � how important are live performances and audience participation in this regard?
In Solitude: The way I approach my emotions and my spirituality while under the influence of our music, the movement, the value of the words, the energy and the unravelling is a very similar process as those I experience while communicating with the shades beyond the borders, while under, above or in trance. It’s a similar process of getting into that. Dancing on the edge of the flames. Letting the hands caress and get burned. Sores reveal answers. New questions, new keys. And through this, and through a lot of playing, the experiences become stronger and stronger and more and more similar, and we become able to communicate on stage as well.

R13: In Solitude are touring extensively and playing the festival circuit over the summer is there anywhere you’re especially looking forward to playing?
In Solitude: Anywhere where we are consumed by the fire.

“The World. The Flesh. The Devil” is out now on Metal Blade Records and In Solitude are playing in the Netherlands and Germany later this month before touring the US with Down. Go on, investigate…

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Summer Loving

Went to some gigs recently in London town that couldn’t have been more different: My Morning Jacket at Somerset House and Black Breath at the Borderline. One, a stately manor by the Thames; the other a sweatbox off Tottenham Court Road.

My Morning Jacket were a welcome blast from the past only emphasised by the surroundings and the familiar faces in the crowd. The weather was ropey at best, ducking in and out of umbrellas, but the band were electric. Now it must be said, MMJ are responsible for one of the greatest gigs of my life at the Academy 3 at the University of Manchester Students’ Union in 2003 just as It Still Moves  was releasesd – so they are in massive credit with me but conversely always have a lot to live up to.

Back in the UK playing the sort of venues they should’ve graduated to some time ago were it not for cancelled tours, they’re plugging new record Circuital which to my ears is a return to form after the somewhat wayward Evil Urges. Jim James loons about in the opening electronic numbers warming up the crowd before a raft of ‘oldies’.  ‘Wordless Chorus’, ‘Gideon’ and ‘The Knot Comes Loose’ all from Z rocket by and people respond to the recognisable vibes.  It only gets better from here with drummer Patrick Hallahan showing off his chops backed by the heart melting and blood boiling dualism of Carl Boemel’s guitar and Jim James voice especially on ‘The Way That He Sings’ from At Dawn.

‘Run Thru’ is an earthbound epic that pierces the grey skies before the urge to kick out the jams takes over on the ‘Whole Lotta Love’ style middle section of the melancholic ‘Dondante’. First single off Circuital, the good time referencing ‘Holdin’ On To Black Metal’ engenders a massive singalong as Jim arses about with a cape and towel outfit.

My Morning Jacket are a genuine treasure – a classic American band – earnest yet experimental and endlessly enthusiastic. A band still going places.

That brings me to the fast up and coming blackened hardcore crew Black Breath who take to the Borderline’s pokey stage at 21:30 precisely for 90 minutes of raging satanic rock and roll. Their fans look like you’d imagine (though certainly not all male) i.e. tattoo’d, black shirt wearing metalheads. Their mixture of brute hardcore force and more sinewy black metal guitar lines works. Even if it didn’t Black Breath’s sheer desire would’ve forced the audience’s appreciation. As it was a hefty pit emerged and fans communed with singer Nate McAdams at will giving just as much on the two new songs they debuted from upcoming second record as they did to renowned shitkickers like ‘I Am Beyond’.

But the best part was the chat with the twitching, adrenaline fuelled Black Breath sticksman J Byrum who, while coated in sweat, told me and a mate about how poor Metallica had been at Sonisphere..”I’ve got their records but I don’t have to like them now.” Nuff said, the new rubs up against the old.

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