Welsh melodic death metallers Anterior have recently released their sophomore album Echoes Of The Fallen. The furious riffing and face melting solos blew me away so it was time to find out a little more about this up & coming band from guitarist Leon Kemp...
Echoes Of The Fallen seems to have gotten a very good response from critics and fans alike. How pleased are you with the feedback so far?
We're really pleased so far there has been loads of great reviews and hype surrounding this release and the main thing is the fans have received it well. I think we've given them what they expected from an Anterior release and we've stuck to our guns on what we believe in. I try not to read too many reviews to be honest though, it kind of gets me frustrated very easily. Sometimes it just seems like they listen to the cd once then spend 10 minutes writing a review and put it out. And it's just one guy's opinion, so the main for us is that the fans enjoy it and so far we've had a brilliant response from them.
When did you start writing songs for the new album? Is there a unified theme that you were trying to convey in the songs?
This albums been in the works for a very long time, due to line-up changes and mainly problems finding a permanent drummer I'd say some riffs are two and a half year's old. There was never a theme for the album, I don't really like setting an agenda for writing songs. It feels a bit contrived to me when your consciously trying to write songs to be heavier or thrashier or whatever. We've always just used whatever sounds good, if a riff or part sounds really good it gets used. We have our certain traits that people expect but they are all things that just happen naturally anyway. I think Echoes... has a lot of diversity in the songs, and again that's not something we aimed for. It's probably just because of the time in-between when songs were written our style was evolving and I think the result has been a very diverse album.
How does Echoes Of The Fallen differ from your debut album?
Mainly it just shows a maturity and an improvement in songwriting. There's no dramatic style change we've still stuck to what made our first album successful. The songs are shorter and that maybe was a little bit of a conscious decision. But I think that's maturity too, on This Age... there were tons of riffs in every song and we tried to get everything into one track. But I realized it's okay not to have a bridge in every song or a massive intro or outro. When This Age… was written that seemed right and I could see the songs no other way, but now writing Echoes… it was the same I can't imagine the songs any different than what they are. It helps to have shorter songs live too, when your doing a support tour sometimes you only get 30 minutes and we had 6:30 minute songs and we'd struggle to be able to play 5 songs. The vocals and lyrics have improved substantially. We spent a lot more time working out vocal patterns and melodies and trying to get some hooks into the tracks, things that make people want to listen again and again. Because at the end of the day that's what all music is about, all good music anyway. Something catchy that makes you want to hear the song over and over or a tune that gets stuck in your head. We write a lot of our hooks into the guitar work but this time I think we've got a few vocal hooks in there too.
The stark artwork is pretty cool and really resonates with the album title. Who is responsible for the concept and the artwork itself?
An artist called Richey Beckett done the artwork. We worked closely with him throughout on what we wanted it to look like and certain elements it had to have. We didn't just hire a guy and say do us an album. The initial ideas came from a meeting we had with Richey. We sat down for a beer and discussed what we liked in albums and what we didn't giving examples. Then he sketched some stuff out and it felt really exciting right from that moment. We knew we were on to something really cool.
Any plans for a video for this album?
Yes, we'll be filming a video in October after the Sylosis UK tour.
What sort of stuff inspires you?
Music mainly inspires me to write more music, I'm not really the type of guy who watches a film or something then suddenly has an idea for a song. Nearly all the songs start from riffs, and they come from just jamming out on the guitar really. The I'll open up my pro tools rig and work on it from there. When we're writing lyrics outside inspiration is a lot more useful. Films, life experience, books, quotes almost anything really that sparks an idea for a cool song. I like watching live DVD's too, Metallica's S&M is always very inspiring to me to pick up a guitar and try and write something great. There's loads of other live DVD's I like too. Arch Enemy's, Children Of Bodom's. They help to remind me of where I want to be and it kind of gives me a little kick up the arse to go write something.
What's the story behind the band name?
The old finger in the dictionary trick, no great story really sorry. Although it was about the 30th word we came across, it does have a kind of cool meaning. To come before or in front of. Kind of like we're trying to lead a movement in music not just follow one. Which is kind of true in our music, we've never tried to follow trends we've always just done what we wanted to and what sounds good to us.
You've toured with some very popular bands, such as Devildriver and Dragonforce but which has been your favorite band to tour with so far?
Children Of Bodom was my favorite 'tour'. It was only actually two dates, one in Dublin and one in Glasgow. But I've been a massive Children Of Bodom and Alexi Laiho fan for years so to meet all the guys and play with them was a real honor for me. Plus we played to about 1,500 people both nights which was pretty cool. We all played really well too and had an amazing reception so all in all the perfect tour.
I see you've also played a few shows in India, a place where not many bands venture! How did you get involved with the shows and did you enjoy the experience?
Basically it was through a fan, he was in charge of arranging a local festival and had enough budget to get us out there. He managed to get us on another festival too. He's actually a good friend of ours now and we stay in touch. He's taken Malefice and Sylosis out there too since we've been. Hopefully we'll go back next year because it really was an amazing time, everyone is so friendly and helpful. And the people love the metal, I've never seen any fans go so crazy in my life. We're very spoilt in the UK there's always gigs happening but in India each metal gig is months apart so when they get one they are so excited some of them don't know what to do with themselves. So overall an unbelievable experience and I can't wait to go back!
Next up is the tour with Sylosis, so this seems like a showcase of up & coming UK melodeath heavyweights. You looking forward to these shows?
Yes, very much so, we're friendly with the Sylosis guys and the Malefice guys having toured with both before so it should be a great time lot's of drinking and partying. The boys in chapters seem really cool too so it should be an awesome time. It's very rare you get a tour with so many good bands to be honest especially in the UK and it really is a special package. Plus I think there's a big crossover in the music I can imagine everybody there liking all the bands which is something that is very rare in metal gigs nowadays. It's a great tour and it would be amazing if we could take it to Europe too.
Which new song are you most looking forward to showcasing live?
Tyranny, we played it at Sonisphere recently and it went down a storm. It's just one of them tracks with so much energy and it works really well live.
What do you think of the UK metal scene at the moment? Any bands you'd recommend that our readers may not have heard of?
It's really healthy at the moment, I only recently heard the band Chapters who are opening the Sylosis tour and those guys are pretty bad ass, very original too. But there really are loads of good bands about and hopefully this tour can generate some more interest in British metal.
Which bands do you listen to yourselves? Is there a wide variety of musical tastes in the Anterior camp or are you all metalheads?
We're all metalheads obviously but I think we all enjoy a wide variety of music. Some of the boys like a bit of rap. I like loads of things, at the moment I'm really into Lady Gaga to be honest. She's such a talented girl and her live performances are exceptional. Bit of a rock chick at heart herself I think. It's hard just to listen to metal all the time because your doing it so much with the band that sometimes the last thing you want to do is listen to some metal. Especially after a full day in the studio. You need to mellow out and give your ears a break from it, otherwise you'll just end up losing all passion for what you do and that is a bad thing. There's a great deal to be learnt from other styles of music too, and it's a bit stupid to ignore it.
Cheers guys, anything else you wish to add? See you in Manchester!
Just if you haven't yet guys check out the new album, it's worth 45 minutes of your life and if you don't like it just don't listen to it again. But I'm sure loads of you will love it. 1st of October, it's a date!!
The tour with Sylosis begins on 28th September which gives you plenty of time to buy the album and grow to love it!