Nothing unites the metal community quite like a healthy hit of righteous rage. War, complacency, ignorance, religion, technology, the opposite sex, government subsidies – if something pisses you off, someone’s encoding your disgust into guitar riff magic.
Any good New Ager Rager knows that nature is very, um, fertile soil for dark musical themes. As humans do thoughtless injury to ecological balance, so will the planet’s defenses tear us a collective new one. The birds do it (ask Alfred Hitchcock), the bees do it (we don’t call them “killer” for nothing), Celestiial and Gojira and Agalloch and Blood of the Black Owl and Wolves in their very Throne Rooms do it. Make your peace with Mother Earth, or get eco-spiritually spanked.
Last year, Melbourne, Australia’s Arbrynth got in the game with a lush, vibrant eponymous record that blends modern sonics with atavistic intentions. The quartet writes the shit out of multiple interlocking themes that grow out of their pummeling percussion, guitars that pit introspective clarity against a fiery chug, and a harmonic vocal style rarely attempted in heavy music. Anyone stoked on intelligent, multi-part metal with arms long enough to hug trees and beefy enough to uproot them in a single ferocious tug shouldn’t overlook Arbrynth’s offerings.
Here’s the album’s closing track, “Drinker of Worlds,” to treat yourself while you read what bassist/vocalist Tina has to say about all things Arbrynth. To learn/hear more, visit the band’s website at http://www.arbrynth.net/.
What musical backgrounds do the members of Arbrynth come from?
A little bit of a mix. Previous to Arbrynth all the members had played in metal bands. Pete is heavily influenced by Celtic music as his father played mandolin professionally in an Irish folk band and I had some classical training on violin and my mother was a classical singer.
How did Arbrynth get started?
Pete and Dodds had worked together previous to Arbrynth and decided to start writing again with no specific idea in mind. They put word out that they were looking for a bass player and found me. Junty was an old acquaintance of theirs so when they heard he wasn’t in any current projects he was asked to join as well. We advertised for a vocalist to complete the lineup without much luck, this lead to Pete and Dodds taking over vocal duties and eventually they turned to me and said ‘can you sing at all?’ And that was pretty much how it all started.
How long did you take to write the album? Were any songs a struggle, or exceptionally easy?
Writing is not an easy task for a band that tries to maintain a level of democracy. If someone dislikes a riff we don’t use it. It’s a great thing in it’s way because we all feel like we are involved and own each song, but it can really take a while to please everyone. Some songs seem to write themselves. By the time we wrote “Amidst the Ruin” the song writing aspect was down pat so it was written quickly. “Black Veil” took a very long time. I went overseas for 6 weeks when we were just writing the last riff of the song…. When I got back the guys had written and scrapped about a dozen possible end riffs. They must have been awaiting my return because the first jam I had when I got back we finished it and it’s one of my favourite riffs.
What music has influenced Arbrynth’s writing/recording choices? Any other artistic influences?
The guitarists are really into their folk music, but apart from that, a mix of everything. Some of the bands that we all really like that have probably been main influences would be Amorphis, Opeth and Borknagar. There would be many, many others though.
What themes were important for you to explore/convey on the album?
Natural themes are very important, we all have a great connection to nature and I think we like to keep an element of that in our music. There is a focus on the history and future of humans on the earth and an emphasis of the destructive nature of people. It’s not that there’s a huge loud message in the music, but a lot of the lyrical content is fairly bleak because it talks about the exploitations of the earth and her resources.
How often does Arbrynth play live shows? Any good (or bad) stories from the stage?
We don’t play a lot of live shows simply because we try not to oversaturate the scene in our city. We’ve not had any really terrible stories from the stage, there are some shows which we haven’t played our best and some that I feel we’ve shone. No interesting stories I’m afraid, I’m sure given the fact that at least 4 of us are batshit crazy (not including myself of course) we will come back with many stories if we go on tour someday.
Where is that forest in your photographs?
It’s a Californian redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) plantation in East Warburton. A beautiful town that’s about an hour from Melbourne. Obviously not a great indication of a native Australian forest but it was effective for a photo shoot.
What else are band members doing these days?
Working, writing, paying bills etc. Dodds works as a guitar tech and in music sales so he keeps us up to date with new musical gadgets. Pete and Junty work in trades and I’m probably going to be at university until I die at this rate. We’re about to get stuck back into writing for another album and we’re all looking forward to getting back into the creative side of things.