Two years ago, Portland band Unto Others—at the time named Idle Hands—wowed people with the sterling MANA, one of the finest debut albums of 2019. The band’s deft blend of melodic heavy metal with the sleek ’80s gothic rock of the Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim captured the attention of many: audiences, bands, us here at Decibel, and most importantly for the band, record labels. After a 2020 that saw the band change its name to avoid legal hassles, Unto Others are finally set to build on the positive momentum they created in 2019. The good news is that they have signed a deal with Roadrunner Records, but the better news is that they have a brand-new track and video.
“When Will Gods Work Be Done” continues right where MANA left off, built around a hard-driving groove, some mean palm-muted riffs, and of course, the baritone bellow of singer/guitarist Gabriel Franco. In addition to the new video we are pleased to premiere, Franco was gracious enough to chat with us about the new track and what the future has in store for the band.
Congratulations on signing with Roadrunner! How did that partnership come about, and what makes it a good one?
Gabe Franco: Thank you very much. I think the release of MANA in May 2019, combined with the EU touring we were doing that year (about 50 shows in a couple of months) caught the band a bit of attention. By the time summer hit we had five or six labels reaching out to us. Which was really cool and a bit surreal, considering when we started I had no clue if anyone was going to like it at all. We listened to all the pitches but once we got to Roadrunner I knew that was where we needed to be. They have also released a ton of bands I admire and were willing to work with our current label at the time, Eisenwald, to ensure a smooth transition. That leaves us here today, so I’m stoked to see where we can go with a bit more time and continued effort.
You guys had some great momentum going, and then the pandemic happened, then the name change happened. How has the pandemic affected the band’s creative process? And how challenging was it to try to keep the band’s presence alive when so much of the music scene was dormant?
Franco: Yeah, we took a few hits, but as the saying goes, we only fall to get back up. I try to simplify decisions as much as possible before execution. Continuing was as simple as not quitting. As for momentum and songwriting and all that, I just do what I can. I got into music to write and travel and impress myself, not to produce content. Patience is a virtue. I can be patient, I can wait until it’s the right time to push Unto Others, and try to make our mark
What can you tell us about “When Will Gods Work Be Done”?
Franco: I wrote the bulk of it in a couple hours one day. It was one of those songs, where your inhibitions take a backseat, and everything just comes together, for better or worse. Lyrically, it’s a song about evil. Things that shouldn’t happen but do. I prefer whoever’s listening hears whatever they want to hear, so I won’t get too deep into details, but it’s one of my favorite tracks on the record.
Is there a new album in the works? And how will it differ from what we heard on MANA?
Franco: Yes, to both, but I can’t say on the release yet. It’s a visceral, honest expression of the struggles I’ve been working through over the past 18 months. A bit further on down the highway, maybe a bend in the road, but not a turn yet. It’s heavy.
You have a big European tour with Carcass, Behemoth and Arch Enemy on the horizon. What else will you have in store in 2022?
Franco: That’s going to be a hell of a tour, if we can manage to make it happen with COVID restrictions. EU is rolling a bit slower on vaccinations, but as of now it’s still on. 2022 will be what 2020 was supposed to be for us, a jam-packed schedule. Hopefully a very positive and globally introductory year for Unto Others. We have a big USA tour lined up, and we may head to a few countries we haven’t been to before.