Track Premiere: Transilience – “Seven Samurai”

Back in 1989, when many of their potential new fans weren’t even born yet, Transilience were already at it, pushing the envelope, getting in the dissonant, proggy thrash ring up against the likes of Voivod and not getting knocked out in the first round. On the contrary, their debut Mouthful of Buildings is actually a fantastic record, one of those unlikely pearls, made by three unsuspecting Reston, VA kids, that still holds up pretty well to this day – basically, yet another sort of lost gem from the ’80s whose cult status was further elevated by the band breaking up shortly after. Fast forward 34 years, and frontman Spookey Ruben, by now firmly established with his wild solo career as an experimental musician, has decided to bring back Transilience, armed with new cohorts Jerry Barrett (an old-school mate of Spookey that you might remember from the C.O.C. Blind live line-up) on bass and Omar Ruiz on drums.

After having revealed earlier this month they were signing to Málaga, Spain’s Alone Records, the full comeback is now complete with the announcement of a brand new EP, scheduled for release at the end of September. Nervesaw will come out on both black and clear vinyl versions and digital download, it will feature four songs, and as a taster of what’s to come, the band is also releasing the first single and video, for closing track “Seven Samurai”, that you can check out below already.

Transilience’s capabilities to surprise and disorient seem perfectly intact from what’s on offer here, an agile and surprisingly immediate rager yet filled with surprising twists and turns and Spookey’s uncanny vocal theatrics giving the whole thing a totally distinct feel.

“I think we captured some refreshing metal flavours on our new EP,” Spookey comments. “Even though our riffage and recording techniques are quite old-school, I believe we’ve managed to create something fresh sounding. Similar to the old Transilience, we still have a fun mix of hardcore, thrash metal and jazz fusion guitar chords/odd time signatures. The main difference is that on Mouthful of Buildings we’d put over twenty different riffs into one song – now it’s about five riffs per song.” About “Seven Samurai,” Spookey explains that “lyrically, this song is based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 masterpiece film Seven Samurai – it follows the story of a village of desperate farmers who seek to hire rōnin (masterless Samurai) to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops. As I was writing the lyrics it suddenly occurred to me that ‘of course many metal bands already have a song called Seven Samurai or at least a song about Samurai’, because this subject matter and imagery lends itself so well to METAL MUSIC. To my surprise, I only found a few odd Samurai-related metal tunes…incl.”No Place For Disgrace” by Flotsam and Jetsam and  “SENJUTSU” by Iron Maiden (which if you read the lyrics has nothing to do with Samurai!). At one point during the recording process I was thinking, should we add some ancient Japanese instrument or Samurai sounds to the song? But sometimes that type of shit comes off as cheesy. Either way, by the time we got round to mixing the song I had totally forgotten about that idea. The video shoot was a blast – pretty hilarious having Jerry dress up as a Samurai guy waving around a $29 dollar samurai sword which we found on A big part of the video concept was to project the actual film onto the band – which came out cool BUT pretty unidentifiable – so we ended up overlaying a bunch more little clips of the film in post production.

“I wrote this song to honor this absolute masterpiece – to renew awareness of the film.”

Nervesaw is out on September 29 on Alone Records. You can pre-order both versions of the EP here.