Interview with Visions of the Night
Visions of the Night is a Military-Inspired Black/Death Metal band from Canada. I first interviewed them for Issue # 2 of the Trendcrusher zine in 2005. Last month, their third full length album ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ was released by Butchered Records. I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Wolvesblood last week after they got back from a tour of Australia, Taiwan and Japan.
Hey Wolvesblood, how was the tour of Australia, Japan and Taiwan?
Fucking awesome! So many new fans and friends, met up with some old friends from the first Japan tour as well. Never been to Taiwan or Australia before so it was great to finally check them out too! Sold all the new cds we brought also. I need to do another run of the tour shirts because we sold out of all the main sizes and several people couldn’t get one due to that. I don’t even have one for myself, the only size left is ladies small!Most of the shows had great turn outs, and this might sound like B.S. but everyone I met was really cool to hang out with. Can’t say I ran into any bad egos in any of the 3 countries.
Your third full length album ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ released by Butchered Records last month. Tell us a bit about it.
There’s 10 songs in total, but I’ll just talk about a few here. The title track ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ is about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I put some sitars and Middle Eastern singing in it to make it really give the feel of such. The song is still primarily death metal, but I really wanted to do something I haven’t quite heard before in the genre. The next song, ‘War is our religion’ was inspired by a quote by General Douglas MacArthur when he described his WWII Japanese opponents at the time by saying (paraphrasing) “War is like a religion to them”. I wrote it from the perspective of a modern day person (of no specific country) who would think such. It turned out really thrashy for the most part, so I figured Rob Urbinati from Sacrifice would make a great fit for a guest vocal appearance in the song. He still sounds just like he did when I was a young thrasher! ‘Lost in the Red Snow’ is about a German soldier during WWII on the eastern front, whose platoon gets ambushed and he has to retreat back through villages he committed atrocities in, things don’t end well for him. It’s primarily a black metal song, it sounds just as cold as the weather described within. There’s even a small bit of actual singing at the very beginning of the song, something I’ve never done before. ‘Utilizing hate as a motivational force’ has quite a few spoken parts, a unique guitar tone during said parts and some subtle weird sounds which I later found out are call bass drops. Despite having no love for the genre they’re generally associated with, they sound pretty cool here.
Since you are the only member of the band, what was the songwriting process like? How long did it take?
I try to pick up the guitar at least once a day and start just playing whatever comes out. Almost everyday I’ll come up with at least one riff I like. Then I record it. Some time (a week or a even month later), I’ll go back and listen to the riffs with the benefit of a fresh ear. I find some stand out more than others, those are the ones that will potentially be in new songs. Of course, then I have to find other riffs that go well with them. As per drums, I generally just hear them in my head when I’m listening to a riff, so they get written pretty easily. It’s been 5 years since the last album so I guess you could say it took 4 years to write, but there was 3 tours and lots of local shows during that timeframe that naturally detract from writing time. I don’t have a clear answer, I just find when given time, the songs will flow on their own.
What was the recording process for the album?
Todd did the drums all in one day out near Chatham, Ontario, Canada in an old church at Matt Connell’s Northwood Studio. Shortly afterwards I went back and did the guitars (except for 2 tracks where Alexander Erhardt and Warhead play 2nd guitar on) and then bass (except for the track where Jenn Kilburn makes a return). The guitars were harder than I expected because there’s a lot of parts where they’re doing different things, memorizing one guitar line is bad enough, but 2 tracks each of 2 guitars plus the additional melody guitar tracks, makes things a bit more difficult. I bought a new Jackson bass for the album and absolutely love it, it’s the only bass I’ve ever really enjoyed playing. I initially thought I’d just follow the guitars 100 %, but since it was so fun to play I ended up making lots of variations on the album and it came out great. I did the vocals last, initially I didn’t even have very many lyrics, I thought I could finish them that night at the hotel, but drew a blank. I needed them for a cd preview night in Tokyo the following week though, so since they weren’t going on a cd (and up until now no one knew what I was saying anyway), I just John Tardy’d them so no one could tell I wasn’t saying anything half the time. I later went back and re-did them with full lyrics and actually made them the most understandable out of all the releases so far.
How did Todd Hansen (Man Must Die, Amplitusion, Rome) become part of the recording/touring line up?
I’m friends with James from Amplitusion, he mentioned that I should meet Todd who was living in Canada with him them. So, one day when I needed a drummer I called him up and said I wanted run a few ideas over with him and that I’d pay for the beer during the meeting. Being Australian, he naturally said yes. I talked about the album first, then brought up the Japan thing (which was in the early stages but still had some offers even back then), he was cool with everything. We later expanded it to include Australia and then, even later Taiwan.
The album was recorded by Matt Connell (ex-Exhumed, ex-Fuck The Facts) . How was it working with him?
He’s 2 hours and 15 minutes from me, I need to wake up very early to record with him….and I hate waking up early, but it’s absolutely worth it because he’s one of the few people where I can have a conversation like “You know that sound they use on Aborted’s Goremaggedon album” and he knows exactly what I mean. There’s been a few conversations like that where I’m trying to describe a sound or tone from a death metal album and he knows what I’m talking about. He’s also incredibly patient. I can be pretty picky and there were many times where I’d be doing a vocal line over and over trying to get it just right. No complaints, no sighs, it’s just done when it gets done.
What are your plans for the rest of the year ? Do you have any gigs/tours planned?
The current plan is to do one big tour a year, so this year is done. That way I don’t get fired from my job and it makes it easier to find session members for also. We’re talking about next year already, but it’s only in the absolute earliest of stages, so I can’t say anything yet.
Any final words?
Yes, there’s thousands, if not tens of thousands of extreme metal bands out there. If you’re in one and are truly a fan of the genre, it’s your responsibility to help expand the style. Don’t be another generic band. I’m not talking about selling out or watering it down by any means, do something that makes your band stand out musically. I want to bring back the feeling of the early days of death metal where every band had their own unique sound while still retaining their genre style. It’s harder to do that these days of course with all the bands out there, but it’s still very much possible with effort, experimentation and not settling for anything less than the best.
Listen to the title track from ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ below