How will it all end? When the curtain finally falls on our existence on this planet, what will be the eventual cause of our demise?
Well, Nexilva, Sunderland’s finest Progressive-Death Metal outfit have provided us with 14 eviscerating possibilities for Armageddon, on their brand new Album, Eschatologies. They have been tearing up the UK with scintillating live shows and I was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist Simon Atkinson and bassist Ryan Banks before one such performance this weekend.
So apart from it being a very cool, little-known word for an extremely brutal concept, why Escatologies?
RB: Well Gary (King – Vocals) decided to base the whole theme of the album around different ways that the world could end. Each song is an exploration of a different kind of demise; political, religious, monetary and more fantastical stuff like a Zombie apocalypse.
SA: Eschatology is the study of the notion of the end of the world and that’s the concept that ties the songs together as an album.
What is your writing process? How does the Music come together for Nexilva?
RB: We’d just rehearse with our recording equipment on writing riffs. Often we’d just be sat in Conor’s (Jobes- Drums) bedroom passing a guitar round. Writing, recording and mastering of the Album took about 2 years and we had got to a point where we had half the record written, where we just had writers block. We were working too hard. So we didn’t push it for 3 months, just went on, doing our band practices, playing what we knew. So when we did come back to writing fresh ideas just flowed.
SA: We did totally rewrite some of the songs. The song that became Eschatologies was originally going to be scrapped. But we thought hold on, can’t we just rewrite it, there’s some good stuff here. So we took some of the original ideas and really expanded on them, so it was more interesting to listen to. So while not necessarily catering for the widest possible audience, we were showing that we enjoy various genres within Metal and beyond.
RB: Yeah, There’s ambient moments and keyboards in places. To show people that we are more than just a Metal band.
SA: So hopefully there’s something in there for everyone.
What were your Musical influences while writing Eschatologies, and have they changed from previous recordings?
RB: We used to listen to a lot of Whitechapel and other Deathcore type stuff. But then we met Simon Garod and he became our manager and introduced us to the Tech side of Metal. And through watching bands at the UK Tech-Fest we’d hear things and think ‘We like that sound’ or ‘That’s very interesting’ and go away and write. But not limit ourselves to what we heard or what we did before and really push the boat out. The Tech scene inspired us to write just the things we thought good rather than fitting into anything pre-defined.
SA: Our taste in music has broadened so much over the last 2 years. When we’re just hanging out, or going for a drive, we’ll stick on Radio 1 and listen to a session, regardless of the type of music.
RB: If you listen to a large variety if things like we’ve done over the last 2 years, then you broaden what you are able to write.
SA: Yeah, You can really hear a progressive side shining through in Eschatologies. Each song is a journey.
When listening to your old material, I would feel a genuine fear, like when I was 11 listening to Slayer. How do you want people to feel when they hear this record?
RB: When it comes to the music, we just want them to feel it’s really heavy, with enough to make them keep coming back to it. But I want them to feel that it’s us and that what we do on the record is what we bring to them live, because that’s how I judge bands. If I hear a band on record and they sound Tech and then I see them and I’m hearing the same music, well then they’ve got me.
SA: And if we can give people that experience that’s satisfying.
I’ve got quite a few American friends who are big fans of ours and who are dying to see you play. How far do you think this album can take you?
SA: Well, we’re signed to Subliminal Groove Records in North America, so there’s is a possibility we could tour this record over there. But it’s all down to logistics and finances.
RB: And how the album goes down. It comes out Monday (7th April) and hopefully people will love it. So with that and getting a bit more exposure, like the 8/10 review we received from MetalHammer (UK No1 Monthly Metal Magazine), you never know what could happen.
How did you go about choosing the guest spots on the Album?
SA: Well Merrick from Exist Immortal mastered the album and sings on the last track. It just felt right, he’s a class vocalist and we wanted a clean sounding vocal for the end of the album.
RB: And on Premonitions we have Ricky Lee Roper from Osiah. He’s a really good friend and we’ve done a lot of stuff for each other. And that just made sense as he’s a real brute of a vocalist.
The video for Eschatologies is menacing and frankly quite petrifying; do you have any other videos in the pipeline?
SA: Yes we do and the Cloaked Figure makes a return in our next video, Necromancer.
RB: We filmed it in a wood, woodland, a wooded area and it’s even more eerie and ominous. That should be out pretty soon.
SA: We suffered for our art in both videos as it was so cold filming them, like minus 2, and we were there in shirts freezing. But it was well worth it as they look great.
If you could travel back in time to say 5 years ago and give yourself some advice, what would it be?
RB: From past experience, if you’ve got someone who doesn’t try to live by the internal rules of the group, life can become difficult. People who have their own rules and own ideals can make it very tough for you to progress.
SA: Everyone has to be 100% or nothing. The 5 of us are all pulling together, at our strongest and wanting the same things, which is very satisfying. Just makes things a lot easier.
When I was telling some friends that I was interviewing Nexilva, they said “Oh yeah that’s the band that looks one way and sounds another.” Do you encounter that attitude much and does it matter to you?
RB: That just goes hand in hand with what you want to play. You play what you want to play and wear what you want to wear. I mean they battered it into me that I had to look swag (laughs) and after cutting my Granddad jeans down into hot-pants, I learnt my lesson and now I just rock the chinos.
SA: Yeah music and fashion have got nothing to do with each other, really.
RB: But I suppose some people could look at us and think -Oh they don’t look like the kind of music I’d be into- but they should take the chance and check us out and judge us through the music because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.
Indeed it is! The album Eschatologies is available from today, Monday the 7th of April, through Ghost Music (UK & Europe) and Subliminal Groove Records (North America).
They may have taken for inspiration the idea of the end of the world, but for Nexilva this is definitely only the beginning.
– John Whitmore