Dread is a lot more honest

The Maledict

Can you tell our readers a bit about your band,who are you and what do you play?

We’re a four-piece death/Doom band from the middle of nowhere in Australia and about 600 km north of Melbourne.The music is a bit of a blend of Death and Doom Metal with some Orchestral/Gothic influences and a hint of paprika.

You released a new album this year”Dread” What can you tell us about this release? What can we find on it?

We did indeed and We started the process of composing the album as soon as the demo was out the door and didn’t really stop until right when we’d sat and laid all the new material out and said, “That’s an album”.By the time the demo was done we’d settled into a pattern for writing and I’d start demoing some stuff and run it by the band so they can get it and tell me if it’s any good or not  and we’d sort out other kinks as we played.

There is some improv going on in places and all the drum patterns I’d mapped out in Ableton as MIDI tracks but Karl (Freitag, drums) would usually only use them as guides and he came up with some really awesome patterns on the recording that gave some songs a totally different vibe.I was worried about some songs sounding too similar but he managed to solve that by just mixing it up with his drumming.

I like to think there’s a bit of everything on the album and if you’re into music that’s very dark and very heavy with a lot of ebb and flow from song to song.We tried to arrange it so there’s a real tangible rhythm and not just inside the songs on a micro level but also on a macro level as the listener transitions from one song to the next.There are parts where it broods and parts where it rages with each serving as the payoff or the build-up or the comedown for the other.

The songs on “Dread” have a nice consistent feel to them throughout the album and is there also a read thread in the theming of the songs?

Yes there is and I’m glad you noticed because that’s one of the things that I set as a real high-level goal when it came to putting the album together and choosing what material to include.

Probably the biggest departure is the opener,which is a much more sentimental and melodic song than the rest.I was extremely close to excising that track from the album and including something else instead but Stu (McCarthy, our bass player) was ultra-insistent that it should not only be there, but also be the opener.I’m glad he pushed as hard as he did because it’s been received really well as a bit of a curve-ball and a prelude to what comes next on the album.

‘Dread’ was set very early on to be both the title and the theme of the LP,though it wasn’t the first idea. ‘Fast’ was the second song we wrote for the album (after ‘Frozen’) and it originally had completely different lyrics and being kind of a Metal-commentary on my perception of the Metal scene and Metal music in general but it felt like a very forced attempt at being clever and the other guys were not convinced by it either.Around early 2014 I was looking through all my old journal entries and started to notice a theme running through them.I usually only write in my journal to vent or complain about stuff so it often tends to be rather dark and depressing stuff when you read it all in sequence.

I ended up identifying anxiety and fear as the typical root cause for all the bad times I’d experienced and all the regrets I had and that inspired me to kind of create a mission statement about what the album was set to be.I pitched it to the rest of the band just saying “OK” we’re making an album and it’s going to be called ‘Dread’ and it’s going to be like the ultimate cathartic bitch session,distilled and stuck on a CD.I wasn’t sure how that was going to go down because that would also mean I’d end up being kind of the selfish auteur behind it but the band really got behind the idea.

You are a relatively young band (founded in 2013).Yet your current album already has more of a unique consistent sound than your demo album from 2 years ago”Salvation in Yielding”. How have the last two years been for you as a developing band?

Ah, yeah, the demo… listening to it now there is some stuff on it that I like but I was coming at it from a crappy mindset at the beginning and still trying to figure out how/when to express something and how much to kind of obscure it or dress it up for contrast with Dread and everything on that one is from the heart but it’s not copied wholesale from my journals or anything,it’s kind of dressed up in this kind of surrealistic imagery so that it’s something that’s not just purely appealing and personal to me but can and  hopefully be related to by someone else too.

There are a lot of songs on the demo where I went the other way,going for imagery first and not putting much heart in it because that’s something I had to learn to actually put into the music without being afraid of backlash over it.Instead I was asking myself “Ok” what’s some brutal and sick and cool stuff people will like that I can include?What are the crowd pleasers?” That’s how pop music producers write! And that comes out on some of the demo songs like ‘Heir’, ‘Execrate’ and ‘Theseus’, which I thought were cool at the time but really hate now because they do not feel like genuine expressions of anything,they’re just token,hollow, generic Death Metal with really shitty production.

That started to change when I was talking to someone about the nature of being able to express yourself in art and how that might affect the quality of it and they inspired me to start taking more chances and not ask “Will people like this?” but instead “Is this genuine?”.

‘Porous’ was the song that came out of that immediately and I thought everyone was going to think it was some pussy sounding ballad-ish crap but I got the total opposite reaction both from the band and the crowds when we played it live.That proved that people really can call you out on your bullshit in your songwriting,so that encouraged me to come out of my shell more with writing afterwards.The result of that encouragement is that “Dread” is a lot more honest than anything we had recorded before and it’s filtered and abstracted but it’s coming from a place that’s really pure.

How well does your music translate to a live set? How do fans respond to your material?

Pretty good! We have some long songs (especially considering we often share stages with pure DM bands,whose songs aren’t very long) so I was never sure how well they’d translate but the response has been really encouraging.The longer songs often kind of have ‘breather’ moments built into them as well so that may help,I dunno.Bringing a sense of humour on stage helps too and we try not to keep ourselves so dour as the music when we’re playing live.I keep finding myself reaching for Peter Steele-type, gross sarcasm because that kind of vibe is something I found really appealing and I’m not really all that charismatic like Peter Steele was though. 

Who has influenced your music? Who are your musical heroes?

Dave Mustaine – he’s a dick but he inspired me to pick up a guitar and I have two older brothers,Glen and Keith,who indoctrinated me into the ways of Metal when I was younger and I grew up constantly hearing Metallica,Megadeth,Faith No More,Pantera and so on blaring through the house and that all rubbed off on me.These days I dig my Peaceville Three bands (Paradise Lost, Anathema,My Dying Bride), early and late Celtic Frost,funeral Doom stuff like Skepticism and Mournful Congregation.Paradise Lost are my favourite band of all time and I could rave about those guys forever… lately though I’ve been listening to some more classic gothic stuff like The Cure and Sisters of Mercy and some neo-classical composers like Max Richter and Clint Mansell.Anything that’s got that dark, syrupy vibe I’ll go for.I love listening to movie soundtracks including animated movies. Christopher Drake (Batman cartoons) and Kenji Kawaii (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor) have some incredible stuff and I’d love to start experimenting with some different textures and sounds like they do in the future.

What will 2016 look like for The Maledict?

Flogging our album to passers by on street corners,gigging and just pushing the album as hard as we can is the first order of business,while we have some relative hype going on and later on I’d like to just take a break from it all for a few months,so we can all regroup and start heading back into songwriting with a clean slate and a clear head.I’d like to do something drastically different with the music in the future as I don’t see much purpose in doing the same thing more than once.

Where will we be able to see you play live in the coming months?

Still lining up shows as the opportunities present themselves,so it’s a bit early to say and we’re doing shows in our hometown and Melbourne to begin with,hopefully moving to Adelaide and maybe striking out a bit further after.We’ve all got full-time jobs to worry about so everyone’s got to be on the same page before we can really stray far from home.I’d love to just do shows in lots of smaller places where there’s crowds of people that are craving a good metal show but never get one.

If you could play any festival in the world to play,which one would you choose?

Dude,Hellfest,that would be amazing and every year I see posters for that show and feel like travelling to France just to see all the incredible Metal bands they get to play on something like that would be incredible.

Any last words for our readers?

It’s Christmas eve as I sit here writing this, so… Merry Christmas to all, happy holidays and a Happy New Years and may 2016 be filled to bursting with blasts and sickness and darkness.Thanks for having us!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us this Christmas!

Metal On Loud!

Randy Gerritse

Randy is the founder of Metal On Loud Magazine and its community. He is a lyricist for several bands (Dissector, GOOT), an author currently working on his second book, and does web development for a living.

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