Wednesday 20 November 2013

20 Questions w/ Brimstone Coven

Following my review of their debut record, Brimstone Coven are sitting on the brink of a date with one of most influential bands in doom metal, not only that, a much sort after vinyl release on revered boutique label, STB Records.  With that in mind, I thought it was about time we got the lowdown on how this coven started.  So without further ado, here is my interview with Corey Roth and chief axe slinger for Brimstone Coven.  Enjoy. 

SL) Corey, welcome to the Sludgelord, I’m pleased to welcome you to our humble abode.

BC) Thank you for having us! We are very grateful for the opportunity

SL) How are things at the Coven? What are your immediate plans for the rest of 2013? 

BC) Things are great! Lots of really cool things happening.

Immediate plans would include more live shows for sure. We are quite excited to be playing with the legendary PENTAGRAM on the 22nd of November. That’s a huge honor for us. Now that the second album, “II” has been released, it’s time to start writing and putting new tunes together, as well. No rest for the wicked, as they say.

SL) Before we get onto the good stuff, (imminent vinyl release, 23/11/2013), Can you perhaps give us an idea of the roots behind the band? Who are you, that kind of thing? It is your opportunity to tell the world about yourselves. 

BC) We’re just four laid back dudes with a strong passion for the music we make. We all live in the heart of the tri-state area (Ohio, West Virginia & Pennsylvania) known as the Ohio valley. It’s kind of secluded and low key. There isn’t a whole lot going on, but you can find a good time if you’re looking hard enough. Believe it or not, we’ve had quite a healthy local music scene in our area for as long as I remember and it’s as strong right now, as it has ever been. We’ve been playing music together in miscellaneous, yet substantial bands for years now. We’ve learned a lot in that time and used that knowledge and experience to get serious about Brimstone Coven. We don’t see this band as just another project, this is our opus and we want the whole world to know!

SL). Call it nepotism, cronyism or the fact I am a major kiss ass, but Steve is a great guy and his attitude to the way he releases records is borne out of his love for music first and foremost, which then translates to a superior overall package. Doubtless to say, that the Coven will be another 5 star treatment. When did you guys first hook up with STB Records and how did it come about? 

BC) Shortly after we released our self titled album on, Steve contacted us and said that he was digging the tunes and wanted to work with us. With the sound we have, vinyl was always something that we planned to do. Once we saw the caliber of his work, we didn’t have to think about it.

SL) With the release perhaps only days / week away, what can you tell us about the release and what are your overall thoughts about having what is your debut released on vinyl, with a label with a proven track record, no pun intended?

BC) The vinyl will feature the seven original tracks, as well as a live version of “Blood on the wall”, which is track 4 on the new CD release, “II”. The vinyl will be available in three, possibly four different versions, which include die hard and sorcerer editions. The artwork, done by W. Ralph Walters, is super cool and fits the overall theme of the band perfectly. You just can’t get any cooler than vinyl and we’re excited to be a part of it! All the extra special love and cool little touches that Steve puts into his records, sends them over the top! Anyone interested, should definitely check out STB records!

SL).  Cyan and Gold /Silver vinyl, Sorcerer and Die Hard edition, its fan boy stuff right?  You must be stoked

BC) we are beyond stoked, to say the least.

SL). Taking the release as a whole, how much involvement did you have in terms of overall package? Do you feel added pressure considering previous STB releases have sold out, ha-ha (It’s inevitable it will, of course)

BC) Well, we did the recording ourselves. Our bass player (Andrew), owns Sacred Sound recording studio in Martins Ferry Ohio, so that was taken care of. We had some ideas about the artwork early on, but once we saw what Ralph came up with, we were sold. As far as layout and extras, those were all of Steve’s ideas. Very cool stuff. He knows what’s up. We plan to sell out of these pretty quickly.

SL) As music fans yourselves and given that music seems to be so disposal at times, it is important to offer a great package to your fans, and yet not alienate them by producing something which is not affordable. Did you approach the vinyl release with trepidation or were you confident that STB Records would produce a product you could be proud of? Have you seen the finished product and what are your thoughts, not it is finally done? 

BC) It’s of the utmost importance to offer a stellar product to our fans. From the music to the art, to the overall package! Steve goes to great lengths to make his records unique and really stand out above the rest. Once we checked out the STB site, we jumped in with both feet! We don’t actually have the records in our hands just yet, but we’ve seen other STB releases and pics of what our finished products will look like and we can’t wait!     


SL) Taking the vinyl release out of the equation for a moment, what are your thoughts about your debut record  now, given that they were your first original songs and written for the most part by Corey.  Are they representative of the direction your music is headed in the future?   

BC) Needless to say, those songs are always going to be special to us. They are the trunk of the mighty Brimstone oak. The new songs and future songs are the twisted branches that produce the forbidden fruit of the coven. So the music will evolve, but I feel it won’t be far removed from the first born

SL) Tell us some of your influences/heroes both musically and artistically, both metal and non-metal? Was their a specific band or artist turned you guys onto music and specifically introduced you to Heavy Metal/Rock and wanting to form a band? 

BC) Late sixties, early seventies everything! It was just a witchy time frame. There was so much cool shit going on! There was a heavy occult influence in music and movies and even television. Badass cars and hot chicks were everywhere. A lot of the music of that time gave off that mystical, eerie essence and that’s definitely something that we knew we wanted to project as well.

Of course we all dig Sabbath. Who doesn’t? Ha-ha. Pentagram and Led Zeppelin. For me (Corey), it was Kiss that made me want to rock out. I remember at a very young age, five or six, getting into my mom’s eight tracks and records. Seeing Gene Simmons in the artwork and live pics inside the records, I was immediately hooked. Coolest shit I had ever seen! I know Drew and Dan are big Rush fans. John digs Trower and Floyd. We’re all pretty versatile when it comes to what kind of music we listen to though. I would say that Doom and Stoner rock are definitely at the top of the list.

SL) Using those influences as a reference point, did they form the basis of the direction where you wanted to take the band and how approached writing BC?

BC) Absolutely!

SL) What are your thoughts on the emergence of  retro type bands such as Witchcraft and it increasing popularity and what attracted you to that particular style of music with reference to your own sound, is the tone of the instruments of yore, the occult nature and or singing style.  In short what is it about the retro sound that made BC perhaps want to emulate that?

BC) We totally dig bands like Witchcraft, Graveyard, and Kadavar. I feel that those bands have captured some of that same magic from the early days, using those elements. Occult themes, singing styles and such. I think the mix is the main ingredient though. That old stripped down sound. That’s where the true magic is. It’s nostalgia. Who doesn’t like that?

SL) I’m assuming all musicians like to talk about the gear they use, so with that in mind what do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use? 

BC) At the moment, I’m playing through a Blackstar HT50 tube head into a Kustom 4x12 angled cab. I have a Jeckyl and Hyde pedal to boost leads. On the first album, I played through a Marshall JCM 900. I pretty much play Gibson SGs exclusively. I have an SG Studio and a Classic Faded SG. Drew plays a Gibson bass through an Orange Terror into an Ampeg SVT 8x10 cab. Dan plays Tama drums. We play in standard tuning most of the time. Although, “Son of the Morning” is played in drop D.

SL) Has their been much opportunity for BC to do live shows and is playing live important to BC, because touring can depend upon work commitments etc? 

BC) Playing live is the most important thing in the universe for us. On stage is when we feel we are truly living. We play fairly often. When we are busy, we usually play one or two shows every weekend. When we’re not so busy, we play once or twice a month. Our jobs allow for a decent live schedule, so that’s a plus.

SL) How valuable are blogs and social media? 

BC) Incredibly valuable! Social media has been very good to us.

SL) Quick fire question, what’s your preference? Cassette, CD, Digital Download or Vinyl? And why? 

BC) When it comes to sound… vinyl all the way! Nothing sounds better!

Digital Downloads and CDs still sound great and make things extremely quick and easy. They are quite helpful tools when you want to get the word out to the masses.

SL) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans and what can we expect from Brimstone Coven, in the future, new record? Tours

BC) We absolutely want to give a HUGE thank you to all of our fans, friends and families for all the love and support! From the beginning everyone has been super cool and helped us out so much. Just this year alone has been insanely amazing. A lot can happen in a year and it has. We have even bigger goals for 2014! We will definitely be playing shows in support of “II” and the vinyl release of the debut album. We are also confident that “II” will be released on vinyl as well. Demos for Brimstone Coven III are already in the works, so it won’t be long before we have another beastly batch of Brimstone babies!

Again, thank you so much for having us! We appreciate your time and effort. All hail SLUDGELORD!!! \m/         
Words and Interview by : Aaron Pickford

You can buy BC digital records here now and vinyl will be available here and here on 23/11/2013 starting at 12pm EST. You can read my review of the S/T record here


Pressing Info:

Sorcerer Edition
"Cyan" blue high grade matching vinyl limited to 125
Heavy weight "Night-shift" blue 100lb card stock
Metallic blue and black inks
Custom art work by W. Ralph Walters

Die Hard Edition
Gold and Silver color in color high quality vinyl limited to 50
Heavy duty 236lb natural white 100% cotton card stock cover
Letter pressed band logo
Incense Scented brown and black oiled inks
Distressed and burned cover to mimic an old spell book..
Custom artwork by W. Ralph Walters
For more information :