Monday 29 August 2016

"...And the earth will be destroyed with undulations of fuzz: An Interview with Jordan Campbell of Mares Of Diomedes & Song Premiere of "Earth Destroyer"

When the very mention of the following bands Slomatics, The Obsessed, Keeper are muttered, it is undoubtedly going to pique your interest, therefore when two bands harness those influences in their own compositions and are pitted together to slug out in an aural death match, you’re going to want to hear this titanic mass.  On September 16th 2016, Heavy Earth Records will release the new split record from Mares of Diomedes and Dreich, and this release  is bone rattling doom that is on par with the best in the genre. Consisting of two tracks from Irish duo Mares of Diomedes and three tracks from the juggernaut known as Dreich, this split album is definitely a must-have purchase for anyone into doom, fuzz or sludge metal.

Mares of Diomedes are a two piece from Ireland consisting of two brothers who started the band in 2014 and released their first self-titled EP; through Heavy Earth Records in early 2015. They toured Europe earlier this year and have taken a break from gigs to focus on writing their debut album. On the flip side, the entity known as Dreich formed in Copenhagen in 2015 but are from different corners of the globe. Although the band is relatively new, they have already shared the stage with heavy hitters such as Mantar and Dopethrone. The split with Mares of Diomedes is the band's first recorded output.

The focus of today’s exclusive is a track by Mares of Diomedes and the title “Earth Destroyer” couldn’t be more apt, as the following nine minutes, is simply seismic.  Prepare the ground, because this track is gonna cause ripples.  Pre-order the album on cassette, vinyl or digital formats here

I also hooked up with Jordan Campbell from Mares of Diomedes for a short, yet on point interview which you can also check out below.

SL: Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Mares of Diomedes

Jordan: My brother Shea and I grew up together in Ireland and when we were teenagers I think we followed the typical path of starting off listening to rock music, followed by seeking out progressively heavier and heavier forms of music to play air guitar to, while intermittently beating each other up. Around that time we had an uncle who played guitar and when we went over to his house he would teach us to play the starting riff from Deep Purple'sSmoke on the Water”, on an old Vox electric guitar he had. The first time I played that riff through an amplifier I knew that I wanted to play guitar. 

Soon after, that the same uncle gave us an acoustic and a Vox electric guitar (which is still my main guitar!).  Shea became really proficient on the guitar very quickly, at which point it made sense for me to buy a drum kit.  Over the following years we weaved between different genres of music but never really coincided on the same thing at the same time as each other.  We played in separate bands (rock, metal, punk etc.) up until a couple of years ago when we finally decided to start a band together which became Mares of Diomedes. We had both learnt to play the guitar and drums, but in the end the best dynamic for both of us playing together turned out to be me playing the guitar and Shea playing the drums. 

SL: For folks unfamiliar with your band, are there any bands, on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point to describe your band, and who continue to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Jordan: It’s always a difficult question as we are influenced by a wide variety of music from different places. Both Shea and I have quite different tastes in music but one area that our tastes do tend to converge a bit is in doom and sludge. Some stuff that we are into (but that we don't necessarily sound like!) -  Ictus, Pallbearer, Morne, Kongh, Samothrace, Church of Misery, Celtic Frost. We are constantly inspired by the other bands around us as well. Throughout all the gigs that we have played before Mares of Diomedes and since forming we have come across a lot of really cool bands. While on tour in Europe we played quite a few gigs with a band called Lost Pagan who we had never heard of before. They completely blew us away with their live show. I picked up their album on vinyl over there and I have been listening to it a lot since then. Also from touring we have come across other bands like Link and Geranium who are doing good things.

There are also many awesome heavy bands in Ireland at the moment, like Venus Sleeps(also on Heavy Earth Records), Subordinate, Slomatics, Nomadic Rituals, Tome, Graveyard Dirt, Harvester and Tusks. There are also a few really good labels in Ireland that release a lot of stuff we are into, like Chainbreaker Records, Distro-y and Freak Flag Recordings. There is an abundance of great stuff to be inspired by every day.  

SL: What can you tell us about your upcoming record and where do you feel it sits within the context current music scene?

Jordan: The upcoming record is a split with another band from Copenhagen called Dreich. We had been searching around for someone that would have suited the split musically, as well as having the same ethos as us as a band. Shea came across a live recording of theirs through some contacts of his in the DIY scene and just based off that we thought they would be a great fit. Luckily they were sitting on some tracks already that they were just finishing recording at the time. Once we heard them we knew we definitely wanted them to be a part of the release as their tracks absolutely crush. From our perspective, the tracks from our side of the split are a progression from our first EP, in terms of both the song writing and the tone. It’s definitely the heaviest thing that we have recorded to date. 

SL: How was the mood in the camp going into the recording of the record?

We love the whole process of recording so every time we go into the studio it’s always with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. We hadn't recorded with Niall at Start Together before, but we had heard a lot of good things based on the work that he had done with other bands like Nomadic Rituals and Slomatics. Since recording our debut EP I had been improving my guitar rig set-up based on what was working or wasn't working well at our shows.  By the time it came to recording the split I had a completely new guitar set up compared to what I used on the EP, so we knew that the outcome at the end was going to be a lot different. Niall is the man when it comes to recording heavy music and I think that coupled with the progression we had made ourselves as a band, it resulted in a much heavier record.  

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Jordan: We have a tour planned in the Ireland/UK at the end of year which we will be confirming soon. Apart from that, our main objective at the moment is to continue working on our debut album which we are in the middle of writing. We have a few songs down for it and we will be using any time we have this year to finish it before booking any new tours/gigs.  Shea will also be on tour in Europe with his other band Absolutist during September. Early next year we plan to get out on tour in Europe again, hopefully doing a run of shows along with Dreich as well. 

Band info:

Mare of Diomedes: facebook || bandcamp || Driech: facebook || bandcamp