Sunday, 6 November 2022

INTERVIEW: Records of their Years with Armed for Apocalypse guitarist Cayle Hunter

By: Aaron Pickford

Wow, where the hell does the time go, eh?  It has been 4 long years since our last Records of their Years feature and you must turn the clock back even further still, to 2013, since we last featured the sludge juggernaut that is Armed for Apocalypse.

The feature, which was published on June 21st 2013, has stuck with me over the years for a couples of reasons,  firstly, I wrote the article on Fathers day and like today’s guest Cayle Hunter, he is also a family man and knows the struggles of balancing their work and home life against their passion for music and secondly, 9 years later, I am scratching my head and wondering why the hell are this band not huge by now.

People, that time is now, for in the year two thousand and twenty two, the riff gods have answered our prayers.  Armed for Apocalypse are back baby.  Not only that, they have also dropped their heaviest and best album to date in the form of “Ritual Violence” and today I have hooked with my mate, Cayle Hunter to discuss his “Records of their years”.

Before we get into that, remember, when you listen to their new album “One does not simply listen to Armed for Apocalypse, one must listen at maximum volume, to achieve maximum violence”

THE SLUDGELORD: Hey Cayle, thanks for doing this.  Can you tell our readers about your favourite album or albums from the year you were born? 

Cayle: This is a tough one because I’m old as hell, there were a ton of absolute classics that came out during that time, and I’ll bet my answer would have changed several times throughout my life. 

It should also be noted I’m answering your question, my favorite, not “the best”, because I think “Rumors” by Fleetwood Mac or The Clash self-titled are probably the best.

My favorite: “Bad Reputation” by Thin Lizzy

From the opening gong sound of “Soldier of Fortune” I am completely invested in this record, especially when it kicks right into the signature guitarmonies Lizzy does better than everyone, including Iron Maiden. The title track is a snarling rocker that definitely lands on the darker side of the band’s catalogue, which I love. 

The highlight for me, and what makes it my favorite from this year, is the back-to-back combo of “Southbound” and “Dancing in the Moonlight”. These two songs have been played in our band van hundreds of times. We walk around randomly singing the hooks out loud to each other and it gets a sing-along or a laugh every time. It’s a perfect soundtrack for driving through the open spaces of places you’ve never seen before, and I highly recommend the experience to everyone reading this.

THE SLUDGELORD: Who were some of your musical heroes growing up and how did the shape your musical journey? 

Cayle: My earliest musical heroes oddly enough were rappers. I grew up going to the worst elementary school in my town, but the kids there had great taste in music. My taste in hip hop followed the same arc as my taste in rock: I started light, then gravitated towards the darker or more extreme artists. At the time it was NWA pushing the limits, getting arrested, getting censored and having their music banned. They were so damn cool! Dr Dre is still a hero of mine to this day because the music he creates is so timeless, and Ice Cube scared every parent in America back then. Bad ass.

As I grew and my tastes evolved, I got new heroes. Black Sabbath. Page Hamilton. Bad Brains. Danzig. Pantera. Then I went back to see what music came before my time and found even more heroes. Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder etc. Far more than I can list here.

These heroes shaped my musical journey because of what they have in common. They don’t sound like anyone else, and they don’t want to sound like anyone else. They are independent thinkers who are only interested in sounding like the best version of themselves. That authenticity is my highest aspiration. True expression. We try our best to apply that to AforA.

THE SLUDGELORD: First record you bought with your own money, how old were you and where did you purchase it?

Cayle: Can I throw a little curve ball at this one and give you the first record I stole? Haha! It was “Vivid” by Living Colour, and I stole it from a drug store in Redding, California when I was in middle school. Great record, stupid thing to do.

The first CD I purchased with my own money was “Betty” by Helmet. I’ve talked about this a lot in the past, but that band and that record changed everything for me.

THE SLUDGELORD: An album or albums you bought based purely on the album artwork?

Cayle: This was a pretty normal occurrence for me before you could listen to everything so easily. My biggest hit is an easy one to remember: “Chaos A.D.” by Sepultura. I didn’t think the artwork was especially good, or even that striking really, but it was in the “Metal” section, the name was unique and it kept jumping out at me. I remember thinking it was going to sound industrial or something, which is why I didn’t pull the trigger. But one day I took the leap and was greeted by one of the finest collection of riffs ever assembled. A total classic.

It should also be said, I bought some complete bull shit based on the artwork too but finding “Chaos A.D.” was worth all of the failures.

THE SLUDGELORD: What is your go to non-metal / rock album?

Cayle: Man! These are such tough questions! You keep asking me to be so decisive when I love so much music!

If I have to pick one, it would probably be the blue album by Weezer. To me it’s perfect. It’s pop music played in a heavy way. The guitar and bass tone on that record would put most stoner and doom bands to shame, and there is a melancholy to it that makes it personal and relatable. 

It’s my favorite driving record, and driving is my favorite time to listen to music. 

THE SLUDGELORD: An album from the past or present that disappointed you at the time but you have since grown to love?

Cayle: This is the most embarrassing answer ever, especially coming from a metal head, so please don’t laugh me off the internet: “The Great Southern Trendkill” by Pantera

I KNOW!!!!

I don’t know what I was expecting, and to this day I can’t imagine why I didn’t connect with it on the first listen. I do remember going through an artsy fartsy stage at the time and being sort of turned off by the overtly macho side of metal for a while, but that’s no excuse. 

Later, after I got over being cooler-than-though, I gave it another shot and was immediately filled with shame. I had slept on one of the best metal records ever for no good god damn reason. We all make mistakes…

THE SLUDGELORD: Your favourite album of all time or if you prefer, an album or album (s) you’d run back into a burning building to rescue?

Cayle: I do not have a favorite album. I have an upper echelon of records and it’s impossible to pick one. But I don’t want to be a coward and ditch this question, so I’ll say “NOLA” by Down.

This was another record I missed out on, but I didn’t sleep on it as much as I simply didn’t hear about it. I remember my friend telling me one day that Phil from Pantera had a band with the dudes from Crowbar, COC and Eyehategod and I thought he was joking! Then he said, “I heard it’s not that great”, and I didn’t even know what it was called so I didn’t really go dig for it. Then one day he had it in his car and we checked it out. Game over.

The cool part about that record is the more I listened to it the more I loved it. I liked it at first, I love it like an old friend now. It’s like Black Sabbath and tuned-down Lynyrd Skynyrd with Phil Anslemo singing over it, at the top of his game no less. It simply doesn’t get old.

There was a time that I owned four copies of that record. One for my car, one for my house, one for work and one to have in a CD folder to take in other people’s cars in case they didn’t have it. That’s how badly I wanted it around me at all times.

THE SLUDGELORD: What are some of your favourite album (s) of year?

Cayle: In no particular order:

Conjurer, “Pathos”

Fit For an Autopsy, “Oh What the Future Holds”

Cult of Luna “The Long Road North”

Cave In “Heavy Pendulum”

Immolation “Acts of God”

Bloodmoon: I

Undeath “It’s Time…To Rise from the Grave”

THE SLUDGELORD: ..and finally The last album you bought

Cayle: Conjurer, “Pathos”. Always have to support great friends doing great things! 

…and remember

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