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INTERVIEW: Jem – Coltsblood

For English doom outfit COLTSBLOOD, the band are part of a doom movement that has erupted here in the UK. Since their formation in 2010, the Northern English outfit have bubbled under the surface in extreme metal’s underground as the doom movement picked up momentum. Three years have passed since the band’s debut, Into The Unfathomable Abyss, was unleashed and now, COLTSBLOOD are ready to return to the fray with their second effort; Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness. We caught up with the band’s guitarist, Jem, to talk about the upcoming album, including it’s soundscape and themes, and the inspiration behind the band’s crushing sound.

So Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness is to be released next month, what can fans expect from the upcoming album?

Jem: You could say it’s a continuation of the first album but the sound is different, it’s brighter, there’s more energy and clarity, more blood, sweat and tears went into this one too.

If you had to make one change to the album what would that be?

Jem: More time in the studio, we ended up pushed for time so there was little time for perfecting and quite a bit of pressure.

How do you think Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness compares to the previous release, Into The Unfathomable Abyss?

Jem: Into The Unfathomable Abyss was our first album and personally my first time in the studio so it was good to go back with a stronger idea of how we wanted to sound and for that the sound is much better, sharper, clearer, we also had Greg Chandler on board to master this time and he did an amazing job of really enhancing everything we’d worked on over the week with Chris. Our writing since the first album has become more focused and again we had a stronger idea of where we want to go with the songs. We’ve had Jay on drums since just after Abyss too, his drums are very death and black metal influenced which was our original vision for the band from before the demo even.

How was the overall writing and recording process for this new album, was it more efficient being the second full length?

Jem: The first album was very relaxed in comparison, we had a lot of fun writing and jamming for that, we only recorded for four days, and it was a good laugh. A lot happened around the time of writing this album and lead to a different kind of writing, from a darker place. The studio time itself was more intense and emotionally charged but yeah overall it was more efficient, as I said before we went in with stronger ideas this time, we knew almost exactly what we wanted.

The band being heavy as you are, was it difficult to capture this sound when you first started creating music and how does that compare to now?

Jem: We tune to A and use shitty old eBay salvaged gear turned up to 11 so our sound is really clipping and over driven. When we self record we throw a couple of mics up, one pointing at the drums and one at the amps and when mixing we push the gain even harder again because why the fuck not, I’m a sucker for lo-fi, terrible sounding demos. I can’t say what wondrous wizardry Chris [Fielding, WINTERFYLLETH, PRIMORDIAL etc] uses to capture our sound and make us sound better than we ever could on our own but we are very thankful for what he does.

Looking to the themes, messages and concepts on the new album. What sort of topics does Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness address?

Jem: Death, depression, fear, the unknown, grief, history, folklore, our ancestors, the unseen, the spirit of these lands around us, the unfathomable intensity of these emotions and thoughts, it needs to come out and be captured in something, the music…

In your opinion how do you think the genre’s community will react when they listen to Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness?

Jem: The album has come from the heart and having grown up with this community I know it to be something we recognise. I hope that people will hear and feel the range of emotions throughout the album and that it will make them feel it too. That is what I look for in music. That’s just my hope though, really it could be taken any way and that’s okay.

You released a single last month titled Mortal Wound, generally what kind of response has it received so far?

Jem: No-one told us we were releasing a single so we were surprised when we noticed it was out there. As for the response it has received, nothing as far as we can tell.

The album cover has a very similar art style and theme to Into The Unfathomable Abyss cover, do you think future albums will also stick to this style?

Jem: Personally I can’t imagine wanting to work with anyone else other than Eric [C Harrison] for COLTSBLOOD, he’s been there from the start, we feel an affinity with him and there is a connection between his art and our music.

What do you and COLTSBLOOD hope to achieve with this new album?

Jem: The album was what we hoped to achieve and it’s done now.

To close, we will offer you the floor, do you have anything to say to the readers of Distorted Sound Magazine?

Jem: Embrace life, because soon the time will come for you to embrace death.

Ascending Into Shimmering Darkness is set for release on April 21st via Candlelight/Spinefarm Records.

For more information on COLTSBLOOD like their official page on Facebook.

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Distorted Sound Issue 24 COVER