Having produced a stellar debut album back in 2015, KRYSTHLA were a breath of hellish air, with neck snapping sound and vigour. Now, fresh and full of the same bold flare, but with more maturity and drive, they are back with their latest record, Peace In Our Time. Here, we spoke with guitarist Neil Hudson on the making of the album, expanding their sound and the effects of immediate acclaim.
Firstly, congratulations on the new album. Your debut was a massive success both with fans and the press, was that positive to going back into the studio to make the second album?
Neil: It was indeed. It’s always good to know people are enjoying what you create but it also adds an extra element of pressure to make sure you continue to produce good material. Pressure is good though. We wouldn’t grow as a band or risk pushing musical boundaries without it.
Looking at the making of the Peace In Our Time, where there any challenges this time around? Also, were there any tracks you found most enjoyable in making?
Neil: No challenges as such as we’re pretty much veterans in the studio but we did switch to using EVH 5150iii amplifiers on the guitars so our sound did change slightly. Luckily it was for the better though so if anything only made things easier. The final track on the album Eternal Oceans was probably my favourite to record. I wrote the solo on the day and lost myself with a ton of reverb and a wah pedal for about two hours. There’s also about nine layers of Adi and myself on vocals in the chorus.
The name of the album is interesting, especially in this moment of time, can you explain the thought behind that title?
Neil: There have been a few people pick up on the quotes by Benjamin Disraeli (1878) and Neville Chamberlain (1938) with their peace for our time speeches. I’ve always wanted to use that line in a song but never found the right occasion. But after watching the Marvel film Age Of Ultron it came to me again, like a sign that the time was right, as I’d just started writing the track Depths. It seemed like the only name for the album after hearing those words out of the blue, echoing around the cinema.
The new album is great, instantly recognisable. However, it feels like the music has opened up a little, not sacrificing any brutality, but maintaining even more musicality. Was this direction intentional?
Neil: It was an inevitable evolution I believe. With every note written the landscape starts to widen here and there, dragging in more and more influences. Not from a musical standpoint but more of how the world and current events make you feel when you start writing.
In a similar vein, there are also a range of sounds, from the more Extreme to the more Technical and Progressive. Is it a natural progression into this sound or does it take some planning to gather this sort of complexity?
Neil: It’s as natural as it could possibly be. Most of the time the songs write themselves. You just need the right time to sit down with a subject or topic on your mind and let it all come out. Writing for the sake of writing when I have an afternoon free leads to four or five tracks that don’t make the album. Inspiration strikes at the worst times but it is what it is! Inspiration.
Thinking back to A War of Souls And Desires, how would you say Peace In Our Time has expanded from that one?
Neil: Definitely in the sense that we wanted it rougher around the edges, less perfect than A War of Souls And Desires. The songs on Peace In Our Time have a totally different feel to them, still us, but the intention is different. More of a personal critique on the world and how we’re still being brainwashed that it’s a good idea to kill each other? I have no doubt that each record will become more emotionally charged, more expansive and more universal with each release.
After your success back in 2015, did you want some time to compile your ideas for a second album, or where you all ready to go with new material?
Neil: The moment we finished recording the material for A War Of Souls And Desires new songs and ideas were immediately being thought up. The demo process began less than a week after recording was finished so there was no halt to the creative process at all.
Were there things that you wanted to develop upon from your previous album, or do you see each new record as a fresh part of your journey as a band?
Neil: As long as we keep the core of who we are as musicians and as a band and build upon that, there’s no limit to where the imagination will take us. We’ve got some new demo tracks in the works that are REALLY pushing what we do both physically and musically. We like to challenge ourselves and the listeners as do all extreme metal bands. We know where our strengths are and we fully intend on making album number 3 something uniquely special for us.
What aspirations and hopes do you have for Peace In Our Time?
Neil: I deeply hope this record reaches as many people as humanly possible. Only for the message that each track carries with it. I’m sick and tired of seeing generations of parents and children goose step off to foreign lands to kill innocent people. Others indoctrinated from birth to believe others are their natural born enemy. Even more afraid to speak out in the name of peace because they and their families will be tortured and killed. In 2017 this is STILL HAPPENING, and I can’t quite get my head around it..
In terms of the upcoming year, what can we expect from KRYSTHLA? Are you booked up for shows?
Neil: We’ve got a run of dates after the album is released on April 7th up and down the country. We’ll be busy playing and writing basically until album three is ready. We’ve got more stuff in the pipeline we can’t talk about just yet but there’s definitely some very cool things happening in the KRYSTHLA camp in 2017.
To close, we will offer you the floor. Do you have anything to say to the readers of Distorted Sound?
Neil: Huge thanks to everyone who has come to a show, bought merchandise or checked us out online. Your support means more than you know. This band exists because the world needs us all to pull together in a way we’ve never known before. Read the lyrics. Feel something. Anything. Just don’t do nothing.
Peace In Our Time is set for release on April 7th 2017 via Plastic Head.
For more information on KRYSTHLA like their official page on Facebook.