Interview: Equipoise

Equipoise is one of the new forces in technical death metal. Despite being that their EP did so well and the band is already seen as one for the furture, without even having released a full-length yet! That time is soon upon us though so what better time to interview the vocalist Stevie Boiser on the bands history, how the new album has been going and, of course, what’s Stevie’s favorite game of all time?

First thing first, who does what in Equipoise? Does everyone take part in writing the music?

Oh boy, well this could take a second because we’re like the Slipknot of tech death haha. By that I mean we have a lot of moving parts.  Equipoise is composed of Seven members.  Nick Padovani (Kossuth, Virulent Depravity) Guitar / Classical Guitar Hugo Doyon-Karout (Beyond Creation, Brought By Pain) Fretless Bass Chason Westmoreland (Burning The Masses, Ex-The Faceless, Ex-Hate Eternal) Drums Sanjay Kumar (Wormhole, Perihelion) Guitar Phil Tougas (First Fragment, Chthe’ilist, Zealotry, Eternity’s End, Serocs, Cosmic Atrophy) Guitar / Classical Guitar Jimmy Pitts (Eternity’s End, Pitts/Minneminn Project, The Fractured Dimension, North Tale) Keys  and Myself, Stevie Boiser (Inferi, Tethys, Ashen Horde) Vocals.

As far as writing music goes, Nick handled the majority of writing for the album. A few things here changed here and there by various members. Every solo on the record was written by its performer. In terms of lyrics and vocals, thats 100% my department. Now that we have a footing and a clear direction for Equipoise I’m hopeful that everyone will be contributing more for the next record.

Equipoise is somewhat of a supergroup with members from acts like Inferi, Chthe’ilist, Beyond Creation and Virulent Depravity just to name a few. How do did you all get together?

The origin of the band starts back in 2015 with Nick Padovani and Zach Hohn. They started jamming that summer and things quickly evolved from just playing riffs to writing and arranging songs. Once they had a few tracks completed Nick began reaching out to musicians he admired to see if they would be interested in joining the project. Hugo and I were both tapped and joined the band. I remember that Equipoise didn’t actually have anything recorded when Nick first reached out to me. He just sent me a GuitarPro file for what became Alchemic Web of Deceit haha. It worked though, I was hooked! 

Fast forward a few moths and we were able to complete our first offering as a band, our EP Birthing Homunculi. Much to our surprise the EP did pretty well, and we had a very warm reception. Not too long after that Zach left the band so we recruited Sanjay to fill the void. Sanjay had performed a guest solo on the EP and in addition to that Mixed and Mastered it as well so it was great to have him working with us again. I reached out to my good friend Chason Westmoreland to see if he’d be interested in playing drums. The two of us had been talking about being in a band together for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. Shortly after that Jimmy and Phil joined our ranks as well. I guess you could say that Equipoise was made possible by the power of the internet haha. We’re all pretty spaced out geographically so we didn’t really have the option of approaching this band in a traditional manor. 

Stevie you’ve been a really hard worker with many projects ongoing and you’re a great talent. As such you’ve already been apart of bands such as Vale of Pnath, Tethys and recently even joined Inferi. How has the ride been? Got any secrets to become a wicked vocalist?

Thank you very much Jimmy! I really appreciate that. Its been crazy man haha. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to be in a number of really killer bands and as a result play shows for people in a number of different places. Im very grateful for that. Truth be told im just following my passion. I absolutely love it. Joining Inferi is probably one of the most surreal things thats happened to me. I’ve been a huge fan of their music since about 2007, so this is kind of a dream come true.

As far as vocal tips go I really only have a few. -Practice, practice, practice! Listen to the way your body responds to your vocal approach and then cater to it. You don’t want to burn your pipes out.  – Develop your own voice. Learning a bunch of different techniques or expanding your range is great. Id definitely encourage people to do that, but be conscious of how you can make these things your own. You are an individual and thus have your own voice. Find it, and own it.  
– Lastly, if you can. Invest in a quality way to record your own voice. While its not absolutely necessarily, its a great way to be able to experiment with your voice and listen back abjectivly. This can also save you money in the long run. Last year I recorded vocals for three separate albums (Equipoise, Ashen Horde, and Inferi) and demoed things out for Tethys. All of this was done at home and on my own time. Also, if you’re looking for a band you can use this as a means to audition for bands you’re interested in or at the very least, a way to get your voice out there.

The upcoming album Demiurgus will be Equipoise full-length debut. For how long has it been in progress?

Technically this album has been in the works since 2015. By the end of the year Nick had skeletons for the majority of the album. Although, we didn’t really spend time fully flushing out those ideas until a short while after Birthing Homunculi was released. Once we completed our line up we started the process of combing over each track and revising our work. Due to the face that we’re all so spread out we couldn’t really take the traditional approach of just jamming the songs together in a live room so we had a lot of guitar pro files and scratch tracks flying back and forth between members.

You signed with one of the best new labels The Artisan Era not too long ago. How did it happen?

After we released the EP we wanted to find a way to reach a bigger audience. Honestly, we really didn’t even consider another label. It was evident that what Mike and Malcolm were building with The Artisan Era was special. Every band the label represented released amazing music. We submitted the EP and informed them that we had a new album in the works. Luckily for us they really enjoyed what we did, and now they’re about to release our first full length record.

How do you guys find the time in your schedule between all your other bands to rehearse, write new material and especially go on tour?

As of now we are not an active touring band. However, Nick and I have been discussing the logistics of it all and if theres a large enough demand for it in the future we would love to make it happen! As for balancing writing, rehearsing, and recording equipoise material it all boils down to time management. I can’t speak for the rest of the group, but I tracked all of my vocals for the album a few weeks before the last Inferi tour. Personally, I try to approach my projects by order deadlines. I make sure to shift my focus from band to band so that I can stay fresh and up to date on each of them. I’ll typically spend my time working on whichever band has new material prepped and ready or a show / tour coming up.  

Since the release of the EP Birthing Homunculi the band has not only had a lineup change but also added another guitarist. How has that changed the sound of Equipoise?

Having both Sanjay and Phil join Equipoise was a huge deal for all of use. Both are absolute monsters with a crazy amount of skill and an uncanny ability to navigate their instrument. I think the best examples of this occur in the interplay of their solos. They both have such different styles, but they compliment each other wonderfully. I think that above all else having them on board really helped texture songs. 

There are a lot of guests on Demiurgus, especially on the last track Ouroboric. What was the decision behind having ten different session musicians on the album?

Our goal overall was to really push ourselves to create something special with Demiurgus. When it came to selecting guests for the album we set aside sections we thought would allow the to shine while simultaneously bringing a new flavor to the music. As a result we were able to work with a number of stellar musicians who would broaden our musical pallet. 

From what I see on Facebook I believe you’re a bit of a gamer. If I am right what’s your favorite game of all time and what do you play now?

Oh man… Thats a tough one! My answer is kind of cheating but I’ve got a threeway split for this one. Its a tie between Final Fantasy 9, Final Fantasy 3 (SNES), and Majora’s Mask. I can’t tell you how many hours Ive spent with these games. Each has so much depth, incredible character development, and really fun gameplay.  Right now I’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon Go. I’m trying to catch up on all the stuff thats happens since I stopped playing in 2016.  Currently Im doing some post game stuff in Pokemon Ultra Moon, playing the new Smash Bros, and Breath of the Wild/ I will be taking on Gannon almost immediately after this interview haha.

That was all I had! Thanks for taking your time Stevie, got any final words?

No problem at all Jimmy, thanks again for having me. Its been a pleasure! Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Demiurgus! It drops on March 8th via The Artisan Era. The New Ashen Horde record Fallen Cathedrals will be out on March 22nd, and New Inferi is right around the corner as well! For anyone who would like to keep up to date with what im working on for Inferi, Equipoise, Tethys, Ashen Horde, or my snakes feel free to follow my on Instagram @Mc_Screamy or on Twitter @ScreamyMc, See you next time folks! 

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Habitual Depravity – Realms Of Abysmal Servitude (Brutal Technical Death Metal)

Habitual Depravity is a new name on the ever growing death metal scene hailing from Australia. I personally came around them as I follow the Realityfade Records quite closely as their releases is usually of really high quality and guess what? To no surprise at all fate would have it that so is this release!

What better way to start off one of the best brutal death metal albums of 2018 with a crushing intro where the drums will slam your face in? I don’t know about you but that’s exactly how I want to get up in the mornings, works better than coffee. Having Marco Pitruzzella (Six Feet Under, ex-Brain Drill, ex-The Faceless and ex-Vital Remains) on drums surely helps a ton as he is a pure mastermind on drums. Overall I think that’s one of the stronger points to take from Habitual Depravity’s debut Realms of Abysmal Servitude as it’s such a standout performance it’s hard not to take an extra liking to it. That being said it’s not like the other part of the deadly duo Jonathan Urwin does a bad job. Quite the contrary as his vocal range is great and reminds me a lot about Frank Mullen of Suffocation and if that wasn’t enough he also does all the other instrumental works. A very talented duo we got here for sure. The instrumental parts of Realms of Abysmal Servitude is a highlight of the year and even if the album would come without vocals it would be a joy to listen to, which can’t be said to many albums.

As each song passes by and I give the album more and more spins it gets to me, all the songs stand out very well on their own. They each got their own thing going on, and even though there is a brutal death metal core there is a lot of different technical aspect to it which breeds differently on the tracks. It’s brutal, technical and got a lot of variety to it with each song being a whole different beast that wants to tear you apart limb from limb. The production is great and the only real problem I got is that I would like the album to have a track or two more but from the 29 minutes we get this is pure technical brutal death metal on the high tier levels. The closing track, which is the album titled one, get my favorite song choice here as it offers me the perfect blend of brutality along with great riffs and bludgeoning drums.

A superb album that would land on my best of the year list if only it had only come out sooner. One every brutal death metal fan should have in their collection.

Written by J.B.

Label: Realityfade Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Brain Drill
Release date: December 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Realms of Abysmal Servitude
Score: 4/5 Incredible

Integral – Resilience (Technical Death Metal)

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again. 2017 is a great year for Italian death metal, be it technical, brutal or whatever. Integral is probably not a name you know when you think of the Italian scene. Which isn’t strange since Resilience is the bands full-length debut and they were formed in 2013. That being said do not take this band lightly! When you can draw in guests like Steffen Kummerer from Obscura and Tommy Talamanca from Sadist on your debut you know this band is going to go places.

So what do they sound like? Well this is where it gets tricky! I label Integral as technical death metal but in reality they sound like a mix of a lot of different genres and bands. Vocals I think is rather close to The Black Dahlia Murder, while the instrumental play is as much The Faceless as it is Gorod, Obscura and Beyond Creation. Add some deathcore groovy breakdowns to it and you got yourself an Italian Chimera that’s ready to devour you. This is an album full of surprises. I mean even having the different influences in mind there are plenty of tempo-changes, riffs and what not that makes me go wow. There are also equally many parts that makes me go urgh I didn’t like this. A perfect example of this is the song Hieroglyphica. While it features some really awesome segments it also got leaves me wanting to almost skip the song at times, really weird roller-coaster ride for me musically. Both the bands strength and weakness to have all these mashups, I am sure they can only improve their sound in the future.

All together the ten songs Resilience offers is a good start for Integral and this album is sure to make at least one of you become a fan of their style. While I am not completely sold yet I think this is a superb debut and I am interested to see where they take their sound on the sophomore album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/integralbandofficial
Label: Ghastly Music
For fans of: The Faceless and The Black Dahlia Murder
Favorite song: Realm of Atlantis
Score: 3/5

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door (Progressive Death/Black Metal)

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Are you ready for a sci-fi concept album? Follow the rogue travler Eryos and how he discovered an artifact that would change his place in cosmos forever. This one hour long journey will leave you wanting more of Eryos and his adventures. Rapheumets Well were formed in 2008, North Carolina USA, after changing name from Blue Man’s God (created 2002). Having had a very wide range of influences on their albums, experimenting in classical, ambience and metal music this band stands out. Enders Door is the bands third release after having told other stories within this multi-verse on Dimensions and The Exile.

One thing is certain when you listen to Rapheumets Well, it’s epic. Much like you find Dimmu Borgir’s symphonic black metal massive and sometimes overwhelms you with their orchestral music Rapheumets Well does the same. Differences are many though. The progressive elements and clean vocals (both female and male) makes you think about The Faceless more than Dimmu Borgir. There is also a lot of death metal influences in the music, still very symphonic, which bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse are known for. The whole sci-fi take on all this is awesome and at times I think on movies such as Tron or Ghost in the Shell while listening to Enders Door. The different directions the songs take is also what makes Enders Door sick out from the rest. It feels like a movie in musical form, and it’s freaking epic!

I can recommend Rapheumets Well to anyone who is out for something a little bit different. It’s a great concept album with various of influences covering a wide range of genres. I would also love to see this band live, from what I’ve read they seem to make it like a play when performing their music. I can imagine it being a great experience in the veins of what Fleshgod Apocalypse or Carach Angren does.

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door is out May 26th through Test Your Metal Records.

Also with this review I will leave you guys for two weeks. Traveling to Tokyo tomorrow and I will not be reviewing any new albums while there. Hopefully I will get the chance to catch a concert on some of the local bands there though!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Rapheumetswell
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rapheumetswell
For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and The Faceless
Favorite song: Lechery Brought the Darkness

Alluvial – The Deep Longing for Annihilation (Technical Death Metal)

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Formed in 2016 by the mastermind Wes Hauch (Black Crown Initiate, ex-The Faceless) and Keith Merrow (Conquering Dystopia and Demisery) Alluvial had a lot of metal fans eager to see what the duo could come up with on their first release. The time is finally here and Alluvial gives us a late Christmas gift to kick off 2017 in style.

You will notice very fast that Alluvial is a different kind of band as it features no vocalist. This is purely instrumental (which some of you might guess seeing it involves Keith Merrow). It’s hard to pull off an album entirely instrumental due to many reasons. Will the listener be interested in the album for the whole 52 minutes? Will the duo be able to express themselves well enough with only instruments? Questions like these needs to be answered on everyone single one listening. A reason my girlfriend isn’t a big fan of, as an example, Moonsorrow is due to them having too long songs and she ends up changing to track five minutes in.

I have to say I am quite surprised how well this album is executed. Even without vocals The Deep Longing for Annihilation is emotional and gets to you. The album is not for everyone but any fans of atmospheric and technical metal can certainly enjoy their time with it. An interesting project to say the least that turned out better than I expected with this being the first fully instrumental album I’ve reviewed. I recommend you to listen to a song or two first before making your mind up on this album. Just don’t give this album a miss simply because it’s an instrumental one, since with Wes and Keith on guitars they know how to express themselves even without vocals!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alluvialmetal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AlluvialMetal
For fans of: Black Crown Initiate and Conquering Dystopia
Favorite song: Mirelands

Samskaras – Asunder (Technical Death Metal)

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Samskaras are from the country known for their technical death metal bands, Canada. The duo that makes Samskaras are now newcomers to the techdeath scene as Samskaras consists of Eric Burnet (Derelict, Unburnt) and Alexandre Dupras (Teramobil, Unhuman). Since the launch in 2014 the duo have released two singles, both which were well received, and now in 2017 they are finally ready to release their first EP, Asunder. Drawing influences from heavy extreme bands with varied syles such as Gorguts, Cryptopsy, The Faceless, Nile and Enslaved you are in for quite a ride.

Straight from the start you are also hit with a wave of thundering riffs and hammering drums with the opener Fuelscape. The hissing growls together with the aggressive deep ones make perfect harmony and when the cleans come in you can definitely get a feel of The Faceless. The follow-up Solar start out more progressive while fast changing to techdeath tempo a la Nile, the aggressive vocals also has a lot in common with the sound of Nile’s Karl Sanders.

Separate is probably my favorite song on the album since it shows the most variety from Samskaras and it’s just a great mix of the different styles they take influences from. That together with some very well-written lyrics makes this a perfect example of what Samskaras brings to the table. The song that ends the album Conquerer is the most trashy and “straight to the point” metal track on the album and it’s the perfect ending for Asunder to go out with a (head)bang.

Do yourself a favour and listen to Samskaras debut EP Asunder when it’s out as a pay-what-you-want option digital download through Bandcamp on Friday, January 20th.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SamskarasMetal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SamskarasMetal
For fans of: The Faceless and Nile
Favorite song: Separate

Theory In Practice – Crescendo Dezign (Technical Death Metal)

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Swedens very own techdeath veterans Theory In Practice are back to start the new year with an EP called Crescendo Dezign. The EP is actually the bands comeback after being on a hiatus since 2002, so it’s been a long ass wait! Since then the band have lost drummer Henrik Ohlsson, who went and helped form Scar Symmetry, bass/keyboardist Mattias Engstrand and guitarist/vocalist Johan Ekman who were all original members. Joining them we have vocalist Andreas Lyngmo with Peter Lake now having both guitar and bass duty and his brother Patrik Sjöberg on drums to switch it up a little after losing some members.

Even with this long hiatus and loss of members Theory In Practice have made a solid EP. The songs are very complex and technical, changing tempo every so often which will leave techdeath fans drooling. Tracks like Abstract Entities could very well be the work of techdeath legends The Faceless and to top it of you have the almighty Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) featuring on Cyrobiological Expansion, and he does a superb job.

Technical death metal had a great year in 2016 and it’s already off to a good start for 2017!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pg/theoryinpracticeband
For fans of: Obscura and Martyr
Favorite song: Cyrobiological Expansion