Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Checking in with Deformatory

Readers should know by now that I love me some Canadian death metal. So I was excited to find out that DoC friends Deformatory released a new album at the beginning of the year, the stellar Malediction. That seemed like a good enough excuse to check in with the band. Vocalist/guitarist Charlie Leduc and drummer Neil Grandy were kind enough to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Hey guys, it's been a while. What have you been up to since the last time we spoke?

Neil: Thanks for the opportunity. Since 2014 we have played a number of shows and focused on the writing and recording of Malediction. We wanted this album to be a step above the first release in terms of the song quality and production. Of course, because we can never sit still, we also have developed ideas for future releases beyond Malediction.

Charlie: Exactly. We pretty much focused on Malediction, and getting it to where we wanted it to be. One of the big things that changed for us was that one of the original guitar players, Jeff, left the band. Fortunately, he didn’t contribute anything to Malediction, so we didn’t lose any time getting ready for the recording process. In fact, we gained a whole bunch more with the addition of Dan [Rogers] to the line-up. Dan recorded our first album, and has always been a great friend to the band. It just so happens that he’s an incredible guitarist and musician. The same day we found out Jeff left the band, Dan was already roped in to the family. The band is the best it’s ever been.

DoC: Tell me about the new album, Malediction. Where was it recorded? What themes does it explore lyrically? How would you compare Malediction to your debut?

Charlie: Thematically, we explored the origins of pure evil. We entertained the notion that Lucifer, the Devil, was not the supreme source of darkness. He was, after all, an angel, created by God, to worship the Creator in the Heavens for eternity. What if Lucifer, the angel, was possessed? What if this angel became the host for something truly evil? From that perspective, we created the story of Saväel - the Alpha of Darkness who possessed Lucifer. The story follows the re-awakening of Saväel in his original form by means of a lost incantation text. Naturally, he destroys Heaven, enslaves humanity to morph into his demonic horde, and then sets to eradicate the entire planet to make it his own. This was our way of paying tribute to old school bands who set to create a sinister atmosphere to go along with their insane music. We took it quite seriously, actually, haha. We re-created the incantation text, and did all sorts of crazy shit to engender some dark energy within the sum of it all (a story for another time, perhaps!)

From a lyrical perspective, you can’t really compare it to our debut; we explored some different elements that we didn’t touch on before; and removed any personal attachment to the storyline. With In The Wake of Pestilence, the lyrics were written from a macrocosm perspective, but were direct reference to a series of personal life events. In Malediction, there was none of that. We just came up with the story, had a bunch of fun, and rolled with it! 

Original handwritten lyrics just went up for sale on our Bigcartel page!BUY THEM HERE:...
Posted by Deformatory on Monday, February 8, 2016

DoC: The new album is a monster. To me it sounds like you matured as songwriters, while keeping the music incredibly brutal. What was your approach to this album? What were the writing sessions like?

Neil: For this album I do not recall us trying to make it sound a specific way. We just had a good time writing. The writing process felt very organic to me. We wrote the songs for Malediction in our rehearsal space mostly as a group. Songs typically started with riffing and just discussing what we felt should come next or what feel wanted. We would then continue forward like that and jam on the riffs to see how they flowed from part to part. It felt very natural. The only song out of the whole album I recall gave us trouble and required a few rewrites was ‘Oracles’ .

We tried to put emphasis on the flow of the album so it felt like an entire story and was enjoyable to listen to. Overall the sessions didn't feel like a chore. I remember having a great time and enjoyed the writing process (not the recording process so much). We did a few demos of the songs so we could hear what they sounded like and then set a schedule for the recording.

DoC: The last time we spoke, we talked about the effect Canadian winters and pure maple syrup has on your music. What influenced you this time around?

Neil: I don't know if I can say something influenced us on the writing of Malediction. I think we wrote it very organically and without any real focus on trying to make it sound like something else. Of course we wanted something brutal but we also didn't want to repeat anything we did on In The Wake of Pestilence. We used a simple thought process for the riffs and the feel: Did it have melody with everything stripped away? If it still had a good feel with everything taken away then we thought it sounded good enough to keep. Simple, but it worked.

For me the "gravity blast" was the only new thing I brought to the writing this time compared to the first album. I also changed from [playing] mostly double strokes on the kick drum to single strokes. So a few new techniques and ideas for sure to try and elevate the songs overall. There are some very interesting ideas taken from Terry Bozzio for the intro to ‘Dimensions’, to try and add something very different. There is also a lot more splash cymbal work on this album to try and accent the riffs, of course heavily influenced by Death’s Human record. The songs are a lot of fun to play, but challenging for sure.

Charlie: Haha, you can’t ever deny the important role maple syrup plays in a Canadian death metal band! Our blood is comprised of that sweet, sweet nectar! Without it, we would perish come the first October snowfall.

DoC: What does 2016 hold for Deformatory?

Charlie: Due to our busy careers, we don’t have any plans to go on tour as of yet. We’ll do the weekend warrior gigs as they become available, and sync with our schedules. As it stands, our focus is already on writing new material for a series of concept EPs revolving around Saväel. We plan to record as soon as possible.

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