One of the best independent metal bands in America, ORWELL is dropping their dynamic new concept album AVOHFASIH in September. It is one of the best albums we have heard this entire year across the spectrum of all heavy music. Metal Army caught up with rhythm guitarist Tim Bradley to get up to speed on the band and the release.
MAA: Tell us about the concept behind AVOHFASIH?
TB: The record has an overall concept basically about grieving and loss. A few of the other guys in the band and I, plus others close to us have lost some people in the last year. We thought the opportunity of the our record coming out as a good time to address those emotions we had going on. So we set upon doing it as a concept album with the second theme of also being lost at sea. It kind of has two concepts that way (laughs).
MAA: Musically it is a departure from some of your past work. What influenced this change?
TB: The last record we put out that was Endeavors with our old drummer Jim. He was way more of a thrash drummer. That’s what he enjoyed and frankly that’s what we enjoyed at the time as well. Our new drummer Chris came in and he contributed to the writing this time. Jim had as well (when he was in the band), but two different drummers, two records with two different writing styles sounding apart. Also Eric (Bolstad) our other guitarist wrote most of Endeavors himself. AVOHFASIH was more of a joint effort between all of us and not to discredit Eric, because he pulls his weight and then some in the writing process. The concept gave breadth to him an allowed him to explore some other areas of his writing and playing as well.
MAA: Do you think you will perform the album live in its entirety?
TB: All the shows we have planned at this point, we plan on doing the album in full. Anytime we have a forty-five minute set where we are able to play it in full, we will be. That’s the way we wrote it and it is meant to be heard as a complete work so we intend to do that.
MAA: You have some serious die hard fans. Did you worry about alienating them by changing things up a bit with a heady concept album?
TB: I don’t know if you would say worried about it. When we put out Endeavors, the last record we had high hopes for that record. The tour went well. But we got to a point at the end of the tour where everyone is playing a million miles and hour, and we were playing a million miles an hour when you play with only metal bands. We really just wanted to write music and we didn’t necessarily have to be super fast or super technical. I guess we didn’t really worry because outside of our core fans we are still becoming better known and we are looking for new fans anyway. He like how it all played out and I hope people like it.
MAA: Can you talk about that disturbing teaser video for AVOHFASIH? It is uber disturbing!
TB: That’s a clip from a film called Baraka. It’s a band favorite. It’s a total, I don’t want to call it a documentary, but it’s basically a crazy two-hour art film of cultural rituals from all of the world. Everything from modern society and even aboriginal things. We are all fans of that type of films. That scene is particularly such an unnerving scene to watch in the movies. We thought this was the first time people would ever hear our new music in good quality. The clip is really suggestive and fits the music. We thought about what we could do to make it less like just new music and make it more special for our fans. We just kind of threw it together and it was the most activity we’ve ever had on our website in one day. It’s cool to do stuff like that, to surprise people and get people pumped for the band.
MAA: Since Logan Hauser is primarily a brutal singer do you and Eric consciously write more melodic guitar and vocal parts as a contrast to what he does?
TB: I do some more vocals on the record here and there. My stuff is more type of the yelly type of stuff. Logan has such a gravely, guttural voice so I did some vocals to contrast that. Chris (Brissell) did some of that too. Obviously we have the female voices (Danielle Taube and LeAnn Bradley ) on the album as well. We don’t ever want to be the type of band that has clean singing as a crutch to use whenever we need to make something sound pretty. Our concern is we want to accomplish melodic things with our instruments. We want to be able to use it so when we do that with vocals, it can stand out and hold its own ground.
MAA: Who are some of the bands influences collectively?
TB: Straight off the bat for me NEUROSIS has been a huge band. NEUROSIS, ISIS, RED SPARROWS and that whole kind of genre. All of the Hydra Head and Neurot bands has really kind of opened me up as a new way to view metal. Chris had really been in to all of those bands before that and through me and Chris getting in to it, that leaked over to everybody else. Those bands became a source of inspiration since we wanted create something really devastating and heartfelt. Those bands helped us create the framework of trying to do that with our instruments. And we’re all still fans of DARKEST HOUR and the more melodic bands like IN FLAMES. Even ANIMALS AS LEADERS as an instrumental influence. Obviously you can’t hear it directly but AAL is a band that we think has a great sense of melody that is really insane. Other than that Chris is really into RUSH. A lot of us are really into LED ZEPPELIN. MASTODON is a huge influence. I mean I could go on and on for hours because we just listen to so much music, we are all just serious music buffs. This record will really give us the opportunity to really stretch out from here on and do exactly what we want to do and move forward without compromising. Even though our sound is different from our earlier work, you can still tell it is four of the five same guys in the band. As we grow together and continue to create new music it’s only going to get better from here.
MAA: Do you have anything special planned for the release in September?
TB: We are going to release the album free online on our bandcamp. Free to download for anybody. The reason it’s free we want as many people as possible to get the album and hear it. Beyond that we are doing a limited edition pressing of hand numbered, physical copies of the record. For the physical copies we are doing everything ourselves, printing, cutting, folding and everything. It’s going to be a full package with a booklet, artwork and lyrics. We are doing all of the cutting, folding and printing. We’re trying to do everything D.I.Y. and we are doing 300 hundred of these and that is it. We just want everybody to know whoever is willing to make the monetary contribution and buys the physical album this is from us to you. We touched this and we are giving it to you, no matter who you are if you are one of those 300. No middle man or distribution. We are really pumped about that. The packaging itself really gives everybody an insight into the the concept of the album. Some of the themes and theories that go on in the record, the album title spells out the acronym that is in the lyrics. Anybody who wants to dive in and really get the meaning of the record and what we are about as a band will have that opportunity. That is another reason we are self-releasing it, so people will know it is 100% from us to them.
By Keith (Keefy) Chachkes