Today we have the honor of premiering a full stream of Australian solo black metal project SEANCE OF‘s first (but technically third) of three planned full-length releases following a rush of activity in anno MMXX. ‘The Colour of Magick‘ is an idiosyncratic yet entirely approachable black metal fracture that weaves surrealistic movement into every turn — Raw, angular, rhythmically freed, personally shorn and something unlike anything else you’ll likely hear this year. The fellow behind the project, A.R. was kind enough to answer a series of questions for the occasion of the album’s release which you can find below.
Scroll down to the full stream below and witness the unearthly sinusoid of ‘The Colour of Magick‘ which will be available on CD format and digital download today Thursday, June 24th through the fine folks at Signal Rex. Thanks goes to the band, their representation and Signal Rex for the opportunity to share this fantastic LP alongside an interview.
Grizzly Butts: Just to get an idea of the timeline, it was around 2006 when your black metal band Grave Worship went on a several year hiatus and you’d started Seance Of not long after. Was this for the sake of keeping your own black metal ideas fresh? Had you worked on solo projects prior?
A.R.: Grave Worship started as a solo project back in the early 2000’s, then spawned into a duo prior to the aforementioned hiatus, eventually growing into a full lineup with several members. I have always been musically active in some shape way or form, across multiple genre’s across the years.
It was only recently that I had been writing more material that, despite being “Black Metal” ; did not entirely “Fit” within the Grave Worship “Sphere of music” so it was a very natural choice to continue to work under the moniker of Seance Of as a vehicle for my own expressions of music of this more Black Metal nature.
I might be answering my own question here but, what prompted the flurry of activity in 2020? Had the pandemic related quarantine been the catalyst to finish an already existing set of ideas or, are these albums a direct reaction to quarantine? There is a chaotic and introspective quality to most of these pieces so, I am curious if this record is situational emotional conveyance or the result of more personal time allowing focus on the project.
Oddly enough, the timing is pure coincidence! I have been writing material on and off over the years, probably a good few Demo/EP’s if not Albums worth of tracks, but it was only after talking with my bandmate about the idea to have total control over my own project, and being able to work at my own (rabid) pace, that I really decided to focus things to an Apex.
A lot of it also has to do with being “Out of the loop” with most the Current Black Metal Scene over the years prior to this project becoming active again. There was no real inspiration or drive to work on any music, despite writing lots of miscellaneous tracks and drafts, it was all directionless.
Getting back in contact with some people I have known for years, meeting a few I had known of but not talked to, and in general, being inspired by seeing my own bandmates and friends working on their own projects and taking care of business, made me see that it was possible to do the same.
In that sense, yes, this release is the result of more personal time allowing focus on the project.
Though you’ve not provided song titles for ‘The Colour of Magick’ there does seem to be a trip, a journey or some narrative purpose providing a relationship between these songs. Is there any room for your own interpretation? A science, a methodology, or guideline(s) for the creation process?
With this release, I really want the listener to go on their own Journey with the music. Listen to it, absorb it and as you listen to it, make your own mind up as to “Titles” ; find your favourite track(s) or moments and get lost within them… A special kind of magic that seems all too lost these days, getting totally into an album on headphones or a good hi-fi in a dimly lit room, or a walk.. This is music for an intimate setting to take you places. Black Metal Magic !
As far as the creation process, this album was written fairly fast, each track written and recorded each day over the space of a week or two. Lyrics and Vocals written and recorded in a similar fashion, with Artwork taken from a painting I had done years ago.
The second track (“2”) is particularly well voiced, is this the result of improvisation or, have you composed these pieces? The tension built within the guitar performances on “4” is stunning, it isn’t necessarily pure Voivod phrasing but the push and pull of the song does call for it a bit. Is there a particular artist or experience that’d influenced this record?
The tracks are definitely written and arranged. Improvisation for me is something that sits well and works in a whole band situation rehearsing, but otherwise I prefer to be possessed and obsessed with guitar or bass riffs, or the way a particular drum part sits, etc. how the instrumentation coalesces.
There’s no real “One band or album” to point the finger at with this release in terms of influences, though throughout there are certain parts that are intentional references and homage to some of my favourite bands and moments in Black Metal. A bit of Havohej here, a smattering of Abigor there, some backwards LLN chords. It’s a varied sonic soundscape and the same goes for the lyrics.
I’m not sure if I should consider ‘The Colour of Magick’ as a feat of “drawing outside the lines” via irregular, dissonant rhythms or if housing black metal within preconceived notions still serves any purpose. Would you consider your work avant-garde?
It makes me very glad to see that this release is not being seen as “Just Another Black Metal album”; Because that was the last thing I wanted to achieve with this release! To that extent, sure let’s call it Avant-garde. I think the tropes of Black Metal have been done to death, and I wanted to make something I felt was lacking in what I wanted to hear in Black Metal these days. Hopefully the Listener can hear that and it transcends.
Writing, and I believe also recording, three albums in one year is a massive amount of work, much less releasing them the next. Had you intended to release the third of three albums first? What can we expect from the other two records? In an ideal world, the albums would have been released in the order they were written in, but as is, I am happy with the way things have gone. and there is much more to come!
Each record is deliberately different in Every way, from writing and approach, to using different equipment for playing and recording.. (So far the only thing to stay the same is the Guitar and Bass I use) But outside of that, everything else changes release to release, the sound and atmosphere etc. So that might give you some idea and context. Without giving too much away, expect a wild ride !
What is the best way that fans can support Seance Of?
Support the music. If you like what you hear, don’t hesitate to send a message or leave a comment via Bandcamp. Thank you for the Interview, All the Beast! A.
Per the press release:
SIGNAL REX is proud to present the striking debut album of SEANCE OF…, The Colour of Magick, on CD and vinyl LP formats.
Hailing from Perth, Western Australia’s SEANCE OF…. started as a side-project during a Grave Worship hiatus, initiated with the release of the 2006 Fuck Black Metal split tape. With the passing of years and erratic slumber of Grave Worship, SEANCE OF… became the main vessel for AR’s expression and exploration, continuing and evolving black metal in its many forms.
The year 2020 saw the writing of three SEANCE OF… releases, with January 2021 vomiting forth the newest work, The Colour Of Magick. A ritual in the key of evil, sole member AR pays homage to black metal in all its glory with his own morbid metal style. Dual-guitar madness paired with subtle and strange synths, bombastic bass, and demonic drums enchant your ears as Satanic screams curse you for the duration of this spell.
Interestingly, The Colour of Magick is actually the third SEANCE OF…. full-length, if following chronologically in order of creation. Due to circumstances beyond AR’s control, the preceding two albums are yet to be released. Even more interestingly, while the song titles here are otherwise “untitled,” AR encourages listeners to create their own titles for each of these eight tracks: indeed, this unorthodox freedom is his intent.
With mastering by Moonsorrow’s Henri Sorvali at Trollhouse Studio, SEANCE OF…’s The Colour of Magick is indeed a bewitching (and bewildering) spell not for the faint of heart – and this is but the first curse to be unleashed by SIGNAL REX this year. Open your third eye to its radiant spectrum and find irrevocable damnation.
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