Æpoch – Heralds of the ÆpochalypseWednesday, 17th February 2016
With technical death metal being a genre that is steadily rising in popularity, some of the young upstarts miss its purpose. There are a number of bands that seemingly misunderstand what the genre is about and we are given some soulless and machine-like material that feels more about being clinically proficient than actual songwriting. Ontario’s Æpoch is not one of those bands.
The band’s first EP, Æpochalypse, has all the markings of a much older and accomplished band. There’s plenty of technical wow-factor to be had, but Æpoch delivers them inside the format of their songs. There’s just as much progression and melody to be had as you go through the five tracks to keep things interesting and held together. So impressed were we with this initially offering (outside of a demo that is) that we contacted the band to get some more information via email. Vocalist/bassist Brett MacIntosh, guitarist Bobby Chounramany, and drummer Greg Carvalho were all able to contribute some information about the band’s origins, Bloodshot Dawn’s Benjamin Ellis’ solo contribution, and more!
Dead Rhetoric: Where did the name Æpoch stem from?
Æpoch: Æpoch is derived from the word ‘epoch’ which means one reference point in time or erase to the next reference point in time or era. We wanted a more historically based name because our lyrics are about science and history mostly.
Dead Rhetoric: Who are some influences that have helped shape your sound?
Brett MacIntosh: Mainly Death as far as songwriting and some other aspects. Also bands like Beyond Creation, Gorod, Allegaeon, Bloodshot Dawn, Immortal, Hideous Divinity, Decrepit Birth, Black Crown Initiate, Necrophagist, Emperor, and Oblivion.
Bobby Chounramany: Death, Black Dahlia, Opeth, Spawn of Possession, and lots of prog bands.
Greg Carvalho: Lamb of God, Black Dhalia, Dream Theater, Rivers of Nihil, The Zenith Passage, and Gorod.
Dead Rhetoric: “City of Statues” and “Plummet” were originally on a 2013 demo. How do you feel those songs (and the band) have changed since that point?
Æpoch: The songs are a bit tighter now with a bit of better bass work and drum work that’s for sure. The solos are also better and some are longer (“Plummet”), so we feel that is beneficial. Since then we’ve also written more technical songs, compared to the demo, then people have considered us.
Dead Rhetoric: Likewise, based on the 3 other tracks, how would you like to see Æpoch progress from this point?
MacIntosh: We actually have a ton of material written and continue to write more. We are definitely going in a more technical/blackened direction for the most part but also really melodic in some new material too. But we will always keep the proggy touch. We are excited about it.
Chounramany: Solid song composition with lots of memorable, headbangin’ riffs.
Carvalho: We have some killer materials written for future releases and I would say its just as (if not more) technical as the two parter on Æpochalypse. Our influences have changed significantly, and we have just been getting better as musicians.
Dead Rhetoric: Benjamin Ellis of Bloodshot Dawn makes an appearance on “Æpochalypse Part II.” How did this come to pass?
Æpoch: Well Brett is about the biggest Bloodshot Dawn fanboy around and back when they had their fan-funded Kickstarter he bought the album and the guest solo to help fund the album. Even though Benjamin and Brett had discussed him doing a solo for us for a long time we figured that was the perfect opportunity for a double win. What an epic solo.
Dead Rhetoric: You are planning a physical release for Æpochalypse. Do you have a date set yet?
Æpoch: No confirmed date yet. We will keep everyone updated through our social media on that. We are waiting on one piece of the layout to be fixed currently.
Dead Rhetoric: The physical release will include a cover of Death’s classic “Crystal Mountain.” What makes that song special to you?
Æpoch: Death is by far one of our biggest influences so we thought we would pay tribute to covering one of Chuck’s masterpieces.
Dead Rhetoric: Are you interested in signing to a label or do you see yourselves sticking with an independent route?
Æpoch: I don’t think we’re going to seek out a label. We gave it a chance but its a lot of pressure dealing with deadlines. It feels much more comfortable working at our own pace. Maybe in the future if the right time comes.
Dead Rhetoric: How active is Æpoch in terms of live shows?
Æpoch: 2015 was pretty active for us. We played some good shows around Ontario and played for some of our favorite bands. We have a few specific show goals for 2016 but mostly plan to record so probably will play less this year. We have thus far played 31 shows.
Dead Rhetoric: Any favorite albums from 2015?
Æpoch: Rivers Of Nihil – Monarchy
Dire Necro Cerberus – Dire Necro Cerberus I
Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Abiotic – Casuistry
Psycroptic – Psycroptic
Iron Maiden – Book of Souls
Revocation – Empire of the Obscene (rerelease)
Dead Rhetoric: What does Æpoch have in store for 2016?
Æpoch: We have a few specific show or festival goals for 2016 and will try to get opening and or support spots for some of our favourite bands but overall we plan to record our first full length in 2016. Planned to be 7 – 9 songs. Plus a cover and M.D.M.A. as a bonus.