Krosis – Reaching the Melting PointFriday, 15th June 2018
It’s fun as a writer to be able to explore new bands and hear what could be the next big thing. Even if it increasingly becomes more work to find said ‘diamonds in the rough,’ that genuine feeling of excitement is one that is always rewarding. One such notion came about when listening to Krosis, and their second release, Solem Vatem. Combining a flavor of modern death metal with some technical riffing and structures, the immediacy of deathcore, and inserting some atmosphere for the greater good, it’s familiar stuff in theory but presented in a way that is unique and refreshing.
Witnessing the band live completely sold them as a rising act, able to still present themselves in a strong manner without a vocalist present. It seemed high-time to get the inside scoop for the band, so DR contacted drummer Daniel Cece to talk about all aspects going on at the moment. From Solem Vatem, to their search for a new vocalist, to their takeaway from the tour, and even what it will take for them to move forward.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the tour end up going for the band?
Daniel Cece: Wow, that is a crazy question because it was very bittersweet, in a lot of ways. For one, it was very exciting to be out on our first headlining tour, in support of the new album. We had the support of the label, it was super surreal and we were super proud to be able to do it. All the people that stayed until the end knew who we were, as the headliner. It’s not like we were opening for a huge band, and people were there to see them and just sitting through us. They came to see us, which was unbelievably fulfilling and satisfying. That part of the whole thing – the shows and playing was really fun.
Our singer breaking his foot 3 days into the tour sucked a lot. It wasn’t even our singer, but a fill-in. Our now former vocalist had an issue with work or something personal – he wasn’t able to make the tour at all. That’s why he recently stepped down, because he felt he was holding us back. He thought it would be better if we had someone who was more committed. So we took someone who used to be in the band and was a close friend to all of us. 3 days into it, he breaks his foot and got sent home. I ended up feeling sick before the tour started. Over the course of the first week into it, the flu that I ended up having developed and got worse over that time span. To the point where not only was every show in the first week being agony for me to play, but I actually ended up going to urgent care to get treated for a severe case of the flu, but also a bacterial infection I got from being dehydrated. That part was a little rough. Towards the end of it, the other few guys that were left, because our bass player had to go home early for a work-related thing as well, ended up getting sick as well.
From the 8th day in for the two week tour, we were a three piece. A touring, signed metal band playing as a 3-piece instrumental – it was kind of wacky. It didn’t look very good, and it didn’t feel very good to us. It was still fun and we tried to make the most of it, but man, it was rough. It was hard to stay positive, dealing with all of that stuff. But we made the best of it! We came home with money, we made some new fans and connections. All in all, it’s a tour and one for the books. I can’t complain too much.
Dead Rhetoric: Just to state the other side of the coin – I saw you guys as a 3-piece, and to me, I thought it brought out some other things that if you had a vocalist there, may not have been picked up on. Your music is so diverse and there’s a lot going on in it.
Cece: We had several people come up and say that we sounded Animals as Leaders-y and things like that, bands that are technical and instrumental. Usually we get deathcore and death metal comparisons – Fallujah, The Faceless, and things like that. To be hearing that we sound like Animals as Leaders was a weird change of pace that I definitely don’t think any of us were complaining about. It was weird, because some people were expecting one thing and got a different thing with no vocals. That part I didn’t really like, but it still made for good shows. It may have even appealed to a larger crowd, who knows? It was still fun – it was interesting to have people hearing all the ins & outs and the different song structures, and maybe elements of the songs that they may not have heard otherwise. So that was definitely something we considered as well.
Dead Rhetoric: Given all of that stuff you had going on, what do you feel was the best learning experience that you had from the tour?
Cece: The learning experience of trying not to be sick on tour, personally, was one that I didn’t want to come face to face with. I think it will help me and the rest of us take care of ourselves and prevent that in the future. I also learned I could make it through a tour while sick. It’s just a testament to the overall fortitude to be committed to the tour and not drop off. We played some different states that we hadn’t played before, and it felt like we were really making headway as a band with this being our second tour. I think there were a lot of musical experiences – as we are getting bigger and transcending the local band feel to more of a national one – every experience to me, at the end of the day, is a good one because it teaches you something.
We learned a lot about our fortitude, we learned a lot about sticking through, thick or thin, we learned about working as a unit even if things looked bleak. Some days were definitely better than others. We were playing in a lot of states that we may not have had as many fans as we do on the east coast, so breaking into those new territories was a necessary evil and something that I am really glad that we started to do. Even the experiences that weren’t so good are still funny stories to bring up, aside from me almost dying. I can look back on it now that I’m okay for a shock value story. Every band has good and bad stories, and we gathered a few more. I’m sure we’ll have many more hopefully in the future.
Dead Rhetoric: You are currently looking for a new vocalist. Have you found one?
Cece: Yes. We haven’t released it because we want to make it a really big deal. He is amazing. We took a bunch of auditions, and everyone was really good. We had a hard time picking someone just because we had a lot of prospects and there’s a lot of logistics with that. There’s a lot more than just having someone who is a good screamer. You have to be able to be dedicated, financially stable, the whole nine yards. The guy that we picked, I can safely say, will be the best fit for where we are currently in the band and where he is in his life right now.
Musically, the dude sounds like Ben Duerr from Shadow of Intent. He is an absolute monster and he has some covers up. He’s been a friend of mine for a little while, and I never knew that he could do vocals like that. He just sent me a video, and he was like, “What’s up? You need a vocalist for something?” I watched the video, which was a Shadow of Intent cover and I was blown away. He’s nailing Ben Duerr’s parts almost as well as Ben himself. He’s also done some Vulvodynia covers – he pretty much matches any band he’s trying to do. He’s absolutely incredible, and he has a very different dynamic from anyone we’ve had as a vocalist, so we may have a different sound for the new material. It may be more technical death metal than deathcore. His first show with us is going to be in August with Whitechapel for Michigan Metal Fest, so he’s trying to prepare himself, the best that one can for a first show like that.
[Since the time of interview, the band has announced Mac Smith as their new vocalist, you can check out his playthrough at the end of the feature on page 2]
Dead Rhetoric: Based on having the tour with no vocalist, was there ever a point where you thought that maybe you would just not bother finding a new one?
Cece: Never once did it cross our minds not to have one. Especially because the record label that we are on [Unique Leader], works with a lot of death metal bands. I don’t think any of the bands on their label are instrumental. So trying to fit into that market – it was cool to experiment a little bit, and we will always have instrumental tracks, like “God Rays” on Solem Vatem. It’s not to say that we might not play an instrumental, or a couple of them, in the future, but having a vocalist is one of the key points to keeping our sound heavy. We were wondering where we were going to go vocally, and the person we found definitely meshes with our style well. It all kind of fell into place in that aspect. Especially with the shows that we have coming up, but it’s going to be a good time working with this new guy for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: With Solem Vatem, how do you feel that you have grown as musicians from Mount of Sacrifice?
Cece: We feel that we have grown substantially. We have matured with our writing styles. Brandon [Scurlark], who is our producer and guitar player, is learning new stuff about production and mastering/mixing every single day. Even just now. The mixes that he has been putting out for things are even better than Solem Vatem, and we all thought that was fantastic. He’s always learning and getting better with things. I just released a drum video for “Maelstrom” that I shot in LA and looking back, I feel I could do so much better now. But that’s musicians in general.
With the new stuff, we want to step up our game. We want to make it faster, we want to make it more technical, we want to make it crazier and push ourselves to the level that bands like Fallujah and Archspire and Shadow of Intent do. We want to make the best music we can, and be the best musicians we can. The songs on Solem Vatem, we are super proud of. We will play some of those songs for the rest of our careers. They are fun, and people like them, thankfully. Any new stuff that we do from here on out, we feel will have a more matured sound and a different dynamic. Especially with the new vocalist, more so than anything we have ever done. I’m really excited about the future, and I think that the more we write, the more we learn – I’m trying to learn as much as I can. We all are music theory buffs. We all practice our butts off. That’s only going to help us with anything we come up with and I think we are going to blow ourselves away with what we come up with.
Dead Rhetoric: With such a varied sound and influences, do you feel there’s anything off the table when you begin writing?
Cece: I don’t really know. We have experimented with so many things. We even have a Rick & Morty soundclip in one song [“God Rays”]. We have thrown in stuff that maybe isn’t typical for a death metal band to do. I think our sound, being what it is, allows us to experiment in ways that other bands might not be able to without straying too far, because it is still forming. We also try to make it unique, we go out of our way to do that. I think it allows us some leeway when we want to come up with ideas. The only thing I can think of is maybe having a song with only clean vocals, but even then, I don’t see why we couldn’t do that.
I don’t want to speak for all the guys, because there might be something that they would say, “Oh, hell no!” But for me, personally, I’m open to doing pretty much anything. If it’s something that sounds good and makes us happy, which is ultimately why we are doing this – to make music that we like as much as our fans and supports. We pretty much just go in the studio, and what comes out of our brains is what goes on paper, metaphorically. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an idea that was totally a no-no. It’s more like, “Eh, that’s a cool idea but let’s do it this way.” Instead of just throwing it out. We try to keep our options open as much as possible, and have as many possibilities for what we create for a song as we can.
Dead Rhetoric: So is the blurring of genres what needs to happen in order to stay fresh/relevant?
Cece: I think the lines of subgenres at this point…you could attach so many descriptive words if you just have metal. You can have ambient melodic progressive technical death metal. It’s like, okay. You could spend all day saying, “This isn’t progressive, it’s death-djent-etc.” I’m a genre freak too, but I don’t take it seriously. I do like to categorize things appropriately. That’s why I have a hard time saying what Krosis is. I don’t like to put us in a box, and to go back to your previous question, whenever we put ourselves in a box, that’s what keeps things off limits. If we have no boundaries, we can write what we want. I definitely think that people are doing things that are transcending subgenres, which I think is awesome. I don’t think purist genres have to be the only method of musicality. Like being just death metal, or just deathcore. You have new bands that are doing a lot of melodic, or symphonic stuff. I think that’s natural. That’s how rock has evolved since the ‘90s.
You had punk, then you had hardcore, and now there are so many variations of hardcore and metal. One of my friends started a project called Evolution that was dubstep or techno dubstep and deathcore. He got a bunch of big features on it. That’s transcending whole genres, not just subgenres. He had several big names and it was like a dubstep song with screaming and guitars. It was pretty wild, and I thought it was pretty cool. It also got a lot of hate, which I think that’s what it’s going to take. I think it will take us as musicians totally pushing weird boundaries and getting flak for it, just like any good musician in the past has gotten flak for being too weird/controversial – if you get pushback, generally it means you are doing something right in my books – musically at least.
Lyrically I think there are definite boundaries as to what is good. Bands like Infant Annihilator – musically it’s fast and all over the place, and Aaron Kitcher is a wild drummer. Lyrically, I can go through my day without hearing stuff about doing things to kids. Their lyrics are super controversial and that’s not for me. I don’t find it to be entertaining, but they have a lot of fans and to each, their own. If they came around here, would I see them in concert, would I go see them? Sure, just to see if they could play that shit live. But controversial stuff, it gets people talking and that’s some form of publicity. The more that we push those boundaries, there’s more diverse music so I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
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