Now You Know: Solium FatalisFriday, 6th March 2015
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Style: Melodic death metal at the heavier end of the spectrum
Personnel: Olivier Pinard (bass); Flo Mounier (drums); Ehren Hill (guitar); Jeff DeMarco (vocals); Jim Gregory (guitar)
Latest Release: The Undying Season (Galy Records)
Usually this column is written in article form, but Jim Gregory (who is pictured above) provided some great answers that needed to be read as is.
Dead Rhetoric: Could you give us a brief history of Solium Fatalis?
Jim Gregory: Solium Fatalis was started by me in 2012 as a last ditch effort on my part to, at a bare minimum, release a professionally produced album/CD. I had failed so many times at being in bands that my dream of being in a successful extreme metal band was fading fast and I decided to just do it all myself. We released the CD and it actually got us some attention because of the personnel involved and here we are putting out our 2nd album in 16 months.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the sound of the band?
Gregory: Dense. When people hear the new album and certain songs hit, if they are pure death metal fans they might be wondering why there’s a piano playing in the middle of it. I attempt to use as much variety of the “extreme metal” genre as I can, whether it’s a black metal influence, or Florida death metal influence, I definitely attempt to give every song it’s own fingerprint so that we don’t have songs bleeding into the next and one is not like the other.
Dead Rhetoric: Who would the band’s top three influences be?
Gregory: This is an interesting question because we all listen to so many different things. I’m not even sure if Flo listens to a lot of metal at all. Jeff and Ehren definitely enjoy the melodic-death metal genre of old. I think Olivier and I listen to the heaviest stuff perhaps. For me personally I can say that my 3 favorite bands growing up were Death, Malevolent Creation, and Celtic Frost. I grew up in a very remote part of the US and there were only magazines and cassettes at the time. So getting my hands on anything heavy was a must and very difficult. I remember buying Malevolent Creation’s Retribution and wearing out the cassette and buying another on 3 occasions.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the deal with Galy Records come about?
Gregory: I had been trading the first album with Galy Records after they wrote me an email asking for the CD on a trade. So I had gotten comfortable with emailing Eric Galy, and finally after I had been working on the 2nd album I wrote him and asked if he’d like to distribute the new album instead of a mega-indie release that barely garners any attention, and we hammered out a plan to do it, it was very easy not a lot of red-tape to be sure.
Dead Rhetoric: Comparing your debut to The Undying Season, how do you think having a label-backing gave you an edge?
Gregory: Yes and no. In terms of the workload I have to accomplish that was the same. I still wrote all the music and lyrics and funded (produced) the entire thing right down to the artwork and CD’s (if you have a CD chances are it was sitting in my living room at one point.) BUT I do prefer it that way and like to have that creative control and ability to make things happen on my terms. I do like having one because I feel it’s still a prestigious thing to have a record label put out your album and give you their stamp of approval as something special to listen to. Metal labels are often good for that, we know a lot of fans can go to a label and find like-bands akin to their taste.
Dead Rhetoric: You were joined on The Undying Season by Flo and Olivier of Cryptopsy. Last album you had Dirk Verbeuren and Loic Colin of Scarve. How do you recruit all these guys?
Gregory: The best kept secret in music, short and sincere emails (and sometimes phone calls). I had emailed Dirk and we quickly agreed to work together, he in turn recruited Loic and we had the first album line-up. When I got Dirk it was with some very strong demos I had made and he was sold on the idea of doing the first album. With The Undying Season, Flo and Oli were suggested to me by Christian Donaldson who mixed and mastered the album. So when he said they would do it, we all made contact and fleshed out a plan for how we were going to make this album.
Dead Rhetoric: With the varied personnel involved, how do you keep things sounding like a band instead of a collection of musicians?
Gregory: It’s pretty simple actually, I let everyone do whatever they want. Period. I have no ego about my music and I don’t need to control the whole thing. If Jeff wants to scream or growl, great, do what you want. Flo wants to do a triplet or a blast, fine! It would be ridiculous for me to dictate to guys who are better at their instruments than I am at mine. I am simply a writer who enjoys the collective group effort. I also feel when bands have ONE guy writing all of everything that you start to become a bit predictable. I also have an extreme distaste for individuals who are incapable of that and carry these massive egos with them when in all reality if you’re a metal musician, you’re never going to be rich and famous and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can write real music instead of self-aggrandizing drivel.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you compare The Undying Season to your debut?
Gregory: WAY different. An evolutionary leap ahead. For good reason; I wrote the debut album in 2 weeks and recorded it and all the rest in 5 months. It was very rushed, and many things were left unfinished or I just never perfected. I was so excited to put that first record out that I didn’t care what didn’t get done. With The Undying Season I had started writing it 3 months before the release date of the debut. I wrote in 12 months, 21 songs. Then I cherry-picked my favorites and refined them over and over. I wanted every song to have it’s own identity and I wanted to be heavier, faster, slower and just overall more dynamic. I knew I could do a lot better and I felt like with the first album that while I’m proud of it, I let myself down a little bit in terms of creating something really big and heavy. So it’s definitely a leap forward in terms of song writing, musicianship, and just overall a bigger sound.
Dead Rhetoric: How was the experience of recording with Christian Donaldson at The Grid?
Gregory: He’s one of the most professional, humble, and hardest working guys in the biz. He’s easy going and we both tend to agree on a lot of things that made life easy for me. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how awesome the Montreal metal scene is and how great the guys up there are in helping me complete this album. Christian was just great. Flo, and Oli are total professionals and very nice guys. Steven Henry helped do the “Salient” lyric video and is just a class guy who always helps out and funny as hell. Not to knock anyone, but American fans could learn a lot from the Montreal scene and see just how tight all of those guys are and how they are friends and help each other. They all came together for Fatalis and it made me really appreciate what they have accomplished in their respective careers.
Dead Rhetoric: Any plans for some live shows in the near future?
Gregory: Absolutely. It’s just a matter of dates and getting people to agree on what to do about it. But we feel The Undying Season needs to be out there live and plus I enjoy and miss playing live.
Dead Rhetoric: What can we expect to see from Solium Fatalis throughout 2015?
Gregory: GIGS! I hope to be playing live by the summer because I feel The Undying Season needs to go live and maybe we’ll spin some off the first album if the fans really want. I also would love to start writing the 3rd album, I have a lot of ideas I still have to get to… I think I’ll make it heavier…..