Now You Know: WarforgedTuesday, 21st January 2014
Location: Chicago, IL (USA)
Style: Atmospheric death metal, combines a bit of tech death, progressive, and black metal.
Personnel: Adrian Perez (Vocals/Keyboards); Jason Nitts (Drums); Alex Damske (Bass); Rich Stancato (Guitars); Paul Aluculesei (Guitars).
Latest Release: Essence of the Land (Total Deathcore)
It’s safe to say that 2014 has started off with a bang. One of the biggest reasons for this is Essence of the Land, the debut EP of Chicago’s Warforged. A nice mash-up of some of the best metal has to offer, it’s a tricky album to put into the rigid confines of subgenre.
“In hopes of keeping it simple and avoiding ultra-specific genre-fueled Internet arguments, Warforged is a death metal band,” states vocalist/keyboardist Adrian Perez. Drummer Jason Nitts also adds, “Our mission statement to ourselves is that we try to make our music as original as possible. Honestly one of our favorite compliments is when people can’t label us within a genre. Usually we’ll get strange comparisons from our audience be it via social media or at a concert. Most recently I was told that we sound like a mix of ‘Devin Townsend and Emperor.’ Sometimes I think these comparisons may be a bit strange, but it’s always flattering nonetheless.”
Warforged’s story begins around 2010, when “Adrian and I [Nitts] had crossed paths playing in different bands, and eventually linked together within one of Warforged’s previous forms. Like similar stories go, after member changes, influential changes and goal changes, Warforged was established in August of 2012 with the intentions of playing music that is fresh, mature and original.” The band members cite a vast array of influences, from the usual suspects like Opeth, Cynic, Devin Townsend, Necrophagist, and Obscura, to more eclectic choices such as Roger Waters, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, An Autumn for Crippled Children, and Alcest. Looking at references alone, it’s certainly the beginnings of a fresh formula.
The digital realm welcomed Essence of the Land on January 3rd, while those seeking a physical release will receive theirs January 24th. While Essence was recorded and financed label-free, the band hooked up with Total Deathcore to distribute the album. Nitts mentions, “We were originally supposed to be a part of a split with a few other artists that Total Deathcore was going to distribute. Due to member changes and some difficulties we ran into early in the year, time kind of took its toll and we weren’t able to make it happen. Down the road when things became a bit more solidified with Warforged, we contacted Total Deathcore to see if they would still be possibly interested in putting out something with us, and luckily they were more than happy to.”
Guitarist Paul Aluculesei adds: “We’ve known a few other bands that had releases through Total Deathcore and they only had positive things to say. It was really a no brainer for us. They allowed us to keep all the rights to our music while broadcasting us to a wide audience in the metal community so it was really a win-win situation. With them handling online sales and distribution, it frees us up to continue writing and performing.”
The Internet has been abuzz since the release of Essence, with plenty of word of mouth going around. One only needs to look at Warforged’s Facebook page, which at the time of writing, shows about a 33% interaction rate (people talking about this), a strong number for such a new band. Aluculesei notes, “I think it’s safe to say that all of us were surprised by the amount of people that shared our music with their friends. I’ve been in other bands before where people will tell you they like your music, but I was really surprised by how many people went out of their way to share it with their friends via Facebook. We were really excited to see that blogs were checking out our EP and that people in bands that we really admire were taking the time to tell us how much they enjoyed it.” Guitarist Rich Stancato also states, “We certainly have a lot of supportive friends, fans, and bands we commonly play with that are helping us get the word out, and even with all this I’m shocked at how wide the music is spreading. I couldn’t be happier.”
In addition to the strength of their songwriting, there are some other factors that may have helped them out. First of which is some stunning artwork. In a world rapidly approaching and embracing digital releases, the band states that artwork is as important as ever. “If I’m on YouTube and I see cool album art in the suggested videos, I click it. If it doesn’t catch one’s eye, then it’s going to hinder the band’s potential to sell or get noticed” states Perez. Nitts also adds how the eye-catching artwork came to be. “We really lucked out with Stigma – Sam Nelson. We actually won a contest he was hosting on his Facebook page for free artwork based on lyrics and song concepts. The funny thing is that Sam was actually my first choice to go to for cover art. I feel like his art captures the perfect vision for what we had for this EP.”
Just prior to January 3rd, Warforged released a video, giving fans the chance to hear ¾ of the album, alongside the story-centric lyrics. Perez says, “It was definitely both a lyrics-based and music-based decision to release so much of the EP in video form. Essence Of The Land was written chronologically and as one piece of music and it is meant to flow as one piece of music. Because of that, the exclusion of ‘Tainted Heart’ in the video feels odd to me whenever I watch it. Now I feel I shouldn’t have expected people to watch a video any longer than it already is. The initial plan was to film every instrument that could be heard on the release (this includes cello, violin, upright bass acoustic guitars, jingle bells, shakers, organ, etc) but with such a crunch for time and the definite risk of seeming even more pretentious, we decided to post what we had. I’m definitely glad we did it this way!”
The final buzz-worthy piece to Warforged’s puzzle is the inclusion of a solo from Brody Uttley of Rivers of Nihil. On how this came to pass, “We met last summer when they played at the now-closed Ultra Lounge in Chicago and for a photo shoot that I did for them. Brody’s mean-shred style was a perfect fit for the song,” states Perez.
With the rapid success of Essence and only a distribution deal with Total Deathcore, the question of landing a label contract is only natural to come up. The band’s thoughts are quite realistic and professional. Nitts says, “I would say that with our current situation we are open to a label contract, but we are also able to keep continuing without one. I would personally love to have a full length out on a well-known metal label, which I think is every upcoming metal band’s dream, but in term’s sake to put all of our money on that at this point wouldn’t be the smartest way to go about things on our part.” Perez also replies, “Once we’re prepared and stable enough, a great metal label would be fantastic.”
So it’s the beginning of a new year, one in which the band has already seen it’s fair share of excitement. What is next for the fledgling band? For one, the writing of their first full-length effort, of which Perez says the band is a “couple songs in and we still have plenty of ideas to flesh out. The release will be much more varied, but it will still hold true to the ‘Warforged sound.’” Nitts also responds, “We are hoping to push our levels as a prolific band without our creativity suffering. Although this may be a hard goal to maintain, I am confident that we will write some of our best music within our careers.” As for touring is concerned, Aluculesei concludes, “We’d love to tour in support of the EP as soon as it’s financially feasible.”