Darker Half – Out of the ShadowsTuesday, 26th May 2020
Dead Rhetoric: What concerns do you have about the state of international heavy metal with the current pandemic the world is dealing with? How are you personally dealing with the downtime?
Vo: The concern is how will touring come back again. In the national sense right now, it’s really hard to see how to go forward if there’s no possibility to play live shows. It will come back, but we don’t know the time scale.
Dom: It’s an interesting question because there are so many bands within the last decade, that have gotten popular before even playing any shows. Especially if you are smart about the way you market music online. I’m certain that there are bands waiting to happen that will take advantage of this time. One thing we found difficult in this band is no one is really an online person. We don’t post a lot on social media, and we’ve found it challenging to adapt to that new kind of workload. Our way of generating interest in the past was going out and playing shows. Which now that isn’t a possibility, it’s a challenge.
Vo: At its core, a band exists to play live and sell albums. The album is the process, and if you change that in a metal band, there’s a certain history and lineage. I feel special having our album on vinyl, and that makes our band more valid. It makes it special somehow.
Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider three of the most important metal albums that shaped your views and outlook on the genre? And who would you think is the most underrated band from Australia that you believe more people need to take the time and dig into?
Vo: S+M from Metallica. That was my gateway into Metallica, and it had such a unique variety of songs. Having the orchestra made it something special and not random. Iron Maiden, I don’t know if I can pick an album but hearing that band changed the way I thought about music in a big way. More the songs than an album specifically. Maybe Operation: Mindcrime from Queensryche – they ride that line between progressive and not going too far. Honorable mention to Testament and Judas Priest as well.
Dom: I would have to say Metallica, who knows what else I would have gotten into. My favorite album is Ride the Lightning. The first four albums are huge for me. A super important album for me is Rising Power by Dungeon. It’s a Japanese release, that is the first one I heard. I was in school in Italian class, and my friend passed me that album. I listened to it, this was amazing. I took the discman with me in the bathroom and didn’t come back to class. That was the first time, we got to see an Australian band do something outside of extreme metal. Vo, myself and a bunch of people went to a metal festival in Australia called Metal for the Brain, the only Australian festival at the time, it was like Datis (Alaee)’s Warriors of Metal festival in the US. We saw Dungeon, and it was an amazing experience. This melodic power metal band comes on, and we didn’t know if it could be done. The third album is Shadowland by Nocturnal Rites. They were another introduction to the more European side of power metal. (They) had the European power sound, but without all the belting vocals and the guitar solos that can be cheesy. You can hear the progression of them as people through their records.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you believe you’ve grown over the years as a person and a musician? What areas do you value more, and are there areas that you’ve learned to be less concerned over?
Vo: Definitely (laughs). The structure of writing I’ve learned a hell of a lot more. I’ve studied production a hell of a lot more than I used. I’m more focused on vocally how I sing – I understand a lot more about what I can and cannot do. Especially on the first album, I think I did a good job but I definitely had no idea what I was doing, or aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I don’t plan to sound like Bruce Dickinson, I sound more like myself. Not caring so much about being too perfect and letting that go a little bit. Focusing on the parts that are important.
Dom: We’ve been more focused on structure within songwriting. But also, on Classified there was some different stuff on there, but an EP isn’t a great format to explore different styles of songwriting. You can’t weave consistency into songs that are by nature a bit different in an EP format. On an album, you can do that. If you go back to Never Surrender, when we were doing that album, we had been pigeonholed in Australia as a power metal band. We didn’t consider ourselves a power metal band before that, we would have been happy being considered a heavy metal band. On that album, I wouldn’t change much, I do know that when we were doing it, we were conscious to write a power metal album. On If You Only Knew, we went back to Duality and kept more variety. On the new album, we didn’t worry about the category. We know what fits in the power metal box, and what doesn’t – and we can find a way to incorporate things in a more streamlined fashion. I’ve spent more time on production and tried to hone that skill.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next year shaping up for Darker Half as far as promotional activities surrounding this release? Are you hopeful to get the fifth full-length out possibly quicker to make up for the four-year gap between the last EP and full-length?
Vo: Definitely – and it might be quicker because of this enforced downtime. Originally the plan this year was to be on tour in Europe – and at the end of the year, do an Australian tour and start writing the next album. We’ll start writing now and see what we can come up with. I’ll be talking with Stu to get demos together for the second Night Legion album, in the next month or two we will start working on them. Hopefully by the time we start playing again, we’ll have the platform for the next releases from both bands.
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