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Album of the Month


Thou's latest full-length release simply cements their status as Doom royalty, delivering their dynamic vision across a huge spread of top-tier music.
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Classic revisited



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The band plays a mix of gritty Doom and atmospheric Post-Metal. It's progressive, melancholic and feverish; between harsh heaviness and tense mellower pass...
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Even now, more than 30 years after their founding, Confessor's Technical Doom stands out as a unique and radical style. Drummer Steve Shelton tells Comrade Aleks all about that, and much more besides...

Interview with Confessor.
"Confessor was formed in 1986 by five friends from Raleigh, North Carolina: Cary Rowells (bass), Scott Jeffreys (vocals), Graham Fry (guitars), Brian Shoaf (guitars) and Jim Shoaf (drums). Jim didn't stay long in the band, and soon the place behind the drum kit was occupied by Steve Shelton. They had their own influences - Trouble, amongst others - but it took time to sort those out, and their first album 'Condemned' eventually saw the light of day through Earache Records in October 1991. This material was tagged as "Technical Doom Metal", though the wide range of the band's members influences led them to a far more specific sound. Progressive? Avant-garde? That's a topic for separate discussion.

Confessor took part in the epic Gods Of Grind tour along with Carcass, Cathedral and Entombed. And then, after disbanding in 1994, they returned eleven years later with new album 'Unraveled'. The band, though still active, has only those two full-length records in their discography. I was going to ask a few questions of Steve Shelton, but in the end we have this huge, detailed and pretty exciting interview, shedding light not only on Confessor's past and present, but also on the inner workings of the Metal scene of the past years."



Talking to Aleks today: Confessor's Steve Shelton (Drums).


Hello Steve! You entered Confessor 31 years ago, how did you get into the band? And how does it feel now?

Confessor were originally a high school band started by Jim and Brian Shoaf around 1986. I knew Jim, their original drummer, because we were in a couple of classes together the year before and I knew who the other guys were because we all attended the same high school. I was in a punk rock, crossover band while they were in a kind of hard rock, metal band. Scott Jeffreys, the band's singer, heard me playing drums one day while he was driving to his girlfriend's house in my parents' neighborhood and he stopped to see if I might be interested in joining the band. We knew who each other was though we had never met before that afternoon. He gave me a cassette demo they had recorded and after listening to it for a few days I committed to learning their songs. At the time Trouble were my favorite band and I could hear a strong Trouble influence in their music. I felt like I could do some things that would make the band heavier and I decided I wanted to try out for them in an official way. They were a tight group of friends and though I quickly befriended their lead guitarist, it took about a year of gentle prodding before he finally gave in and set up his gear beside my drums in the room I was renting at the time. Soon after that the rest of the band, minus the drummer of course, came over to see what I could do and once that happened they gave their drummer a choice to make: step up, or let someone else play drums. He wasn't interested in making a bigger commitment to the band, so the position opened up and within about six months we were playing shows together.

There are many, many things about being in Confessor 31 years later that feel nearly the same despite all the years. We still get the same rush whenever we hit something we really like. We don't practice as long as we used to, and with kids in the mix there are more practices when someone is out than when we were younger, but we still love what we do. Our youngest member is not quite thirty and he has the same kind of drive and discipline we all had when we were his age. It has been great having someone else who can grind it out until midnight if we are on a roll. Our tastes have changed and heavy doesn't necessarily mean what it used to mean to us all, but we are very focused on making this next album as "Confessor" as we can. This is part of our collective midlife crisis. If we could all afford our own 1969 Corvette Sting Rays there might not be another album!


Current line-up: Chris Nolan (Guitars), Scott Jeffreys (Vocals), Marcus Williams (Guitars), Cary Rowells (Bass), Steve Shelton (Drums).


The band had already been active before then, but first demo, 'The Secret', was recorded with you on drums. What were your influences? What formed Confessor's sound?

Back then I was simply high on drums no matter what we played! My two biggest influences were Terry Bozzio from Frank Zappa and Missing Persons, and Jeff Olson from the first two Trouble albums. It was Rush's "Moving Pictures" that made me want to play drums, as it was with thousands of drummers, but by the time I joined Confessor I was nearly obsessed with trying to apply Bozzio's super abstract angularity to the heavy music we were beginning to write. The Bozzio influence in me was the catalyst for our exploration into the world of off time riffing. The guys liked all of the things I did to alter how riffs felt by hitting different accent notes or changing the timing of the hi hats, which in turn gave me the encouragement to keep trying new things. Drums are very physical instruments to play so there is an added level of connectivity we drummers get to enjoy. All of those polyrhythms and off sounding beats truly "feel" good to play right. It's like chasing the dragon through riff writing.

Speaking about influences... You're from North Carolina, how much of that is in the band's sound? Did your location somehow affect the band's life or creativity?

I'm not sure that there is anything to point to in our music that would indicate we are from the Southeast. There is a hybrid style of vocals that is southern rock inspired which some singers do quite well ( Pepper Keenan comes to mind ) but Scott definitely doesn't fit that description. Someone else might be able to highlight an aspect of our music which might point to our little corner of the world, but I can't. Maybe I should learn to play drums with a southern drawl. Having said that, I think it is no small thing that because we were ten hours from New York and ten hours from Tampa, Florida we never had a big metal market defining our area's sound. We weren't competing with several bands to be this thing or that thing within our own backyard so we had a kind of freedom to do whatever we wanted to do, musically. I think the fact that no one can ever quite nail another band to compare us to is a testament to that phenomenon. That, and the fact that we had as many "negative inspirations" as we had positive inspirations. There were very few bands we wanted to emulate (positive inspirations) but there were far more we wanted to make sure we never sounded like in any way.

Confessor - 'Condemned' (Official, 2016):


In the late '80s you recorded two more demos - 'Uncontrolled' and 'Collapse' - what prevented you from recording a full-length album? How else did you spend this period?

Back then we were cranking out our demos almost as soon as we had the material written. Our mission was the same as everyone's, get signed... conquer the world. People weren't putting things out on their own as much as they do today. Between demos we spent our time playing shows and learning our craft. We were always a difficult band to put a label on and even though plenty of people were interested in our music, labels seemed hesitant to sign us. Our music was just outside the norm and we may have seemed a risky investment. Plus, there were no other bands from the area who were making any noise so our market wasn't something that could be used as a selling point. While living in a small market enabled us to write freely, it did little to turn label reps' heads. Back then you could pique people's interest by saying a band were from New York, Florida or LA. To say "These dudes are from North Carolina" would have gotten nothing but blank stares. We played our shows, wrote our tracks and waited for someone who wasn't afraid to sign such an odd band from an untested market.

Steve, Confessor was signed by Earache in the early '90s. How did you build a collaboration with the label? Peaceville in the UK were able to organize big tours for their bands and even push them on TV; was it the same in the US with Earache?

I believe our manager at the time contacted Earache. They had a reputation for signing pretty extreme bands and I think they were unafraid to take on a quirky band like us even though we were not extreme in the same way many of their bands were. We did speak to Peaceville Records before Earache. Peaceville's owner, Hammy, was very interested in signing us but he said he would be limited in how much he could push us at the time. I think there may have been some growing pains for the label, but I really don't recall specifically why he felt we could do better somewhere else. He was bummed that he couldn't do more at the time. We were too! He seemed like a super nice guy and it would probably have been a good fit! Our relationship with Earache was hot and cold and ultimately there was little to no push for us here in the US, which was very disappointing to us. We really wanted to freak people out here at home but we had to continue playing the shows we could get on our own within a few hours of home. Again, outside of Florida there really was no big market for metal in the Southeast. We played here in North Carolina but the only other cities we had much of a presence in were Atlanta, Nashville and Richmond.


Early days...


What was on your mind when you entered Reflection Sound studio in order to record 'Condemned'? Did you already know what kind of sound you wanted to get?

I remember bringing in samples of sounds we all wanted to get from our instruments as a sort of pre production exercise. The producer said that we were all after pretty different things. I think he said it sounded like we wanted five different albums. We have never been on the exact same page regarding the kinds of tones we want as "a band". Guitarists are very picky about their guitar tones and I understand that completely. I have always been able to think of metal albums as a whole and as a drummer I have never drawn a line in the sand as a way of saying "This album can sound great but I refuse to give up on this particular aspect of my sound". Guitarists have to have this thing or that thing in their tone in order to feel right when playing. I can empathize with that. If I can't hear myself well I have no idea if what I'm doing sounds right. However, I can almost never hear myself very well so I am more accustomed to letting go of that attachment. I play by feel as much as anything else because I can't hear the nuances when we play as a unit.

Reflections Studio in Charlotte, North Carolina was by far the most impressive studio I have ever entered. The control room looked like the bridge on the USS Enterprise from Star Trek only in wood instead of metal and carpet. At that point in time we all believed global conquest was well within our reach. It seemed as though our trajectory was on a solid and very maintainable upswing and we were about to record our first album in style, man!

I have always loved being in the studio as much, or more than almost any other aspect of being in a band. The inspiration you feel in your practice room when you first discover a riff or a beat that totally nails what you try to do in a band is the very best feeling. It's like a drug, but it's a motivating kind of high instead of an anchor that ties you to the sofa to binge watch "fail" videos. Being in the studio is where you put all of those special moments together to document what you have dedicated your life to for so long. It's the Big Payoff. Our time at Reflections was very special. It was where five court jesters got to feel like kings for about two weeks.

Mark Williams was producer for 'Condemned' during the sessions, how did you work with him? How much did he influence you?

Mark was incredibly easy to work with but he really didn't have much creative input during the process. Underground metal wasn't his thing. Back then it wasn't anyone's thing who worked in a studio. Underground was still "underground" and Reflections had done a lot of pop, light rock and gospel acts. We may have been one of the first, or possibly the very first metal act to do a full length album there. Mark had a great, patient temperment for the studio and he was pretty damned funny, too. It's nice to feel like the person recording you is part of the gang and he adapted to us right away.

I mastered an album with another band a few years ago in the Charlotte area and Mark happened to work in the same studio. It was great to see him again after so many years. I had an opportunity to bring home the original two inch reels that 'Condemned' was recorded on and I have them in our basement here at home. It's comforting to have them. It feels like something from an archeological excavation. The cases are huge and there are four or five of them.

Confessor - 'Alone' (Official live, 2005):


What happened when you finally had your first full-length album at hand? How much did it change you, and how soon did you get recognition?

Confessor had already built a reputation through the demo tape trading scene. Back then underground metal was very much like the hardcore scene in that fanzines and tape trading were the genre's lifeblood. We were already known as this anomaly from the Southeast. This area of the country is kind of mysterious to people who have never been here. It's the one area everyone is allowed to look down their noses toward and since humans need to feel superior to other people we tend to take advantage of those opportunities every chance we get. The Southeast is constantly the butt of jokes, but people either laugh at or fear things they don't understand. Any time something pops out of this part of the country that can't be made to look bad on television people don't know how to react. I think it all added to our mystique. Reactions to our album were very much the same as the reactions we got live. Some people couldn't deal with our extremities: vocals, bizarre rhythms and compositions. Other people were totally floored. Years later it's those positive reactions that seem to have persisted. It has been extremely encouraging and rewarding to learn that so many people have thought of us as a unique or special part of their collection. Sometimes I'll run into someone who says we changed the way they thought about music, and that is the highest compliment of all.

As I understand it, you headed out on your first European tour soon after that. It was a huge deal, but can you tell us about some central events of this journey?

That first European tour was the infamous "Gods of Grind" tour. It was enormous for us. Not only was it precisely what we wanted to be doing, but it was in the very best of circumstances. That was a luxurious way to go for a first tour! Every night was sold out, so a lot of people got to see us who we could never have reached before. It's true that we were not a band like Entombed or Carcass, but we were never going to be a band that fit any bill perfectly. There would have to have been a festival of metal misfits for us to have totally fit in. Gods of Grind was an amazing opportunity for us. We were Earache's newest buzz band so we made it onto the bill. By the time Gods of Grind in America was coming together Earache had partnered with Columbia Records and one of their bands took our slot. It was a punch to the gut for us as we had all been chomping at the bit to get a chance to show the rest of the States what Confessor were about. Fortunately the Gods of Grind tour in Europe was such a wonderful experience that it overshadowed the disappointment of not getting the same opportunity here.

I have always enjoyed traveling, and we saw quite a bit of Europe during the Gods of Grind tour. It was such a cush experience! We would roll into the venue at lunch time, get situated and then I would walk around, sometimes for miles just taking everything in before going back for soundcheck. Once we were on mainland Europe the tour was catered so every night we had great food, too. We played first, and by the time we got our showers in after our set Entombed or Carcass were ready to take the stage. Both bands were great but Carcass were superb, night after night. I felt like they were the heaviest band I had ever seen, every time they took the stage. Everyone on that tour was easy to hang out with, as well as the road crew. It seemed too good to be true! We have been able to see the guys in Carcass a few times in the last few years as they have continued touring, and it is always such a good feeling to reconnect with them. They were the ones we spent the most time with on the tour and they have remained genuinely friendly and open over the years. It's so nice to have Carcass out there. I think of them as underground's Judas Priest. They are serious, extreme, tasteful, and like Judas Priest, they make it all fun more than anything else.



Steve, Confessor also got on to the Earache compilation 'Gods Of Grind', did participation in this split help the band as well? You know - the company of Cathedral is okay, but Carcass and Entombed is another thing, especially when you play a technical (almost progressive) form of Doom.

All of the conversations I have ever had regarding the lineup for Gods of Grind were about the tour, not the compilation CD Earache put out. It was certainly cool to see the finished product but it was mainly a promotional tool for the tour. If it actually sold well then good for them. Marketing genius; selling things to people who already own those things. If the bands had recorded new material for that release I would have a stronger connection to it. We were pretty far removed from all of that. We were just guys having fun and enjoying the opportunities made available to us because of the music we played. I should say that Cathedral live were awfully heavy at times. They could hit some of the things I loved about Trouble occasionally and that was always a welcome treat live.

By the way, when did you learn that you play Doom Metal?

When I began this interview! I have never been comfortable putting any of metal's sub genre labels on our music. Not because I feel like we are beyond labels or anything obnoxious like that, but I feel like there is a certain amount of trust you should have in those labels, and if a band doesn't really fit a label then it's false advertising. You could safely argue that we are more Doom than we are anything else, but only because of three or four songs and the fact that we have a dark aesthetic. But virtually every band in metal has a dark aesthetic. The fact that we have covered Trouble twice may point to our inspirational roots, but covers are just for fun and we could just as easily done Van Halen or Led Zeppelin. Would that have taken a little of our Doom credentials away from us? It's possible. We do our own version of a Trouble thing fairly well at times, and if that's enough for the World of Doom to accept us then we are proud to be thought of as family. We'll be happy to sit at the kid's table during holiday dinners so Black Sabbath, Trouble, Candlemass and the like can take their space at the adult table.

It seems that there wasn't a big doom scene in the US in the early '90s. You, Solitude Aeturnus, Last Chapter and Trouble were still active, Saint Vitus and Pentagram were struggling to stay alive. What are your memories of the scene? Did you feel Confessor was a part of something bigger?

Honestly, Trouble was the only Doom band that held much appeal for me. If you think of Sabbath as Doom then they did as well, but since my style as a drummer revolves around so many stops and starts and because I have always preferred being busy, Doom didn't offer many opportunities for me to cut loose. There were aspects of some other Doom bands that I liked, a riff here or a song or two there, but I would have a very difficult time playing Doom full time. I need a challenge to stay engaged. There is the music that I love to listen to and then there is the music I love to play, and there is a huge difference between the two.

My favorite heavy band is, and has been Godflesh for a long time. That may strike some people as strange since Confessor are so much more intricate than Godflesh, but it's true. They are slow like Doom bands, but does Doom accept them? I really like parts of Celtic Frost's, 'Monotheist' and tracks here and there from Triptykon, but are they included in the World of Doom? Are either of those bands part of something bigger? The thing I loved so much about Trouble was how emotive their riffs were. We shoot for that often but so much of what we do is far more punctuated with accents and rhythmic changes than what Doom uses. We are often more like a much weirder Metallica than a true Doom band. I can't say we were a part of something "bigger", but our inspirations and our reference points were much broader than the sliver of heavy music represented by Doom.

Confessor - 'Wig Stand' (Official, 2005):


What were the reasons for the band's split-up in 1994?

Ivan was the first to leave the band after recording 'Condemned'. He joined only six months or so before we recorded 'Condemned' and he decided to attend college a few hours away perhaps less than two years later. Chris Nolan took the open spot and within six months or so we played a show to say "farewell" to Ivan and to welcome Chris into the band. Ivan played a set of four songs, Chris played a set of four songs, and then we closed the night playing a longer set with Confessor's original lead guitarist, Graham Fry. Our vocalist, Scott had been in a second band for awhile and he decided that would be his last show with us. We knew he was on his way out but we had no idea he would announce his departure at the show. I always believed that he and Ivan were most disappointed by the way Earache handled things with us and they never seemed to be altogether there at practices once we realized that we would have to find another label. Whether it was the fact that we would have had to work harder to find another interested label or something else I may never know, but they were deflated and it showed.

We all anticipated picking up the pieces and continuing on as Confessor but it took us two years to find a singer who was willing to stick around and in that time everything about underground metal changed. It was suddenly a profitable market and labels seemed more interested in cookie cutter bands that were safe investments. Our brand of metal was too much of a risk and nearly all of our appeals to labels resulted in the obligatory "We are uninterested in signing you", or the puzzling "We do not feel your music is a good fit for our label at this time" form letters. I think that second example was the form letter Earache sent us. Eventually we decided not to carry the baggage of "Confessor" anymore, especially since the new lineup was not producing the same kind of music that made Confessor so unique. We became Fly Machine, and though we played many leftover Confessor riffs at first the band quickly evolved into something very different. I never realized how different we had become until Confessor got back together in the early 2000's.

The band gathered again in 2002, after the passing of Ivan Colon: did you feel the necessity to say a final farewell in this way? How did you organize this gig?

Actually, friends of Ivan's put his benefit show together very quickly after he passed away. We were contacted by them and never hesitated in saying "Hell yes!" to the invitation to play. Raleigh is a town that has been growing consistently for fifty years but is still small enough, more so in 2002 than now, that everyone within the music scene knows each other. Especially in our little metal realm. The benefit was a celebration of Ivan's free spirit, which anyone who knew him understood to be his defining characteristic. The show itself was unlike any I have ever played.

Several years had passed since Confessor had played live and the benefit show would have been a big deal even without extenuating circumstances. Seeing all of the old, familiar faces made the show feel like a family reunion. I guess in a way, it was. You have your biological family, and then there are all of the other people you know who flow in and out of the circles you develop as an adult. In a small music scene like ours you really do get to know several people. When we took the stage that night I noticed that all of the people who came to see every one of our shows years before were in the exact same spots next to the stage or at the edge of the pit that they used to claim. It was such a comfortable, familiar experience. I had the best seat in the house! I could see the four, far more attractive members of the band and beyond them, a sea of friends who were all smiling ear to ear and singing along to every song. Even Ivan's wife who was occasionally sobbing managed to weather the action at the front of the stage and was singing herself. It was truly a magical night for us, and hopefully for everyone there.



The band started to write new material after this sudden reunion: did you want to add something new to Confessor's sound this time?

We felt that the band had more to say and at that time we were pretty motivated to write music that sounded more like Confessor than what we had been writing in a different band. We had floated along as Fly Machine for years, and while the band had its moments, there was not enough going on at the time to keep us motivated to move forward with it. Confessor had a blast playing Ivan's benefit. That show really was the most special show I have ever been a part of, and six months later Confessor were asked to play a festival. Once again, we had a great time playing the music that was such a huge part of us all. We decided that if we were going to meet a couple of times a week anyway, we should put Fly Machine to bed and make another Confessor album. We had been going through the motions for too long with Fly Machine and Confessor had a vitality that was long missed. Soon we were writing material for what would be our second album.

We knew things would be different without even trying, and forcing things has never been our style. We added things here and there to "Confessorize" our shifting aesthetic but our template was much closer to rock than it had ever been. I think that fact made it much easier for Scott to come up with vocals, which paid off tremendously in my view because I still feel to this day that his vocals are very strong on 'Unraveled'.

The EPs 'Blueprint Soul' and 'Sour Times' heralded Confessor's return, how much time did it take to attract people's interest back to the band?

That's a good question, and unfortunately I don't know that I can answer it for you. The reviews for the album were all over the place, from saying that we picked up right where we left off to reviews claiming that we were a completely different band. There is even disagreement within the band over those two viewpoints. In ways, the second album immediately put us in a very familiar spot because very few people knew what to do with the album, or how to label it. We do love our labels, don't we? I always understood that many people couldn't get a handle on what we were about, and I certainly understand why. It shows how polarizing a band that travels off the beaten path can be. I don't mind the fact that we are an acquired taste. I was inspired to play music by bands I felt were unique and made me think about what kind of music I might want to play. Our sound is not for everyone, but there are very few bands who are so readily acceptable to the masses that I have ever appreciated.

You were at the studio together again after almost ten years, but with new guitarist Shawn McCoy. How did the 'Unraveled' sessions differ from the ones for 'Condemned'?

Honestly, the experience at Reflections Studio recording 'Condemned' was something very special for us and will likely never be equalled. The studio was hands down the most impressive studio space I have seen. It was our first album and we were justifiably giddy with excitement and naive. By the time we were recording 'Unraveled' the entire music world had gone digital. The enormous room at Reflections with its thirty foot high ceilings and oak panelling and oak baffles had been replaced with plugins and simulators. All of Reflections' magic had been reduced industry wide to a library of one size fits all programs that anyone could carry in their hands.

Aside from everything being a small, digitized version of what we were accustomed to, everything else was familiar. We had roughly the same amount of time to record, four days, and three days to mix down. I think there were a couple of digital edits that were made recording 'Unraveled', but we still played live until the drums were right and then filled in the guitar and bass after that. Scott still recorded later in the evenings after we had all left, just like at Reflections.



'Unraveled' was released in October 2005 by Season Of Mist - did it help you to gain back Confessor's position?

It's hard to say because everything was so very different by the time 'Unraveled' came out. There was more of a feeling of community when 'Condemned' came out and virtually every band writing music like that was still part of the underground. I think there was a higher percentage of metal fans who knew who we were in the early 90's than when 'Unraveled' came out in 2005, but there were not so many bands to compete with twenty five years ago. I know putting the album out with Season of Mist helped keep us relevant because we would probably have slipped into complete obscurity without it. It certainly got people interested for a bit in what we were doing and what we might do at the time. Hopefully waiting well over a decade between releases will really pay off this time.

How would you summarise Confessor's message on 'Unraveled'?

We tried at first to write songs that fit the Confessor mold established with the demos and solidified with the release of our first album but truth be known, we had very different standards when we wrote 'Unraveled' based mostly on the fact that we had a different lineup. Our main songwriter was never completely in his element playing the kind of metal that put Confessor on the map. He was much more of a Sabbath inspired guitarist than a truly metal guitarist. Also, the off time rhythms we were known for were a source of anxiety for him live so he avoided writing riffs like that. When Graham Fry was our main riff writer, Brian was very comfortable following along even though we wrote music that pushed him farther than he would have pushed himself. But once he took over more of the responsibility of writing our songs Brian made sure he reduced his own stress levels by sticking to his comfort zone. Our other guitarist at the time, Shawn McCoy, wrote in a very different way from Brian and we never could meld their styles well within the same song. Eventually we ended up with songs that Brian and I collaborated on and songs that Shawn and I collaborated on and they really do sound like they were written by different people. We still wrote big, thick riffs for 'Unraveled' that were true to a certain side of Confessor but they lacked the space that allowed me to play around with rhythms and be the kind of drummer I was when we were discovering the kinds of things that turned us on. That album showed who we were at that particular time.



You had the 'Live In Norway' video in 2006, but after that the band's activity start to slow down to zero. What happened? Was it just because of Scott's work?

Scott moving to China was a big part of it, but well before that happened our guitarist, Shawn, quit and moved about three hours away. Within hours we had our old guitarist, Chris Nolan, back in the picture but he had a lot of new material to learn, and just as much old material to relearn. Confessor has had people quit, or quit and come back, several times. One of the side effects of that is that we are often having to start over as a band. Even though you may be excited about bringing in a new member or changing the energy, you know that you have a year or so before you can play shows. It ends up being both a positive move and a let down at the same time. Especially after having done it so many times before. That is part of why having Marcus in the band has been such a wonderful thing. He keeps the momentum up by meeting me at the space to work on new material even when the other guys can't make it. We work well together.

It's said that you're already working on new material for the next Confessor album, what drove you to start writing again?

I think our motivations were different from one member to the next but there was a shared notion that we had much more to say as a band. Personally, I felt that I never had enough room to be consistently creative on 'Unraveled' and I wanted to have another chance to turn heads as a drummer but more importantly, I wanted Confessor to continue writing the kind of envelope pushing music we were known for to cement our position as one of metal's most unique oddities.

Can you already tell how much of the old Confessor is in the new material? Is it still that technical Doom metal you're known for?

We all talked about what kind of album we wanted to write at this time in our lives and we were united around the principle of writing an album that picked up where 'Condemned' left off. We felt like that most accurately reflected our desire to challenge ourselves. In the same way I am uncomfortable putting labels on our music for fear of creating expectations for fans that we could not, nor would we necessarily be interested in satisfying, I believe that there are certain things that should be represented on any Confessor album. Just as it felt so familiar and revitalizing to play Confessor songs again when we got back together in 2002, it is almost cathartic now to push similar boundaries both as a band and as a musician writing for this next album. There are far more opportunities for me to create patterns and polyrhythmic beats than were available during the writing of 'Unraveled' and I truly feel like I am in my element. As was the case with both previous albums there will be mid tempo songs, slow, Doom inspired songs and faster, higher energy songs. All with the traditional twists and off time punches that made our music stand out as unconventional and experimental in the World of Metal.

I am not sure that we would be able to pull it off were it not for Marcus joining the band in 2012. He has brought an energy that has made those kinds of practices where you hammer something out for hours until you get it right possible again. When members grow weary of the grind everyone begins to tune out and it takes something pretty big to shake things up again. We have been there several times over the years and I feel like with Marcus we have finally been able to build up a sort of enthusiasm that has been both sustaining for us, as well as lasting. Marcus and I work very well together so the two of us have taken on more of the responsibility to write this album. His background as a guitarist is different than that of any of our other guitarists in that he truly comes from Metal, so there is automatically less of inclination to write rock riffs. That provides more of the kinds of moments in which I can push my creative side. That is part of what has been so rewarding about this process and this part of our journey; I feel much more at home as a musician. There is room for the kinds of things I do naturally and because of that I am much more comfortable with my contribution because I have a much more intuitive grasp of what needs to be done, and how I can apply the things that interest me as a drummer. I have been excited about this for quite awhile and I can't wait to unleash it upon the world!

Confessor - 'Live' (Rome, 1992):


Can you reveal how soon, and on which label, the new album will appear?

Right now all I can say is that we are nearing the end of the writing for the album and that hopefully we will be recording next summer. Beyond that there is nothing definite to report. We have a few labels in mind but we aren't quite at the point where we need to figure that out yet. We are putting the last few songs together now, but those things still take a long time. After that, Scott will have his round with the material and if we need to make changes to accommodate the way vocals alter our focus, we will. It's a long process, but since Scott lives so far away and has so much on his plate, it's what we have to do to accomplish what we set out to accomplish. Honestly, we are really just incredibly happy to be able to write another album together, both for ourselves and for everyone who has ever appreciated the kind of music we love, and the fact that we try to approach things from a slightly different angle.


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Interviewed on 2018-10-30 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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