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As debut album 'Metamorphoses' aproaches launch, Comrade Aleks approaches Marrowfields founder Brandon Green to get the back story of both band and album.

Interview with Marrowfields.
"Marrowfields is a relatively new band from Newport, Rhode Island. It was started solo five years ago by Brandon Green, who already played in melodic Death Metal act Withered Sun and melodic Death/Doom outfit The Fateful Hour. Soon after founding Marrowfields, Brandon managed to gather a full line-up and switch to guitars and lyrics. The shaping of a full-length album took time, but the debut 'Metamorphoses' - loosely based on Ovid's work - turned out to be a remarkable release. It's epic level atmospheric Doom metal with lots of strong sonorous vocals, tempo changes and very fluid compositions. The album should be released by Black Lion Records on April 24th and I encourage you to seek it out, whatever happens with the coronavirus panic."

Marrowfields: Brandon Green (guitars), AJ Grimes (drums), Ken Gillis (vocals), Josh Moran (guitars), Tim Cabral (bass).

Hi Brandon! How are you? What's going on in the Marrowfields camp?

Hello! I'm doing very well. Things are moving along in the Marrowfields world pretty quickly. We've got the new album coming out in April on Black Lion Records, which we're extremely excited about. Their team is doing a great job with their roster, and we can't wait to see how things develop. We're already working on new material as well, so we can follow up to our debut and keep the momentum going.

I've just found that Black Lion Records have delayed all their current releases, did they set a certain date for release?

Our release is fortunately right on schedule. April 24th should still be the same release. The label is offering free shipping until the release date.

However, let's hope for the best! Can you reveal details of Marrowfields' new album? Will it keep the same spirit as you've engraved in 'Metamorphoses'?

There's a lot of the same spirit, but we're experimenting with some riffing seen in old school 90s death metal on top of the traditional doom and black metal sound. So far, it's been pretty crushing and we're really happy with how the new songs are coming out. We've been playing one song live already, so people who catch a show can get a glimpse then.

Brandon, it looks like Marrowfields was your solo project for a short early period. Did you see it as your side project apart from The Fateful Hour, or was it something absolutely new for you?

Marrowfields was an experimentation in trying to set out on my own and write material in a lower tuning that's more from my own influences. The Fateful Hour has a lot of people in the band writing, so things are a totally different dynamic. I never really viewed Marrowfields as a side-project, as I wanted to give it my all just as I would any other musical project I would be working on. I guess I had a lot less expectations going into Marrowfields, but it turned into something pretty special to me. At first, the project was mostly me composing the songs and my wife (Bliss Auburn, fine artist and bass for The Fateful Hour) would come into my studio and help me compose and add leads/flair to the songs after she would finishing painting for the night. The project naturally developed from there into a full lineup once I recruited everyone.

Marrowfields - 'Metamorphoses' (Teaser, 2020):

By the way, what's The Fateful Hour's current status? Is it on hold?

The Fateful Hour is finishing up recording our third full-length. We decided to refine our sound and experiment with more extreme metal influences on the third record. It's got a lot of black metal as well as post rock elements amidst the uptempo melodic doom sound. The refinement took some time, but we're really happy with the sound. We'll probably be looking for label support for that release before the fall.

Marrowfields performs Traditional Doom, on the verge of Epic, and The Fateful Hour tends towards heavier Death/Doom metal. How do you see the essential qualities of Doom metal? What attracts you to this genre?

The melodic European doom metal sound is something I grew up with, so I have a hard time getting it out of my playing, haha. I love emotional music, and something about doom metal totally scratches that itch for me. For essential qualities in doom, I love when bands let things breathe and aren't afraid to use repetition and slowly develop a mood or atmosphere. I tried to experiment with repetition and atmosphere all over the first Marrowfields record. For me, as long as the music is honest and powerful, I'm most likely going to connect to it. I think a lot of doom bands hit that mark, and when they do, it's pretty special. Some of my favorites are My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Anathema, YOB, Candlemass, Rapture, Paradise Lost…there are many others but those are constantly in my rotation.

I guess you hit bull's-eye with this description for Marrowfields! You started Marrowfields alone, did you also have the lyrics done before the other guys joined you?

I did have an idea for what the lyrics were going to be when I first started the project. I knew I wanted to do a concept record loosely inspired by some of the stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Many other epic poems have been covered in metal, but I thought this one would be really fun to traverse. The album explores subject matter involving transformation, the creation and demise of mankind, punishment of gods; I wanted to create a sonic landscape that sounded just like these moods. Each song was carefully written to portray these concepts, and I kept the lyrics very vague to allow the listener to explore that world with the music. The lyrics are definitely open to interpretation, but it's been fun hearing some people's take on what the songs are about.

What was your first encounter with Ovid? I'd like to add that Italian Prog Doom band The Black has the album 'Gorgoni' (Black Widow Records, 2010), with lyrics in Latin built around Perseus' story and some other themes from Metamorphoses.

My first encounter with Ovid was during a poetry course I took as an elective in college. I fell in love with the story, and with other epic poems as a result. I've always been fascinated with folklore and myth, and Ovid's Metamorphoses seemed like a great opportunity to start creating something new with soundscapes inspired by the stories.

By the way, how fast did you manage to gather a full line-up? And how did you find Ken? His vocals are amazing, they perfectly suit these songs.

The full lineup came together pretty quickly. The New England area of the US is full of musical talent and a lot of great bands. I'm fairly active in The Fateful Hour and for a number of years playing live I met a lot of excellent musicians along the way. When I decided I wanted to make Marrowfields a live endeavor, I contacted some musicians in the scene I highly respected and thought would nail the sound I was going for. I knew I wanted clean vocals, because while I love harsh vocals, I thought the presence of soaring epic cleans would serve the sound of the poetic nature of the songs in a more emotional way. I met Ken years ago when he was singing for Dreaded Silence, and I loved his voice then. I wasn't sure if he would be into it, but the first recording session we had went amazing and we knew he was our guy. He's created a totally new dimension to these songs and as a band, we couldn't be happier with them.

You had four out of five compositions demoed in 2016, and yet 'Metamorphoses' isn't seeing the light of day until now. What happened?

The demo was put together as a weird idea I had to share with the public the composition of these songs as they were constructed. That 2016 demo was all programmed drums, and no vocals. I mostly wanted to use it as a recruiting tool to find other musicians who would be interested in taking it further. Since then, we recruited AJ Grimes on drums, and he took the songs to a much more interesting space that serves the songs far better than my dorky drum machine skills. I filled out second guitar with Josh Moran, and he helped further compose guitar harmonies and leads on the record. Tim Cabral filled out the bass position, and helped with a lot of the composition work on the demo. Once we recruited Ken on vocals, the sound was completed and we spent a lot of time doing preproduction work in the studio refining how we wanted the record to sound. In parallel, I was also launching my own recording studio, and learning the process. I mixed and mastered Metamorphoses myself, and that took some time. A lot of refinement went into that first album, and we're ecstatic to see how far it's come.

As I understand it, you recorded everything in your home studio. Did you face any technical problems during this work?

Biggest technical problem I think we faced was the fact this was my first time recording a full band by myself. I went through many iterations before we landed on how the album sounds today. I knew I wanted an old-school sound with some of the elements of modern production, so learning those styles of how to handle the music was a process. I was also learning techniques of mixing and production in parallel of working on the album, so I would pick up something new that would make the songs sound even better and have to go back through everything again. Ultimately, I'm glad I did, because I learned so much with my own project that's served so many other recording efforts that I have been a part of.

Which albums did you keep in mind when working on 'Metamorphoses'?

I had a few references. Pallbearer - Foundation of Burden, My Dying Bride – Turn Loose the Swans, Opeth – Blackwater Park, and Alcest - Écailles de Lune. Those releases span a pretty big range sonically, but I wanted an old school sound on the record, and I love all those albums.

Marrowfields - 'Birth Of The Liberator' (2020):

Do you play live with Marrowfields?

Yes, we play live mostly in the New England area, and we will likely ramp that up this summer to support the album release. We ultimately want to support some larger acts and festivals, so we've been tightening up the live sound as best we can. We've already started performing some new songs live, and it's been great to see people responding to the music the way they have.

And now all venues are closed due to the virus?

We've already cancelled one show due to COVID-19. Our CD release show is in June, so hopefully we won't have to postpone. As of right now, so many musicians are affected by the event closures and the end of tours. If you can, support your favorite artists right now because they need it more than ever. Buy some merch, CDs, tapes, LPs, whatever your favorite things are. So many people do it for the love of the music, and appreciating them is important.

There are a few Black Metal up-tempo sections in your songs; what are your preferences in this genre?

Black metal is one of my favorite genres to listen to, and it's also one of the most emotionally intense. I wanted to fuse doom and black metal elements with clean vocals to see if we could obtain a similar emotionally devastating effect. I love how these sections came out on the record, because it makes things sound moody and atmospheric in addition to the big rhythmic sections. For black metal and my preferences, I love so many bands in this genre it's hard for me to pick. Some to note would be Winterfylleth, Agalloch, Primordial, Enslaved, and Obsidian Tongue.

Oh, those are good choices! Well, Brandon, 'Metamorphoses' differs from your first demo by one song: 'Dragged To The World Below'. Does it keep the same concept as the entire demo?

It does keep the same concept. The demo was more of a recruitment tool and a way for the internet to share in the journey of the creation of the art piece. Dragged to the World Below was written at the time of putting the band together, we just knew we needed to flesh it out to fit it on the record. We loved it as a closing piece. The song is a concept story in itself of the story of Hades and Persephone, so it fit right at home with the other songs.

How do you see Marrowfields' prospects nowadays? Will you focus on writing new songs and storming the local scene?

We've got about 11 new songs written in demo form, and have started performing one live. We're not planning on stopping, and we want to put out an album/EP shortly after our debut to keep up the momentum. As a band we know we put together something special. If anything, we'll be ramping up things as we progress through the album debut.

Thank you for the nice conversation Brandon! I hope all the problems over the virus and the panic it causes will be solved soon and you'll be able to return to Marrowfields usual activity. Good luck! Any final words?

Thank you for the interview and the kind words! Hopefully things will return to normal for everyone soon. I'll definitely be using the time for some much needed focus on all things art and music. Our debut album comes out on Black Lion Records on April 24th – pick up a copy and while you're at it grab some of the other excellent releases on their roster. 2020 has been a killer year for Black Lion Records, and there's some special stuff on their catalogue. Cheers friends, stay safe.

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Visit the Marrowfields bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-04-21 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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