Yesterday I wrote about how the album was promoted and how it performed in terms of sales. Today I thought I’d take a look back on the background of the album and how it was written.
The album has its origins in August 2015 when a year after The Waystone, Dan Mailer (bass and vocals) decided to move on from the band and we recruited Drop Dead Fred bassist Stevo Ellis to join the band. At this point in time the band was still a five piece and we had been writing music for a follow up album to the Waystone, we released one of tracks as a single as a taster for the new record which was Justice, Injustice however when Dan left the band this was all scrapped. We remained as a five piece until the end of 2015 and in that period, we had brought Voice in Hell into the live set, as well as started to write songs such as Afterlife, Fall of Jericho and A Night Meets Death. I had written Voice in Hell, Chris had written Afterlife and Fall of Jericho and A Night Meets Death were Stevo’s work. We had taken most of January off to begin writing the next album in full when Anthony decided to leave the band also for personal reasons.
Going into 2016 we decided to remain as a four piece and to work solely on new material, which is what we did for the next year and a bit. We put hours into rehearse and refine every little detail of everything we wrote because we knew how important this release would be for us, being our third album and it being a brand-new line-up. Much of the rehearsals were done at Pioneer Music in Colchester, with some also work being done at Unit One.
We demoed the songs, would practice the songs, play them live, alter and so on until we were happy. Saxon brought the song Heaven’s Abandonment to the table, while Stevo added to it with the intro, Chris wrote Afterlife and The Mind is Willing, which saw him perform lead vocals for both for the first time. Stevo wrote A Night Meets Death with Saxons input, Fall of Jericho and of course “Stephens Song” which was a n old Drop Dead Fred song which Stevo and Chris had done in that band together before being ejected from that band, which we turned into Frailty of the Blade. My contributions were Voice in Hell, Crisis of Faith, Alone, Behind the Preacher’s Eyes. I wrote all the lyrics bar those for Afterlife and The Mind is Willing, however Stevo helped me with some of the melodies for A Night Meets Death. Of course, we all had a degree of input on all of the material written but the original ideas came from essentially one of us having the bulk of an idea and taking it to the band and working it from there.
The ambition really was to write the best album we could and try and push it to the moon and back once it was released, and try and improve upon what had happened in the past, we gave ourselves the time to write and flesh ideas out whereas on The Waystone we were pressured by a label to do things much quicker than we would have liked.
Rolling into 2017 we were ready to record the album, having already played all of it live as heard on our A Crisis of Faith Live album, which was recorded before the album was even released. In terms of finding somewhere to record, Stevo had performed bass on the Twisted Illusion album Insight to a Mind with a Million Faces album and had recorded at Pointy Halo with Carl Brewer based out of Red Wall Studios in Greater Manchester and suggested we use him. We listened to his work and agreed that he would be ideal for the new release, in order to give us a much more modern sound to fit the new band as well as move away from being stuck in that old school bracket production wise, as well as musically speaking we wanted to move away from more of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal influenced stuff and stamp our own sound on the album as much as we could while keeping true to our music roots and I think we did deliver that, and given much of the NWOTM online scene loathed the album, the evidence was clear we had achieved that distance.
We recorded over the course of several months in 2017 after demoing the album in full, we did release the demos as a special one-off Ghost Edition which sold out in under an hour. Once in the studio and after the bulk of the recording had been done we spent a lot of time mixing it with Carl and Sheldon, adding in orchestral elements, making a lot of effort to ensure the vocals were strong, that the instruments sounded to as we wanted which is why we didn’t release the album until February of 2018, because we really spent the time on it. Chris in particular took a lead role in all of this, putting those elements together as well as the orchestrations, hidden tracks and even the track listing.
Ultimately the release was a team effort and I really hope this shows throughout the album.