Breaking New Frontierers: Metal Act Plans Debut Australia And Southeast Asia Tours to Promote New Album
Among the top torchbearers of chaotic metal right now, Scotland/U.S. band Frontierer will also perform in Europe to promote ‘Oxidized’
A quick glance at metal/mathcore band Frontierer’s Bandcamp page really tells you a lot about their fanatic following. Not a single piece of physical merchandize is available any longer and that’s been the case every time Frontierer has something new to offer up – cassettes, vinyls, CDs and T-shirts.
When their third full-length album Oxidized released in October last year, the quintet – who have members based in Scotland and the U.S. – hit the top of the Bandcamp Metal sales and Oxidized ended up among the top 10 highest-selling records across genres on the platform. Around the time, they began pre-orders after dropping their bone-crushingly dissonant single “Glacial Plasma” in August, and 500 vinyl copies were sold out in about two hours. “We did a repress for the album before it was even out,” says founder and guitarist-producer Pedram Valiani.
Over a video call from Edinburgh, Valiani says in a fairly straightforward manner about their trajectory in heavy music, “I think any band would be disappointed if they didn’t see growth every time they put out a record […] It’s really hard not to grow.” Being a band that takes charge of merch themselves, Frontierer have “more than doubled” the amount of orders for Oxidized, which follows their 2018 album Unloved and their breakout 2015 debut album Orange Mathematics. There are a few issues Valiani has with Bandcamp as a merchant platform, but he believes that these will be addressed. We think that might perhaps be due to the music platform being acquired by video-game maker and software company Epic Games in March this year. “I’ll hold out [hope] for potential changes,” the guitarist had said in our 2021 interview.
Oxidized more than lives up to the hype that Frontierer fans have fomented over Bandcamp and the millions of cumulative streams. Gnashing through 16 tracks, songs like “Heirloom” set the dissonant, chaotic tone right from the get-go, while “Corrosive Wash” moves with a punk energy that literally sounds corroded. “Opaque Horizon” dials up on the whooshing, wah-pedal employing guitar experiments, while also getting a lot more anthemic. There’s a bit of familiar tech-metal energy on “This Magnetic Drift” that recalls Meshuggah and “LK WX” is seemingly a nod to the madcap yet menacing songwriting of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan.
None of this is to say that Frontierer don’t splatter their own signature mathcore/noise metal sound across the album – “Southern Hemorrhage” is a perfect example of that rattling, intensely mind-bending progression that no one can likely predict. They push the envelope further with electronics, like on the warbled, noisy “SVVANS” and “Glacial Plasma.” Frontierer invite fellow mathcore flag-wavers Ion Dissonance on “Removal of the Copper Iris and the Lightning Pill,” a brutal yet shadowy track, and then drop us into mayhem with “The Damage and The Sift,” which draws from a piercingly loud yet hypnotic guitar lead. Process-wise, Valiani says he has no rules about using (or reusing) techniques for his songwriting. “I’ll reuse whatever I want until I feel bored with it,” he says.
The band will finally get to take the album out on the road this year, starting with shows and festivals in July in Europe. Frontierer are scheduled to stop by at festivals such as Tech Fest in July, plus ArcTanGent in August. In October, they head out to Australia for their first ever run of shows in the country. Valiani says they’d all separately learned their parts from Oxidized entirely during lockdowns. He adds, “But there’s still a lot to learn and a lot of live implementation work to be done so that it sounds tip-top.”
Vocalist Chad Kapper, who lives in the city of O’Fallon, Missouri, pretty much checks out the recorded version of the songs and peeps into GoPro video footage of the song being jammed on, before sticking his headphones on to have a go. Valiani says, “We rarely ever get a decent amount of practice time with Chad before a tour. It’s not beneficial for him, because it burns his voice out. We’ve done a few tours, so he’s used to it.”
Gradually adding more sounds to their palette, Oxidized doesn’t feature drastic changes but eases Frontierer fans into some new directions, specifically with effects and vocal treatments. Even as more music and a fourth album is being plotted, Valiani says he’d like for the band to “continue as long as it has quality music to put out.” He pegs the timeline at another 15 years but adds jokingly, “Ideally, if Chad’s not decrepit by the time we’ve played all those shows and all that.”
With Frontierer plotting out a long-awaited North America tour and even looking into a Southeast Asia tour in early 2023, this band will certainly remain Valiani’s focus. His other metal project, Sectioned, will be on hold. “If it ever comes back with an album it will be in a considerable amount of time because I’m not planning on doing anything for it right now. But a lot of the kind of sounds and influences that I had in that band, I’m sort of bringing into Frontierer to keep the band challenging new fronts.”
Stream ‘Oxidized’ below and hear on more platforms.