A New Offensive
Progressive thrash metallers Artillerie have big plans for their long-overdue first album
Delhi-based progressive thrash metal band Artillerie first burst on to the scene with their 2008 EP New Offensive. Despite some well-crafted songs and tight musicianship, the band was dismissed as being too much of a Lamb of God clone. Taking the criticism in their stride, the band got together their new line-up to begin recording their debut album in early 2009, moving away from the sound of their EP. Eradefiled, which will be released soon on Grey and Saurian records, marks the band’s shift into a darker, heavier sound that features equal parts Meshuggah-style djent, thrash brutality and ambient melody. Artillerie also has an epic 300-meets-Lord of the Rings storyline running through the album which they have hosted as a separate story with chapters pertaining to each of the songs on a blog, a concept they’re hoping will help them stand out from the rest of the metal crowd in the country. “We want this to be a complete experience for the listener,” says vocalist and frontman Noble Luke. “We’re hoping people will really be able to relate to the album better in the process.”
Artillerie has been around since 2005 in different forms and with different lineups. Tell us a little bit about your musical journey.
We started as a college band a long time ago, around 2005, and at that time we were little more than a college band. We participated in the IIT Roorkee rock competition that year and surprisingly, we won. That’s when we actually started taking the band seriously. But then, of course, like with every college bands not everyone was serious about playing and there were loads of other problems. We had no jam space, everyone had different ideas on where the music was going… there was no focus so we disbanded and everyone went their separate ways. Then, after a lot of waiting around I met Raul [Belgard, guitars] in 2007 and I tried to take the band forward. We recruited Alvin [Jose, guitars] and Raj [Das, bass] and Deepak [Kumar, drums] and we released our first EP New Offensive on an RSJ split CD. Deepak quit in 2008 and Puneet ”˜Punti’ Rajput replaced him on the drums early this year. That is the line-up that’s carried on since then and who recorded the new album Eradefiled.
You sound has also had a very noticeable shift from your EP to the new album. Is this a result of the line-up changes you’ve had or was a conscious change?
Well, sound change was quite a conscious effort all the time because we keep thinking of what we could do new with our sound. Alvin is the guy who usually writes all the riffs, Raul is more towards the solos and harmonics side and I do most of the writing part. Alvin has been coming up with some great ideas of late and so we have been able to forge a very new and fresh sound. We are still working on new stuff; let’s see how it comes out.
What were your principle influences in putting together the sound of the band?
Personally, I like vocalists like Jens Kidman, Randy Blythe ”“ not so much now but he used to be a big influence.
And that’s also been a major criticism of the band hasn’t it, the fact that you sounded too much like Lamb of God on your first EP?
In a way that was a very good thing; it helped us to break away from the mould we were in earlier. One of the first songs we’d ever written, called ”˜Bombs Away,’ with a Pantera-style sound, was what we started with when we were still a college band. Then, after a break when we got back together, everyone had a lot of ideas and we were still looking for our sound at that time. That’s when the Lamb of God influence happened because then it was very fresh and new. Alvin was the guy who pitched very hard that maybe we should try stuff like that and break away from what we were doing then. I don’t think we were too much like Lamb of God because, in my opinion we didn’t play anything as good as them. I don’t know why people came up with that clichÃ©, but it’s a good thing because it helped us break away from what we thought of metal and helped us grow so it was a good stepping stone.
You went from that sound on your EP, New Offensive, to a more djent-based Meshuggah influenced sound for your new album. At least that’s what comes across on the singles you’ve released. What prompted that?
Not so much I think, because the djent bit is there but I still say we don’t play anywhere as close to how well Meshuggah plays, so for us to say they are an influence; it just won’t be doing them any justice. Of course, we listen to their music but we listen to other stuff as well. Everyone has their own influences and favourite bands. For example, Alvin listens to a lot of Gothenburg metal, Raul also listens to a lot of Gothenburg but also quite a bit of Dream Theater and bands like that because he’s more into the technicality of the music. And of course all of us listen to a lot of djent music and Meshuggah. What we’ve tried to do on this album is not step away from out USP, which is being melodic. We don’t want to be all-out djent; we want to have some melody, but at the same time it has to be brutal and relatable
How long has your album, Eradefiled, been in the works?
It’s been about four months actually, but we started with our new drummer, I think, in about April last year. So we started jamming with him because we had a different drummer before that, but then he had to leave. But it’s great; we are working on new songs even now. We’ve already started putting together new material for our next album.
Is there a storyline running behind this album or are they just independent songs that you put together?
Well, the music, all of that just written by just the guitarists with no real theme in mind but when the bits came up where I had to write the lyrics, there was a concept that we were following. I’ve been blogging about it on the Artillerie blog. What I am doing right now is putting up chapters to a story on the blog. Hopefully when people listen to the songs and then read the blog, they’ll be able to relate what’s happening on the record with the story. It’s something new we’re trying; we’re creating a world around this album, complete with powerful fictional characters.
So do you have a tentative date for the album release yet?
We had originally planned for this month but I don’t think that’s working out, so we’ve pushed the dates further. It’s most likely going to be a June or July release.