Premiere: Frontierer Bring Visceral Sonic Violence on ‘The Molten Larva’
The bonus track off their 2018 second album ‘Unloved’ comes with news of a vinyl repress and an upcoming tour
Could one of the most chaotic metal bands in the world right now be exploring something slower? Scottish metallers Frontierer ”“ who released their second album Unloved last year ”“ have revealed a bonus track called “The Molten Larva,” which will be part of a vinyl repress that’s shipping out to fans soon.
The song digs deep into chasmic riffs and a devastating energy that Frontierer have proven time and time again, gaining attention first with their 2015 debut full-length album Orange Mathematics. It also brings in guest parts from U.K. metallers Employed to Serve’s Justine Jones and guitarist Sammy Urwin, but more importantly seems to offer a different direction from Frontierer. “It doesn’t sound that different to me but I think that’s because I have the foresight of what comes next,” guitarist Pedram Valiani says over email. With the aim of writing something “fun with some different themes,” the bonus track is was written after Frontierer completed Unloved in 2017.
The video ”“ compiling footage shot by filmmakers and photographers Jens Haerssens and Nick Neuenhaus ”“ is violently red and just about as dissonant as Frontierer’s music. Get the first look at the video below and read our interview with Valiani below, where the guitarist dishes on techniques, tour plans and more. Excerpts:
It’s been about nine months since the release of Unloved. As a self-released record, what has it been like taking things up a notch in terms of anticipating more sales and the sort?
A bit stressful at times but definitely manageable. And a significant learning curve which I love. We had a batch of dud vinyl outside of usual tolerances, so had to refund some records which obviously resulted in disappointment amongst fans. Bandcamp is good but it’s not a great system for processing more than 100+ orders. I’ve liaised with them and provided feedback on a lot of ways it can be improved. Overall it’s been insane, we are fortunate enough to be in a position where demand outstrips supply.
“The Molten Larva” sounds like a really different track compared to most of Unloved. How did Justine and Sammy get involved?
We’re friends with them and we just reached out directly. Unlike the first album I wanted to write a record where the focus was more on the center than the start and end. As with all other songs, “The Molten Larval” was about writing something ‘fun’ with some different themes we had not previously explored.
It’s the same with all of the additional performances on our record(s). We’ve been trying to tour together [with Employed to Serve] but never found the right window which suits both bands. Sammy came on stage at our last London show and did his parts for the song which was fun. Employed to Serve have a new album coming out in May so watch out for that.
Is this the direction for newer material?
It’s not an overarching theme of the new material but it’s another facet of the sound I’ve explored more moving forward. This song is one of my favorites to play live (we did it on the last tour but nobody knew what the song was). Despite that, it still managed to get people engaged. There are songs like “Electric Gag” on Unloved which bring a change of pace. On our latest material, I’ve been recording my guitar with the one octave down on the whammy pushed down to a lower note than what I’ve tuned to mechanically.
I’m not picking a defined note value here or set tuning, just shifting my foot until the tuning sounds ‘right’ and then pushing record. So some songs are switching tuning midway through songs for different effect. Slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean keeping it heavy either. There are new breathing points on subsequent material but I guess you will have to wait to find out!
The footage for this video looks pretty crazy as well – one’s from a smaller room, it seems and another is taken from a bigger venue? What was it like seeing people crowdsurf in a small room like that?
Oh man, Belgium is crazy. At that show, one of the fluorescent lamps shattered when someone got lifted so people started breathing in glass/fumes but the show continued. It seems to be a natural reaction to when we play. It’s not incited and that’s the best part.
That said, how has touring with Unloved changed the way Frontierer perform, if at all? You have shows coming up in including ArcTanGent. What do you do differently at festivals?
Every time we go out we are improving, challenging and/or varying on what we did the previous time. We didn’t play a lot of new material on the last run and the songs we did play were the least ‘out there’ tracks in comparison to Orange Mathematics. It’s improved the variety of the set, though and it’s slowly but surely becoming more of what I want it to be in terms of the electronics. It’s not all about the songs and sound. We changed our lighting setup this time around so it’s all triggered off of someone manually inputting MIDI on a keyboard whilst we play. So it’s like we have a second percussionist now doing just the lights.
At festivals, there’s an even more limited window in which to strike your audience ”“ sets [are] typically 30 minutes. So with that in mind when we’re considering the flow and running order of songs it’s even less ‘floaty’ (not that many would describe us as that generally) than our current sets and until this point, has meant going straight for the jugular. Because we’ve always headlined we really notice the challenge and impact of trying to cut back on what we are doing without cutting back on the overall experience. It makes us reassess how we get the point across in a briefer window. It’s too easy to play it safe and staying out of a particular song order is also part of that varying experience.
Buy ‘Unloved’ with “The Molten Larva” here.