Sludge doom metal group ATALA have been hard at work upon their upcoming newest album "Labyrinth of Ashmedai", due out this next year. Whilst the work in progress album has seen a long time coming, the band has gone on to release some music from it, including a mini-documentary showcasing all new music from the album. Guitarist/vocalist Kyle Stratton discusses the album in all of it's upcoming glory, darkness, and heaviness.
1. So what can you tell me about this new album?
Kyle: The album is a bit dark. I can tell you it is both heavy and beautiful. We recorded it last January 2017. It is being released on Salt of the Earth Records. The album has elements of anger and sadness rooted deeply against the normality of society.
2. What title did you decide to go with it and is there a meaning behind it?
Kyle: I decided on the title "Labyrinth of Ashmedai'. Ashmedai is the King of Demons, and as the fables go he is supposedly said to command 72 legions of Hell. He was also said to have fooled King Solomon, stole his Identity and took over the construction of the "Temple of Solomon". Its is also said in some fairytales he is the king of "Nine Hells" and is said to of fooled all the angels in Heaven and God into forming "The Pact Primeval ". He was meant to form Hell to rehabilitate souls but instead decided to torture souls for eternity. He accomplished this through a Labyrinth of Lies.
3. Is this album going to be a concept release?
Kyle: It is indeed a concept album. The vinyl is blue and purple splatter. I designed all the album art to go with the concept. The album also includes an 11 x 17 poster I designed.
4. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?
Kyle: It is complete and pressed.
5. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?
Kyle: It was recorded by Billy Anderson, best known for his works with bands such as Mastodon, High on Fire and the Melvins. He really helped a lot in finding our sounds and crafting the general atmosphere of the album.
6. Where are you recording the album?
Kyle: The album was recorded at Gatos Trail Recording Studio in Joshua Tree Ca.
7. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?
Kyle: We wanted to do both aggressive songs and very sad melancholy. We wanted to express both anger and be brutal and then slow down and add melody. I feel we did that. We came off both abrasive and then inclusive on other tracks. We really wanted to create a roller coaster of emotions.
8. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?
Kyle: No but we did record the drums in an interesting way. The drums were mic'd up then played back through a P.A. using natural reverb. Billy said he had done that on The Melvins "Houdini" album he produced with Kurt Cobain. Being huge fans of that album we were on board with the idea.
9. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous ATALA album?
Kyle: We started writing in about April of 2016. We wanted to do something a bit more driving. We did use some of the drone-sounding music we like, but we wanted to get to the point a bit quicker then we normally do.
10. Did you feel any pressure to follow it up?
Kyle: No, pressure doesn't work with art.
11. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?
Kyle: My favorite track on the album is 'Tabernacle of". It starts off with a drone but builds into a song. To me it has a feel similar to Nirvana which is my favorite band. The song starts with melodic vocals then goes into some more aggressive singing. The song is very simple and relies heavily on dynamics. It came from a jam as most of our tracks do. Lyrically it is a song about casting a curse on someone. Basically wishing bad intentions on another and wrapping it in a metaphor based on the occult.
12. How do you think the vibe in the studio had went for everyone?
Kyle: It was okay. There was some tensions that developed but after the tensions were quickly resolved.
13. When can we expect the new album to be released?
Kyle: The album will be released 1-26-18 U.S.A. and 2-7-18 Europe.
14. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?
Kyle: I am not sure what the future holds I like to live in this moment. But I know there are things in the works to get us to Europe next year and a couple of festivals in the U.S. Also we are continuing to write new music.
15. Is that your final answer?
Kyle: I would like to phone a friend.