This or the Apocalypse’s Rick Armellino Discusses All New Album in BRAND NEW Interview

Melodic hardcore metallers This or the Apocalypse have been hard at work writing and recording material for their follow-up to their last release "Haunt What's Left". Frontman and vocalist Rick Armellino spoke to me about what the band's been up too and what the fans can expect from this all new upcoming release.

1. Can you give me a brief summary as how the band came to be?

Rick: Jack and I are the only two remaining original members. We literally just wanted to make a band in the vein of Every Time I Die and Black Sabbath. Over the years we turned into this band as we went through different drummers, bassists, and guitarists. Now we're something much different.

2. What's new in the recording of your music?

Rick: We used a lot of new techniques on the new record, branched out. I'd say it's something far heavier and gripping than Haunt What's Left. It's tough to come out of your first commercial "success" of a record with expectations. I think a lot of people think they know what we do and we're always trying to smash that foundation and build a different one.

3. Come this spring you will be heading out on The Haunt Of Death Tour are you excited? Will you be doing a full fledged tour anytime soon?

Rick: Yeah, we're excited. I think once the details for the new record start being released it will be easier to get an idea of how we're going to tour.

4. Your new material how different is it than your previous Haunt What's Left?

Rick: When we first started our band, we had this kind of "spit on everyone and play some goddam rock and roll" attitude that over the years developed into us being a metal band, which was cool. We put out an EP and a full length on that concept. Monuments was kind of this melodic mix of Darkest Hour and Meshuggah with hardcore vocals. It was a cool record. Haunt What's Left definitely added some structure and rock to the mix with the clean singing and chorus structures and sounded very different. The thing is, how do you come out of all of these vastly different records; do you redo something you've done? This new record is sort of a mix of everything we've ever done while bringing in lots of new concepts. One track in particular, "Power Hawk", is a fast and pissed off political track that really reminds me of the old days. I really look back on my past with a lot of nostalgia. "Rings" sounds like very much like it could have been a track off of Monuments. Overall, we played with clean sounds, orchestral noises, and electronic stuff, anything to just really add character to the record.

5. Monuments was your first release and the one that got me into you guys in the first place, but how do you think the band has changed since then?

Rick: "Drunken Billionaire Burns Down Home" was actually our first release, followed by "Sentinels". The reason you've never heard of those is because no one ever released them other than us, which is sweet. It's cool to kind of have an old history that few really know about, makes me feel like we're a real band. The band has changed a lot since Monuments. I feel like we went into that record with a really rough understanding of what we were doing, and that added a really cool element to that record. I listen to some of it and I think, "Who the hell thought of this riff? None of this makes sense." and that's great.

6. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

Rick: It's tracked and I should be getting a master tomorrow. (crosses fingers)

7. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Rick: Andreas Magnusson recorded and Kevin Lankford, or Klank, produced the record. He added a lot to the record, to be straight. He's a young guy and his brain is ridiculous. I and he were sending songs back and forth and by the time we had gone to town on them they were completely different pieces. Kevin added a lot of polish and feeling to the record, I feel.

8. Where are you recording the album?

Rick: Andreas Magnusson's studio.

9. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

Rick: Honestly, we wanted an album that made sense in a live setting, something we could play as hard as possible. Haunt and Monuments weren't always easy to pull off live for a number of reasons. Not to say we don't love playing those songs, we do, but there was always this game of "I hope this actually translates to a live setting" while we were in the studio. On this record, we knew that it was going to be something we'd have a blast doing on stage.

10. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Rick: I've done a lot of new stuff with my voice. A lot more yelling and layering, some spoken word segments that we've never done before. I feel a lot of emotion when I listen to some of the songs. As for the other guys, we pulled out a couple of different guitars and got to do some jamming on the record.

11. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous This Or The Apocalypse albums?

Rick: We have been writing this album for about a year. Losing Grant changed the song writing process vastly, I became the organizer of ideas. That's not an easy task and I do it much differently than Grant did. We'd spend long hours at my house passing guitars around and playing ideas, trying different stuff behind the computer and down in the basement. I'm very proud of my accomplishments, but not as proud as I am of my band.

12. 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?

Rick: "Hard Branch to Snap" was one of the most emotional tracks I've ever been a part of recording. I had to excuse myself from the studio for a bit. At 17 I was a witness to the violent death of several people, one of which would still be celebrating Easter with my family every year had it not happened. I was confirmed in the church with that kid and I've held a lot of resentment ever since towards religion, towards all of that. I'd like to say that I've made peace and the song fixes it, but we are who we are in the end. Instrumentally, the track definitely shows off Jack and Rod's potential, a lot. It's melodic and technical; it's what those guys do best.

"Praise Some Hell" currently starts the record and it's one of the angriest things we've ever done. I'd say that Jack put a lot of that song together; he has a tendency to use chromatic sounding riffs while staying focused. The starting lyric, "I want to see the powerless rise and burn everything you have" is something I'm pretty excited to start the album with. Somehow my band let me use the lyric, "We're all dead; you feel me?” Ha. I listen to a lot of hip hop and always tell them they should just let me rap on the music. I don't think that'll happen, but hey, you never know.

13. How has the vibe in the studio been?

Rick: Tense, to be frank, a lot of expectations on ourselves and a lot of unforeseen circumstances.

14. When can we expect the new album to be released?

Rick: Not sure, yet.

15. Would you like to say or add anything else?

Rick: Thanks for interviewing me. I enjoyed answering your questions very much.

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