Christchurch based Thrash Metal outfit DISSOLUTION have just released their debut album ‘Plague Of Violence’ and are about to open for legendary US Thrashers EXODUS at the Kings Arms on 1 October. NZRock caught up with the band to find out more…
NZRock: EXODUS are Thrash Metal legends and you’re going to be supporting them along with SUBTRACT and RAZORWIRE. How’d you score this opportunity?
Jake: We basically sent our bio and latest CD ‘Plague Of Violence’ to Sound-works touring in Australia! But then realised Gareth from RW is the Sound-works rep here in NZ so I sent him one also!
NZRock: Now that your debut album ‘Plague Of Violence’ has been released, how does it feel having it out there?
Jake: It feels really really good finally releasing this debut it is something we are very proud of.
Court: It feels really good, I’m really proud of the music we’ve created and I’m glad everyone out there gets to hear it.
NZRock: The album is available for free download and then people can then order a physical copy if they like what they hear. This is quite a cool idea since a lot of metal heads like to collect something that’s tangible, not just downloads. Was that your thinking behind releasing it this way?
Jake: Well I was truly inspired by the tape trading thing that went on in the 80’s and early 90’s, I can’t say I personally did it myself because I was far too young but I think this digital medium can be used in the same way to spread the word of your album. We uploaded our album to one website and then within days we were all over European, South American, American, Japan and UK blogs, seeing our album seeding on torrents makes me very happy as it is spreading the word and we sell the physical copy where we can at shows and Via our Myspace and Facebook page.
Brett: There’s something about being able to hold a physical product but you can’t always expect people to pay for it if they’ve never heard of you. So many people get their music by downloading for free and I think if you want to get heard, you just have to accept that you’re going to have to offer it in a range of options.
NZRock: You and Brett did the mixing, mastering and package design. What challenges did you face doing it all yourselves and would you do the same thing again for the next album?
Jake: For me personally I took care of the album’s sound. I wanted to achieve something that I would like to listen to which is in the vein of mid to late 80’s sounding production. I just can’t get into many recordings these days that have been polished beyond belief so it doesn’t even sound like a human playing it anymore so having that raw sound was definitely the key for us leaving a few mistakes in there just keeps it raw and not so over thought. For me the hardest part was the time factor as I have a full time job as a Chef De Partie and also being a dedicated guitar player I found myself playing less and less guitar as I was mixing which doesn’t work for me! So maybe next time I will just mix it and send it away for mastering, but the biggest thing was finding the time!
Brett: It’s a good feeling to be able to have a product and be able to say that you did it all yourself. The concept for the artwork came very quickly, and the only challenge for me was getting the artwork completed in time, after Jake booked and started advertising the album release show.
NZRock: I read somewhere that you recorded one of the songs ‘Two Fires’ in one take. How’d you manage to pull that one off?
Jake: We practised hard before we hit the studio and I thought it would be best if we recorded live for the vibe factor as doing a lot of overdubs can change the feel of the song all together so overall the album was done live from start to finish and only vocals and guitar solos were overdubbed.
Court: A lot of practice haha!
NZRock: Before the album came out DISSOLUTION released a couple of EPs – ‘Southern Invasion’ and ‘Thrash Hammer’ both in 2008. Are those the same as the recordings as the ones that feature on the album?
Jake: Good spotting!!! Those are very early demo’s of the album in progress!
NZRock: The ‘Plague Of Violence’ album cover is a classic It looks like it’d be at home alongside any of the 80s Thrash releases! Who was responsible for the artwork?
Jake: Our Bass player vocalist Brett, he is also responsible for our live poster work also.
Brett: Thanks! I did the album cover and was pretty keen to go for a classic look, as I’m not really a fan of a lot of modern metal album covers that go overboard with digital, photoshopped-looking effects. I wanted the artwork to convey the raw and aggressive vibe of the music on the album. The works of artists such as Dennis Dread, Away and Mark Riddick are really inspiring and I wanted to create something in a similar vein.
NZRock: There were a few songs in your set list that don’t appear on the album. They where ‘Fallen Angels’, ‘The Accursed’ and ‘The Purging’. Did you change their names for the album or did they not make it on there in the end?
Jake: Those songs are still around in a pile of arrangements those riffs will make other songs in the future. ‘The Purging’ luckily did make the album it’s the final track and a live favourite to play!
Brett: ‘Fallen Angels’ and ‘The Accused’ were songs we wote early on that we played live a few times, but which we dropped from our set as we started to have more songs from which to choose. They may turn up in some re-worked form on an album at some stage in the future though!
NZRock: Both you and Court are lead guitarists, do you share the leads equally in the songs?
Jake: Court joined the band after these songs had been written so we flicked him a couple of solos and dual harmonies to do which are for the songs : Two Fires, Plague of Violence (Trade off’s and Harmony) and Necrowitch (Dual and Trade off’s) he also wrote the clean guitar for “Evil Belle” and has been a stunning addition to our band.
Court : In the newer material yes, but most of the songs on the album were already conceived prior to my arrival within the band and I wouldn’t want to add more solo’s over these songs, they sound perfect the way they are.
NZRock: DISSOLUTION has been around since 2006, what have been some of the most memorable shows you’ve played to date?
Jake: I think playing Uni’s first “Metalstock” was one of my highlights the crowd was intense and the turnout was grand considering it was snowing!!!
Court: My very first show at the Media Club Bar, Christchurch in March of 08′. Was such a great response and a really warm welcome into Dissolution. And let’s not forget Whangarei, what can I say? speechless, the people there are brutal!
Brett: The album release at the Esplanade Tavern earlier this year is probably my favourite to date; A very rowdy crowd made it memorable! Pedals, moniters and mic stands were knocked about all night but that’s the kind of energy that we dig. Way more fun than playing to a semi-circle of folded arms!
NZRock: When and how did you get into Metal and what are your most prized albums that you have in your collection?
Jake: I got into metal from my father he was the man who brought in METALLICA, LED ZEPPELIN and BLACK SABBATH into my upbringing. From when I was 10-11 I started listening to Metallica heavily and got into the 80’s thrash movement so my most prized albums would be METALLICA’s ‘Ride The Lightning’ and ‘Kill Em All’, MEGADETH’s ‘Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying’ and ‘Rust In Peace’, SLAYER’s ‘Hell Awaits’ and ‘Reign In Blood’ and pretty much every DEATH album to ever be conceived.
Court : I reached ‘metal hood’ at the age of 13. My earliest memory of metal was KORN’s ‘Follow The Leader’ album and over the years I went through many the many phases of metal from Nu-Metal to Metalcore to Thrash & Death metal. My most prized albums that I just can’t do without would have to be DEATH’s ‘Symbolic’ album and CORONER’s ‘No More Colours’ album, both played significant parts in my guitar playing and inspiration.
Brett: Late 80s, watching Radio With Pictures and seeing over-the-top videos by the likes of WASP, IRON MAIDEN and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES! Too many prized albums, but formative classics would be METALLICA’s first four, ‘Reign In Blood’, BATHORY’s ‘Blood Fire Death’, OVERKILL’s ‘Years Of Decay’ and ANGELWITCH’s self titled album.
NZRock: What bands were you in before DISSOLUTION and do you currently play in any other bands?
Jake: DISSOLUTION is my first band but I have a personal project with my brother called “Erebos” which is quite different in style but there are no plans of a recording as of yet.
Brett: I’ve played in many bands over the last couple of decades; Mostly all metal but I have also played in a punk band or two, and a couple of industrial projects as well. Was in a band called FULL KERB with my younger brother James Jett (currently in SLAVETRADER & SOMEBODY’S SONS) on bass. I joined them as the vocalist, and we were together for a couple of years. At the moment I wouldn’t have time for any other band beyond DISSOLUTION.
NZRock: So the debut album is out, and the band is about open for EXODUS… so what are the DISSOLUTION’s plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
Jake: Play more shows, keep writing thrash metal and record another album!
Court: For this year perhaps doing a few more shows and then recording the next album. We’ve got quite a bit of music written over the last two years so I’m really looking forward to that.