Shadows in the Crypt has got to be one of the busiest bands I have heard lately! I am looking at a discography only 15 months old but filled with two full-lengths and 3 EPs! Tell us about the band’s deal with the devil and the work you are doing!
Give us a brief history of the band! What was your vision when forming Shadows in the Crypt?
The band started as just me on guitar and my friend Christian Simms on guitar and vocals. We started out just writing songs and jamming to a drum machine, and then we later recruited Steve on bass. We had a hard time finding a drummer so we put out the first CD with the drum machine. Then we got Jesse Beahler, from my last band to join in on drums. He recorded the second full length with us but he had to leave the band some time after and so did Chris Simms. We went through a few members but eventually Steve got in contact with George Loveland from the band “Decieverion” and asked him to join as the vocalist and he accepted. Then a good friend of ours, Josiah Domico joined as the second guitar player. We have been looking for a drummer ever since.
As for my vision… When I first started this band, I had just left a local death metal band that I was in for 2 years, and I wanted to continue playing heavier stuff but at the same time I grew somewhat tired of the typical neck breaking off time rhythms and ugly chords that death metal was all about. I enjoyed playing it but it got old. Every band in the local scene started sounding the same. Around that time I met Stephen Corridean (our old bass player) and at this time, I was unsure of what musical direction to go in. I wanted to play metal, but I wanted more flow and more melody. Steve was heavily into black metal and I didn’t know much about it so I started asking him to burn me some of his CDs (Emperor, Horna etc.) so I can gain some new inspiration. So I did, and I found that black metal had a lot more to offer for me than the average death metal stuff that was going on in the local scene, so I started using that style in my playing and now after effortlessly writing two full length’s worth of quality material, I am glad I did.
How would you compare the material on ‘Cryptic…’ with that of your debut full-length, ‘Beyond the Grave’? How has the band evolved or grown since then? Have their been line-up changes affecting the sound? The vocals, to my ears, vary greatly between the two releases…
Yes there has definitely been line up changes. We went from using programmed drums to having Jesse as the drummer, Steve did not play bass on beyond the grave either even though his name is attached to it. I actually did the bass tracks myself because he was too busy to commit to the band at the time and I didn’t want to wait very long to put it out. Also Chris Simms left the band earlier and was replaced by George Loveland who did vocals on “Cryptic Communications”. So between the real live drum kit, Steve’s bass lines, George’s vocals and Steve’s mastering with more of a metal punch to the end result, it sounds a lot different, and definitely more black metal than the first CD. At least that is what I think. As for the guitar music though, all of the songs on “Crypic Communications” were written around the same time as all of the songs on “Beyond the Grave”. So basically the only thing that really effected the sound at all, other than the mastering, was the lineup change itself.
What is the recording process like for the band? The newest album sounds very live, was it recorded this way or was it put together from different studio sessions, etc.? There is a large difference between the production on the two full-lengths as well…
The first album was mastered differently with a lot of high end treble and the volume is very loud compared to most albums in general. The second album does have a live sound mainly because the drums were just recorded and then thrown into my logic program raw without any tweaking. The guitars and vocals went direct. The intention of the band on that album was to fallow traditional black metal and when Steve mastered it, he compared it to one of Horna’s more polished albums. So the music is polished and clean for the most part but the production is raw… just like how the black metal fans seem to like it.
You have another EP soon to be released, yes? Give us some details on this new monstrosity.
Absolutely! We actually decided to turn it into another full length because Mike Juliano (our label owner) told us that they would sell better as full lengths. We are already working on this new album and my vision for this new release is to still keep it dark like the others but at the same time very epic and powerful… a lot different from the first and second full lengths, but it will still have a lot of things in common with them both. We have a short version of the new CD up on “metal archives” titled “Fanatical, ready to die”. These songs are the demo versions so they aren’t going to sound like that entirely but those 4 songs on that sample EP are finished as far as the guitars go. I think it would be safe to say that the third full length with be ready to be released sometime in the middle of 2013. I am really looking forward to it as it is the one I am most proud of so far.
Does Shadows in the Crypt perform live? Why or why not? How do you best describe a Shadows in the Crypt live ritual?
We perform live from time to time. About once or twice a month. I love playing live because it gives me the opportunity to meet new people who share my interests and get our band’s name out there to people who haven’t yet heard of us. I would describe our set as being a bit theatrical but not overdone. We use sometimes wear robes with hoods, with the lights dimmed from time to time and we occasionally use a banner with our logo tacked behind us when we play and a fog machine for a more mystical appearance. We have also used corpse paint in the past but we have abandoned that because we all agreed that the robes were good enough.
What other projects are members of Shadows in the Crypt a part of, if any? How does this affect the writing and performing of Shadows…?
George is still in his project called “Decieverion” and Steve Corridean actually recently parted ways with us to pursue his side project “Serpent Ov Old” as a full time gig, without the intention of playing live anymore. Other than that the rest of us are not involved in any other projects. Decieverion does sometimes make it a little difficult for Shadows in the Crypt to get shows, however we are always able to work things through. It never poses too much of a problem.
The material on your albums is strong to say the least and the added guitar leads are a great experience in a genre that often lacks solos and ‘shred-ability’. Do you ever feel like you music limit your musical ability or stay within ‘accepted’ limits of black metal? Why or why not?
I don’t feel that way because I just write whatever I think fits. If the flow of the music starts taking me off of the black metal course, I will fallow it to see where it goes… if it starts to sound corny then I’ll scratch it and rewrite what I started. I don’t ever feel like I have to fallow any trend. Black metal was invented by people, as were all styles of music. The sound of all pitches that can ever be heard has always been here. It is up to us to figure out what we want to do with them. There aren’t any rules that need to be fallowed.
What are some of challenges of being in Shadows in the Crypt? What are its greatest rewards? Why?
The greatest challenge of being in this band is finding people who are good at what they do and who can commit. Also finding time to make it work has been tricky. The greatest rewards are the responses we get after jumping off of the stage and the reason is because they all seem to love what they hear. We’ve sold enough CD’s to run up a bar tab off of their sales alone. Even on nights at a dive bar filled with only 25-30 people. We always seem to do very well.
How did the relationship with HPGD Productions come to be? I understand your debut was self-released…
Yes our debut was released by ourselves with only the money I had saved up. George knew the label owner (Mike Juliano) from years back. They are both a generation older than me and they have done tape trading back in the mid 90’s with local bands in the Philadelphia area like “Evil divine”, “Crucifier” just to name a couple. They had a circle of friends back then who were in different bands that are still around today and some of them lost touch, others still keep in contact with each other. George happened to still be in contact with Mike, so he gave him our CD and asked him if he would be interested in signing us. Mike agreed to sign us and he told us that he is glad he did, because our sales are doing better than he thought they would.
From where does Shadows in the Crypt draw influence? Science and history, religion and philosophy? All consuming and all powerful darkness, the grand absence of light in the soul?
George’s lyrical themes are mostly anti-religious ones. He incorporates some other stuff in there from time to time. He gets into the same type of stuff lyrically that is in most black metal. As for the music, I just write what seems to fit well as long as it fits the image that I paint in my mind while I am doing it. I like keeping it dark, epic and memorable for the most part. I also gain a lot of inspiration for the music that I write through paintings and images that I see on the internet or through galleries. I am very interested in art as well so I’m sure that makes sense.
What does the future hold for Shadows in the Crypt? Will there be more material released in the near future?
Well after these next 4 shows that we have scheduled, we will probably lay low for a while and start writing new songs and recording for our new full length, and while we are doing that I will be working on getting T-shirts, stickers and patches made and I will continue to be contacting online radio stations and underground metal websites for more reviews, interviews, airplay etc.
The last words are yours!
Thanks for the interview! Also thanks to our friends and fans who support us by buying our merch. For anyone who hasn’t heard of us you can check out our music at http://shadowsinthecrypt.bandcamp.com/ and we are on facebook and youtube also. Anyone who is interested in buying a CD, they are available on the label HPGD’s website: http://hpgd.comoj.com/store/hpgd048.html. Thanks once again for the interview and the support of all of our awesome fans! –SITC