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In Reverence

Onlangs werd ik verrast door de nieuwe langspeler van In Reverence welke in de afgelopen jaren van afwezigheid nog wel een koerswisseling door heeft gemaakt. Met ‘The Selected Breed’ hebben ze een uiterst geslaagde longplayer uitgebracht. Gitarist Pedram Khatibi Shahidi heeft mij de kans gegeven wat meer informatie over de band te krijgen en deze ga ik uiteraard graag met jullie delen.

Door: Elisabeth | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hello, how are you? I really enjoyed your new release 'The Selected Breed'. How have the reactions been so far?
I'm great! Thank you for asking and thanks for the kind words. The response for this album has been amazing. We have been so overwhelmed by lovely messages, comments and support. This is something that gives us the energy we need to continue on with our musical endeavors.

Between your last EP (2012) and the new record lies a gap of five years. What have you been doing all those years?
We struggled a lot with this album on a lot of fronts. Firstly, our band went from playing deathcore to death metal and during this process we also lost two band members. There were a lot of disagreements between the previous setup about how we should pursue our future sound. So we went from being a five piece band to a trio for the recording of this album. It ended up being more stabilizing for the band but also consumed more energy and money. We are now more unified than ever in how we should pursue our sound. Secondly, the entire way in which we constructed songs was changed. We used to write everything in the rehearsal room and it ended up consuming a lot of time. Nowadays it's all written by me with digital drums and recorded guitar riffs before it is presented to the rest of the band. This was achieved after I bought in a lot of expensive equipment for recording and saving the money for this took a lot of time.

The 'Hallucinations' EP from 2012 was a deathcore release. How come you have changed style to death metal on the new record?
The interest in doing deathcore wasn't really as it was before within the band. It ended up being the thing that almost tore the band apart when we lost two of our bandmembers. We decided on doing death metal instead because it unified us better around a common sound that we all liked. It also challenged us in a lot of ways to develop new skills on our musical instruments.

'The Selected Breed' is a concept album. Can you tell us something more about it? What is it all about?
'The Selected Breed' is basically our musical description of our world as a Darwinian dystopia. A world where the kind-hearted and weak are left to die and rot, while the selfish and evil are selected to survive through natural selection. These selected few who survive carry with them the seeds of their own destruction. This constitutes a cycle of life and death that continues on forever. In this album we focus on this theme from human perspective and giving each song a separate theme that follows like a red thread through the album. It follows the destruction of humanity in a step-by-step fashion and ends with the re-birth of the human race with the surviving corrupted few.

And how does the album cover fit in this concept?
The album cover depicts a tormented being in the middle and several skulls in the background. The tormented being is a physical representation of humanity as a single entity. With cables attached to its head, it is unable to make decisions regarding the genuine survival and well-being of its own race, leaving it in a tormented state. The cables represent something else that controls the actions of humanity, a natural law or something that makes humanity unable to detach from this self-destructive behavior. And with a huge metal orb in its stomach representing all the sins it has committed against itself and all other life around it without the ability to stop. The skulls in the background are the physical representations of 'The Selected Breed'. Those corrupted few who have succeeded to secure a place for themselves in the evolutionary chain. Those who carry the seeds of the future destruction of humanity. The amount of eyes in their eye-sockets represent the different perspectives these people have had (or haven't had) when committing the terrible crimes.

What bands do you listen to yourselves, and did they have had any kind of influence on the way you write and record you music? And which releases have blown you away lately?
We listen to a lot of bands and we use the song structures, riffs, drums and vocals as inspiration for when writing new material ourselves. Big influences are: Aborted, Dark Funeral, Meshuggah, Decapitated, Hate, Behemoth, Aeon, Dimmu Borgir, Gojira, Diabolical, Cattle Decapitation, Hideous Divinity and many, many more. We are constanly hit by new releases that really impresses us. To name a couple of these are for example the 'Bathos' EP with Aborted and 'The Violent Sleep of Reason' with Meshuggah.

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Can you tell us something about the writing process? In mean, writing good stand-alone songs isn't a cakewalk, so I can imagine writing a handful of songs within in one theme concept is even harder? Was the writing of music and lyrics a group effort or just one or two members? And when it comes to creating a song, what is the typical In Reverence routine?
Well, to put it quite simple, we don't have a specific routine. The writing process itself is just me writing some riffs that I think sounds kick-ass and then putting some digital drums on it and then filling in with more riffs or leads, depending on the song part. This I then present to the band and they return with feedback of what they think sounds good or what riffs or parts that i should replace. However, the theme concepts are a whole different story. I usually come up with these for long periods before the riffing process even begin. I present them to the band as well in the same way I do when writing riffs. I try to live myself in it in different ways by isolating myself from the rest of the world (as I did with 'The Selected Breed'). and try to see the logic of how to write the lyrics as well. Eventually, when the riffing process begins, it comes to me naturally, like a rage that have been building inside of how to try to tell this story that have been boiling in my mind. It might not be the most healthy way to write music, but it certainly makes the music become more alive and true to me.

Can you tell us something about the recording of 'The Selected Breed'? What is your way of working in the studio(s)?
We did the recording in different stages with the drums first and then guitars/bass/oriental instruments and last but not least, the vocals. We let Oscar on the loose on this one, allowing him to play as he felt like with the drum parts. The main purpose was to let him feel the songs and putting his own emotion into it by allowing him to change some drum-parts into something else. This made some parts very much alive. The same thing with Filip, but we also encouraged him to do some highs, which he didn't feel comfortable with at first but eventually succeeded with grace.

You are signed with the Dutch label Non Serviam Records? How did this deal come to pass, and what do you expect from this record deal?
We found Non Serviam Records after an extensive and tiring search. The manager Ricardo had a lot of good bands in his rooster and this made us very interested to cooperate with him. So we decided to e-mail him our promo songs and he wanted to hear the rest of the album, so we showed it to him too and he seemed to like it a lot. Our hopes were to find a label that works hard and with dedication for promoting and supporting the bands. This is something that we think describes Ricardo very well so we are super proud and happy to work with him and Non Serviam Records!

Currently you have no bass player and no second guitarplayer in the band, since former bass player Dennis Morgun and guitarist Sebastian Wedholm are not in the band anymore. For the recording of 'The Selected Breed' you used session musicians. Have you found definite replacements yet to complete the line up?
No, not yet unfortunately. Because of what happened with the previous line-up we are very keen on finding the right people with an uncompromising dedication to brutal music in order to prevent further breakup of the band. We are going to go with session musicians for a while and probably even during shows for a while until we find those right couple of people for the job.

So far, if I am not mistaken, you have only played live in Sweden, right? Can we expect to see In Reverence on stages in Europe soon?
Believe me when I say that we are all dying to come and play shows in Europe! And we probably will. As soon as possible! I am currently recovering from a prolonged inflammation of my right hand wrist that have been preventing me to rehearse. As soon as my injury have healed up and we have our session setup ready then we will start looking for shows in Europe!

What bands do you listen to yourselves? And which releases have blown you away lately
Big influences are: Aborted, Dark Funeral, Meshuggah, Decapitated, Hate, Behemoth, Aeon, Dimmu Borgir, Gojira, Diabolical, Cattle Decapitation, Hideous Divinity and many, many more. We are constantly hit by new releases that really impresses us. To name a couple of these are for example the 'Bathos' EP with Aborted and 'The Violent Sleep of Reason' with Meshuggah.

This wraps it up for now. Any last words you want to share with our readers?
Yes, as a matter of fact. We are eternally grateful for all kinds of support this band has been given! We can't even put it in words of how much this have been helping us get on our feet time and again. Without your support this band would probably have been broken up years ago. Thank you so much!!

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