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Seventh Angel

Zeventien jaar na het vorige album komt het Engelse Seventh Angel met een cd, met de toepasselijke titel 'The Dust Of Years' tevoorschijn. Het is een pareltje dat gehoord mag worden. Een dusdanige lange afwezigheid, een lichte omschakeling in de muziek… het zijn dingen om zanger/gitarist Ian Arkley eens over aan de tand te voelen.

Door: Patrick | Archiveer onder speed / thrash metal

It is good to have you back after all these years! Although albums like 'The Torment' and 'Lament for the Weary' are in my collection and therefore well-known to me, many of our readers may not know who Seventh Angel is. Could you give them a short briefing about Seventh Angel? Can you tell us a little of the history of the band?
The band started in the late 80's and started recording demos and playing gigs soon afterwards. We recorded 2 albums in the early 90's and then went our separate ways at the start of '93 after touring in Holland. We reformed the band last year and have recorded a new album and played a few gigs in various countries. There is a full history on our website and MySpace.

Next to Seventh Angel there is also a metal band from Slovenia called '7th Angel', which could cause quite some confusion among people. To add to it there is a metal act called 'Angel 7'. How do you feel about the presence of bands having a more or less similar/same name as you have?
There is also a 7th Angel with the numeral rather than the word 'Seventh'. It doesn't bother me. 7th Angel actually got in touch with me to check if I was worried about it. They are entitled to call their bands whatever they want, but people know who Seventh Angel is and as the other bands are so different, I don't think there is too much confusion.

All of you have been active in other bands (among them My Silent Wake, Firefly). What is it that made you even though decide to reform Seventh Angel?
Because we became re-united as friends and felt like it was the right time to get the band going again. We were keen to start playing together once more after such a long break and it has been great so far. I am still active with MSW.

What was the goal for Seventh Angel before you started to write new material for this cd? Did you have any intentions style-wise or could you say 'The Dust of Years' is more or less an expected continuation of 'Lament for The Weary'?
We wanted to be free to make the music we wanted to make without too many restrictions. Some people have criticised the move away from thrash, but this is not a style we listen to a great deal. To us Seventh Angel was more about the people involved than the style and we had the attitude that we wanted to create something good and not be too tied to certain styles. We didn't want to do anything fake or contrived but rather do something relevant to where we are now as musicians and people.

Parochialism is a term which definitely does not suit Seventh Angel. Who comes up with the, more or less, experimental elements? And are those unusual elements things you deliberately look for or do they just show up during the writing process?
We have so many influences that I think it is just natural for us to write a variety of music and not stick to one sound too rigidly. To me making music is an art-form and the music should move people in one way or another, and this is the most important thing above style or technique.

On the album there is a guest appearance by Greg Chandler (Esoteric). How did you get in touch with them and what is it in his vocals that you decide to have them on your album?
I knew Greg from years ago when my old band Ashen Mortality played a gig with Esoteric. We lived quite close to each other and we were some of the only people making doom in the area we lived at that time. I got in touch again with him recently and went to see Esoteric in Bristol – near to where I lived. I liked the sound of his recordings for Esoteric and other bands like The Prophecy and thought it would be the ideal place for SA to record. I am really pleased with the job Greg has done. He was great to work with and he is very talented. I wanted some of his vocals on there as they are so good, and he was willing to guest on the album.

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Greg also took care of the production, engineering and mixing. In which things on the album can you clearly hear his thoughts and ideas?
Most of the music was pretty set in stone before the recording and we only had two weeks to record and mix. There was room for more input on songs like 'Abelard And Heloise' as we only had a rough idea of how the intro would go. The same applied on the acoustic track and Greg was very helpful with ideas on these. When you are recording with someone, you trust them to hear whether a take was good or not and Greg was great at that. As an example I recorded a few takes of my vocals and trusted Greg to choose the best ones. Greg also found many of the sounds like the clean guitar and some keyboard sounds.

Who is responsible for the lyrics, what subjects are included and what do you want to bring across with them?
Simon and I write most of them. Mark wrote 'Abelard and Heloise'. For my lyrics they tend to be from personal experiences and feelings. I wanted to write about things that were relevant to me at the time without being too obvious what they are about.

Early March you signed a deal with Bombwork Records. How did you get in touch with them? Have there been other record companies showing interest as well? What made you decide to go for Bombwork Records?
Yes there was interest from other companies, but I have worked with Bombworks already and they also released the demo/live SA CD. We decided to go with them as my past experiences with them have been good and I feel I have a good relationship there. They also understood that we wanted to get the album recorded and released as soon as we could.

Up till now no concerts, besides some festival appearances, seems to be scheduled. When can we expect you to be out on the road again?
We will play gigs that we are all available for and that we feel are worthwhile. We don't have time to go chasing gigs, so we just try to play whatever we are offered as long as the gig will be a decent one. We have managed to play four gigs in four different countries so far, but have had a few disappointments recently with gigs being cancelled etc. We hope to get a few more offers for next year, but we will not be playing full-on tours as we all have full time employment.

Are there any other happenings or things going on with the band or you personally that you would like me to let people know about? Do you have anything to say or add for closure?
Nothing major happening at the moment. We worked hard on the new album and are making the most of this quiet patch in various ways. For me, it means I can get the My Silent wake split album with The Drowning finished and enjoy a fairly relaxing Autumn! My Silent Wake are gearing up for a few Autumn/Winter gigs right now. Thanks for the interview. You can check out our music on MySpace and Youtube.

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