Altars of Grief Interview with Bringer of Death Zine [March 12, 2018]

March 20, 2018
Altars Of Grief Interview with Bringer of Death Zine
March 12, 2018
Original Link

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

Things have actually been pretty quiet over the past year or so. We've opted to make finishing the record our priority. Unfortunately, back in May of last year, we lost our guitarist, Evan, who I started the band with. Now that the album is almost out, though, things have started to pick up again and we should be practising with a new lineup soon.

2. Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

We're all over the place, but I think “blackened doom metal” is probably the aptest description of what we sound like for anyone who's never heard us. But, there are elements of death metal and gothic metal in there, as well.

Our goal with this band has always just been to create something meaningful. Having this outlet has given us a way to express a lot of really complex moods and emotions in a productive way.

The biggest difference between this record and our past recordings is definitely in the songwriting. We've had time to grow as musicians and I think we were a little more confident going into this one.

In the past, our previous guitarist would write and record entire demos using programmed drums and the rest of the guys would work with what was there, or emulate it entirely. And, while that has certainly remained a part of the process, everyone was a lot more involved this time around and what ended up on the record feels more like the vision of the entire band. We spent a lot more time rearranging and writing new sections, exploring different dynamic elements and often changed the feel of the original demo altogether.

3. You refer to your music style as 'Prairie Doom' can you tell us a little bit more about this term?

There are a few different answers here. Most of which relate less to the particular sound and more to aesthetic and identity.

We honestly aren't the first ones to use this description, either. A very good, but no longer active black metal band from Saskatoon called Autaric used to refer to themselves as “prairie black metal”. Furthermore, our guitarist and backing vocalist, Erik Labossiere, had a band called Desecrate Scripture that used the same brand.

Back in 2011, Erik also began booking shows and promoting local bands under the name Desecrate Promotions. He did this as a way to bring attention to the local scene here, which tends to get passed over due to our demographic. Regina tends to be a speed bump between larger cities like Calgary, Edmonton or Winnipeg. Despite this, he and a number of other promoters have worked incredibly hard to grow our scene and give bands from Saskatchewan a platform. The guy has literally got “Prairie Metal Proud” tattooed on his body, and it's really just something that's ingrained in us.

We also like it for its aesthetic implications. You're lucky if it doesn't snow seven months out of the year here and winter can get brutally cold and miserable, which is pretty inspiring when you make this kind of music.

4. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer release?

On Iris, like most of our material, I tried to write lyrics that were significant in some way, but that also tell an underlying story. I tend to like concept albums in that they unfold almost cinematically and it makes my brain happy when all of the artwork and lyrics and everything is cohesive.

I've always preferred that the listener find their own take away from the lyrics, but the concept is out there if you look for it. The themes on Iris include religion, addiction and terminal illness. We also drew a lot of influence from our prairie surroundings.

5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Altars of Grief'?

Again, this is something that I've heard a lot of speculation on, from literal altars to metaphors for suicide scars?

The truth is, when I came up with the name, it just seemed to conjure up cool imagery in my mind and it really fit the music we were writing. In a way, I kind of look at each record we do as being an altar of grief.

6. I have read that this band originally started out as a side project, how much more active has the band gotten over the years?

You heard correctly, but it wasn't a side project for very long! Both Evan and I had been friends for a while and our bands at the time used to play a lot of shows together. However, things were starting to burn out with the project I was in. So, I had started writing some material on my own, which was influenced by bands like My Dying Bride and Daylight Dies. Coincidentally, Evan had started writing some doom metal at the same time. So, we decided to work together, with him doing the music and me handling lyrics and vocals. Within a couple of months, we had a lineup and a show booked and Altars of Grief became our sole focus from there.

7. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

This might sound counterintuitive, but I actually find it's the shows where nothing is ideal that I enjoy the most. Sometimes you play on a floor for ten people, or you have a sound guy who's never worked a board before and those uncomfortable performances end up being the most intense and raw. We've been lucky enough to open for bands like Swallow The Sun and Insomnium, and we've headlined festivals we had no business headlining. Those shows are definitely highlights. But, I've always found that we're most in our element when it's an intimate venue or the circumstances aren't perfect. That's when I find I'm able to step out of myself on stage and perform at my best.

8. Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

Currently, we've got a few dates planned but nothing crazy extensive as of right now. In October, we'll be playing a black and doom metal festival in Edmonton called Black Mourning Light for the second time, which I'm really looking forward to as both a performer and a fan.

9. On a worldwide level, how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal

To me, we're still just a little band from Saskatchewan. I'm always surprised by any positive attention that we've received, much less praise from other countries.

We do seem to exist in this middle ground where fans of different sub-genres will probably be able to find something that appeals to them, but it's also sort of a double-edged sword. We're not likely going to appeal to black metal purists, and we might be a bit over the top for someone looking for straightforward funeral doom.

At least fans of Woods of Ypres have taken kindly to us!

10. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?

Currently, Evan is working on a solo project called The Void of Life. I haven't spoken to him in quite a few months, so I don't know what the status of that is. But, what I have heard is sounding promising. If you're a fan of what we do, you'd do well to keep an eye on that.

Our drummer, who recently stepped in as Evan's replacement on guitar, is also the guitarist and vocalist of a death metal band called Scythra. Those guys will have a new record out soon, as well, which I can honestly say I've heard and it's fucking incredible. Can't recommend them enough.

Erik and the rest of Nachtterror, who we put out our split with, are finishing up their full-length at the moment. I imagine that will be out sometime this year, but don't quote me. He's also an independent pro-wrestler and does film work and photography under the moniker of Wikked Twist Films.

Finally, our bassist, Donny, and I are working on a project called Shoreless with Nic Skog who runs Hypnotic Dirge Records, as well as the singer for another local band called Hell Hounds.

11. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

As of this writing, I can't say for sure what the future holds for Altars of Grief. It's entirely likely that we won't be releasing any more music under this name. As I stated before, we've kind of made it our focus to release Iris, for the benefit of both those who have been waiting to hear it and the label that has invested in us. But, after this year we may be putting the band to rest. It goes without saying that we aren't the same band without all of our core members intact and anyone who's followed us probably feels that way too.

12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Thrawsunblat, Neurosis, Harakiri For The Sky, Deafheaven, Amenra, Oathbreaker, Alcest and Chelsea Wolfe were all bands that we probably would've been listening to at the time of writing Iris, and definitely still do. We've also been lucky enough to get to know some very talented bands like Numenorean from Calgary, Adolyne from Saskatoon and Wilt and Ossific from Winnipeg, all of which have had some kind of effect on us.

Some albums that I've been listening to lately are: “Tired Of Tomorrow” by Nothing, “Science Fiction” by Brand New, “Fantastic Planet” by Failure, “Below The Ever Setting Sun” by Grey Waters, “Hiss Spun” by Chelsea Wolfe, “Red Flags” by The Provenance, “Third” by Portishead, “Hope Is Misery” by Walk Through Fire and “Shrines of Paralysis” by Ulcerate.

13. What are some of your non-musical interests?

I have a bit of an obsession with horror films. I'm also into true crime, history and weird folklore stuff and I like to write when I can. I became a vegetarian last year, so things like sustainability and animal welfare have also become interests of mine, as well.

14. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

If you made it this far, thanks for listening to me ramble and for your interest in Altars of Grief. Go and check out any of the bands that I've listed above if you haven't already and make sure to have a listen to Iris when it's out.

Lastly, go see a show. Support local venues and support local bands; they may surprise you!


ALBUM PREMIERE: "Altars of Grief - Iris" FULL album stream on Noisey

March 16, 2018
We are pleased to announce some exciting news today. The wait is over! You can now listen to Altars of Grief's new album "Iris" in its entirety courtesy of Noisey.

"Over eight tracks, the quartet melds the finer points of black and doom into a truly stirring composition. Many moments on the record calls to late-era Woods of Ypres (R.I.P. David Gold) like the middle third “Voices of Winter.” There are other moments that showcase a dichotomy throughout Iris. Take the early instances of “De...

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SONG PREMIERE: Altars of Grief reveal a third song "Broken Hymns" from the upcoming new album Iris

March 9, 2018
Over the course of the past few weeks, we have premiered the tracks "Voices of Winter" and "Desolation" from Prairie Blackened Doom Metallers Altars of Grief's upcoming new album "Iris."

Today, we present to you - in partnership with Toilet Ov Hell - the third and last song premiere from the album before the official release on March 21. The new track, available to stream now, is entitled "Broken Hymn" and is yet another example of the band's ability to craft emotionally wrenching and powerful...

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TEASER VIDEO: Altars of Grief - Iris

March 3, 2018
Saskatchewan Blackened Doom Metal band Altars of Grief is releasing their second full-length album "Iris" on March 21, 2018. Check out the video trailer below:

Pre-order packs are available in our shop.
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PRE-ORDERS: Altars of Grief - "Iris" pre-order packages available.

March 1, 2018
The new album from Prairie Doom-Death band Altars of Grief is fast approaching - due for official release on March 21.

We are now taking pre-orders for Iris as well a new limited Altars of Grief shirt, and some larger packs for the true doom fanatics.

Following the acclaimed Of Ash and Dying Light split album of 2015, Canadian Prairies doom metal juggernaut Altars of Grief is back with Iris, a second full length album of devastating proportions. This new blackened doom offering introduces new l...

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SONG PREMIERE: Altars of Grief premieres new track "Desolation" from upcoming album "Iris"

February 13, 2018
Following the acclaimed Of Ash and Dying Light split album of 2015, Canadian Prairies doom metal juggernaut Altars of Grief is back with Iris, a second full length album of devastating proportions. This new blackened doom offering introduces new levels of dynamics and textures, and while it is the more accomplished work from the Saskatchewan band to date, it also carries the darkness and light personality that Altars of Grief developed since 2013. On Iris, melancholy and storytelling reaches ...

Continue reading...

ALBUM NEWS / SONG PREMIERE: Altars of Grief reveals cover artwork and releases a first song from the upcoming new album Iris

January 22, 2018
Following the acclaimed Of Ash and Dying Light split album of 2015, Canadian Prairies doom metal juggernaut Altars of Grief is back with Iris, a second full length album of devastating proportions. This new blackened doom offering introduces new levels of dynamics and textures, and while it is the more accomplished work from the Saskatchewan band to date, it also carries the darkness and light personality that Altars of Grief developed since 2013. On Iris, melancholy and storytelling reaches ...

Continue reading...

RELEASE NEWS: Altars of Grief to release new album Iris on March 21, on Hypnotic Dirge Records

January 11, 2018
Since its inception in the Winter months of 2013, Saskatchewan's Altars of Grief grew to become one of the most dominant doom metal bands from the Canadian Prairies. In its first five years, it played numerous festival and toured Western Canada on several occasions, developing a bold scenic presence and memorable visual identity. Along with its symphonic signature sound, the band is also known for weaving soaring choral arrangements with powerful, driving death metal; morose, gothic doom and ...

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Altars of Grief Update - February 14, 2017

February 17, 2017
We are excited to announce that on March 16th, 2017, we will begin tracking guitars for our second, full-length album. As always, Justin Bender (ex-Into Eternity, Third Ion) will be at the helm of this production, to ensure that this record sounds as clear and crushing as intended! 

We can also reveal now that the title of this record will be “Iris” and we are shooting for an early fall release. 

Conceptually, Iris is a story very much built on our prairie roots. Told from the perspective o...

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Altars of Grief will collaborate with cellist, Raphael Weinroth-Browne on upcoming album!

December 8, 2016
It is a huge honour for us to announce that we will be working with renowned cellist, Raphael Weinroth-Browne, on the new Altars of Grief record!

Raphael is the cellist and composer of The Visit, as well as being a member of the neofolk group, Musk Ox. He has also contributed his talents to some of our favourite albums by Woods of Ypres and Thrawsunblat.

Raphael has already given us a very moving sample of what we can look forward to and we are beyond excited for his involvement in this project...

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