That BEYOND THE EMBRACE do not play typical Death Metal is clear, because the different influences of the single members have come together in an absolutely interesting sound. Who hasn't heart their killer-debut "Against The Elements" yet should quickly do so. There's never been a cooler mix of Bay Area-Thrash, Prog Metal & Ikea-lead. Ralf talked to Shawn, who's responsible for the vocals.
Hi, this is Ralf from "The Metal Observer"-webzine? How are you guys doing? What are you doing at the moment?
Hey Ralf, Shawn here. We at the BEYOND THE EMBRACE camp are all doing well, just gearing up for the album's release. Practicin' extra hard in order to put on some kick-ass live shows for the CD release. We want to be able to make serious impact when we begin touring, which will hopefully be soon.
Can you tell me something about the beginning with BEYOND THE EMBRACE? How did it start?
BEYOND THE EMBRACE started, basically when I was introduced to lead guitarist Oscar. We were both songwriters and we just clicked. He and his previous band were kind of going their separate ways and he was really interested in writing some new material, different from what he was used to playin'. I play the keyboard, so we just sat down and started to write music together, we got about 5 songs together when we felt it was time to build a band. Subsequently he asked his former bandmates if they were interested and they were, so we began to jam. I decided to sing, something I had never done before, and things went along alright. The only problem was, all of our songs were written around 3 guitar parts, the songs were sounding empty without it. I thought we should use 3 guitars, so after a little hesitation, Oscar agreed and we moved Alex from bass to guitar, and picked up Adam to play bass. After that things started to roll we recorded a demo and played a bunch of shows, and now about 2 years later…here we are, it's been quite an interesting ride, I must say.
Your sound includes a lot of styles, right? I can hear a slight METALLICA-Touch and Swedish Death Metal of course (and bit of Prog Rock)...What are your influences actually?
Well you kind of nailed it. We have combined a lot of different styles and influences, because we all listen to different stuff, but all metal. The guitar players all come from the strong thrash background, (METALLICA, MEGADETH, and SLAYER etc..) I am really into Melodic Metal ala, MAIDEN, HELLOWEEN, BLIND GUARDIAN etc… They weren't familiar with the Melodic Death stuff before they met me. I bought IN FLAMES' "The Jester Race" album when it came out, and they really influenced me a lot. I am a huge fan of the Melodic Death scene, but mostly the originators like DARK TRANQUILLITY, IN FLAMES, AT The GATES etc…As far as Prog stuff, Adam and I are the big Prog Metal fans in the band, we love band like QUEENSRYCHE, EVERGREY, ELEGY. I listen to lots of shit, even PINK FLOYD and DEF LEPPARD, but pretty much all Metal. Basically we just love Heavy Metal period. We have influences…but so does everybody, we are just fans who play the music we want to listen to.
What do you expect after the release of your album? How were the reactions so far?
We hope this album does well, of course, but we are very humble, we would like to see it succeed and allow us to go on tour, that is the main goal of the band. We would love to quit our jobs and be musicians full-time. So far the reactions have been really good for the majority of the ones I have read. Thanxxx for your review, by the way, that kicked ass!! It is still real early to tell, though, where there are good opinions, there are also bad ones, so we'll see what happens.
The cover looks very interesting. Who made it and what's the meaning. It looks to me like a RUSH-cover or something like that!
The cover was done by your fellow countryman, Björn Gooses of NIGHT IN GALES, and he did a fuckin' kick-ass job I must say!! It illustrates against the elements, showing that while we can attempt to contain the elements, it is impossible to hold them all! Sooner or later they will break free. Just like the elements of the world! You can not contain them all, you have to battle them on a daily basis, in order to maintain some resemblance of life. I think the cover has a bit of a Prog touch to it, but it makes sense for us. I don't write lyrics about monsters, fantasy of killing people, anything like that. I write about life…life as I perceive it. I love the album cover, and don't think anything would fit the album better.
Don't you like cliche covers with skulls or zombies?
Well, if you look closely, there are skulls on the ground in the artwork, also a skull on the CD itself. The cover I believe should reflect the content of the album, we shouldn't have to put stuff like cliché' shit on the cover to prove our Metalness to people. (Very good - Ralf)
Seriously, your lyrics are very interested and have nothing in common with typical Death-lyrics. What's the concept behind em?
I don't consider us a Death Metal band, so I would never write Death Metal lyrics, I write about life experiences. The songs are all written about the things I and others have to deal with in the game called existence! I try to paint a picture that people may be able to identify with, but I am sure it doesn't make sense all the time. The only way to understand my lyrics fully is to take a trip into my fucking head, which is a weird place, I must say!! (he he) Overall they deal with real issues, about individuality, and it's importance…you know' not gettin sucked into the "Bending Sea" get it?! About not trading in your ideals, for society's. Stuff like that.
How about live gigs. Did you often play on stage? Will there be a tour promoting the album?
We try and play live as much as we can, some shows are better than others. The Metal scene in the US is not as prominent, so it is difficult to get good shows sometimes, but we hope now with the label that will change a little. We have not toured yet but there are definite tours in the works…so keep your eyes peeled, we may be bringin this machine to your town…someday hopefully(he he).
What's in your CD-player at the moment?
Sweden's, EVERGREY, "In Search For Truth", I really can not listen to anything besides that album since I got it. They are such an incredible band and this is their "Operation Mindcrime" It will take a lot to get me to get this CD out of my player.
I wrote in my review that bands like SOILWORK, INTO ETERNITY and you breathed fresh wind into the Death Metal genre by using different influences and "real" refrains. What do you think? Do you know them?
I have been a SOILWORK fan for years and I think they are an extraordinary band, although I am not crazy about their new record. I think modern Heavy Metal is progressing to these new styles. Music evolves, I think bands like IN FLAMES and SOILWORK take elements of Death Metal and fuse them with traditional and Thrash creating a more modern approach to Heavy Metal as we know it. I don't think this style is really "Death Metal", but that's just me. I think it is important to have hooks in songs, to make them catchy. The same style all the time gets boring. I am not familiar with INTO ETERNITY, but now I will go check them out, because of you (he he). I appreciate what you said about breathing fresh wind…that means a lot. Like I said we play music from a fan's perspective. It would be boring if all of our songs sounded the same, I need variety…and I think this album has that!
Which question would you like to be asked?
What I think about Angela, ARCH ENEMY's new singer??
What's the special meaning of the name BEYOND THE EMBRACE?
To me it means to be beyond some sort of musical confines or label. To not plugged into one specific style of Metal. Just to play what we feel, at any given time. I guess the name means something different for everyone in the band, That's just my interpretation.
What's coming next with BEYOND THE EMBRACE?
I think we will continue to progress musically and as a band, just keep listenin'…you ain't seen nothing yet (he he)
Your last words to our readers?
We would like to extend our deepest thanxxx to anyone who buys this record, and enjoys it!! We would also like to get feedback from the readers, even if you want to just say that Shawn is a fucking jackass!! It is O.K . By the way…ladies…Oscar is single (hint : hint)
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