Heart of Steel: Interviews


ETERNAL GRAY: Guitarist Dory Bar-Or

Interviewed by EvilG

Eternal Gray traces its roots back to the Israeli band Betrayer. Many of the members were “fill-ins” for Betrayer and when Betrayer ended their journey in 2001 some of them continued on in Eternal Gray. The band have a top notch sounding debut album entitled KINDLESS. The band flew to Sweden to record KINDLESS at renowned Abyss studios, with Tommy Tägtgren as sound engineer. The style of metal that Eternal Gray plays is death metal. I recently had the opportunity to interview Eternal Gray's guitarist (also played bass and keyboards on the album) Dory Bar-Or. I spoke to Dory about the band, their debut album, and a bit about what it is like to be playing this kind of music in Israel, the band's home country.

 

 

What does the band name "Eternal Gray" mean?

The name Eternal Gray refers to our music. It is a combination of both our music and our lyrics - since our life bares an ever-pale shade, gray is the colour best describing our musical creation. Our world is extreme and Eternal Gray is the middle. We feel Gray; we play Gray and that is the point behind our music. As for example, "Inflicting Pain" (4th song on Kindless) is very dark and takes you into another world, somehow psychotic. Then again - "World of Ice" (9th song) has a much more aggressive and uncompromising feel in it, so that is the reason we chose the middle area.

 

 

A lot of band's use, or have used, the word 'Eternal' in their name including Eternal Agony from Israel. So why did you pick such a name?

I guess "eternal" is a word that with the right connection can be very powerful and usually makes you think of something huge, endless, and maybe scary. A good example is Hate Eternal.

 

 

I'm very picky over death metal bands, perhaps more than other styles. However, Eternal Gray kept my interest for most of the album. I'm thinking this is perhaps because of your history with playing more than one type of music and other influences creep into your style??

First, I can say that every one of us came to Eternal Gray with a different history in metal and music in general. Of course, we appreciate many bands and artists in the metal field and we try to combine what we like with what we are. I can take a wild guess and say that the situation in our region is quite helpful but then again, that is not our main issue at all. Eternal Gray goes for the psychotic way and twisted mind that happened to be in everyone.

 

 

"Thanks" to the demise of the band Betrayer, both Nail Within and Eternal Gray were born. What do you think of the Nail Within stuff anyway?

Yishai (Nail Within vocalist and Raven Music owner) is a good friend of mine. We used to play together in Betrayer and had some wonderful years together, as I am sure we will in the future.

I think Nail Within is Yishai's way of making the music he is more into. As you know, Eternal Gray, that that is my favorite style...not playing the same musical direction as Nail Within. However, when comparing bands from the same style, I think their material is aggressive, interesting, and "straight to the face" as we like to call it. They are good musicians.

 

 

How would you explain to a potential fan how Eternal Gray differs from your past work or how it fits into the international metal scene?

I guess one listen to Kindless would solve that issue, that way or another. I would say that nothing is too general for us. It does not matter what you do, what matters is how you do it. I think that it is almost impossible to make completely general music or anything. We are not trying to make something new. We took the things that everybody already knows and combined it with our "Gray" feel. You can find it in every composition of the songs in "Kindless".

Eternal Gray is the corner we use to express what we think and feel, that is the main reason its dark, mid tempo yet heavy and fast. I don't know, I should leave it for you to decide don't you think?

 

 

Eternal Gray traveled to Sweden's Abyss studios to work with sound engineer Tommy Tägtgren. Why did you choose to go there and how much of the album, or for that matter songs, were ready before going there?

We needed to get away from everything and record in a "sterile" environment, we wanted our first album to be the very best in terms of sound, so the Abyss was not only our first pick but our first priority as well.

It was a great and very yielding an experience for us to record Kindless at the Abyss. We learned a lot even though we came well prepared. Tommy is a professional in his job. He is comfortable to work with as he is listening and open-minded. I also think that's the main reason that our sound is not "Abyss like". Without Tommy and his attitude it would never be like it.

As I mentioned, we came well prepared in terms of what sound we wanted, the structure of the songs, equipment etc.. You can say we did our homework and it is much as making an interview with a band; after collecting all the necessary material for the questions to be professional and interesting, reading the answers can surprise you and tell you new and interesting directions you have not think of them before. Same for us working in the Abyss with Tommy; we made many "online" changes.

 

What types of amps, guitars, effects, etc. did you use on your guitars in the studio?

We used a Mesa boogie amp with Marshall 12*4 cabinet, Line 6 Pod Pro as the preamp and distortion. Eyal used Brian Moor and I used Ibanez RG550+Dimarzio pickups. The tuning was D with six strings. As for today we use seven strings, normal tuning.

 

 

Since you have 2 guitarists in the band, did you both record rhythms for the songs? How many layered rhythm tracks are we hearing on the songs?

When experiencing the recording, you must adjust yourself to the type of music that you play. Many styles would sound just horrible when one guitarist plays all the rhythms. However, I think Eternal Gray music is very precise and tight to play, so we mostly chose to record it with one, as to make it as tight as we wanted. Of course, we both play some parts here and there. There are four rhythm layers in each song, plus a center guitar parts that is played twice (left and right)

 

What is up with the album cover? :-)

Nude is the purest and most harmless form of a human been. It's the same person there, all three is actually one that is looking on himself at the mirror in order to understand his frustration, and actually seeing himself turning his back and walk away, ignoring.

"Kindless" cover artwork meant to reflect reality as it is to every one that is looking at it. A reflection. Every time you look in the mirror the answers will come, clear as glass. As our music and lyrics are all about reality, there is a strong connection between the artwork and the songs content.

By the way, when we thought about the concept and how it should be visualized, we knew it is going to make many people wonder what the fuck it is it.. (-:   However, we chose to do it anyway.

 

 

Regarding influences…in my review of Kindless I said: "I hear some references in the music to Death (later day), Monstrosity, At The Gates, Sepultura (older), Morbid Angel, and even some of the heavier aspects of Nevermore can be found." - did I nail any of the influences, or was it just my own perception?

You nailed it man. I know that that is not the expected answer, however, we in Eternal Gray played, are playing and will continue to play whatever we think a good and interesting death metal should sound like. Combining some areas of metal together can make an album sound a bit different. As you said, you hear some references...it is not exactly like any one of them so....

 

One constructive criticism I made with the album was with regard to the track "Absent Mourn". In my review I said: "This begins with some first-rate melodic lead guitar followed by technical and busy riffing not far removed from some of the more technical moments of Nevermore's POLITICS OF ECSTASY. The vocals are what hold this back a little. If singer Eyal Glottman were able to throw in some clean singing in places like this, the sky would be the limit. Well that's how I see it with my own personal tastes in metal." So what is your take on that? I know this is just MY own opinion on things, but what would yours be? Why are there no melodic or clean vocals to mix things up a bit more?

As long as it is constructive, we are happy to receive criticism.

Regarding Kindless, we wanted to keep it in the "old school" way of death metal and not take it to the very much appreciated but not Eternal Gray style. Moreover, I mean that "New breed" style. Of course, we are very open-minded regarding developments as people and in our music, so I can not promise you that we wont take some changes in our upcoming CD.

 

 

The album's liner notes thanks Shmier (DESTRUCTION), and Peter (HYPOCRISY) for their contributions. Exactly what did they help with and how did their input come to be?

Actually, Schmier and Peter's performance in the Kindless debut album was a coincidence. While recording our album, Destruction were recording their album at Peter's studio. One night we were invited to party with them, we took that opportunity and invited them to come and listen to our album. They came and liked what they heard and we asked them to put their mark in, the rest you know...

 

 

Can you give a few words on what each of the songs on the album are about, and perhaps point out some memorable moments in the studio (good or painful) with regards to the recording of that song?!?

1. Sins in the process of creation
That was the first we recorded.

2. Flesh cycles
We recorded with a metronome most of the songs, and Flesh cycles was not among them.

3. Absent mourn
Destruction's guitarist Mike entered the studio exactly when I was recording it. I remember he liked it very much.

4. Inflicting pain
The last part of that song was an improvisation (the end of the song). Our drummer just could not stop his double bass and just kept playing. Originally the song supposed to end before..

5. There lays nothing
In the middle of the song there is a slow part with clean guitars. In order to make it special we took out all of the drums microphones, positioned two room microphones far from the drums, to make it sound natural.

6. War of chaos
As I mentioned, we recorded with a metronome and this is our oldest song, which we did not designed it for a click, so our drummer recorded it first, and after the first opening riff you have that guitar alone then the drums play again. So we had to guess, or should I say, "shoot in the dark" the exact place when the drum starts again. We did it after two tries and we were amazed by the unexpected success of nailing that part.

7. The unbelievers die
We recorded the intro in Israel, at the same day we flew to Sweden. Eyal just came to the taxi and said to me "here, I recorded something, maybe we will use it".. Moreover, we did.

8 & 9. Intro + World of Ice
This was the last song of the vocals recordings, and if we will consider the fact that we did not know who will sing in the CD (we were without a vocalist), we will understand that Eyal just sang in the whole album without being prepared and in the last song he just kept spitting blood out of his throat.. hehehe..

 

 

You have a cool website, but it doesn't seem to be updated too often with the news section mentioning "Eternal Gray's next performance will take place at the "City Hall" club, Haifa, on the 21.12.02." hehehe….so how did that gig go anyway?

Hehehe...Actually we are currently working on a new design for the website, something that takes more time then we thought. We took a new designer and the process is close to be finished.

That gig was great as all the bands that took part there playing a different style so it was interesting.

 

 

Has the band been offered any gigs outside of Israel?

Yes, we have been offered to play outside of Israel (in Greece, Germany, Holland..). Nevertheless, we were busy at that time with writing material for the next Eternal Gray episode, though we are free now and will be happy to perform outside of Israel.

 

 

Does Raven music have a North American or European distribution deal (with The End Records perhaps?)

Our American distribution is The End Records and the European is Listenable Records. Both are doing a great job and this is my opportunity to thank them for that!

 

 

How does the current political climate in Israel affect the activities of the band, if at all?

It does not at all.

 

If we watch news, we see the continued division along religious lines in Israel. Does this division carry into your metal scene, or does metal appeal to a broader cross-cultural/religious group?

We have no problem with the religious people here. We never had to cancel a gig, event, or whatever because of religious reasons. The problems appear to be rising in many upper levels yet not inflicting the metal scene.

 

 

Why does Israel have such a hot metal scene right now?

The main reason is that many people concluded that metal music is not something that they should have fear of, that leads to the birth of many bands here, some of them are really good. Israel has a lot to offer to the worldwide metal scene and I think people just need to open ears and minds in order to get it right. I can take a wild guess and say that the political climate is taking part in it and makes you want to loose yourself in that way or another. Music is the best way to do it, and aggressive music is the right one! (-:

 

 

Do you think it's any different to be a metal head in Israel as opposed to any other country?

As every place in the world has a different culture, I think yes, it may be not the same. The scene in Europe is different from the scene in the states, as well as Israel. Again, it is harder to be a metalhead here because of the lack of events (from abroad) that is understood completely, under the circumstances. Then again, the situation here is NOT so bad as people used to think and the proof is that we are keeping our scene alive and breathing.

 

 

Does Metal Hammer Israel still exist?

Yes, it is, but I am not familiar with its distribution and quantities.

 

 

According to your bio your first band was, in style, black metal. Was black metal the first style of heavy metal that you got into? If not, what was and either way what were some of the early albums that hooked you on metal?

My first death metal album was Deicide (Deicide). Before came Iron Maiden and Slayer. I was always into dark things and Black Metal caught my attention all the time. Bands like Mayhem (old school Mayhem) and Emperor (old school…) were my favorites. It has always been that, and death metal such as Morbid Angel Etc. That is the place to express my appreciation to the band Root, that in my opinion "The temple in the underworld" CD is some of the best metal ever made.

 

 

You online bio also briefly mentions your time spent in the army:
"The years passed by and I joined the army. I decided to volunteer to the paratroopers and fought terrorists (even got myself a nice present, a bullet in my leg)."
What was it like to serve your country? Is it something you wanted to do and how has the experience shaped your worldview? Did you get to put out the lights of any terrorist scumbags?

First, in Israel you MUST do your service. On the age of 18, you are called for duty and they put you in exams in order to define what are your qualifications and where you will fit the best. I served in the paratroopers unit, which you volunteer to, and do some tests before you are accepted. When serving your country, while knowing that when you do that your family can live peacefully without that fear of being killed, you actually start to like it, even love it. I just know I was a fucking war machine when serving in Lebanon and fighting those Satan damned terrorists. Let me just add, that unlike some people I love to think the Israeli army is humanitarian. I ran into many battles and situations that it was so easy to loose your mind and kill, but the education, training, and professionalism that we learned in the army and back home, helped me to control myself there. When seeing your best friend take a bullet, then a terrorist get to him and just shoot him in the head, then kick him to make sure he is dead, that kind of thing makes you think. Of course, it has changed my worldview, and more than that, it has changed my life. I will never be the same again.

 

 

Any closing comments for the Metal-Rules.com readers?

Let me just thank you for taking that time and read the above, hope to know that my words will contribute to somebody somehow. As long as we live, we will do our best to keep our way of life, continue playing Death metal and provide the best for you all! Keep supporting the scene, enjoy as much as you can, we are currently preparing the material for our upcoming CD and looking for a record label as we are free from any contract and management.

Keep it Gray.
Dory, on behalf of Eternal Gray.


Official website:
www.eternalgray.com

CD Review: Kindless

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