Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Emerging in 2010 amidst a sea of blackened Deathcore, Australia’s Aversions Crown separated themselves from the rest with their visceral sense of the genre. Coming equipped with a variety of vocal patterns and brutal 8-string guitar work, their technically onerous sound has developed and become increasingly unique.
The band has finalized their line-up with Chris Cougan [guitar], Jayden Mason [drums], Mick Jeffery [guitar], and Tyler Miller [vocals] for their upcoming CD, Hell Will Come For Us All which will be released on June 12th, 2020, via Nuclear Blast Records.
I caught up with guitarist, Mick Jeffery, to discuss the new release and the state of Death Metal throughout the world.
Tell me a little about the band’s origins?
Mick Jeffery: The band formed around 2010/2011, and I joined in 2014. It was around the time that we got signed by Nuclear Blast Records and when we were touring hard internationally. Hell Will Come For Us All is our fourth album and we hope to get a good reaction from our fans in the next few weeks. We’ve accomplished so much in such a short period of time. We work very hard and I think it’s safe to say that it’s starting to pay off. We keep pushing to do what we love to do.
Who are some of the bands that influenced you?
Mick Jeffery: In the early days, I was into Metallica and Pantera, and then I branched off into Swedish Death Metal like Soilwork and At the Gates. Now I’m into the American metal bands like Darkest Hour and The Black Dahlia Murder. Their music is a big influence on my style of playing.
Tell me about playing an 8-string guitar and impact on the band’s sound?
Mick Jeffery: Chris and I have played 8-string guitars since the third album. It’s created the unique sound of our band. The low reaching tones, melodies, and ambient sounds are things you can’t get when you tune down on a 6-string guitar. We use them to get that low tone in the riffing parts and increase the possibility of hitting the high notes. It’s not as hard to play as you may think. When you pick it up, it can seem daunting, but once you understand the tuning and how it works, it’s just like a 6-string guitar with a few more options.
How long did it take you to get proficient at playing it?
Mick Jeffery: I didn’t pick up an 8-string until I joined the band. I started playing it when we were about to go on tour with Devil Driver and Whitechapel. I sat in my room until I got the hang of it and played it live a few times as well. Now it feels natural, and when I go back to my 6-string, it feels like a toy [laughing].
How has the band changed in the last few years musically, and how is this CD different from your last two releases, Tyrant and Xenocide?
Mick Jeffery: It’s natural for bands to evolve musically, and that is what we have done, especially when you are a heavily touring band. Those are the bands that evolve the most musically because they are seeing all the fan’s reactions when playing live every night. You start to pick up on things from large crowds; you start to change certain things up for your next CD. It’s just a natural progression.
Is this your favorite CD so far?
Mick Jeffery: I think it is my favorite and think it’s the one that the band all felt like we were on the same page musically. The entire process was smooth and enjoyable. I think as far as songwriting, this is our most accomplished sounding album. There are so many different elements on it, yet the riffs are more accessible to the listener but still has the fast and brutal sound the band is known for.
Did each member contribute to the writing of this release?
Mick Jeffery: Our main songwriter is Chris. He is our other guitarist and started the band. Tyler wrote all the lyrics and vocal melodies. We all contributed song ideas as well.
Speaking of Tyler, he lives in Tennessee, and you and the rest of the band live in Australia. How did the creation of the songs and recording all come together?
Mick Jeffery: The other guys live about an hour from me up the Gold Coast, and Tyler lives in Tennessee. It’s pretty common for bands these days to work long distance. It’s so easy to send songs and ideas over the internet. Chris can send Tyler a song; he can add the vocal parts, and send it back. We work back and forth like that. It’s actually more productive then all of us sitting in a room going over things. We then get together when it’s time to do a tour to rehearse properly and prepare. After the tour, we go home and do the process all over again.
Any favorite songs on this CD?
Mick Jeffery: It always changes as you hear it so many times when recording it and getting the mixes back. You may have a favorite, listen to it too much, and get sick of it [laughing]. As of today, my favorite is “Sorrow Never Sleeps,” which is at the end of the CD. It’s a very different track for the CD and the band as well. I wasn’t sure it was going to work initially, but we came back with different mixes and an over the top production. It’s a great song for us.
Is there a big Death Metal following in Australia?
Mick Jeffery: There is a fan base for Death Metal, but it’s still quite underground. It doesn’t compare to places in Europe. In Australia, we don’t really have any metal festivals. When we were in Germany, we walked into a train station and saw posters for Priest, Maiden, and bands like that. To them, heavy metal culture is part of their life. I’ve never seen anything like that in Australia. As much of a following there is in Australia, it’s hard for a band like us to tour. We have to stick to the capital cities rather than the regional areas. There is a great distance between those capital cities, so that is why it is difficult and expensive to tour Australia. Once you can take that leap, you have to go overseas to build a fan base, it’s a more sustainable touring environment. In Australia you can really only do six or seven nights at a time but there you can play every night.
What country has the biggest Death Metal fans?
Mick Jeffery: Germany is pretty big for all sorts of metal and Death Metal. Surprisingly our US shows have had very good turnouts. We hit small towns and cities I never heard of and saw people who were excited to see us and hear some Death Metal. It’s awesome. I have to believe there is a high percentage of people that like that type of music. I think America is ahead of the game with heavy music and Death Metal music. It was a bummer that we had to cancel our tour. I hope we can come back to the US as soon when this pandemic calms down. There isn’t much we can do about it now but look forward to getting there as soon as possible.
What does success look like to you?
Mick Jeffery: There are a lot of things on my bucket list that I kicked off, which I never thought I was going to do. I think I have a lot of success on a personal level like that. On a financial level, I would like to sustain making a living from playing music. Touring internationally is expensive. All the money we make is put back into the band to go back on tour. Being an Australian extreme metal band is difficult financially, but we have managed to make it work. We have jobs back home which affords us to do what we love to do. To one day, to be able to live off the music would be a financial success for me. I’ve done so many great things that that if that doesn’t happen, I’m happy just the same.