WinterheartH are a blackened metal band from Newfoundland. The band are releasing their new album RIVERBED EMPIRE on August 21, 2020 and are doing a global premiere of the full album right here on Metal Rules!
The album can be heard below this interview where we talk to vocalist Andrew Marsh about the new album.
What were the goals for the new album RIVERBED EMPIRE?
Global metal domination!! Haha!! One goal I always have in mind is to have an artistic satisfaction from the music that I’ve composed.
For a brand new fan to the band, would this album be the best one to start with?
Absolutely! I feel this album really shows off who I am and what I’m about. If you like lots of riffs and textures this is the album for you. The album has some longer tracks like Marshlands or the title track that some would consider in the progressive field. There are also some shorter more to the point thrashers as well like The Shipwright or Beyond The Frosted Graves.
How would you say this album differs from the previous?
As I mentioned earlier this album has a lot more progressive elements. The album prior Resettlement had a lot of influence coming from the Gothenburg and Melodic Death Metal scenes. Curse The Summer really had a strong tech Blackened Thrash vibe. Think aggression of bands like Kreator and Immortal meeting structures from bands like Annihilator and Megadeth.
How much did band member changes impact you and the band’s sound?
The change from Robbie to Lenny for me was like having a Cliff Burton vs a Jason Newsted. Both musicians are excellent at what they do and they both have their own unique way of attacking the bass. Having Brad Ivany on drums really shows a progressive side in drumming as well. Brad has a massive list of influences and he enjoys breaking down rhythms and beats in songs.
The album artwork is deadly. Did you have any direction in its design or did you select a piece from the artist Mark Richard that spoke to you?
Thanks! First off I gotta say how incredible Mark is with detail. From the early stages I was blown away by his creativity and skills. I had a basic idea in my head of a river and an evil fortress. I was talking to my manager Tony about this vague description I had in mind and he mentioned how it could flow in with Dante’s Inferno as well as the Furies. Tony played a big role in bridging that gap from what he mentioned, my basic idea and communicating with Mark and I got to say impressed is an understatement. I love it!
Tell me about the album title RIVERBED EMPIRE – what does it refer to?
It was a combination of two things actually. First being how much I loved the title to the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. The second was a more vague memory back to my childhood and watching the animated feature film Watership Down. Based off a novel by Richard Adams. I had a vision of writing a song about a fictional tale of a riverbed habitat and the political turmoil happening to the creatures living there.
Can you tell us the meaning and inspirations for a couple of your favorite album tracks?
Sure. I’ll start with the title track:
Riverbed Empire – The song deals with a species of trout living in a riverbed and a bunch of salmon telling them they’ll basically have a better life if the trout let the salmon take over. Once the salmon taken over the trout quickly realized that now they’re worse off than ever and wish that they never agreed to live in this new Hell. Aside from what I mentioned earlier I feel psychologically The Trees by Rush may have influenced this as well without me knowing.
North Star, Be My Guide – This started with the idea of the North Star able to guide you out of being lost in the wilderness. In the song there is a person lost in a forest but they’re using the North Star to help them find their way home. This is symbolism to a person who is going through depression and/or having suicidal thoughts. They’re lost in this forest (depression/suicidal thoughts) and feel they may be trapped forever. However, the North Star is a reference to the help that person needs to get out of that forest and hopefully overcome and live happier lives. I’m trying to also convey that no matter how dark a situation may be there is a light that will get you out.
The Shipwright – This is one of many songs where I write about history. I always try to write a song about history as if I’m taken back in a time machine and watch the events taking place as a spectator on the outside looking in. This song deals with how when people are down and out, an extreme ideology can easily mould the minds of the citizens. For this song I talk about the people who helped construct the Bismarck. I also tried to convey the feelings because of this extreme nationalism at the time the Bismarck was basically going to be the tyrant of the ocean. However, as you hear near the end of the song that wasn’t the case as the Bismarck did sink and it took an unbelievable amount of determination to bring her down. When I write lyrics about historical events I always try to show that 99% of situations, it usually just ends up with how many people dead because of agendas from those in power.
I notice there are some special guests listed for this album – was there any particular reason why you asked these people?
Yes we have Anabelle Iratni from Devilment guested on Marshlands and we have Hugo Doyon-Karout from Beyond Creation on Riverbed Empire. Anabelle played the lyre as well as backing vocals and Hugo performed a fretless bass solo. At the time based on the concepts I was telling my manager Tony, he said to me that both musicians would be amazing additions to the feelings and textures I was trying to paint with my music.
Was there anyone asked who was not available or who was too expensive that you would like to have appear next time?
We asked a few other musicians. However due to logistics and my budget at the time we couldn’t get them for this album. That doesn’t mean we won’t have them in the future or they’re too expensive. Their prices were more than fair just at this time and the deadlines I had to meet it wouldn’t have been the most logiscial outcomes.
What’s next for Winterhearth for 2020-21?
Promote the album as much as humanly possible. We’re looking at the livestream fields for future shows. Saying COVID-19 turned the entertainment industry upside down is an understatement.