Interview with Sunless Rise about the second full length “Ultimacy”
About 4 years! It took long time a little bit but finally the second album “Ultimacy” is going to be released! Did you continue working on the album after the release of the first full-length “Unrevealed”?
SLR: The raw versions of 3 or 4 tracks were developed even before Unrevealed was released. Some tracks weren’t added to the final Ultimacy tracklist — we don’t think we’re going to release them later, it’s better to move on.
I’m curious about your first European tour, by the way. When you were off to the tour, “Ultimacy” had been out worldwide. So, it should also had been the first tour with “Ultimacy”! Did you play a lot of songs from the new album or “Unrevealed” had a higher proportion of the set during the first European tour?
SLR: Our European tour is successfully finished. We’ve decided to treat our fans with mostly older tracks — stuff from Unrevealed plus newer singles. It was our first time playing in Europe and we knew that some people there listen to Sunless Rise since Promo 2009 (it’s ten years already, hooray!). So, we’ve played some tracks from Ultimacy, but there were more older material in our sets.
As you mentioned in one of the official statements before, we can recognize some new clean singing style in the album. Of course, we can hear the familiar cleans by Sergey and Alex(B) as well though. Is it John in charge of the new clean vocals?
SLR: Yes, the majority of vocal parts on the album were performed by John, both extreme and clean (like on two previous singles). We’ve managed to unfold John’s full vocal range and we really like how it sounds. It sounds different from older stuff, but that was the idea. We’re happy with the result, the album sounds rock-solid and more mature. More serious — and it fits the concept and the music.
It's great to hear that! In fact, you finished the new album “Ultimacy” with different members from “Unrevealed”, for example, vocals. John is such a great singer (as we already know!)! How did the replacement of members influence the new album?
SLR: The new guitarist’s name is Pavel. He had jumped on the bandwagon in the last moment but managed to work on the album and polish it.
Could you tell us little more minute about that new axe-guy: Pavel?
SLR: We know Pavel for a long time. He is a great guitarist, one of the best we know, and he’s from Siberia too. It was a surprise for us though that he listens to Sunless Rise since our first recordings. He accepted our proposition to join after giving it some thought — and it turned out just great for the album and the band.
Actually, I got surprised with the credit about Alex Becker as ‘on bass’. He was our beloved guitar player then. I wonder if he leaded guitar parts as well in the new album or not (I believe he did though!). Is the credit stands for live shows?
SLR: When Alex decided to switch to bass (after Boris had left the band) it surprised even us ourselves. But he is really good at it. Also, it wasn’t too risky because we’ve already had Pavel who re-recorded all the guitar solos and came up with some parts, enriching the album with many fresh ideas.
So, I honestly tell you about my very first impression about the new album comprehensively. Your first full-length “Unrevealed” was just like a gushing spring, and “Ultimacy” is like a stable stream. I mean there is obviously some different ‘excitement’ between “Unrevealed” and “Ultimacy”. Many songs from “Unrevealed” got its birth about 10 years ago, right? So, I guess this musical difference simply comes from a passage of time. And of course, your intelligent, elegant, sophisticated, and beautiful musical universe is still dynamically alive in “Ultimacy”. What do you explain about the musical difference between these 2 albums?
SLR: When we were writing first Sunless Rise tracks we thought that playing fast and complicated songs is the most important thing — music was like sports to us. The first album was great, but it was more like one endless crazy roller coaster. The second album is more intelligent, its tracks are more song-like, more harmonic. We’re pretty sure the third album will sound different too. Maybe we’ll manage to strike a happy medium between the previous two albums’ approaches.
Awesome! Your music always has enough technical elements and it’s combined perfectly with fabulous melodies. However, I felt like you rejected some complexity for the new album and made it tighter, heavier and darker than the first album. What’s on your mind about that?
SLR: Yes, we’ve got rid of some unnecessary complexity, that prevailed on our earlier recordings, but there are still very complicated technical solos that are on par with Unrevealed. We’ve made the album sound darker and heavier but filled with beautiful melodies and off-the-wall harmonies.
It’s a great fact that “Ultimacy” is a concept album of a new mystic exploration located in the imaginary Siberia again! Is the story of “Ultimacy” directly connected with “Unrevealed” but with a different generation and a different situation like a cycle? At least, it seems the inverted triangle symbol in the center of the cover art implies some connection with “Unrevealed”, huh?
SLR: Yes, the new album’s storyline is a ‘prequel’ to Unrevealed. The history repeats again and again, humanity degrades and comes to the boil, then the Apocalypse comes, and after that humanity is reborn again and again — until people learn something and stop choosing the path that leads to chaos and total death. So the story in Ultimacy tells of the last days before the world dies. The higher forces send a messiah in the form of an old man — an archaeologist, who researches the history of Siberia. The old man promises some secret power brokers to find a mysterious artifact that gives the power to control minds and rule the world. The artifact can be found only using a meteorite that fell into Siberian taiga, in a place named Suicide Hollow — because all the searchers who tried to get hold of the meteorite went crazy and died on their way to approach it. So, after the expedition is approved and set, the old man gathers a group of young scientists who are told that the artifact can help to decipher some secret knowledge from a lost civilization — so they can’t miss the chance to be a part of the mission (The Seekers). During all their adventures they become mentally and morally strong to survive the Apocalypse and re-start civilization. But not all of them — one girl loses herself in another reality forever forgetting who she was, and so is a guy who loves her and stays with her in some other world (Into The Nightmare and Storms Of Sorrow). Besides their main mission the Seekers manage to block the portal through which demonic forces we trying to break into our world and stop humanity from being reborn (Warden Of Grief and No Forgiveness). When they finally find the meteorite, open the passway inside a cave and get hold of the artifacts, they deal with betrayal — one of the Seekers is an agent sent by the protagonist from Unrevealed to rob the Seekers of their treasure. The guy secretly follows the expedition to the cave and murders his agent after he refuses to give him the artifact (The Clash). He locks the Seekers inside the cave where they realize the real power of the artifact — it starts the Apocalypse process. The Unrevealed protagonist gets it too late, he tries to escape but perishes with all the other human beings. The Seekers fall into anabiotic sleep that will end after the end of all living things.
Well, of course it’s just an annotation, but we hope it will help to get the main story and then find more interesting details (even some ‘easter eggs’) in lyrics.
Anyway, the fantastic cover art of the album gives a big excitement for starting the new adventure! It shows some image of the second track “The Seekers”, right? And who organized the art?
SLR: Yes, it really illustrates The Seekers track — or the part of the story between The Prophecy and The Seekers. The idea was collective and the art was done by our old-time friend and collaborator Nadya. She did all the cover arts for our albums and singles, she also designs our merch and social media accounts. We are very happy to work with an artists who totally understands our ideas, she never fails to surprise us with her great talent.
As you mentioned above, the concept is absolutely fantasticas well! I love the whole lyrics! Like once you succeeded with “Unrevealed”, “Ultimacy” also has vivid images of its story and I feel like I’m watching a sci-fi adventure movie about demolition and purification of the world in a huge scale, like a modern version of Noah’s ark! Did you have continuous wars in the world or the serious climate change of our one and only planet earth in mind to write down the story of the album?
SLR: Of course, the legend of Noah’s ark is one of the influences — but there are many of them, and they mix with our own ideas, views and examinations. We see that the world is going closer and closer to self-destruction and we must do something about it. The people are self-destructive by nature and they do not want to learn. People destroy everything they touch to become rich, to become masters of others — it kills our chances to survive. We want to express it in our music to share our emotions with listeners. Hope our music can help people to feel stronger and renew their vigour. The complexity or speed, even the lyrics don’t matter as much as what you feel while you listen to this music.
Yeah, you guys really got to the point. I always love your philosophical point of view. Thank you so much!
"Ultimacy" Review by Kumi666
When I listened to the entire "Ultimacy" for the first time was late October. I was excited and relieved with the fact that Sunless Rise didn't waste their time even a bit after the dramatic renascence and success with the first full-length "Unrevealed".
"Unrevealed" was absolutely impulsive and as they told me in the interview, it's kinda crazy roller-coaster and I think many metal fans (including me) would fall in love with the crazy roller-coaster thing instantly.
"Ultimacy" is the eagerly-awaited sequel to "Unrevealed" as a conceptional perspective but its sound is obviously different from their early era. It has tighter, darker, heavier and deeper texture than their past releases. It fulfills your intelligential appetite rather than your impulsive desire yet there are blast-beats and a lot of remarkable technical plays!
Moreover, they got a great weapon this time: John, as you already know, he did a lot of fantastic jobs these past years through concerts and latest stand-alone tracks. And then finally he had a great role in the second full-length "Ultimacy" not only with his growls but also clean vocals.
Since I showed my big respects to the brilliant story-line of the album in my interview questions, I omit mentioning about it here.
All I can say about their new album is, use your five senses with full-force to enjoy their music with its depth and let your neurons carrying the intellectual satisfaction into your body and soul!
Check the lyrics of "Ultimacy" on Lyrics Library here!
Visit Sunless Rise page on Kumi666.com here!
Sunless Rise’s Brand New Single 2017 – “Flywheel”
Flywheel is the newest official release from Sunless Rise. It sounds just a typical SLR tune but you also can find something new. Musically, it’s built on a battle between brutality and sweetness, has fast fearless verses, relentless breakdown, philosophical catchy chorus and bridge, tasty solos and even some gang shouts! I love it! And the lyrics would tell about inertia, resignation, meaninglessness, awareness and rejection from damnation. Sunless Rise keep on evolving with their typical and new great music. Keep an eye on them!
Visit Sunless Rise Bandcamp and buy Flywheel as digital single. Pay for music, support Sunless Rise!
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com here !
Hey! Just back off for a while.
Really think you can call it a move?
How does it feel to live in denial
Now hear the fucking truth!
Unbecome a flywheel
Make it stop
Hey! You're slowly dying!
Always busting your balls for some shady goals?
Slow it down, realize — there's only here and now!
Only here and now
It’s your life that you're wasting
Only here and now
You can finally change it
On the downward path
Ebbing with the flow
It’s your falling stream
On the downward path
Subsiding with the flow
Into the void
You tell me it’s alright?
You say there’s nothing to change?
Stop the presses: you’re decaying
Take a glance at yourself, you degenerate
Trying to hide in your rathole
You will rot there, there’s no escape
Seeps into your blood
Like a transfusion
Out of bounds, let the image materialize
Stuck in between
Sad memories and dreams
Far from reality
Inside this nothingness
Choice is the last thing that you’ve got!
Stop pretending to be the person you’re not
Seeking for motivation
In race with obliteration
On the downward path
Ebbing with the flow
It’s your falling stream
On the downward path
Subsiding with the flow
Into the void
Burn down all that makes
You regret your past
Start it all over
Find a nerve to crush
These mental chains
To leave this deadly maze
Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017 – Part II. Interview
Part.II - Interview about the Japan Tour
Note: Japanese version (日本語版) here
Could you tell us your very first impression of our country after hitting the streets in Tokyo for the first time?
SLR: Tokyo is intense! This city and its citizens, and its architecture, and the whole vibe - so very special. Tokyo wears its own cultural image proudly. And the good weather made us all very happy. We’ve felt like being catapulted into hot summer right from cold and rainy Saint Petersburg.
In Tokyo everything is eye-catchy and very beautiful, it’s a city of bright lights, high buildings and huge crowds. The quality of roadways surface is exciting, the cars are very cool - even old models. Another cool fact: in Tokyo car traffic is very pedestrian-friendly, peopler on streets obviously outnumber vehicles. The city is very green - which brings chilling vibes into this concrete jungle. Lifestyles there are fast-paced though. Japan is so different from Russia and Europe in general.
Did you have time to visit any place for sight-seeing in Tokyo and Osaka?
SLR: Fortunately we’ve had the whole first day off and we’ve managed to spend most of our free time walking around Tokyo. The very first thing we saw after the airport was Shibuya station - and when we’ve came out of it into the city - wow, we got lost inside a kaleidoscope of impressions. The city turned out to become especially fantastic after dark. Before the gig we’ve visited Asakusa, the city’s ancient district, where the spirit of traditional Japanese culture lives on. This recharged our spiritual batteries to the max.
We didn’t have too much time to walk around Osaka - came just in time to start our soundcheck and after the gig went straight to eat and sleep (we had to go back to Tokyo really early next morning).
How did you feel the cultural difference between Russia and our country?
SLR: Oh, definitely. Of course you can’t call it a deep analysis - but we’ve had a very strong feeling that the key element to everything Japanese people do is RESPECT. You guys really respect your own traditions, foreign traditions, Nature, each others and yourselves. Traditional designs are presented everywhere in city life - be it houses, restaurants or shops. You can see some people wearing traditional costumes. Your eye catches traditional elements even when you’re driving fast down the highway - some very typical roof shapes here and there, or private camping sites with those little gardens and arbors.
In public spaces people never try to cut the line they tend to do the opposite - stepping aside and making way to others. No one seems to hurry, cars are slow too - it’s amazing that everything is always done on time.
In fact, Sunless Rise took a role of co-headliner with Shade Empire and Serenity In Murder for 3 shows in Tokyo and Osaka even it was the very first Japan Tour for you guys. That was really cool, huh?
SLR: It was a blast! No matter how many tours there are in our future - this trip we’ll never forget. Before the tour we felt exhausted for certain reasons, but the experience turned out to be so inspirational. We’ve had a proof that people really love our music and we must move forward no matter what.
So, how was the first show in Japan? Did you satisfy with the audience in Osaka?
SLR: It was our first ever performance outside Russia. Osaka gig blew our minds. The crowd reaction was phenomenal, people waved back to every gesture, they screamed and showed a crazy support. Some even sang along - unimaginable! We could never expect that so many people in country as far as Japan know our songs. And suddenly we realized: wow, they all were waiting for us! Some dude told us that he was listening to “Nothing To Save” on his every ride to institute. Some dudes came all the way from Hong Kong to see our set. Some brought Russian flags - they’ve set them in front of the stage and we’ve signed them. The number of people was not very huge but the support was unbelievable.
And then, I finally met up with you guys for the first time at the first show in Tokyo, woohoo. Of course the show was a blast and I felt absolutely special with the graphical projection right behind the stage. It reminded me the DT’s stage set, was really cool to see the projection perfectly syncing with each of the songs. I love it. Do you usually use it for your shows in Russia as well?
SLR: We are so very glad to finally have a chance to meet you! Your help with bringing our music to so many metal fans here in Japan is priceless! The gig in Unit was the best gig in Sunless Rise history. So many people, such a great feedback. They started circle pits, slam danced, waved arms and rocked out like crazy. We did our best to give this energy back, no chance to fail. The gig was perfect, every band was fantastic. We’ve had a big signing session.
Every show on tour was very well-supported, people rocked out and bought merch.
Did you feel a huge difference between kinda Russian way of stage setup and our style, about equipment or crew?
SLR: The whole process was organized surprisingly well - people here don’t fail each other (in Russia it’s not 100% like that). Every venue was equipped with very good gear and all the professional services were provided with high class specialists. These guys are top in their job, they’ve even studied our tracks beforehand to set the show just perfect. Actually I’d recommend to most sound and light engineers in Russia to learn from their hard-working and all-focused colleagues in Japan.
Well, the second show in Tokyo was the finale of the tour. The venue was a bit narrow than the previous one but the energy of you guys on stage was overwhelming and was a killer show again! Did you like the audience in Tokyo as well?
SLR: The last Japan show was very warm and intimate. The audience - we can’t praise enough their massive support. At every of those three shows.
As you know, I gave you guys “Ichiban” (means “number one”) bandanas cos “Unrevealed” is a literally and definitely number one album in 2015. There’s no doubt it’s a true masterpiece. So that was really fun when you guys reappeared on stage with the bandanas, haha. Who got the idea?
SLR: This was our singer Ivan’s idea, he was assured by local musicians that it would be alright to wear it on stage. The crowd seemed to like it 🙂
As you promised to fans in Japan, you played the fabulous new song “Flywheel”.
It has fast and extreme verses but the chorus part is absolutely melodic and beautiful. I love it. How did you feel to play the song on stage for the first time?
SLR: This track is intended to sound great live. And it proved to sound great live, just as we thought. There are parts to mosh to and melodic choruses to balance the rage. It was cool to see people wave hands as one during those chorus parts. We’ve said it before and will say it again: you guys are fantastic audience!
Did you finish mixing and mastering for “Flywheel” already? (It's available now.!)
SLR: We’ve finished mixing it right before the tour and it’s out now, today. Sorry it took so much time answering your questions - but hey, good news: “Flywheel” is now available via Bandcamp, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify etc. We hope people like it. This track sounds not very typical to Sunless Rise, but we try our best to stay good songwriters. And there are much more new stuff to come.
Check the lyrics of "Flywheel" here! Pay for "Flywheel" here, support Sunless Rise!!!
How about the whole album? How many songs did you finish writing so far?
SLR: The process has started. We’ve already wrote enough tracks to fit the album, even more. It’s a big work that we want to execute perfectly, so it would satisfy our creative ambitions. The concept and arrangements take a lot of time and energy. Sometimes we rewrite and rearrange nearly 100% finished tracks if it they don’t sound right.
Is it a long way until its finalize?
SLR: It is very hard to predict the release date or even month. Definitely not this year. The album seems to become another “opus magnum”, complex and conceptual. But we promise: it won’t take as long as “Unrevealed” release!
Would you like to come back to Japan with the next album? Of course all of your fans in Japan would love to see you guys again anyway.
SLR: We dream about coming back to Japan every day since we came home. To present a new album, or even before that! Still full of positive emotions, memories of your country and your people are very warming, This trip made it sure: we do the right thing and we believe in ourselves. And we like it. We’ll try to keep our audience excited, huge thanks to every one of you! And a big personal ARIGATO to you, Kumi!
Ivan(John) Smirnov – Vocals
Alex Becker – Guitars
Sergey Shulzhenko – Keyboards
Boris Plaksin – Bass
Alexey Mallovsky – Drums
Here's my long live review for Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017.
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com.
Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017 – Part I: Live Review
Part.I - Personal Live Review
The sun was shining and the sky was blue… The day that the talented Russian guys entered the live venue UNIT for the very first show in Tokyo was blessed by the weather.
Since I’m a huge fan of Sunless Rise for a long time and have been working hard for them to spread the word about their music and its existence towards the world, I was deeply moved by the fact: “Finally the time has come!”.
Unfortunately, I have been super busy with my regular job these months and couldn’t been to Osaka for their very first show in Japan. So, the second show on the tour but the first show in Tokyo became my first experience for them live. After the rehearsal, John(Ivan) came for me to the entrance of UNIT and gave me a backstage pass, and then I met up with the whole SLR guys at the hall in the venue finally. I was totally overwhelmed by my situation, was literally shaking. Anyway, I gave them some gifts, took some photos and talked about our first meet-up.
Well, the latest gig that I saw at the venue was Whitechapel. So the size of the stage should’ve been enough for Sunless Rise as well. I placed myself around the right side towards the stage, and when the lights of the hall went out, the screen behind the stage started projecting the sharp and beautiful “Sunless Rise” logo vividly. All of SLR guys were ready to rock on stage already and we started screaming for them. When I found out the opener of the show in the evening was “Eidolon” from the intro, John shouted out for making us crazy. As we all know every single SLR song in their releases is perfect, but “Eidolon” was absolutely appropriate for opener of the show cos it has the dramatic intro and gave us time to make enough noise before setting into the first verse. Wow, what a band! They were doing so awesome on stage not only with precisive play but also with passionate performance! I’m completely in love with their music for a long time, every single part of their releases is my favorite and this time I found out they also are great live-act as well. So, all of them: Sergey, John, Alex(B), Alex(M) and Boris were doing awesome on stage to blow us away. The graphical projection behind the stage was perfectly syncing with their futuristic modern metal and was displaying the lyrics effectively at the beautiful chorus part.
“Konbanwa Japan!” John greeted to the audience with the Japanese word and we replied him with passionate yelling, and then he introduced the second song “Reborn”. Since the song doesn’t have any growl part, it was a surprise when they revealed the song as the first music video from “Unrevealed” but it means they have enough confidence for what they do with their whole music and that’s absolutely fantastic, huh? So, with the snowy music video on their background, they played through the beautiful song sacramentally on stage. The title John mentioned as the third song of the set made me scream louder. “Recovering The Truth” is my super fave among their new songs in “Unrevealed”. Feeling Alex’s killer drum sound not only with my ears but also with the huge vibration to my body was really exciting! I also love the philosophical lyrics with four temples (Serenity, Mercy, Discord and the forth one should be Catharsis in my opinion). Their passionate performance made me feel stronger love for their music than before!
“The Forgiven” had a place as their fourth song on the set. The projector showed us the dramatic music video behind them while they were playing the song perfectly. Alex and Sergey were showing us their fantastic clean vocals through the chorus part. As you know, the song is built on kinda miracle merger between beauty and insanity, and their magical play was only stunning at the show.
The next song: “The Burnt And The Frozen” which is the most brutal tune from “Unrevealed” led an epic circle pit, was just overwhelming! It seemed they were just like masters using carrot and stick to make us fanatic for their musical universe. John was extremely beast at the song and Boris were doing wild as well. Alex’s drumming were very sharp and loud! There was nothing starved for a true metal show, huh?
As they promised to Japanese fans before leaving their country towards Japan, their brand-new song: “Flywheel” was revealed on the tour. It has really brutal death metal verses and absolutely catchy chorus part with clean vocals, is just a typical Sunless Rise style but sounding more modern than their old familiar songs. I really loved it and can’t wait its official release day. The lyrics which had been displayed on the screen helped us to sing the unfamiliar song with them anyway.
Fun times go by so quickly. The final song of the night was their long time flagship song, “Nothing To Save”! Alex was concentrating his absolutely godlike guitar play and Sergey’s fingers were sliding on his keyboard smoothly and beautifully like a gold medal figure skater.
Being one of witnesses for the genius solo battle between the guitar and the keyboard in real was an absolutely ecstatic moment. That was spectacular!
I was thankful for my situation: there was one more time to experience them live next day! Lucky me!
Live in Tokyo - Day 2 was killer again.
However my review became long already, so I’m gonna focus to write some different points from yesterday. First, there was no projection behind the stage at the show. Actually Shibuya Cyclone that located at the bustling area in Shibuya is a smaller venue than UNIT, but I felt there were kinda special energies between the band and the audience at that evening, so the show became mind-blowing one! They played an additional song between “The Forgiven” and “The Burnt And The Frozen” and it was “Awakening”, hell yes! I couldn’t stop my super stoked feeling and goose-bumps in my whole body with the live-played sick tune! It reminded me the moment that I listened to their music for the first time. It was somewhere in 2010, their music blew me away at once, I hardly could sit still and wanted to get in touch with them ASAP but they were not active on Facebook at that time, so I wrote them via MySpace(!!!) later and they gave me mp3 of their promo EP 2009 as free. I was really into their huge-fountain-like music and was eager for more new songs from them. After a couple of years passed by, suddenly they broke the long-time silence, went active on Facebook and mentioned about their comeback to the scene. It made me crazy again and I offered my first interview with them ASAP. That was the trigger to get into their support obviously. From that point, I’ve been working on spreading the word about the band via interviews, giveaway action and distribution for “Unrevealed”. So I was deeply moved by the fact that I became a part of the audience at two shows in Tokyo and was absolutely proud of those talented Russian musicians who were perfectly playing their set from the metal masterpiece on stage in full-force in front of us. To return to the point, “Awakening” was definitely gold at the show. I was just hooked on the sound explosion, was letting myself into the huge numbers of musical notes they were making and I was just feeling it. Every single sound of instruments and vocals they release on stage was just magical at that moment.
Well, I need to mention one more special thing about the final show in Japan.
After playing the new song “Flywheel”, they suddenly left the stage with the words “… We’ll be back soon!” and all of the spotlights on stage blacked out. I was like “Whaaaaat??? What’s goin’ on with them??? Is there any technical problem or???” and we were totally confused by the unknown situation for a while. After few seconds from their leaving, they came back on stage again… with Japanese bandanas on their heads. Oh my gosh, that was the ones I gave them yesterday at the first meet-up. You know I chose those bandanas for them cos the Japanese word “一番(Ichiban)” printed together with the Japanese flag means “Number One” and Sunless Rise and “Unrevealed” are just appropriate for the extreme word, aren’t they? Of course, the audience there reacted great with their epic looking and their very final song of the Japan Tour “Nothing To Save” became definitely special. As I mentioned it above already, every single song of “Unrevealed” is perfect and I love them all, so I felt something missed without “Ghosts Of The Past”, “Lost Path” and “Sunless Rise” which were dropped from their set on the tour, but on the other hand, I already have another dream for their second Japan Tour with a new album + those not-played songs. Since Japanese metalheads love complicated technical fast piece, those songs should be played anyway then. *grin*
Well, on the final day, I had more time with the band before and after the show than last evening, so we had nice talking, took some photos again and filmed their short message for fans in Japan. That was fantastic as well. They even gave me a beautiful Russian coin and loads of Russian sweets. I’m still very thankful from the bottom of my heart for everything they did for me and all of their fans here with their amazing music and wonderful personalities, was really happy to know they are currently working hard for their new album and would love to come back to Japan soon.
Once again, thanks a lot to my epic Russian heroes: Sergey, John(Ivan), Alex(B), Alex(M) and Boris. Until next time, keep going with the “Ichiban” music! We love you so much!
Part II. Interview here!
All about Sunless Rise on this site here !
Exclusive interview with Sunless Rise right before the first Japan Tour
I had a very short but exclusive interview with our beloved guys from Russia right before their first Japan Tour. (Japanese version here.)
How is the recording for a new album going?
SLR: Pretty busy days. For the last month we've been concentrating on our upcoming shows in Japan, so the new album went on a "pause" mode. We'll get back to work as soon as we return from Japan, there's still a long way to go with the arrangements and lyrics.
"Unrevealed" is still selling well in Japan but you guys announced there are few copies(digipak) left til sold out, right? Do you have any plan for reproduction?
SLR: We've been quite surprised with the feedback from the people. We'd love to thank everybody who purchases our album and merchandise on Bandcamp, downloads it via iTunes or Google Play, streams the songs via Spotify. Seriously, to have so many people willing to support our efforts, it means a world to us. And, yes, you're right, we're almost out of our digipak copies of Unrevealed. About the reproduction — we have decided to re-release Unrevealed in a jewel case version, as a lot of people have been asking for it since the very release in 2015.
Are you ready for the upcoming first Japan Tour?
SLR: Hell yeah, we can't wait for the tour to start. It's not only the first Japanese tour, it is the first Sunless Rise tour outside Russia. So these shows will be very special for us. And, of course, we want to make it special for all people who will attend our Osaka and Tokyo events, so we are bringing some exclusive merch items, Unrevealed CDs in a jewel case (it'll become available worldwide only after the tour ends), and some new material.
Can we expect something special about setlist?
SLR: Yep. We're going to play a brand new song and you guys will be the first to hear it live. Hopefully, it will appear on Bandcamp/iTunes/Spotify/Google Play before we leave for Japan, so you will have time to learn the words, haha.
Please visit Sunless Rise Facebook / Bandcamp , check their brilliant music, pay for it and support them!
You can also check my past interviews with Sunless Rise via the link below:
Interview About the Music Video "The Forgiven" (Dec.-2016)
Interview About Insight of "Unrevealed" (Dec.-2015)
Welcome Back Interview (July.- 2015)
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com here
Sunless Rise New Music Video “The Forgiven” & Interview
It's still a vivid sensation that Sunless Rise released their first full-length "Unrevealed" last year after more than 5 years from the amazing promo EP. It was definitely the best album in 2015 and became one of the legendary metal masterpieces for me. The band has released their new music video "The Forgiven" from the album. So I asked them a couple of things about behind the scene of the video and about their upcoming new album. First of all, check the huge video "The Forgiven"!
Where did you shoot the huge scale video?
SLR: We’ve used 4 different locations in process of making this video. The main location was Kilpola island and outskirts of Tiurula - beautiful places in Karelia (which is a fantastic territory on the North). Great open spaces, majestic forests and - the main attraction for us - some moderate-sized rocks. Most of the filming happened during first two days of our staying there. You can see us roving, dying and fighting the evil Shaman (played by Igor Grabuzov, a professional actor). The process of filming was packed with all kinds of fun activities. We’ve rented a small wooden house and made it our base. The Shaman’s scary make-up was made by our friend Maya Chkonia, she is a great make-up artist. Also we’ve made the skeleton totem and the bonfire. So, day one was all about choosing the right locations and some filming (in the evening-turning-night time). Day two was dedicated to climbing rocks and sinking into snow.
Then we’ve moved back to the city; day three was chromakey day. And in the end of day four we’ve done the black and white part. It was filmed inside the city limits during night time and featured extras, the whole crowd headed by actress Ksenia Malyagina. It was very cold and no one could wear warm clothes, the actress had to spend about three hours tied to a tree. The was one moment when she had to scream - and it came out so naturally! There was another moment when the little girl (our protagonist’s “daughter”) naturally started to cry - and we were lucky to film it too! Glad everyone survived that experience, it was truly hard.
Why did you choose "The Forgiven" for a new video?
SLR: “The Forgiven” is the album’s story-line culmination and it is also a very powerful track - musically and emotionally. We’ve had to work (a lot) on the video’s scenario, rework it and add some changes from time to time - for it to became less dependent on the whole story and be more, let’s say, apprehensible.
Are you guys working on a new album?
SLR: Yes, we’ve already started working on it. We’ve came up with its concept more than a year ago. Now we’re working the details out. Got some of new tracks shaped. But we won’t say anything about release schedule yet. Probably you’ll hear a single or two before next full-length’s release.
After the first album was finished - and it took the period of 2006 to 2011 to write the whole its material - we’ve had a lot to think through and to make some things clear for ourselves. Like, what direction we would take in the future, what new elements we should add. Still thinking it through - so, it’s a lot of work to do. But we can assure you: there won’t be profound changes in our sound, we gonna keep it recognizable!
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Sunless Rise “Unrevealed” attacks Japanese CD stores!
Finally it came true! The newest metal masterpiece "Unrevealed" by Sunless Rise started attacking Japanese CD stores today. Here's some pics at one of disk union CD stores in Tokyo. This is mind-blowing, isn't it?
- at New Arrivals -
- at Melodic Death / Folk / Viking -
The text on their copy says: "The first full-length by a Russian Melodic Death Metal band, which was released in 2015. This is a super brilliant album with neo-futuristic arrangements and lyrical clean & death crossed vocals. This is the very high-quality one which is equivalent to Scar Symmetry or Disarmmonia Mundi. Digipak version."
Haven't tried Sunless Rise yet? Check their music and buy their amazing art - "Unrevealed".
Sunless Rise music & merch on Bandcamp
All about Sunless Rise on wwwkumi666com here.
Sunless Rise Interview about the ultimate concept album “Unrevealed”
Finally our long waiting time has ended. The finest Russian melodic death metal force Sunless Rise has released their first full-length “Unrevealed” after long quiet years. Guitars, drums, keyboards, basses and vocals… they are so extreme in the album and every single song is just spectacular! They drew the story of the album on a magnificent scale but it’s not like sci-fi space battle movie, it’s just like a philosophical and spiritual journey crossing between the past, present and the future. It’s about our planet earth, about creatures which lost connection with the great nature - humans. I’m absolutely excited to have an interview with the band again about the amazing concept album. And I would love to share it with all of Sunless Rise maniacs in the world. If you only lick a surface of the album, you would not touch to the true resonance of their amazing musical universe.
Hello again. I’m so excited with your new album “Unrevealed”! You guys have done an amazing job, congrats! As you told us in the previous interview, the prior release “Promo EP” was a preview of the new full-length, and finally we can see those fragmentary pieces as one massive story. How did you come up with the sophisticated concept?
SLR: Hello again - and big thanks for your compliments! We ourselves are glad as hell the album is finally out.
Talking about the album’s concept, or plot - the idea of it is as old as our band. A concept album based on some fiction story, with this cold and mysterious imaginary Siberia as it’s background - that was on our minds right from the start. And during this long and challenging period of the concept’s realization. The basic plot was a story of an immoral, corrupt man whose very fatal actions lead to Earth crisis, a global catastrophe. And he becomes the only one survivor - for he is taken to some kind of trans-dimensional spiritual journey and his worldview, his beliefs and values are to be tested big time!
During that period all the members of the band were heavily into studying some fascinating stuff - like alternative archaeology, stuff that opposes official human history trying to prove it’s manipulated. Also, into all kinds of myths, mythology in general, exploring legends and beliefs of our ancestry. That influenced the lyrics a lot - and made the story as it is known now.
The story of “Unrevealed” goes along with an icy and severe climate, and you set a location as “Siberia” into some lyrics. Did you configure places in the story from your local real world to another dimension?
SLR: Correct. Siberian nature surrounds us from birth - wide open spaces of primeval wilderness - and it has a huge impact of one’s personality. Actual Siberia is a natural Arc, with it’s plentiful supplies of environmental resources, fresh water, fresh air, with this enormously big territory. Actual Siberia is also a rough place. Imaginary Siberia in our story is a place of purgatory-level roughness, and it will reward the hero with an opportunity to cleanse his soul - by performing his mission and ending cycle of aeons.
The desperate story about humanity is a reflection of your real thoughts about what is/will be happening in the world, right? Do you think there’s no hope for the human race?
SLR: With mode of existence as wasteful as current our civilization surely won’t live for long. 100-200 years max - talking about natural supplies. We also are constantly clashing with planet’s biosphere and it makes catastrophes unavoidable. You can’t reach harmony if you don’t keep your balance - valid for human, valid for planet. Why killing our kind like we do when humanity could try to live for thousands and million years without system crashes. No, we don’t think that humanity is doomed, humans can be amazingly die-hard. This current fashion of unrestrained consumerism - that’s what is definitely doomed. It leads to what disaster movies are made about. And some music albums as well, you know.
In the 7th track “Recovering The Truth”, there appears four temples which reflect from the deep past to present, and the song covers three of the four temples: Temple of Serenity, Temple of Mercy and Temple of Discord. But you didn’t mention the name of the forth temple in the following songs, right? In my personal interpretation, it would be “Temple of Depuration” – the depuration for the earth. What is the name of the forth temple actually?
SLR: The “working title” for that fourth temple was Temple Of Agony, but I guess Temple Of Depuration is even more appropriate name. The mentioned temples symbolize four eras of civilization’s development, they are described in some cultures’ myths, the four of them. And according to most of the ancient calendars this era is the last, the shortest one. It is described as an era of total moral decay that will end in total purification. And then an era of Serenity follows.
The new song - Reborn you released as a music video right before releasing the album. It made me surprised because there are no growls, no blasts but it's still brilliant. And I found all of the songs in the album sync perfect between its tunes and lyrics. Did you finish basic composition of the songs before writing lyrics?
SLR: Very glad you enjoy this song. Recording one track with clean singing only as we made to “Reborn” was our one idea; another idea was to record a track with only harsh vocals - that’s what we’ve performed in “The Burnt And The Frozen”. And “Reborn” is supposed to give listener some rest from endless blastbeats, galloping guitars and extreme singing.
We always write music before lyrics, the opposite order would make music more trivial in our case and by our experience.
The studio set for “Reborn” looks amazing for expressing the lyrical atmosphere! Where did you film it and why did you take such a long time (about two years?) to release the video?
SLR: Theatrical scenery was rented from one of local photography studios and the video was shot with their help - about two years ago. When finally the album was ready to be released we’ve felt a lot of doubts after watching “Reborn”’s final cut. Some of us even doubted it was good enough to be published, wouldn’t it marr the whole effect in some way, there were arguments among some band members. But we’ve decided to take a risk - and it turned out that the video was received very well.
I’ve been listening to “Promo 2009” many times for ages but it merges very well with the new songs and never gets old in the new album. We even can enjoy some differences between the original recordings and the new versions. Did the environment for recordings in a studio changed better after the previous release – “Promo EP”?
SLR: Generally the studio resources became much more accessible and easy-to-use these years. Our “Promo” recording was made in a big studio that felt expensive and not very comfortable, but the atmosphere of “Unrevealed” recording sessions was absolutely relaxed - thanks to the friendly Sound Way home studios.
Like in the track 2 “Ghosts of The Past”, we can hear some effective orchestrations and I love it. How did you manage those orchestration parts in the album?
SLR: It’s a track with longest history, it was written 9 years ago by our bassist Eugeny Kasitsyn and was reworked a thousand times, and if you like it - then it was worth the labor! To be serious, the main secret of orchestration in “Ghosts Of The Past” is countless keyboard parts made by Sergey Shulzhenko - synths, orchestral parts, also some up-to-date electronic touch (the track was produced with a help of Ilya Fatal of Fail Emotions).
Sound effects are awesome as well. For example, the new version of “Awakening” has additional sound effects with breaths and heartbeats from the protagonist. It helps us to get more vivid imaginations about the story. Did you come up the idea after the prior release “Promo 2009”?
SLR: All these effects were also produced by Sergey - but first we wanted to call on some FX professionals. All in all Sergey’s talent and experience appeared to be high enough for the mission.
Who is responsible for the wonderful artwork design?
SLR: Our good friend and a great graphic artist Nadezhda Kopchina. First sketch was done by 2014 and then we’ve made several correction before the artwork was finished - and it’s a real drawing not digital. Nadezhda also have designed all Sunless Rise merch, our stage theatricals (like banners), our alternative logo.
As an obvious concept album, you placed various type songs in the right order and the whole music is just incredible! I really love your typical mind-blowing play style anyway. You guys are pretty technical and precise. Could you show us your main gears (guitar, effecter, drum-set, keyboard, etc…)?
SLR: Our drummer is endorsed by TRX cymbals, and he uses Axis double pedal. What else - Korg X50, ESP KH-2 guitar, Carvin LB76 bass, Line 6 UX8 sound card, Macbook Pro and some ear gear. Our specific feature is that we don’t use guitar or bass amps. Everything except for drums is plugged to and controlled by the sound card. So, the control desk receives a ready mix and everyone receives individual metronome signal.
Did you play the entire songs from “Unrevealed” at the album release show?
SLR: Yes, we’ve played the whole album, in the same track order, the live set took a bit more than one hour. We’ve also wrote and performed a new two-and-a-half minute intro - specially for the event, it’s not on the album.
Check epic photos from the album release show here !
Do you have any plans for shows outside of Russia in the near future?
SLR: Oh, we would love to! Would be amazing to visit different parts of our planet and show our art to ones who appreciate it.
You mentioned about a new EP in my previous interview, didn’t you? Did you hit a studio for the recording already?
SLR: We will hit studio in a couple of months, now the composing activities are taking place, and these activities are very intensive. The process of writing songs is a very demanding thing, the recording process doesn’t start before we are happy with composition.
Well, we have waited for the first-full length these past 5 years. Yeah 5 YEARS! I really hope we don't need to wait next 5 years for your second album. Do you think you will be able to work on it within a couple of years?
SLR: We’ll do our best not to delay our next releases. Our fans’ support - moral and financial - encourages us a lot. We are sincerely grateful and hoping to keep bringing you quality Metal!
Get the ultimate concept album "Unrevealed" via Sunless Rise bandcamp !!!
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Sunless Rise New Music Video “Reborn” has been revealed!
The finest Russian melodic death metal band Sunless Rise revealed their new music video "Reborn" right before the release of their first full-length "Unrevealed"! You would be confused about the new song in the video because of the full clean vocals without their massive brutality. But no worry, its'a a part of a massive story which will be revealed entirely within a couple of hours. So enjoy!!!
Here's the latest statement from the band for the video and the album!
"No brutal singing? What?!
The protagonist wakes up from a long sleep which appears to be his meaningless life. All his struggles, hopes and fears have lost any sense after the global catastrophe that ended every living thing’s life. Is he dead? No - he is REBORN.
This is composition number six and it’s a counterpoint of the whole story. It is not a typical Sunless Rise track, but which one is typical? Be not afraid - you’ll get tons of walloping brutality on this new recording. Now check out our music’s softer side.
By the way, we’ve made this video in 2013 and then it took two more years before the album was finally finished. Some of us were even doubting - will this video be a bit... misleading? Would it scare off some of our listeners who are hungry for crazy blastbeats and insane shredding?
It’s a chapter from our story and you’ll be able to uncover it as a whole TOMORROW.
You can find their typical overwhelming style in the following video!
Order the album "Unrevealed" at Sunless Rise bandcamp!
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com A new interview will be available, stay tuned.
The Russian Technical Melodeath force is back! Sunless Rise Interview
The time has come. Sunless Rise the technical modern melodic death metal force from Russia finally broke the silence and shouted out about their upcoming full-length. Before they reveal details of the new album, I decided to do this interview with them quickly. Actually, I can say it's a big deal for me like ‘finally one of my dreams came true’. So I’m honored to ask the band about their amazing Promo EP which was released in 2009.
Hello guys. I’m very glad to know that you guys finally became fully active in the music scene! Many fans of yours must be excited about it. How have you been since you released the promo EP in 2009? You had been almost silent for a long time, right?
Greetings to everyone who knows and appreciates our music! We are happy ourselves that we’ve managed to harness our willpower to move forward, that we’ve found time, nerve and sources to finally record our first full-length. It’s nearly finished and will be released this autumn. The work started right after “Promo 2009” was out, but we’ve met many circumstances, most notable of which was the band’s crucial decision to move from Tobolsk to Saint Petersburg in 2010. But - even in this period of moving, searching for jobs, setting up our everyday lives and lineup changes - we’ve kept working on this album, slowly but feeling that we’re on the right track. So, we were writing some new tracks, reworking the old ones, made three videos (including a play-through one), forging the album’s concept, orchestration and lyrics. Another important thing that took our toll was our personal development, we were growing up as musicians and our views of life and art were also progressing.
I know you released the brilliant play through video in 2013 but still had not believed you were active at that time. Why did you release the video at that timing?
In early autumn of 2013 after yet another lineup change we’ve started again, and to show our fans that the band is still active we’ve made two music videos (you will be able to watch them closer to the album’s release date) and one play-through video (you can find it on YouTube). The latter was made especially to introduce a new band member, Vadim Wayland who unfortunately had to leave the band later. Such a great guy but no haps.
Why did you choose “Nothing To Save” for the play through? I mean once you filmed the song in the past as official music clip, right?
“Nothing To Save” was our flagship song, fans loved it (there are even some fan cover versions on the Internet) - so we’ve never second guessed about which song to choose for a music video. It was made in support of “Promo 2009” CD, independently and in our own expense. At this point in time it doesn’t bring us any pleasant feelings, except perhaps some sweet memories. It’s quality is awful. But it was the best we could produce at the time.
“Nothing To Save” is a perfect kick-starter for your promo EP with an overwhelming intro anyway. Could you tell us details of songs from the EP?
“Nothing To Save” is truly unique for Sunless Rise for it was the first track that we’ve ever written, and it was done at a record pace - in one night (it takes at least a month for any Sunless Rise track to be finished). It is also special because it sounds so summed up and lapidary, absolutely comprehensible. I guess we’ve managed to express the very soul of our music in just three minutes.
Speaking of other tracks on “Promo 2009” I can tell you that they serve as a preview for the upcoming full-length and it’s concept. Like some kind of trailer.
And the concept of the upcoming album is a certain story, so the songs are written and put in right order to tell this story to a listener. This story is about a man of consequence, a big shot, whose actions have caused huge global climate changes, so all the living things are to be extinguished. In a state of shock of what is about to happen he drives away from the big city leaving his family and all the people he knew, without warning. Suddenly he gets into some weird reality, where he passes lots of terrible ordeals. The main point that we’re trying to make with this story (and the whole album) is that this technocratic path that mankind chose to take is a dead-end. Instead of developing our potentials given by Nature we are more and more relying on tech “crutches” of different kinds. We become some sort of civilized cripples by losing touch with our planet and failing to live in harmony with it.
The EP has a fabulous sound production! Everything sounds absolutely professional! So, I wonder if you have ever released it as physical disc before, or not?
The inputs for “Promo 2009” were quite modest but the sound turned out to be really outstanding. That recording was mixed by guys from Anthropocide Studios (Belarus) who were just starting up at that point, so we’ve had a special deal. We’re planning to mix the full-length there too.
“Promo 2009” was independently released as a limited edition of 300 CD’s. They were sold out, all inside Russia, several CD’s were sent abroad to radio stations, record labels and magazines as promo copies. There are still a couple of dozens of them left so we’ve decided to sell the rest to our foreign fans. The problem is there are many times more people willing to buy those CD’s than copies left. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to distribute them. So, in case you’re one of those willing to have “Promo 2009” CD in your collection - keep checking our Facebook page for updates.
Could you tell us about metal heroes for you? Which bands have you been affected for your music?
Every member of Sunless Rise is influenced by many kinds of different music, we were never limiting ourselves at all with that, through all our lives. From classical to electronic, from Dream Theater to Nile. There are no bad music genres. There are good, bad and mediocre composers and musicians. And when you’re moving in these circles being a professional yourself, you stop reckoning other musicians as heroes or idols. More like colleagues whose art you tend to love or criticize. Like, “these guys are really good at arrangements”, or “wow, these guys are so technical”, or “I wish we were that good at promoting our live shows”. Some musicians are really creative and it’s exciting to follow them. But they’re definitely not the majority.
How is the environment for the metal scene in Russia? Is there any big obstacle to keep activating as metal band?
Metal scene is alive and well in Russia, actually things start to get better these days, although it depends on what we define as Metal scene. Most of authentic Metal bands don’t pack big venues anymore and their popularity seems like fading. Youth, as always, is following the latest trends, so there’s always some cheesy, watered down bands on the rise of fame. That’s absolutely normal because metalheads are dedicated to Metal while trendies are dedicated to some latest fashion. There are too many subgenres, everything is segmented. Like metalcore, deathcore and other hyped music (that actually has little in common with neither Metal nor Hardcore). Most Russian musicians who try to jump on this bandwagon rarely even learn how to play, they are too busy being rock superstars right away. Anyway, there are also lots of fans who dig some really good Metal but mostly enjoy listening to it at home, rarely attending gigs. They know that true Metal was, is and will be sincere, and this rule is eternal.
It’s not that hard to keep your band going in case you just love playing music. What makes a much harder task is getting your music heard around the globe, and in this case you have to firmly believe in yourself and work very very hard.
Well, you guys shouted out about a new full-length lately, didn’t you? I am very excited about it. Did you already finish writing songs for the new full-length?
Vast majority of work has been done pretty long ago. All the instrumental parts are already recorded, and now we’re finishing with the vocals, and also are working on some arrangements and electronic parts. We’ll do our best to have it mixed in August, so the album would be released in late autumn.
When will you start hitting a recording studio?
We’re planning to get back in studio right after the album’s release. We’ve got to produce some new Sunless Rise material which is almost ready to be recorded. It’s gonna be a single with two additional tracks, and they will sound quite refreshing yet distinctive. You’ll be surprised.
Back in 2006, how did the band get formed? Who founded the band?
Alex Becker, Sergey Shulzhenko and Eugeny Kasitsyn were the original lineup, a couple of years later Alexey Mallovski joined the band as a drummer and another year later we’ve added Alexander Cherepanov on vocals. It’s his growl you can hear on “Promo 2009”, he also works with us on the full-length recording. Before Sunless Rise we were playing in local bands and already had 5 to 7 years of experience before graduating high school. In 2006 we were 16-18 years old but quite ambitious (still are!), we were dreaming to create something big, setting the bar high for ourselves right from the start and intending to fight for our goal tooth and nail. It was a flash of pure inspiration, it kept us going and overcoming unforeseen difficulties. We were living in a small Siberian town and it was very hard to find musicians able to answer our purpose, for example, our drummer had to travel 1000 kilometers to get to our rehearsal place.
Could you tell us about the current lineup of the band? Have you ever made any member’s replacement in these past years?
Yes, we’ve had constant but inessential lineup changes, but the core members are still the same. Some members who left were getting back - like our Eugeny. Our current singer Kirill Ershov is also from Siberia, we were neighbors and we know him for years.
Have you played concerts before?
Our first gig took place in autumn of 2008 and it happened in Tver, a small city near Moscow. To make our first appearance on stage we’ve travelled more than 2000 kilometers! We’ve played quite a lot of shows in 2009, and the last two gigs happened in the end of 2011, in our native Siberia.
This is the last question this time. Are you guys now 100% active as Sunless Rise?
During that period of hiatus we could shelve our project like most bands in this situation do - they bury their dream after moving into adulthood. There were moments we weren’t sure we were capable to continue. But despise all those hardships our motivation grew stronger. We can see clearly now that music is something our life isn’t full without. So, our music gives us that very feeling of meaningfulness of existence, it keeps educating and inspiring both us and our listeners.
We are really looking forward to listening to your new songs! See you guys again very soon with another interview about the new album. Keep up your great job. Cheers!
You can check their brilliant music on Sunless Rise Bandcamp. It's also available at iTunes Store. Be sure to buy it and support them if you like their music.