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Interviews : “It’s been a long time in the works” – An Interview With Rob Allen (Encircling Sea)

By on April 10, 2018

Encircling Sea – Rob Allen

Rob Allen is a member of blackish post-metal outfit Encircling SeaThe band have just released the dense and macabre, but also very rhythmic Hearken. When asked to describe the album, here is what Allen has to say.

That’s a good question. I really don’t know what to say about it, it’s just kind of what it is. It’s been a long time in the works. We’ve been silent for a long time. I guess it’s dense, it’s certainly dense. There’s a lot of guitar happening, I just wanted to write a heavy album that’s a little bit different to our stuff previously.”

A cursory listen to Hearken lends itself to an initial adjustment as the listener takes in the overwhelming sonic onslaught. Creating a heavy album is more than just an idea within the brains trust of Encircling Sea, so Allen’s next comments explain the evolution of the band’s philosophy.

When we initially started, we chose to use drop A (guitar tuning) because we were doing more ‘doomy’ stuff, and the first album was pretty much a doom song with a massive post-rock interlude and then a bit of black metal at the end. So, that was written really quickly. We had two jams and played a show… then recorded it (the first album). I hadn’t really been using the tuning to its full effect on the next two records. It was kind of more of a novelty and it’s like, ‘Okay, these bits are the black metal bits and then we’ll go on to a heavy bit’, and I was just like I should use the tuning to its full effect. So musically, (Hearken) is me trying to almost write a post-metal record with blast beats instead of slow beats.”

One very notable element of Hearken is the beat placement and cadence of the percussion. It sounds as though the band have laboured over parts of the drums and percussion to ensure each beat is essential to the guitars brooding intent. However, the outcome across Hearken is the result of a process far more organic.

I don’t think we pay- without sounding like we’re not doing anything deliberately, we don’t pay that much attention to those things in that we’re sitting down and going, ‘We have to work this stuff out very to the nth degree.’ It’s just something that kind of happens. The way that we write music, is I write all the guitar… and I’ll just go, ‘Okay, this is the song, this is the beat I was thinking,’ and I’ll tell our drummer and that’s just how he plays. Even if you asked him, I don’t think he would have ever thought about it that specifically. It’s just him wanting to play rhythmically. He’s a really good funk drummer.”

It’s always interesting to hear the number of bass players and drummers/ percussionists in metal who come from a predominately funk and groove background.

He’s very good at rhythmic playing and trying to accentuate a riff in a kind of traditionally funk kind of setting, but as a metal drummer. He doesn’t play like a lot of metal drummers where it’s just hammer and tong and he doesn’t hit really hard.”

A deft percussive hand is required with music as heavy as Encircling Sea create. Sounds like the band have the right ingredients so catch them at a show in a capital city near you.

Head to the band’s official Facebook page for full details: www.facebook.com/EncirclingSea

Purchase your copy of the brand new album ‘Hearken’, out now via EVP Recordings / Nerve Gas. Click here to grab a copy today.

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith