Please tell us a few words about the new release, about the music on it as a whole or a few words on each track in part. How are you happy with the final release?
The album is titled …On the Precipice of the Ancient Abyss, and this was our first full-length album that the band has recorded. There are definitely a lot of elements of second-wave black metal that we incorporated into the music, which was absolutely intentional. We added a bit of our own spin into recreating that aesthetic, so there are elements of doom and atmospheric black metal in the tracks. The album is just under 72 minutes of raw, blistering Satanic metal. This album was a huge journey for us musically, and we think that it translates that to the listener as well.
Initially, when we first started putting this album together, it was kind of a mashing up of songs, but lyrically, the order of the songs is extremely important. It ends up telling a somewhat compelling story about a person, on the edge of death, that isolates themselves from the rest of humanity to die in peace. As this person dies, they descend into the afterlife and confront the truth beyond the veil.
How would you describe/label the music on it? Does it sound like anything we might have heard before?
This album, first and foremost, is an homage to the second-wave of black metal. Those pioneers of the genre in Norway – Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, etc. – really created a sound that I don’t believe has been recreated in the same way since they were doing it in the early 90s. Both Moloch and I took a lot of influence for this album from Darkthrone and Mayhem, and we think we accomplished the goal of creating an album that is obviously heavily influenced by those bands. Some of what you will notice listening to it is that parts are played throughout a multitude of bars, and the song structure is much more controlled than a lot of metal that is out these days. We’re trying to convey a structure similar to a song like “Transylvanian Hunger,” where the same part is played for minutes at a time. We think that really creates that kind of cold, broody atmosphere that has always made black metal what it is.
Where was it recorded and how much time did it take you to record it? Any interesting stories from the recording/producing the material?
When we started the production of this album, I think it was late 2015, like maybe September or October 2015. I’ve always been interested in learning as much as I can about the music industry, as it has been my career goal for a long time. I picked up a really cheap copy of Pro Tools and a recording interface, and we decided that we would just record it ourselves. We both live in places that share walls with others, and we needed to find a space. In Flagstaff, space is at a premium, and I must have called twenty places asking if they had a space for a band to play in. Our community is not very supportive of music, but we eventually found an old office building that we could utilize on the weekends.
One thing I can say for sure is the learning curve is extremely steep. I knew it was going to take a while to learn and it was a rude awakening for me when I didn’t even know where to begin. We had all the material written and the first couple months we hardly got anywhere.
Slowly, it started working itself out and things went a lot smoother. We only had late Saturday evenings and mid-afternoon Sundays to work on the album – because we were in an office building – and when we’re already trying to figure out the production aspect of it in like four hours a week, it took a really long time.
I was on the forums every night, trying to understand it the best I could. I wouldn’t say that I’m anywhere near someone who’s been in the industry for a long time or who went to school for it, but I think the album speaks for itself. As far as the production goes, we did everything from writing the music to the final master and export of the completed album, and I think that’s the part we’re most proud of. Mixing is still something I'm learning, but I do think we did pretty well with the tracks.
What can you tell us about the cover artwork? Is there a link between the artwork and the lyrics? What are the topics of your lyrics?
We ended up working with Gragoth over at Luciferium War Graphics for our album artwork, and that guy truly does some exceptional work. I had the idea for this album artwork when we first got into the studio to work on the album, and when we spoke with him about the artwork, I really think he saw the same exact vision that I had in my head, because it looks exactly like what I thought it should look like.
There is definitely a significance of the artwork in relation to the album. The primary themes this album dealt with were theistic Satanism, occult, depression and death. I am also really influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I’ve always been really fascinated by the idea of investigation going awry, and especially the insanity that is usually a result of that investigation. So, when you look at the artwork, you can see this huge pit in the earth, which is representative of the ancient abyss in the title of the album. And then when you look up, you see this barren forest with people hanging dead from the trees. That abyss is both literal and metaphorical. I think you could look at it from the investigative answers that drove these people insane, or you could look at it from the metaphorical abyss, where suicide is the only real answer.
What do you expect to gain through this release? What are the band’s aims at the moment?
Really, we are such an unknown name, we’re even below the underground. This album release was kind of a culmination of a lot of ideas and the drive and passion we had to see this through completion. With the amount of music that comes out on a daily basis, we have a long uphill climb, but we thought this album could kind of be that bridge to create more of a fanbase for us. Not touring, I think, has the potential to hurt us as far as creating that fanbase, but on the flipside of that, it gives us more opportunity to create new music for our fans.
With that, we did the recording ourselves and it was our first attempt, and nobody knows who we are, so we decided to make the album entirely free on Bandcamp. This, we felt, removed the barrier of entry for people, in case they may be on the fence of giving us money for an album or not bothering. Most people like free shit, and I’ll download almost any album if doesn’t cost me anything. Plus, the United States has such a different culture than other places when it comes to music, and so you have to give someone a reason to check you out in the first place.
On a more personal note, I know that listening to black metal changed my life, and if my music can do that for even one person, then it’s all worth it for me.
Is there a special format the material is released in? Or is it released in multiple formats? How many copies were pressed?
So we had initially thought we were going to run a Kickstarter to get CDs printed, kind of as a pre-order type system, but it’s financially infeasible for us to do that right now. It’s a tough sell to ask people to buy a physical copy of a CD when they can get the whole thing for free. Bandcamp converts everything into MP3s, so that’s all that is available right now.
With that being said, though, we do have plans to still print a physical copy of the CD in the future. Once we finish our next album, we think we will be running a crowd-funding campaign of some time to help fund the pressing, and we will probably print this album as a stretch goal. Signed copies, special casing; we’re not entirely sure yet, but that plan is starting to formulate.
Where and how will you promote this new release?
Well, we’ve been released for a little over a month, so I think the promotion has already started. Our big goal is to just get more reviews and interviews so we can reach a wider audience. We try to update our Facebook, Twitter and main website as much as possible, but the traffic is minimal right now. The more people that hear about us, the more potential fans and the more music we can keep making!
Where can we order it from?
We’ve made it so easy for anyone to access our music!
You can just go to unholybaptism.bandcamp.com and download a copy for free. Of course, we won’t turn down anyone’s money if they want to give it to us, but the important thing is that people are listening to it; the money is mostly irrelevant (though we do like it!)
Also, if you go to our website, unholybaptism.com, click on our Discography page and click the album logo on that page, it will take you directly to our Bandcamp page. It’s easy, so just go download it already!