January 2008 - CENTURIONS GHOST
I don't know much bands, which have made such an impressive development in a very short time like UK heavyweights CENTURIONS GHOST. Their first album was a very solid opening but with the second full-length, which has been released last year, CENTURIONS GHOST have shown that they still have a lot of good ideas in store. The most fascinating fact about their devastating sound is they way how they combinate Doom and Thrash Metal. This hybrid is an organic monster and it's more than adequate to describe it with words like sonic alchemy. So the point in time has come to uncloak a bit of the group's magic. It's up to you to decide, if my mission was prosperous.... A few days before the end of 2007, I sent a my questions over to the band, but I received the answers principal a couple of days ago. Thanks to Rich, bassist of CENTURIONS GHOST for his elaborate and informative answers.
Hail Rich! How you're doing right before Christmas? Do you stick needles into tiny Santa Claus-puppets or are you deeply involved into buying presents and more?
Hi Klaus, HAHA nice intro question - we're not into the religious aspect of Christmas but it is a good time to visit family and friends, drink copious amounts of alchohol and eat like pigs. To be honest though, I spent this Christmas renovating my studio, so I was knee deep in paint and cables throughout the festive season!
Before we talk about the new album, please introduce the band's new line-up. I noticed, that there have been a few changes. What was the reason for it?
Mark was the first change, he replaced James on vocals. A somewhat controversial move at the time but I hope that any doubts that people had have been quashed since the release of 'The Great Work'. Next was Jonny, he replaced Stuart on guitar and then there was Fed who replaced Dan 138. We didn't intend on going through so many line up changes its just the way things went at the time. Many bands would have imploded from the pressure and abuse but we stood tall and fought our way through, and now we have a line up stronger and heavier than ever before.
For me personal, 'The Great Work' belongs to one of the best and heaviest Metal albums in 2007. It's such an intense and atmospheric masterpiece, where good arrangements and crushing heaviness have been molten together to one overwhelming unit. What do you think, is the reason for that giant development in a relatively short period of time?
It took us over two years to complete the album and we were very pleased with the finished product. It isn't so far removed from the first album, it is what we see as a logical progression. Our song writing, arranging and musical abilities have without doubt improved considerably since 'A Sign Of Things To Come' and we are very excited about starting work on our third album.
Have you ever imagined, that there couldn't have been a better title for this album than 'The Great Work'? So it's basically no surprise that you have entitled the debut full-length 'A Sign of Things to Come'....;-)
We do think very carefully about all our album and song titles. They all have meaning and if you like, are a key to what our music is trying to project.
What makes this album also very special is a kind of authenticy, which is not very often to find. I could also write the same about your debut, but basically we're taling about the current release. Is there a special chemistry within the band or what do you think?
I believe the Centurions Ghost sound is the result of the different influences that each member brings to the band and the album definitely incorporates all those elements. So it's fair to say that the album is authentic because it represents what we, as a group, created.
Apart of all musical quality, the band's very good in creating real atmospheric albums, especially due to all the short soundscapes between most of the songs. Is there any conceptual meaning behind both releases?
We always try and create an album that can be listened to from start to finish, as an entire piece, therefore the soundscapes are important for the atmosphere and for linking songs. The first album is not conceptual, however the second album has a very loose concept based on the title.
Apart of other bands, what's the main inspiration for your music? Are there any books and/or movies, which impressed you in a way, that it has been floated into your sound?
The works of Lovecraft and Poe are particular favourites of mine, I am also a huge fan of 1960's-70's occult/horror films, I collect the soundtracks from these movies (mostly on vinyl) I love the primitive suspense which the instrumentation, composition and recordings counjour.
In the review I had written about 'The Great Work', I supposed that vocalist Mark Scurr's would fit also to a Hardcore Punk group, due to his raw and powerful style of singing. Did he make any experiences in the past before he joined the band?
Yes, he used to play guitar and sing for a band called Mandeville, they were a really good band with lots of promise but sadly disbanded around the same time as Mark joined CG.
It's always worth to take a look at the lyrics, who can be very dark and hopeless, yet there's always a strong spirit and the will to fight the battle, wherever it may will happen.
Lyrics are very difficult to write, it is like bearing your soul to the world. I was responsible for the lyrics on 'A Sign...' and both Mark and myself wrote the lyrics on The Great Work. Some I am very proud of, others make me cringe haha. But overall the lyrics are part of the overall concept, they have to conform to the album as a whole and stand on their own as a song.
How important is the cover-artwork for a CENTURIONS GHOST album? I ask for it, because both albums have a real tasteful and inspiring outlook. It seems, as if occultism and mysticism plays an important role for the band...
As with the album titles, song titles and lyrics they all are thought through very carefully and must conform to the album as an overall product. Too many bands these days put out albums without carefully considering each and every detail to the finest of points. For instance putting a warrior on horseback wielding a great big fucking axe isn't exactly the best of ideas for an album containing stoner rock songs which deal with the inane subject of drinking whiskey and smoking weed, the only reason Conan's younger brother appears on said cover is cos warriors are cool this week, the next album will feature whatever's en vogue at the time... cynical me?? haha
In 2007 you've been on tour in the USA and you've played several shows here in Europe? As far as I remember, you have also played some shows together with Earthride and The Gates Of Slumber. Is there any nice story you may want to share with the readers, or is all memory drowned in nights of booze? Rich, I'm just kidding...
Hahaha, yeah we've spent many many a drunken night with those guys and there are copious amounts of debauched tour stories but unfortunately due to legal reasons I cannot divulge the gory details!
Do you think, that 2007 was a successful year for the band? What are your aims in 2008?
We achieved a lot in 2007, probably more than I ever imagined we would. Our aim for 2008 is to keep building on this and to expose ourselves to as many people as possible. We are currently in the early stages of writing material for our next album and if all goes to plan we will release our third album in 2008.
Here we've reached the end of our interview. Thanx for being so co-operative and all the best for 2008! Keep on crushing!
Thank you sir!