Plenty of metal bands seesaw between polar opposites, contrasting red-eyed rage with summery, hope-filled melody. But few explore the numerous emotional shades between black and white, and even fewer do so while experimenting with Spanish, Asian, Middle Eastern and classical music. Juggling so many styles and moods is a challenge on which accomplished producer and Enemy of the Sun guitarist/songwriter Waldemar Sorychta thrives.
"The goal isn't just to mix so many different influences and sounds, but to put them together with this very heavy stuff and have them fit perfectly," he said. "The music that we make doesn't just sound like a gathering of parts — all the sounds ... work together in a straight line."
The debut album by Enemy of the Sun, Shadows (out January 22), is multifaceted and complex, filled with abrupt rhythm changes and genre shifts. Yet, regardless of the schizophrenic sound, the songs hold together with crafty transitional phrases and stanzas that shuttle the music from intro to outro without the listener feeling the turbulence.
"I think it works so naturally, because I'm always open to every kind of music and enjoy everything that allows you to really hear the feeling behind it," said Sorychta, who also has Grip Inc., Eyes of Eden and other bands on his résumé. "Every good song should tell you a story without you even knowing the lyrics. And I believe in putting many different moods in the music because you don't live your life in one constant mood. Every day, you have different experiences, so you will find many things in the songs — anger, happiness, but most of all, excitement. Everybody in Enemy of the Sun feels the music and is deeply inside of every song."
Sorychta implemented some of the musical ideas of Enemy of the Sun — named after Neurosis' 1993 album — in Grip Inc., which released four albums between 1995 and 2004. In 2005, Grip went on indefinite hiatus when their drummer, Dave Lombardo, returned to his original band, Slayer. At first, Sorychta focused on producing other bands, including Lacuna Coil, Samael, Tiamat, Moonspell and the Gathering. Then he started looking for new bandmembers for a fresh project.
The first recruit was drummer Daniel Zeman, who was recommended by a friend. After a quick jam session, Sorychta knew he was on the right path. "I was really amazed, because this guy can play with groove and also play fast as hell, so I can basically do any kind of music I wish. It was paradise for me as a composer because I knew I wouldn't have to set any boundaries."
Next came Jules Naveri, a Finnish singer who can scream like a tortured demon and croon like a pop singer. Sorychta met up with Naveri after checking out his local band.
"I invited him to play with us, and he amazed me even more than I expected," Sorychta said. "When he sings [melodically], it's very strong and very nice, but when he shouts or screams, it's fierce. Some people ask me if I have three different singers in this band, because his voice is so diverse."
Enemy of the Sun cemented their lineup with Sorychta's friend Alla Fedynitch, an accomplished composer and pianist who also plays bass. Once the roster congealed, the band entered the studio to start recording songs for Shadows, an album that reflects the duality of human existence and the inherent darkness of mankind.
"Some lyrics are a bit political, some are personal, but none of them are saying, 'Oh, life is wonderful. You just have to live with flowers around,' " Sorychta said. "That is bullsh--. Of course, the lyrics have always had a positive message, but they're about understanding that there's a lot of terrible things going on around us. Sometimes to watch the news is the most terrible thing in the entire day. After five minutes, you can come close to puking because you go, 'It is not possible. That's all human beings.' "
Rather than become overwhelmed by such harsh reality, Sorychta turns his aggressive feelings into creative expression. "Even when I'm in a very angry situation, which is where some of this brutal music comes from, there's always this release. And then I say, 'Well, you can't always be angry. That's not the way to change something.' So, I think you have to always try to think positive and make a change within yourself by putting energy in everything you do."
As much as he enjoys Enemy of the Sun, Sorychta doesn't completely write off an eventual Grip Inc. reunion. He harbors no ill feelings toward any of the bandmembers, and if Lombardo were to become available, another meeting of the minds might be inevitable. However, as fond as Sorychta is of music he wrote with Grip, he has no intention of disbanding Enemy of the Sun.
"Enemy is a very good family, and I feel very comfortable there," he explained. "The music and this band is the result of 100 percent passion, and that is the most important thing. The music is not made to prove something — it's just made because it has to exist."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Terror plan to enter a recording studio in two months with producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Shadows Fall) to begin tracking their next LP. The band said in a statement that the material "that we have demoed already is without a doubt the hardest and best Terror sh-- ever." While fans are waiting for the yet-untitled album, Terror have jumped on the bill for the annual Superbowl of Hardcore, which is set for April 5 in New York. The partial lineup also includes Agnostic Front, Madball, Backfire and Fahrenheit 451. More details about the fest will be announced in the coming weeks. Terror will also hit the road next year with seminal New York hardcore outfit Earth Crisis. The latter band is apparently back in action, as it has lined up several tour dates for '08. The trek — which will also feature Sworn Enemy, Shai Hulud, Down to Nothing and Recon — kicks off February 29 in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is expected to run through March 12 in Hollywood. Additional dates will be announced over the coming weeks. ... Candlemass and Daylight Dies will tour together this spring. The trek is set to launch May 19 in Springfield, Virginia, and run through June 7 in Fort Worth, Texas. ...
Set Your Goals are down a member following the departure of guitarist Dave Yoha. A statement from the band claims Yoha was tired of touring and expressed a desire to leave. "We support him and there are no hard feelings," the remaining bandmembers explained, adding that they've known about the shift for about a month and have been quietly auditioning potential replacements. ... Soilent Green's forthcoming new album has been set for an April 15 release through Metal Blade. The record was produced by Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Goatwhore). ... Throwdown's Dave Peters recently hit the studio to record a guest vocal for Soulfly's forthcoming new album, which is expected in stores this summer. The yet-untitled record will also feature a guest appearance from David "Evil D" Vincent of Morbid Angel fame. ... Singer Ellen Hoffman has parted ways with Bloodlined Calligraphy after joining the band a little more than a year ago. "Sometimes you just have to 'know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em,' " Hoffman said in a statement. She added that she quit the band because of "personal reasons and stuff beyond my control." ... Pelican, Unearthly Trance and Black Cobra will be road companions this spring, as they are planning to head out for a tour that begins February 28 in Chicago. Dates are scheduled through March 15 in Louisville, Kentucky. ...
New York death-metallers Suffocation have lined up a few dates in support of their forthcoming Roadrunner-issued The Best of Suffocation, which hits stores January 29. The band has booked just six gigs, the first of which is set for February 23 in Sayreville, New Jersey. ... Demonical, the Swedish death-metal band that features past and present members of Centinex, Grave and others, have announced the departure of singer Ludvig Engellau. He bailed due to "musical and personal reasons," according to a statement. The band plans to carry on with a session singer and will find a full-time replacement early next year. ... Finnish metal act Kalmah have finished recording their fifth, yet-untitled full-length, which should be in stores sometime early next year. Guitarist Antti Kokko said in a statement that the disc "will be guitar-driven, raw-sounding, more riff-oriented but melodic, as [a] Kalmah album always is. The band is very pleased with the result, and I guess we are doing the best album so far. I know it is a cliché to say, but I believe we are damn right about it." ...
The oft-delayed debut LP from Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's Kingdom of Sorrow side project has been slated for a February 19 release through Relapse. According to a statement from Jasta, the yet-untitled offering "crushes." "I pushed myself to become a better vocalist, and wrote and expressed myself lyrically in a totally different way than I have before," he added. ... Death-metallers Necrophagia have enlisted Slipknot's Mick Thomson for their forthcoming album, Death Trip 69, which should be ready for a summer release. Thomson contributes lead guitar parts to the effort. ... Drummer Rich Hoak claims reunited seminal grindcore act Brutal Truth have written 10 songs for their comeback LP, some of which "are the most brutal bizarre grinders ever, and we are totally psyched," according to a statement. No word yet on when the material will surface, but we'll keep you posted. ... A February 12 release date has been set for Texas black-metallers Averse Sefira's forthcoming LP, Advent Parallax. The disc was helmed by producer Tore Stjerna, who has worked with Watain in the past.