Light This City's Laura Nichol wants to clear something up, once and for all.
Two tracks on the Bay Area death-metallers' 2005 LP, Remains of the Gods — "Letter to My Abuser" and "Your Devoted Victim" — are not about any skeletons Nichol has in her proverbial closet, although fans ask her all the time if she'd ever been abused.
"I have a great family, and I've never had that sort of experience," she explained. "Those songs are more about religion and my struggle earlier on with finding faith and losing it. They're about people I know who are just complete hypocrites, who use religion as a justification and rationalization — an excuse. Those songs are about what I think about that, but really, they're more metaphorical songs and people will have their own interpretations."
Oh, and those constant comparisons to Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow and Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia? Yeah, she doesn't quite get that.
"I really respect them and I love to see women in music, but it is kind of frustrating when you take influence and inspiration from your idols — like [At the Gates'] Tomas Lindberg, [Carcass'] Jeff Walker and [the Black Dahlia Murder's] Trevor Strnad," Nichol said. "And then people will go ahead and compare you to someone who has the same anatomy as you. And if you want to do that, it's fine. I think Angela and Cristina are awesome."
But to be fair, Nichol's voice is more menacing, more intense and more passionate at times, which she said, "is what I'm going for." And fans of the band can expect to be injected with a healthy dose of Nichol's thunderous vocal stylings on Facing the Thousand, which hits stores September 19. She said the album's material came to the members of Light This City without much effort. Well, almost all the members.
"Our plan was to wait and tour on Remains for a while, but we just started pumping out songs — like, no joke," she said. "I couldn't even keep up with my lyrics. I was just like, 'Dudes, you need to slow down.' It just kind of happened. They would all sit around, and we wrote this record in no time at all. We're really proud of it, and I was able to learn so much from the recording of our first album, and I used a lot of that to completely improve my style. We also practiced the songs a lot more; when we recorded Remains, we didn't have a lot of time to practice the songs. We wrote 'em and went right into the studio. So this time around we were able to get the whole band together, practice the songs and perfect certain things."
Nichol's lyrics were inspired by Richard Adams' classic novel "Watership Down," which follows a group of Berkshire rabbits as they flee from the destruction of their warren by land developers and search for safe haven, skirting danger at every turn.
"The new record is a lot about nature, and how f---ed-up it can be," she said. "I drew inspiration from 'Watershed Down' and applied it to my own life. And on the album, I talk about certain types of leaders. On our song 'Cradle for a King,' it's about this plantation owner and how he treats all the people who work for him. I compare him to better, more noble types of leaders in other songs, and some of the tracks relate to each other while others relate back to songs on Remains."
Light This City are on tour with Suicide Silence, All Shall Perish, Too Pure to Die and Nights Like These through September 8 in Las Vegas and will head out with Caliban, the Acacia Strain and Stick to Your Guns September 25 in Roseville, California. On September 10 and 11 in Los Angeles, they'll shoot a video for "The Unwelcome Savior," the first single from Facing the Thousand. Metal video director du jour Darren Doane (Deftones, Every Time I Die) will be helming the clip.
Nichol said Doane would like to take the emphasis off the frontwoman for the video. "You can definitely expect to see intensity, and really, he wants to downplay the fact that I'm a girl," she said. "You won't see our faces for a while — just a bunch of hair — and in the middle of the video, you start to realize, 'Holy sh--! That's a chick and she's kicking my ass right now.' "
As for Light This City's future, Nichol said the band is hoping to land a slot on 2007's Ozzfest. "That's definitely one of our goals in our career," she said. "When the Black Dahlia was on Ozzfest, I went to go see them and hang out, and it was just so cool to experience that backstage lifestyle. It's huge, and it would be a great opportunity. We'd love to do it."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, Full Blown Chaos and Every Time I Die are among the acts confirmed for this year's Saints and Sinners Festival, which will happen October 28 and 29 at the Asbury Park Convention Hall Complex in New Jersey. Others expected to take the stage for the two-day festival include the Devil Wears Prada, From First to Last, the Warriors, the Number 12 Looks Like You, A Life Once Lost, Job for a Cowboy and Suicide City. ... "Anti Pizza," a track from mathcore specialists Horse the Band's forthcoming Pizza EP, has been posted on the band's MySpace page. Look for Pizza to hit stores on September 5. ... The Red Chord, Gwar and Municipal Waste will hit the road this fall for a North American tour, for which only 11 dates have been confirmed. More dates will be revealed over the coming weeks. The trek kicks off October 13 in Philadelphia, and dates are scheduled through November 4 in Salt Lake City. ... It Dies Today will team up with the very un-metal bands Silverstein and Aiden for a U.S. run this fall. The jaunt kicks off October 13 in Milwaukee, with dates scheduled through November 25 in Albany, New York. It Dies Today's forthcoming album Sirens will drop on October 3. ...
Dissection frontman Jon Nödtveidt, 31, was discovered in his Stockholm, Sweden, apartment on August 16, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Swedish newspapers reported that Nödtveidt was surrounded by candles and that shortly before the suicide, he sent farewell letters to his father and girlfriend. In the early '90s, Dissection were one of the founders of the Scandinavian melodic death-metal sound, along with At the Gates. However, after two albums — 1993's The Somberlain and 1995's Storm of the Light's Bane — Nödtveidt was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of 37-year-old Algerian homosexual Josef Ben Maddour. Nödtveidt remained in prison until 2004, then restarted a less-impacting version of Dissection with new bandmembers. The group released the two-track "Maha Kali" single in February 2005, then returned with the full album Reinkaos in May of this year. Nödtveidt had hoped to play shows in the U.S. to support the release, but because of his criminal past, he was denied a visa to enter the country. Shortly after the release of the band's new album, Nödtveidt announced that he would break up Dissection and stop writing songs because he had achieved all his musical goals. ...
Deicide will embark on a North American excursion this October with Desolation. The first date's all set for October 14 in Huntington, West Virginia, and will conclude on November 19 in Mexico City. Deicide's The Stench of Redemption landed in stores this week. ... Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Necrophagist and Unmerciful will spread evil across North America this fall, with a 24-date tour that's set to begin on November 10 in Springfield, Virginia, and end December 7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ... After touring from September 30 through October 14 with Vital Remains, Grave and Demiricous, Swedish death-metal veterans Dismember will return to North America with Entombed and Grave. The new dates kick off December 1 in Hollywood and are scheduled through December 16 in San Marcos, California, but the bands will likely remain on the road through year's end. Dismember's new album God That Never Was came out March 7. Entombed will release their new EP When in Sodom on November 14. The band's next full-length, Serpent Saints, is expected early next year. ...
Members of Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Vile, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Total F---ing Destruction, Divine Rapture and Prosthetic C--- have made guest appearances on the new album by Philadelphia extreme grind band XXX Maniak, Harvesting the C--- Nectar. The album was mastered by Pig Destroyer producer Scott Hull and includes the bloody morsels "Gorestar," "Lost Inside Yourself" and "Skeleton Toucher." ... Johnstown, Pennsylvania, death-metal band Incantation will release their next full-length, Primordial Domination, September 5. The disc was recorded at Mars Recording Compound in Sharlersville, Ohio, last spring and engineered by Bill Korecky. "We feel very strong about the new material," said guitarist and singer John McEntee. "We never seem to run out of unholy dark-metal movements." After its release, on Halloween, the band's former label Nuclear Blast will reissue Incantation's 1991 full-length debut , Onward to Golgotha. The disc will include a bonus DVD featuring three live sets. ... Experimental Boston metal band Kayo Dot will launch a new tour Wednesday in Nashua, New Hampshire. Dates run through November 10 in Boston. The band's most recent brain-teaser, Kowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue, came out in January.
Giant Squid have lost a few tentacles. At the end of a recent tour, drummer Mike Conroy and keyboard/ trumpet player Tim Conroy left the eclectic Austin, Texas, doom band. Fortunately, as with the case of the actual mighty sea creature Architeuthis, the tentacles have grown back. The band has hired keyboardist Kimberly Freeman and drummer Scott Sutton, both from bubblegum glam-rock band Ghetto Princess. "Her obvious musical ability has carried over perfectly to the keyboards, and Sutton's amazing dynamics and ability will remind longtime Squid fans of the monster drummers of the band's old days," the group said in a statement. ... New York punk trio Spoiler NYC, which features Life of Agony bassist Alan Robert on vocals and bass, have finished their debut album, Grease Fire in Hell's Kitchen. The disc, which will be released by year's end, was produced in New York by Robert. Four tracks from the album, including the title track, "Dead to Me," "Hung My Head" and "Every Person Is Corrupt," can be heard on the band's MySpace page. ... The fourth album by Swedish traditional-metal band Wolf, The Black Flame, will be released on October 3.