SINISTER REALM - 2012
By Eduardo de Souza Bonadia
SINISTER REALM is one of the many real heavy metal bands which are appearing in the USA in the last years and in opposite from many journalists which calls etalcore bands like new wave of US metal bands which is wrong and false, there are plenty of excellent bands playing bangin Metal!! SR plays a mix of traditional with doom and their music is very interesting and with the roots in the 80´s. Here John Gaffney, bass player and founder of the band answered some questions
All questions answered by John Gaffney, bass player and founder of Sinister Realm
1-When did you began Sinister Realm??which are the band major influences??
I started Sinister Realm in the summer of 2008, at the time I had just left Pale Divine and Darin McCloskey the drummer asked me if I would like to work on some songs together. It all started off as something to do for fun but as we progressed we started to realise that the songs were good and that we should put a full band together and record a demo, the demo then led to a deal with Shadow Kingdom Records and the release of our first self titled album in the summer of 2009. Our influneces are classic 1980-1984 metal, what I consider to be the golden years of metal. Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Dio era Sabbath, first 3 Ozzy albums. I'm also a big Candlemass fan so I throw that into our sound also.
2-Do you and the rest of the guys participate from another bands before SR??which styles??
I used to be in a band with the original Sinister Realm drummer Darin McCloskey called Pale Divine which was a straight up doom band in the style of Pentagram or the Obsessed. I played on the Pale Divine album Cemetery Earth. Our singer Alex and drummer Chris played in a local band called Type 14 that played late 90s Maryln Manson style metal.
3-How did you sign with Shadow Kindgom Rec??did you receive offers from another labels??are they doing a good with work with the band??
I always knew about Shadow Kingdom because I liked the bands on their label and used to order from their store, Darin was playing in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where Shadow Kingdom is based and the label owner Tim started talking to Darin about what he was doing lately and Darin gave him our demo and he liked what he heard and offered us a deal. At the time we were speaking with a couple other labels but we thought Shadow Kingdom was the best thing for us at the time. You have to remember that at that point we had never played any lives shows and our demo was only a few months old so not that many people knew about us. Shadow Kingdom was a good stepping stone for the band but we are currently in talks with a few other labels who might put out our next album, which we hope to have out early 2013.
4-How did you enter the heavy metal world and which are your influences as musician??
AC/DC "Back in Black" was the first album I really flipped over, from their I quickly discovered Black Sabbath and Ozzy's first albums and it just went from there. I used to stay up late at night and listen to a local college radio station that played metal, I would tape the shows on cheap cassette tapes and listen to the all the time, it was from this radio station that I discovered bands like Accept, Saxon, Yngwie etc etc. My influences on bass are Geezer Butler, Steve Harris, Bob Daisley, Roger Glover, I also admire Randy Rhoads, Blackmore and Schenker for guitar. My songwriting influence is Leif Edling from Candlemass, I think he is an excellent song writer.
5-What do you think about the 90´s and that grunge thing???
Hated it...well, let me take that back a bit, I loved what I call the first wave of grunge, the first Sound Garden and Alice and Chains albums, to me those two bands sounded like 70s era Sabbath, with heavy riffs and dark tones, at the time I hated hair bands like Poison, Firehouse and other awful stuff like that so I thought bands like Alice in Chains were a welcome return to riff metal, then for some reason metal became uncool (at least in the States) and all these bands seemed to hate metal which of course I thought was wrong. So really quickly the whole grunge thing started to suck and by the mid 90s I absolutley despised the genre and everything it represented, I hated the fact that musicianship seemed to take a back seed to terrible playing and whinning vocals, I longed for the days of guitar solos and fantasy lyrics so It was a relief when grunge went away and metal became popular again, for me though metal has never died it has always been the only thing in my heart.
6-You are the the guy which write all the lyrics and music for the band, any chances for another band members write in the near future??
Of course, it just at the moment it's a bit easier for me to do all the writing. When the other guys first joined the band I had already written the entire first record and due to how difficult it is for us to find time to rehearse in our busy lives it's just easier for me to do all the writing. What I do is I demo everything out using a drum machine and me playing all the instruments and vocals and I give it to the other guys and they put their own spin on things, so they are able to put their stamp on the music in that way.
7-CD or vynil format? Illegal downloading are killing true music, do you see any solution for it?
Vinyl all the way, I'm a total vinyl freak and have a large collection of 80s metal on vinyl. I really hate the way a lot of modern CDs sound with a very loud, distorted and compressed mix where all the dynamics are removed, I long for the open and warm sound of vinyl. When I listen back to an album like "British Steel" on vinyl to me it sound great, when I hear the CD it sounds to harsh and bright. All that being said CD's are way more portable and easy to deal with so they are the medium of choice for most fans and I understand that. I'm disappointed that our current label won't release our albums on vinyl but I'm working on and having someone else release them. Illegal downloading is a double edge sword, in the end I think it does more harm than good, I undestand though that for a band like Sinister Realm people may have no other choice as they can't find our music anywhere else. Metal heads seem to be loyal to their bands though and will more often buy a CD. I worry though about the younger generation, I often talk to kids who have never paid a dime for a piece of music yet they own thousands of songs, they talk about bands they love yet they have never bought a CD of theirs or paid for any of that bands music. I know people say that playing live is where bands have to make their money but this is really difficult to even do now a days, again though the internet and downloading has helped spread the word about Sinister Realm so in a way it's proabably helped us more then hurt us. I see no solution really to the illegal downloading problem, the only thing I do is encourage people to please support your metal bands by buying their CDs and t-shirts, this is how we can guarantee to keep metal alive.
8-Many Stryke readers doenst know the band and your albuns cause the distribution here is almost zero, can you please talking about the meaning of the band´s lyrics
Sorry to hear that it is difficult to find our albums, hopefully that can change in the future. As for the lyrics, I like to write with fantasy and imagery, I like to write about the good and the evil inside man. I do also like to write a good battle song though like "With Swords Held High". "Signal the earth" is about a guy stuck in a space ship going crazy. "The Tower is Burning" is about a king watching his kingdom fall. "Message from Beyond" on our first record is about a guy who has died and he's trying to speak with the living.
9-In the first album i can detect influences from Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Dio, and the doomier parts the mighty Candlemass and vocalist Alex Kristof soundlike Messiah Marcolin "son". do you agree??
Yes, definetly, those bands are my major influence. I tell people it is like this, you learn to talk from your parents so you will grow up to speak and sound like them, I grew up and learned music from all those bands you mentioned so I of course have their influence in my sound. I don't really hear Alex sounding like Messiah though, he doesn't have the operatic style and range that Messiah does, I'm such a big Candlemass fan thought that I'm sure some of the melody lines in our songs sound like they could have been sung by Messiah. Messiah is one of my all time favorite vocalists so his emotional style has influenced me in many ways.
10-At Let us to talk about second album, "The Crystal Eye", which the big diferences about both albuns?the second one sounded more traditional metal and less doomier for me.
I agree a bit with you, I think "The Crystal Eye" is a bit more straight ahead metal but it does still have some really heavy doomy moments like the songs "The Shroud of Misery" and "The Tower is Burning". Really I never considered Sinister Realm to be doom metal, we have some slower darker songs but so does Ozzy's album "Diary of a Madman" or Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell" and would anyone consider those to be straight up doom albums? In the end I just try to write what I think sounds good and try to put together a collection of songs that have some flow to them, I don't like albums that are all one thing..all fast or all slow, I think it's imporatant to have peaks and valleys, fast and slow...this is what makes a good album for me.
11-why did drummer Darin McCloskey and guitarrist Keith Patrick left the band and how the band did find the new guys Chris Metzger and John Risko
Darin left because he moved and it was to far and difficult for him to get to rehearsals and gigs, I'm still very good friends with Darin and speak to him all the time. Keith was asked to leave, me and him were unable to work together, he wanted to do certain things his way and I didn't want that so he was asked to leave. John Risko played guitar in a cover band that our singer was in so we knew him from that and since he's proably the best metal guitar player in our town we wanted him in the band, Chris Metzger used to play with Alex and is a great player so that's how we got him in the band.
12-Which are the band plans now???
First we are recording some new demos for our next album in the hopes of finding a record deal with another label. We would like to see the album out by early 2013, the tentative title for the record is "World of Evil". We have about 6 songs written so far and I'm working on a few more. We also hope to get out and tour more and leave our country to play abroad.
13-Any last comments and to add?
Sinister Realm, 2009 Shadow Kingdom Records
The Crystal Eye, 2011 Shadow Kingdom Records