When we consider the concept of music- especially in regards to melodic death metal- rarely do we take the time to appreciate the full breadth of the soundscape. We stand transfixed by an assault of blast-beats, searing riffs, and mind-boggling, crushing growls. The composite of unabating and unabashed ferocity leaves us little time to process what makes each note matter- that is, the silence in between. Too often do we attribute silence to a cessation, a fissure that also creates an unexpected and unwanted closure. In reality, silence stands as a turning point, highlighting both the note we end on and the note that we start with once more. Silence is an accentuator and a point of redirection- a crux of listening and learning that Melbourne, Australia death metallers Annihilist have to come appreciate and work from.
We had the utmost pleasure and adventure in talking in-depth with Annihilist on the particulars of their recent signing, their impending reissue, and their process of refocusing and revamping their sonoric output. Enjoy!
Ouch That Hertz!: Hey, guys! How’s it going?
Annihilist: Going is affirmative, what direction is it going over there?
OTH!: Ah, I can already tell this is going to be a fun one. To answer your question: exact orientation is unclear, but northern winds are sending sensations of progress. Now, in all seriousness, I want to take some time to zero-in on some key aspects of your unbelievably busy schedule this year- primarily because you have so much going on. Firstly, congratulations on your signing to Truth Inc Records. They’re darn good people. I’m curious as to this signing, mostly because Truth Inc is based out of Australia, yet I hear of so many Aussie artists who are looking to break into overseas markets via American labels. While I have no doubts that Truth Inc will deliver for you as a band, I’m puzzled by this steadfastness in Australian territory- is it out of deference to your homeland? Did you shop around for overseas labels as well? Or have you always had your eye on Truth Inc RMT?
Annihilist: Thank you! We are excited to see what the future has in store for us with the help of the hard working team at Truth Inc. When choosing to sign with Truth Inc, we acknowledged we are a relatively new band and Truth Inc a relatively new label. With a lot of room to grow on both ends, we wanted to explore the journey with a like minded team that would put the same passion and hard work into developing us as a band as we would. Truth Inc have been a great step up for us to push things to the next level.
OTH!: I’m stoked to hear that you’re doing a reissue of Vol. 1. In a statement made in a formal press release, you mentioned that you, as a band, have learned a lot in your time and are taking time to reevaluate the original production on Vol. 1. Can you expound on what your learning curve was since the release of Vol. 1. In 2015?
Annihilist: Although we had an immense amount of passion fall into Vol.1, it lacked one crucial aspect of any successful album release: Pre production. Vol. 1 was created very much “on the fly”, and had many inconsistencies behind the scenes when it came to recording, writing, branding, marketing, etc. This stood in the way of an effective release, and also sacrificed a little of the creative element. For our newer material release, we’re trying to approach it with all guns loaded. A time consuming process, but will be much more effective in the long run. The release of Vol. 1 has taught us just which guns we need to load.
OTH!: In the three years since the release of Vol. 1, you haven’t released new material, BUT you’ve hardly been silent all these years- you’ve been touring and playing festivals around like mad dogs! I’m curious- why the break in sound? Why the silence?
Annihilist: We’ve been working hard on our new material. As a smaller band trying to break the surface of the industry, we feel as this is the best chance in our careers to spend the time establishing a unique sound and original material. As all members of Annihilist contribute to the creative process, there is a lot of back and forth between us in our songwriting – a lot of idea-swapping and experimenting. We don’t want to debut an album with generic metal that’s been heard a million times, we’d rather use the opportunity to showcase what we’re really about. We’re hoping our debut album will exceed all expectations and take Annihilist to a much higher ground.
OTH!: Y’know, this has me thinking… In a previous interview, Miki stated that he finds silence to be considered as one of music’s most powerful elements. It harkens back not only to a famous quote by Artur Schnabel: “The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes- ah, that is where the art resides.” This quote seems to work in tandem with a series of other studies on silence within music- most notably a paper by Elizabeth Margulis titled Silences in music are musical not silent, in which Margulis delineates the functionality of a pause- how it manipulates a dimension of soundscape to the listener and how it functions as a point for further musical expressivity. I like to imagine that you took a similar approach in your pause from studio work, opting in favor of a point of redirection in the form of extensive countrywide touring. My question to you is this: how do you, as a band, decide when a pause has reached its appropriate measure? How do you maintain it while maintaining relevance in an age where information and art is churned and turned over as quickly as it is consumed?
Annihilist: Vol. 1 provided us the foundation for what’s to come in the future. As the demographic for Vol. 1 was limited due to a number of factors caused by being quite new to the process, it’s given the experience to know how to tackle it correctly in the future. The pause you are experiencing should not disappoint. We’ve taken our time to get our next release right, rather than rush it and produce just your average record.
OTH!: With the idea of pauses coming to a closure and growth sprouting anew, do you have further releases of material(s) planned for the near future besides the reissue? I’m curious to see where your potency may lead in terms of potential new music. I believe I read that you have a debut full-length in the works- how’s it coming in terms of writing currently?
The pause you are experiencing should not disappoint.”
Annihilist: Our next release is currently the main focus for all of us at Annihilist. It’s coming along well, and we’ve already made a fair bit of headway on our tracking. We’re very excited to finally unveil what we’ve been working on.
OTH!: I think it’s neat that you’re all so stoked on taking the time to hone and (to an extent) relearn your craft. It’s a beautiful on personal and collaborative growth and I’m sure that such efforts will show in your future full-length. Can you give me any details on the upcoming album?
Annihilist: The finer details of our future release are still a mystery to even us, but I can promise you we’ve put a lot of time and love into creating something truly special. What we’re excited about is the dynamic in the album, there will be elements that all kinds of metal fans will be able to appreciate, but tied together in a way that won’t compromise the true heart of the music.
OTH!: Well, that’s unfortunately all the time I have with you today! Before I let you go, is there anything else that you’d like to add?
Annihilist: Stay tuned, we’re working as hard as we can to get our new music to you!