Monday, June 13, 2016

Hour of Anguish Interview

1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

A1. We formed Hour of Anguish in 2014, as the duo of Andreas Henriksson & Richard Lee. Our intention has always been to create intensely brilliant, brutal, and beautiful soundscapes that transcend the status quo of Melodic Death Metal. We left our bands Somber (Suicide Records) and December's Shadow (Blue Pie Records) we knew there had to be a better way to create the music we loved. We both felt music is a pure expression of will and that art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. Our next musical creation had to be more than what we had done before. We formed Hour of Anguish a living embodiment of musical intensity, force, ferocity, balance and beauty.


2. Recently you have released your first album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

A2. The guiding principles for our First Album, "Solace of Sorrow" was to stand tall on the shoulders of the giants that inspired us like - Soilwork, In Flames, Lamb of God, & Dark Tranquility but  push farther beyond the horizon of these masters of metal through constant growth, exploration, and evolution of sound and style. Our challenge is to get the listener to forget what they think they know about metal and get lost in our album. We wanted to create a genre bending amalgamation of force, ferocity, balance and brutality. Solace of Sorrow is beauty and the beast; unrelenting, compelling, melodic metal for the masses, giving listeners a little of what they know but a tremendous amount of what they would never expect.

 

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

A3. Richard: I write lyrics that cover existential, philosophical, metaphysical & occult themes. This album came in a time of my life when I was dealing with addiction and a tremendous amount of personal loss and defeat. Treading along the narrow edge of my own oblivion gave me tremendous amounts of fuel for the fires of introspection and creation. As far as meaning, the ambiguity and semantic dissonance of words has always intrigued me, it is one of my favorite parts about writing! Each song has its own significance to me, the artist, but I challenge listeners to come to their own conclusions and meanings. Music is personal, no words are meant to be definite- speculate, consume, digest, & live your own interpretation. Your personal subjective vision will have a purer distillation and meaning than anything I could give. Live the music.



4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Hour of Anguish'?

A4. A perfect quote to explain HOA is by Friedrich Nietzsche, “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

We all have Hours of Anguish in our life. This is a time we are on the cusp of the end, a moment of despair where our suffering is so pure, and so intense, we beg for the ending. But somehow against all odds we survive, we endure, and we are tempered. We become stronger and we become as radiant as the sun, and we see our greatness unleashed.  “What is to give light must endure burning.”― Viktor E. Frankl

5. Currently there are only 2 members in the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?

A5. Richard: The creative process is very fluid between Andreas and myself. We understand how the other writes and are able to work effectively and efficiently together. For writing material we will most likely stay a two piece until we find the right members. We will definitely be putting together a band for all of our show and tour dates. There is nothing like a full band live.



Andreas: As Richard is saying, we do have a perfect understanding of each other's writing process and it will most likely stay that way; however, the possibility of future band members bringing some more creativity to Hour of Anguish is definitely there.



6. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

A6. Richard: HOA has had interest from both minor and major labels since the release of Solace of Sorrow, but we are taking it slow. We want our growth to be organic. Andreas and I have both been on labels before, and have seen the best and the worst of what they have to offer. We are really looking for the right fit for us!



7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic death metal?

A7. HOA has been receiving a tremendous amount of positive feedback. The biggest responses we have seen have been out of Central/South America and Europe. Both markets are way more receptive to fringe music like ours, and have been giving us tremendous support. Fans are loving the progressive elements of “Solace of Sorrow”, we look forward to touring Europe and South America soon!

 

8. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

A8. Richard: As soon as we were done with Solace of Sorrow, Andreas started working on our next album! The music style is WAY harder, aggressive, and “in your face” than SOS, I am really working on lyrics that are going to challenge listeners. Let’s push the boundaries of ideas!



Andreas: The writing process on our second album is in full force and is very different from Solace of Sorrow. Writing Solace of Sorrow was a long and experimental process; I actually wrote the first song 2013 and the last song 2015 and it wasn't until Richard joined 2014 that it started to take shape. The new album is definitely different with more intensity, rawness, and originality. The core of who we are as a band is really starting to come together.  I think that I found a more define, explosive sound for the next album.



9. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

A9. Andreas: This is always a tough question to answer and I usually try not to compare my music to any genres. If you try to hear differences between songs you may be able to hear the difference in music I was listening at the time. All music influence me, but at the time Soilwork definitely on the top of my playlist. I mostly listen to rock and all sorts of metal, but I try to hit up concerts with local bands to find original music in the area I'm in at the time.



Richard: I listen to everything from Miles Davis to Frank Zappa to Gorguts. There is too much good music out there not to try to listen and be inspired by it. Right now I have Insomnium’s “Shadows of a Dying Sun” on loop; brilliant fucking album. I also love the new by Amon Amarth “Jomsviking”, you can never go wrong with a Viking Metal concept album! ::laughs::



10. Does Occultism play any role in your music?

A10. Richard: Absolutely! Personally, I am heavily influenced by the occult in my writing. The concept of the Macrocosm and Microcosm, hermeticism, and gnostic self-liberation are huge elements of expression for me. I often wander between the Left and Right Hand paths freely, enjoying the sublime natures of them both. Some of my favorite authors are Christopher Hyatt, Stephen Edred Flowers, Joseph Lisiewski, Robert Anton Dawson, & Jason S. Black.



11. What are some of your non-musical interests?

A11.  Andreas: One of my biggest interest is sound production and engineering; as you may know, I did all the recording, production, mixing, and mastering of Solace of Sorrow. Even though I'm still an amateur, I'm pretty happy with the end result.



Richard: I am a poet and artist. My poetry is mostly stream of consciousness and existential expressionism. My art is surrealism and abstract expressionism – I am inspired greatest by K├Ąthe Kollwitz, Francis Bacon, and Jackson Pollack. Check my work out at www.richard.lee.potts.com



12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

A12. Thanks for taking the time to interview us! We are stoked to release “Solace of Sorrow” out and look forward to touring to support the album this year.  Be sure to check us out at: www.hourofanguish.com, join our mailing list, and like us on the Facebook. We look forward to talking to you again soon!!!

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