Today we’re joined by none other than the mercurial Gods of Eden from Sydney, Australia. These progressive metallers earned a rave review with 2015’s exceptional debut LP From The End of Heaven, a release which found itself right up there on our 2015 end of year list and helped inspire our Beyond the Veil column. Grandiose compositions, enchantingly technical guitar playing, cinematic soundscapes and diverse vocals are the name of the game here, and we’re predicting big things to come from these guys. Without further ado, let’s get into it and see what they have to say about the concept behind their debut, what their new album will sound like, the Australian scene and more!
Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to join us today. So I’d like to start with the style of music that you guys play. You’ve been billed as technical death metal and progressive death metal in the past, but I don’t feel that’s necessarily accurate. How would you describe yourselves?
Danni: Out of all those genres I feel “Progressive” is the term that has described us the most accurately. The album consisted of a 50/50 mix of clean and heavier vocals and, aside from a few extreme riffs, I personally never felt that we belonged in the technical death metal category. GOE’s music has always been about taking the listener on a journey and its musical core is more influenced by soundtracks than metal. The riffs that are created on top are just building blocks, but the core is the most important element. As long as that is felt then GOE will always sound like GOE.
Yeah that makes complete sense. From The End of Heaven was one of our favourite releases from 2015 and we feel it was quite a landmark album for progressive metal as a whole. I understand that there is a pretty strong conceptual theme behind that album so did you want to go into some details about that?
Ian: Well fundamentally the concept of the whole album is about self-liberation and personal transformation, something that I feel very strongly about. Each song holds pieces to the overall puzzle, which can be assembled at your own leisure. “Overseer” talks about the great unknown ‘other’ watching over the activities of humanity and potentially having an impact on the way humanity develops throughout the course of history. William Bramley in his book ‘Gods of Eden’ referred to them as the brotherhood of the snake, riffing from Von Daniken’s theories of the Anunnaki. However, I think there is enough freedom in the work for us to interpret the talk about aliens as a metaphor for people who are removed from the general pool of the human population. Take that as you will.
“Shiva’s Dream” is about the cycle of the 3 prime Gods of Hindu mythology; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Creator, Maintainer, Destroyer. The song is circular and ends where it began, the grand cycle of the Aeon. “Lost in Fables” talks about the inevitable removal of ancient high civilisation, and how it was brought about through our inability to see outside the colouring of our own understanding. “Through the Abyss” is about the internal work necessary in order to attain personal freedom. “Rub al Kali” is just a pretty interlude, or it could be taken as the passage of time leading in to…”Beyond the Persian Veil”, which talks about death. Death finds all. Death is called the great initiator for good reason, and you will only understand why on the other side of it. “From the End of Heaven” is a call to arms. Find the weaknesses within your chains and things will never be the same again. “Gods of Eden”: Who are the Gods? Who are the Slaves? That’s for you to figure out.
Awesome, thanks so much for sharing that with us. We had a great chat with you guys at the start of 2016 where you went through a whole host of your musical influences. So what are some non-musical influences that inspire you to create what you do?
Danni: I get inspiration from life, space and world history. My job as a funeral director also allows me to see a very different side to the world, which in turn becomes inspirational fuel.
Ian: I usually take my lyrical inspiration from my life. I also incorporate elements of personal events and observations I have made over time. I do a fair bit of reading about various topics that take my interest from day to day, and that stuff finds its way in there as well.
Wow, I can imagine that working as a funeral director would definitely have a big impact on you. Now, a couple of our resident guitar nerds mentioned that you have riffs, and especially lead motifs, which seem to go on and on without really coming back into place. They feel like it has a kind of free form quality to it, whilst still managing to be cohesive. What do you think about that assessment, and what drove you to write that kind of music?
Danni: Soundtracks have always fascinated me and the way composers manage to fit so many ideas into a movie whilst still managing to have it sound cohesive. When writing songs I always picture visuals and stories in my head, so it’s only natural I think that my studies into soundtrack composition transcended into GOE’s writing style. If people can feel that too then I appreciate that because as a composer it means I’m achieving what I set out to do.
Speaking of songwriting, I hear that writing is well underway for your second album, so can you give us any ideas on the future direction of the band relative to what we’ve heard from you so far? And any ideas on when it might be ready for our ears to enjoy?
Danni: Gods of Eden started out as my self-indulgent, ego-worshipping bedroom solo project, one which I initially never intended to be taken live. Our first album was spent discovering and shaping one element of our sound; however, once we hit the live scene we saw what worked and what did not. Mike [bassist/backing vocals] and myself have been a composer/arranger duo for almost 20 years but never quite found the right singer to carry our vision through until now. At heart my main passion has always been writing massive riffs with industrial/electronic elements, big drums and powerful rock vocals. As for the second album, the best way to describe it is BIG. Everything is now about size… big riffs, big vocals, big solos and big synths all weaved into GOE’s cinematic soundscapes. It’s the natural evolution from a bedroom/studio project to becoming a great live band.
Awesome, that sounds great and I can’t wait to hear it. There has been a lot of talk in the metal community lately about crowd funding, with bands like Ne Obliviscaris, Protest the Hero, Allagaeon and Shining all turning to some form of subscription service. I think it’s awesome that bands are finding new ways to connect with fans and earn enough to turn their dreams into a reality, but what’s your view on it all?
Ian: Well, personally, I am not really a fan of it at this stage. I don’t believe that fans should somehow owe a band its existence simply because they have written a couple of cool songs. We have grand ideas and plans for our future, but I am not putting my hand out in order to achieve them. I have personally shaped my life around my plans for the band, my job is basic but pays well and is flexible. My assets are fluid to the point of being able to eradicate the debt that comes with them. I love making music and playing shows and have done everything I can to make sure I am not going to be compromised when it comes to that. With regards to making money for the band, though, we are looking at things differently. We decided that there was potential and an opportunity for fans to join us in a once in a lifetime experience at Pulp Summerslam in the Philippines [a metal festival drawing tens of thousands of people]. We have put together a tour and accommodation package that gives fans exclusive back stage access, as well as the experience of travelling to a new and beautiful part of the world with us, to see things from a different perspective and experience a bit of what we get to experience. That’s what I think is important in life. Exclusive songs and videos are all well and good but they don’t go with you to the grave. If you want more info and are interested in heading to the Philippines with us, hit up [email protected]
That certainly sounds like a unique offering, a great idea guys and I really hope it goes well for you. So now I’d like to take a closer look at Australia. The last 15 years or so I feel like Australia’s reputation within the rock/metal community has soared, and we keep seeming to get more and more amazing bands coming out of there. Why do you think that is?
Ian: I think it has something to do with our geography and global location. Each city is so far removed from each other and we, as a country, are so far removed from the world that it makes the general business of playing shows difficult and expensive. In that process it weeds out those who, for whatever reason can’t or don’t want to do it, which leaves the rest who have the drive and passion to find each other and work on bigger and better projects. That’s my theory.
Almost like the band version of natural selection, haha. So I did some research of Australian bands, where in the country they come from, and the style of music that they play, and I got some interesting results. I found that, generally speaking, NSW & ACT had a much higher proportion of progressive rock/metal bands compared to the rest of Australia. Names that immediately spring to mind are bands like Breaking Orbit, Plini and, of course, yourselves. Can you pinpoint something specific or unique about Sydney that makes it so conducive to producing progressive music?
Sean: My own observation so far has been that Sydney is a grind, day in, day out—and this has definitely translated over to other aspects of my life. I’ve found that in the two years of living here I’ve found myself being much more calculated about my music. This has been bit of a double edged sword.
What do you think about the role of the internet in propelling Australian bands? The general trend seems to be that the internet makes it easier for bands to enter the game, but with more competition and less money to go around it’s harder to survive. So there are pros and cons, but given Australia’s geographical isolation, do you think it’s fair to say it’s had a mainly positive impact here?
Ian: My opinion is that the internet is both a good and bad thing. Sure it opens you up to the world to be recognized and accessed by millions more people than can be reached by the old ways, but in doing so you find yourself screaming in a sea of voices. And it just becomes expensive when you have to pay for every post on social media to reach even a small percentage of those people who already like you.
Yeah, I can imagine it as both wondrous and immensely frustrating at the same time. Now this is a tough one, but is there a characteristic about the music coming from Australia that really stands out to you? For example, a lot of people familiar with melodic death metal might hear a song and go ‘this sounds like it’s from Gothenburg’. So is there a certain sound that you hear and think to yourself, this sounds like it’s Aussie?
Sean: I think the metal bands here tend to always, no matter how much they claim x genre, have a very…backyard ruckus vibe to it. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Though in all honesty you won’t catch me listening to much metal or prog stuff these days.
Given such a glut of local talent to choose from, did you want to highlight a couple of Aussie acts that perhaps don’t get the acclaim they deserve?
Ian: Yeah you should check out our friends Anno Domini, their recent album was really impressive. Our brother Andy has taken the vocal duties and has done a fantastic job of it. I also enjoy the work of Sydney boys Diminish the Gods as well as our mates Rise of Avernus and The Seer. I have been getting into Sumeru and LO! recently too.
Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll need to check them out. Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us today guys, we really appreciate it and wish you the best for all your upcoming endeavours. Before you go, we’ve saved the most important question for last. How do you like your eggs?
Ian: No problem, thanks for the questions and all the support you guys have given us, we really appreciate it. I prefer to take my eggs with bacon, sunny side up.
Sean: Fertilised and with its parents.
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Remember to follow the band on Facebook for all updates, and you can check out their music on Bandcamp. Finally, hit up [email protected] for more information on a truly unique package experience: travel to and enjoy accommodation in the dazzling Philippines, take in the beautiful scenery and culture, and gain exclusive backstage and band access all whilst attending one of the largest metal festivals Asia has to offer.