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Interview

Animus Divine Discusses New Album "NOVO"

Photo of Animus Divine

Band Photo: Animus Divine (?)

The Tuscon-based genre mishmashers in Animus Divine are following 2011's "Sorrow" album (reviewed here) with the release of new disc "NOVO."

We previously had the pleasure of premiering the new track "Leonard Lawrence" online (check it out below), and now the band has also offered us a first-hand look into to the specifics of this new release.

Read on for a full track-by-track breakdown as well as the band's thoughts about ditching the Gorgonzola from this release, winning a Summer Slaughter showcase show, and more!

xFiruath: Can you give me a short track-by-track breakdown of what's going on with the sound and lyrics for the songs on “NOVO?”

Sure. The first track off the album "No Respect" we wanted to sound more commercial musically (to an extent) and really be able to put emphasis on the vocals and lyrics, which is about sticking up for yourself and not dealing with the bullshit. This was also the first track we did where I didn't use any death metal style vocals. I think by doing that we were really able to capture the imagery we were going for.

The second track "What?!?" Is my personal favorite, it's just a fun bouncy track where I really get to play around vocally. The guys gave me a ton of room to get creative and be able to work on my syllable patterns, I think this track was the one that started to define what we wanted to do exactly with our style.

"Leonard Lawrence" is our first beat infused song...we really want to encompass REAL hip hop elements,not just crossover stuff. So we put our feet in the water and were very pleased with how it turned out. Suicide has been a huge part of my life and I just felt the feeling of the music sent me in that direction, it's a very personal song for me.

"Here I Come" is a concept song about taking over the world. It's probably our biggest mash up song overall from the beginning to end you probably go through about 4 different genres of music in the track. I think it's uniqueness is what pops it out to me when I listen back to the album because its such a different track from the rest of the album.

"Hero's Prevail" was the first track we recorded from “NOVO.” Heavy and groovy from start to finish no doubt. This was originally slated to be the first single off the album until we had recorded "No Respect." The whole album was gonna be based around that song and a whole "superhero" concept while keeping it very street. We eventually decided to scrap the concept but keep the track on the album.

“If EveryBody Dies" was actually a feature track with producer/engineer Grimey L. from Los Feo Faces. He made the beat, we laid down some guitar chops, and our guitar player Derek and I wrote back and forth vocals to give it a man talking to his conscious type of feel. When we finished the track our DJ at the time decided to leave the band and Grimey L. took over his spot hence why the track is no longer a feature but an actual Animus Divine song. We plan on doing a lot more tracks like "If EveryBody Dies" but mainly as one off tracks and singles in between albums.

xFiruath: What are some of the differences in your sound and lyrics this time around from your previous music?

The main difference would be lyrical content. While we will always have edgy/violent lyrics we really are aiming to have an overall positive message of standing up for yourself and not taking any shit. I always say I am writing riot music for the revolution, if that makes any sense, where before I just wrote about what was pissing me off that day. I really wanna add longevity to my lyrics and that's what “NOVO” has helped me accomplish. As far as the music goes I think our biggest difference is having our new sample/electronics guy in Grimey L. who really opens up that dimension 300% more than it was before. We are starting to get comfortable in how we wanna switch from death metal to hip hop while still keeping it authentic. Our big thing is no cheese... Gorgonzola gotta be gone if ya follow. We used a lot more death metal in our last album, while we will never remove that style from our music we are finding ways to put it in more tastefully to compliment the other styles we use.

xFiruath: Who did you work with for recording “NOVO?”

With Matthew Good (From First to Last/D.R.UG.S guitar player) at his studio Good Sounds. AMAZING. Period. We have never had such a good experience in the studio. He is going to be a sought after producer once he builds more. Everyone came out of that studio sharper and more aware of what each of us individually needed to work on and with each recording process we got better and learned more. I can't wait until we record out next album with Matt. If anyone gets a chance to work with Matt I highly suggest you do it.

xFiruath: Who handled the “NOVO” artwork?

In-house, guitar player Derek and bass player Gary do some graphic designing and our Advisor Zach Y. challenged us to be creative since we were changing as a band and our ideal sound was starting to surface. “NOVO” is Latin for “change” and the album cover with its alien-like feel helped compliment that word and idea.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the Summer Slaughter tour showcase – how did the show go and what was the competition like?

The show was amazing. We actually didn't sign up for it, we were called and asked to play. The promoter who called has done a lot for us and asked us to play not for the contest but because he felt that a Sumerian rep needed to see us. So we played, and without any thoughts of winning or care of winning, we won. All the competition was our friends so it was a supportive scenario, cause we knew one of the homies was gonna win, again we weren't planning on winning so were just happy to be there supporting our brothers. The Sumerian reps responded to us very well and we won a slot on the SS date here in our home state. I'm just not sure if the tour is for us if you look at who is on the bill and listen to our new album. I think it's gonna be interesting when we play for sure, but it's gonna be fun and we are gonna stomp the stage in dust no doubt when we get to that date July 20th in Phoenix, AZ to those who care to attend. We did go to the 2nd round in Cali and lost but I would say extreme circumstances assisted that as I was arrested at the California border and made it to the venue while we were setting up (I'll save that story for another time...the whole journey to get “NOVO” released has been wild it'll be a good read if we ever get to tell this CD's story).

xFiruath: Do you have any other live shows lined up for the near future?

Yes. We will be starting to hit the road beginning in June with some small campaign tours until we piece together a full tour or get onto a tour with a larger band. The response we've gotten from “NOVO” has been amazing and we are getting tons of inquiries about booking. So it's just a matter of lining up what's right for us and and how we can maximize opportunities presented.

xFiruath: What's happening in the Tuscon metal scene?

Lots of shows, haha, some good bands from here have released some albums and are going to begin the push to try and make the dream happen. Other then that it's pretty normal. Hopefully we can change that this year and bring some national attention to the city.

xFiruath: What other projects do you guys have outside Animus Divine?

There is stuff planned in the future from other members but I am the only one actively in a side project, genre wise we call it dark soul music. The poject is called The CB Project. It's just me and a super talented bass player Belly Black, pretty much making mix tape songs out of samples from old jazz, soul, and rock songs from the 60's-80's with a real dark image to it. It's a super slow project,hopefully we can get the EP out before next year.

xFiruath: What else would you like to say?

Thanks for taking the time to read this to anyone who did, it is much appreciated. Thanks for the support from all our fans make to to pick up our album “NOVO” and support the #ADNation and be on the look out for us coming to your city.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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