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Interview

The Absence Front Man Jamie Stewart Explains New Album "Enemy Unbound"

Photo of The Absence

Band Photo: The Absence (?)

Who says you have to hail from Sweden to make melodic death metal? Florida's The Absence is back for a third full-length album of Gothenburg goodness entitled "Enemy Unbound," which saw release earlier this month through Metal Blade Records. In support of the new album the band has recently shot a music video for the title track, and is also streaming the track "Maelstrom" via Metalunderground.com.

The Absence vocalist Jamie Stewart recently shared his thoughts with Metalunderground about the sound of "Enemy Unbound" and the direction of the lyrics, stating "The lyrics this time around deal with life in a band, the not-so-glamorous parts while still being able to enjoy the really great things like creating moving music with close friends and brothers, meeting people who really give a fuck and care about what we do, and take the time to express that." Jamie also discusses drummer Justin Reynold's car accident, recruiting Jeramie King, and the "shred off" contest that brought the band a guest guitar player.

xFiruath: What got you started in music and what bands have been the biggest influence on you as a musician?

Jamie: What got me started? Being angry and wanting to express myself I suppose. Metal and extreme music like punk and hard core always appealed to me. Influences? Life is way more of an influence than bands, but if I had to say, At the Gates, Carcass, Maiden, Entombed, etc.

xFiruath: Tell me about the new album “Enemy Unbound.” What has changed about the band’s sound since “Riders of the Plague” and what can fans expect to hear?

Jamie: We have progressed as a band, and of course it has affected our sound. Some say this and that, but to me, it sounds more rock and roll oriented, while still retaining our signature thrash/melodic death metal sound. Everyone can expect The Absence.

xFiruath: Is there a particular theme to the songs on the new album, and what do the lyrics deal with?

Jamie: The lyrics this time around deal with life in a band, the not-so-glamorous parts while still being able to enjoy the really great things like creating moving music with close friends and brothers, meeting people who really give a fuck and care about what we do, and take the time to express that. That right there is really important to us. The song Maelstrom is a dedication to all of our amazing fans.

xFiruath: Where was the album recorded and who did the band work with?

Jamie: We recorded at Mana Studios. Brian Elliot tracked while Peter and Patrick handled the brunt of the production duties, and Jonas Kjellgren mixed and mastered.

xFiruath: I understand that drummer Justin Reynolds wasn’t able to finish the recording and was replaced with Jeramie Kling. What happened there?

Jamie: He did all the drums on the record. Unfortunately, he got in a car accident that messed him up pretty bad. Jeramie reconnected with us and in a true Slayer moment, after all of the things done and said, the five of us realized we make great music together and that it was time to grow up and forget about the unimportant past.

xFiruath: Where there any guest musicians on this record?

Jamie: Oh yeah. Tom S. Englund from Evergrey, Andy Wood, and the guest lead contest winner Sebastien Josse.

xFiruath: Speaking of the guitar “shred off” competition you had not too long ago, tell me a bit about that and the entries you received.

Jamie: Well, to refer again to Sebastien Josse, he was the winner. We got so many entries that were amazing. It took a long time to pick this one out.

xFiruath: You guys shot a music video for the album’s title track, “Enemy Unbound.” Where did that take place and what’s going on in the video?

Jamie: We shot with Fetus Productions out of Orlando, which is where we shot the video. You'll have to go check out the video itself to see what is happening, but let me tell you, it's worth the look.

xFiruath: Does The Absence have any tour dates coming up in support of the new album?

Jamie: We are out now with Goatwhore, doing a few shows up to the TMT Metal Fest in Middle town New York. We have some other goodies in the works, but the only thing I can mention is the North American dates with Firewind (Gus G., who is Ozzy's new shredder) and Powerglove which will be on the East Coast in early November.

xFiruath: Outside of “Enemy Unbound,” what’s on your personal musical rotation lately?

Jamie: Katatonia, Dio, Swallow the Sun, Iron Maiden always. Non-metal, Circa Survive, the Black Keys, and a lot of dubstep.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Jamie: “Enemy Unbound” in stores now! Thank you again, to all of our fans: "The rising flames that consume us whole, calling out to us, from below!” Cheers!

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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