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Interview

Astral Winter's Josh Young Discusses Upcoming Album "Winter Enthroned"

Anyone who thought the frozen black metal style was dead and buried needs to think again, as Tasmanian duo Astral Winter is gearing up to release a monstrous debut titled "Winter Enthroned." Black metal fans looking for an epic feel with a touch of melody need look no further than the band's upcoming opus.

While the recording progresses, band master mind Josh Young filled Metalunderground.com in on the direction of Astral Winter's first full-length and the apocalyptic themes of the lyrics. Josh also discusses recruiting vocalist Phil Hemsworth, the Tasmanian metal scene, and catching Metallica live in Melbourne.

xFiruath: How would you describe the sound of Astral Winter?

Josh: Being that I have a lot of influences from many genres of metal in my writing, it makes it hard to describe the sound. But I say its epic, melodic black metal with some melodic death (old melo death) elements and maybe some other elements. I prefer the listener to describe the sound over me stating what it is.

xFiruath: Give me a bit of back story on Astral Winter. How long has the project been in existence and what has the band done so far?

Josh: About three years ago, in the midst of my other bands, I started writing a few melodic black/death metal songs. After my main band broke up I started working on this style of writing more frequently. Afterwards I recorded a demo or two without vocals. I continued writing more songs for an album release. A few months later Phil approached me with interest in my music and offered to do vocals. Having already written lyrics and vocal melodies previously we set up to record the track “Illustrations Of Death,” which later appeared on our EP/demo. This turned out pretty well, so we decided to spend a couple months recording a demo. This was released in August 2009.

Soon after this Phil moved to Brisbane from Tasmania. So I finished writing the remaining tracks for our planned album Winter Enthroned. In mid January 2010 work began on recording for the full length album, “Winter Enthroned.” At present the album is still in progress but close to completion. Currently trying to organize recording vocals, being that Phil lives in another state makes it kind of hard.

xFiruath: Tell me how things are coming along with the new album “Winter Enthroned.”

Josh: I originally thought this album would only take a few months to record, based on how long the demo took, but it has proved to be a much bigger task then I assumed, hence the delays. Being that I work full time as well I’m unable to work on the album as much as I’d like to. Recently things have been coming together a bit faster so shouldn’t be too far off completion.

So far all vocals that have been heard in album previews have been from me. But they will be all re-recorded when Phil and I can arrange a date. I also had a friend Damon Parker record two guest solos for me and am planning on having another friend do guest vocals on another track.

xFiruath: Where has the recording taken place?

Josh: So far everything’s been recorded and mixed in my bedroom. I’ll soon be looking for a studio/person to master the tracks for me. Did have someone who was going to master it but they’ve ended up moving, another speed hump.

xFiruath: What do the lyrics deal with on the average Astral Winter song?

Josh: All the songs on the album deal with apocalyptic themes. Each song deals with this theme in a different way.

xFiruath: How do you approach the song writing process?

Josh: I use Guitar Pro for composing all my tracks. I usually write riffs on guitar then tab this out of Guitar Pro and add all the other instruments. Sometimes i just do everything off the top of my head and don’t use any actual instruments in the composing.

xFiruath: Has Astral Winter performed any live shows at this point?

Josh: A few years ago Damon Parker and I played “Longing For Winters End” to a backing track without vocals. But since then Astral Winter hasn’t performed live. After the album is released Phil and I have talked about organizing a live band to perform in Brisbane. So we’ll see what happens.

xFiruath: How’s your local metal scene?

Josh: It’s pretty small here, seeing as its Tasmania. But there are a few pretty decent bands around. There’s not many, or any bands that I’m aware of that play metal similar to mine either. Being that I’d need to play to backing tracks for the multi keyboard/orchestra tracks, I’ve never really bothered trying to do a live thing down here.

xFiruath: Been to any good shows lately?

Josh: The last show i went to was Metallica when they played in Melbourne. It was a pretty awesome show but nothing particularly crazy happened.

xFiruath: What bands/albums have you been listening to?

Josh: Agalloch – “The Mantle.” Been getting into this band a lot recently. All their albums are pretty good and worth listening to. Got a pretty unique sound as well. Dimmu Borgir – “For All Tid.” This is their first album, I bought it off eBay a while back for like $7 and it’s been an awesome CD. Much different from their newer crap. Finntroll - “Midnattens Widunder” Great band, great album.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Josh: Just to watch out for the album, should only be a few months off, and my apologies for the delays. Also I’ve written about 40 minutes for the 2nd Astral Winter album “Forest Of Silence.” It has a darker more atmospheric feel to it and less of a Winter feel to it. So there will be more Astral to come.

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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