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Interview

"I Am Just A Natural At Writing Dark Subjects" - A Pale Horse Named Death's Sal Abruscato Speaks

Photo of A Pale Horse Named Death

Band Photo: A Pale Horse Named Death (?)

No stranger to the world metal stage - having played drums for both Type O Negative and Life of Agony - Sal Abruscato earned new respect and a new legion of fans in 2011 when his own project, A Pale Horse Named Death, released debut "And Hell Will Follow Me."

Now, barely two years later, a second album titled "Lay My Soul To Waste" is about to be released through Steamhammer/SPV. Sal was kind enough to take some time out from his schedule to tap out some responses to MetalUnderground's questions.

Goatlady: 'Lay My Soul To Waste'  will be released at the end of May and from the two songs that are streaming on your web site now - 'Shallow Grave' and 'Killer By Night' - I think it would be a fair statement to say that fans should not expect happy songs about rainbows and unicorns! I read an interview where you talked about going through a divorce when writing the debut album - where has the lyrical inspiration come from this time around? Do you ever worry that with success you'll become ridiculously happy and the band's "dark edge" will lose it's authenticity?

Sal Abruscato: I am just a natural at writing dark subjects, so its not that hard for me. I am not worried at all about any success affecting my writing style - it just flows in my veins.

GL: And Hell Will Follow Me was received really well by critics and fans alike. I don't imagine it has been an easy journey, but looking back now are you surprised at how well the band has done?

Sal: I was surprised because initially, this was just a cool thing me and Matt [Brown, producer and engineer] wanted to do together and it just became this entity on its own merit.

GL: Have you exceeded your initial expectations?

Sal: Yes I did - I had no idea I would end up doing live shows and having such a positive response.

GL: Is there something you would like the band to achieve specifically?

Sal: I would like to continue on a steady growth of fans and perform bigger and bigger concerts. Ultimately just want to see it come to a massive fruition of success.

GL: You and Matt Brown played all of the instruments on 'And Hell Will Follow Me', adding band members later for live performances - is this how you've approached recording again, or are the new members contributing to the recording as well?

Sal: We approached it the same way, I enjoy playing all the instruments and we believed if it is not broken, why fix it?

GL: Is it hard giving up some of your creative control?

Sal: For me now it is hard, because I see the whole picture before it is even written. I have been in band collaborations before only to leave me disappointed with the results.

GL: Was anyone else involved in the writing process?

Sal: I basically write the whole core of the song, and then later on Matt Brown will be inspired and add melodic ideas, solos as well as assist in arrangements.

GL: APHND's debut also included quite a few guest appearances. Is there anyone we should listen out for on the new record?

Sal: No, not really - on this record, we wanted to keep it 100% APHND.

GL: Do you think fans will be surprised by anything on the new record?

Sal: Maybe we pushed everything we did on the first album a bit more with the second, along with being a bit more aggressive at times. More harmonies and piano. All our tones and production got tweaked to be even better on the new album.

GL: APHND was, as I understand it, your first foray into the frontman role. Are you now fully comfortable out front?Could you go back to being a drummer or just playing guitar?

Sal: At this point in my life I am not really interested in playing drums for anyone. I am very happy with this new chapter in my life and although it is very challenging to perform as a vocalist, I feel it's healthy to be nervous before a performance. It keeps you on your toes and giving 110%! I love playing guitar and I always did for years, I love giving birth to new music and playing drums just doesn't do that for me. Change is good in life.

GL: What about upcoming tours - is there a chance we could see you on the festival circuit this summer?

Sal: We are working on all that stuff as we speak, it's just a very complicated process in this band due to everyone's schedules. But it will happen and when it does you'll know!

"Lay My Soul To Waste" will be released on May 21 in North America, May 24 in Germany, Switzerland & Austria, and May 27 in the rest of Europe. The album can be preordered on the band's web site. Two tracks from the album can be streamed below:

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Kay Smoljak is an Aussie photographer, geek, metalhead and goat aficioado who is currently hiding out in Berlin. She blogs sometimes at enter the goatlady.

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