Dissension Explains The Creation Of New Album "Of Time And Chronic Disease"
Band Photo: Dissension (?)
Montreal's Dissension has readied its devastating first release "Of Time And Chronic Disease," which detonates digitally worldwide on September 10th. The album was produced by Kevin Jardine of Uplift Productions and mastered by Ryan Morey.
Metalunderground.com will be releasing a taste of the album prior to release with an exclusive stream of new track "Legacy" later this week. In the mean time, several members of the band - Andrew Proppe (keyboards), Anthony Pulcini (drums) and Nathan Afilalo (vocals/guitar) - got in touch with us to discuss how the album came together and what fans can expect to hear.
They also discuss playing the Heavy MTL fest as well as the Wacken Metal Battle Canada, in which the band competed for a shot to play at the world's most renowned heavy metal festival. Check out the full interview below, which also includes a stream of the album's title track.
xFiruath: Let’s start at the beginning. How long has Dissension been together and how did the band originally form?
Dissension has been together for about six years now, forming in 2008 with original members Matteo Conti, and Anthony Pulcini under the name Set To Kill. The guys got a few friends together for a local battle of the bands, and inspired by the show, decided to make the group a real project. After a few line-up changes, Nathan Afilalo had joined on guitar and Oli Aveline on bass and vocals. Andrew Proppe joined in on keyboards a few years later. In 2011 Nathan took over vocal duties and Dissension emerged out of the transition. 2013 marked Oli leaving the band, and the void was filled by longtime friend of Dissension Giancarlo Cinnini.
xFiruath: Explain to me the recording process for "Of Time And Chronic Disease.”
Our album “Of Time and Chronic Disease” was recorded in two separate sessions with the magnanimous Kevin Jardine (Salves On Dope) at his Uplift Studios and mastered by Ryan Morey (The Arcade Fire, Priestess, Half Moon Run). The first three songs we recorded were “Set To Kill,” “Blacksteel,” and “Brutality,” which we used for a EP in the summer of 2011. The remaining six songs were recorded the following summer of 2012. These were our first experiences with being in professional studios and being such, we encountered some growing pains in regards to reformulating some song structures, you know, shortening those ten minutes riff feasts that span into eternity. A lot of these songs were written when we were as young as 15, so refurbishing them for a more mature sound was a task that Kev helped us with exceptionally well. What was the most difficult however was reconciling the growth we experienced between the first set of songs we recorded with the final six. A year passed where we all got the chance to see where we needed improvement on our studio work. Our vocalist had only begun to “sing” on the first set and so returning to a similar sound to make a cohesive album was an interesting challenge.
xFiruath: What’s happening as far as themes and lyrics on this album?
What was cool with the album is that when we went into the studio we didn’t have a unifying theme music wise or lyric wise. However, pacing the album and looking critically at each piece allowed some to immerge that we had not anticipated. Thus the lyrics and the music follow each other as does each successive song to form somewhat of a story. What we wanted to represent thematically through the lyrics and the pacing was the various stages of life we as humans go through. We sought to find the darker and more triumphant moments, which ties into the ultimate title of the album, “Of Time and Chronic Disease,” with of course a highlight of the darker side of things. To put it in a few words it would be exploration as to how people deal with their lives as they constantly march towards an ultimate and inescapable death. Time is the chronic disease that all living things suffer and so we present our audience with instances where there are those who triumph in face of the reality, and many who despair.
xFiruath: Who handled the album artwork?
Simon Dupuis did the artwork. We strove hard with him to find something that fit which wasn’t too cheesy, you know, like having the grim reaper hovering above graveyards and the likes. Since the concept of the album dealt with a human reality, Simon found us a true embodiment of the human dilemma which is the wonderfully emaciated creature you see on the album’s cover, which indeed was once a living breathing creature. Now it’s metal propaganda hahaha.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about playing the Wacken Metal Battle Canada and how that whole process went.
It was a great experience for several reasons. Firstly we got to test the mettle of our new bassist Giancarlo in the face of excellent competition. Playing the Wacken Metal Battle came at an extremely important time for us. We’d been somewhat silent for a while, laying low in preparation for the album launch, and sparingly accepting gigs. To have an opportunity to play at the biggest metal festival in the world, in a place where we feel our music would be more appreciated than anywhere else, drove us to tighten and deliver performances like never before. In both Montreal battles we felt we performed well, despite the tough competing bands, and we’re proud to have made it to the finals in Toronto. We felt especially honoured as we were then charged with representing Montreal in the whole affair. The fans at the finals packed the venue, and still stayed to watch us, showing their support for a band they’d probably never even heard of. Proving ourselves worthy of a shot at Wacken and making new fans and a footprint on the Canadian Metal scene was reward enough for our efforts.
xFiruath: What’s the best or most memorable show Dissension has played so far?
That’s a difficult question as it varies from member to member. However, overall I think for us all we shall not soon forget our experience playing Heavy MTL. We played in front of our hometown metals heads, met a lot of great artists, and as a band we got to appreciate what it takes to be professionals.
xFiruath: Do you have upcoming live shows planned in the near future to support the release?
Yes indeed and that would be our long awaited, for us anyways hahah, album launch which is happening September 13th at les Foufounes Electriques in Montreal. There attendants will get a free album that comes with the ticket along with a free bowl of Columbian chilli. We have got some ideas brewing about gigging around nearby cities to promote this album now that we’re finally releasing it. We have new material well underway already, so we want to get this album’s exposure maximized as soon as possible.
xFiruath: Are the Dissension members involved with any other projects?
Anthony and Conti both have other projects for fun, completely different from Dissension’s style of music and actually play different instruments. Anthony plays guitar in Straight Jacket and Conti drums in a punk band called Commercial Radio. Our bassist Carlo is in ten thousand jazz bands and our vocalist has started a terrible acoustic black metal band. We are still waiting for our keyboardist to join a pop group… and may the gods strike him dead if he does.
xFiruath: On the heavy metal front, what’s happening in the music world that’s got your attention lately?
Well we had many debates on the new Ghost album, still digesting Watain’s, while loving the new Amon Amarth album (well our vocalist anyways). Of course awaiting the new Behemoth album and the faint promise of a new Necrophagist album .Most exciting of all is the Emperor reunion! It crushes us however that Europe is so financially unattainable and we can only watch the splendour from across the vast pond.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to mention?
We’re really grateful for all the interviews and exposure opportunities coming our way in lieu of the album launch. We’d like to thank our manager Pedro Barbossa, without whose help we would still be jerking off in some garage, Jon Asher, Nick Guerin & Dungeon Works, Simon Dupuis, Kevin Jardine, and everyone else who’s helped us make this album finally come to fruition. And of course Satan, whose infernal inspiration guides us ever onwards.
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