A few weeks ago, Bleak Flesh debuted the first and only single, the title track from the new album …And Save Us From Silence. The band also announced an August 5th release date for their new album, which is now available directly through their Bandcamp. …And Save Us From Silence has been a massively anticipated album to the underground tech death community. Especially with the lineup changes adding new vocalist, Ngen Kerruff, and acclaimed death metal drummer, Marco Pitruzzella (Six Feet Under, Rings of Saturn, ex-Brain Drill), fans wanted to see what the band's new music had to offer.
To get ready for the album, guitarist Matías Quiroz sat down and discussed some more in-depth parts of the album with us. …And Save Us From Silence is available now directly through the Bleak Flesh Bandcamp, but fans can also listen to the full stream of the new album below.
Metal Injection: What is the story of Bleak Flesh? What made you decide you wanted to start this band?
Quiroz: It was at the end of the '90s. The album Something Wild by Children of Bodom marked me enormously. I listened to neo-classical metal, power metal, death metal, black metal, and other music styles. This band mixed all of that and they did it in an incredible way. It was definitely the starting point for me.
Tell us a bit about writing and recording the album.
Quiroz: The songwriting process was really interesting, it usually begins with me playing guitar riffs. Some songs were written really fast in a couple of days each and others took me about a year. The orchestral arrangements were really fun to write. I love this type of music, especially baroque and classical and also movie soundtracks and videogame OSTs. I used all my influences while making this part of the album.
The recording sessions took part in four different places. Guitars and orchestral arrangements at my home studio, bass, vocals at Sonido Origen with our soundman Carlos Fuentes, drums at Marco’s home studio and bass re-amping on our last rehearsal place. Really nice workflow!
Carlos was in charge of the mix and mastering. We were looking for a heavy and organic sound, I think he nailed it, I'm really proud of the sound quality we achieved.
What were the biggest challenges of writing …And Save Us From Silence?
Quiroz: Writing riffs always comes naturally, I’m always thinking on melodies and arrangements in my head, it was a long process full of hard challenges but also a huge learning experience. The symphonic writing was quite a hard task but not stressful at all, you have a huge canvas with lots of colors, but beware… you must choose the right amount of green on a certain part to bring a specific emotion, then black, then red, if you overuse the colors your painting will end looking gray and impossible to perceive.
I've never worked before with a drummer so capable as Marco, he can bring out the musicality in the most extreme context with top-notch execution and feel. We have a lot of progressive parts on our songs—no problem for him, he delivered his best.
Lyrics were a huge deal on the songwriting journey too, Ngen worked really hard on these concepts and also used a lot of his vocal resources like operatic singing, melodic cleans, and a huge palette of extreme styles to bring the experience at its finest level. He also wrote Spanish lyrics this time and it came out super cool.
Enrique recorded a mix between fretted and fretless bass and also used a lot of different techniques to make the rhythm section more interesting and dynamic. We wanted a strong lower foundation, that’s why the bass flares and leads are related to certain moments, but the melodic content delivered on his execution always make your face go, "Whoa!"
Also, this is the first time we recorded an entirely acoustic song, a super experience for sure. I wrote a super simple idea at first on acoustic guitar and then with the help of my friends turned into a beautiful song, we're really proud of it. Big thanks to Cristian Cardenas for the immense rhythm section he built in this Afro-Cuban/Epic Asian type of experience. The vocals came out incredible too, Ngen deep melodic vocals are beautiful.
Our soundman Carlos was also a huge part of the sound quality achieved on …And Save Us From Silence. He completely understood our vision and with his immense skills delivered a powerful album full of dynamics and landscapes. It's our best sounding piece by far.
This is Bleak Flesh's first album with this lineup. What were the main differences in bringing in these new members?
Quiroz: Ngen Kerruff is an amazing vocalist with a wide range of extreme vocals, opera style of singing, and melodic cleans. His lyrics are really complex and beautifully crafted, the guy’s imagination is endless. I can’t think of a better person for the vocal duties on the band—the perfect match for our songwriting style. Marco is a world-class drummer, plus a really humble and nice individual. Besides his obvious machine gun type of drum abilities, he really understood the dynamics of the songs and delivered an amazing performance on every track. He took our music and elevated it into a totally higher level; I can’t thank him enough.
What are the concepts behind the lyrics?
Quiroz: The creation of the concepts happened organically in conjunction with music writing. In a few words, Ngen wrote the lyrics on the album as a tribute to the music itself and the fact of being able to listen to it, a hail to sound in different ways through each song.
What does …And Save Us From Silence mean and why was it chosen as your title?
Quiroz: …And Save Us From Silence is a phrase that sums a very powerful and omnipresent feeling we can not escape from, expressed in the form of a phrase you can find at the end of a prayer, an elegy to an entity with a forgotten name that forges the unstoppable desire to create music in our minds. A force of nature that has been silenced throughout history.
Who influences you most to continue as a band?
Quiroz: Every time I listen to Johann Sebastian Bach or any symphonic composer, a movie with a huge soundtrack, a videogame OST, a classic band from my early age… Everything that sounds good keeps me going. I’m pursuing happiness, that’s my journey.
What do you think makes Bleak Flesh stand out from the crowd and how do you strive to be different?
Quiroz: I think we developed a way to write songs that’s different from the current tech death bands, we try to focus on an entire piece of music that flows like a story, that type of song structure works great for building the listener’s attention, of course, there’s room for guitar leads, bass flares, crazy drums, and super vocals but… Our main goal is always to try to write cool songs—ear-catching tunes with a nice vocal concept on top.
Also, people told me that our riffs and arrangements have some kind of a unique identity, think that’s because my musical influences are related to bands that use a lot of melodic content in their songwriting like mid 90’s power metal bands and neo-classical groups, also when I look for inspiration I rarely listen to current metal bands, always go for movie soundtracks, old videogame OSTs, symphonic music, electronic music… Anything that sounds good to my ears can work as a starting point for writing music.
What can fans expect moving forward from Bleak Flesh?
Quiroz: …And Save Us from Silence will be available in physical format through pre-orders with the band's official merchandise and also through digital streaming platforms and digital distribution worldwide. We will promote the album recording playthroughs, audiovisual material and lots of social media networking. Gradually we will transform into a live band again. We have a couple of surprises planned for the rest of 2019.