David Baron, guitarist, conducting the interview here - thanks for having us! Also in the band are Roman - guitar, Kevin - vox, Brandon - Bass, and Jake - drums. Roman: "I had been listening to Black Sabbath, Judas Priest ,Iron Maiden and a lot of Greek Black Metal. After and Into Oblivion show Baron asked me if I wanted to join him in an epic doom metal band. At that time, Baron already had some ideas, including most of” For a Red Dawn” already written. I already had an idea to do a black metal/heavy metal/prog project, with a lot of Greek black metal influences. So much so, that before Kevin had even been in the band we had discussed how I, Roman, was going to hi-jack Barons band and turn into a black metal band. That went well, as you can see. I will confess, as I have in the past, that I was more or less just trying out Cromlech and not taking it too seriously when Baron first asked me to join, but when he first played the riffs of For a Red Dawn in Brandon's shed, anything short of full commitment left my mind."
2. What other bands have you played in previously?
I personally haven't been in any. Neither has Kevin. Roman, Brandon, and Jake are all in a death/black band called Into Oblivion which they formed way back in high school, probably like 8 years ago now.
3. What are some of your musical influences both in metal and maybe in other styles of music?
The core influences are probably obvious – huge, weighty bands like Bathory, Candlemass, Solstice, Manowar etc. We have a huge range of influences beside that though, elements of death metal, greek black metal, funeral doom, even medieval polyphonic chants in the vocal department, all seep into the mix.
4. Can you please share with us your band's recording history and any interesting stories and experiences from the studio?
I’ll tell you about the last and best recording process, that for our full length “Ave Mortis”! Our producer Angry Dave was a huge contributor, not just because he is a technical wizard at all things recording, but also by having a great ear for layering & the flow of songs while recording. Previous recordings were totally DIY situations where we had no fucking clue what we were doing, I remember on the Ancestral Doom demo we had so much distortion & effects on our amps they just sounded like fuzz, and we couldn’t understand why, thinking of course more fuzz is always going to sound better!
Songwriting is a different matter. Baron and Roman usually bring a bunch of riff-chunks to the table and construct a song based on those various ideas. Then the basic riff structure is rehearsed with the rhythm section added, and solos and so on come up while we’re jamming. Lyrics are always the last thing we write, sometimes the theme is already set before the song is written and in some cases we’ve decided on lyrics after hearing how the music turns out.
5. How about your bands live experiences? Any amusing or memorable shows you would like to share with us?
We just played a halloween show where we all dressed up in ridiculous costumes - I was Dude Lebowski, Kevin was some dancing pumpkin goblin, Roman was a priest, Brandon was a "misfits guy" and Jake dressed up as the drummer of another local band, Nuclearhammer - he looked just like the guy and it was a total mindfuck for all of the 5 people who knew who he was supposed to be. That was possibly the most fun I've had on stage!
6. We have all heard of the big 4 of thrash. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. It has been talked about in the past and critiqued quite often. In your mind, what are the Big 4? You don't have to just list thrash bands, lets open it up to all metal genres, past or present, what is the big 4 in your mind?
All metal genres, all time periods, and I can only list 4? It's too open ended to come up with a serious answer I think, so I will just list the 4 bands that have personally impacted me the most not just in Cromlech but in my life in general - Slayer, Pagan Altar, Deicide, Manilla Road
7. What would be your dream supergroup? Again lets open it up to past or present musicians, what would be the dream band lineup?
Actually I have this running joke with a friend of mine where we try to come up with "Big Ego Supergroups", it would be a metal supergroup where each member just has a collossally huge ego. I think the last one we came up with was Joey DiMaio on bass, obviously Malmsteen on guitar... I can't remember who else we picked... to me though, the idea of a "supergroup" is really a joke, as bands are all about how well the members work together as a whole. How can a bunch of random famous people just get together and have that kind of dynamic? Off the top of my head I can't think of a single "supergroup" that ever put out anything truly great.
8. Now if you were to be a member of any band, who would you love to join up with?
I guess I'd have to play in Manowar. Just be a greasy buff asshole all the time and play really really really loud metal.
9. Now its time to get philisophical. What IS heavy metal?
Music for angry young white males. And I fucking love it.
10. What has heavy metal done for you thus far both in music and in your personal life?
Same thing it does for anyone - energy at the gym, relaxation at home, and endless hours of entertainment.
11. Waht is your heavy metal dream? I am not talking about goals here, I am talking about going to bed and dreaming...what is the dream you are having? Or is it a nightmare?
I never remember my dreams. But I do recall Roman having an epic heavy metal dream. It was during the final battle in Lord of the Rings, but in his dream, Mordor actually won the war. And after conquering Minas Tirith, for some reason the Orcs, rather than pillaging and raping, decided to all link arms on the battlements and sing a 20 minute prog-rock epic called "Minas Tirith Will be Hotter Than Hell Tonight". He said the song was "amazing" and he was pissed off that when he woke up he couldn't remember how it went.
12. What is your view on the current state of heavy metal?
The mainstream? Djent is horrible. I can't stand it, who can? The underground is still ticking along same as it always has and always will be.
13. What are your thoughts concerning the digital era of metal. I am curious what you think of digital downloading, recording in the modern era and anything else that has changed since the early days of the industry.
I think it's pretty great! I don't think Cromlech's recording would have sounded one-thousandth as good before the digital age. Analog equipment is incredibly expensive and our budget is very low - we only spent a few thousand max on Ave Mortis, and that's a LONG album which we took our sweet time on, but the final product came out totally professional and very satisfying to us!
As for downloading, again, you can argue that it hurts the bands but I'd be a hyprocrite to say that I haven't downloaded hundreds of fantastic out-of-print or rare releases which I'd have no chance to hear any other way.
14. Several musicians have gone on record to say that the full length album is dead. That with the digital age there is no need to produce a full length release. What are your thoughts, is the full length dead or still viable?
It's probably not very commercially viable, but when has metal ever given a shit about commercial viability? I think if your "artistic vision" can be expressed to your satisfaction in a 3.5minute iTunes download then it's not much of a vision.
15. Okay time to talk and promote your band some more. What is the current news coming from your camp. Any new music, tours, festivals or anything going on?
Nope, nothing too exciting to promote at this exact moment... we are working on some arrangements to play Malta Doom Fest next year (2015) but it isn't set in stone yet, and we are writing music for the next album - tentatively titled Ascent of Kings - keep your eyes open!
16. What are the immediate short range goals for your group?
Drink a lot of beer and play heavy fucking riffs.
17. What about ultimately any long range goals?
The same, but play those riffs someplace outside of Toronto, for the love of god!
18. Finally if you have any last words you wish to express to your fans and the metal community in general please do so here.