Chris Bissette of Deadthrone Interview and Album Review

Chris Bissette of Deadthrone Interview and Album Review

22nd August 2019 0 By Paul Flynn
DEADTHRONE set the Northwest and indeed the UK metal scene on fire with debut album, Premonitions. Intelligent and honest music with a deep appreciation for the listener and how fetching hooks still have a place in modern metal. DEADTHRONE are in essence Metalcore, but whilst I mean no disrespect to the genre (I am a fan) I don’t feel this does them justice. DEADTHRONE have set out to play music that is important to them. A platform to tell their own story and shake off the issues that play out in their everyday lives. As in so much of modern metal today their is a deep emotional context to which the music builds upon and DEADTHRONE are no different. What does make them different are their words and the interplay between heavy riffing and festival ready anthems; though they may not the first band to set this scene DEADTHRONE do it really, really well . Whilst it may not be hard to see how a band with such notable dance floor sensibilities came from Manchester given the city’s musical heritage, it does to me seem an unlikely place for a ‘Metalcore’ band to emerge and rise above the crowd. So I dropped vocalist and founding member Chris Bissette a line to ask him some questions about the forthcoming release of Premonitions and to quiz him about why Manchester, with such a strong musical background hasn’t to date produced a veritable cornucopia of successful Metal bands
 
Manchester has always been a tough nut to crack. There are multiple gigs on every night of the week and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember, going back to the mid-late ’90s when I first started going to gigs. For that reason Manchester has always been really difficult as far as “making it” or getting noticed. Also I think it’s a lot easier, if you’re actually good at what you’re doing, to put up with that grind if you’re in a band that’s playing a more commercially viable genre than metal. 
 
Being from the Northwest I have always been surprised at how few metal bands have actually ‘made it’; accepting the success that the likes of Anathema and Carcass have seen, why do think this is?
 
There have always been loads of metal bands on the scene, but there are very few with any kind of longevity. I think part of that is to do with the fact that it’s just generally harder to develop a following in metal than in other genres anyway, but being completely frank, it’s also to do with the fact that a lot of the metal bands doing the rounds simply aren’t very good. And metal fans, generally, demand that you’re pretty good. You can be in a shit, generic indie band and pull a crowd night in and night out (and having worked behind the bar in plenty of music venues I’ve seen that first hand). If you want to do well in metal, though, you need to be fucking great, and most bands simply aren’t.
 
 So where does DEADTHRONE fit in?
 
I honestly don’t know where we fit in. We’ve always occupied this weird middle space in whatever “scene” you want to talk about. Every show we’ve ever done, one of two things has happened – we’ve either been the heaviest band on the bill by far, or else we’ve been the softest band. I think one of the things that maybe sets us apart is that we’ve never gone into it with the intention to be “heavy” or “brutal” or whatever. Our main focus is and always will be songwriting. We love big choruses that get stuck in your head, and we never sacrifice melody for the sake of being heavy. We’ve always had the ability to make fans of people who don’t traditionally like “shouty music”, and that’s something we’re grateful for.
 
Where do you as a band draw your inspiration for songwriting?

 
James (Bolton- guitar/clean vocals) does the majority of the songwriting musically, so I can’t really speak to that. What I can say is that we all have pretty divergent tastes in terms of the music we listen to. In the Venn diagram of music that we all like, though, you’d likely find bands like While She Sleeps, Of Mice & Men, Architects, and Bring Me The Horizon. As far as lyrically – the oldest piece of writing advice in existence is “write what you know”, and I think that’s what James and I both do.
 
Where did you all meet and how has the band evolved since the early days?
 
 Benj (Speight- Drums) and I met at uni when we both answered an ad for a band that ultimately became DEADTHRONE. James joined pretty early on, just after we’d put out an EP and realised we needed an extra guitarist – and once we realised he had the voice he has and could write the songs he writes there was no way we were ever letting him go. When our original guitarist told us he had to quit we ended up recruiting Sam (Clough- Bass) through some kind of “Join My Band” website or another, but we pretty much knew he was a great fit straight away.We’ve gone through a few lineup changes over the years – I was playing bass originally – and musically our style shifted quite a lot once James took over writing the songs, but this core of the four of us works really well. At this point I don’t see any reason why we’d change things again.
 
 If you could choose to open for any band on the scene today who would it be?
 
 I’m pretty sure we’d all have different answers to this question! Speaking just for me, dream bands to open for would be Every Time I Die or Fever 333. We don’t really sound like either of them, but I think that’s a good thing – and both of those bands (and Letlive as well, before Fever came along) have made a career of playing with anybody and everybody, regardless of how good a fit they may or may not be. That’s something I really respect and that I’d love to do with DEADTHRONE.
 
 Do you have any tales to tell from the road or the studio that readers may want to hear?
 
It’s probably best if those stories stay between the four of us, for the sake of us continuing to be friends!
 
How did you choose the artwork for the album (its very cool)?
 
 Benj and I usually have a pretty strong idea of what we want to achieve visually, whether that’s with artwork or videos. We’d been throwing around ideas for using esoteric and tarot-style imagery for a year or two but it never seemed to fit what we were doing at the time, and so when we settled on Premonitions as the album title it seemed a bit too perfect. The brief we gave Simon (Atkinson, a fantastic designer who did all the artwork for the album) was a deck of cards with each track individually represented. We were careful to make sure that we didn’t use any imagery that too closely resembled real tarot cards, because while it might just be “cool” imagery and a style we really enjoy to us, there are plenty of people out there for whom those images have deep, personal meanings, and we didn’t want to alienate or upset anyone by appropriating something that was important and that we’re fairly ignorant of. Personally I think Simon did an amazing job.
 
Which track are you most proud of from the album?
 
Probably Seven Years, the final track of the album, simply because it’s the one that took me most out of my comfort zone lyrically and that was the hardest to write. It’s very easy for me to write songs about being miserable, or angry, or whatever. It’s a whole different experience to look at the things that bring me joy and to explore them and write about them. It feels like exposing myself in an entirely different way that I’m not at all used to. But the guys asked me to write a song about what being in the band meant to me, and there was no way I was going to say no to them. I’m really proud of how that track turned out.
 
What has been the best thing about being in the band so far?

It’s been like giving myself a second family, honestly. Benj and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years now, and James and Sam have been around for the majority of that time too. We’ve all grown together, we’ve been alongside each other through massive changes and life events, and that’s something that’s really important to me. My life has fallen apart a few times in the past 8 years, and this band has been the one constant throughout everything.
 
What does the rest of the year hold for DEADTHRONE?
 
We’ve got a free entry album release show coming up in early September, and we’re working on putting a short UK tour together for the end of the year. There are some other things in the works too, but since it’s early days on them at the moment I can’t really say anything about them! Keep an eye on our socials, though, and you’ll know as soon as we can talk about them.
 

So its clear that DEADTHRONE mean business and want to make an impression. Well Premonitions is just the platform to showcase the band’s talents; a musical and literary statement of intent. Album opener Feel hints at their underlying penchant for EDM which remains functional throughout Premonitions despite their sharp riffs and juxtaposition of clean and growling vocals (courtesy of Bolton and Bissette respectively). Drums (Speight) and bass (Clough) are solid throughout and what strikes me about DEADTHRONE is their innate ability to create space to build and release tensions.

The souring vocals of Bolton take the song stratospheric in the chorus making this the perfect track to get things going. Runaway appears to echo the sentiment of the band in pursuing their dreams ‘Tonight is what we’ve always dreamed of, I can’t believe we’ve come this far, this is so surreal and this is just the start’, sung again with effervescent clarity. Revival is a much heavier affair displaying their true metal credentials with Bissette’s guttural growling paving the way once a again for Bolton’s souring EMO refrain.

The stand out track for me however is recent single Time Won’t Wait. Here the band prove once again their fierce obsession with ‘raise the roof’ stylings replete with an audacious chanting middle section. The album continues with this formula calling upon us to listen without prejudice as DEADTHRONE move between crushing metal and EDM influenced architecture. This is especially evident on Believe where some ardent Metalheads may scream to the sky in dissent.

But I am an ardent Metalhead and all I want to do is run out into the street and scream my head off in support of Premonitions. Because at last here are a band that are ready to fly the flag for Northwest metal. DEADTHRONE stand up with their contemporaries; they have hijacked the electronic dance movement and like Bring Me the Horizon, they are ready to stamp all over what has gone before. With Premonitions, DEADTHRONE are readying themselves to release something special. Consider this space watched.

Score  9/10

Track List
1 Feel
2 Runaway
3 Revival
4 Time Won’t
5 Wide Awake
6 Believe
7 Hearts In Our Hands
8 Stand Your Ground
9 Respite
10 Soothsayer
11 Beacons
12 Seven Years

Record Label:
Arising Empire
Release Date:
23 August 2019

For all things Deadthrone, click HERE and to purchase the album, click HERE

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