Exclusive Interview: The Final Sleep talk “Vessels Of Grief”!

Last month saw the release of “Vessels Of Grief” from The Final Sleep, a band with a huge reputation following their critically acclaimed debut “I” back in 2017 while also featuring in their ranks founding members of Arsis, Burning Human and Withstand. Returning to Brett Portzer (Author & Punisher, Arsis, Skinless, Recon) to Master and Mix together with Jason Bourdeau who recorded the guitars, bass, drums and vocals for Drift Productions the new album is nothing short of a masterpiece and so after we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off we had the pleasure of a conversation with drummer Mike Van Dyne about it; here’s what he had to say…

It’s been out for a few weeks now so how have you found the reaction to “Vessels Of Grief” so far? “Really good overall, we appreciate the support! Back in 2017 we stepped up to the plate and headlined our own cd-release show for the first TFS album “I”, which was a great success for us turnout-wise and financially. Even without doing something like that for “Vessels…”, we’ve still gotten lots of great feedback which is awesome. I can only imagine what could’ve been accomplished for this album with the support of a label behind it, but I think we did pretty well for having to go it alone”

There is footage of you performing “Screaming In Silence” at a Halloween show in 2018 when TFS supported Wolves In The Throne Room, so how long has the album been in the works? “About five years! Since we all have different schedules and professional careers (I’m a CT Scan tech at a large hospital for example), making albums just isn’t something TFS can do quickly. Quality over quantity matters more to us anyway, and we’re super proud of the two albums we’ve done”

How did the decision come about to use “The Souls Of Acheron” by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1898) for the cover artwork? “Our bass player Jay VanDervoort selected the cover art and did the layout, he also arranged the song order to tell a lyrical story from start to finish. We encourage people to listen to the whole album while reading the lyrics to take it all in”

Former Arch Enemy and Arsis guitarist Nick Cordle made a guest appearance with the sublime fourth solo on “Funeral Seed”; how did his involvement come about and what was it like working with him? “Nick is a great friend of mine and a total pro, he and I toured all over the place together in Arsis and also both played on the “Starve for the Devil” album. A few years back I recorded 11 songs worth of drum tracks for his awesome solo stuff, which he’s slowly chipping away at when he has time. Looking forward to people hearing those songs eventually, but in the meantime, he contributed that badass solo on Funeral Seed to push an already-killer section to an entirely new level”

You’ve shared stages with many household names including At The Gates, Rivers Of Nihil and Intronaut; what would your dream tour line-up look like? “Hard to say… When I played drums in Arsis, I was fortunate to experience a number of dream-level tours domestically and internationally, the most memorable probably being a North American tour supporting Arch Enemy and Exodus, two of my favorite bands. It was amazing for TFS to open for At The Gates a few years back, they’ve been one of my favorites since I was a teenager as well, and supporting my local heroes Stigmata at their sold-out 2014 reunion show with Section 8 was also an honor. Opening for Fates Warning was huge for us too – they’re a massive influence on TFS. As far as bands we haven’t played with, I guess opening for Opeth would probably be the closest thing to a dream show/tour for us, they have a large fanbase that would probably appreciate what we do”

What’s next for The Final Sleep? “Most of us would like to see “Vessels…” released on cd and play live occasionally if a cool show offer were to come along, but it’s also possible TFS may have maxed out what we can accomplish as an independent band at this point. Currently myself and Jeff Andrews (TFS singer/guitarist) are getting ready to record some songs for our new band Fleshspoil, so keep an eye out for that! Jeff also plays in the bands Scavengers and Hush, Jay plays in Ice Queen, and Stack’s old band Dying Breed is reissuing some of their killer stuff from the 90’s soon, so be sure to check them all out too”

Vessels Of Grief” by The Final Sleep is out now and available over at bandcamp

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