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

If you haven’t heard it already then the five years in the works sophomore album from The Final Sleep titled “Vessels Of Grief” is one of the best albums released so far this year, not only receiving critical acclaim from us but also many, many others.  Drawing in influences from bands such as Opeth, Amorphis and Mercyful Fate the quintet have created something that is greater than the sum of its parts, a Progressive Death Metal behemoth that simply needs to be heard. In the second of our double feature with them, we spoke to Guitarist Mike Stack about what went in behind the scenes…

What did you learn from the recording of your 2017 self titled album that helped when it came to recording “Vessels Of Grief“? “I don’t think we really learned much that changed the recording process of “VoG” vs. “I”. We’ve all been doing this for a very long time, so we have a pretty good idea of what we want, and how we do things. We recorded the drums with Brett Portzer at White Lake Studios this time, but other than that, I think we kept things very much the same. Oh, and we used virtual amps this time around. I can’t remember what brand it was, but I think I ended up mixing a “Diezel” with a “6505” to get my rhythm tone”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “The writing process can start any one of those ways. Usually, someone comes in with a riff, and then we start working from that point. Everyone throws in their ideas and it grows from there. One difference between “VoG” and “I”, is that there was much more input from each individual member on “VoG”. “I” was written before Mike Van Dyne and Jay VanDervoort joined the band”

You worked with Brett Portzer (Author & Punisher, Arsis, Skinless, Recon) to Master and Mix together with Jason Bourdeau who recorded the guitars, bass, and vocals for Drift Productions – how did you come to the pairing and what do you feel they brought to the table? “We’ve all known each other for a very long time. Jason Bourdeau has been a friend for a long time, and we’ve worked with him on all of the TFS recordings, and more. Mike Van Dyne has been working with Brett Portzer for a long time also. So, it just seemed logical to combine their talents to get the ultimate finished product”

The mid cut acoustics of “Soul In Between” and the transitions into and out of that are sublime. What were your favourite moments from the recording sessions where you thought “this sounds like the real deal”? “Thank you. For me, I think it really hit that point when Jeff Andrews started laying down vocals. That’s when you start hearing the melody, the choruses, and all the catchy stuff that sticks in your head. There is a lot of stuff going on in these songs, but I think recording the vocals is when it really starts to come together and the songs really get defined”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Oh boy, we are all gear nerds, so this could be a very long answer. To keep it simple, I’m only going to discuss my gear. I play mainly Kiesel/Carvin guitars, but I’ve also been known to play ESP/LTD, Ibanez, Schecter, Hufschmid, Ran, Strictly 7, and Sabre guitars. I use an Engl Savage 120 amp, into a Krank 4×12 cab, TC Electronics G Major, ISP Decimator Pro Rack G, and an Overdive pedal. I have lots of OD’s and switch them out here and there. Some of my favorite overdrive pedals are the Fortin 33, Pro Tone Misha Mansoor OD, Aries Savage Drive, and the Maxon OD808X. I use a Boss volume pedal, Planet Waves strobe tuner and Line 6 G30 wireless. All of this is controlled via midi from a Voodoo Lab GCX and Ground Control Pro. I also use D’Addario strings, and Planet Waves cables and accessories”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “Gear endorsements are a huge help. Jay and I are endorsed by D’Addario and Planet Waves. It is great to get discounts on strings, cables etc. I’ve been playing D’Addario strings my entire life, so it’s great to have a company back me up like that”

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

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