Exclusive Interview: Godeater talk “Vespera”!
As the sophomore album “Vespera” from Glaswegian Death Metal titans Godeater, mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman (In Flames, Obscura, Architects) continues to ring in our ears like the sound thunder on a stormy night, we spoke to guitarist duo Ross Beagan and Andrew MacDonald about the record which they recently brought to the Kings table. They’ve travelled a long way since 2016 single “Abyss Walker“, going from strength to strength and sharing stages with everyone from Vexed to Osiah along the way but now the three year reign of “All Flesh Is Grass” is over and it’s time to hail the new King…
How have you found the reaction to the trio of pre-release singles ‘God Complex’, ‘The Hatchet’ and ‘Backwash’?
Ross: “The response has been great so far! People are definitely latching on to the songs and understanding the sound of the band a lot more this time around. We had a fairly lengthy break at the start of 2022 between touring and starting to release music again, but people are starting to take notice and the band is starting to grow again!”
This time around there are several tracks where you’ve embraced some clean vocal moments as well as some orchestration with the harp on “Out of Body” in particular being a beautiful moment. How much emphasis have you placed on musical growth or is that something which has happened naturally over time?
Ross: “We’ve dabbled with singing before and it has always been well-received, but given that Andy has such a unique voice, it felt right to have it take centre stage throughout Vespera. Musically, I wanted the album to be a more cohesive version of Godeater. The overall tone and sound selection for the album came together quickly and naturally, but I put a lot of time into refining song structure and dynamics within the confines of an album.”
Andy: “Regarding the singing vocals, I think it was inevitable really and it has felt like a natural inclusion. I’ve always loved singing, especially clean parts in songs by heavy bands that you’re not expecting it from. I guess the issue with cleans in a genre like ours is that it can risk being fairly on the nose, so I’m glad they have come off effectively and given us a new layer to play with!”
While it’s not billed as being one, “Vespera” has the feel of a concept album and is musically very cohesive with a fantastic flow to it, something which is also in keeping with “All Flesh Is Grass“. How important has it been as a band to write in that way, rather than to write a collection of singles that are bundled together as one whole?
Ross: “I suppose it does fit the bill of a concept album, something in the vein of Between the Buried and Me’s Colours. I always want our releases, whether that’s an album or an EP, to feel like a cohesive body of work so I try to work on the bigger picture before getting into the finer song-specific details. We’ve worked this way since our first EP Outerstellar back in 2017, so it has become a bit of a stylistic touch for the band!”
Lyrically the album has a number of introspective narratives. Did you find writing the lyrics and then performing them a cathartic process?
Ross: “I can’t speak in terms of writing the lyrics but performing them live is an extremely cathartic experience. I think they channel how we all feel right now, particularly towards the socio-political environment we find ourselves living in and allows us to have a release we haven’t had since early in 2020″
We first witnessed you playing live at UK Tech-Fest in 2017. How important would you say the event was in the bands career?
Ross: “If memory serves, Tech-Fest 2017 was our third ever show so you could say it was pretty important! It was surreal to head down from Glasgow, feeling like a completely unknown band scheduled to play early doors on the Early-Bird day and play to a venue full of people excited to see us! I think that gave us a lot of confidence going forward in the early stages of the band. We played again in 2019, which marked Tim’s first show with the band and we also contributed to Techabilitation 2020: At Home. You can still stream our set, which includes a sneaky unreleased cover, on YouTube!”
What’s next for Godeater?
Ross: “Right now – touring, touring and more touring. We are finally able to get back to playing live consistently so the plan is to play as many shows to push Vespera out to as many people as we can! Other than that, I’ve already started writing for another release again. The cycle continues!”
“Vespera” by Godeater is out now and available over at bandcamp