VOICES OF RUIN – Forging Their Path To Immortality
May 27, 2020, 2 months ago
Get ready to be acquainted with Anaheim’s resident melodic death metallers Voices Of Ruin. Breaking into the foreground of the more promising metal prospects in the entire game after besting out heaps of talent to represent the United States at the 2018 Wacken Metal Battle, and led by the brother duo of Dave and Tom Barrett, Voices Of Ruin burst back with Path To Immortality, their third record and debut with M-Theory Audio. Frontman Dave Barrett caught up with BraveWords to talk all things Path To Immortality, their game-changing Wacken experience, their own extreme festival Ruinfest, covering a Foo Fighters classic and more!
BraveWords: This is your first album in five years, and so much has changed for the band in that time. Any nervousness or anxiety for folks to get ahold of Path To Immortality?
Dave Barrett: “There’s some anxiety, some anxiousness. You know, we haven’t released an album since 2015. We did a lot of support for our last record. Both our first two albums were five years apart, so we’re definitely a little anxious to get it out and excited to hear responses, how the audiences and fans respond to it, especially new listeners. It’s a lot of work putting together all the pieces for music videos and all that stuff. So there’s a lot of work put into it. It’s a really busy time and there’s not too much time to dwell on the nervousness of it. But putting everything together, all the pieces, hitting deadlines, we’re ecstatic about this record for sure.”
BraveWords: Obviously you guys are massively influenced by the melodic death metal sound, both throwback and modern, but there’s a ton of different layers to this record. Take me through some of the genres and groups that maybe shaped the sound of this record and the group as a whole?
Dave Barrett: “My brother Thomas is kind of the main songwriter as far as writing on the melody and the guitar riffs. We started listening to that Scandinavian melodic death metal scene when we were kids, old Dark Tranquillity, early In Flames, some At the Gates. But we really kind of gravitated towards that influence, and then being in Southern California you have Slayer and Metallica and kind of the classic thrash roots, the American classic thrash that we kind of grew up listening to and playing guitar to. So we kind of naturally are influenced by that and have incorporated that into our records. But listening to melodic death metal nowadays, some of these big bands like Insomnium, Wolfheart, I have a lot of influences from them to what they’re doing. There’s acoustic sections, which we were excited to add. We tried to kind of blend it and make it our own at the same time. The spectrum of influences from all of our members is so drastic. I think it really kind of creates a unique sound that.”
BraveWords: When you think of heavy metal is there a definitive band that sticks out, or one that massively changed things for you?
Dave Barrett: “I mean, I’ll put it this way. My first tattoo was Dissection. When I was 18 years old I got my first tattoo, a Dissection tattoo on my leg. So I guess that’s kind of the band that for me said you know what, this is the music I want to do and this is my passion. I’d say Dissection, and unfortunately they only have those three records, but they stand the test of time, I think.”
BraveWords: You guys partnered with producer Logan Mader (ex Machine Head, Soulfly) for this record. What did it mean to have someone of his calibre collaborate on this?
Dave Barrett: “It was important for us to have somebody with tons of experience for this record to really embrace the sounds. We did a lot of pre-production for this album that we didn’t do enough over the previous ones. We really hunkered down and did all the music so when we brought it to him...He had high expectations. Each riff, each melody had to be perfect, had to hit hard on the strings, be on time, be deliberate, including the solos from start to finish. I mean, he beat the shit out of us on the recording process. I think that really, really shows on the record of the final product, including the drums. Lonnie our drummer had to really hit everything hard, hit it cleanly, hit it perfect. And I think that really embraced the sound and he put that together. He had some input on some parts where we could add a little bit of vocals here and there. But for the most part, he just really wanted us to focus on our craft and our technique and make sure we hit things perfect and on time. We recorded this record in seven days, which is kind of unheard of. He was saying, I don’t know how we’re gonna do this because we have limited time in our schedules and we hammered that fucker out in seven days. He made sure that it was perfect. We’re stoked with his professionalism and it looks fantastic.”
BraveWords: How is the dynamic between you and Tom? We hear horror stories of family, particularly siblings, working and collaborating together. How is that dynamic for the two of you?
Dave Barrett: “You hear a lot of stories of brothers in bands, whether they disagree on stuff and wring each other’s necks and get pissed at each other. And I think we really work well together. Tom took me to my first concert in 99. It was In Flames on the Clayman tour. And since then we’ve been really close. He’s always been the kind of heart and soul of the songwriting for this project. I’ve always kind of been able to take his aspect of it and really work on it and build on his energy and his songwriting. So we collaborate really, really well together, which I think is important for the band that we do work well together. When we were kids, don’t get me wrong, we would beat the shit out of each other, but putting the songs together it’s really cohesive and we work together very, very well. We live together, too, so getting these projects done and all of the songwriting is really easy because we can work together. So I’d say there’s no conflict at all. I think it’s just really cohesive. We’re very lucky.
BraveWords: How much of an impact did winning the Wacken Metal Battle and then performing at the hallowed festival have on Voices of Ruin? It must have been a game-changing deal.
Dave Barrett: “What an honour. We’re fans of metal for a long time, watching videos of Wacken performances. Me and Tom actually went to Wacken back in 2010. I actually got a tattoo in Berlin that year of the logo of the festival. It’s one of those things ... one day we’ll play here, and we kind of thought to ourselves that there’s no way. Being part of this competition and being able to have the opportunity to play there and to really see behind the scenes of the festival, as well as how it’s put together, being in artist village and stuff like that. It was an unbelievable experience. The crowd response was kick ass, man. There’s something different about getting out of California and some of the music crowds. I mean, I love our fans. They’re awesome. They’re loyal to us. But it could use a lot of diversity as far as 'I listen to death metal only or to black metal only'. I just feel that crowd at Wacken, and we love heavy metal. Any shape, size, form. We love it. And they were there banging their heads for us. And it was just an awesome experience that’s irreplaceable.”
BraveWords: You guys aren’t exactly strangers to the inner-workings of metal festivals. You have your own Ruinfest that has seen the likes of Fallujah, Exmortus and Pessimist perform. Take me through the inception and growth of that beast.
Dave Barrett: “We threw a show together, I want to say 2013 and it might have been in 2014 called Winter Wasteland. We used to share a studio with a band called Sacred Ruins. So we’re like, let’s get them on. Sacred Ruins, Voices of Ruin. Let’s call it Ruinfest. So we threw that one with ADHD Entertainment, one of our promoters out here in Southern California. And it was a success. I mean, it was a great show, small venue that was packed house. It’s really hard in southern California to pack a house with local bands, you know? It’s hard to get that crowd out and make an impact once people want to see those touring internationally or heavily signed bands. It was an unsigned package and we packed the house and we said, you know what? Let’s do this every year. So the next couple of years we kept working with Jason over at ADHD Entertainment and putting bands together. We kind of thought to ourselves, hey, let’s really put our own fingerprint on this and then we’ll do all the bands ourselves. We hand pick them if they’re available and if not, we try to shoot for the following year. So we really shoot for a headliner, someone that’s available, that’s interested. Then we handpick all the locals that we think of, the up-and-coming bands that want to be on this festival that are going to help promote it and push it. Our hope is to continue growing this into a beast. Hopefully one day we can do that. That’s our goal for this festival.”
BraveWords: Fans might be a little surprised to see you guys covering the Foo Fighters monster hit "Everlong" on Path To Immortality. That’s kind of an unconventional choice for a melodic death metal act!
Dave Barrett: “It was an adventure. You know, we used to jam that song in a rehearsal studio before we went through our set. Tom would start playing the melody and then Steve our other guitar player would kick in and the drummer. And we kept playing it. It’s a cool song so we started warming up to it almost every practice just to get our fingers loose and my vocals loosened. We said you know what? Let’s record this and see if we can make it our own while paying homage to the original song and also our thoughts were maybe we can capture a different audience that knows this song that maybe isn’t into melodic death metal or extreme music and try to capture some of that crowd. And Tom really just took it and ran with it. He made the different rhythm for it for the slow part of the bridge in the middle, the acoustic part, and really made it his own. And we were able to throw some death metal vocals on there. And it was a tough song to record. There was some weird timing in there, some weird song structure and it was actually a lot of fun. It was a great song and I hope we paid good homage. I hope Dave Grohl can hear it one day.”
BraveWords: We imagine you’re chomping at the bit to get back on the road and get this record out there. In a perfect world, how would you like to see this next year go?
Dave Barrett: “We want to see a strong release with the record. You know, we’re doing our first vinyl print and this record is a beast, man. We’re proud of it. Being fans of music, we’ve always wanted to write music that we like to just listen to, so we’re excited to get this beast out there and get it in new hands. We have this limited edition splatter vinyl. I mean, it’s a beautiful looking vinyl, great songs and we wanna hit the road, man. We want to go to do a full U.S. tour, get all the way over. We have fans in a lot of different states asking for us to come out saying where have you guys been? We did a lot of touring for the last record and we want to double up on that. We want to do twice as much. We still have never been up to Canada and we hope to get to Europe again and hopefully Japan again. Japan was a great time. Number one is we need to play for our fans in the US. The last big tour was a European one. So we need to get to our U.S. fans over on the east coast and the south, the northwest and really, really blast the music for them. They’ll be proud of this record and be happy to see it. That’s our biggest things. Push this record and get out there and play some music. We’re ready to hit the road.”