Interview with Brian „Butch“ Balich

Mit `From Fields To Fire´ haben ARGUS eines der besten (wenn nicht das beste) Metal-Album des Jahres abgeliefert. Vor dem Start der Europa-Tour stand Sänger Brian „Butch“ Balich unseren Gelben Seiten für ein ausführliches Interview zur Verfügung. Hier das Gespräch im Original-Wortlaut:

Butch, it’s four years since `Beyond the Martyrs´. Why did the ARGUS-Fans had to wait so long for a successor?

Balich: This was mostly due to the line-up shuffle in the band. After Andy and Erik were gone we took some time to gel with Justin and Dave. I guess the writing didn’t start until late 2015….. we were in studio by Jan of 2017 and we were done by May. It’s just a process because you want it to be a great record not just an acceptable one so we took the time we needed to make a great album.

When did you decide on the album title and what’s the connection to the cover artwork?

We decided on the title in Spring of 2016 and we developed a cover concept with our artist, Brad Moore, after. The art doesn’t tie directly to the album contents but it does convey a mood and it looks great! Brad’s best Argus jacket to date.

The album starts and ends with an instrumental – like `Boldly Stride The Doomed ‚. What was the idea behind it?

It helps to set the mood at the start and send you off properly at the end. We like the dramatic build of them.

‚Devils Of Your Time‘ and ‚As A Thousand Thieves‘ have a remarkably fast pace. A conscious change to what you did before?

Not really. It’s just that that happened to be the way a lot of the material came out this time. Those two songs sounded great together and it does pack a fistful of energy at the outset of the record.

Can we say that the new members, bassist Justin Campbell and guitarist Dave Watson, refreshed the ARGUS sound?

Any time new members join it effectively changes the writing process some. New ears and new ideas. Dave came in all guns blazing with a ton of material for the album. Him working with us for years as engineer helped him fit right into our style. But he brought a fresh take on it and a few things we’d not tried before. Both he and Justin have been invaluable voices during writing sessions for arrangements as well.

‚216‘ sounds like it also could have been on the last album. Something special about this one?

It’s sort of like ´The Hands Of Time Are Bleeding´ with its push pull of moody/doomy and straightforward metal. I’ve always loved songs that have that duality – that start mellow and build into something heavy. ´216´ is one of my favorites on the album. It’s one that survived from the last line-up into this one.

Do the lyrics mainly deal with personal past coping?

They deal with coming to grips and to peace within yourself before moving on to the next plane of existence. Forgiving yourself, letting go of regret – two very difficult things to do for many of us.

How was the longtrack ‚Infinite Lives, Infinite Doors‘ composed? I think it’s your new masterpiece.

Dave’s main goal was to build around the midtempo verse riff and it just started building at rehearsal and became more epic. Before we knew it we had an 11+ minute song on our hands. It’s my favorite on the album and definitely one of the very best songs we’ve ever recorded.

It’s about immortality, isn’t it?

It deals with ideas of the afterlife that maybe when we pass away that our souls move on into other dimensions of time and space – new realities. That we never really did we just keep moving from one life to the next.

How would you describe your style? Is it Heavy Metal, Doom oder Power Doom?

We see ourselves as a heavy metal band pure and simple. At one time there weren’t so many distinctions into sub-genres as there are now – bands like Savatage, Fates Warning, Warlord and even Candlemass to an extent really mixed things up. You’d get fast songs but mixed with doomy undercurrents or doom songs that had fast parts… and folks just called it heavy metal mostly. We enjoy mixing it up and keeping it fresh and keeping people on their toes with us. ´From Fields Of Fire´ may seem more straight up metal on the surface but it has a lot of emotional, moody parts included…. that’s how we like it. It could be our next album is more doom but it could be we go into other styles as well… only time and songwriting will tell. No doors are closed when it comes to writing.

Thank you very much, Butch!

Und hier die Tourdaten:

08.09.2017 – Dornbirn AT – Schlachthaus
09.09.2017 – Olten CH – Coq d’Or
10.09.2017 – Münster DE – Sputnikhalle
12.09.2017 – Oldenburg DE – MTS Record Store
13.09.2017 – Hamburg DE – Bambi Galore
14.09.2017 – Berlin DE – Urban Spree
15.09.2017 – Weimar DE – Kasseturm
16.09.2017 – Püchersreuth DE – Storm Crusher Festival