Canada is well known for it’s death metal bands. One of the most underrated bands in my opinion is Blood of Christ. The band released 3 albums before calling it quits in 2006. A decade later, Blood of Christ marked their return with the release of a single Echoes From The 7th Dimension. Their fourth album, Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish (Anthology IV) is now out via CDN Records. The album is quite an intense listen, exploring new territory while retaining the sound of their previous releases.
I spoke to the band about starting again, their first album in 15 years and also their plans for the year.
You are releasing a new album, Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish (Anthology IV) 15 years after your previous album. How does it feel?
It feels awesome! Finally having the opportunity to release music with Blood of Christ again is a triumphant feeling. The music that we create is really more true to me than the other projects that I had been haphazardly taking part in over the past decade. It is my genuine feeling that with “Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish”, we have crafted the most focused and powerful album of our entire career, and it is the genesis of a monolithic adventure. We harbor great excitement for people to hear this collection of songs and we’re very proud of the album as a whole.
What inspired you to restart the band after a ten-year long hiatus?
It just felt right. It wasn’t really something that happened over night, and I had been working behind the scenes on resurrecting this dormant beast for quite some time actually. To be honest, I never really stopped. Songs that were composed specifically with Blood of Christ in mind are in my library spanning that entire decade long “hiatus” that you speak of. The time is now and we are stronger than ever.
How did Mark Chandler and Chris Gooding become a part of the line up?
Acclimating Mark and Chris into Blood of Christ was an obvious and comfortable transition. We have known both of them for decades and have been a fan of their work, skill and dedication to their craft for many years. Mark stumbled onto my radar back in 2006 or so, when he was playing bass for Orchidectomy. I knew then that he was a beast and I knew that somehow, someday we needed him in Blood of Christ. The concept of building this current lineup with Mark and Chris as a part of it started for me as far back as 2010, when they were already on my radar. I actually approached Chris back then about singing for another project that I was working on, but he turned me down. I’m glad he declined the offer, because it wouldn’t have been right. This is right. This is the Blood of Christ, and this is a war machine fully tuned and ready for epic battle. The tanks are coming. They are both a perfect fit and you will hear that on our new album, “Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish”! I guess this speaks to the previous question as well, as to why the “hiatus” was a decade long. Timing is everything, and sometimes you have to be patient for the stars to align.
The band has been described as the Purveyors Of Epic Dark Metal. How did you develop this sound?
We coined that term on our own, back in 1996 or thereabouts. Essentially, we didn’t feel that we fit into one genre or another in an absolute way. We had elements of death metal, doom and black metal too, because we loved all those forms of music. We typically compose lengthy, ever changing and epic numbers, which mostly have dark feelings. We reside in the metal genre, more than anything, so… you take all those elements and voila; epic dark metal! The development of our sound, it was a natural evolution. We started out very young, 15 or 17 years old and we went balls to the wall right away. Our sound was never forced, we just played what we liked to hear and what felt good in our anima. That is the best way, for me; you have to enjoy your music first and foremost, because otherwise; why do it?
Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish is a relentless aural assault. Do tell us more about the album
Wow, thank you for the compliment! This album, our 4th so far; is the most focused and unruly collection of songs that we have ever put together. Sonically it is a beast that dwells in the depths of an autumn swamp with hints of snowstorms. We’re very excited about this one, to say the least.
The album was recorded by Thomas Ireland at Icehouse Studios. What was the recording process? Did you try anything new this time?
We definitely approached the recording sessions from a different angle this time around. Overall, we are very pleased with the end result and working with both Thomas and Jean-François was a as calm as an autumn zephyr. Without a doubt, “Unrelenting Declivity of Anguish” is our best sounding album ever. It sits perfectly in the underground, nice and swampy. Everything is natural, vintage guitars, drums and amps; no triggers, no amp modelling. We’re old school and we’re stubborn. It is our belief that the energy of the songs and the musicians will bring the recorded numbers to a powerful level without the usage of studio trickery. Keep it real and play it like it is. Ultimately, we would like our recorded music to resemble our on-stage sound as closely as possible and I think we have achieved that with this one!
What are your thoughts on the current state of the metal scene in Canada?
It is excellent, and I would consider it no different than any other part of the global metal community. We have a nice spectrum of high quality metal bands in Canada.
What’s currently on your playlist (metal and non-metal)?
Discovering new music, as well as re-discovering cherished albums from the past has been really exciting for me lately. So many incredible albums out there, it would be a lengthy essay to go into everything, but to briefly list a few; the new Bolzer album has been a seriously wonderful discovery, the new High Flying Birds album is fantastic… Morbid Angel’s album is a resounding 10/10 beast. I have also been enthralled by the new Rivers of Nihil LP (the Owl one) and feel that it is an album that will stand alongside classics like “Master of Puppets” and “Reign in Blood” in the heavy metal hall of fame. I’ve also been seriously delving into Immolation’s discography. Their latest one that they released last year really blew my head clean off, it was an absolute 10/10 album (as are most of theirs)!
Your album release show is alongside Satyricon, Goatwhore and Panzerfaust. Do you have any more shows or a tour planned in support of the album?
We are always working on something for gigs, and try to remain active with at least one show per month. The gig (the stage and the pit) is where death metal is meant to be. That is the pinnacle of the musical creative journey, in my opinion. My focus for Blood of Christ over the next year is to expand our gig territory and perform on stages in regions that we never have before. They sky is the limit…
Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about Blood of Christ! We are thankful to anyone who checks us and our new album out, which is available everywhere on May 23rd via the legendary unground label, CDN Records at cdnrecords.com; and it is with high hope that you languish in the unrelenting declivity of anguish as much as we have…