About eighteen months ago, we got shivery all over for a debut EP by the Missouri band known as Sisters Of… Compositional guru Aaron Coker teamed up with Chris Clark to conjure the most riveting instrumental metal we’ve heard in a long, long time. We’ll be the first to agree that this stuff shouldn’t excite us as much as it does. Since when does instrumental rock have anywhere near the impact of more goat-mutilating, Christ-baiting, zombie-shredding forms of extremity? Since now.
Sisters Of… are gearing up to release their first full-length album, called The Serpent, The Angel, The Adversary, on May 12 through Crowquill Records, but you can hear it all now at the Deciblog. We also asked the duo to sound off about their new album, so don’t miss their thoughts below the stream. It’s Friday. Get existential.
How are you doing? What's life like, now that the new full-length record is done?
Aaron Coker: Life is going great. I just had a baby boy about six months ago so things are pretty crazy some days but still a total adventure.
You spoke briefly about starting the new album more than a year ago... Has your view or perception of the music you wanted to make changed at all through the process of completing the album?
Coker: Yeah my thought process actually changed a few times throughout the recording. A few songs were sort of turned on their head during tracking and sound very little like how I initially envisioned. At the beginning we were going to try to insert more vocals throughout the record but as got further along, I just felt that these songs just worked so well as one connected piece of music. So basically we just got all the vocals out of the way in the first few minutes of the record and let the guitars take over.
Were any of your original ideas lost as you shifted focus? Anything you'd like to revisit and try again in the future?
Coker: There were just some parts that weren't quite hitting the spot at the time. “Annabelle” for instance originally had a totally different opening two minutes, and I still hope to use the riff that was there but I just felt the need to open it up and simplify it so I just concentrated on the low string and came up with a gallop type rhythm, and now it's so much cooler than where it was heading. And like I said, I hope to fit the original riff somewhere on a new song, but it was just too busy for what I thought the song was needing.
Was any of this music around at the time you were recording the EP, or is it all newer than that?
Coker: It was all written after the EP was mixed and mastered. We just wanted to really make sure that we were totally out of the headspace we were in for the EP. I just feel that break in between allowed us to look at the band in a different way to bring out different ideas. We are really adamant about changing the feel of the band for each release. Or at least trying something new for each one.
Where do you think this album goes that the EP did not?
Coker: I think we took the opportunity on the full length to let more moods come through. Especially with the first and last songs. The first one (after it takes off) is just really this simple, repetitive, and almost catchy song that just turns into this sort of black metal screaming at the end, and even though that sounds like an awful idea, I just think it turned out really special and unique. And the last track, even though it's much more melodic and somber, and almost sounds like a different band, it just ends the record in such a fitting and almost peaceful way.
Can you describe or tell stories about the time you spent making this record?
Chris Clark: I know I’ve said it many, many times before, but we were very slow and methodical when we wrote and recorded this record. We really focused on performance with tracking. We wanted to make this the most precise and cleanly played record we could possibly make. Aaron recorded all of the scratch guitars and drums on his own, at his place. We came together for bass and guitars at his place, and there are a LOT of guitars in there. What vocals there are on the record, I did with our friends who sang on it at my house. Our friend Derek (who sings on the opening track) was with us at a couple of our sessions and later told me that the way we write and record is the strangest way he’s seen. But… it works for us.
Random Asshole Question: You called the album The Serpent, The Angel, The Adversary. Did you consider rolling right through the rest of the song titles too?
Clark: Hahah. Well, I guess anyone who is familiar with Christian theology (or at least the book of Revelations) may be tipped off to what/who the record is about, but we didn’t want to tip our hat SO much that we just blatantly gave it away. I think it’s got a nice ring to it, as well (considering the content). It’s a dark record. We’ll leave it at that.
Is there any music or other art you're interested in right now that finds its way into your music?
Clark: I think anything we listen to (and like) inspires us [and] finds a way into our music. We’re both big fans of Russian Circles and Ghost B.C., and I think that’s pretty evident in our music. We were both really into them when we did this record. But, we both have such a WIDE range of musical tastes; it’s really hard to pinpoint what finds its way into our music. When we were in high school we would listen to a Malevolent Creation or Obituary record, then turn around and listen to Superchunk or Faith No More, then Enya, then Cannibal Corpse, then….etc. That hasn’t changed. So I think to say “this band” or “this band” has influenced us is kind of impossible. I would say it is more of a collective of everything across the board that has found a way into our heads. As far as other art, per se, the classic movies like The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen… etc, probably played a role in our musical subconscious. We are also big fans of the photography of Nicolas Bruno.
Do you think Sisters Of is about capturing/evoking emotion, or is there a story-telling element to the music?
Clark: I see us more about capturing or evoking emotion, to follow your story. Music can play such a huge role in in your life, depending on where your headspace is at the time. We make music that we love and means a lot to us, emotionally. We want that same sentiment from the listener, whatever their story may be. Is that a vague enough answer? Haha.
Have you been able to perform Sisters Of music on stage? Any future plans in this direction?
Clark: Not yet. We are currently working on that. We have put a live band together, and have been rehearsing and working on the songs with the guys for the past few months. It is going well, and we’re really stoked with the direction and sound the songs have taken in a live environment. However, there is still work to be done. Just as with this record, we want to make the live show exactly how we vision it. Once it is there, Sisters Of… will be played in a live setting. Probably late spring or summer of this year.