The Cauldron and the Cross By Kyle McNeill
Yeah, that’s correct, our new album ‘The Cauldron and the Cross’ was released in April this year. We’ve been active as a band since 2013, and this is our second full-length album. We recorded it at Knight Time Studios in London with producer Jim Knight at the end of last year, and we’re pleased with the way it’s turned out. We feel that it’s our strongest album to date, and hopefully, it should appeal to anybody who’s interested in old school or classic Heavy Metal.
‘The Cauldron and the Cross’ is a concept album set in Arthurian Britain. It tells the story of the rise and fall of Arthur’s kingdom and more specifically deals with the conflict between the more traditional, British Pagan beliefs of the time and the comparatively recent Christianity that had been brought over by the Romans. Arthur tries to appease both groups of people but ends up getting caught between the two ways of life, and this essentially brings about the downfall or his kingdom, and ultimately his death. The point we’re trying to make is that most religions are teaching more or less the same beliefs and values, but the reluctance of religious leaders on both sides to realise this create divisions and conflicts in a society that could easily have been avoided otherwise.
Our musical influences are probably fairly obvious to anyone who’s listened to us anyway. Regarding influences outside of music, we read a lot as a band. The initial inspiration for ‘The Cauldron and the Cross’ came from a novel called The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which is basically a retelling of the classic Arthurian legend, but told from the point of view of the female characters, rather than from the point of view of Arthur and his knights as is usually the case. I wouldn’t say this is the only period in history we’re interested in, but rather just the one we chose to focus on for this album. Our first album was looking more at Greek mythology, and we’ll probably do something different again for our next release. We’re also huge fans of science fiction, so maybe we’ll do something set in that realm in the future for a change of scenery.
The artwork for this album was handled by a guy called Simon “Pye” Parr, who has worked for 2000AD comics in the past. We told him roughly what we were looking for, and he took it from there. We were blown away when we sent us the finished artwork. He surpassed our expectations, and we think it captures the themes and the vibes of the album perfectly.
I think this album is better than the first in pretty much all areas. I think the songs we’ve written are stronger, and that we’ve improved as individual musicians too. Hopefully, this will be reasonably self-evident to anybody who’s heard both albums. I think the most significant area of improvement is the production though. The first album was entirely self-recorded and self-produced, whereas for The Cauldron and the Cross we were able to go to a proper recording studio and work with a professional producer for the first time. I think the first album sounds good considering how it was recorded, but working with a producer rather than doing it ourselves has made an enormous difference to the overall sound of the band on the new album.
I don’t think we believe in anything on an unusually deep level. None of us is religious in any way, and I don’t think any of us view ourselves as being particularly politically-minded either. We’re not a political band, in any case. I think we tend to write songs about things we’re interested in, rather than things we believe in. We tend to look at interesting concepts from history rather than try to make deep and meaningful philosophical points. I think one of the central points of this album, though, is that the world would be a much better place if people were more tolerant of and willing to listen to people with different points of view and beliefs to their own. It’s this intolerance that brings about the end of Arthur’s kingdom in the album, so maybe there’s something to be learnt there. We don’t see ourselves as a very socially conscious band though, and we very much doubt anybody listens to us for that reason.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2018 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.