Thanatos Rising with Dr. Danny Mann, Sean Elston, Keith McIntosh
With a definite progressive metal bent, Sorizon aims to break down subgenres to bring metalheads together. Sorizon has released their third full-length album, Thanatos Rising, featuring powerful artwork painted by Eliran Kantor (Testament, Sodom, Havok). The themes of Thanatos Rising resonate with the state of the world: death, fear of the unknown and the hope of renewal. Thanatos Rising brings Sorizon’s peak of songwriting and critically acclaimed production. The new album is on limited edition blood red and black galaxy vinyl, limited gold-disc CDs, and digital. Hailing from Southern California, Keith McIntosh (vocals), Dr. Danny Mann (guitar) and Sean Elston (drums) began making metal in the band Joust in 2006. After a short and successful run, they decided to get heavier and more progressive, thus spawning Sorizon in 2008. After a few lineup changes, Sorizon now rocks undeniable chemistry with Tim Hall on guitar (since 2011) and Kevin Vickers on bass (since 2012).
HMA: The recording and writing must have been tricky with the restrictions.
DM: First off, I just want to thank you guys for setting up this interview! We’re honoured to be a part of this. For the new album, we wrote and recorded nearly everything much before the pandemic. The mixing/mastering process did happen during the restrictions, and there were literally over 100 revisions of the songs discussed via text message and online meetings. Massive thanks to Sean for putting up with us all during that time and helping us make our best sounding album yet. I have not been exploring conspiracy theories on YouTube lately, but I don’t know about the other guys… we’ve had a lot more time at home lately!
HMA: What is ‘Thanatos Rising’?
DM: I think it can mean different things depending on whether you’re thinking about the title track or the album as a whole. We had the song first, where Keith wrote the lyrics and came up with the song title. Thanatos was the Greek personification of Death, and the song is about a fixation with Death and being unable to escape the worry and fear of the unknown. I think I’ll get a chance to touch more on the album as a whole later.
KM: I like to write about whatever is inspiring or exciting to me at that particular time. Our second full-length album was a concept album focusing on all-around sleep/dreams etc. With this album, it was very refreshing not to have boundaries and freely write about anything. We have songs on Thanatos ranging from Death to the rise of technology and some more personal topics.
HMA: What inspired you to get into heavy music?
DM: I think we each had our journeys, but I know that the music influenced me, Tim, and Kevin in skateboarding videos. I think that was the first time I had heard Iron Maiden and Slayer, and I remember thinking. Holy shit! Music can sound like this?? I was learning guitar when I was into skateboarding as a teenager, so yeah, those classic videos from Zero, Transworld, and everything were huge.
SE: In high school, I was handed a burned CD including At the Gates: Slaughter of the Soul, In Flames: Clayman, and Children of Bodom: Something Wild. I remember thinking at first; this music shouldn’t even be humanly possible to pull off, and I was hooked.
HMA: Any events in your life that have influenced your creativity?
DM: Most definitely. I don’t think you can separate someone’s life experiences from their creativity. I dealt with some challenging experiences in the years of writing the majority of the instrumental music for this album, and the end product is partially a result of that.
HMA: What motivates your creativity?
DM: At first, many songs had different inspirations, but for this album, we worked hard to make the whole thing flow and tell some sort of story, at least instrumentally. I came up with the concept for how the entire album would tie together musically back in 2018! My creative process is apparent; playing more guitar and listening to music that excites me fuels my creativity. Live shows provided a lot of inspiration for me too, so it’s been tough to feel inspired without concerts this past year. I’m very excited to see shows start to open up again in our area.
SE: I probably enjoy the recording process a little too much. Also, gear, in general, tends to inspire creativity for me. How close can I get the sound in my head to match reality?