Portland mainstays Drouth have forsaken the world yet again with the release of their new LP ‘Excerpt From A Dread Liturgy.’ The album takes on a variance that constantly hovers between the traditions of third wave black metal, thrash, crust, and death to make a sonic abyss that encompasses almost every form of extreme metal. Every element is presented in precisely in a fine-tuned attack that leads one to think it takes them an eternity to write a complete song. What sets this release apart from the rest of their catalogue is the interplay between guitar leads, constantly weaving complex melodies and dueling solos that provide the sonic sky under which the songs rest. As a fan since year one, I can safely say this is the best, most punishing release to date. The album is available on vinyl and digital here on Translations Loss records. Listen and check out the interview below for more information on details and future plans.
The obligatory first question for right now is – how does it feel releasing an album during this pandemic when so much suffering is happening on a global scale?
It’s certainly a surreal time to be in a band and going through the motions of releasing an album right now. The uncertainty of everything going on worldwide is taking a toll on everyone, and needless to say the political events taking place in this country—which can’t be uncoupled from the pandemic—cannot and should not be ignored by anyone. It’s difficult for us to picture what the day to day “business” of being in a band will look like six months or a year from now and that definitely casts a shadow over the album release. But by the same token it’s important to us to continue writing and planning and maintaining our artistic momentum. Our thoughts also go out to all the folks who have booked us, played with us, done sound and security and tended bar at our shows as their livelihoods are now in jeopardy for the foreseeable future.
What were some key influences that brought ‘Excerpts from a Dread Liturgy’ about?
The record is a testament to the trust we have in one another and the way we allowed each of our own artistic influences to combine and mutate once John and Tyler joined in 2018. We try to write without preconceived notions of where we are headed and let the direction take shape organically, so I’m sure you can feel our musical influences but hopefully they are synthesized into something unexpected. Lyrically and thematically I would say Cormac McCarthy, Larry Levis, Steinbeck, Borges, Morrison’s “The Invisibles” were all big influences. I write lyrics trying to give a deliberate if subtle sense of place so it maybe is tinged with a flavor of the American West which is the place most familiar and well-traveled for all of us.
Since Drouth was a new band called Contempt back in 2012, what has changed in terms of your songwriting process and general outlook towards your music?
I think the biggest change is the aforementioned commitment to letting the songs go where they want to go without preconceived notions about how we “should” sound. That trust in the band as an entity takes a little time to develop.
Drouth explores regions that lie in between black, death, doom, and crust. Have you found it challenging to find your audience because you straddle a line where zealous fans tend to stick to their hyper-niche cliques?
We’ve definitely seen resurgences of various subgenres over the time since we started and maybe have been a little challenged, as you say, by being a little less easy to pinpoint. But as a listener and artist there’s a point at which getting really precious about those super niche genres is more restrictive than engaging. Music isn’t about being a collector, it’s an active process of discovery. And it’s fucking heavy metal, we’ve already chosen a pretty fucking particular milieu.
It’s been an eight year road and you seem to be gaining momentum now, how does it feel taking the long road toward self-discovery as a band instead of being an overnight success?
We’ve changed so much over the time we’ve been a band, in terms of members and sound and approach, it’s been totally organic. There was no other way we would have reached this point. And because it’s taken us this winding route, although Pat and I have been playing together for years, it’s not at all like we’ve been hammering at the same sonic sculpture for eight years. The current and most focused form of Drouth has only been together since 2018 and as an entity it feels more solid than ever. Maybe that time has taught us to be patient, and have more willingness to put our trust in the artistic process without a predetermined outcome.
What can fans expect in the future, provided the pandemic is suddenly cured?
We’re already writing more material and whenever we’re able we’re eager to return to playing live and picking up where we left off. In the meantime we hope everyone in the metal community does what they can to support and encourage one another and continue channeling their creative energy in the face of adversity. We all must laugh at death in our own way.