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.​.​.​And Still, You Long For More. CVLT Nation Interviews WITHDRAWAL

Withdrawal is one of my favorite hardcore bands. They should be one of yours, too. Dark, violent, and esoteric, this Manitoban outfit is all the mystery meat hardcore you could want. Their pair of early aughts EPs, 2009’s Unknown Misery and 2011’s Faith, Flesh and Blood established them as one of hardcore’s bleakest and brightest. Five years later they finally let the hammer fall with their debut full-length Never, a ten-song ass beater that Withdrawal somehow manage to follow with aplomb today with And Still, You Long for More, the first in a line of new music. I once again had the privilege of speaking with Withdrawal’s vocalist Adam about Never, their bounty of new music, and plenty between.

As your follow-up to Never, how has Withdrawal changed as a band?

The band itself; its individual members have gone through all manners of personal tragedy and reinvention. A few members left, a few returned. There are parts of us that are damaged and worse off, there are parts of us that are sober and rejuvenated. It made for an interesting and rough period of realization that we all *want* to do this band, it’s something special that is held as a bond between some of the greatest friends in my life. More directly, one of our members did two stints in “summer camp” aka rehab and that started putting the band on track to be human beings again, not lunatics howling at the sky.

How do these new songs compare to Never?

It’s hard to say. I think anyone who listened to Never is going to hear the songs and maybe not hear an immediate massive difference, but I think if you listen starting with our Demo and moving onward, you’ll see the progression we’ve made musically. This just continues down that darkened, downward path. Weird shit excites us now? I think the new stuff is a lot noisier and we take more chances with ideas.

The new collection is noticeably faster and angrier: what compelled this tone?

We wanted “…And Still, You Long For More” to be a statement of where we are heading as a band. We have a couple of new releases coming out next year and we wanted to show where to maybe expect us to go, sound-wise. Our “Clevo-meets-CT HC by way of Winnipeg” sound but with a bit more noise and queasy stuff brought up. Our music is a reflection of ourselves so If it sounds angrier, it’s because we are. I think on “Suicide Fetish” the goal was to convince someone who might have some residual MK Ultra shit to shoot up their workplace. We recorded 7 new songs to be spread across 4 differing releases.

What was the reason behind spreading these seven songs across multiple releases? 

We didn’t want to fall victim to the same long wait it takes when working on an LP. We could have put together another 2 or 3  songs and called it an LP easy, but we intend on releasing something new every couple of months and then an LP at the end of that. I think a couple of years back when Thou did “the summer of Thou” I was like “Hey, maybe that’s the right idea.” People don’t have the attention span to wait 3 years between releases anymore. Plus who knows if the world is even going to be around in another 3 or 4.

As far as other music, writings, games, etc., what was the inspiration here? 

“Thy Deception Crystalline” is about a sacred artifact, “The Crystal Of St. James”, that allows the wielder to bend destiny to their will. In the song, it is possessed by a degenerate sketchy sports gambler who only uses the crystal’s powers for evil. I have to take a moment to stress that this is all, as it says in the song itself, a true story. I can look anyone in the eyes and tell them that. A lot of people don’t believe in unexplained energies and so-called “magick”. But it is out there, for those who walk the dangerous path to seek it. Most people are just too scared to.

In the past few years since we released anything my cat, my girlfriend, my grandmother, and my mom all passed away within a short time from each other. Absolutely profound loss. The type of loss that wrecks an already fucked life. There is a song on our forthcoming split with Krieg that deals with all that loss, and it’s about 10 minutes long and certainly our most depressing and painful song. Musically it’s got 12-string guitar, a gong, triangle, synthesizer… a lot of new instrumentation for us. It is grand and majestic in its misery. I don’t want to spoil the surprise of how it all comes together. 

There’s another song that takes a lot of inspiration from “The Flowers Of Evil” by Charles Beaudlaire, “Torture Garden” by Octave Mirbeau, and has some references to the Titan Arum, aka a Corpseflower, which only blooms every 5-10 years and smells like a dead body. Lots of pretty flowers.

Musically, all of these songs have the same sonic thread and needle binding them together. Evil, metallic hardcore. Hard shit. Real shit. 100 Demons, Gehenna, Catharsis, All Out War, Ringworm, Integrity, Kickback. Maybe some Amebix, Sacrilege, Bolt Thrower. Musically, we are very influenced by Prison Affair.

What releases from the last couple of years have been your favorites? 

*Lots* of great music coming out the last few years. I got really big into a lot of Australian Punk and post-punk, so Low Life – From Squats To Lots is probably my most listened-to album. Oily Boys, Ausmutants. Alien Nose Job. All great stuff down there. The new Gehenna record is a perfect (Negative) Hardcore record. All Out War is still delivering on its sound while bringing in new influences. Mindforce rules. Straw Man Army from NYC does some cool anarcho-punk-sounding stuff on “SOS”. Simulakra is maybe my favorite modern metallic HC band going right now, a lot of the stuff coming out on Daze, in general, is always quality. Serration for example. I really loved the Lifeless Dark demo, they do some crusty-metal stuff that sounds like UK Sacrilege mixed with early Bolt Thrower. I heard they have an LP coming out soon and I cannot wait for that.

What is your favorite song off the new release? Of the songs as a whole? 

My favorite song on the release is “Thy Deception Crystalline”, it’s just a great example of everything we’re about. I once read that when Hatebreed was recording “Perseverance” they would spend a ton of the time in the studio rewinding the album and re-listening to the breakdowns and laughing their asses off at how hard it was. I think that is usually a good benchmark of when you’re on the right track, when everyone’s losing their minds while recording it.

As a whole, it would have to be the 10-minute song about experiencing loss. I’ve had a lot to say about it but haven’t had the chance to get it out there. It felt like a weight off my chest finally. It’s my best work lyrically and my brother’s best work, guitar-wise. It’s like “Armenian Persecution” levels of guitar going everywhere. With all the extra instrumentation, we really pushed everything as far as we could go. That will be on our next release, the split with Krieg, along with a song called “Humiliation.”

Written By

slowdive followed me on twitter for a week once.

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