Somehow or another, one of the best black and death metal mixtures I’ve ever heard came right out of the grassy pastures of a little old state called Kentucky. That mixture was created under the moniker of Fornicus, and after having it crush my face into the ground I knew that I was going to have to get a hold of one of these guys and have them tell me a little bit more about the project. So I spoke with Scott Briggs (Guitars/Vocals) as he discussed how the band got together, as well as the album’s anti-religious lyrical nature and how that spawned from living in the Bible belt.
Tell me a little bit about how you guys got together and created this monster. Storming Heaven is an absolutely monolithic blend of black and death metal.
Thanks man! It started a couple years ago with a few riffs I had put together after my previous band dissolved. I played them for Chris to see if he’d be interested in collaborating and seeing if we could actually make something out of it. After we had a couple of songs I shot David a message to see if he’d possibly be interested in drumming for us to which he luckily was. Together we wrote most of the album last year. Kelly joined up earlier this year just before we started recording. He and I had another black metal project going called Storming Heaven. I mentioned to him that we wanted a second guitarist in the band to handle solos and leads and since both bands sounded similar we just merged the two projects and used the Storming Heaven name as the album title.
So how long has Storming Heaven been in the works? Months? Years? Decades? Alright, so maybe that last one was a bit much, but how long was it before you knew that you needed to get all your ideas together to present in this musical package?
From time the first riffs started flowing to the time of recording it was probably like one and a half years. Pretty fucking quick actually, I think!
Tell me a little bit about the recording process for Storming Heaven. Where did you record it and how long did it take? What was the atmosphere like in the studio? Did you guys run into any problems or was it all smooth sailing?
We recorded the album at my studio, Velocity Studios. The recording was spread over a few weekends so it maybe took close to a couple months… It was not rushed obviously since there wasn’t any worry over paying for studio time nor a deadline. It was smooth sailing all the way through with a good atmosphere as my studio doubles as our practice space so we were “home.”
What are your thoughts on the record? I don’t usually ask a band this kind of question, but being a musician myself, I’m quite critical of my own work. What do you think are the strong points of the record, and what do you think might have needed a minor touch up? Would you change anything if given the chance?
Overall we’re very satisfied with the album. One of the first times I can listen to a mix of mine and not instantly wish I did something different. There’s a couple spots that I think could’ve been a hair tighter and there’s one vocal line I wish I had redone but those are just nit-picky spots that no one has ever mentioned in a review nor commented on by the rest of the band.
Lyrically, what did you want to focus on? Is there more to the lyrics on the disc besides antireligious sentiments? What kind of statement are you trying to make with the record?
Most of the album is pretty centered on an anti-religious theme. Being born and raised right in the middle of the Bible belt as well as spending my entire youth being an active member of the church it was very cathartic to write about it. I know it’s not anything remotely new in the world of metal but it did have personal value for me with a statement that I am free from the binding chains that religion had on me at one time. Going into the future I may try to broaden lyrical topics.
Having lived in the south for a number of years, it’s always difficult dealing with closed minded religious people. They always tell you that you’re headed for hell because you’ve chosen a different path than their own. Have you had the same experiences, especially as a band in Kentucky?
I’ve somehow avoided people making comments towards me like that for the most part. Mostly I have been completely ignored by these people as if they never knew me. For example we recently laid my Grandfather to rest and at the funeral home and many people that I used to attend church with came because my Grandfather’s brother goes to the same church. Not but a few of these people even acknowledged me (nor my brother who no longer goes) which is tacky as fuck of them. I belonged to a denomination that in particular thought they were better than everyone else so it wasn’t at all surprising but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re there to pay respect to the family and that was very disrespectful in my eyes.
Let’s talk influences. What could you cite as the albums that helped inspire you and the rest of the band? What could you say are some of your favorite records of all time, regardless of genre?
It’s easier to name bands than specific albums that had influence. For me I found inspiration in Emperor, Impaled Nazarene, Goatwhore, 1349, Zyklon and Immortal to name a handful. Some favorite albums though include Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse and Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, King Diamond’s Abigail, Thorns Thorns… and I can go on forever. Some non-extreme albums though I’ve always loved are Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound, and Deftones White Pony.
What are some things about you guys that we would never guess? What do you do when you’re not playing music?
One would probably not guess that I work at a bank, though that’s coming to an end next week as I pretty much hate it there. When not working on music I’m usually fucking around on a game, same with Chris often times. Kelly has a family that occupies his free time pretty well and David is a weight lifting machine.
What are touring plans looking like? Are you going to be able to tour this year?
Touring is difficult for us cause of work and family commitments, so we’re pretty much stuck to regional and local shows on weekends.
What do you guys think about the “Ebola pandemic” as of recent? Are you guys going to grab protective suits and just wash your hands more often, or are you worried about martial law and FEMAcamps? There’s been a whole lot of talk on this issue from both sides.
Media has definitely sensationalized the issue as they do so well, making the problem appear worse than it is. Sure, it is something to be taken very seriously but to create panic and fear to the point where I’d want to buy suits and create a concentration camp… No.
So if we make it out alive from the crisis, what’s next for Fornicus? This album was fucking great, so I really hope you guys get to make another one.
Thanks man! We are already writing for whatever comes next. We are talking about putting together a split/compilation of bands doing a couple songs each… like an original and a cover. I’m hoping to create something even more intense for the next album. I hope to surpass Storming Heaven but we shall see.
Thanks for answering my questions. Stay safe out there and keep kicking ass and playing great metal. – Eric
Thanks for interview my friend! Keep supporting the underground!