Posted on by Oran

If you’ve heard the name ‘The Sluagh’ knocking around for the last few months then let us shed some light for you. The rising Irish Symphonic Death Metal crew have been making an impression with media platforms and taste-makers since the release of their debut single ‘I bhFolach’ and recent crusher, ‘128’. 

Guitarist and co-funder, Seán Blacklock took some time out to talk to Overdrive about the bands plans going forward.

Having formed in 2019, The Sluagh are a progressive Symphonic Death Metal project emerging from the rich heavy Irish underground scene.

The name is derived from mythological creatures, ‘Sluagh na marbh’, in Gaelic folklore. Said to be composed of the souls of the dead, usually this army would appear similar to a flock of birds before a person was taken by them.

While the five piece originated in Ireland, most of the members are from international backgrounds and consists of three guitarists, Seán Blacklock (Ireland), Killian Chellar (Ireland), Avinash Appadoo (Mauritius), bassist Krzysztof Sowa (Poland) and vocalist Jorge Nino (Colombia).

As of 2022, The Sluagh have released two versions of their debut LP, titled ‘Enivid Creatures’. One is the traditional version and the other is classically scored version.

Significant experimentation began at the onset of writing both albums, drawing inspiration from both classical composers, while also strongly influenced by technical and progressive metal bands.

Guitarist, Séan Blacklock sat down with us to give a little more insight into what to expect from The Sluagh going forward…

OD – Can you give an insight into the latest single ‘128’ and where it fits with regards to the overall concept of the ‘Enivid Creatures’ LP?

SEAN -128 is the second song on the ‘Enivid Creatures’ album, but it’s the first band performance, so it’s an introduction of what’s to come, as the album unfolds.

Generally the aggression level peaks and throughs throughout the record and 128 would be an example of the heavier end of that, opening up the album with a fast and hard punch made sense to us and 128 was the song to do that job.

The 128 single its self was more of a demonstration of versatility, on it you have 128 taken from both, Enivid Creatures albums, and both tracks land in two completely different genres showing two sides to the same piece.

OD – Who in the band came up with the idea of scoring a classical version of the album?

SEAN – The idea of scoring a classical album just grew on all of us as the music developed, like anything that sounds like it could be a good idea we went with it and a second album grew from the first. We put a lot of effort into building the orchestra and choirs, and when mixed with the band we found we had to remove layers to accommodate for the guitars, bass or anything that would share the same frequency range, as it wouldn’t be heard.

So to give the orchestral elements the space to be heard and mixed correctly, we gave it a second album as we felt it stood up on its own merit.

OD – When going through the process of scoring the LP, did it influence the way that you will write/create music in the future?

SEAN – Yes it did in the sense that we now know what can come from hard work and just letting ideas grow with little restriction. I wouldn’t see the point in changing how we did things when the result was so rewarding. So in the future, I would like to repeat our ethic on the Enivid Creatures cycle. We are also fans of classical and soundtrack music, and when coupled with aggressive metal the collaboration of the two just feels like an evolutionary peak, so why not aim for that.

OD – With regards to live shows, I understand that you have an aesthetic that you wish to bring to the stage, can you give us any clues or previews as to what this will involve?

SEAN – In short, alot of art! We’ve accumulated a large bank of artwork over the period of time that we’ve been working on the project, and because of the orchestral elements we will be preforming to a click track. It makes sense to us that we should automate that artwork into the show in time with the click, and give the gig goers more for their retinas.

OD – Since writing this album, has there been any new material that is completed?

SEAN – In terms of music we’ve pulled the focus off writing briefly to recover from the burn out of driving every synapse available into Enivid Creatures, but that break is only to accommodate for live show prep and everything that comes with preparing for a live show in this band. But we’ll be back on the horse as soon as other sides of the project are in good shape.

OD – As far as new material goes, will you strive to record another album, or would you prefer to release a series of EP’s, like a lot of bands are doing these days?

SEAN – I think we’ll probably record another album, but if we see the opportunity to do something interesting with an EP releases as part of something bigger, we might take that route. If we can make the structure of an EP or a series of EPs work to contributing to a body of work, we might consider it.

OD – The impact of the masks has been a successful marketing tool for the band, would you consider the overall look to evolve like Slipknot, or do you see yourselves sticking with the current aesthetic?

SEAN – I think there is always room for refinement, were very happy with the outcome of the production of the masks, but we may build on what’s already there. In terms of reinventing ourselves like Slipknot who do it very well, I can’t say if we’d be ready to tear everything up and start again, as there is an identity in what we’ve built and we may feel inclined to keep it.

OD – With regards to live shows, have you got anything booked or scheduled that you’d like to share with us?

SEAN – We have nothing booked or scheduled at the moment but we are now aiming for late January to kick off live shows.

OD – Going forward, will you attempt to score all future music like you did with this album, or do you feel that it was a ‘once off’ project?

SEAN – Well be aiming to repeat the production process we applied to Enivid Creatures as it felt complete, we could put a lid on the album and know nothing was sold short or over looked, so we will be doing everything necessary to accomplish that result again.

OD – Finally, what plans can you share with us for 2023?

SEAN – Getting the show on a stage is the big goal for 2023 and to start writing material to contribute to the next album.

The SluaghEnivid Creatures‘ is out NOW and can be accessed via this link.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2022