Having secured their New Blood performance at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, the Northern Irish Metal 2 The Masses winners took some time out of their increasingly hectic schedule to talk about their imminent new ‘Ominous Divinity‘ EP which is scheduled for official release at the end of this month (July 2017).
Vocalist/guitarist Shane Hughes gives us the status on the bands past, present and future.
OD – Firstly, let’s go back to the start and tell me how the band originated?
SHANE – It actually started from a totally different project. Dani and I had been trying to get a Blackened Death Metal band going back in late 2012. In hindsight, we were probably far too young to be attempting it but we wrote a lot of material for it, it just never went anywhere. Then in 2013, we decided to try again but this time we tried our hand at Melodic Death Metal, which came much more naturally to us.
Once we got a few songs ready, Scott joined the band, this was around late 2013, our bassist Jordy didn’t join until 2015. Once we had the drums ready for the songs we had, we named the band and got cracking with the first EP.
OD – Bearing in mind the metal scene in Ireland and Northern Ireland, did you find it difficult to get off the ground in terms of live shows?
SHANE – For a time, yes. I think it is down to the fact that we were very new, and we didn’t know that many people at all in the scene. It was just a case of asking around and being patient. However, our first gig came around by essentially being in the right place at the right time. It was actually quite an unfortunate situation, Zombified were scheduled to be playing a gig in Voodoo with Basement Torture Killings, but then they had some massive lineup changes and had to cancel. The gig was still going ahead but another band was needed, so Scott asked the chaps in Zombified if we could play and that’s how we got our first show.
OD – It’s quite obvious the influence of the band, lies predominantly in Death Metal. Do you find that you have introduced something different to the genre and if so, what?
SHANE – Death Metal is definitely the biggest part of our music, though rather than straight up savagery we wanted to add some form of melody to the madness. Though at the same time we wanted to put our own spin on it since Melodic Death Metal is already a very well established genre. We added elements of Black Metal to the mix and made the melodies very dark sounding. We also made use of some big chord progressions, particularly in choruses to add some atmosphere. It’s different, but not entirely unfamiliar, and there is still a lot of the Death Metal influence to be heard.
OD – Having formed in 2014, the band have displayed a hard working ethic. Just one year after your formation, debut EP ‘Inception of Inhumanity‘ was released did you find that it was a real learning experience and would you have done anything different in hindsight?
SHANE – The whole process of writing, producing and promoting the first EP was a massive eye opener, we didn’t realise just how much effort it was to do it properly. If we could go back and do it again we would do so much differently. It was totally self-produced, which worked for us at the time but we would never do it again! We just didn’t have enough equipment or the know-how to make it sound massive. Though at the time we thought it was more important for us to get something out rather than focus too much on how pristine we could make it. How the times have changed!
OD – A milestone for you would have been invited to play the highly respected Siege of Limerick in 2016. Seeing as this was the first time you had played the event, did you have any expectations of what it would be like?
SHANE – The Siege was such a great experience, it was something totally new for us as it was the first time that we had ever played something so big. None of us had even been to The Siege before so we didn’t know what to expect but all of our friends told us that it would be an incredible time, and they weren’t wrong!
OD – Is there anything similar to The Siege in Northern Ireland?
SHANE – There are some similar events but on a much smaller scale. There is a venue in Belfast called The Warzone Centre which hosts some all day or 2-day festivals, though there is only the one stage so the lineup naturally isn’t as big. There is also an event called Necrofest that has started in the last 2 years. It was held in the Voodoo this year. It’s still great to see these events being organised. It shows how alive the scene is in Northern Ireland.
OD – The metal scene in Ireland /N.Ireland has really grown in the last decade. Do you find that the scene overall is healthy and if you could change anything to make it better, what would that be?
SHANE – It’s definitely in a very strong place right now, some people might disagree but in the last 4 years there have been a lot of new bands springing up and a lot of great shows being put on. Not to mention last year at Bloodstock there was something of an Irish invasion! There are always shows happening, and new bands emerging, I think if that trend continues the scene will go from strength to strength.
OD – Taking part in this year’s Metal 2 The Masses resulted in Bloodstock booker Simon Hall hand picking you to play at the festival next month. Can you talk a little about your experience and involvement with Metal 2 The Masses?
SHANE – We actually took part in Metal 2 The Masses in the previous 2 years as well and each year we got another step closer. Each year when we took part, if we got put out, we didn’t get disheartened. Instead, we thought about what we could do to develop the band, so each year we came back with something new. This year was especially inspiring as there were a lot of bands that hadn’t taken part in the last 3 years, and they were outstanding. The main thing is to keep at it, even if unsuccessful. It’s a great platform for bands and we can’t wait to see how it unfolds in years to come.
OD – There is no question that getting to play Bloodstock is going to be a very important show for Shrouded. Do you have any plans for the build up to the festival or perhaps any further shows in the UK while you’re over there?
SHANE – It’s a huge honour to be playing it, it will be an experience unlike any other. At the moment we are putting some final touches on our show, which will be revealed in due course, but we also have a line of new shirts on the way and of course our second EP.
It’s been kept under wraps for a while but we have been working very hard on it and we are extremely happy with the results. As of right now, we don’t have any plans for further UK shows but later in the year, it is a very real possibility, if the stars align, we will do it. Until then we have our heads down writing material for our first full-length album which we are also extremely excited about.
OD – Your sophomore EP ‘Ominous Divinity‘ is due for release just prior to your Bloodstock performance, can you tell us a little about the EP and the concept behind the title?
SHANE – This EP has been in the works for quite some time now, to us, it represents a shift towards the sound that we want to achieve in Shrouded. It has a much darker feel to it than our first release but at the same time we didn’t hold back on heaviness, after all, it is Death Metal, it still has to eat your face!
Lyrically this EP has a lot more inspiration from the day to day struggles of modern life and observations we have made on how this twisted world is going. Hymn of Flawless Darkness and Ocean Floor Burial both have particularly sinister themes to them. The title relates loosely to The Divine Lie, the third track on the EP. To us, it signifies being wary of any god or person who pretends to have some claim over you, something that many people these days are happy to live with, and something that we loathe.
OD – Your first video for ‘Hymn of Flawless Darkness‘ is set for release on 25th July. Can you talk a little about the video shoot and your overall experience in putting it together?
The video was shot by Kerri Clarke of Exposing Shadows Photography, who is a good friend of ours which helped the process a lot as we could have some banter. It was great fun to make and was a first for all of us since we had never done something like that before. It was really fun to be able to piece together a theatrical display for the video too, not that any of us could be actors! It was something different though, a new way to express some ideas. We can’t wait to do it again!
The exclusive first stream of ‘Hymn of Flawless Darkness’ can be found on Overdrive on Tuesday, 25th July.
For more information on Shrouded, please visit this link.
© OVERDRIVE.IE 2017
Photography – Exposing Shadows Photography © 2017