Posted on by Oran

Hailing from Cobh, Co. Cork, technical/prog troop ARJUNA’S EYE have today unveiled their latest single ‘Trial of the Grasses’ which is taken from their highly-accomplished debut album, ‘Amalgam’ which saw an independent release late last year. 

As far as independent metal albums from last year, Arjuna’s Eye dropped a mammoth banger in the Irish metal scene on the tail end of 2019.

Loaded with twists and turns that are drenched with technical arrangements and soaring vocals, ‘Amalgam‘ is a triumph for the band and has sent them on a new course venturing outside of their native scene; into exciting new territories.

Check out the video premiere for new single ‘Trial of the Grasses’ below;

We spoke to the guys about the new video, their plans for the rest of the year and much more…

OD – Give us a little insight into the background behind the track?

SEAN FRAHILL (VOCALS) – The musical inspiration came from Conor’s love of “The Witcher” video game/ book series and Trial of the Grasses became a working title for the track. (working titles seem to stick in this band) Lyrically the song depicts someone who’s suffering in a dark situation and is basically screaming for help, hoping someone will save them.

CONOR NAGLE (GUITARS/VOCALS) – Working tracks seem to stick with us. Trial of the Grasses is inspired by Polish Fantasy writer Andrej Sapkowski and his books about my favourite mythological world of The Witcher. The title is a catalyst point in the series where humans are made to suffer through trials, become genetically mutated, and if they survive become Witchers. Suffering and perseverance.

OD – The video is loaded with what we can only suggest are references, can you talk about a few of them and how the concept of the video came about?

SEAN – Brian O Glanby directed and produced the video and we let him take the reins to shed his perspective on it. I think what Brian took from it and wanted to show,  is that no matter how heavy or restrictive the burden, the only one that can set you free is yourself provided you are able to own it before you turn the key and walk out the door.

CONOR  – It’s definitely a big step forward for us. Musically, lyrically, and definitely melodically. The input and cohesion between Sean, Aaron, and I was an amazing process. We had the time, space, and freedom to build the songs on Amalgam how we wanted.

We even joked about how we loved the songs as we recorded them, and hoped that other people would feel the same since it was strictly the three of us hearing them for nearly 9 months! Anything we liked, we stuck with and tried to refine it.

OD –  The single is taken from the latest album ‘Amalgam’, which was independently released last year. The album is a huge step forward from the bands 2017 debut ‘The Invisible Landscape’, can you share an insight into the evolution of the band from that album to ‘Amalgam?

SEAN – “The Invisible Landscape” was written and recorded by Conor in Canada as a one-man project. “Amalgam” on the other hand included Conor, Aaron and myself with equal writing duties. It was a totally new experience for all three of us so we didn’t really have a plan but after a while, a formula started to present itself.

It seemed like no idea was too far outside the box and that suggestions from each other were openly accepted. For instance, if I wasn’t happy with something Conor would keep pushing me telling me “I know you can do better” or if I just couldn’t quite get something to sound good Aaron would say “why don’t you try it like this” etc…but that’s how vocal lines and fraises would work out some times with their coaching you could say!

ODArjuna’s Eye is not your ‘straight forward’ metal band as there are many influences laced within the music. Can you talk about some of the main influenced that is evident to you all personally, within the band?

CONOR – Where to start? Bands like Tool, Dream Theater, Monuments, Leprous, and Agent Fresco. And then there are film/tv and videogame scores. Since most are orchestral pieces in cinema and games, one short phrase or melody or rhythm can spawn inspiration for a song or guitar riff.  I think as a band our tastes vary, but there are always crossover points of appreciation like Mastodon, to name one. Or parts of songs that we all look up and say “hell yes!“.

OD –  Can we expect any other singles/videos to come in the coming months?

AARON FRAHILL (BASS) – Yes, there’s no shortage of video ideas for the tracks. It’s just a matter of picking a definite next track to highlight.

CONOR – I would anticipate so. We like to keep something on the go all the time.

SEAN – It’s certainly something we’ll work towards, I had a lot of fun filming this one!

We’ve been looking at possibly doing an animated vid and for sure a lyric vid, as the lyrics are something I find we’re always being asked about. There’s so much can be done in that department. We’re eager to get our music heard and in this case seen so it’s important to us that we release a something we all feel suits the track. Lots more to come, keep your eyes peeled.

OD – With regards to new material, have there been any new ideas floating around seeing as we’re all in isolation?

AARON – You know the one thing I can say about this isolation is that we seem to be bursting at the seams with new ideas. Some seem to come in a melody while in other cases there are almost fully formed songs coming out of the mist. At the moment we’ve all got riffs, rolls, licks and lyrics in the early stages, which are the bones of songs.

Next stage will be to build the skeleton. Once we can get back in a room together, that’s when things will really kick off I think.

SEAN – Absolutely. we have ideas on the go alright and I’m looking forward to putting them together once we figure out the best way to assemble during this lockdown shite!

CONOR – One thing we are not short of is new ideas. Between the 5 of us in the band, the group chat is usually being spammed with new audio clips or videos of fresh material. And since we can all get scratch track recorded easily enough, it makes for easy communication of ideas due to our restrictive circumstances.

OD –  Would you ever consider releasing a series of EP’s rather than an album going forward?

CILLIAN PLUMMER (GUITAR) – Having released two EP’s in another band, and seeing how streaming services have affected the way we consume music, I think the EP format would be a great way to stay in the public eye for a far greater amount of time than just releasing an album a year, for example.

We’ve become very much used to single culture as consumers of music and many times a full album will not get a full listen through compared to well-timed singles. I think an EP is the perfect middle ground as you can capture people’s attention easier as it’s not a full length and for yourself, as an artist, if you feel like there’s an overarching theme to the music.

Productivity wise it’d make a lot of sense as you can consistently work away at creating new music as anything that wasn’t on the latest release can be used in the next release and so on.

SEAN – I definitely gave it some thought at some point, but we will see how we feel about a release when we have material ready to put out I guess.

CONOR – Why not do both?! [Laughing]

OD – With 2019 well and truly behind us, can you share some of the albums that you enjoyed from last year?

CONOR – The Witcher Netflix series soundtrack.

OD – If you could tour with anyone, who would it be and why?

CONORTool. Hands down. It would be the ultimate check off the bucket list.

SEAN – Eh, Pantera I’d say… To go on the piss with Dime basically.  [Laughing]

CILLIAN – On a local level, I’d love to do a tour with ZhOra and Dead Label. They’re two solid, hard-working bands like us so I think it’d be a solid line up. It’s a gig I’d love to go to, personally. Having said that, there are so many fantastic Irish bands at the moment that I could be here for a separate interview so by no means is that my be all and end all your.. If we’re shooting for the stars I’d love to see us do a big long tour with Jinjer.

They’re a phenomenal live band and they’ve been touring nearly non stop for a year and a half so if we could play with them for that length of time I’d see that as a big dream off the list.

SEAN  – The scene in Ireland is bursting with bands and we are fortunate to have a scene at all I suppose but that’s just the humble Paddy talking. Metal is on the rise and we’re heading in the right direction but before the lockdown restrictions, 2020 was shaping up to be a good year in Ireland for Metal.

Just look at”Sunstroke“… that is a festival that is badly needed in Ireland. Its the perfect platform for up and coming Irish metal bands to share the stage with Metal giants such as Gojira, Mastodon, Sepultura, Deftones and absolute Legends “Faith No More“…on a more local level it would be cool to see more things happen in the West and the South East(of Ireland) as the backbone of metal is covered by Belfast, Dublin, Limerick and Cork.

Something else that is on the go is metal tribute acts, which is almost a whole other world all in itself!

OD – Coming from Ireland, Metal is not exactly embraced by most of the counties media if not at all, what can you tell us about the Irish Metal scene from your perspective and what would you like to see change?

CILLIAN – I think the greatest thing about the Irish metal scene, from what I’ve seen is that because it’s so small, people have a huge taste across all the subgenres of metal.

Maybe in a larger country, the thrash fans would only go to thrash gigs and the prog heads would only go to prog gigs, you have a scene where you have fans of doom, prog, thrash, death and black metal all going to the same gigs because there’s a band on the bill that suits their taste and their taste is broad enough to accept and be a fan of said sub-genres.

SEAN – I think what the Irish metal scene is doing to push the boundaries currently is great. You take the good with the bad and learn from your own mistakes. More publicity, like this interview, is a blessing and a stepping stone to new things. Basically, it’s in our own hands to keep up the integrity and quality.

Arjuna’s EyeAmalgam is out now on all good streaming sites. Pick up a copy and support the band via their official Bandcamp page here.

Oran O’Beirne 2020