To the uninitiated, All This Filth are a Metal band from Perth, Western Australia. They blend many different Metal and heavy sub genres including Groove Metal, Thrash, Hardcore, Death Metal, Industrial Metal and even hints of Sludge and Nu-Metal to create a unique blend of aggressive fury. Strongly influenced by bands such as Fear Factory, Chimaira and Sepultura, the essence of what metal really means is expressed sonically through the crushing riffs, solid drums and ballsy bass, while being dynamically shaped with electronic keys and audio samples.
All This Filth released their brand new album “Misery Season” on March 29th with some favorable reviews and feedback from fans as seen at the launch show at Perth Monthly Metal Club Hornography on release day. The band are set to perform at this year’s Metal United World Wide in Perth along with some of W.A. top rock and metal acts so we grabbed a few words from frontman Brendan Preston to find out all about it and more.
Metal-Roos: What can people expect at Metal United World Wide?
Good bands and good times. Should be a good day, there’s some quality acts on the line up. We hope to put on a good show for everyone. We give it all we got every time we get on stage and really that’s all you can do. Hopefully we will be playing some songs we haven’t played before. The new songs are almost made for the live show. Either way we will be aiming to deliver an intense, high energy set that hopefully people will get into.
M-R: How do you pick out a setlist and is that a difficult process?
2 man sack race haha! Just kidding. No, we sort of just pick the songs that we think will go down best live. Or if we have a particular mood we want to get across. It depends how much time we’ve got. If it’s only a half hour set it’s more difficult to plan as we have to cut a few songs from our regular set. We have a good mix, mostly new songs from “Misery Season” and then a few of the old classics. We chop and change certain songs in and out of the set list to keep it fresh.
M-R: What is your favorite song to play live?
Good question. It can vary depending on the gig. “Deep We Die” has always been a good set closer and I enjoy playing it. “Drowning” is great to play live because it has great energy. “This Is Misery” is challenging but also has great energy. “Slave State” is good fun too and also has great energy. It’s hard to choose just one song.
M-R: How has the experience of playing live been like for the band so far?
Depends on which line up of the band you’re talking about haha! For this line up it’s been good so far. It’s one of the best and tightest line ups I’ve had in the band. So the energy on stage is great. I’ve always said that the ATF Crew are the best fans going around so when they go off in the pit it really makes our night. One of the best shows we’ve ever played was our “Misery Season” album launch back in March. The energy on stage was great and the energy from the crowd was electric too, plus we had killer sound so it was an awesome set. You get those 3 elements coming together and it’s like the recipe for a great gig.
M-R: Any favorite places to play live?
I like The Boston. Good venue and John the sound guy there really knows how to mix Metal live. It’s sort of become the home of Metal in recent years. I played a great show at The Newport once too. That was killer. Great sound there too. There’s a few really good venues in Perth.
M-R: Any stand out shows or personal highlights from a tour or show?
There’s been a lot of great shows and highlights over the years. As previously mentioned the “Misery Season” album launch back in March is one of my favourite, if not my favourite gig of all time. The energy on stage was great, the energy from the large crowd was awesome and we had great sound. Plus it was really great to finally launch the album. A great night all round.
Another really memorable night was this gig at The Newport back in 2014. The set was going great, we had great energy from the crowd. About half way through our bassist at the time, Brad Wreford, had a wardrobe malfunction of sorts. His belt broke and his pants were falling down. So between songs I get this tap on the shoulder and he tells me about the situation and asks me to stall for time while he figures out what he’s gonna do. Now a prolonged break during the set can really halt the momentum, but what are you gonna do? So as a joke I turn to the crowd and say “Brad’s had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction, has anyone got a spare belt?”. Then I turn around to see how Brad was doing fixing it. Next thing I know, I hear clunk, clunk! I turn around and see people chucking belts on the stage. They were taking their own belts off and throwing them on the foldbacks and such. Long story short, we found a belt for Brad and continued the set. From there, the set actually ramped up a notch. We had people chanting and singing the songs and screaming for encores, it was great. That’s a gig that’ll be hard to forget.
M-R: All This Filth recently released a new album called Misery Season”. What was it like to put this album together?
I started writing this album back in 2013 with a previous line up of the band. Some of those songs made it on to this album. We’ve had a few line up changes during the last 6 years of writing this album and a lot of ups and downs both personally and band wise, it’s been a really tough journey to get here. So that really affected how the songs came out, especially in the lyrics. The hard times really come through.
Writing wise, sometimes it starts with a riff or a beat or a lyrical idea and we just usually go with whatever feels good. Everyone contributes bits and pieces. It really depends on the song. I tend to be the filter, I pick and choose the best bits and we go from there. For some of the songs we didn’t actually have a drummer at the time so either Benny would program beats, or actually Luke Specter from Bayview Suspect volunteered to help out with some of the drums. He did a really good job too. He contributed to the songs “This Is Misery”, “Misery Season” and “I Am The Fortress”. It was good working with Luke, he did a great job.
We recorded with Tristan Sturmer (from Sparrow) at Sumo Studios. He’s a real pro, he knows his stuff. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, he drove us really hard but he really got good takes out of us and I’m glad we worked with him. It was fun at times, but at other times it was really gruelling, but again, he got great results. He also, contributed some bass lines on a few songs. He was very involved, always making useful suggestions. Was great working with him.
The album was Mixed by Daniel Thabet from Liquid Studios in the US. He was a great help, was basically another member of the team. He did a really good job. It was mastered by Alan Douches as well and he killed it too. We had a great team around us for this release.
M-R: What were some of the things you wanted to achieve with the new album?
I basically wanted to get what I’ve been feeling in my heart and in my head and put it on to tape. Then release it and hopefully some good will come from all those negative emotions. It’s been a rough few years and I just needed to get that out of me. I think we achieved that both musically and lyrically. This is the darkest and most aggressive release we have ever done. I hope people enjoy it and get something out of it. Most of all I hope some people can relate to it and it helps them somehow. I’ve actually had some feedback to that effect so far and that has really made it all worthwhile. That sort of thing means everything to me.
M-R: Do you enjoy the process of creating? Are you someone who continually writes or does the best come out under a little gentle pressure?
I enjoy creating for sure. Inspiration comes and goes but either way I think you need to work at it continually. Sometimes you can work really hard and get nowhere, then all of a sudden you can write a whole song in minutes. I think you have to go through the process of trying and getting nowhere so that the ideas form in your subconscious so you can have those break throughs. I think sometimes you do have to set deadlines and put yourself under a bit of pressure. We did that with this album. If you have no deadlines you can continually put things off or just keep working on things forever as you can always find things to change in a song. So sometimes I do think a bit of pressure and a deadline is a good thing. It’s about balance though, you always need balance.
M-R: What does it feel like as an artist waiting for the songs you’ve lived with for some time to get released to the fans? Is there a sense of excitement or a little panic in there too?
I’m funny like that, I am not really nervous for people to hear the new album. I’m a little bit excited but it’s more about whether we are happy with what we have done or not. I’m really happy with this release, I’m proud of it. I hope people like it, I hope our fans like it, but if not, so be it, as long as we are happy with it. So far we’ve pretty much only had positive feedback so that’s been really good.
M-R: How does it compare to previous releases?
This release is definitely the darkest and heaviest release we’ve done. Both musically and lyrically. It’s also the most diverse record we’ve ever done. We tried a lot of new things on this album. There was more industrial elements, there was some slower sludgier songs, there was some synth driven songs so we added a lot of new elements to our mix of Groove Metal, Thrash, Hardcore etc. So it’s like ATF but new and improved! It’s still fast, aggressive and groovy but with some slower moments on there too.
M-R: What were the lyrical themes of the songs?
Most of the songs are basically about how I’ve been feeling the last few years. I’ve been in a really bad place mentally. Depression, anxiety and suicide are all big themes on this album. Sometimes it’s actually hard for me to listen to or play those songs, but that’s kind of the point. It’s also really cathartic though. There is a shred of light and hope there in all the darkness.It’s probably easier if I just briefly explain a bit about each song.
The album opens with “Stay” which is instrumental/ spoken word piece. Theres rain and some key parts and such. The spoken word is actually a suicide note I wrote late last year when I had intended to kill myself. It’s actually a long and kind of funny story but I didn’t end up going through with it obviously. So I used the note as the spoken word opener, Get some positive out of the negative. It sets the tone for the album.“This Is Misery” is the first proper song on the album. We wrote it as an opener. It’s fast, heavy, aggressive and hectic. Probably the heaviest and most aggressive song we’ve ever written. Lyrically it’s basically an introduction to the album. I am miserable and this why. That’s basically what it says. I’m not good in my head and the world isn’t doing great either. I’m fucking miserable and this is why,“This Is Misery”.
“I Still Hate” believe it or not is actually a slightly positive song. I was in a better headspace when I wrote this all those years ago. It’s about surviving the hard times and still being here to spit venom and resist. I’m still here and I still hate what’s going on in the world.
“So Broken” is literally about how every night when I go to bed I hope I don’t wake up. Then when I do in the morning the first thought that goes through my head is “oh fuck I’m still alive”, which I used as the first line of the chorus. So yeah, it’s depressing. It’s about wanting the mental pain to stop.
“Drowning” is pretty similar. It’s about how life can drag you down. It feels like I’m stuck in an ocean and I’m struggling to gasp for air and every time I get some another wave comes along and pushes me back under. It’s a metaphor for life. “The Lonely Season” is another instrumental/sample track that leads into “Misery Season”.
“Misery Season” is the title track and it’s a long story. I have this theory, which I call “Misery Season”, In everyone’s life we go through hard times. For me it’s at least once a year, usually in winter. I call this time “Misery Season” because I’m miserable for a while and then it passes much like a season. The thing is, a few years back I entered “Misery Season” again but then everything fell apart and I since haven’t got out of it. So I’ve been living in “Misery Season” since 2015. Now I’ve always had depression and anxiety, but “Misery Season” is another level of that. It’s hard to explain. I will let you know if I ever make it out of it. Anyways, It’s just a slow depressing song about how I’m feeling. There’ a lot to it but I will leave it there. It’s hard to talk about.
“Absence of Light” is along similar lines. Depressing mental state. It’s actually multi layered and has different levels of meaning. Part of it is about how I miss myself, about how I used to be before life took the light away from me. There’s more to it but I’m keeping that for myself. The last line is “I am alive” repeated over and over though. Despite all the darkness I’m still here and I guess I know I’m still alive because it hurts inside. There’s light and beauty in that thought.
Which leads to the album closer “I Am The Fortress”. This is another long story, I will do my best to keep it brief, but it’s important people know what this is about. It’s actually several stories put together. So I wanted to have a positive end to the album. This is because the rest of the album is flat out depressing. Also, when we released our first album, “11 Past” an interesting thing happened which made me think. My dad has this friend who’s son just happens to be a fan of the band. Now a few years back this guys son tried to kill himself. He survived thankfully. For some reason it made my Dad read the lyrics from the “11 Past” album. The song “11 Past” deals with suicidal themes and my Dad asked me if I thought that my lyrics had any effect on this kid and could have contributed to him wanting to kill himself. It’s always a possibility but I tend to think people connect with music they can relate to. I know I do. So I don’t think my lyrics have contributed to suicide attempts, I think they could relate to the themes and that’s why they are attracted to the band. It’s more complicated than the but either way it did sort of stick with me. Either way I have to be truthful in my lyrics and I can only tell my story. I can’t write things that I don’t feel. I have to be me. Like I said though, it did stick with me. So that’s why I wanted the last song on the album to be a statement of “yeah, everything I’ve said previously is how I feel. Life has been hard, it’s been hell, but I’m still fucking here and that counts for something”. I don’t have the answers. All I know is I’m still here. So that’s what “I Am The Fortress” is about. Surviving and fighting through the hard times, surviving “Misery Season”. It’s defiant. Much like a lot of the Hardcore bands I listen to.
Interesting side note, the title “I Am The Fortress”. I got from a Russian film called “The Brest Fortress”. It’s about how in WW2 these Russian soldiers withstood the oncoming German forces for weeks in this town called Brest, I think it was in Ukraine or somewhere like that. Probably not the Brest in France. Anyways, they were cut off, outnumbered and outgunned and they held the Nazis off for weeks and weeks. Sadly eventually then did surrender and were all executed, cos thats life. But anyways whenever they would call out to other Russian forces they would start and end the radio transmission with the phrase “I Am The Fortress”, in Russian of course, but that phrase always stuck with me and the meaning of the film. You always gotta fight, even when the odds are against you.
You see life isn’t black and white, we all live in the grey. ATF isn’t so black and white either, Sure we have a lot of songs about struggles with depression and such but there’s always that fight and the glimmer of light in there somewhere. We’re not Hatebreed, for example as in all about positivity but we aren’t Crowbar or The Acacia Strain either, in the depths of negativity. We are in between. In fact, so are those bands really but you get the idea. Life can suck, it can be hell but art the end of the day I’m still here, barely, but I’m still here. I Am The Fortress. That’s what i want people to take away from this whole album. Get some fight and positivity out of this overwhelming negativity. You are the Fortress. You can do this. So far a few people have got that and it has helped them and hearing that means everything to me.
M-R: Any favorite moments or songs on Misery Season?
I like all the songs for different reasons. They are all very personal to me since I was there every step of the way from writing and structuring the music to writing the lyrics and laying down the vocals. “This is Misery” is a favourite of mine because it’s so hectic and visceral. “Absence of Light”, “Drowning” and “Misery Season” I’m really proud of because we tried something really different with those songs. Those songs we had more keys, industrial elements, samples and different song structures we’d never really tried before. They have a different feel to anything from our previous releases. So I’m really proud of those songs. I’m proud of every song though so it’s hard to choose a favourite.
M-R: Did you imagine how these songs would play out in a live situation?
Some of them yeah. It’s funny, when we were writing some of the more experimental or slower, less aggressive and more depressing songs on the album such as “Misery Season”, “Drowning” and “Absence Of Light” I was saying that we would never play these songs live because they are less high energy and aggressive than the rest of our songs. It’s funny though because we play “Drowning” live all the time now and it goes down really well so the other 2 aforementioned songs might get a live debut soon. You never know. When we were writing “This Is Misery” I remember saying that this will be a great set opener with the breakdown at the start after that industrial groove bit. Then it explodes into a hectic Thrash/Hardcore verse which is really intense. I thought that would be really good live. Otherwise we just write what we feel and see how they turn out. Luckily most of our songs seem to go down well live. I like songs that have great live energy so that works out well.
METAL UNITED WORLD WIDE
June 15th 2019 – Perth, Australia
The Civic Hotel, Inglewood
Remission, Hailmary, All This Filth, Icarus Lives, 2ndgraderenegade, Broken Hymns
7pm Doors – $15 entry
Interview Date: 2019-05-15
Interviewer: Mr Rock