Published May 05, 2010"It's the worst kind of birthing process you can go through as a dude," laughs proud new father and Bison B.C. guitarist/vocalist James Farwell.
Of course, we're not talking about siring children. Farwell refers to the monstrous endeavour that is the Vancouver, BC-based doom metal quartet's tertiary effort and sophomore Metal Blade opus, Dark Ages. Released in April, Farwell admits that due to a brief gestation period, it wasn't exactly the easiest of creatures to conceive.
"It was written in a fairly short period of time," he explains in a recent Exclaim! interview. "All told, we had about three month to do some solid writing last year. [We] exorcised this monster from ourselves after touring for so long. You take the stress, the joy, mash it all up and it all just comes out of you as this mental mess."
Still, despite the expediency, Dark Ages is actually the band's most complex, comprehensive and compound-fracture-inducing effort to date. Farwell chalks it up to the focus being laid not only on solid riffs and overt beastliness, but a keen attention to detail and compositions.
"I think that the main difference [is how] we really took the arrangement of the tunes into consideration," he notes. "We were intent on not just banging out more Neanderthal riffs. We wanted 'em to sound good, but when you're writing an eight- or ten-minute-long song, it's not just good riffs. It's how it's put together and we concentrated more on that aspect this time."
Even with the lack of time to refine Dark Ages, Farwell is thankful that it exists, realizing in hindsight that not only do the rough edges add dimension, but more importantly, its lyrics offer insight into the agony and desperation he has been withholding. Without such an avenue to express, and eventually realize, his issues, he might not be so sane.
"It's an intense process, especially when you're trying to cram it into a shorter period of time, but it worked out. A lot of the songs came from pretty dark places, in retrospect. That's why I'm surprised at how depressing the album is, to me. It's depressing and uncomfortable when I reflect on it. If I didn't have this outlet, I'd be in a lot of fuckin' trouble."