Latest release: The Avarice of Man (Roadrunner)Website: myspace.com/theredshore

Having now expanded significantly upon their metalcore/deathcore roots, Geelong’s The Red Shore delivered one of 2008’s finest death metal albums with their debut full-length Unconsecrated. Following it up with last year’s excellent compilation album Lost Verses, the quintet has now unleashed their blistering new record The Avarice of Man, their first release for new label Roadrunner Records. Brendan Crabb spoke to bassist Jon Green about the making of their new album, the departure of former vocalist Jamie Hope (who replaced deceased frontman Damien Morris) and his subsequent replacement Chase Butler, touring plans and more.  

Q: New track ‘The Seed of Annihilation’ was posted on your MySpace page recently and is a rather clear and vicious statement of intent. It seems like you’ve upped the ante in terms of both technicality and heaviness – was that the aim with the new record?
 A: Well, look a lot of bands probably say it, but we think it’s our most mature release yet. Pretty much everything on the CD was planned, there’s nothing that we left up to chance or left up to accident. We basically wanted to work on the technical side of things. There’s a lot of bands that like to play fast and things like that but we decided to sacrifice a little bit of that on this. We can play fast, (but) we decided to take our time and really, really structure the songs a lot better. Instead of having like the random riff for the sake of it, we just pretty much planned everything. I think stepping up every aspect of it – the heavy side, the brutality side, the technical side and all that kind of thing – was very important, so yeah, I’d agree.
Q: What death metal bands were you listening to at the time that inspired the creation of this album?
A: Yeah, probably bands that I’ve listened to for the last two or three years; bands like Hate Eternal, Decapitated and Origin, to even really, really old school kind of brutal bands. But (also) putting a more modern spin on it, with really top of the range production to make everything clear for people to hear it, while also keeping kind of an old school kind of feel. A lot more metal anyway, as opposed to the whole ‘core element kind of thing.
Q: Did you catch Origin live earlier this year? They were incredible – tight but very heavy as well.
 A: Yeah dude, I did. I actually thought Misery Index was the band that stood out for me on that show. I remember going to it and I was pretty much there just to see Decapitated, but yeah, Misery Index absolutely fucking blew me away.
Q: Indeed. You mentioned the ‘core elements, which really haven’t been very prevalent at all since the “Salvaging What’s Left” EP (from 2006). Are the band at the point where you’re fed up with the whole deathcore schtick, and are just over being considered as such?

A: Well, we were never really under it I guess, man. The funny thing about it is, The Red Shore was kind of a metalcore band as you said with “Salvaging What’s Left” and that had a lot of the hardcore thing. Unconsecrated to me is a death metal record, there’s nothing ‘core about it; there’s no breakdowns. We basically got the option to re-release Salvaging What’s Left and we had two weeks off at the time, so we basically just said, “fuck it, we’ll re-record it and call it Lost Verses and just make it a little bit more death metal or whatever”. That was never meant to be an album, it was supposed to be a stop-gap filler, so as far as we’re concerned Unconsecrated is our last record and this is kind of an extension of that. The whole ‘core thing man, we love Whitechapel and all those kinds of bands, Despised Icon as well. If you’re good at what you do and you work hard for it, then there’s no denying it. So we’re not going to be, “fuck deathcore bands, we’re death metal” and things like that. We just never really fit into that anyway.

Q: What about some more hardened, even elitist death metal fans who will never take a band like The Red Shore seriously? It’s almost like to some folks that no matter what you might do musically, there’s always a section of detractors who will never “buy” you as a death metal band – which is ridiculous.
A: We don’t really care about that man, because with this record we feel like… This is basically the album that I’ve wanted to write since I started playing music. We’ve all been in bands and playing music for a long time, upwards of ten years and we’ve never been so proud of something (we’ve done). To be honest, we don’t really give a fuck what anyone else thinks of it – if people like it that’s a bonus for us, because we’re absolutely fucking rapt with it.
Q: Good to hear. Now, Unconsecrated was a concept album and from what I’ve read the new one is as well. Can you tell us about the theme on the new record?
A: With this one, we basically wanted to put a theatrical side to a lot of the issues that make us angry and things in society that we don’t like – governments, hierarchies. We wanted to draw (on) a lot of things like anarchy, nihilism and things like that. We basically just wanted to write a story around that, things in daily life, but have a more theatrical spin on it, as opposed to just constantly singing about raping girls as all these fucking bands do these days. As a concept, it’s basically about an entity that’s born out of suffering and the repulsion of modern mankind and basically just takes over the earth and obliterates the human race in order for the world to start again. It’s probably a little bit too much in-depth to go into it, but that’s basically it.
 Q: I understand Chase played a significant role in the shaping of the concept as well.

A: Yes. It was kind of like an idea that we all wanted to explore, all five of us were thinking about it anyway. But then Chase basically took the reins, locked himself away and wrote a lot of lyrics and came up with a lot of ideas. We really, really tried to make sure that he stayed true to what Damo was trying to achieve. Damo used to do a lot of theatrical things; like sing about vampires and that fantasy kind of stuff. I think The Red Shore is going to be a band that is pretty much seen like that for the rest of our albums, we’re going to start doing concept albums every CD now and Chase definitely played a really, really big role in that.

 Q: On the topic of Chase, you can reveal as much as you like here, but what were the circumstances that lead to Jamie leaving the band and Chase becoming the new vocalist?
 A: Basically (pauses), I have to be very careful what I say here. After the accident, there were a lot of things that everyone kind of had their own issues to deal with and things to look after the accident, and because Jamie was driving… It basically started to affect the way he was in the band performance-wise and business wise and was starting to affect the friendships that we have. So it was basically like an all mutual decision that we had to say, “look, you either you need to take some time off or you need to leave, because you’re not physically or mentally fit to be in the band at the moment”.  So that’s where we came from with it. Now with Chase and after doing the new CD, we know that we’ve made the right decision. We couldn’t be happier with the lineup that we’ve got; we feel like we’re stronger than ever. There’s not really much to it, it just wasn’t the right time for Jamie to be doing this, (it was time) to step back. He had a lot of things to deal with, so that’s basically it.
 Q: So he’s just taking an extended break from music overall then?
 A: Yeah, I think so. He just took some time to kind of chill after the accident happened and then we were straight away on the road again about four months later and had been non-stop. So I think it was a good thing for him to be able to just chill and take some time to heal.
Q: With regard to the current band, it’s almost an entirely different lineup to the one who recorded the first EP, yet the transition and musical and lyrical progression you’ve made since just sounds so seamless. Has it been difficult to maintain and keep following the vision the band had in the early days?

A: I think the main thing that happened in The Red Shore was Jake (Green, ex-drummer) joined the band after Richie (Johnson) left and he dramatically changed the style from the deathcore, hardcore, more laid-back breakdown kind of style to something a lot more relentless and just a lot more death metal. That was the direction that happened as soon as Jake joined the band and the relationship that him and Roman (Koester, guitars) had basically. Those two locked in really, really well and knew what they wanted to do and Roman has basically just retained that. So once we got the new drummer and Jake left and things like that, me and Roman basically, we knew what we wanted to hear and we wanted to try and make an expansion of Unconsecrated; something that was a lot more mature, but still had that kind of theme. Me and Roman worked really, really hard on the guitars to make sure that we didn’t stray too far, but there are definitely some new things to listen to (on the new album). We basically just wrote what we wanted to hear and it just turned out that it… I think it’s always going to have that Red Shore sound, as long as Roman and I are in the band. It’s never really been something that we’ve thought about, to be honest, it’s just kind of happened.

Q: Interesting. Shifting topics, the band will be supporting Despised Icon on their Australian tour in November and also have a US tour happening shortly, but what other touring plans do you have for this album?

A: Well, we get back from the US and we’ve got Despised Icon for I think six shows in the major cities. Then straight off the back of that, we’re going to be going on the road from Brisbane, doing regional shows, because we’ll cover every major city with the Despised Icon tour. It’ll be a run of ten or 11 shows just for the album launch. I don’t think I can announce anything yet (though) and we’re working on a European tour for January and February.

 Q: Has the band made much headway in the overseas markets thus far?

A: Yeah, I mean with the MySpace page, you check the MySpace and there’s all these posts on there and basically a huge percentage of our listeners come from California, people that have been listening to us on MySpace. Which is kind of strange, we never really thought it’d be like that, but we’ve had a lot of interest, people messaging us saying they’re going to see us when we’re over there. So as far as the following goes, I think there’s a little bit of hype at the moment, but we’ll find out when we get there I guess. Things are going well with our overseas labels as well; so far everything has been really, really good, people have really looked out for us and seem to be warming to us and hopefully that will be the start of something really, really good.

 Q: A lot of the tours the band undertakes seem to be directed at the deathcore/metalcore scene. Does The Red Shore aim to play with some more “traditional” death metal bands in the near future in order to potentially reach a whole new section of death metal fans?
A: Definitely. We had a chat a little bit about trying to organise a Red Shore and Psycroptic tour; we’ve been friends with those dudes for a long time and we really, really respect them as musicians and people. We’ve been trying to organise a tour together with those guys for a while; they play to (more of) the overage thing, it’s a less of a scene kind of thing…you don’t get a lot of kids going out to more “metal” shows. So we’re going to try and work it out and do a Red Shore/Psycroptic tour, (whereby) have Psycroptic headline the overage shows and we headline the underage shows and things like that, so we can both play to big and different crowds. That’s as far as it’s gone; we’ve had a couple of (other) offers. We had to pull out of the Nile tour, turn that down because people were sick and a couple of dudes were still pretty injured from the accident. Then we got offered Summer Slaughter and things like that, so we really, really want to start branching out and playing to a lot less of the “scene” (fans), because we think there’s a lot of death metal fans who will really appreciate the new album too.
Q: Indeed. To wrap up the interview, any famous last words at all?
A: Death metal or go fuck yourself (laughs).