Enceladus, a Texas based band, is a contemporary metal act which combines virtuosity with diversity to create anexhilarating form of reality bending music. Back in March the quartet released their sophomore album “Arrival,” and drummer Doug Bell talked for Rocking Charts about it, the band’s beginnings, and more.
Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites as a young man? Please tell us something more about your early life.
Depending on the situation, I (Doug) was working hard to make music as a career since I was 15, around 2009. But I didn’t really get started until 2014 when I was in a band called “Project Terror”. A year later I met these guys “Enceladus”, and they were looking for a drummer. Obviously I play the drums, and we had a lot in common when it comes to musical taste. I learned their songs, auditioned in my garage and got hired on the spot. That’s where my adventures in Enceladus started. As far as favorite groups go when I was much younger . . . It’s a pretty interesting evolution haha. What got me to appreciate heavy metal and made me a drummer first started when I was listening to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Annihilator, Death. A lot of thrash and early death metal was where I made my start as a young teenager. A lot of that fast, heavy style playing was definitely my jam at the time. As far as my early life goes, it’s as average and boring as it could be haha. School, video games, and movies . . . That’s basically all of my childhood.
How did you go about forming Enceladus? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?
Initially Geo and Orry were in a band called ‘Hierophant’. Geo was playing in a melodic death metal band ‘A Devoured Deception’ and Orry was already a member in Hierophant. They needed a guitarist and invited Geo to join. After some time it felt right to start a project with the combined writing efforts of Orry and Geo as a foundation. After watching many interesting space documentaries, the band now had a name, Enceladus, and formed in 2012.
In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?
In the beginning we just wanted to put the pedal to the metal and shred. We wanted an American approach to European power metal. There was somewhat of a fixed tempo, as most of the songs were already written before Enceladus formed. During the recording, most of the guitars were improvised and written at the time of recording. I (Geo) don’t know what the ‘official’ guitar tracks will be until the day I record. I just go with what feels right at that moment.
How would you describe Enceladus’ music on your own?
You know, Im still trying to figure it out, haha. With ‘Arrival’, a different form of power metal. Prog power metal? (What genre is the song ‘On Our Own’?) Still young yet maturing to something with a lot of potential. We combine a lot of elements in our music: metal (obviously), speed, melody, heavy – with a mix of some groove, jazz, prog, classical and a bit symphonic. Our music is a mixed bag and it will only continue to evolve even more in the future.
Your new full-length album, Arrival, is a follow-up to 2014’s debut Journey to Enlightenment. Have you felt any pressure while working on Arrival because of that?
No pressure. We didnt even have a drummer when we released the album, We just wanted to get the music out there since it was already written. We realize that our style is evolving and we don’t want to make the same album twice, so we don’t really worry about what the last album is about.
What has changed for Enceladus when it comes to writing new music — Arrival in particular?
The first album was a guitar shredfest the whole time. This time around we let the songs breathe just a bit more. Geo learned a few more chords to incorporate into the sound. Doug also added to the writing experience by composing the outro track ‘Under Burning Skies’ for instance.
Do you guys consider yourselves a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?
The main movement we’re interested in is moving your body. Calisthenics, dance, hiking, etc. Aside from that, the third industrial revolution notion seems quite interesting.
Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Enceladus?
I’m (Doug) doing a few stuff. One other band I am a current member at the moment is Heaven Sent. One other project involves me and some close local friends to compose music together and post songs online. Possibly thinking of making a solo album, stretching my ability to compose rather than just be a drummer. And also pursue in the field of composing video game soundtracks for indie developers on Steam or whatever.
Orry has a media composition company called ‘Aphelion Sounds’ and offers music for various media outlets. Get in contact if you need some video game or tv music made!
Geo is a hired gun still learning to play guitar.
So, what comes next for the band?
Besides being show ready, we already have the 3rd album planned for the future. We have more awesome music and ideas to demonstrate, so stay tuned for that!
Follow Enceladus on Facebook.