Detroit progressive metallers Salvation’s End launched their full-length debut “The Divine Wrath of Existence” (review here) last month. Guitarist TJ Richardson and bassist Kane Bochatyn talked with Rocking Charts, and below is what they had to say about the album, favorite records, gear, etc.
Hey guys. How are you doing?
TJ: We’re doing well, thank you for having us!
You have recently launched your debut full-length album entitled “The Divine Wrath of Existence.” How do you feel about the release?
TJ: We’re excited about the release. The response has been great; people are really into the music. It’s been a long journey and we’re very happy to have the record out.
Kane: It’s very exciting to finally be able to release our work. The reception has been stellar so far and we’re looking forward to continuing with work on the follow-up material. The reaction that we’ve been getting has been a big motivator to keep pushing forward.
How much of a challenge was to work on the album?
TJ: When it came to recording the album, it was very straightforward and simple. I would say the challenges came from when I began writing and trying to find the right lineup for the debut. When I started to write and piece together songs for the album, I was in two different bands at the time. One of which was an international touring group and the other played out locally twice a week, every week for about two years straight as well as recording music in the studio. It was difficult to find the time and around 2016, I finally decided to put everything else on the back burner and focus on Salvation’s End.
In the beginning, a few people weren’t really sure of where I was trying to go with this record, so finding members was challenging. Kane and I have a lot of the same influences, so he got it right away. Luckily, we met Jeremy Stimpert who was a big help with writing the drums, and It just really fell into place after Rob Lundgren came in and sang the songs.
Kane: The actual recording wasn’t a big issue; TJ and I got together to record a few songs and it went well. A couple of weeks later we did it again and hammered out the remaining seven or eight songs all in one go. Definitely a very smooth and simple process.
When it came to writing the bass, most of the songs’ structure had been nailed down so it was very fun to throw ideas out and see what would stick. There were already guitar melodies and solos more or less figured out, so I had a lot to work with in terms of melody and locking into the drums. I wouldn’t call it so much of a challenge as it was just an overall very fun and refreshing experience.
What other artists similar to your genre that are coming from Detroit are you friends with?
TJ: We’re apart of a very small group of musicians who play heavy music with clean vocals. Progressive power metal is a rare style here. There are a couple of bands that fall into the progressive realm like Anastaci, which is a killer band with a bit of symphonic elements to them. The guitarist, Jarrod, actually did a guest solo on the track “Climb the Cross.” I’d always wanted to do a Hangar 18-style solo trade-off for that tune. If you guys can correctly guess whose solo belongs to who, you’ll win a banana sticker! Another great prog/thrash band from Detroit is Euphoria. Super heavy and technical. The songwriting is fantastic.
Kane: I don’t think there’s a whole lot around here that’s similar to what we do. The music scene in the metro Detroit area is pretty diverse, but a lot of the metal is what you see everywhere else like death and black metal, thrash, some metalcore or deathcore. There are very few bands that swing away from that mold. TJ had his friend Jarrod from Anastaci play on one of our songs, Imminent Sonic Destruction is also a prog band out here that’s kind of close. Bit of a different style, but the vocals, the rhythms and melodies, they’re definitely doing some cool stuff. We’re friends with a lot of guys and bands in the area – Carnis Immortalis, Euphoria, Manic Outburst, Recorruptor to name a few – and they’re all doing great work, but they’re not all that similar to Salvation’s End. Battlecross is another one. They’re all great bands with great people, but there’s not many groups out here playing power or progressive metal quite like us. Not that I know of, anyway.
What is your opinion about the current metal scene?
TJ: It’s pretty diverse; however, I’ve noticed in recent years that singers whose primary style is power metal are pretty hard to find. Here in Michigan, there are a lot of death metal as well as metalcore and deathcore bands, so I feel we stand out quite a bit being a prog power metal band.
Kane: There are a lot of really great bands out and coming up today, but many of them are coming from the same place. People want heavier, faster, crazier. Everybody’s tapping into that in their own way. Sometimes you need something a little different. I think that’s where stuff like ours comes in.
Can you tell me something about your influences?
TJ: Oh man, I’m influenced by a lot of different guitarists like Jeff Loomis, Chris Broderick, Christian Munezner, Marty Friedman, Michael Romeo and John Petrucci. Those guys are all just amazing players and songwriters. I saw Nevermore, Symphony X, and Dream Theater back in 2005 on the Gigantour and that’s what really inspired me to pick up the guitar. When it comes to writing, I find a lot of my inspiration in multiple styles of music.
Kane: My influences come from just about anything you could think of. I love metal of course, especially bands like Symphony X, Nevermore, the Big Four, Behemoth, Vektor, and so on. But I also like to branch out a bit. I love more classical and baroque composers, J.S. Bach is a big favorite of mine. Paganini, too. Pop and rock artists like Michael Jackson and Bob Seger are also big influences for me; Hall & Oates, Bonnie Tyler, people like that. Anything from Blink-182 in pop-punk to Dimmu Borgir in black metal, from MC Frontalot to Rage Against the Machine.
Another guilty pleasure is music from video games and shows; I’ve always been a massive fan of Nobuo Uematsu, the main composer for many of the Final Fantasy games. Rebecca Sugar’s work for Adventure Time and Steven Universe is also in my rotation, many of those songs are short but absolutely beautiful. She’s a wonderful songwriter.
What are you listening to these days?
TJ: Lately I’ve really been into a group called Nox Arcana, an ambient classical group. I love the dark music they write. Also, I really like the latest Act of Defiance record. I tend to listen to a lot of progressive metal, but I try to expand my listening to different genres. Video game and film scores are another thing I find myself listening to a lot.
Kane: I’ve actually been listening to a lot of Carnis Immortalis and Manic Outburst. Both local bands and I’m loving what they’re doing, both albums have been on repeat for me. I’ve been friends with some of those guys for years and they still blow me away with their tracks. Those guys deserve way more than they’re getting for what they write. I’ve been listening to Light Bringer too, they’re from Japan. I don’t think they’re doing anything right now, but they have some amazing albums out and the singer, Fuki, is just incredible. Truly awesome singer with some immensely talented musicians.
Your 5 favourite records of all the time?
TJ: That’s a tough one, I’d have to say;
- Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor
- Symphony X – Paradise Lost
- Adagio – Underworld
- Dream Theater – Awake
- Death – Symbolic
Kane: That’s a very hard question to answer. If I had to narrow it down…
1) Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes of a Memory
2) Michael Jackson – Bad
3) Symphony X – V: The New Mythology Suite
4) Megadeth – Rust in Peace
5) Blink-182 – Dude Ranch
Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “The Divine Wrath of Existence”?
TJ: Absolutely! At the time I used a Schecter Hellraiser 7 string for all the rhythm guitars, going DI into a Focusrite interface and running BIAS FX for all the guitar tones. I have a Mac laptop and I use Studio One 3 pro for my DAW. For the leads I used an ESP H-1007 and that’s my main guitar right now. I also use Jazz III picks and SIT custom set strings; my setup is extremely simple.
Kane: My setup was insanely simple: I used a Spector Legend 5 bass. That’s it. We recorded it directly through a Scarlett Focusrite. Later I got a Darkglass B7K pedal that I instantly fell in love with and we reamped my tracks with that. A couple small sections I recorded bass leads at home DI with the Focusrite and the Darkglass, but other than that, it was pretty much just my bass.
Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?
TJ: We have our debut show coming up in December, which we’re very excited about. We also have two other releases in the works. Hopefully soon we’ll tour around the world as well.
Kane: Now that the album’s out, we’re pushing hard to play shows and help promote it. In the meantime we’ve already started work for the next couple of releases.
Any words for the potential new fans?
Kane: Thanks for the support, we definitely have a world of new and interesting stuff coming soon. If you like what we have now, you’re gonna love what’s in store.