Cruentis is a new Melodic Death Metal band hailing from Quesnel, B.C. Last autumn I heard this band for the first time, in my opinion a very interesting and promising metal band. If you did not heard of them before, two songs are available for streaming below ‘Cold Stone’ (7.48) and ‘The Blood That Divides’ (9.14), both songs are taken from the upcoming debut album “Cold Stone”. An interview with Tyler, Matt and Jesse follows below:
TMR: Hey guys, this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in British Colombia?
BC is great… cold as ever with a late snowfall.
TMR: Could you Introduce yourself and the line-up please.
Sure. My name is Tyler Demerchant. My main focus is on guitars, vocals and general composition. I am also currently doing the drum tracking, keyboards and production of our recorded material. Then we have Jesse Dean on the bass/vocals and Matt Sargent on guitars as well.
TMR: Please tell us the brief history of ‘Cruentis’.
Tyler: Cruentis started about a year ago as the realization of a brain child of Jesse and me. We had been jamming and working on a project together for a couple years prior but never had the resources or band mates to really do anything with. In early 2014, we finally had an opportunity to see it come to fruition with the addition of Matt and a drummer who has since moved on to other things for personal reasons. We wrote about 3 songs as a group, including the title track from our upcoming album, Cold Stone. Jesse and I brought 2 songs over from our previous work as well. More material was written after we lost our drummer as well. Currently we are on the lookout for a drummer, but our community is small and this poses a challenge.
Jesse: I think part of the reason finding a drummer has been so difficult is that the drumming is such an integral part of our song writing. Any deviation from the style of drumming we have now would change the sound of the band as a whole, something we’re not that willing to do. Part of the reason we wanted to start this band was that there is a distinct lack of Christian Melodeath bands of the type that we like. There are many good bands, but to find this kind of sound with uncompromising lyrics is hard. We wanted to bring something solid to the Christian metal scene with authentic Christian values. That being said, our sound has changed a lot since we started jamming. Originally we planned to just play pretty much melodic death metal. That has since evolved with each of our musical styles becoming more prominent in the song writing process. The biggest change in sound would probably be when Matt joined. His style is not exactly textbook melodeath. *laughs* He adds a definite part of the uniqueness of our sound.
Matt: I think Cruentis has come a long way even since I joined the band. I remember initially thinking the songs we were playing simply sounded too similar and sometimes not musical enough. The sound of Cruentis really changed during the latter half of 2014. Suddenly there were expansive intros, haunting choirs and soaring leads adding different musical textures to the pummeling backbone of bass, guitar and drums. I really feel the songs have each evolved into something quite unique and distinct, almost “come to life” if you will, and I’m very proud to say I can be a part of that.
TMR: And why the name ‘Cruentis’? Is there a story behind it?
Tyler: *laughs* Well, our previous band was called “Destroy the Abomination”, which we all felt wasn’t appropriate for a melodeath band. It was simply too brutal. In essence, we wanted to capture the meaning behind what we do with one word. Being that we are stained in The Blood of Christ, Cruentis was a good find as it both embodies the meaning of what we are as well as sounds unique and different. Cruentis being the latin plural word for “blood stained”.
TMR: Everyone, what is your musical background?
Tyler: I have been playing guitar and singing for years both with solo metal work and also on the worship team. I picked up drums 2 years ago as well, and have been “fiddling” with keyboards and other instruments forever, as most musicians do.
Jesse: I started as many people did, very reluctantly taking recorder lessons. So my background is very classical because of that. I moved on to clarinet and later piano lessons. I had a few lessons of guitar too somewhere in the mix. I picked up the bass due to the church’s bassist being away on one Sunday, and loved it. I taught myself to play and have stuck with it since, also teaching myself mandolin, ukulele, saxophone, drums, pennywhistle and probably a few others along the way.
Matt: I started seriously playing the guitar at about age 12 or 13, starting with classical music, as my father is a classical guitaris,t but later moving on to more modern forms of music. Since then I have been fortunate enough to play in a number of groups with other musicians. Out of necessity I taught myself drums, bass, keyboards and vocals in addition to playing guitar, as often at a jam session there are multiple guitar players, but perhaps not a bassist or drummer.
TMR: Who writes the music and lyrics? How do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands or situations have inspired you to write music and lyrics?
Tyler: The music is lyrically devised between Jesse and myself. Typically, we compose a tune and then fiddle with how it might sound vocally. When it comes time to write the music, it usually comes from a personal feeling or idea and just seems to pour onto the page. I write a lot of poetry so writing lyrics comes naturally.
For me, I am most inspired by Soul Embraced and Living Sacrifice from a lyrical standpoint.
TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Cruentis’?
Matt: I think hearing “The Blood that Divides” as a finished track. It really went from an ordinary sample of music needing a lot of work to a 9 minute long, very progressive sounding epic. As I watched the transition from a humble single guitar and drum track to what has become “The Blood that Divides” I realized what Cruentis is capable of, and I think I speak for all of us when I say I’m very pleased with the final result.
Jesse: For me it was hearing our first single, Cold Stone, on itunes. Before that it seemed like we were just jamming. Then it hit home that we could really do this band thing.
Tyler: Probably the funniest was our old drummer. You see, there is this part at the end of one of our songs that just ends in the most bizarre place, but sounds really cool; and no matter what, it seemed like in practice there was almost always that 1 extra crash after all the instruments had quit.
TMR: And the worst thing were (if there is one)?
Jesse: Probably when we thought we had found a drummer. He was literally the best unsigned drummer I have ever heard, and better than a lot of successful bands’ drummers. He played our music perfectly and seemed to feel instinctively where we wanted to go with the songs. But due to some conflicting views on faith and the purpose of our music, it didn’t end up working out. Major downer.
Matt: On the topic of drummers, when I first joined, one of my best friends (who is a drummer) joined as well. For various reasons and conflicts of interest, he ended up not remaining in the band, which I found quite sad. I second Jesse on the other drummer though, he was absolutely incredible and it was heartbreaking to know that his relationship with the band was all of a sudden over.
Tyler: My favorite lyrics from my favorite song say it best: “Compromise will bring corruption”. Sadly, a number of months were lost in the studio, first to the losing of musicians, followed by the re-recording of material. Making up for lost time, we had hoped to have the album out in 2014, but we simply could not compromise the integrity of the music by having varied world views. The music has and always will be about delivering the message of Christ.
TMR: Speaking of recording, your debut album “Cold Stone”. What can you tell us about the album (such as the recording process so far, the songs, release date, record label etc).
Tyler: The album WILL be done this year. We have 7 songs, with over 40 minutes. We will be releasing indie for our first album (not 100% committed to that concept. If a good opportunity arises we would consider it ). We decided early on that we wanted to get an album out prior to doing much in the live scene, especially with the smaller community we are from.
Tyler: The cover artwork is a physical representation of the spiritual state we are in when we come to Christ. It is kind of a metaphor, depicting a homeless girl ( a good friend of ours, not actually homeless *laughs*) begging for change. Of course she is holding out her heart, begging for Christ to change it. Really, it is meant to show how spiritually “ poor “ we are and that the Holy Spirit longs to dwell in us, ever changing us for his glory.
TMR: What was the last album you bought?
Tyler: Pantokrator – Incarnate
Jesse: Kalmah – Seventh Swamphony
Matt: Dream Theater – Awake
TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days?
Jesse: These days I listen to a lot of Kalmah (best band ever, just by the way), Atreyu, Lamb of God and Opeth.
Tyler: I find myself listening to about 95% Christian Metal, though I have been known to listen to other great music, such as Kalmah, Apocalyptica, and other 10 hour mega music mixes while I am at work. *laughs*
I was hoping to see Insomnium in Edmonton with a friend of mine but the timing was terrible.
Matt: I try to attend the local gig every now and then, and lately I have found myself listening to many very different artists, from Symphony X to Susan Boyle.
TMR: How do you promote your band and shows?
Tyler: Self promo mostly. To be honest, it becomes very difficult. When the debut album is out, we will seek other avenues, but we figured we wanted to get at least 2 songs available for people to listen to in the meantime to see if they like our sound.
TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for a band?
Tyler: Time management for us, I imagine it is the same for others. The second biggest obstacle I would say is location. In our rather smaller community, it can be challenging to find like minded individuals to play in this genre, as you can imagine.
Jesse: I find it really hard to find a compromise between writing what you think people will like and what you really want to write.
TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
For indie bands and smaller bands starting out, the best advice I can give is to set some solid goals and don’t stop until you have something YOU are satisfied with. Secondly, if you are writing or performing with a purpose, keep that focus and don’t lose it. For us, as a Christian band, the focus of our music is and always will be a message based on that focus.
TMR: So, what makes you laugh?
Jesse: Tyler trying to Starcraft.
Tyler: Satire and dry humour, but also pretty much everything.
TMR: What is your favorite drink and food ?
Tyler: I like cranberry juice and Pizza or specialty sushi rolls.
Jesse: Lasagne and guava juice.
TMR: And what is your biggest fear?
Tyler: I have this reoccurring dream where I am on stage and ready to play a gig, but I will pull my guitar out of the case and it will be the wrong guitar, with no strings, and a broken neck, and the show started 20 minutes ago.
Jesse: I have similar dreams except they involve everyone forgetting the songs or realizing halfway through a song that we never wrote the second half. And maggots. Maggots suck.
Matt: I’ve never been a fan of insects or gross looking animals.
Jesse: And yet you’re in a band with Tyler?
Tyler: Guys come on, I am getting my antennae removed this spring…
TMR: Are there some key principles or philosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person? (Everyone)
Jesse: I think I speak for all of us when I say Christ is the centre. I have no purpose outside of Him. Everything stems from that.
TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?
Jesse: “You’re from Africa. Why aren’t you black?”
Matt: “Do you really need an amp to play?”
Tyler: Not a dumb question but for Christmas a co-worker got me a gift “ Hey, I heard you like really heavy music” hands me a McJagger CD. *facepalm* even though it was pretty funny.
TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band?
Tyler: Gaming, family time, etc.
Jesse: Gaming (with Tyler), martial arts, reading, learning random instruments.
Matt: Gaming (we’re a bunch of nerds), learning to cover other songs on guitar, walking
TMR: What are your plans for the near future? European tour maybe?
Tyler: We would absolutely love to see something like that come to reality and would be open to it if the opportunity came about. At this point, that is in God’s hands. For now, we will keep writing music and keep looking for a drummer.
TMR: Guys, thank you for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Cruentis’ all the best for 2015. Is there anything you wanna add?
Thanks for the interview and recognition. Our biggest goal right now is just to build a solid fan base and share our music. We love what we do and would love to share it with the rest of the metal community. Keep an eye out for our album, “Cold Stone” and have a good one!
Lyric Video ‘Cold Stone’