Last week, gothic grunge/metal band A Pale Horse Named Death released their sophomore album Lay My Soul To Waste, the follow up to 2011’s And Hell Will Follow Me (review). Dark, melodic, haunting, and unafraid to expose fears, tragedies, and pains, it is a fantastic album that is well worth your time and attention.
And today we bring you an exclusive interview with guitarist/singer/mastermind Sal Abruscato (Type O Negative) that delves into his mind and finds out what it takes to bring you this music. Head on below to check it out and make sure to pick up Lay My Soul To Waste on iTunes!
Bloody-Disgusting: Aside from the want of any band to continue releasing albums and connecting with their fans, was there some other reason, some personal drive, that made you want to record and release ‘Lay My Soul To Waste’?
Sal Abruscato: Yes, I did not want to be a typical one album project and show that this is a real band. I also had created this band during a grueling divorce proceeding so it was important to me to create and succeed with new music. To prove to my self-worth to myself.
BD: The subject matter of these songs is very heavy and intense. Do you find it dangerous at all to put yourself in the mindset to write these lyrics?
SA: Absolutely. I battle suicidal thoughts at any time and what keeps me grounded is releasing the music I hear in my head. Darkness can take over and it’s hard to climb out of it, so it is a form of therapy. A man alone with his thoughts is a dangerous man.
BD: Does this music and these lyrics offer you any form of catharsis or relief?
SA: Yes, it’s my therapy and if I don’t write music once in a while these ideas and thoughts stay bottled up. It can get self destructive for me. Bottling up my emotions forever is a bad thing and the only way I know how to release it is through my music.
BD: The sounds and tones are almost unpolished and raw, which, in my opinion, is a great extension of the atmosphere of the album. What did it take to find the right “tone” for the album?
SA: A lot of hard work on Matt & my part. But if I tell you how we do it I’d have to kill you. We would spend days discussing and tweaking, trying out different mic positions, messing with the phasing of mics and utilizing tube amps at their optimum performance. The last thing I wanted was a slick, polished sound that would seem not organic to the listener.
BD: For as dark, heavy, and melancholic as the album can be, there are also moments of beauty. What do you think it is about A Pale Horse Named Death that allows for this melding of emotions?
SA: I enjoy combining dark eerie music with beautiful melodies. It’s very natural to me and I love it. It’s a yin and yang balance: As we present a very dark somber sound we add sweet melodies that just pull the listener’s ear in.
BD: It seems like hard rock and metal is going on two very different paths: One is utilizing technologically sophisticated devices such as the AXE-FX to create futuristic, otherworldly tones, such as Periphery and TesseracT. The other, it feels, is moving back to more vintage and raw sounds, embracing the original feel of “heavy metal” and “hard rock”, such as Heaven’s Basement or Airbourne. If you see A Pale Horse Named Death on one of those paths, which would it be and why?
SA: I see us as an old tone that is vintage at times and very analog. I am stuck in my roots and enjoy utilizing retro moments very much. I was born in ’70 so I grew up hearing all the hits of the seventies and, even though stylistically we are different, I tend to pull a little influence from all those melodies and tones I would hear as a kid.
BD: What do you hope people take from Lay My Soul To Waste?
SA: That they take us seriously and enjoy the music for what it is. This is what I have to offer these days and it’s where my head is at. This is it for me APHND will be my last musical effort so it means a lot to give it my best and leave behind good music. Just crank it and enjoy.
BD: What does the future hold in store for A Pale Horse Named Death?
SA: Who knows? Hopefully a good progression of growth. We certainly will always do our best to make this crazy machine happen. Hopefully “Lay My Soul To Waste” will succeed and we continue to tour and make records.
Thank you so much for all the support and love you have given us.