Melbourne’s own Hand of Fear have recently wrapped up recording their upcoming album release, “Drowning In The Mainstream”an eclectic selection of tracks that show bursts of tenacity, ooze charisma, and showcase overall small snippets of what the band possess talent wise (and there’s plenty of it). If you haven’t seen our review of the album, you can check it out HERE! Recently OVERDRIVE Music Magazine caught up with Hand of Fear vocalist Mark, and guitarist James, to discuss the then pending release, and everything else associated with the band.

For those of you who might not be entirely familiar with the Melbourne metal outfit, there’s no cause for alarm, because the boys were happy to give insight into the band from their own perspectives:

James –

“Hand of Fear are a six piece blackened death grind band from Melbourne. Our whole goal is to play brutal, no bullshit music. Lyrical content is mostly socio-political dealing with issues such as sexual abuse, consumerism and politicians.”

Mark – 

“Some background to this band; myself and James have been in bands previously, and we wanted to bring our love of heavy music, be it crust, death, thrash or black metal to the table with the right people. Current lineup is solid musicians and friends.”

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Attention shifted to the release of the album, “Drowning In The Mainstream”, starting with how long the band as a collective had worked on piecing the entire album together, a process that differs depending on the band in question (most of the time, anyway). Mark also gave a little insight into what he believes the album stands for:

James –

“We’ve basically been working on this album from day one, back when Hand of Fear was just an idea. Songs such as Circlepit and Lies were some of the first songs we ever wrote for Hand of Fear and they still made them onto the album 2 years later.”

Mark –

“It’s a response to society being blinkered. Individuals seem to get more angry about how hot their takeaway coffee is or isn’t than the serious issues. The six members come from varied musical backgrounds from thrash,hardcore,death metal and everything in between. Music should be brutal, challenging and uncompromising.”

The recording process in itself is something that also differs between bands; some like to get the music recorded, and then allow the lyrics to find ground whereas others will write the lyrics out, and have them go searching for the music to accompany them. We discussed the processes of Hand of Fear, and how they handled not only approaching the album, but working with three guitarists as a whole (something that we don’t see very often):

James –

“There wasn’t much in the way of a process, really. We recorded the album live, so most of the preparation is basically jam the songs regularly until we have them down perfectly.”

Mark –

“Some people ask why three guitarists, as Myles our drummer would say, if Iron Maiden can do it, so the fuck can we. We are all Maiden worshipers, but this six piece brings the heavy sledgehammer attack to every gig and in this debut.”

Continuing our discussion on piecing “Drowning In The Mainstream” together, we touched on what were both the driving inspirations and motivations behind wanting to produce this album. Mark even makes a symbolic link to the album’s title, and what he thinks the album symbolizes metaphorically :

James –

“We’ve been playing most of the songs on the album for over a year now, so live we have them nailed. We thought that it was about time we recorded them, get them released and then we can start working on the next album.”

Mark –

“Theme wise, the album is a middle finger up to those that are drowning in the mainstream, literally. People too often follow what they think society wants, be it corporate press or social media indoctrination. Same can be said in the music community, fuck playing safe and to trends. Musically – it came from worshiping old school bands like Agnostic Front, Judge, Extreme Noise Terror and Napalm Death as well as crust punk and death metal. It dips in and out of bands we love, as it should be.”

If you haven’t heard the album for yourself (which we do urge you to do so upon release), the track length average is around a minute long, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t much in comparison to what most bands are producing these days – again, linking back to the band wanting to break the ‘norm’ and go against the mainstream. Curiosity peaked as to why this decision was made, as opposed to sticking with standard length tracks. It turns out this fact was drawn mainly from their inspirations, and wanting to keep things short and as brutal as possible:

James –

“The main influence was grindcore bands like Napalm Death and Insect Warfare, where a lot of their stuff was no nonsense straight to the point brutality.”

Mark –

“The musical cauldron we draw from includes Infest, Doom, Drop Dead and crossover artists from (old) Corrosion Of Conformity to D.R.I., so as James said keep the impact be it a short or longer song.”

Our time together had come to an end, but it would have been amiss to not ask the pair what plans Hand of Fear had moving forward, albeit only having just finished working on this album. Hand of Fear fans, it might just be the time to get excited, because they’re already talking about a new album, and possibly tour opportunities:

James –

“Now that “Drowning” is done, we can start working on the new songs. We already have loads of new ones ready to go. The next album will be quite different. The songs will be longer, and the influences have grown. We’ll have elements of crust, black metal, thrash and death metal along with the grindcore. But it will still sound like Hand of Fear.”

Mark –

“Oh yes, we constantly talk of stage 1, 2 and the latter with this band. Stage one was very hardcore based, Stage two is the sum of the parts that make up this great album. Stage 3 is a much darker roller-coaster that will be extremely hatred-filled and a definite step up again this time with the elements James just mentioned. For me it’ll be like a group MMA match where Bolt Thrower fights Behemoth to the death, and at the same time Entombed will fight Hellbastard or Amebix. So heavy as fuck! Apart from that we have some sick gigs coming up and hope to venture interstate as well as increase our profile globally;  where interest has been hectic to say the least!”

 

IF YOU HAVEN’T PRE-ORDERED ALREADY, GET YOUR HANDS ON A COPY OF “DROWNING IN THE MAINSTREAM” HERE!