Johannesburg, South Africa: melodic hardcore band Truth And Its Burden has released it’s third full length studio album today. The album, titled I Labour, also represents a decennial milestone in the band’s existence. Truth And Its Burden invite fans to celebrate the milestone with them tonight in Johannesburg at Rumours Rock City. Tomorrow night, the band will present fans with a show in Durban, and then also Cape Town in a few weeks.
I Labour is immediately available in digital format across multiple platforms. Fans can also buy I Labour in hard copy format via the bands website, or at shows, along with other merch (scroll to the bottom of this article for SA tour dates, starting tonight).
We managed to meet up with a member of the band on a recent trip of our own to Johannesburg and enjoyed an in depth discussion about the band’s incredible story to date. The chat unlocks a lot of what the new album is about and places into context some of the shift from previous releases.
A meteoric rise to prominence
Truth And Its Burden erupted onto the live circuit in 2007. By the end of 2009, the band had also self-released it’s debut album Sending The Hope Home. After extensive local touring, and often as support to international visitors to the region, it did not take long for Truth And Its Burden to expand it’s own footprint beyond national borders. Even before the release of a second album, the band embarked on a European tour in 2010.
Having made some wise choices in touring partners, Truth And Its Burden managed to attract label interest. It’s follow-up full length album, Choices, was released by international Rite Of Passage Records / Mediaskare Records. Choices prompted further national touring, as well as another two European tours and three USA tours.
Challenges met along the road
Whilst Truth And Its Burden showed signs of an unprecedented momentum for any South African hardcore band until then, the journey was not without its fair share of challenges. Particularly in the USA, the band met with many hurdles. Ultimately, however, the setbacks have served to forge a stronger character for it’s core members. Whilst not all members came through unscathed, those who survived the hardships of the touring reality have come together once again to create I Labour. In the context of the band’s story, the title could not have been more direct.
The creation of ‘I Labour’
After returning to South Africa, the band was eventually reduced to only it’s two core and founding members: vocalist Ashley De Beer and guitarist Calvin Clayden.
“We decided that Calvin would download some drumming software and the two of us would get to together and – I don’t know – just fall in love with songwriting again. We’d been on so many tours, with our focus on that for such a long time. We felt we’d actually lost the ability to write songs!” ~ Ashley De Beer
Ashley describes touring life as not only the hardship and sacrifices of being on the road itself leading to band members leaving, but also how, not feeling like participants in musical creation, some members began to feel despondent. Returning from the USA and releasing a single in 2013, thereafter saw the band fall into a relative lull until mid-2015. Until this time, the band hadn’t written anything new.
“When we started up again, and with the results we were getting, we both instantly felt like – well, why hadn’t we done this before? How did we not write music this way? Why were we so organically obsessed?” ~ Ashley De Beer
Throughout the process, Ashley and Calvin maintained contact with former members Niekie, Eric and Matt; most of whom were (and remain) active in another band Red Helen. Incidentally, the band last seen is entirely the same one which is taking to the road now.
“We never had bad blood with any of these guys. It was important to us to have them feature on the album, especially with the new direction we’d been taking. Everybody was happy to be back on board. I suppose it also helped them that they didn’t have to be part of the struggle of the writing process. After all, they already carried that responsibility in Red Helen as well.” ~ Ashley De Beer
‘I Labour’ in the studio at Watts Productions
Clint Watts has been a reputable name in the local recording circles for years. In 2013, he had offered Truth And Its Burden a free session where he recorded the single ‘Brick To Bone’. This once-off exercise was enough to convince Ashley and company.
“We were just blown away. Clint had a knack for working with our style of music which is hard to come by. He was focused and into the music. When we came back to him for ‘I Labour’, he had ideas that we just wouldn’t have thought about and really lived up to that ‘producer’ role.” ~ Ashley De Beer
Armed with the right producer, Truth And Its Burden has been able to express it’s new direction to maximum potential. Ashley describes the work as more melodic, including anthemic elements with big sing-along choruses.
“Things that we’ve never done, you know – our back catalog isn’t about that. Our back catalogue is all about progressive hardcore. We really believe in this album. It’s good material. It’s the best material we’ve done.” ~ Ashley De Beer
Ashley spoke not only about the new musical direction, but also described the essence of what has gone into it – indeed, where it comes from. He referenced the band’s legacy of prior albums. Truth And Its Burden has always aspired to maintain a positive spin on the fact that life can be brutal. However, almost prophetic in its nature, the band has undergone a journey where it’s core values have undergone a trial by fire.
“There’s definitely a lot of anger. Our previous albums were more hopeful. We were trying to share the idea that we could be positive about life no matter what life throws at us. This album comes out saying, like, you know, thats all good; but it’s okay to get pissed off too. It’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to, you know, be at the place where you know you have to get back up and rebuild your soul, so to speak. This album, it’s essentially a rebuilding of our souls.” ~ Ashley De Beer
Read an in-depth review on I Labour written by Alan Muller, presently based in Germany.
Upcoming show dates
14 July 2017: Johannesburg @ Rumours Rock City – I Labour Gauteng launch show
15 July 2017: Durban @ The Winston Pub – I Labour KwaZulu Natal launch show
04 August 2017: Cape Town @ ROAR Live – I Labour Western Cape launch show
16 August 2017: Johannesburg @ Newtown Music Factory – Support for Chelsea Grin South African Tour
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