Johannesburg, South Africa: since ‘Father Grigory’ first appeared to us 11 months ago, we’ve waited patiently for the new album by Chaos Doctrine. And now it’s nigh upon us, with And in the Beginning…. They Lied coming in hot on Friday 25 June. The band generously provides us with another sneak preview of the glory to come!
And it’s not only us. You can catch a new track by Chaos Doctrine every day this week until Friday from a different publication. For metal4africa, we got the draw on ‘The Rite’ and decided to interview Dr D about it. Dr D, of course, being the frontman who gives Chaos Doctrine it’s unmistakable presence.
‘The Rite’: a taste of new aural pleasures
M4A: Having listened to the song, it’s got a kinda sludgy southern feel. Could you talk to us a little about the inspiration behind that piece of music?
Dr D: The Rite really is not something you would expect from us based on our first album, but we’re all about pushing our own boundaries, and the boundaries of the genre. I think we showed that in our first album, and there is definitely a lot more of that on And in the Beginning…. They Lied. That’s the type of mindset that led to us writing ‘The Rite’ – and will continue with us, like you saw in our Depeche Mode cover!
On the inspiration, a whole number of us are into anything from proper delta blues to southern rock. I always figured the Devil listens to blues on his off days, hahahaha. I have wanted to create a proper bluesy track for the longest time, and one day at practice the main riff of The Rite came up. From there, it took just a bit of deliberate Chaos Doctrine engineering to create this song – an ugly love baby of Clutch, Fear Factory and Behemoth!
Something about ‘The Rite’ smells like a dubious transaction
M4A: With the song title, as well as the image being of a crossroads, I’m imagining the occult lore is super strong in this one! Would you care to elaborate a little, please?
Dr D: Oh, hell yes! We figured if we are doing bluesy metal the Chaos Doctrine way, it absolutely has to be about selling your soul to the Devil at the Crossroads. We took a lot of inspiration from the Robert Johnson myth, mixed in with a hint of voodoo a la Papa Legba. But, in our version, the transaction at the crossroads does not end in fame and fortune. Rather, we take the protagonist from signing on the dotted line straight into madness and murder.
This song is so much fun to play live, the groove is infectious and our audiences have really responded well! So maybe down the road we will do something like this again!
More about the “Industrialization” of Metal…
M4A: Whist the term “Industrial” is being very loosely flung around these days, I feel almost as if being categorized that way wouldn’t do the band justice. I feel that Chaos Doctrine is bringing something really fresh into the South African metalscape that defies such a simplistic categorization. Can you talk a bit about this? For example, did the band set out on a specific mission to deliver this kind of a sound, or is the current Chaos Doctrine sound something that just emerged organically from a bunch of mates coming together to create something?
Dr D: The concept of Chaos Doctrine was by deliberate design from the very beginning. I remember sitting in nightclubs literally years and years ago and every time a Rob Zombie or Rammstein song came on, people (and girls in particular, hahahaha) would go mad and rush to the dancefloor. So, I was like, “I want to do that”. From the beginning of this band, before we were even called Chaos Doctrine, I wanted an electronic infusion, a load of samples and keys and industrial percussion. But, at the foundation of it I wanted very heavy metal – which obviously steered us far away from Rob Zombie and Rammstein, and more toward your Fear Factory, White Zombie and Ministry type of industrial.
The secret is though, we are an “industrialised” METAL band. So the majority of our tracks are written as full metal songs, riff based, driven by drums and bass. These are then given the Chaos Doctrine treatment – some get a heavy treatment, like ‘Incubator’ and ‘The Rite’, while others like ‘Blood Serpent God’ are just “polished off”. More than that though, Chaos Doctrine is a brand: a look; a colour palette; a concept. This is especially evident if you have seen the full Chaos Doctrine live spectacle – something we haven’t done in a while as we did various versions of “Chaos Doctrine Lite” at from late 2020 until now! So while our boundaries are wide and continuously pushed – they are very much there and very much observed.
From there to here, and beyond:
M4A: Would you like to talk a little bit about the band’s musical development over the previous recorded works up until the present? Anything you’d like to describe about the new work that will be different or more developed?
Dr D: We definitely feel there has been an evolution for us on especially two levels. Firstly, from a songwriting perspective, we wanted to take the songs to the next level of maturity, like you would expect from a second album. But, we wanted to do this while still firmly maintaining the wider Chaos Doctrine identity. Secondly, we were determined to put out a better album from a production perspective. We wanted a more polished sound than we had on our debut, but without compromising the intensity and rawness that our fans have come to expect from us. So, you can expect more complexity from this album in the tracks themselves and how the album hangs together – but they are still very clearly Chaos Doctrine songs!
Meanwhile… back in Russia
M4A: What’s with the whole Russian connection? I’m genuinely fascinated, and I’m confident I’m not the only one, hehe
Dr D: It is an awesome story really, and it all started with ‘Father Grigori’. I really wanted a Russian version of the track, as I thought Russian vocals would sound so brutal, and so authentic in telling the Rasputin story. I put out feelers for a Russian vocalist and France the Planet recommended Anna Hel. When I contacted her, she suggested that Demether Grail would be a much better fit, as he is not only into the whole mystique that goes with a track like ‘Father Grigori’, but also much more practiced in the use of Russian translations. Whereas we are super happy with Demether’s work on the track, I told Anna back then already that I still want to work with her. She is a beautiful person and such a bad ass metal vocalist, I just had to have her work on one of our tracks!
So, toward the end of last year we threw around some ideas, and I shared ‘Blood Serpent God’ with her. She loved it as she is a huge death metal fan herself, but she does not get to play old school metal that often. We decided to do a duet rather than having only her vocals, and I think it came out really well. She brings an edge to the track which is just mind blowing.
Closing with Covid…
M4A: Is there anything you’d like to share with us at this time about post-album launch? I know it’s hard to have any awesome plans in Covid times, but maybe you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve you’d like to have the public keep an eye out for?
Dr D: When it comes to live shows, we are pretty much in the same boat as everyone else and plans are rocky at the moment – we had to cancel our album launch that was going to happen on 26 June. But, in terms of releases, we always have a lot of fun things queued up. Expect to see some more collaborations, some alternative mixes, some more interesting covers – and some more serious metal! Watch this space!