Earlier this month Heart of a Coward released their third full-lengh album – ‘Deliverance’. It sees the charging riffs and aggression of past releases and combined it with big choruses to create a career best.
Having played with a range of tours and festivals in recent years, ‘Deliverance’ solidifies the Milton Keynes outfit’s place as one of the UK’s best new metal bands.
Already Heard recently spoke to guitarist Carl Ayers about the making of ‘Deliverance’. He discussed working with Justin Hill, their aims when writing the record, and more.
AH: Throughout the development of this album, is there anything that you have done differently either actively or unintentionally from your previous releases?
Carl: We didn’t really change our writing process that much for this album. We still all worked together and built songs out of riff ideas, played around with structures and wrote what we thought sounded good. The only thing we actively worked towards was more pace. We realised that a lot of the songs on ‘Severance’ didn’t translate as well as we hoped live because of the slower tempo, so with ‘Deliverance’ we focused on writing more pit anthems that would translate in the live scenario.
AH: What do you look for when choosing the producer for an album?
Carl: To be honest, we didn’t really have to look far for the producer on this record. We knew before we had finished writing that we wanted to work with Justin Hill. He has produced Jamie’s vocals on our last album and we loved the way he worked. He was almost a 6th member of the band, which is what we really wanted. He helped us progress our creativity in the studio and develop ideas further.
AH: Did Justin Hill bring anything unexpected to ‘Deliverance’ or did he work in the manner you expected, having worked with him previously?
Carl: We decided to hand the mixing and mastering duties over to Justin as well and he did an absolutely killer job! He really put his all into it and made it sound 100 times better than we expected it to sound.
AH: When writing songs for ‘Deliverance’, were you writing material for the live environment or the recorded environment?
Carl: We were definitely writing it for the live environment. Like I mentioned before, we really wanted to focus on a faster album so it was all more exciting in a live show. Songs like ‘Turmoil I’ and ‘Hollow’ are already going down really well at our live shows.
AH: When choosing ‘Hollow’ as the first single for release from the album, was that a decision driven from yourselves as a band or by your record label (Century Media)?
Carl: Choosing ‘Hollow’ as our first single was completely our decision. We knew it was the first single we wanted to release as soon as we wrote it. It just had that anthemic sound that we wanted people to hear as soon as possible.
AH: How do you approach the artwork for a new release?
Carl: We actually went through a few ideas for the artwork on this album. We were trying too hard to come up with something really arty, which had hidden meanings and concepts within. After a few ideas we decided it wasn’t what we wanted and stripped everything back. We ended up going for something simple that people will remember.
AH: Which song are you most looking forward to playing live and why?
Carl: This changes all the time haha. At the moment I am really excited to play ‘Mouth of Madness’ and ‘Skeletal I’. They are the real curveball tracks on the record and I can’t wait to see how they go down in the live environment. However, ‘Hollow’ and ‘Turmoil I’ are already fun to play live. The response always seems to be amazing.
AH: Would you say ‘Deliverance’ is lyrically darker than past releases?
Carl: I would say parts of the lyrical content are darker than previous releases. Although the content towards the end of the album does take a more positive spin, so I don’t necessarily think its darker than ‘Severance’ overall, just more well-rounded.
AH: Would you say the best songs are based on pain?
Carl: No not necessarily. The best songs are the ones that people can relate to the most. Whether that is through the lyrics, the melody, rhythm or structure. It is all down to personal preference. Personally I wouldn’t choose my favourite song based on the lyrical content… but I suppose that’s because I’m a guitarist haha.
AH: What is your goal with this album?
Carl: We are planning on hitting this album cycle hard! We want to be on the road as much as possible and hopefully hit a few new territories along the way.
’Deliverance’ by Heart of a Coward is released on 2nd October on Century Media.
18 At The Waterfront Studio, Norwich
19 Corporation, Sheffield
20 Key Club, Leeds
21 Opium, Edinburgh
22 Beat Generator, Dundee
23 Arizona, Sunderland
24 Marrs Bar, Worchester
26 Sound Circus, Bournemouth
27.Fighting Cocks, Kingston (18+)
28 Underground, Plymouth
29 Cavern, Exeter
30 Sin City, Swansea
Introduction by Sean Reid. Questions by Heather Fitsell.