Colorado sludge- and grind-infused hardcore band Call of the Void have been revitalized, and they are set to release their new EP, titled AYFKM (short for Are You Fucking Kidding Me), on December 16. Although they’ve gone through a major line-up change following their previous album, Ageless, the new release maintains Call of the Void’s distinctively harsh sound while upping the overall intensity. AYFKM features five diverse and relentlessly ferocious tracks, combing powerful riffs with crushing grooves and a visceral punk rock vibe. In this recent interview with Svbterranean, guitarist/vocalist Patrick Alberts took some time to talk about the origins of the band, reconfiguring the line-up and how it impacted them. He also discusses the new EP and the sentiment behind the title, as well as the very impressive Denver metal scene and more.
Call of the Void actually started out as Ironhorse. Can you describe how the band came to be?
Ironhorse started back in ’08 or ’09 and was pretty much just Gordon Koch, our drummer, and I. Until 2010 it was a pretty inactive project. We split up over a previous member of the band and had a recording in our pocket, wasting away. Once we had Steve [Vanica, vocals] and Alex [Pace, bass] on board and Ironhorse going again, we wanted to record and finish the first recording. A week before we went to record our debut, that said previous member asked to have his tracks removed. That was the genesis of the band being what it has become. Without him removing his tracks, we would have had two separate recordings and our first album wouldn’t exist. That being said, that full album is what got us signed on to Relapse Records and the rest is history. We wanted to make sure the previous Ironhorse band of the ’80s would let us use the name. They wanted $5000 for it. We said, “Fuck you, we’ll just change our name.”
You went through a pretty significant line-up change prior to the new EP, AYFKM. What happened there? Was reconfiguring the band a difficult process?
We had some long talks with Steve and it was ever apparent that being in a touring band at this point in his life was not in the cards anymore. This was the same case with our guitarist Gabe [Morales], he no longer wanted to be in a professional band. Touring is not for everyone. We finished the recording with Gabe, but it made more sense to move on without Steve, since by the time AYFKM came out he would be long gone as the face of our band. I was the original singer of the band and wrote most of the lyrics on the first album, so it was a natural progression for me.
What kind of impact has the line-up change had on Call of the Void musically?
Control. We no longer have our fate in the hands of an uninspired musician in our band. Now the writers of the music can control the vocal delivery. The music is now more intense as well as the live show.
How are you feeling about the outcome of the new EP, AYFKM?
Super stoked. It’s everything we want to do with our music, wrapped in a small package. This is the start of a new era for COTV and we’re happy with the way it begins.
What was the writing and recording process like for this release?
We wanted to write something in a very short time frame and not over-think the writing. We also wanted to tap into influences we have not taken from before, but still make it sound like COTV. I even decided to write some songs’ drums first and then take it from there. “Are You Fucking Kidding Me” and “Never Enough” were written that way, drums first. Recording was business as usual, but this is the first time we have ever recorded to a click track.
How do you feel this release compares to the band’s previous material, particularly last year’s Ageless?
When we did Ageless we wanted to mature our sound. I’m happy with the result of that album, but I feel AYFKM is more in line with that. Songs don’t have to be longer to mean “more mature.” Better vocals and more hooks in the vocal department are really adding to that as well.
AYFKM is short for Are You Fucking Kidding Me. What is that sentiment referring to?
There is not a day that I don’t say “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!” out loud. Whether it is in reference to something someone has said, a news story, politics, current event, etc. We all say it, we can all relate. In the hostile climate that we all live in currently, it’s all you can say.
Along with punk and hardcore elements, Call of the Void’s sound combines grind and sludge, which are completely opposite styles, yet work really well together. Is it ever a challenge to balance both styles?
We really like sludge, but we are not the biggest fans of grindcore music. Confusing, right? We are really big fans of blast beats though. There is nothing better than a sludge riff with blast beats over the top of it. Grindcore should be rooted in punk and most sludge riffs are just slowed down punk riffs, it’s all the same. The key is playing them all with a little rock and roll attitude and that is the challenge.
What are your influences?
For the entire band the influences are vast; way too many to list. For me personally, it’s the same, way too many to narrow it down to a few. So let’s just say GREAT riffers and drummers. But inspiration comes from many different mediums for us.
The Denver scene is quite impressive, with so many other incredible bands (Primitive Man, Vermin Womb, Of Feather and Bone, Blood Incantation etc.). How would you describe the scene there? How has it had an impact on the band?
Denver is growing really really fast right now. There are so many places to play and opportunities to gain new fans, as well as a lot of new people coming to town, bringing their own style into the mix. All of these things are making the scene a lot more diverse. The list you gave is only about a third of the good bands here. It’s a tight-knit scene; everybody supports each other and Denver loves heavy music.
What’s coming up next for Call of the Void?
More touring and recording hopefully before the end of 2017.
AYFKM is out December 16 via Translation Loss Records. Preorder it here and listen to a couple of the tracks below.