Impetuous Desire Preview
…”Impetuous Desire” is an incredibly strong effort that will absolutely please fans of symphonic and melodic metal groups like Xandria, Sonata Arctica, Delain, and Axel Rudi Pell. Great guitar and vocal performances throughout as well as some very strong drumming make this album less of an egotistical showcase for the guitarist, but a very song-oriented, tightly-composed album with some incredible songwriting values to go with the amazing musicianship all around. As well, the songs are very concise and not at all overproduced, a rarity in this genre of music.
A guitarist of vast talent and ability with Impetuous Desire a remarkably clear statement of intent.
The album contains nine cuts of simply superb heavy/neo-classical/melodic heaven all expertly composed and performed. Guitar-wise think along the lines of Schenker, Vai, Gilbert, Malmsteen.
Release: October 2017
Virtuoso guitarist Sam Russell releases his first heavy metal record, Impetuous Desire (Danneskjöld Records), to be released October 2017. The record features all original material and displays the young shredders first venture into songwriting, taking impressive lead guitar playing and seamlessly blending it with catchy, original songwriting.
“When I grew up, I always relied on other people in bands I was playing in to write songs, and I would just write guitar solos or a bit of arrangement here and there,” says Sam, “but when I realised the only way to achieve my dreams was to take more control, I knew I had to write my own songs. I wanted songs with fun riffs and awesome, challenging guitar solos; that stood on their own as great songs rather than only being about showing off how fast I can play.”
Impetuous Desire was written over a period of 2-3 years. The entire experience was a crash course in song writing for Sam, learning how to write lyrics, structure and arrange songs from scratch.
While writing the record, Sam knew he wanted real musicians rather than sampled instruments. This led to him contacting Jason Bowld (Bullet for My Valentine) to do the drum parts.
“Jason is an amazing drummer,” Sam states, “he’s insane. He recorded the entire album in a day, and then made a few changes the next morning and that was it, he had the whole thing in the bag. I’ve never seen anyone work so fast to such a high standard. No wonder he is the full time drummer for Bullet!”
– New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.com
After getting drum tracks for the demos, Sam headed to MTR Studios in West London to record the guitars. “The producer I worked with was Phil Kinman. He’s a great guy, really knows his stuff and has a great approach to work. Recording with him was a mixture of hanging out having a great time, and getting my balls busted to do a better job, haha! But that’s part of what makes him great.”
After getting the guitars recorded, the other musicians involved started doing there parts. Jacqueline Philips of the Brooke Ensemble and BBC Orchestra was brought in to record the cello parts on Longing. “Jacqueline is a world class cellist. She recorded her parts in about 7 minutes, giving us three perfect play throughs of the track. We weren’t really sure how to decide which recording to use, they were all great”.
After getting the instruments recorded, Dan Leigh of UK rockers New Device was brought in to do vocals. “He was a friend of Phil’s. When we brought him in, I was a little worried that he was just going to do what he was told, but he got really into it, it was awesome! After recording the vocal ideas I had come up with, Dan then did some work on the ideas himself, I rewrote most of the lyrics on the record, and the result was a set of songs that were much, much stronger.” he says. “When we went back into the studio to record the final versions of the songs, Dan did an incredible job. He got really into it and gave everything 100%. It was impressive to watch!”
The next singer to go on the record was an obscure Canadian black metal artist called Ryan Mueller. “I’d known Ryan for a while. What makes his vocals distinct to other black metal singers, is that even though there is a raw growl, you can make out the words. A lot of black metal is incoherent noise, but Ryan does it right. He was a total pro and banged out the tracks exactly how I had heard them in my mind.”
Impetuous Desire brought other opportunities for Sam. “When I was writing the songs, I decided I wanted a mix of material. I’ve listened to a few metal bands records, and by the time you are halfway through, you get bored. The songs sound formulaic and your brain has kinda figured out what they doing… and it gets predictable. That’s why I wanted to have guest singers, a cello and guitar duet and a guitar instrumental.”
Relying solely on the strength of his songwriting, Sam reached to various singers about performing on his record. “I figured what the hell,” Sam recollects, “the songs are good. If you don’t ask you don’t get!” After getting a reply from Doro Pesch’ manager stating Doro liked the song and was interested, things quickly moved forwards. “It was crazy getting a reply back from someone who’s shows you went to, who you saw play at festivals, and you looked up to as a hero; to get to work with them.” A couple of months later Sam was in Rock City Studios in Germany with Doro and her Manager, and the vocals to the song Leigh Woods were recorded.
Firmly believing that a record is more than just music, Sam wanted to create not just a record, but a piece of art. “I wanted to create some special, so I contacted an artist I liked called Helen Hebenton at Uncanny Designs.” Helen was commissioned to create a piece of art for each song, showing the story behind each song. “I loved what she created, I felt it added more depth to the record” Sam remembers.
The last piece of the puzzle was the cover photo. “So many band photos are so boring” Sam states, “so I thought I would try something different and got a bit carried away on that one”. Sam reached out to the photography team Ohrangutang (NSFW). “I’d been a fan of their work for a while, whatever you think of the subject material, you can’t deny they have crafted a distinct look to their art, you can tell it’s theirs without seeing the credits. That’s what I wanted”. Sam was due to be in Chicago, but finding a window with Ohrangutang’s schedule, changed his flights and went to LA to do the shoot. “They’re a great team. Even though I had the worst flight of my life they got a great result”.
And Impetuous Desire was completed.
- The Disciples Hand
- Waves of Tomorrow
- Passing Light
- Leigh Woods feat. Doro Pesch
- The Darkest Night
- Fire, Desire