This week’s featured Meet The Band artist is the British black/death metal group Master’s Call, who recently released their debut EP Morbid Black Trinity. Vocalist Shayan, guitarist Dave Powell, guitarist John Wilcox, bassist Adam Tricklebank and drummer James Williams introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Master’s Call.
Several years ago John and Dave were both in a previous band together, which eventually parted ways. Eager to bring back their writing chemistry and dynamic lost since those days ended, 2014 saw them reunite in Birmingham to begin writing songs under a new project. Adam (bass) joined early on followed by Shayan (vocals) and it wasn’t until mid-2016 when the lineup was finally completed with James (drums). A lot of time has been spent writing and finding our sound. Despite having no music released besides a demo, we have still had a run of shows including a few festivals over 2017 and 2018. But finally the time has come to unleash our debut sonic incarnation into the world!
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Morbid Black Trinity.
John and Dave worked on writing the main framework of the songs with the rest of the band contributing their ideas and traits throughout. We recorded everything at The Parlour Studios in Northampton UK with Neil Haynes.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Relentless and brutal with layers of dark anthemic atmosphere shining through its merciless grit.
What lyrical subjects do you cover?
The songs on Morbid Black Trinity delve into the chaos, darkness and corruption surrounding faith, body and spirit.
What led you to go the independent route for the EP’s release?
For us right now on this first release we wanted to be in control of everything ourselves, and in the online world of today the tools for self-releasing are available. We are also fortunate to have band members with various art and design expertise so we even do our own artwork.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
It’s the first step in putting us on the radar. Morbid Black Trinity, whilst only 3 tracks, establishes a foundation for us to build upon.
How was the video shoot for “From Once Beneath The Cursed”?
It took a lot of organizing and effort to make it happen, as even that was as an absolute DIY production. We filmed part of it in an abandoned school and part of it in a cold, flood-damaged cellar setting up the scene and lighting ourselves. The only person outside the band was Matt Croton, who we hired to film it. The school of course had no power, so we rented a generator to power all our equipment. It kept cutting out while filming due to the pin falling out, for a while we weren’t sure we were actually going to make it to the end of the song! It was tough, but a solid team effort and an interesting experience; the final results definitely look significantly better than you would have expected had you witnessed the production first-hand.
What has been your most memorable Master’s Call live show?
The first show was always going to be memorable as it was the first time our vision came to fully life in a live setting and the first time people heard our songs. Aside from that we had a particularly chaotic and bloody show at the Midlands Metal Crusade 2017 where objects on stage may have ended up not on stage and a lot of people were buying our t-shirts and asking when we were going to release music!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Following on from our EP launch event we do have further shows currently in the works. Keep an eye on our social media channels for coming announcements!
How did you get started in music?
Shayan: I was always surrounded by music in our house in Iran. Both my parents are music enthusiasts who really connect with what they like. I was doing music lessons already when I was 5 or 6 and I was doing the flute and xylophone. I went off playing for a while but my interest continued and when I was about 9 and 10 I was very heavily into a lot of techno music, especially Eastern European shit. Once I hit 13 I started getting into more rock music and then as soon as I came across Metallica for the first time, that was it. I was playing guitars pretty much a month or two after my 14th birthday and I haven’t stopped since.
Dave: The first instrument I picked up was the keyboard at a very early age but somehow I ended up learning the guitar. I had acoustic guitar lessons as a child for a while, but it was when I started getting into rock and metal (probably around the age of 11) that the acoustic guitar got ditched in favor of the electric guitar.
John: I started getting into music as a teenager with various friends rehearsing and jamming together but as my musical influences changed the bands I was in got more serious.
Adam: I first picked up the guitar when I was around 16, but I didn’t feel comfortable learning the instrument. So I considered the bass. As soon as I put one in my hand, there was an instant love for the instrument. I was around 24 when I joined my first band, which conventionally is pretty late. But it was the right time for me and I’ve never looked back.
James: My musical journey began when I was watching Metallica’s set at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert on TV with a friend and he suggested we form a band, I said OK and bought a drum kit the next weekend (much to my mother’s despair). From there I spent several years drumming in different bands until joining Master’s Call in 2016.
What drew you to black metal?
We are all drawn towards the dark side and black metal is a natural point where each of our musical journeys have led. There’s a certain atmosphere that goes beyond music that calls to us and pulls us deeper into the vast darkness.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Shayan: Metallica have always been a massive influence on me, but not as much musically as they are as a band and as artists. Other influences I would have to say that in my late teens I had great admiration and adoration for GG Allin and some of his work and that definitely has left a mark on what I value as an artist today.
Dave: Black Sabbath and Metallica were certainly the first two metal bands I can remember first listening to and learning to play on guitar as well as various Ozzy solo stuff. Cradle Of Filth were probably the band that first got me leaning towards the more extreme stuff.
John: The earliest influence I can remember that got me intrigued by alternative and heavier music was actually Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. I was initially drawn in by the album’s artwork. The first metal bands I really got into listening to were Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth but then it branched toward more extreme stuff when I got my hands on albums by Immortal and Cradle Of Filth.
Adam: My earliest influences would be Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. As a bassist, of course Steve Harris and Geezer Butler, respectively. I also listened to a heavy dose of thrash metal while I was first learning the bass which shaped my playing early on.
James: Dave Lombardo, Frost and Hellhammer from Mayhem have been a big influence on me.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Shayan: Farshid Arabi at the Borj Milad Tower in Tehran around mid-2011. It’s interesting to look back on that one, seeing as we were told off by guards to stop headbanging and they were basically only a terrible Dream Theater type of band.
Dave: I’m pretty sure it was Black Sabbath’s Reunion in Birmingham 1997. Fear Factory supported.
John: I believe it was possibly between Paradise Lost, Cradle Of Filth or Vital Remains when I first started going to see live music at a young age.
Adam: My first metal concert was when I was 16. It was Hed PE and Papa Roach, just as Papa Roach broke with the Infest album. Their music doesn’t appeal to me anymore, but I knew from the gig that metal music and (eventually) extreme music was for me.
James: Donington Monsters of Rock 1995. Metallica headlined and Slayer were on the bill. It was a great day.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Shayan: I’ve been drawn back to old pre-revolution films from Iran. I recently watched Qeysar again for the first time in years. There’s just so much to be learned from those characteristics.
Dave: I saw a recent movie called Time Trap that had an interesting concept. Movies I tend to be most intrigued by seem to involve characters being put in some obscure survival situation.
John: I don’t really watch movies these days, they just don’t hold a candle to the movies of the ’80s and ’90s! If I watch anything it usually ends up being music videos or live performances of bands I’m interested in. I highly recommend the Rebirth Of Dissection DVD.
Adam: The last thing I watched would probably be The Haunting of Hill House. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was visually excellent. I was familiar with the director from his horror film Oculus which I’d suggest checking out.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Shayan: So there’s this insane Slovenian band called Malokpartan and recently I’ve been listening to a fair bit of them. Their latest album from 2017 is one that I’ve been listening to regularly and it is absolute perfection. If you like Iron Maiden, but also like Master’s Hammer, go check them out. I’ve also been listening to some other stuff such as the new Daughters album You Won’t Get What You Want. It’s great if you like anxiety. There are also some great new BM records such as the ones by Ultha and Guðveiki.
Dave: Definitely Necrophobic’s latest for the most part and also Behemoth’s latest with some various Belphegor and Watain in there too.
John: The latest albums by Necrophobic and Funeral Mist right now, but I always make room for some Judas Priest and Dissection.
Adam: Watain’s Trident Wolf Eclipse was on my stereo an awful lot in 2018, definitely my album of the year. Besides that, Necrophobic, Uada, Unanimated, Kontinuum, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.
James: I have been listening to Carnation’s Chapel Of Abhorrence recently and also Dissection’s Storm Of The Light’s Bane again.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Music is an art we take seriously with conviction and passion, which unfortunately we have found is becoming something of a rarity in our surrounding metal scene. We believe in what we are doing, where others treat it as a joke. So if you want to experience pure live intensity coming from genuine and fiery individuals, come to one of our shows!
(interview published January 26, 2019)
Watch Master’s Call – “From Once Beneath The Cursed” Video