For those who don't know, Narsilion are a Richmond Virginia melodic death band, and are quite the excellent group of musicians. I had the privelege to conduct an interview with guitarrist Tommy Lythgoe through email, and then when i was finally able to make it out to their show at the club 929 in Richmond Virginia, i got to meet the musicians first hand, they are an excellent group of people, and are great musicians as well.
Spirit Crusher:How has "The Hate Lay Hidden" been received, and
what are your thoughts
on the disc?
Tommy Lythgoe:We are overwhelmed! I mean everybody who likes
anything heavy at all is buying the hell out of this
record... Metal kids, Hardcore kids, even some of the
punk crowd. I think the album was a great first outing
for us. It's definately established who we are
musically. Now, we just have to turn up the heat a
SC:How would you describe your band's sound to
someone that has never
heard of you.
TL:I'd tell them that we are like a mix of Iron Maiden,
At the Gates and Dismember. If they don't grasp that,
then I say we are a metal band, and that's all they
need to know.
SC:So what was the recording session for "The Hate Lay
TL:Grueling. 20 hours a day for 3 weeks. And since I
co-produced the album along with Ken Olden(Damnation
A.D./Battery), I had to be there for the whole thing.
Very brutal. But I'd do it again. I loved it.
SC:I'm a fan of your previous work with Disinterment,
and one thing i can
kinda see in both bands, but especially Narsilion
is a Dark Tranquillity
influence, but i honestly have to say your music is
highly original. I
myself write some songs, and every now and again i
look back at a riff
and see a little of this band, or a little of that
band in it. Do you do
that as well?
TL:Absolutely. Everyone does, I think. It's perfectly
okay to notice your own influences in your music, as
long as you don't sound exactly like someone else.
SC:What are your thoughts on Narsilion vs
Disinterment, do you like one
band over the other, or do you see Narsilion as
more of a progression of
TL:I enjoyed Disinterment. I really did. But, I wasn't a
big writer in that band. With NARSILION, I write a
great deal of the music. There is a lot more of me in
this band. Disinterment was a good experience, but
NARSILION is my whole life.
SC:Do you have a typical routine or method for song
TL:It changes. With "The Hate Lay Hidden" most of the
songs were written with the whole band, at practice.
Mike Bottoms and myself would have riffs in our heads
or just come up with them right there. The whole band
would put the song together, riff by riff. Since then,
I've started writing songs at home and bringing a
whole rough draft to practice. Everyone adds there
part, we polish the arrangement, and it's done. I
believe in changing your approach now and then, to
keep a fresh perspective. It keeps things fresh and
SC:What are your favorite songs that you have
written, either with
Narsilion or another band
TL:My favorite songs from "The Hate Lay Hidden" are "This
Illusion", "Never", and "The Shape of Turmoil".
SC:How would you describe your live performances?
TL:Pure, Loud, Metal, ENERGY!
SC:Do you consider yourself to be more of a live
performer, or a recording
TL:I know I personally enjoy the stage more than the
studio. Even though, I am a bit of an engineer. But, I
leave it to the fans to decide what I'm best at.
SC: How long have you been playing, and do you play any
other styles apart
TL:I first picked up a guitar about 13 years ago, though
I would say I got really serious about it until 1996,
when I joined Disinterment. I have played lots of
styles of music... hardcore, punk, goth, blues, even
jazz and classical. But, my heart will always be with
SC: What are your favorite nonmetal things to listen
TL:Sting, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Kiss, AC/DC, Red Hot
Chili Peppers, The Police, Rush, Jimi Hendrix, Pink
Floyd, The Doors, and Tori Amos.
SC:Who is your favorite guitarrist, one that has
influenced your playing
more than any other.
SC:You guys in Narsilion are a great group of
musicians, how is your
relationship in and out of the band.
TL:I look at us like a family. We have our ups and downs,
but we all respect each other as musicians and people.
I love these guys and I wouldn't trade them for
SC:How hard has it been to get to where you are
TL:Very hard! We work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...
and I'm sure we always will. We may not always have
to, but we'll do it anyway. We don't like the idea of
anything being handed to us. We enjoy the fruits of
our hard work and talent. Otherwise, we would feel as
though we didn't earn it.
SC: If you could change anything about the band what
would it be?
TL:Nothing musically. A bigger practice space and better
guitar amps would be nice though, haha.
SC: I have not heard the new vocalist yet, and i
have not been privileged
enough to see one of your shows, how does your new
vocalist sound, and
what effect does he have on the band?
TL:Mikael Parks completes the puzzle of NARSILION. Try to
imagine a mix of Speed Strid(Soilwork), Mike
Akerfeldt(Opeth), and Warrel Dane(Nevermore). He is
the best vocalist I've ever had the privelige to work
with. And our sound has become more frontman oriented
than before. His voice has opened up new doors in our
writing. I've also never seen him lose the attention
of the fans once.
SC:What gear do you use on the road and in the
studio as far as effects
and guitars? Is your setup simple or complicated,
and do you try to keep
the same sound live as in the studio?
TL:Well... I play a Gibson Flying V and a Cry Baby Wah
pedal through a Peavy tube amp. My counterpart, Mike,
Plays a Jackson Stealth through a Rocktron Intellifex
and a Marshall Valvestate. We usually rent better gear
for the road however, since our amps are only reliable
enough for practice. In the studio, we both played
througha Marshall JCM800 Hi-Gain Head and a JCM 4x12
cab. We do try to keep the general sound the same...
just louder and a bit faster live.
SC:So i hear that there are new songs in the works
for a possible new
album, any word on how the new stuff sounds so far,
and is it heavier,
more melodic, or more experimental?
TL:It's all 3!! The new material is more aggresive and
powerful, as well. We are playing one new song in the
set, right now. It's called "Thorn Torn Bliss". A
couple of other newer song titles are "Down to My
Hell" and "Angels of Destiny".
SC:What was it like doing your first real tour?
TL:If you mean this last tour we did in Jan/Feb 2002...
it was awesome! We played with some great bands and
got some killer exposure. Don't get me wrong. Touring
is also a lot of hard work. But, it's a lot of fucking
SC:Where do you see Narsilion in the future?
TL:I see NARSILION becoming a household name. Real metal
has been underground for 10 years now. It's time for a
new genre of extreme metal to bring it all back to the
surface and watch all the sellouts drown in the wake.
That genre is Melodic Metal, and NARSILION will be at
the forefront. I know everyone who comes to our shows
is fed up with this "Mall metal" crap that they are
playing the fuck out of, now. Don't worry though. It's
SC: If you could play a show with anyone who would
TL:Personally... I would choose Iron Maiden! But for now,
we would love to hit the road with Arch Enemy, In
Flames, Soilwork, Shadows Fall, or Nevermore. Any of
those guys would make for a great tour.
SC:Any closing remarks?
TL:Yeah... Thank you for the interview. And... Keep your
eyes on all the bands from the Mid-Atlantic region of
the U.S. like NARSILION, Darkest Hour, Lamb of God,
Garden of Shadows, Daylight Dies, Lilitu, Locus Factor
and many more. We are coming out with guns blazing.
Every new metal scene relates to it's regional
origins. The Mid-Atlantic is the new metal scene.
American metal will once again rise above. Sweden...
we love you. But you are wearing our crown and we want
it back! So, we shall have it.