. Best one I heard so far is New Heavy Metal.
SoT: Is the amalgamation of all those elements a pre-thought out process or do you come up with it during the recording process?
John: I don't think there is any way our music can be shaped in the recording process. I find changes in the recording studio very frustrating (I am producing in my studio and it tires the fuck out of me when people come to the studio thinking "umm, how should this track go again?"). Everything is pre-produced and methodically laid down so that all we are concerned with is our performances and the actual production of the music. The song writing and the recording are two totally separate elements for Biomechanical. The songs are shaped to the last detail on the song writing and pre-production stages.
About the style of music, it just comes out this way. There is a danger about over thinking music. It should happen instead of being pushed in order to happen. The same goes with us so the Biomech style sounds the way it does 'cause we simply love Metal.
SoT: The orchestral arrangements and extreme vocals remind me of Strapping Young Lad and Devin Townsend. Are you a fan of SYL and do you consider them an influence?
John: I love SYL. I think SYL and Meshuggah are the two bands that define modern Metal. However, the orchestral arrangements came from the world of film scoring. I am a soundtracks fan and have listened and studied film scoring over many years. My dream was always to merge film scoring writing (not the keyboard orientated writing but actual orchestrations in the vain of Stravisky, Sostacovich etc.) with metal music. I feel the fusion is creating both interesting and powerful music.
I don't know if my high growls sound like Devin Townsend's. I suppose it's something he does superbly but I just wanted to sing growly vocals on a high register. I think it was also done by other singers as well, it's a cool technique that I learned not long ago. I always challenge myself to better my vox and learn new things. This is definitely a very powerful singing style that I felt it merged really well with Biomechanical.
SoT: You also sang on the previous Balance of Power disc where you went for a very different vocal style. One could hardly imagine you're capable of all those amazing high screams.
John: I had to sing differently for BoP. The growly stuff wouldn't fit at all. It's a matter of respecting the style the guys play. The vocal style in the high register doesn't vary at all from Biomechanical. It's just that those notes are lower in the mix where with BoP the vocals are dry and in your face type of thing.
SoT: Most reviews mention that Biomechanical is like Pantera meets Judas Priest. Are you fans of either band? Your guitar work seems heavily Priest and Mercyful Fate inspired.
John: I love both these bands. The influences come from a wider pallet though. For instance the title track is presumed that it's a Pantera orientated track where the inspiration came from the UK band Skunk Anansie. Also a lot of the harmonic texture for the guitars came from the world of film scoring. I do think now that you mentioned it that Merciful Fate were one of the most important metal bands to date.
SoT: Could you talk a bit about the concept trilogy. Empires is the second chapter, right?
John: Yeah, it is the second part and it's a sci-fi orientated concept (in the vain of Matrix, Blade Runner type of feel). We use the stories to talk about the reality of our world. The lyrics on TEotW deal with the violent nature of humanity. We talk about the fact that we are slaves to our genetic code and serve its purpose through genocides and misery. Masked by fake necessities we fail to see this simple truth. It's something that leaves an impression on me and I at least always wanted to talk about it and TEotW is the perfect opportunity to do so.
SoT: Where does the cinematic feel on the album come from? You even titled one of your songs "Existenz", a David Cronenberg movie.
John: I am a huge film soundtracks fan and the cinematic feel comes straight from my influences from composers such as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Elliot Goldenthal. The song is not really related to the Cronenberg movie. I loved the way Existenz was written with a 'z' in the end. The track is related to both DNA Metastasis and Survival. It's the third of a three part lyrical continuation. All three songs talk about the core of what TEotW is all about. Our song Existenz is about the ignorance that plagues our lives and the fact that we are heading for a spiritual death. So I can't remember the film's plot but I think the song has a different meaning.
SoT: For a European band, Biomechanical is one of the most extreme acts around, along with Meshuggah. What in your opinion are the main reasons for American bands being generally more aggressive whilst Europeans are more melody-friendly? And what prompted you to go for such a heavy release?
John: I don't know really why the European metal is so melodic. I personally don't have a problem with melodic writing. I think it's great if done right. The good old Iron Maiden C/D/Em thing has been done to absolute death and I can only embrace it when it comes from Iron Maiden themselves. Otherwise happy-melodic Metal is not my bag I'm afraid.
I love melodies but in the vain of Iron Maiden, Queensryche or Judas Priest. I think with American bands, they are more aggressive as they took thrash to a new level in the 80's and stayed with this kind of approach. I personally love all the giants from the 80's such as Metallica (old) Slayer and also Pantera changed a lot of things in Metal as we know it.
SoT: What are some of the year's best extreme metal releases of the year in your opinion?
John: I don't know much about new stuff outside the world of film scoring and a few things that are played once in a while. I like the new Haunted album and also Alien from SYL is awesome!
SoT: What could we expect from Biomechanical in the future? Have you started gathering ideas for your new disc yet?
John: New material is formulated at this time but we are working on promoting The Empires of the Worlds so not sure yet about the writing of our next album. But we do have a title and it will be called Cannibalised.
SoT: Sounds like a cool title. Any tours in the plans?
John: We are playing 3 dates in Holland and also teamed up with Factory Music Management here in the UK. Hopefully will have some more news soon, and will see you at a Biomechanical gig around where you are!
(Click here to read our review of The Empires of the Worlds)