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Behold, Âme Noire

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From the darkest depths of Melbourne’s metal scene, surfaced a new ominous force Âme Noire in 2016, a band that has made their mark with their unorthodox, uncompromising and unmatched sound. Carving a niche for themselves already, this five-piece melancholic death metal outfit has stunned audiences across the country, bringing with them, genre-defying music and blistering live shows that will have you at their mercy.  All this with a single EP that release on the auspicious day that is today, Friday the 13th.  HEAVY caught up with the band’s guitarist Grant McGuiness to talk about the band’s first ever EP ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit‘, the concept behind it, the band’s sound and more. ” We’re all really excited”, he said after we exchanged happy greetings. ” Everything started to seem real when we were getting pre-orders together and mailing them out. It was cool to see how many people actually bought them; the response has been humbling, to say the least. We did a tour earlier in the year and covered almost all states with a few Melbourne shows and some venues that we never played before. Our first ever show was a sold-out show headlined by Whoretopsy so no complaints! Every time we’ve played, people have really enjoyed our set and told us repeatedly how they couldn’t wait for the CD to release.”

For a band that has only been around for about a year, played a solid number of shows and are releasing their debut EP today (which has already had a massive positive response), it’s always interesting to know from whence it all began. “It started towards the end of 2016 when we knew that Toby and both Alex Hill and Alex Bell former Victoria based-band Athena’s Wake was parting ways. I came in because I knew the guys well and had filled in for Athena’s a few times. Another longtime friend of the band Aaron who was playing with Melbourne deathcore outfit Epimetheus who broke up a year before Athena’s Wake came on board and then everything just came together. ” Thinking back Grant also shared the objective behind the formation of Ame Noire. ” We’ve all been good mates, love different kinds of music so it just made sense to us to take this next step. Each of us had done different things with our other bands and we wanted to bring it together, also adding in other aspects of our interests such as suspense and horror movie soundtracks, melodic orchestra stuff etc. “

Translated, Ame Noire means ‘Black Soul’ (one of the first reasons I fell in love with this band) in French, and more often than not ‘what’s in a name’ but this seemed to resonate strongly with the lads. “Originally when the name came up, it didn’t mean anything significant and we just loved how it sounded. But as we thought about it more, it fit the music perfectly, our sound and style which is quite bleak and seemed to capture the essence of what our band was all about. ” Bleak couldn’t be a more appropriate word to describe the nature of  Ame Noire’s debut EP which releases today. ” I think we’re just most excited for everyone to listen to it and to finally get our music out,” Grant said with a content grin.

It’s certainly surpassed both of our previous bands combined and just the whole journey we’ve been on in the past year to get everything ready and the fact that our pre-orders did well was even more encouraging. We’ve got a show on the 28th in Melbourne for the EP release and our good mates from Perth, Zeolite is coming down so it’s going to be a good time. We’re happy to be playing shows off the back of the release.” He continued ” On the other hand, the most nerve-racking part I would say is the deadlines we have to meet. Getting everything done in time and on time is so important, especially with production, pre-orders etc. But none of us is particularly worried about whether people are going to enjoy it or not. Even if someone listens to the music and doesn’t like it, I’m glad that they at least took the time to check it out. If people do enjoy it, then that’s a bonus – to each his own.”  Wise words!

Ame Noire releases their first EP today ‘The Tree that Bears Rotten Fruit’, an absolutely brilliant collection of tracks that will have you hooked from start to finish.  When discussing the writing and recording process, “ We worked on this entirely on our own. We recorded everything ourselves and programmed the drums because it is expensive otherwise but we went from there. Through pre-production, we decided on the material and what we wanted to work on, what we wanted to leave as is – there was, of course, some tweaking done along the way. But largely we were always pretty satisfied with the output we had; we weren’t looking for perfection but just looking at what sounded right to us.”

Being their first release together, we talked about the band’s ideas at the beginning of what they wanted out of the music and the direction they wanted to go in as well as their influences. ” Well, I would say half and half; we definitely wanted to do something different compared to the bands we were previously involved in. We wanted more chorus, more melancholic leads and like I mentioned, to add elements of movie soundtracks into our music. So we did have a general idea of what we wanted out of the band and our music; combining aspects of black metal, death metal and horror movies with more melodic elements too. It’s something we thought that was really different and wanted to try out; more melodic choruses with death metal, etc and that’s something I hope and think we’ve achieved. ” When talking about their influences,  Grant continued ” We share quite a few bands that are our influences; for instance, we’re all massive fans of The Black Dahlia Murder, Cattle Decapitation, Aborted etc. So when we were writing and recording the album, we did draw a little bit of inspiration here and there from them – obviously we didn’t want to rip them off but took ideas from them, ideas that added character to our music along with our own sound.”

The title of the EP had me intrigued from the very beginning and I was keen to find out what inspired the name as well as the underlying story behind it.  “A lot of the concept was created by Alex our vocalist. He had been brewing over the story for a while, even while he was in Athena’s Wake, and when they broke up, he brought forward those ideas into Ame Noire. It’s a full story and the main concept is about a family where the man is a mortician. So ‘Slaves to a Grave’ is about the bad people he killed who he thought were wicked. The story slowly unfolds about the mortician, his wife and his son who also follows in his father’s footsteps. It all loops around and comes back to the first song, suggesting that no matter what they do, they can’t change their fate, and essentially they’re all in Purgatory.”  With such a powerful concept and music, comes artwork that captures the essence of both. ” We really wanted something that reflected the story, and our music. A good friend of ours Oliver Sel ( also the actor in the music video) is the artist behind it and has been a long-time friend of the band’s for years. So when we went to him with our ideas and told him what it’s about, he told us immediately that he’d ‘sort it out’; and the outcome was exactly what we wanted. He’s even down little etches to go inside the book with each song – highlighting what each one is about. “

The band also released an incredible music video, one that reached more than 30,000 views in less than a couple of days. ” It was mad because when we first released the video for ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’ we had no idea what to expect; in fact, we weren’t expecting much to happen from it. But we checked the next day and it had 30,000 views on Facebook! That was so surreal. It was good because we shared it with a bunch of our mates and people just kept sharing it so I guess by word of mouth, it got around quickly. ” 

Talking in further detail about the video, Grant said ” It’s another thing with Alex; his creativity cultivated the whole story and a lot of visual aids to go with the vision of the story. He actually made the stomach and organs himself that we used for it; in fact, all the props were made by us. It all added to the realistic vibe we wanted for the video. Because it was our first, everything was a bit rushed, and it felt like we wouldn’t have everything ready in time but we made it happen. It was also 45 degrees the day we were shooting and in a shed, so that was hard! But Jackson Webster has worked with Athena’s Wake before so it was good to have him during the shoot. He’s also done our album stream video; we’re really happy with how it’s all turned out, he did a great job. “

So what’s next for Ame Noire you may wonder? ” We’ve got our EP release show on the 28th of July at the Reverence Hotel in Melbourne and we’re working out a few more in the coming months. So keep an eye out!”

I truly admire the hard work and effort that these lads have put into their art in such a short span of time and asked Grant to share some advice to other upcoming bands. ” I’d say not to cheap out on stuff and try not to rush things. Take things slowly even though it might be tempting when you get offered your first show etc. Try to make friends, network which is really important because the more people you know, the easier it becomes for your band. Also, try not to get ahead of yourself; take it one step at a time because you don’t want to skimp on your art. Put everything you have into it!”

“We’d just like to thank anyone who has picked up the pre-orders and who buys the EP and thank them for giving it their time. We’ve definitely put our heart and soul into it so we hope you like what you hear! Cheers!” 

‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’ is out now! Buy it HERE!

Follow the band on their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates

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