Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?
Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.
This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.
Line'em Up with John Knight, vocalist in Synaptik
Synaptik was formed in 2012 in the east coast of England. Everything seemed to gel relatively quick and a year later the band was already making a name for itself as a musicsmith of quality Metal. In a few days time the band releases its debut album: “The Mechanisms of Consequence”.
Making up the band are vocalist John Knight, guitarists Ian Knight and Jack Murton, bassist Kev Jackson and drummer Pete Loades. It’s John who agrees to give us an insight on Synaptik’s album.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about Synaptik’s debut album “The Mechanisms of Consequence”. But first could you explain the title’s meaning?
(JK) The meaning behind the albums title is very personal to me and it came to me late one night as I was nearing sleep, I was trying to switch off my brain, I had a lot of turmoil going on in my life at the time, stress that I was going through in my personal life, it's about how one decision changed my entire life forever, the knock on effects that one mistake can bring, endless worry and sadness caused. The Butterfly effect, which is also reflected in the albums artwork I created. I think it is something that everyone can relate to, Regret and the consequences of an ill thought out decision.
You bump into a complete stranger at a festival and you only have a few seconds to describe Synaptik’s music. What do you tell him?
(JK) I'd say, have you heard of Nevermore? (as the name seems to come up in reviews and from fans, we take that as a massive compliment as we admired them immensely) Think we belong in a similar genre to them, imagine a thrashier, heavier Queensryche with some melodic death and you aren't a thousand miles away. Or I could just give him a CD and let him decide himself. (Laughs)
When the band was formed, was there already a clear vision on what you all wanted to create, musically-speaking?
(JK) Three of us had played in bands together before for many years, Inner Sanctum was one (www.facebook.com/innersanctumuk) and that was technical Thrash (you can buy the double album anthology here). The other was Fifth Season that Kev & myself formed which was a more melodic progressive Metal band. Ian went on to create a brutal extreme metal band with friends from Norway called Twisted Autumn Darkness.
When we all met up it was either going to be a full on tech metal band or a thrash band just for fun. When we started writing it became another thing altogether, a hybrid of all our previous bands plus the style that Jack and Pete brought with their playing, it ended up being a sound that is difficult to easily categorise, it has been labelled as Progressive Thrash or melodic prog metal with a Death aggression. Each song has it's own feel but is still distinctly Synaptik sounding. We let it evolve and allowed it to become it's own animal. It's nice not having the tight restrictions set by what people expect of a specific genre band.
And now onto “The Mechanisms of Consequence”… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express within the songs, etc..
(JK) Lyric wise I usually leave up to the listener to make their own interpretation of the meanings as some can be quite cryptic whilst others leave no doubt what are about, everyone can read their own different story from each. I try not to always make a definite side to an opinion and leave it to the listener to decide where they stand, I'm not out to save the world, but I do hope I write words that people can relate to easily and provoke thought.
01. Truths That Wake
(JK) Ian wrote this song – It's about the grief of loss, bereavement. The pain of remembering times of joy when in a place of sorrow, dreaming of loving past moments only to wake to the reality and the loss once again.
02. A Man Dies
Ian wrote 90% of this song, I rearranged and added a few lines. See Vacancy of Mind as linked within is its explanation.
03. I Am the Ghost & 04. Your Cold Dead Trace
(JK) I am The Ghost & Your Cold Dead Trace. The intro sets the scene – the ghost isn't necessarily of a preternatural kind, it's a memory that was so profoundly painful that it has almost become physical, the memory of hurt caused or a person’s act that changed your life so drastically it has literally scarred your brain mentally with its power. These are the mechanisms and the consequences of being in hell with the cold dead memory forever with you. There is a lyrical link between this song & Irresistible Shade which ties in with the album’s title also, but it isn't a concept album before anyone thinks this, but there are a couple of themes that I consciously chose to have linking most of the songs to the album’s title in some way. Regret and the consequences of ill thought out decisions.
05. Irresistible Shade
(JK) Regrets, Mistakes and the longing to be able to turn back time and change the past. Lost love and the longing you have until your heart heals. We've all been there at some point and the pain can kill through self torture and hating.
06. Vacancy of Mind
Vacancy of Mind especially highlights the poverty of intellect of an old man who has pushed people away all his life, not allowed anyone to get close to him, no family, so alone he dies, his final thought are just regret and 'what ifs'.....curious too late.
This song is loosely linked with Truths That Wake & A Man Dies, the theme being a life wasted & the regret of a life wasted, no family to live on after he dies (Consequence) and the death bed fears and thoughts of the unknown when we die, what is after death? A man questioning faith, is there nothing? Is there a God? do we return? Longing for his death to come and answer his questions........what if? None of which are answered and left open.
07. As I Am, as I Was
(JK) Quite dark I guess theme wise. The diagnosis of a terminal disease, knowing there is no hope left and finding acceptance within yourself whilst trying to spare loved ones the pain of seeing you waste away. Making that decision to have them remember you as you were before the illness took hold. To end it on your own terms so their memories of you aren't of a weakened ill man a shadow of your former self, a ghost yet still alive. Their choice to make, right or wrong? Tragic. I was inspired to write this song after seeing a news report of a man diagnosed with inoperable brain Cancer, weeks later he left a poignant letter to his family then jumped from a bridge to his death stating he wanted them to remember him how he was not what he would become before death. It moved me and I wrote this straight away.
08. Utopia in Our Eyes
(JK) Fictional possible future, total government control of every part of your life, what you wear, what you eat, who can reproduce. Martial law. Strict control over every choice you make. The rulers make decisions for you to create their own utopia from their own vision, they seek out anyone who defies their rule, anyone making plans against them they send the 'regulators'. This could be our future.
09. All Lies & 10. Allies
(JK) The hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction by our then Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush, they knew there were no WMD there but still they went to War and the real reason was to secure Oil rights. Yes Saddam was a tyrant but it was just a fallacy that they went in just to topple his regime. Lots of brave men & women died for what turned out to be a Lie. I wrote about this as it was still relevant today as Tony Blair is in the news being grilled about his actions in court and branded a War Criminal by some. Yes it's political, its about the leaders union & it's allied forces manipulating reports and feeding the terror threats to generate fear just to enable backing for an unjustified war and it continues to this day.
Could you tell us something about the artwork? One can recognize various elements within it, such as butterflies and a human figure that seems to be protecting himself from something.....what is the meaning of all this?
(JK) I guess I probably answered most of this in the question about the album title, the person on the cover is in turmoil and slowly disintegrating, coming to pieces, the vortex is the consequence of the actions. The butterflies are of course a nod to the butterfly effect, a small change can have a devastating effect elsewhere. The album title came first and it's meaning so I created the image based on those thoughts. That's actually me in the picture (Laughs)
What are Synaptik’s ambitions from this point onwards?
(JK) We are currently signed to independent German Label REBEL TUNE RECORDS. This is for our début album and we are hoping to take the next step to a larger label as a natural progression as a larger label can help us secure larger tours and promotion. Jurgen and the label are very helpful and supportive and we will be pushing this album as much as we can.
We will be looking to increase our fanbase globally, continue to write the second album, secure management, booking agent and a larger record label. Tour and spread the Synaptik name. Spread the word – SYNAPTIK RISING!
Chris Galea, September 2014