Feb 11, 2013

Confessor, 2013: Beginning to Write for Our Third Record

It is difficult to believe that Confessor have been around for over twenty five years.  There have been bumps and turns along the way that found us all doing other things, but after a quarter of a century we find ourselves with only one "new guy", and that is pretty astonishing.  That new guy actually joined the band nineteen years ago.  Pretty soon he'll graduate from the discipline building role of "coffee preparer" to that of "co-writer of heavy riffs".  If my coffee is either too weak or too hot between now and when his graduation ceremony takes place, we may have to review his pending status in the band, but I feel pretty certain he'll make the cut.  The most important thing for Chris to remember is that he continue to avoid making eye contact with fully accepted members of the band until he is completely sworn in.  "Do you, Chris Nolan, swear to uphold the purity of the Riff and to promote heaviness and rhythmic confusion during good times and bad times, and to offer yourself to no other band, in this court of the Sabbath Black, which doth include the divinity of The Late One; Ronnie James, and do you bind yourself to the whimsy of The Four; those members who precede you and whose blood, sweat and tears have created the oddity known to the world as Confessor?"  He will have a brief "Praising of His Peers" speech that he will have to recite without note cards, and a small monetary sacrifice equal to two years' worth of practice space rent, and then he will be free to submit riffs to please the band.  If they do not please the band, he'll have to start the nineteen year process all over again, so the pressure is on, but I think he is motivated enough to nail it and to become the newest official member.  We didn't have this protocol when Shawn joined, but we see how crucial the process is to maintaining appropriate levels of ass kissing.  Chris will still have to bring us our coffee, but as long as it's delicious he can write riffs for our third record.

All joking aside, Confessor have begun the process of writing songs for what will end up being our third full length release.  The guys decided to take it easy during the holidays and were happy to let Loincloth do what it needed to do.  Holidays make it difficult for everyone to get together to write anything anyway, so it was no big deal to wait until Loincloth played its homecoming show at Kings in January to begin to dig into the process of putting our ideas together.  I went to Chris' house last week and we sat down with a bunch of his recorded riffs and my notes and started to map out a few loose arrangements.  I have had a couple of his riffs stuck in my head, playing them over and over for a couple of weeks now.  It's exciting to begin working on them, and I look forward to getting behind my drum kit to start flipping things around.  I am going to have to spend more time working things out in my head because inevitably, I find myself thinking "Oh, I could do this... or maybe that... or this for a second and that the next time" while we are at the practice space.  That's all well and good, but it makes it hard to nail down drum ideas if you keep being inspired to try something else. I never looked at that as a "problem" before, but all too often it meant that we recorded before I had all of the little things sussed out, and I found myself bored playing what we recorded because I would discover things more interesting to play soon after we left the studio.  I have the benefit of writing the Loincloth record since the last time Confessor were in the studio, which really allowed me to hone my own craft much more than I would have been able to with another Confessor record.  Since Loincloth is like Confessor put into a compressor, I got to experiment with a lot more possibilities and I have a better sense of what kinds of things will have greater impact when they fly by you.  I do love a challenge, and I am really ready to sink my teeth into this record. I mean to turn heads this go round.

The band have all agreed to return to a writing style that reflects our metal roots more so than our second, more laid back album, "Unraveled".  I have a sour taste left in my mouth after that experience, mainly because I feel like we abandoned what we did best for a sound that other bands did much better.  There were some moments when we all clicked and were able to make interesting music, but the band chemistry was off and I hear that throughout the album.  I have spoken to plenty of people who say they like it quite a bit.  Who am I to say what people should or shouldn't like about any band, including one in which I am a member? The first songs that we wrote for "Unraveled" benefited from the unified excitement we all felt at the time.  But as things went on there were some stylistic differences that began to separate us from one another.  That "dysfunction" is all that I hear whenever I do sit down with that record.  It was actually a really unpleasant experience for me, not because of any one person, but because being in the band that had been such a source of fun and happiness in the past had become a chore to everyone involved with it.  In our early days, song writing was much more of a group effort that everyone was excited about.  As we wrote "Unraveled" people became more protective of their ideas which meant that songs were looked at as "mine" and "his".  Those songs, and the band experience as a whole suffered from that turf war.  The people working on their own ideas stopped leaving them on the table for everyone to submit ideas.  As a result, those songs never made it to the final stage of tweaks that all other Confessor songs went through, which was where a lot of the quirky nuances and rhythmic contortions came into play.  

The band are committed to getting back to our own special brand of riff writing.  We will not approach the material from exactly the same vantage point, but that has always been the case. In Loincloth, Tannon and I were almost always thinking the exact same thing about the direction any given song should take.  Even when we disagreed we always felt like the songs ended up better off once we made our adjustments.  It was a unique experience for me, and I don't expect that the next Confessor record will have that kind of single minded purpose.  But Confessor never had that kind of unity, even when we were all equally excited about what we were doing.  Our influences have always been very different, but we found ways to tie them all together into something that really stood out in the world of underground metal.  I am confident that we can pull together our inspirations and come up with another record that will be as unique as anything out there, and that it will be above all else, true to the ideals that set us apart from all others in the world of heavy music.  I for one, am totally geeked about the chance to raise eyebrows and metal fists once again after twenty five years of playing with these guys!  Devil horns to all!  And Chris... where in the hell is my afternoon cup of coffee?!?!  Do you really want to have to wait until you're 60 to be allowed to offer riffs to the band?  Didn't think so...


  1. Looking forward to hearing new stuff from Confessor. I really wonder how big you guys would have gotten had Graham not left the band. Anyway here's to many more years of Confessor. Peace.

  2. God this is awesome. Please keep at it. I'm so excited for new Confessor!

  3. I simply can not wait for this! I have a feeling this is going to be the greatest recording of all time...no pressure though : )