Existentialist, a five-piece Blackened Deathcore band from Essex/Suffolk, play the Bloodstock New Blood Stage on Friday, 12th August 2022 having won through the Metal 2 The Masses competition and hopefully this will be the catalyst for even greater things.
Prophet Of Ignorance was the band’s debut album, released in 2020 and this excellent piece of work is not only a labour of love, it follows a plan.
“The guys were writing material for Prophet Of Ignorance for around six years without a vocalist,” says Patryk Kolasa (Patty), vocals, talking of Phill Morley, bass, Olly Winn, drums and guitarists Samuel Berriman and Jonny Flack. ”When they had pretty much most of the album ready, apart from two songs, they began looking for a vocalist.”
Patty was recommended via a mutual friend, the bass player in New Model Army. “They sent me some demos to listen to,” Patty says. “I put some ideas down after the guys explained to me what their concept for the album was and after one rehearsal, we joined forces writing things towards that.”
Listening to the lead songs from the album, such as the awesome Celestial Redemption, you can relate the lyrics to the current climate crisis. Lyrics such as “fire breached the void between the planets”, and “no promise of a brighter future, no trees, no life, no seas,” suggests a concept.
“Prophet Of Ignorance focuses on the fuck up that is the human race,” Patty says. “It talks about how mankind is going to force its own extinction. But together, the album does follow more of a storyline. Oli and Jonny created the concept, and I helped write towards it.”
Jonny says the concept describes the downfall of mankind. “But, self-inflicted,” he says. “It begins with the greed aspect and people taking what isn’t theirs. It delves into religion, then political downfall, then we go through the phase of people thinking they’re the most important thing ever when they’re not.”
The album’s concept runs to eventual chemical nuclear war, “which is in the Pandora effect,” Jonny says. “The development and the evolution of human violence, which then results into celestial redemption, where the alleged overseer, as such, has had enough of people and decides that it’s the end.”
“But it’s all from the point of view of a primordial entity just gazing upon humanity,” Patty says, “reporting and narrating on what it sees from an external view, looking at how people function.”
Systematic Failure was the second single, with great riffs, the ‘Save Mother Earth’ photo in the middle of the video continues the theme, just before a superb solo. From a vocal point of view, there is a really great match between the harsh vocals and the big screams and, with those little harmonic guitar parts that keep popping in, it is a wonderfully complex piece.
“We spent a lot of time writing the songs,” Olly says. “When we started out, both myself and Jonny were quite rusty while playing. So we started writing material that we wanted to make ourselves better musicians with. We were writing songs that we couldn’t actually play. We were writing songs that would force us to practice and improve and learn new techniques.
“I think the development of that ended up with some quite complicated riffs, quite complicated songs and some complicated drum patterns for me, particularly. Having a vocalist who is quite happy to try out some crazy stuff and expand his own skill set as well, obviously helped build on that well.“
“The guys would write songs to make themselves have to improve their skills,” Patty says, “their musicianship as a band and individually. When I joined, I couldn’t have a walk in the park. So all the vocals and all the vocal patterns had to be intense and difficult as well with tongue twisters in the lyrics, because if the guys are absolutely grinding themselves then I had to as well.”
It was Sam who signed the band up for Metal 2 The Masses. “We had a do it properly or don’t bother doing it kind of attitude,” Olly says. “So when Sam said we’re doing it, we were like, okay, if we’re gonna do this, we’re going try to win,….and luckily we did. It was a really, really tight competition.
“Sometimes when you’re watching competitions, either from a personal point of view or if you’re a spectator, you can almost get a feel for who is going to win. But that night, no one had a clue who was actually going to come out on top in the final. Every band definitely deserves a spot to play.”
MetalTalk covered the final. Lawrence Potter described Existentialist as having one of the most diverse screamers he had seen in some time with an extremely talented group behind him.
“We were all a bit on edge, in all seriousness,” Jonny says. “We had technical issues which meant we had to play for the first time ever with no backing track. But you have to go for it. We looked at each other wondering what we were going to do, but off the fly guitar licks and drum fills to fill what would normally be done by a little bit of backing, helped.”
Simon Hall, from Bloodstock, called them the winners, so it obviously worked.
Their set at Bloodstock is bound to be something special. Watching Existentialist push their energy, on a prestigious stage, to a good number of people, is a mouthwatering prospect.
“We were discussing adding some new songs into our set,” Patty says discussing their Bloodstock plan, “and rearranging the set list because there are a few tracks on our upcoming record that I think would suit a big stage like this. It’s a special chance to just whip out a new version of us because it’s the Bloodstock Festival.”
Existentialist have been working on a new album. “In the last few weeks we finished recording, so it’s now in production,” Jonny says.
With the recording of Prophet Of Ignorance taking most of 2020, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the band are taking the chance to make sure the new album is as perfect as can be, so expect either some new singles or the full album later in the year.
But, Bloodstock will be a great chance for the band to network and they are “super excited” for a surreal weekend.
“There’s so much opportunity,” Jonny says, “playing in front of a bigger crowd. There are people gathered from all over the world to go to this festival, and hopefully, at least two of them come and check us out. But there are also so many bands that we look up to that will be at the festival. We will get a chance to chat with them, hopefully. There’s so much opportunity. Plus for me, as I’ve never been to Bloodstock, I just want to go and watch all the bands and experience it all.”
With the first part of the tour with Beyond Extinction and Virgin Witch just completed, the second leg begins in August, so the band will be in good flow for Bloodstock.
“We’ll put on a show,” Phill says. “There will be plenty of energy. I want to get the crowd going, have lots of interaction and show everyone we have got.”
“There will be blast beats,” Olly says, “there’ll be breakdowns, there’ll be epic solos. There will be lots of head banging, and if the crowd are on our side, hopefully, there’ll be lots of violence there as well, but friendly violence.”
“What we want to thank the people that have been supporting us since we first dropped our album,” Patty says, “and since we first hit the road. I don’t want to call people fans at this stage of our career, but this support has been fucking overwhelming.
“The people coming out to shows buying merch and giving us a piece of their mind, giving us all the kind words, that means a lot. There are still individual things people will say to me, after shows, that I’ll remember because we’re not huge yet or anything like that. But things stick out and it keeps me going.”
“For me and Olly, this has been something we started ages ago,” Jonny says. “It’s been a really long road to finally get material out and have a positive response. Having as many people appreciate it as they have has definitely been very important. The support we’ve had for live shows and the response we’ve got has been pretty good as well.
“So thank you to everyone who’s been involved at shows or bought merch or just listened to the album and hopefully album number two will have the same appeal.”
Existentialist have a plan going forward and the fact that Simon Hall picked them is something really positive. With a great album, they deserve the chance to go and enjoy the Bloodstock weekend.
Hopefully, it will be the start of even greater things for them.
Bloodstock 2022 will be held over the long weekend of 11-14 August 2022. MetalTalk’s Liz Medhurst, John Inglis and Paul Monkhouse will be reporting from Catton Park.
VIP and campervan tickets are sold out. Standard weekend camping tickets (just £145 + fees for 4 days of Heavy Metal glory) plus day and child tickets are also available. Children under 4 can come for free.
You can read all the MetalTalk Bloodstock coverage at metaltalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022