#134 | Interview | Firelink (Dark Souls-Inspired Progressive Black Metal from Atlanta)

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Firelink is a Dark Souls-inspired progressive black metal project from Atlanta, Georgia. Earlier this year, in May of 2019, guitarist Harrison and vocalist Adrian barrelled into the quagmire of extreme metal with their debut effort, The Inveterate Fire. While the first impressions I received via their album artwork primed me to anticipate a genre like dungeon synth or a bevy of tones leaning toward ambient-heavy soundscapes, I was pleasantly taken aback by its scalding riffs and its dense, long-form compositions. Although The Inveterate Fire spans a mere five tracks, it is bundled with molten guitar leads and invigorating dynamic shifts. From marauding black metal onslaughts to searing death metal animosity to awe-inspiring expanses of glistening melodies, I found this album nothing short of astonishing.

Harrison’s background is primarily steeped in technical death metal. Before Firelink came to be, he aspired to compose unrelenting riffs played with blistering rapidity. However, after many years of honing his craft, he came to realize the limitations of the genre. He could play notes to a vertiginous degree, but he found this stymied his creativity. Thus began Harrison’s endeavoring to fracture the genre constructs caving in upon him. He began to study and tinker with music theory and this imbued in him a sense of restraint. Instead of expressing himself via a bombardment of searing notes, he turned his focus inward to articulate complex feelings with melodies that unfurl like a heartfelt odyssey (listen to “Beckoning Sun” as an example).

Around this inflection point, Adrian played a rather crucial role in spurring Harrison’s inspiration. It is he who introduced Harrison to the unforgiving, dilapidated kingdoms harbored within the Souls series. And it is he who warmed Harrison up to black metal. These respective introductions gave rise to Firelink’s birth and with his passion kindled, Harrison embarked on this arduous journey.

In this interview, I am joined by Tim Harbour, who writes reviews for the website and is an avid Dark Souls masochist. We speak with Harrison about the formulation of Firelink, his intrigue with the Souls series, and how he underwent his metamorphosis from tech death shredding to crafting contemplative tales. There is obviously much more that transpires in the conversation, but I want to leave these morsels for your discovery. Thank you for listening.

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In addition to streaming The Inveterate Fire in the embed link above, you can visit the Firelink Bandcamp page to grab a digital or physical (CD) copy of the record. There you can also acquire a Firelink tee shirt.

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