One of the bands taking over my playlists these days are the beasts of VARIUS with their heavy mix of progressive melodic metal. Full of crushing instrumental progressions, deep growling vocals, and a number of quirks, their chuggy calculated riffs create an interesting song dynamic which keeps me coming back for more. The band’s sound keeps evolving with their releases, with their first demo out in 2017 and a killer EP just a few weeks ago in April 2019. Their sound walks the line of Scandinavian and Canadian melodic death metal with a healthy dose of prog sprinkled throughout, so VARIUS are a good bet for fans of Kataklysm, Hypocrisy, and even bands like Between the Buried and Me. With the band gathering some significant momentum, I wanted to have a chat with them to see what the process has been like and gain some insight into their thoughts of future projects. Check out an interview below to see what’s next for VARIUS!
Joey Scaringi – Vocals
Patrick Forlin – Guitar
Joel Tassillo – Bass guitar, keyboards
Vladimir Prokhorov – Drums
-Hello there and thank you for agreeing to an interview from the Yeti of Blessed Altar Zine! Who from the band are we speaking to today? Introduce yourself and tell me the last metal band/song you listened to!
Joel: Hey this is Joel, I play bass and keyboards in Varius! I’ve been listening to the two new Sabaton singles pretty hard for the last couple of days, they kick ass.
-The Great Tribulation is a fantastic independent release full of some kick ass and heavy as hell tunes! I really enjoy the fact that your music is diverse and full of twists and turns. What are some of your favourite albums that have influenced you over the years?
Joel: Everyone in the band brings some pretty diverse influences to the table, with some overlap between us too. Personally, I’m into the classic heavy stuff like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, etc. I also like a lot of music outside of heavy metal. You might not hear that kind of stuff at first glance with Varius, but it’s there. The other guys’ influences cover a lot of ground too, with the more progressive, dark, and brutal stuff.
-The new EP sounds awesome and really dialed in. Did you do anything different from The Red Messenger demo in terms of production?
Joel: The main difference in production style between The Great Tribulation and Red Messenger is that we went for live drums and real speaker cabinets for the guitars and bass this time. Some of the drums on Red Messenger had to be supported with samples and all of the guitars were direct recorded. I think the sounds have more weight to them this time as a result.
Otherwise, the process was similar. We came to the studio with the songs already finished and worked with Derek Nelson, who engineered and mixed both releases, in his home studio.
-Varius also just released a new lyric video for the track Ecto-Perspecto. Why was this song chosen for the video and how was the experience of creating one?
Joel: It’s interesting that we picked probably the weirdest and most brutal song. I think that has to do with the lyrics themselves; Ecto-Perspecto is pretty dark and the lyrics are delivered by Joey in a very threatening way. I know he’s really proud of those lyrics and I think the imagery of the EP’s artwork supports the vibe in the video. The video itself was entirely created by our guitarist Patrick, who has the most graphic design skills in the band. I think he did a great job.
-I recently got a chance to see you guys rock out live for your EP release show in Toronto. You guys had tremendous energy on stage, nicely complimenting the chuggy melodically metal you create. Do you have a favourite part about playing live shows?
Joel: I just like making a big, heavy sound! It’s great when people get into it and share their energy. I like hearing peoples’ reactions and chatting with new people after the show as well, of course.
-I’m always a fan of darker subject matter when it comes to metal. Shout out to your kick ass cover art. One of my favourite tracks off The Great Tribulation is Unity by Warfare. Is this song a metaphor for a kick ass mosh pit? If not, what do you think about when you create the music and write the lyrics?
Joel: Ha, cool interpretation! I suppose you could say Unity by Warfare is our science-fiction epic to close off this EP. The basic idea behind it came from me wanting to write a song about world peace, but in a heavy metal way. So I pitched this idea to Joey in which humanity achieves peace amongst themselves by uniting together for the purpose of conquering the rest of the universe, so that they can plunder everybody else’s resources instead of their own. Joey took that idea and ran with it!
I think it’s a good example of some apocalyptic, destructive lyrics from us. It’s something we’ve done before; “Rape of Nature” and “Red Messenger” from the first release were apocalyptic fiction, and so are songs like “Unity by Warfare” and “Til the End” from this EP. I think that kind of storytelling is pretty characteristic of who we are, though we touch on other subjects with some songs as well. In terms of music, we just like to think of catchy riffs and epic progressions.
-While there is no clear narrative between the demo and the new EP. We get another appearance of The Red Messenger in The Great Tribulation’s album art. What is the significance of your cloaked figure? Are they friend or foe?
Joel: You’re right, there’s no narrative connecting the demo and the new EP. There’s continuity with the Red Messenger only because we wanted to show that Red Messenger and The Great Tribulation are connected in the sense that all their songs actually come from the same “era” of the band’s history despite being recorded separately. They were mostly being written by Patrick before our lineup was finalized. I don’t even think we know a lot about the Red Messenger himself! He’s just a cool prophet-like figure to warn of the apocalyptic events that we sing about on both releases, but he seems friendly with the demon on the cover of the EP too, so I guess you could call him an anti-hero.
-If you could have a few cold beers with any musician in the world (dead or alive). Who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
Joel: Someone hilarious, like maybe Brian Johnson. I’m sure he’s got a million great stories from the road to share. I’d love to hear some genuine experience from a real road warrior like that.
-Varius has had a strong very start to 2019 with your EP release and string of live shows, what’s next for the band?
Joel: We have more material written and will be looking into getting it recorded soon. The plans are still materializing, but it’s looking like we’ll try some different kinds of releases in the near future. I love jamming this batch of brand new songs, and we’ve tried some new things with them, so I hope others will like them as well once they get released.
-Thank you for the interview! Cheers and can’t wait to see you live again next time you roll through my neck of the woods! /,,/
Joel: Thanks for your interest! Looking forward to seeing you at another show soon, Cheers!
Thanks for reading and if you want to hear more VARIUS check out a BAZ review of their latest EP, “The Great Tribulation”. Click here to have a listen.
Interview by Metal Yeti
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