Claim the Throne have just released their latest album, On Desolate Plains, their fifth release. This new album takes the band to new heights, even since their last release of Forged in Flame, back in 2013. For those who haven’t witnessed the majesty and power of Claim the Throne, I urge you to hunt them down! Hailing from Perth in Western Australia, they hit the scene in 2006 and have developed their craft over the last eleven years, playing extensively across Australia as well as some international tours in to Asia. The band have actually picked up a really solid following in Japan. The band essentially, is a Folk-Metal outfit, but the dynamics of their latter release, in my opinion, harks back to some more traditional metal structures in parts as well, in line with some melody lines.
I have seen CTT, on a number of occasions and they are an outfit, who despite taking their music seriously, do not see themselves in the same vein. They are definitely a live band who enjoy what they do, and focus on entertainment and igniting an audience. Quite recently I saw them support Wintersun in Sydney, and you could just feel the growth the band have made as a live outfit. They seem to be playing with a renewed sense of purpose on the back of their recent overseas touring, and as a unit they just keep getting tighter.
I was fortunate to catch up with drummer, Ashley Large, to discuss On Desolate Plains and where the band is heading on the back of the release.
Firstly, congratulations on the new album, how do you feel about it now, after it has seen the light of day and received feedback?
“Thanks very much! I’m very happy with how it’s been received, but also with the songs, the sound and the accompanying artwork.”
Was the approach to this album different to your back catalogue, or have you stuck to a formula of writing and recording?
“Writing was split between a few members this time. Whole songs would be written by one member, taught to the rest of the band who added their own flair to it after that. Lyrics were generally added later, although vocal arrangements were partially or wholly written during the writing phase.”
Vocally the new album has been a huge move forward, did the band spend more time on melody lines and vocal arrangements, or has this been a natural progression for the band?
“I’m not really sure about this one. Cabba (vocals/guitar) and Jesse (keyboards/vocals) generally write parts with some vocal ideas in mind. These ideas develop during demoing and rehearsal, and extra parts are added or removed during the final recording process. Stylistically we tried a bunch of new things out. Cabba and Jim (bass/backing vocal) tried some new screams out and there was some cool interplay between heavy vocals and Jesse singing clean. I don’t think any extra attention was paid to developing the vocal style, it came together naturally with the songs.”
I know at present you are selling the album directly from the band, but are there any distribution deals for overseas markets?
“We don’t have any traditional distribution at this point. Physical sales are handled via our online merch store, Bandcamp and of course at shows. We are really pushing streaming as a tool to get our music heard more widely, but also have digital copies available via Bandcamp and iTunes.”
To focus a little on your sound now, what are the main influences of Claim the Throne?
“Our primary influences come from folk metal, melodic death metal and black metal. In my opinion they all cross over at various times and using differing amounts of each can create a whole host of seemingly different styles that in some way sound cohesive. Bands we name check a lot are Dissection, Moonsorrow and Wintersun. Individually we all bring a few extra influences to the table that usually inform our approach to how we play our instruments and the way we like them to sound. I think that’s important to note, because as our sonic tastes as individuals evolves, so does the sound of the band.”
Based on this, what bands in the current scene do you guys value?
“Internationally it’s hard to go past Wintersun and Moonsorrow. They have both released a record in the last couple of years and are still inspiring us. In Australia it would be Be’lakor. They are really an international band to us at this point and we all love their approach to melodic death metal.”
You have recently been fortunate to tour in parts of Asia, what has this been like for the band?
“It’s been awesome! Asia and the South Pacific region is so diverse. There are huge cultural differences, different food and styles of living. It’s also really interesting to hear what sort of metal bands are doing well in each different region. We’ve always been well received in these areas and are stoked to return when we get the chance.”
Are there any plans for Claim the Throne, to tour any further afield in the near future?
We do have an international trip slated for 2018. It’s not quite ready to be announced, but it’s a part of the world that we’ve been looking to get to since day one of being in a band.
Now to the national tour in Jan/Feb, what can audiences expect from your shows on this tour?
“Audiences can expect plenty of songs off the new album! Usually we tend to go with 2 or maybe 3 off a new album, but this time the setlist is really working well with mostly newer tracks. There will be plenty of drinking and hanging out, a bunch of cool bands at every shows, and generally a bloody good night wherever the hell we happen to be.”
Where to from here with Claim the Throne, what are the next major moves for the band?
“The last few releases have been 3 or 4 years apart, so I guess a major move would be to put something out a bit sooner this time. We haven’t really stopped writing since the last album was recorded so I’m pretty confident we can get something done in the next 12 months or so. The other thing that might be different is to shorten the album length a touch. Forged in Flame and On Desolate Plains were over an hour each, which is probably a little excessive for some people. This time around we’re talking about working on a smaller batch of longer songs and capping the length somewhere around 40mins. We’ll have to see how that pans out though!”
Claim the Throne despite having a history and an established back catalogue, are a band who are constantly moving and pushing the envelope musically. It is difficult to be a Folk-Metal band in Australia, so far from the epicentre of the scene, however, the band have surged forward, created their own sound and developed a fan base that stretches all over the globe. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Claim the Throne, I urge you to go and buy a copy of On Desolate Plains, and if you haven’t seen them live, check out their Australian Tour in 2018.
Interview by Mark Snedden
Claim The Throne – Australian Tour Jan/Feb 2018
Fri Jan 12 – Perth, WA – Amplifier Bar
Sat Jan 13 – Bunbury, WA – Indi Bar
Thur Jan 25 – Adelaide, SA – Enigma Bar
Fri Jan 26 – Melbourne, VIC – The Bendigo
Sat Jan 27 – Bendigo, VIC – Musicman Megastore
Sun Jan 28 – Sydney, NSW – Frankie’s Pizza
Wed Jan 31 – Sydney, NSW – The Record Crate (all ages + workshop)
Thur Feb 1 – Gosford, NSW – Born 2 Rock (all ages + workshop)
Fri Feb 2 – Newcastle, NSW – The Vault
Sat Feb 3 – Brisbane, QLD – The Back Room