The Gloom in the Corner's take on metalcore is frenetic and pummelling, with a sheen well known to those keeping their fingers on the pulse of Australia's increasingly prominent pool of heaviness but a vicious scattershot energy not unlike the hardcore of Vein.FM, but a whirlwind of beatdowns isn't the only world this band have invited their fans into.
Since their 2016 debut album 'Fear Me', The Gloom in the Corner have been weaving a narrative in their music that in the years since has only gotten wider, grander and more ambitious, known as the Gloom saga. In a world where metalcore lyrics can be all too interchangeable, The Gloom in the Corner are tapping into a kind of storytelling that rewards investment into following each chapter.
That story continues with newest single "Warfare", one of a trilogy of tracks this year that will form a standalone installment to the band's broader world-building. In the build-up, they've invited their fans to become part of that world, flocking to their website to determine their membership to one of the Gloom saga's three factions.
With the arrival of "Warfare" and the promise of the Gloom saga going further than ever to bring listeners into something unique along with their heaviness, frontman Mikey Arthur talks crafting a unique lyrical through-line and shaping metalcore with it in our Knotfest interview below.
Warfare marks the continuation of your lyrical narrative termed the Gloom saga. The character details are incredibly specific where some other concept stories might go the route of vagueness, and these kind of in-depth character-driven narrative concepts aren't the most common in the style of heavy music that you play. Was it a conscious choice to bring this type of storytelling to a genre that sometimes avoids it?
Yes 100% it was! When I came up with the concept for Gloom, I already kind of had the back bone of the story down; the characters of Jay, Rachel and Thatcher
It seems like the rage of influences is pretty vast with touchstones ranging from Slender Man to real world war crimes. Do you take much inspiration from art outside of music and outside of the norm for these aspects of your band?
For almost all of the story, yes. Especially the characters. With plot lines, I try to come up with
How much of these story arcs comes from your personal experiences? Is the story more escapism or genuine commentary? There's a definite anti-religious streak to some of your character factions, as well as the aforementioned historical basis.
It’s a bit of a mix and match; when I wrote Fear Me, I was going through a bit of a rough patch in life, so that’s where a lot of the dark themes of that record come from. Some of it is genuine commentary though (‘War’ and ‘Paramour’ from Homecoming, ‘Peace’ from Flesh & Bones’, and most recently, ‘Warfare’), and it’s topics I feel that the characters have the liberty to talk about because of the characters they are; Ethan (Homecoming protagonist) being a war veteran and the horrific tale told in ‘War’ was my tribute in the form of an open letter about the horrors of war, and what returned vets go through after their service. As for the anti-religious side of things, I grew up in a Christian household and went to an Anglican school, so for the obvious hints of sacrilege in the lyrics, that’d be where that stems from. For the most part though, I’d like to think the religious themes and events covered in the narrative are just my own personal take that religion. I personally am not anti religious by any means; if you want to believe in something, by all means go for it, just don’t shove it down my throat.
Is the lack of physical shows this year giving you room to get even more detailed and crazy with your writing ideas?
Oh yep, I’m still plotting out every minor detail for the current releases even now and making sure that when that third and final single drops for the (end of this) Arc, everything works and makes sense. We’ve also started working on new music, so plotting out the story for that and making sure that all flows and works too has been a lot of what I’m doing these past few months. All that, and generating content for the story that people can engage with too. I might have to sit down and finally write that book…
Warfare's road to battle is certainly coloured by its strings and orchestral arrangements bringing to mind some of those religious factions. How much work goes into shaping the sonic landscape of each song to align it with its place in the narrative?
A lot of work, especially over these 3 singles. Warfare was an oddball because the turn around time for it was so quick due to our time restraint before going into the studio (we were going in before having it fully down before hand), and I kind of just pieced together what I could, then refined it completely in the studio. However the last single of the three coming out, I reckon I spent about 3 months working on, just getting it perfect. Without giving anything away, it’s an incredibly personal song to me (probably the most personal of all the songs we’ve written), and so I wanted to take the time and effort into making it what it will be. I’d like to think I’m super meticulous when it comes to arranging the orchestra and samples that come with Gloom, but sometimes things just flow better if I don’t think about it too hard or over do it, and Warfare is a perfect example of that; not too over the top, but enough there for it to stand out and have it’s place.
Are you plotting as you go George R.R. Martin style or is the endgame already laid out long in advance?
For this arc, yeah it’s been laid out long in advance. I think I had the ending down since the end of Flesh & Bones; I knew where I wanted to take the story and how I should wrap up the Fear Me Arc before moving onto record 2. We could have ended it at the end of Flesh & Bones, but I hate loose ends in arcs, it felt like cancelling a TV show before it got a proper finale or send off, and that’s what these (three) tracks get to be; a send off for these characters that both we the band, and the audience, love dearly. In the words of Sergeant Johnson in Halo 3; “send me out… with a bang.”
With your website offering fans the opportunity to determine their Gloom saga faction, is this just the beginning of a larger plan to incorporate listeners into the world and give them the opportunity to shape the direction of the story?
For introducing people to the story, yes; I’m not quite sure yet how we’re going to continue to introduce people to the world, but the website was definitely a new entry point, and served a really great way to reintroduce old characters to the mix (Director Emily Scarlett, leader of the Sect), and new characters and factions. I was really excited to introduce Elias DeGraver and The Holy Order through that medium because he and that faction play a huge part in the story going forward. As for people shaping the story, I want to say no at this point, just because there’s so many different little gears in place that I’d fear contradictions might occur. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to suggestions or theories though! I love hearing all the crazy stuff that people have come up with.