The Whipping Post Presents...

Frost Like Ashes Interview - Added 08/27/05

Nothing is more frustrating for a band then finishing your new recording and seeing it delayed.  This is currently the case for the extreme metal band Frost Like Ashes.  However, the finished product will be worth the wait for fans of the band as they take the sound from their previous EP and kick it up another notch, with more aggression and better songwriting.  Read along as I talk with guitarist Sebat about their upcoming album and everything else Frost Like Ashes...

THE WHIPPING POST:  Hey Sebat, I hope all is going well.  You guys just recently finished your new album Tophet.  Unfortunately, this album has seen some delays that I’m sure are frustrating you.  What are the reasons that you know of for the delay in getting Tophet out to the public and what is the official release date now that you are hearing from your label?

SEBAT:  Your right Tophet has definitely seen a few delays so far. We first went in to record it back in 2003 when we were with SOTD Records, but they closed up shop without even the consideration of a phone call letting us know they were going out of business. I mean we figured it out pretty easy, they refused to answer phone calls and emails and eventually we knew we were getting the shaft. And what I mean by that was they originally had wanted the CD done by a certain date, we went in the studio, and then they just disappeared, and basically left us with a studio bill to cover. So we never were able to use much of what we recorded during that session since we had to stop halfway thru due to lack of funds. Gladly Matt from Shadows Fall contacted us about being on a compilation he was putting out on his label Lifeless Records and so we were able to get Nightfall’s Cold Kiss mixed and included on that.

Then we were approached by Psycho Acoustix Records in 2004 and were able to begin recording Tophet again, this time we were given a budget to record and we used that to purchase studio gear and recorded it on our own system. So we couldn’t use the tracks from the previous session. So Nosral Studios was born, and what a blessing that is.

Anyway the recent developments with the delay of Tophet are frustrating, particularly if you take into account all the drama have already went thru with SOTD folding and such. But seriously this time around it’s a much better situation than what it could be. Since Psycho Acoustix is located in Florida some of the weather down there affected some deadlines and such, and though I don’t know all of the particulars it was just easier to set the release date back a bit. The last I heard from Jimmy Brown who is our A&R guy is that it should be out late August or early September, like the Psycho Acoustix site says.  Now the frustration still exists, but I understand that sometimes there are things that just cause problems. I mean I remember hearing how the first pressing of  Pure As The Blood Covered Snow was destroyed in a train wreck in Lenexa, Kansas (which is basically Kansas City) so we had worked our tails off to get it done, and then a train wreck and fire destroyed the discs. We hit our knees and prayed that day and as the day progressed the train company kept finding more and more boxes of “Pure As” that were undamaged until all of them were recovered.

So disasters are not a new thing to this band, though it can at times wreak havoc on the emotions.

TWP:  There is a contest going on to win a new guitar for the fans that pre-order your new album.  What kind of guitar is being given away and do you think that the delays in getting Tophet out will make people shy away from pre-ordering? 

SEBAT:  The guitar being given away is a Halo guitar, which is a new guitar company that is doing a bit of underground Guerrilla style marketing. Basically they are spreading the word about their company thru smaller bands like us.  They approached us about playing their guitars and the result is that Frost Like Ashes and Halo Guitars have started working together. Now I really like the guitars; I am actually playing the Halo pretty much all the time during rehearsals and recording sessions. Anyway, I wanted to bless the guys at Halo as much as I could, so I suggested the ideas to the label and they agreed it was a good idea. The result is that some fan of Frost Like Ashes is going to walk away with a pretty nice instrument. And both FLA and the label get a touch of promotion.  You know honestly the set backs will effect some things, how much I don’t really have any idea,  but I think once this album actually is in peoples hands the buzz is going to be so positive that good things will happen.

TWP:  Describe what fans should expect to hear when listening to Tophet for the first time. How will it differ from Pure as the Blood Covered Snow?  The new songs I’ve heard on your MySpace site sound really good and aggressive.  Will the rest of the album follow in this vein?

SEBAT:  Yeah aggression is a good word for what is found on Tophet, we have a couple of atmospheric pieces one written by Qoheleth and one by Adonijah and they add to the whole feel of the disc quite substantially.  I think the main difference from Pure As to Tophet is that we have grown as songwriters and it’s really quite evident. But honestly were the same band, so Tophet is really just a progression into what we were doing before.

TWP:  How did the recording process go with Tophet?

SEBAT:  Since it was the absolute first time that we have ever used the gear we bought to record it on, it was a massive undertaking with tons of lessons learned. But honestly the sound quality was so much more like what we have always wanted that it never got tiring or too overwhelming. A few tense situations but overall it was tons of fun despite all the work involved.

TWP:  You guys decided to re-record the song “A Cruel Verse” for this new release.  It’s a great song, but what made you guys decide to do that song again?

SEBAT:  All the songs on Tophet seem to fit a theme, and we felt it fit that theme. So we included it. Besides, I was so super annoyed with the lousy guitar sound on Pure As that I really fought to re-track with a better sound. The other reason is how fast we play it now. We dig the tune a ton, it is a great song.

TWP:  You sent me a copy of the lyrics for Tophet before this interview.  I’m really impressed by the quality of them.  They refer a lot to the power and wrath of God being poured out on evil.  Songs like “A Terrible Visitation”, “Of Spirit and Power”, and “Shattered Gods” are just terrific lyrical songs.  I really like “Desecrator” too.  That song is sure to upset some because of the references you made, but I think it’s great that your band is bold enough to say what you said.  Who are the lyrics writers in the band and what importance do you place on allowing your belief in God to show so strongly in your lyrics? 

SEBAT:  Well thank you for the compliment, I will make sure to pass that on to Azahel who actually writes all of our lyrics. Though I have sat down with Azahel and talked with him about the different ideas I have which he tries to incorporate. Like “a terrible visitation” came out of a two hour conversation we had one night about Joel chapter two. I actually had nothing to do with the lyrics, but it was something that just flowed out of him after he had thought about the subject a bit. Lord of Darkness came from an idea I had, or rather a feeling; I was so fed up with hearing about Satan being the “lord” of anything. So I just gathered some verses about God dwelling in the darkness and called Azahel and asked him to write it. The lyrics that he wrote are amazing; they so show a real relationship with Jesus and totally embody what I was thinking.  Desecrator is a great song, and probably we will anger tons of people with that one. Which is deeply disturbing if you actually sit down and think about why anyone would actually be angry with it, I mean seriously why would they actually be offended?  We comment on other people’s artwork and actions but it’s not like we were the ones that made those things happen in the first place. Yeah that’s frustrating; people get so bent over stuff like that…

You know Frost Like Ashes has never set out to be a “Christian” band so much as it has always just been Christians that play metal. Though were not really ashamed to be called a “Christian metal band”. Now the thing is here, we're really Christians first, I believe sharing the gospel is important. We all do. And I will be the first to say that ALL believers have a responsibility to make sure that they are letting their light shine no matter what their profession.  Ok, now everyone in Frost Like Ashes thinks that the Bible is the word of God almighty, and that it’s a wonderful resource to use in all situations. Not only is it great for teaching and rebuking, it was authored by the Father of all creation. So we honestly believe that there has to be “creative” ways to use it without falling into the religious bondage of appearing Christian enough. I know that we are seriously thinking of doing a concept album, that wouldn’t be as “Christian” as the lyrics to Tophet are… since it would be a fictional story. Now the heart of that story would flow from the thought that Jesus is Lord. So who knows how it will turn out?

TWP:  You guys recently had a few member changes.  Who is now in the band and who left since the recording of your last EP?

SEBAT:  Syntyche is no longer with us and Ruach has stepped in as a wonderful replacement for her. He came in and learned all the songs on Tophet in the studio and really helped us out of a tight spot. Then he agreed to play with us as much as he could until he goes to Mexico as a missionary.

TWP:  You all recently went in the studio again to record for a release that is to come out next year.  Tell me a little bit about this new recording and when can fans expect to see it released?

SEBAT:  Yeah we actually just started recording this weekend. We tracked the first song yesterday as a matter of fact. We are shooting for a June 6th release date next year. We are trying to make sure we get it finished in time to really promote its release. Ruach is leaving for Mexico in September for a 3 month missions trip, so we want it all tracked before he leaves. That way it will be done by that date. Now this project is just an EP but I think it will really help expose Frost Like Ashes to a new crowd as we are covering some classic rock songs… and yes they are Christian rock/ metal songs that were covering.  I am not sure what the album is going to be called yet, but I personally have attached myself to the title Covered In Frost.

TWP:  At one time I remember hearing something about you guys recording a video.  Did that ever take place and where can fans see that clip?  Do you think you’ll ever record any other videos in the future?

SEBAT:  Yeah we paid for and shot a video, now the guy did finish it for us after like a year plus of hounding him about it. Anyway, it was right at the time that Syntyche left the band. Somehow the video got misplaced and no one knows where it’s at. I would love to make it available for people to view, but it just seems to of disappeared.  I have been considering trying to put together a five song DVD for release to the public sometime, I probably should start praying about that.

TWP:  You guys have gotten a little grief because of your decision to wear corpse paint in your band photos and when playing live.  Does it get on your nerves that after all these years of bands wearing corpse paint that people still complain about it? 

SEBAT:  You know there are tons of captious people out there. The thing that gets me about the whole face paint is that people actually refuse to listen to a band based on how they look, and they will do it with odd double standards. They will gladly throw in an Immortal disc and think its great, despite the paint. The truth is, after a couple full length albums are out there, people will have to eat their words about how Christians can’t do this music right… I am a man on a mission, honestly we all are, and were really on a mission, so we will do this right and the naysayers will eat their words.

TWP:  Have you guys had the chance to play live much lately?

SEBAT:  Not since last year.

TWP:  You and I spoke a while back and you seemed very interested in playing Cornerstone Festival.  Obviously that didn’t work out.  Are you guys going to make an attempt to get on the lineup for next year?

SEBAT:  I believe were going to try to play as many metal festivals as possible, and despite the lack of metal at Cornerstone, that festival gets in the list of places we want to play.  We just need to get someone to help us organize this stuff as we really have no clue how to approach it. But yeah I pray that we get to play there at C-stone too as it is a wise career move for any band.

TWP:  What are some bands out there today that really get you excited about the future of metal?

SEBAT:  The latest Crimson Moonlight was a breath of fresh air, Dharok of Sympathy is a good friend, but honestly his skills are so great its humbling that he even considers me a peer. Pale Horse is back and they are great! I love Holy Blood what a great band!  Yeah there are others I am sure, but can’t think of much right now…

TWP:  Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Sebat!  I wish you all blessings on your upcoming release and on all your future projects as well.  Do you have any final comments for the readers of The Whipping Post and for all the loyal Frost Like Ashes fans out there?

SEBAT:  Thanks a ton for the interview, I appreciate The Whipping Post and check the “news” section quite a bit to keep up on the scene! And FLA fans buy a new Frost Like Ashes shirt and wear it too church!