The unfolding story of UK Death Doom Metal band Enchantment is a one of perseverance and triumph over time. Their debut Dance the Marble Naked was released way back in 1994. Their sophomore album Cold Soul Embrace will finally be unleashed in 2022, and will truly offer a glimpse to the past, but will come imbued with 30 years of life experience. The journey of Enchantment resonates greatly with me, as it is a similar tale to my own band’s journey, Aeons Abyss, after we reformed to release music from 30 years past in 2019.
Bass player, Mark Tierney, took some time recently to answer the following interview questions.
Introduce yourself, and who is in your band?
My name is Mark Tierney, I play bass, the rest of the band are Paul Jones (Vocals), Marc Gibson (Guitar) and Steve Blackmore (Guitar). Our original drummer Chris Sanders left the band just before we recorded the new album but was fortunately around to record the demos. We hired a local drummer called Aiden Baldwin in to play drums on the album, his band Blanket are just about to release their second full length LP ‘Modern Escapism‘ on Music For Nations, please check them out.
Way back in 1994 you released “Dance the Marble Naked”, with the band ceasing activities soon after. Having re-formed in 2019, tell us a little about the history of the band and the motivation to get back together to put out an album.
I originally met Paul and Marc at my cousin’s house, who they were dating at the time and we immediately got on very well. We all shared a love of heavy music although I was still very new to the death metal scene. We were all learning instruments at the time and it was inevitable that we’d form a band. Chris and Steve were in a band together at the time called ‘Contagious‘ but they left to join us doing death metal. We were originally called ‘Manifest‘ for a couple of gigs, then we changed our name to ‘Sufferance‘. This was around 1992, and we were mostly playing covers and some of our own generic style gore-inspired death metal. None of us were particularly technically gifted so we tended to gravitate towards slower, simpler style songs and riffs hence our morphing into a melodic death/doom band. The name change to ‘Enchantment‘ was done to fit the change in style of the music.
After a handful of gigs we recorded a demo in 1993 called ‘A Tear For Young Eloquence‘, this was very well received and somehow we got a record deal with Century Media. It all happened pretty quickly. We recorded our debut ‘Dance The Marble Naked‘ at Academy Studios in Dewsbury with Mags on production in 5 days, it felt very rushed and we were very inexperienced. We still had no manager and were very naive. Unfortunately the album didn’t sell very well and we failed to get any kind of tour secured to promote it. When it came to record a follow up the label didn’t seem too interested (perhaps understandably so) and wanted us to demo the songs first. Unfortunately we had zero money to record and things kind of fizzled. It was all amicable but most of us lost touch with each other over the years.
Somehow the debut album seemed to gain a cult following and has seen a few reissues which was always very surprising/humbling. When Cosmic Key Creations released it on vinyl we were all really buzzing and managed to get in touch with each other for the first time in probably 15 years which was brilliant. Inevitably someone suggested we try and finish the second album. It had always been a source of trauma for me personally that we’d worked so hard on the follow up and never finished it, so this gave us a chance to fix that. Initially the motivation was probably just to get together and rekindle our friendships, no real ambitions to release it.
We had probably about 8 songs written back in 1995, it was a case of trying to track down old rehearsal tapes and lyrics etc. That was easier said than done and we had to fill in the gaps with a few new riffs here and there plus one completely new song.
“Enchantment” is a name that inspires mysticism. Why did you choose this name and how does it influence the band?
Paul would be the best person to ask about this but I’ll do my best. We evolved from a death metal cover band and found our feet as something more melodic, Enchantment was just the most fitting name for the new style of music we had written. It fit perfectly with the raw romantic yet sorrowful poetic lyrics and melodies of our material.
Your sophomore album “Cold Soul Embrace” releases in 2022 (28 years after your debut release). What are 3 things we need to know about this release?
1 – All the tracks except one are based on material written just after Dance The Marble Naked.
2 – It has taken approximately two years to source the original material and compile it into a full-length album.
3 – Due to the Covid lockdown we could not rehearse any of the material together which made the recording sessions pretty intense.
What is the band’s approach to songwriting?
Back in 1994 we’d all come in with various riffs and melodies and knock them into shape through jamming, etc. Paul would normally record the songs on his portable stereo and take them home to write the lyrics. I can’t really say what our process is now as we’ve had to put this album together in unusual circumstances using files sent to each other in dropbox and online group chats etc. It’s been a very different process and not one we’d use by choice. It was almost like an archaeological dig trying to uncover past relics and document them.
Tell us about the recording, mixing and mastering for the new album
Initially we started by trying to find any old recordings and lyrics from before we split up. We managed to find all the old lyrics, a few rehearsal tapes, one track on a vhs video, and I had a couple of old riff tapes from 94/95 still in my possession. This material was documented and transferred to digital format so we could curate it. Some new sections were written where required.
I have a basic recording setup at home (mac, logic, interface and some modelling gear). Chris had a drum kit at home and Paul bought a mic and interface. We demoed the entire album first. I recorded the basic riffs and arrangements to a click. These recordings were shared amongst the band and we all had input into what worked and what didn’t, rearranged certain parts etc etc. Back and forth for probably around 12 months mostly during the initial Covid outbreak. Chris then overdubbed his drum parts and Paul laid down the vocals. Chris decided to leave the band just before the demos were finished because of personal reasons but by that time we had some decent recordings which Cosmic Key Creations and Transcending Records were really interested in investing in to get recorded properly.
We couldn’t rehearse due to lockdown and also because we all live in different parts of the UK, so all the guitar parts had to be written out in tab, with the sections divided between Marc and Steve for them to relearn at home. The whole process was very slow, laborious and frustrating but we were absolutely determined to get it finally finished.
The album is basically a home recording, but due to the wonders of modern technology this is quite possible in this day and age. We sent Aiden the demos and he recorded all the drum tracks, he was pretty faithful to Chris’ original ideas but also added a lot of his own touch to them. I recorded the bass, keyboards and string arrangements along with some rough guide guitar tracks so we could start on the vocals. Paul then recorded the vocals at Rec Studios in Blackpool in three sessions. Due to work commitments the guitars had to be recorded last which we did over three weekends at my house. We originally wanted it to be mixed by someone else but we just couldn’t work around the various schedules with the producer to get a decent go at it in time so I mixed it at home with Paul. We already had a pretty decent rough mix that everyone was fairly happy with so it was just a case of adding some final touches to that. During the entire process we were all in touch with each other sending comments back and forth etc. The tracks were mastered by Freek De Greef who is Cosmic Key Creations go-to mastering guy, we’re really happy with the results and can’t wait for people to hear it.
What is your favourite track and why?
I have a few favourites but if I had to choose one it would be ‘As Greed As The Eye Beholds‘. I feel like this embodies the vibe of the whole album. The main theme from the song is a piece of music that we’d completely forgotten about and rediscovered from listening to my old riff tapes. The mid-section is new material, and I feel like Paul rediscovered his voice when we were demoing this track so it has a special meaning for me. After this song was demoed I felt we had something really good on our hands.
Can you talk about the album artwork and when it will be unveiled?
We struggled a bit with the album artwork, initially we were trawling through various artists work looking at paintings and various fantasy based art but we ended up using a piece from quite a well established London based photographer who mainly does commercial type imagery. We all loved the chosen image straight away and it seems to fit the album themes very well. That’s about all I want to reveal at the moment. The artwork for the single ‘As Greed As The Eye Beholds‘ is a really cool zombie illustration by one of Marc’s friends mysteriously only known to me as JDW!
What can you tell us about your current label?
I think we’re essentially an unsigned band. Cosmic Key Creations and Transcending Records were both kind enough to offer us a deal for this album and we’re really happy to be working with genuine people and fans of the band. We don’t really want to sign another six album deal and get lost in the system again. Moving forward we’d want to work with them again if possible just because they’ve shown so much faith in us, they have some excellent releases on their books please take a look and support them!
Tell us an unusual fact, or one funny story about your band
Our guitarist Marc Gibson has his own excellent YouTube channel called ‘Marc G with a C‘ where he discusses his vast metal music collection.
(side note – Marc has previously showcased his amazing personal collection in the Metal Vaults section of Noob Heavy – click here to read about his collection and YouTube channel)
What is the metal scene like in the UK and in Blackpool?
Blackpool has always had quite a vibrant music scene, we have a couple of really good live music venues. One place called the Waterloo is an excellent venue and has some great acts on all year round. I don’t know if there’s necessarily a ‘metal scene’ locally but there are a lot of bands of all genres kicking about.
What have you got coming up in the next 6 – 12 months?
I think we’d like to try and write some new material and hopefully play live but that has it’s own logistical nightmares with the way the band is all spread out and work/family commitments etc. We don’t have any fixed plans currently, we’ll have to see how the album is received and take it from there. Hopefully we won’t completely disappear this time!
Last question – If My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Enchantment were all Football Teams, who would they be and why?
I think Paradise Lost would be Man City, very successful, excellent squad, superior financial backing etc. My Dying Bride would be Man Utd or Liverpool, a rich history and loyal fanbase. Enchantment would be Blackpool FC, the plucky underdog trying to get promoted against all odds. Paul is an Everton fan so obviously doesn’t really like football at all.