Jungian Metal

feature image

As Carl Jung paved his existential path through the mass of behavioral psychology, so have Scholomance have carved their own path through the generic fields of satanic black metal and gore-ridden American death metal. They have forged a path of individuality that breaks the mold and challenges the American extreme metal scene. With a deeply intellectual approach and a musical ability that sometimes dazzles and confuses, Scholomance look to take a place among American metal as a leader, not a follower. The three piece consisting of Scott Crinklaw (guitars, percussion, and keyboards), Jimmy Pitts (vocals and keyboards) and bassist Jerry Twyford seem poised at the edge of abyss of greatness, just waiting for a push over the edge. The latest album The Immortality Murder, might be the album to do just that. Residing on The End records, Scholomance seem to fit the progressive nature of the label, I visited with guitarist and keyboardist Scott Crinklaw about The End records, lyrical influences and the promising future for Scholomance.

Firstly what does Scholomance mean, and where did you get the name?
The Scholomance is said to be the legendary school of the occult attended by the Draculs in Romania. The devil himself was supposed to be the teacher. Ten scholars were accepted, but the 10th was kept as payment by the devil for his teachings of magic, alchemy, nature, etc. The 10th scholar was then given a dragon steed, which was told to sleep beneath a lake of infinite depth in the mountains. A great treasure was also said to be hidden in the lake. We found the name while does some reading about Vampires, it really seemed to capture what we wanted the band to represent, and the band decided right away that was the right name for the band, I t was the first name we had.

Could you give us a brief history of Scholomance?
Well, Jimmy and I were first in a death metal band called Communion, with Jimmy’s ex-wife on drums. When she got pregnant, that kind of ended that. Then later Jimmy and I started Scholomance. It was just the two of us for a while, then we later got in the bassist from Communion. That didn’t work out so some time after that we asked Jerry to play with us on bass and he’s still with us. We recorded a couple of promo tapes, then we did a more professionally produced demo called “I am that which is”. It had a few songs that made it onto A Treatise on Love, such as the title song which was based on the life of Beethoven. That demo got us signed to The end records in 1998. Later that year we released A Treatise on Love. The period between A Treatise on Love and now was pretty much in preparation for The Immortality Murder.

How do you feel about The Immortality Murder, what was it like recording such a complex piece of work? Was there anything you would have done differently?
I am overall very pleased with how the album turned out. The whole recording process, about eight days, was a thousand times better than A Treatise on Love, I feel we captured the live essence of Scholoamnce, everything was so much more professional. Greg Roller at Caravell studios did an excellent job. We basically brought in some other band material, such as Death and Children of Bodom, as an example of the type of sound we were reaching for. He did an amazing job. It was such a challenge for him to get the right sound, but he’s so talented that we got the sound we wanted, the guitars are so much more up front in the mix, which is something that was missing from A Treatise on Love. As far as thing I would like to have done different, I initially wanted to have more samples like on the previous release, but after hearing Jimmy vocals, we decided not too. They were so intense; he just threw himself completely into the lyrics. We felt that samples were not necessary after the job he did.

Are you concerned that the extremely technical nature of the music might isolate some more mainstream metal fans?
Not really, we are not making music for Six Feet under fans. We play a style of music that represents our bands interests and likes. We know that there are fans out there than want something more than a simple three riff song, and appreciate the technical aspect of the genre.

The lyrics for both Scholomance are very deep and psychological, what are the primary lyrical influences on The Immortality Murder?
Personally, lyrics I write, come from own personal turmoil, they are deeply rooted in psychology mixed with some personal emotions that simply cannot be explained, they are based on truth, life and experience, mixed with some dreams and nightmares I have experienced. I came up with the lyrics for the first four songs in one night; they just came streaming out in one depressive, angry episode I was having. Jimmy wrote the lyrics for “Virus-The Theft of Knowledge”, and “The Next Step (for the sake of the greater whole. He used a lot of external literary and classical influences. For instance the lyrics for “The Next Step”, are based on some of the biographies of obscure Russian composer, Scriabin. He was heavily into the occult and his music was incredibly technical, his biography is very bizarre.

How do you feel about the American metal scene and where do you see it going?
That would have been easier to answer six months to a year ago. then a lot of the death and black metal had become a little stagnant, I think it peaked a while ago and now most bands all sound the same, none are really trying anything new or different. However I think where there has been a real explosion is in the new wave of hardcore band that have come out. I really enjoy Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, and Cave In, I think the hardcore scene has progressed so much more beyond the “Oi” shout along days of Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All. These new bands are so aggressive yet so technical also. I think a lot of death metal fans are scared of these bands due to the “hardcore” nametag, they are missing out on some really brilliant played aggressive music, that is lacking in the death metal scene overall.

What do you Think of The End records, and the other band on the label?
I think Andreas at the end has done a great job, he is so busy its insane. They have grown so much in the last few months, I remember a while ago when they had the same few bands for a long time, now they are signing some really good bands. They just signed Green Carnation, who I love, and Sleepless, who are good but a little mellow for me. They also just recently signed Winds, which is basically all the guys from Arcturus, I am really happy to be on the same label as those guys. Andreas is so good and trying to understand all the different perspectives that we have, it mustDo you have any other interests out side of the band?
I do a lot of practicing on my own. I have been thinking about doing side project, something a little more guitar orientated, with an emphasis on rhythm-something a little heavier without so much keyboard work. I would even like to expand on some of the arabesque stuff from The Immortality Murder, maybe do a whole improvised track of just Arabian influenced music- but that would probably be something we’d do in Scholomance eventually.

Are there any plans for a tour to promote the new release?
No, not right now, we worked so hard on this album we need a little time of with our families. We all have full time jobs so a full tour is hard.

How do you transfer such a complex studio sound into a stage environment?
Hell, it’s been over a year since we played live. Its very difficult obviously as I am the only guitarist and we use programmed drums. We prepare very hard so everything is perfect, we hate mistakes. The guitars have to be adapted; there are some effects to fill out the guitar sound and for some of the harmonies. Some of the keyboards have to be sequenced as we utilize them so much, we think everything out thoroughly before a live show as so much is based on programming and sequencing to get it to sound as good as possible. Jimmy does a killer job live with his vocals, he maybe uses a little reverb but other wise he uses no vocal effects at all.

Scholomance’s material is very complex, give us an example of how a typical song writing process might go.
Firstly the lyrics are written separately-we write the lyrics first then apply them later to the music that we come up with. Normally we will start with some the keyboard parts, we then build from there, adding guitar and drum parts. We add the vocals and bass last. However, while practicing we tend to flesh out the songs while we are practicing, add parts here and there, a lot of the songs grow while we are practicing them, its always an ever evolving process.

What is next for Scholomance?
Actually we have started writing material for the next album. I can tell you the next album will be a full-blown concept album with one defining story throughout, with even more lyrical and musical depth. We think we might try to find a drummer soon, he would have to be very special, not only because of the music but we a re a pretty different group of guys, he would have to fit in with us well. If any technical metal drummers are reading this and think they might want to try out, get in touch with me.

Anything else?
Check out the album, check out the web-site. http://www.theendrecords.com/html/scholomance.html and xscholomancex@aol.com.


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.