Set up in 2001 by Kristof Bathory, the Los Angeles (USA) based Dawn Of Ashes is a band that went through different periods. The early records, released by the now defunct NoiTekk, revealed a dark- and tormented electronic sound. Quite progressively the band started to explore new sonic paths, composing albums driven by heavy industrial-metal music. There was a break in between 2013 and 2016, but DOA stroke back releasing new material. The newest opus “The Crypt Injection II (Non Serviam)” released on Metropolis, is a kind of back to the early dark-electro sound mixed with elements of metal music. It’s a powerful and fully accomplished opus, which incited me to get in touch with Kristof Bathory and… Johan Van Roy (Suicide Commando) who has been invited to do guest vocals on one of the tracks.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Your new album “The Crypt Injection II” clearly sounds as a back to the roots, but still featuring the industrial-metal approach from the recent years. What incited you to go back to the early sound of Dawn Of Ashes and where do you place this new work in the band’s history/discography?
Kristof: There has always been a high demand about returning to our earlier sound from fans that have been following us since the beginning, and there are fans that understand how we have the capability of blending both metal- and industrial music. I feel that I did neglect the origins of where DOA started from, but also know that I initially wanted Dawn Of Ashes to be a blend of metal and industrial from the beginning. Dawn Of Ashes is an industrial-metal band that experiments with various sides from different types of metal- and industrial music. I wanted to pay homage to the first “Crypt Injection” while throwing in what we do now. This album was meant to tell older fans that we hear you and that we don’t have to bury who we used to be any longer.
Q: So how did it feel getting back to dark-electronics and how would you compare writing an industrial-metal album versus a dark-electro album?
Kristof: This first attempt emerged when I wrote the debut “Bornless Fire”-album. Toying with synths again has been something I really missed. There is definitely something special about the combination of synth sounds and metal music. Not a lot of bands can pull it off and if they do, it sounds amazing. The dark-electro era had a very simplistic style of writing, while writing industrial-metal is a lot of work. The mixing process is very different and working with others and having them capture my vision of the sound is challenging. I feel that there is a sense of maturity difference between both “The Crypt Injection 1” and “The Crypt Injection 2”. Both unique in different ways and both have their own charm.
Q: What has been the main focus in the composition- and production process of this work and what are the elements you’re particularly proud of?
Kristof: The focus was to achieve the sound of the original “Crypt Injection” while making it completely different. The style of writing dark-electro / industrial and writing metal and putting them together while doing the math was very interesting. Mixing this album with Brendin Ross was the biggest nightmare and probably the hardest album to mix in my opinion. I feel like I’m mostly proud that I was able to pull this off and bring back that old sound, but also making it unique.
Q: I’m intrigued by the cover inspired by the Sephiroth, the famous ‘tree of life’ from Kabbalah. What does this ‘symbol’ means to you and what’s the link between the artwork and the lyrical content of the album?
Kristof: It’s actually the ‘Tree of Death’ or the Qliphoth. I have made it public that I am an active practitioner of The Left Hand Path and Black / Dark Magick. While in the middle of this album, I was studying and working with the Qliphothic Magick in a LHP order that I am involved in. The concept of the Tree of Death went well with the theme of “The Crypt Injection 2”. Death as a symbol of transformation or the mysteries in darkness and injecting this symbol within the knowledge of the mind.
Q: The song “Hexcraft” is featuring Johan Van Roy who’s accentuating the dark-electro side of the work. How this featuring did happen and what makes Suicide Commando that special to you?
Kristof: Johan has always been a friend even though we still have not met in person. I felt that he would be the perfect person to do guest vocals since this album was meant to pay homage to the early years of dark-electro. I have always loved his work so it just happened.
Q: Johan, do you’ve some personal criteria when you accept to get featured on an album and what was your personal experience on “Hexcraft”?
Johan Van Roy: In theory I don’t have any personal criteria to accept any guest vocal requests, after all I’m just an electro whore, so I do all for money …:-)
No seriously, basically my only conditions are that I like the music and/or the song, and the artist behind this music. I would never sell my soul to an artist I don’t like personally. I know Kristof Bathory of DOA for many years now, and we always had much respect for eachothers work, so for me it was an honor to do guest vocals on “Hexcraft”.
Q: I always have experienced Dawn Of Ashes as a rather versatile formation and I here refer to numerous line-up changes, the band’s break in between 2013 and 2016 and the evolution in sound. It looks pretty rock’n’roll like, but how do you look back at all these different topics and how do you see the further years of the band?
Kristof: One of my top favorite bands is Nine Inch Nails. All of Trent’s albums sound very different, but it still is NIN. Every album has a sound and its own charm. Each DOA album is different, but it still is DOA. The equation is metal and industrial equals who we are. I am going to stick to both, but not alienate one or the other. That is the future of Dawn Of Ashes.