It’s not very often one is privy to watching a great band start from its roots up. It’s also not very often these days to find a new band that satisfies the inner metal head in us all. The world of ‘popular’ metal has felt stagnant to me for quite some time. The very definition of metal in the mainstream is an almost useless term. The vast majority of people don’t even understand what true metal really is. Enter Manik Temptress from Stratford, Ontario, Canada. It’s time my fellow Larvae to re-introduce yourselves to metal!
Tell us about the sound of your first album “Oculus Infernum” for those not aquainted.
Mykh – I guess you could call it melodic thrash metal. The songs all have a lively pace, with some intermittent softer and slower parts to add some dynamic. This album is influenced by old school metal, yet it still has a contemporary feel.
How long did it take to record?
Mykh – We didn’t have a whole lot of time, we had 2 days to get as much done as possible. None of us are morning people, so we’d start at noon and go until midnightish both days. Ryan Tuer engineered it, and I think he was definitely up much later after we all went home.
Any fun memories recording?
Mykh – The whole process was a lot of fun. But, we were there to work and time was precious. It was mostly when the tracks were finished being recorded and went on to the mixing part that we could unwind a bit, crack open an Old Milwaukee tall boy and just listen, make little changes, let go of each others throats and all that. I think I speak for us all when I say that one of the funniest parts was watching/listening to Penlington doing his vocal tracks. Those of you reading this of course wouldn’t know, but Penlington is very soft-spoken, the average person would never guess what he’s capable of vocally to hear him speak. So we pretty much just sat, drank and watched Penlington scream his guts out for a while.
Could you describe your writing process?
Mykh -There’s some that I wrote myself, some T.J. wrote and some collaborations. Let’s see… I wrote The Battle and Humans (Humans was written in 1998 when I was still in high school), T.J. wrote Penetrating You and Twilight, and I added my own flavourings with leads and such, Oculus Infernum was a spontaneous collaboration between T.J., Primmer (original drummer) and I, and we stole Street Fighter from the Capcom classic Street Fighter II. For those who are curious, it’s the Ken stage, followed by the Guile stage.
Cl8n – Being the newest member of the band, I had the burden of learning all the currents songs without being involved in the initial writing process but with the luxury of having the cd “Oculus Infernum” as a tool, I used it as a guideline to try and put my own spin on some of the songs. Bruce Kergnahan was the original bass player and has done the bass work for this album and is a very good friend of mine and an excellent bass player indeed. But having come from different styles and influences I felt it was fair to use his wisdom as the framework for putting my own signature on the overall sound of the band. I found this worked for a few songs but in most cases I have started from scratch and picked up the material in live sessions with Mike and T.J. I mostly just get a feel for the song, figure out the basic bass line and structure and then begin to add different picking patterns, fills and attacks.
Penlington, where do you come up with your lyrical ideas?
Penlington – Well honestly, I come up with my lyrical ideas like this:
First I work on the rhythm and the melody with no words and try to get something vocally that sounds really cool. Then after I’ve jammed some random words that fit the rhythm and melody I have chosen, and everyone in the band seems to like what I’m doing, then I go home and try to make up some real words to fit in to place. I’m not overly concerned about what the words actually are or what they mean, as long as it sounds like fucking awesome metal, I’m happy.
You really sang your ass off on the record, can you tell us about the recording process for you?
Penlington – Well I was really surprised how well the recording process went for me and all of us.
For myself, I was a little worried about how I would sound in the studio. After my first track was laid down, I was completely blown away at how amazing the vocals were starting to sound in raw form. For each song, I sang my parts 2 to 4 times and then they were all lined up together on the program “Pro Tools”, which gave it a really nice, clean and full sound. “Twilight” was definitely the most challenging and and had the most work put into the vocals. The chorus in “Twilight” even has my whispering dubbed in over the other 2 vocal tracks. Over all, the recording process surprised us all. I never thought it would be so easy to sound so awesome!!!
This is your first band as a front man, how was the transition from being a guitarist?
Penlington – Honestly, I would have to say that it is just ok. I much prefer guitar over being a vocalist. I just don’t get the same music buzz as a vocalist, that guitar gives me. However, I love being the center of attention and the front man role comes naturally to me. Although being a vocalist is not my forte, the transition was as easy as pie. I’m lucky to be the front man for such an easy going bunch of dudes. It makes my job that much easier and at the end of the day it’s the music that tells it all!
What are your musical influences?
TJ – Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden etc….
Mykh – Helloween, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Video Games, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Older Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Vivaldi, Children of Bodom, Iron Maiden, Mr. Bungle, Sepultura, Slayer to name a few.
Shayne – Almost everything, My influences come from a lot of heavy bands like Between the Buried and Me, Lamb of God, Despised Icon, Opeth, Pantera, Megadeth. But It can’t be narrowed down to just one genre for me. I also enjoy Classical, Blues, Punk, Rock, etc. Bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dream Theatre, Iron Maiden, Fleetwood Mac, Tool, The Doobie Brothers, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pennywise… It could go on and on.
Cl8n – In my opinion Manik Temptress is a Power Metal band with many influences and sounds likes bands including Meshugga, Cradle of Filth, Sepultura, Metallica, Slayer, etc. but I also try to incorporate the many years of influences and past experience to create something original and fun to listen too. Looking forward to making an album with these guys.
Clayton and Shayne, how did you get involved with the band?
Shayne – It really just kind of fell into my lap. I had never heard of Manik Temptress at the time and a mutual friend just kind of mentioned one evening that they were looking for a new drummer. So I told her to let Mykh know I would be interested to come and try out. So I listened to the album and we got together and jammed. At this point I hadn’t played drums in about 2 years… I was really a guitar player before joining this band. I just bought a drum kit about five years ago to play around with in my basement along to cd’s. This is actually my first band playing drums so it’s different for me but I think things are coming along quite swimmingly.
Cl8n – Manik Temptress was already around upon my return to Stratford and being good friends with all the members of the band it was an easy choice to make when the time came to choose a new bass player for the band, pending Bruce’s departure. Mykh and the fellas approached me with the proposition of joining their band and I have been jamming and gigging with them ever since.
Mykhthrone and TJ, you’ve blended your guitar sounds brilliantly, what kind of rigs are you using for your tones?
Mykh – I use a Marshall Mg100 head, it’s just entry level, but it has distortion that I like and the effects are decent, saving me from having more foot pedals than I can stand. The cabinet is a Marshall JCM 900 with 4X12 speakers. I play a Gibson Explorer with 10-46 Gauge D’dadario strings, and a Crybaby Wah pedal.
TJ – Marshall, the only way to go! And an Epiphone SG Special with Gibson 10-46 Gauge strings.
Cl8n What does your rig consist of?
Cl8n – At this point I am a firm believer in Ampeg tone. I am playing through a SVT 3 Pro head. it has an amazing tone and has great tube gain which kicks ass for balls. Put that together with my Active Spector Maple Series bass (with EMG Pickups) and I come up with a team that I can’t see myself replacing. To be honest the Spector bass has such a great feel to it that I feel awkward playing any other guitar. The only thing that I have been yearning for is a new effect modulator of some type. I used to think that line six was a good way to go but have recently found alot of their effects to be kind of cheesy and the preamp taking away from the true ampeg tone. I think in the future I will be looking at getting something more solid to fit the bill. Maybe a good Vox floor board or something.
Shayne, what made you want to be a metal drummer?
Shayne – Well drums are fun and metal is wicked so I figured why not throw the two together… and it helps with the motivation listening to people like Mike Portnoy (Dream Theatre) and Chris Adler(Lamb Of God). Not to say that I’m that good…… yet lol
What kind of kit do you use?
Shayne – Westbury Procussion something or other… I dunno I bought it used for 450 bucks and love it. But There will be an upgrade someday if all goes to plan… Come on 649 haha
Name something you’ve unfortunately had to learn on stage.
TJ – To change strings before the show!
What can people expect from a Manik Tempress show?
Mykh – A whole lot of awesomeness.
Shayne – Death… and some kick ass melodic metal tunes!
If you could play any venue with any band, where and who would it be?
Mykh – That’s actually a tough question. How about… Beethoven’s lead guitar player. On top of a volcano. Yeah.
Shayne – I’d love to play a lot of venues with a bunch of bands but one of my favourites over the past 5 years would have to be Necrophagist and I think the Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto would be a sweet venue.
TJ – The John Labbat Center in London with Lamb of God
Mykhthrone, tell everyone about your Cyndi Lauper song….
Mykh – Well, I made up a really cool riff this one time, (It will be on our next album) and played it for my good friend James, who pointed out to me that it was a similar chord progression as the verse riff in Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. But I used it anyway. Screw him.
Define yourselves with a haiku
Mykh – Manik Temptress rocks
Old school thrashy goodness, man!
It is heavy shit
Cl8n – stand in the middle
of a fire hurting screaming
and then press record
Check out their tracks ‘Humans’ and ‘Twilight’ at www.myspace.com/maniktemptress