Back in July we were honoured to premiere the first new single in Bristolian progressive metal band Valis Ablaze‘s drastic, but entirely welcome change in musical direction. We’ve always had a soft spot for them, but “Inertia” blew us away with just how far the group have come.
As such, we jumped on the chance to bring you the video single number two “Lost In The Syntax“, which we have the absolute pleasure of presenting below. Take a seat, click fullscreen – make sure it’s in 1080p – and watch the whole thing front to back; you’ll not be disappointed.
Colour us even more excited for Valis’ EP, which is to be called Insularity. “Lost In The Syntax” retains that huge sense of groove and melody teased in “Inertia“, showing they have managed to find a real consistency in the tone of their new work. It’s remarkably assured, and although is sonically touches on the likes of TesseracT, Skyharbor and Circles, it retains its own ideas.
Ultimately, it’s just really damn listenable; it’s got that insistent, catchy quality of TesseracT’s Concealing Fate EP, and from the promise of these two tracks a lone, it’s clear that the band have both talent and vision, and are working super hard to implement their ideas.
Besides the music, the video itself is a bit different, utilising a heavily modded version of 2013′s Grand Theft Auto V to tell the story of a downed astronaut. To get a bit more clarity on the video and Valis’ future plans, we chatted to founding guitarist Ash Cook
What was the inspiration behind the video?
Ash: Musically, when Tom put the initial ideas forward to the rest of the band, they were met with mixed feelings because we hadn’t previously attempted to write a song in the Dorian mode. We played around with the idea until we came to what ended up being the most climactic section of the song and we all loved how it felt faster, more energetic and more light-hearted than “Inertia” without sacrificing that awesome rhythmic drive.
It was one of the most fun songs to write mainly because of its key and feel. Film soundtracks were probably the most influential for us in this track, linking to the cinematic video theme. Films like Oblivion, Transcendence, I, Robot, Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Momento, and The Matrix all kind of sprung to mind when we looked at certain parts of songs or certain sounds instruments were making, and of course the EP’s lyrical content as a whole. This lead Phil to toy with the idea of narrative akin to the end of the world, isolation and insularity through technology – something we witness and are part of daily.
How was it achieved?
Ash: The video was made entirely in GTA V. We worked with a Machinima artist (OriFilmsGTA) who had been uploading short films made in GTA to a YouTube channel. A few of them really caught our eye in terms of what we would love to have done if we had a Michael Bay budget. We gave Orazio a few ideas, the lyrics, and the song, and then sent over the odd direction of where we wanted the story to go. Other incarnations in other game engines weren’t as easy to work with or didn’t quite fit the narrative but Orazio and his work in GTA meant we got to tell the story we wanted.
What are the plans surrounding the EP release?
The EP is tracked and is currently being mixed and mastered by Drewsif Stalin. He worked on “Inertia” and “Lost in the Syntax” – the impact of his work on our material and the subtle things he’s brought to the band have really helped us think outside of the box more. We’re close to finalising the artwork and are just looking to get a concrete date for putting it out there. And of course, new merch to reflect the new band will follow!
What have VA got in store for 2017?
Shows and album writing! We wrote the upcoming EP in 4-5 months after scrapping an album and changing our direction and line up. We’ve had three brilliant shows back and definitely want to take our new sound to as many places as possible. We’ve got some great support slots coming up for the rest of this year that will keep us busy until then though!