Lurking somewhere in the cracks between Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Electric Wizard and the darkest reaches of your own damned soul are Preston dirge-rockers Evil Blizzard. With four bassists in the band, you would assume that they aren't making music for your kids' bar mitzvah, and you'd be right. Part-prog, part-drone, part-krautrock, they are a lot fucking loud and their debut album The Dangers Of Evil Blizzard is a mostly vile barrage, laden with the kind of doom that has got Mark E.Smith onside to such an extent he gave the band a support slot with The Fall. If that wasn't enough to warrant the band coming with a health warning, they also go onstage wearing the kind of masks that we're pretty sure are what everyone's made to wear during The Rapture.
We asked the band's singer/drummer Mark Whiteside to talk us through the ins and outs of the tune at the very centre of the record...
“The Mask you wear is there to hide, a thousand screams from deep inside”.
Writing lyrics for a band like Evil Blizzard can be a challenge due to the band being more about sonic sounds, rhythms and atmosphere than being Bob Dylan. When we were putting the album together we knew that some of the songs would need more than just a series of one line words that repeat.
The lyrical timbre of Punishment was built around a drone bass line and as such needed something quite powerful and dark. The idea of being punished by the ultimate sentence was something I had been reading about. I was thinking of how someone who was facing their end of life at the hand of their executioner would react.
Often people have been persecuted for their beliefs and end up in a position that is out of their own control, and have stared into the eye of the person that ends it all.
To show no fear in such a time has been seen countless times when people face their own death. I wondered how often people put up a façade to get them through the worst of situations. In the end it’s down to the listener taking what they want from it and but for me I wanted to get across the feeling of sacrifice for something you believe in.
'P.U.N.I.S.H.M.E.NT' was placed at the centre of the album to give the listener something to think about. When we recorded it I asked a friend who sings in Manchester bands Mr Heart and AAAC to duet. The female vocal breaks up my vocal but also I think works well on the chorus. Her voice is reminiscent of Siouxsie and has a powerful sound to it. She is the one saying you can take my life but not my belief, a sort of call and response.
This song was the first one that was written together when Filthy Dirty joined on second bass. I think you can hear the difference in the feel of the track. Other songs on the album have a more metronomic feel. When I write songs, being a drummer, they then tend to be more on the beat but this track has more of a loose groove about it.
This song has been welcomed by fans of the band and it is requested often to be played live but due to the length of the sets at the moment we have only played it a couple of times. Hopefully this is a direction we will taking the songs on the next album, using more grooves, sounds and interesting lyrics.