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Soul Embraced


Ever since the second release For The Incomplete, the metal scene rejoices at the fierce sounds of Soul Embrace. This death metal trio is one of the promises for the scene. The new album This Is My Blood prolongs the expectations even further with a solid production and convincing songs. Time to have a word with guitarist Rocky Gray who also happens to be in Living Sacrifice.


Discography: Fleshless EP (1999), For The Incomplete (2001), This Is My Blood (2002). Available through: Clenched Fist Records & Solid State Records. Official website: Soul Embraced. Interview by: mpo.  Date: April 8th-10th 2002.


First of all, can you explain the history of the band?

We started in 1998 but it didn't last too long. We only recorded one song for a compilation then we broke up and I went to play guitar for Living Sacrifice. Back then the drummer was David Sroczynski, who now plays for Thy Pain, and me playing guitar and doing the vocals. In 2000 I put the band back together with some new guys: Chad Moore on vocals and Lance Garvin on drums and me still on guitar. It's been that way ever since.

Did you have any other musical endeavours before Soul Embraced was formed? Since when are you actually involved in the music business?

I had played drums for most of my musical life up until I joined Shredded Corpse, a grind core death metal band in the early nineties and played bass for them and then eventually moving to guitarist/vocalist for them. This band also featured David Sroczynski on drums. I was with Shredded Corpse up until I did Living Sacrifice and Soul Embraced.

On the previous album For The Incomplete the band sounded, from my viewpoint, quite heavy with some fast stuff. Especially the older songs on it are more old school than the newer ones. On the new album This Is My Blood the band gets more influences from current Living Sacrifice material, with less speed and more melody. How would you like to describe the journey the band's making through the musical landscape?

We just try to keep things fresh and write what we like. Of course we get older and wiser and learn how to play better and that's a big part of going from the Fleshless EP to For The Incomplete to This Is My Blood. We're learning to write better songs.

In how far are you influenced by your musical diet?

The music I listen to definitely inspires me to write certain things and write in certain directions.

So, what inspires you then? What bands? What styles?

Certainly the classic stuff like Slayer, Metallica and old Cannibal Corpse. There are tons of things that inspire me though. Sometimes it can be something in a movie or something that's just playing on the radio. The newest stuff I like is Fear Factory, Arch Enemy and In Flames.

The band doesn't have a bass player. When playing live you add a bass player and an extra guitarist. To me that sounds like a handicapped band. Do you experience it like that as well?

Heck no! Those guys (John Lecomt on guitar & Arthur Green on bass) are a part of the band just like the rest of us when it comes to the live situation. To me that's not handicapped.

Yet they aren't full members of the band. How's the band organized then? Do you have regular rehearsals or do you send tapes around or is it more like a project with gigs occasionally?

We do not have regular rehearsals. When we get ready to do a show everyone will have the list of songs we want to do and then after they get acquainted with the songs at home we'll get together and run over the songs but that's pretty much it. There's really no need to get together all the time 'cause we don't do shows very much.

Soul Embraced is from Little Rock in Arkansas. Little Rock is known for Poynter's Palace where Living Sacrifice records their albums. However, Soul Embraced has, so far, preferred the Crystal Recording Studios. What is decisive for the choice of studio?

I've been recording with Ray Brooks at Crystal studios for probably 11 years. It's just a really comfortable place to be for us, like home.

You are also in the band Living Sacrifice. Original Living Sacrifice member Lance Garvin drums for Soul Embraced as well. Now I know Soul Embraced did a song for the Living Sacrifice tribute album that Clenched Fist Records released. Isn't it weird to do a tribute for your own band, knowing that your drummer Lance did the original of that particular song (Truth Solution), ages ago?

Well... for Chad and I it was a chance to pay tribute to a band that we enjoyed listening to throughout the years. It was fun and we really didn't care that some of us were in Living Sacrifice.

You produced the Thy Pain album More Than Suffering. I noticed that you did some other producing in the past as well, like the Inner War album. I have to congratulate you on More Than Suffering. The songs I've heard of it sound great. How do you like producing?

I like it a lot. It's something I would like to do more in the future. Thy Pain was great to do and I think it turned out even better than we all thought it would.

Producing an album, does that chance the way you consider other producers? Like Barry Poynter who did the Living Sacrifice album you played on?

No, not at all. Barry Poynter is one of those guys where you just trust his mix. We can leave the studio for hours then he'll call us up when he's got something for us to listen to. We'll show up and say "I'd like to hear a little more of this or that" but that's really it, he's got an amazing talent. Other producers I think would be great to work with are Colin Richardson and Andy Sneap.

As I noticed there's a link to B.C. Rich on the Soul Embraced site, I guess you play B.C. Rich guitars. What series are you working with?

That link is not supposed to be there. I play ESP guitars now. I've got a Viper 301 and a H301. When I played B.C. Rich I played all NJ series guitars.

What made you switch from B.C. Rich to ESP?

B.C. Rich just wasn't making the kind of guitars I wanted to play anymore. I really enjoyed playing those guitars and the company really treated me well but it was time to move on to something else and ESP had more options to choose from.

What can we expect from your bands in the future, record and gig wise?

Who knows! The only thing that is for sure is that the new Living Sacrifice record will be recorded in April and will be out later this year.