Greek metallers SORROWS PATH returned in discography with the amazing “Touching Infinity” album, three years after their previous venture “Doom Philosophy”. METAL KAOZ got on the phone the band’s founder and guitarist Kostas Salomidis and dug deeper into the creation of this gem. Check out below what was discussed.
Hello Kostas and welcome back to METAL KAOZ!
Thank you very much for having me back, it’s a real pleasure!
The pleasure is all ours, because we have another great album, “Touching Infinity”, and to be honest with you, I couldn’t think of a better excuse to call you on the phone!
Thank you for saying that. Everyone in SORROWS PATH believes that this is our best work – of course, I know that every band when releases something new says the same thing, but we really believe that for “Touching Infinity”.
It has been 3 years since the release of your previous album, “Doom Philosophy”, and to me, “Touching Infinity” sounds more mature, more complete in a way. What’s your take on that?
I believe that “Touching Infinity” is a better composed album, but other than that, it’s really a matter of taste. The music style is a bit of a combination of styles; there are some Doom tracks of course, with the SORROWS PATH aesthetics – a bit Gothic in a way, I could say – plus, there are some faster, Power / Progressive tracks too. So, if I was to describe the entire result, I’d say that this album is a Heavy / Doom record through a Power / Progressive spectrum.
Did you feel a bit Prog-gier / adventurous when working on this album?
Yeah, this is why I used the ‘Power / Prog’ term; indeed, there is this element. Of course, there was always there, but this time probably the overall style is a bit more abstract, I dunno. When I’m talking about Prog, I mean that there are more music styles there, not necessarily that belongs to the Prog Metal category or that it’s more technical, no. Or maybe the orchestrations have a Prog feeling, but I wouldn’t say that there are difficult-to-play tracks here. You know, we have a new guitarist on this album, George Vichos, who is a more technical player and he was a perfect match to the overall style and added a technical flair, if you like.
Does this mean that the entire band worked on the album?
We have the same way of doing things in a way; I had the basic idea, like in the previous albums too, with some exceptions of course, and then everyone came to add his part in the orchestration part. Everyone is free to add things and then, we have the result that you hear in the album. But to answer your question, yes, everyone was free to add his strokes on the canvas. But we already knew what and when to do it; if you remember from our previous conversation, 3 years ago, we knew that we’ll enter the studio, even who will use for our video clip, 1-2 years ago. We had decided that Nikos Markoyiannakis would do the cover and the album’s artwork, Vangelis Yalamas would do the production as well as mixing and mastering, plus we knew one year and a half before, the guest musician for the album, which is Thiago Oliveira. So, as you can see, everything was well planned, way before we started working on “Touching Infinity”.
So, how long did you work on “Touching Infinity”?
As a band, we still have ideas from the years that the band was in hiatus, but this time we stayed longer in the studio. We had decided that this time we wouldn’t hurry things up, so we took our time. We did fewer recording sessions in less time, in order to make sure what we wanted to keep or change in a certain way. In my opinion, this way worked better in any aspect (budget-wise, time-wise etc.), so we were more careful and safe about what we were doing. We stayed almost a year in the studio, on and off, including mixing and mastering, of course.
Where do we hear Thiago Oliveira playing the guitar?
On “My Chosen God”; he plays the basic lead solo on this track.
How did this collaboration come up?
We played as a support act on Warrel Dane’s show in 2015, here in Athens, Greece. We had already exchanged some messages through Facebook with Thiago prior to that, and once he saw SORROWS PATH playing live and we discussed a bit further, and Thiago suggested that idea. And after a while, we set that idea on the table and he agreed to do it with pleasure. You know, this kind of ideas shouldn’t go unnoticed (laughs), not only because he is a great guitar player and a big name in the scene, but also because Thiago fits SORROWS PATH’s music style as well. “My Chosen God” has a bit Prog-gy character, standing between FATES WARNING while having that Greek element, so it needed something really powerful, so Thiago’s playing was the best fit to it. As you’ve noticed, everything looks good, in my opinion (laughs).
You’re telling the truth, Kostas, so you’re not overselling this, don’t worry.
Thank you for saying this, Maria. You know, everybody in the band says that this is our best album, and the weird thing is that we hadn’t said that before. It seems that now we’re pretty certain for this and this is why we’re saying it.
Thematically-speaking, would you consider “Touching Infinity” as a concept album?
It seems that “Touching Infinity” is ending a trilogy and for us it feels that this chapter is now close. The central theme of the album is about acquiring self-knowledge and freedom that lead to harmony, for the human being itself but also for his relations with others. In a world where destruction and ugliness are leading things, harmony and beauty are what we need. And this is why you see on the cover artwork this female entity, which as a symbol is equal to creation and birth, in total contrast to all the ugliness we experience everyday around us.
So, there’s a connection between the artwork and the album’s thematology, right?
Yes, this is how we feel about the world, and how we’d like things to be. Looking through yourself, you always have in mind to be a better person and that leads to being part in a harmonic society with everyone around you.
I’m asking this because once I read the album title, my mind went to Descartes’ concept of the infinity and religion where perfection meets god, you know, philosophically speaking. But now that we’re discussing this, I like your point of view better.
Sure, what you’re saying touches the entirety of things and this means as a human being to be one with the infinity, rejecting egoism and individuality but this also suggests self-awareness, and this is a subject this album underlines from start to finish. And by being self-aware, you can also understand how things work around you. It may sound a bit simple as a concept, but I believe this back-to-the-basics type of thinking has substance. Our music is addressed to every person out there and we don’t want to be approached as over-sophisticated or elitists, for example.
What happens with all this craziness that we find everyday around us? I mean, how easy is to filtrate all that through music and create something with a positive meaning?
You know, this is exactly our source of inspiration; looking all this hatred and destruction around us, you’re so influenced by that, and you feel so bad about it that you wanna change it. It gives you a trigger to dig deeper inside yourself, know yourself and start changing things. If you don’t know yourself, then that’s the start of all problems and bad things start to happen.
Back to the music now; we hear some Eastern melodic parts in tracks “My Chosen God”, “Metaphysical Song”, and “Beauty”. Is that something that you did on purpose or after all these years this is just the way you write music?
I believe that we’ve always had this kind of melodic parts in our music, that Oriental / Prog element, and since the beginning, SORROWS PATH have declared their origin through music. And probably, this is something that makes us feel unique, since this is imprinted on our DNA, and carried out via our music. You have the US bands that traditionally play Rock better than anyone else, or the Western European ones who have a huge tradition playing Classical music, so being Greek, you make your ID present through your music which is something that happens spontaneously, and without thinking much about it. This album is like a bridge between western and eastern (meaning Byzantium, actually) tradition, and I mean that both of these two elements can be found in Greece’s tradition too. We always draw influences from both worlds, really, and we have a big tradition in Byzantine music as a country, and you can spot all these things in Greeks’ music. It’s not something that happens intentionally - it just happens.
How much have you progressed as a musician when you’re looking back to the previous SORROWS PATH album, “Doom Philosophy”?
Of course “Doom Philosophy” is an album that fully represents SORROWS PATH, but with our latest album, we wanted to touch as many people as possible. And I don’t mean to transform into a commercial band, but we felt the need to touch as many people as possible by being more direct with our music. Listening to “Touching Infinity” from start to finish, you can feel that SORROWS PATH have evolved, and this is why I told you earlier that we strongly believe that this is our best work and it totally represents us and where we stand. We feel that we have completed our purpose, in a way. And if someone told us that “that was it, guys – you can’t release any more music”, we’d have been ok with that. It feels like the circle of creation has closed, in a way; we said what we wanted to say, so far at least.
But you know, this is the best SORROWS PATH release so far, of course we want more – you can’t leave us hanging there like that (laughs)!
(laughs) I’m not saying that! We could easily release a new album in the next two years – hopefully everything will look good for us, and 2020 will find us with a new release. I was speaking more on a hypothetical note; it feels like a circle has closed for us, doing concept albums, and we’re looking on new things.
Would you like to talk a bit about “Revival Of Feminine Grandeur”? It’s cleverly placed towards the end of the tracklist, and it’s so complex, beautiful and emotional that it blew me away the first time I listened to it. How did you come up with this track?
Actually this is the last track of the album, since the title track that closes the album works like an instrumental outro, and it was also the last track we worked for this album that took the most of our time really. It was also like the central idea of the album, since it’s actually the impersonation of the cover artwork – if you read the lyrics, you’ll see that the deity that is invincible and has suffered all that, in the end kneels, or if you want, the human being feels content as the time of judgement approaches. All these are some of the ideas behind the creation of the album and we wanted them to be infused in one single track that would drop the curtain, like a conclusion. Just out of respect in front of this entirety – this is what I can say for this track, and the smallness of people who reach a point where their ego can destroy everything else, even the things that have been standing for centuries, and all that in the name of money and materialism.
We watched the music video for the track “Fantasies Will Never Die”, so are there any plans to release one more music video or even a lyric video for another track to promote the album?
We’ll see how it goes; for the time being, this was the only video in our plans. We’ll see if we’ll do something else later, if it’s necessary.
Is there any chance to see a SORROWS PATH release on vinyl anytime soon?
We’ve discussed about that with the record label, but you know, the sales are not as they’re used to be, so the labels are careful as you understand, so we’ll have to see if the sales will permit something like that. And especially for “Touching Infinity”, the duration is really vinyl-friendly, so we’ll see.
Oh, it’d be great! We love vinyl and it’d be awesome to see the artwork and lyrics on this format. Well, those were my questions, Kostas! Thank you very much for your time, and feel free to add anything I forgot to ask.
Thank you, Maria, for the invitation - again, it was a pleasure! I believe we talked about everything regarding the new SORROWS PATH release. Cheers!