There is no doubting the power of the riff. It is mighty, and its grip cannot be loosened no matter how hard one tries. That’s a major reason this music and sites like these even exist, in that the riff is the backbone, an unbreakable line running through everything and keeping metal as the unquestionable force it is today and has been for years.
In many ways, Inexorum’s thunderous debut record “Lore of the Lakes” is an exercise in the finest of classic heavy metal. Just let the first 30 seconds or so of opener “Raging Hearts” wash over you and try to deny it’s infectious energy and majesty. That was it for me. As soon as that song had its way with my psyche, I was all in, and I have been ever since the record was released in late July, literally on the first night of Migration Fest (Inexorum didn’t play, but its creator Carl Skildum was in attendance, and we got a chance to meet up with him for a few moments). But it doesn’t end with “Raging Hearts.” The band—Skildum is joined by drummer Matthew Kirkwold—creates magic that carries over to the other intense and driving songs on this record—“Let Pain Be Your Guide,” “Years in Exile,” “To Omega,” and the record-closing title track, all of them beasts. This is one of the records I’ve recommended the most to other people looking to move deeper into underground metal, as its storming black metal combined with the classic riffs can be an easy gateway to any open mind. Skildum was kind enough to take some time to talk about the record, whether he’d been collecting riffs for this thing, and his alignment with Gilead Media. If you haven’t visited with “Lore of the Lakes” yet, definitely change that before the calendar year rolls over. You won’t be sorry.
MEAT MEAD METAL: We’re naming “Lore of the Lakes” one of the top five metal records of the year. It’s an energetic, pummeling record, one that feels like a classic-style album that gets the blood flowing. How do you feel about the record now that it’s been out for a while.
CARL SKILDUM: First off, thank you so much. When I first started working on this record, I thought I would just quietly release it to Bandcamp and maybe amuse a few of my friends, so to find out that it resonated with you, and hearing from others who found value in it, that’s very meaningful to me. It really did just start out with me wanting to find my footing as a vocalist, so I’m still just blown away that it exists.
MMM: One thing you cannot shake is the power of the riff on this album. It feels like there’s a cascade of them. Were you just sitting on a mountain of these things?
CS: Oddly enough, all of these riffs were new to me as I wrote the record. I’d just set aside an hour or two after work to write as often as I could. I was pretty disciplined about setting aside time to work on it, so it all came together pretty quickly, but I wasn’t pulling anything from the vault for this one.
MMM: The title of the record is interesting, as it feels like a call to nature. What’s the meaning behind the title, and why did you choose it to represent these songs?
CS: I grew up in northern Minnesota, where lakes and forests are the primary natural features. I had family that lived on the north shore of Lake Superior and always felt there was something incredibly powerful about that place, and I still try to get back there as often as I can. I was fascinated by the stories of all the shipwrecks on the lake as a kid. It can be a very peaceful place one day and violent and terrifying the next. It was an image and a feeling that kept coming back to me as I was writing.
MMM: The theme is trying to guide one’s own journey through life and make positive changes even amid hardships that are a part of everyone’s lives is something you discussed as a running theme through the record. What was it about that plight that helped you write these songs?
CS: I had been watching a very close friend dealing with terminal cancer, and my wife is a cancer survivor as well, so I was thinking a lot about mortality and finding some way to find some place of acceptance and control. There were serious things going on with a lot of people close to me, and that was definitely an inspiration to me in terms of how in all of these cases, people have to find courage and strength in the face of impossible situations. So, at some level I hoped that if anyone did hear the record, that there might be an opportunity to reflect some of those feelings of perseverance and empowerment.
MMM: “Lore of the Lakes” was released by Gilead Media, which feels like a natural place for this music to call home. What led to that union?
CS: I had gotten to know Adam Bartlett of GLM while I was playing live guitar with Obsequiae and performing at the first Migration Fest in Olympia. I had no intention of sending the record out to labels. I just posted a little clip on my Instagram feed, which is pretty much just going to a few of my friends and family. I thought if I posted a clip, my friends would keep me accountable for seeing it through to the finish. Adam heard it and reached out to me, and I’m very grateful that he did.
MMM: You noted on your Facebook page that the song “Raging Hearts” is inspired by Hammerheart Brewing. What’s the story behind that one?
CS: One day around four years ago, I walked into HammerHeart to meet some friends, and it was like walking into metal Cheers, where I’m suddenly geeking out about favorite Wrong Again and No Fashion Records releases with a roomful of new friends while Bathory and Ulver flow majestically from the speakers. So many important friendships have developed for me and this special place has been a focal point. Getting to know Tanner Anderson and Austin Lunn and learning the mechanics of how it is possible to write without a full band was a revelation, as up until this point, everything I had done had been worked out in practice spaces with a full lineups. (NOTE: Speaking of full bands, Skildum and Kirkwold also play in Antiverse, who released a crusher of a record “Under the Regolith” in October.) There’s no way this record would exist without having walked in there that day, so I felt like I had to do something to give back. We had the vinyl release event there and it was magical.
MMM: Inexorum isn’t really a live band at this point. Is there any thought to making this more of a live venture, or will this be more of a studio project?
CS: I do want to play these songs live in the future, and there are some preliminary foundations being constructed.
MMM: What do you have planned for 2019? Not sure if new music is too early to think about or what else you have in store.
CS: I’m past the halfway mark on writing the second album now, with an eye on a 2020 release just to give the first LP some breathing room. I’ll be working with bassist/producer Matt Kirkwold again—he brought the record to life in a way that I never could, and he’s a part of Inexorum for as long as he wants to be. I feel like the best is yet to come.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/inexorum/
To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/lore-of-the-lakes
For more on the label, go here: http://gileadmedia.net/