INSOLVENCY are full of hope for the future. Somehow, despite their last album Illusionary doors Revolving around ideas of escape, fear and yearning for a new utopian world, it seems the past few years have sparked optimism within the band. The time spent looking into the future offered hope, a rare and beautiful discovery on a slowly destroying planet, and INSOLVENCY are here to tell the story that details this adventure in simulating mental health, geographic isolation, and the sparks of innovation that kept them going.
The French quartet released their first album soul antagonism in 2018. It was an atmospheric metalcore offering, stacked with lyrical laments, fervent technical phrases, and enchanting double-vocalist dynamics. It captured a cult fanbase, enamored with its retro sound, but lacked drive and memorability. We talk to Rock Challouet (bass/vocals) and Bruno Blackstar (guitar/backing vocals) to discover the lessons learned from their beginnings, moving forward in a global pandemic, missed opportunities and reinvention.
“The first album was a learning experience for us,” Bruno departures. “So it’s not the same approach we had for the new one. We put too much technique and we wanted to push a lot of things on the first. We had to think about the second one more, try more demos and pay more attention to everything. We tried to be more accessible to people, which is a completely different approach. It’s a more mature approach. Although growing pains are not obvious in their early stages, when put side by side with Illusionary doorsit sounds and feels like a completely different band, with only the most basic DNA translating. Rock continues, “the first album was a teenage project. We didn’t have enough experience, so we put a lot of things [in the album] which do not correspond to the approach we have today.
Their album in question, Illusionary doors, encapsulates a combative relationship with mental health throughout the pandemic, acting as a conduit through which to purge their collective feelings. The singer’s daydreams and reflections Valentin GondouinThe last two years of painting an album that exudes an air of escape. This escape proves to be a major player in the direction of the album. Even the name “Illusional Gate” itself alludes to a fantastic pair of pearlescent gates that provide respite from the repetitive drudgery of everyday life, but end up being fictional, disappearing as soon as they appear. Struggles with mental health and authoritarian isolation are a shared experience of the outfit, making the album process cathartic for everyone involved.
This collective group mentality acted as quasi-therapy at the worst of the pandemic, with Gondouinthe emotions of are expressed through the words of insolvency. Bruno speaks for the entire band, as they have shared a similar headspace when writing and recording for the past two years. “It just pushed us over the edge. Depression was just an addition to the main feeling we already had. Not wanting to bring back unwanted memories of a difficult time for the band, Bruno remembers the time they spent in the studio and reassures us that “we are very happy to have put these feelings on the songs”.
Illusionary doors certainly evokes a wealth of feeling, which transports the listener right into the studio environment. From overt escape to more nuanced hope for the future, album cover themes are broad yet driven by INSOLVENCYpersonal marriage with the subject. Bruno reveals “it’s about dreaming of another world. We all hope for a better world with less financial pressure and more human consideration. More understanding and more good people. We are all corporate slaves and it really is deep inside of us. We just want to escape.
It seems the downtime has allowed the band to take stock of their inventory, reflect on their release and reception of their debut LP, and attack Illusionary doors with a zeal never seen before. “It’s crazy how confinement has pushed us to bring more ideas” Bruno continues, “To be honest with you, we had big dreams with the labels. And the lockdown did not allow that to happen. So we tried to think about what we could do on our own, and it came up with some crazy ideas.
“The Game Changes” Rock adds. The duo seem all too aware of the hectic and crowded musical landscape they are trying to enter, both having a keen understanding of their requirement to stand out as a group, and even as a brand. Illusionary doors could certainly hold the key to unlocking the first door, but to rise to the caliber they desire requires more groundwork. The reader is there, the delivery is just biding its time.
From having their music careers delayed by lockdown, to then embracing the solace of it by innovating their intense metalcore with global collaborations, a fuller understanding of their fan base and a new breath of life, INSOLVENCY have proven that they are capable of making the best of a difficult situation. We can only imagine the giant leaps they will take into a freer world, with the return of touring and more relaxed border rules, and with the black dog no longer looming so close. They’ve weathered the storm, now it’s time to hit the shelves and deliver their newfound vibrancy to live music-starved audiences.
Illusional Gates is now available via self-publishing.
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