“We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer is a multi-faceted analysis of the world today, and a cold, hard look at mankind and the world we’ve created,” says The King Is Blind vocalist Stephen Tovey. “We have replaced morality and spirituality with capitalism, commercialism, consumerism; the modern politics of self-interest and corruption. We have turned away from a moral centre and replaced God with sin.”
Steve is talking to Metal Hammer about The King Is Blind’s upcoming album We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer, due for release on October 13 via Calva Records. At nine tracks long, it tells dark and sinister tales of Satan, sin, greed and corruption through a murky and violent lens.
“The album is presented as an amalgam of ‘story’ songs that discuss this amoral, anti-spiritual situation, and ‘plague’ songs that examine how sins manifest in a post-truth, fake-news present day,” says guitarist Lee Appleton. “It’s a present day where we are faced with a divided and divisive society, led by self-interested celebrity politicians.”
Listen to We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer in its entirety below.
To get a deeper understanding of the record, Lee and Steve broke down We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer track by track.
Lee: “We wanted a unique riff to open up the album, like slipping into a dream: slow, but with menace. The verses are great to play and explode with spite like early Immolation. There’s an old Paradise Lost or Anathema vibe to the mid-section to bring in an emotional uplift before it moves into the finale.”
Steve: “This is the setting of the scene and the bringing of our arc screaming into the modern day. Any pretence of ‘heaven’ has worn away and God’s control over man has wholly decayed, the bridge from Christian days of yore to modern day has collapsed. In Patriarch, Satan plays narrator: summarising what has happened. God ‘The Father’ has failed mankind, now Satan, our true Father, will redeem and rule all by encouraging mankind to indulge the vices and Neanderthal behaviours that come so easily to us all.”
Embers From A Dying Son (Plague: Gula)
Steve: “The first of the Plague songs, Embers… looks at our greed, and the rape and ruin of Earth. It looks at our gluttonous and contemptuous consumption of all of the natural resources available to us. This song has a relentless energy that matches the pace of devourment and pollution that we inflict on our home.”
Lee: “Paul (Ryan-Reader, guitar) and I shared the writing on this one, which we don’t do often, and it came out great. It moves through several different sections but never stops piling on the energy. This will be in the set for a long time!”
Like Gods Departed (Plague: Acedia)
Lee: “Pure Candlemass and early Anathema worship on this track, as well as a riff I borrowed from Stravinsky’s Firebird. Thanks Igor!”
Steve: “The plague of spiritual apathy. Mankind has turned away from spiritualism to a Western age of atheism/religious apathy/cynicism, which is not necessarily a bad thing – I’m atheist myself, but how it sometimes manifests is that the ‘sins’ reign and people are apathetic to the plight of others. Just look at the response to Syrian refugees and the pervading lack of feeling or empathy as to why they’re fleeing their homes. Adults are responding to people fleeing war and tyranny with a selfish, fucked up response of ‘fuck off back to your own country, scroungers!’ and an ignorant fear that ‘they’re all terrorists.’
Mantra XIII (Plague: Avaritia)
Steve: “I often litter the lyrics with Easter Eggs and references to favourite songs, or other bands’ lyrics, so it was great fun to blatantly utilise several Bolt Thrower references within the context of the song – I love the fact we have Karl Willetts (ex-Bolt Thrower vocalist) bellowing on our album. Like us, Karl is a fellow leftie, so for him to appear as the ‘Root of all Evil’, as commercialism itself, to represent money was a nice juxtaposition from his normal standpoint. This is an anti-capitalist song, pure and simple. Money is our new god.”
Lee: “I was initially struggling with the direction of the new album until I took a Gordian Knot approach to the material. Once we knew Karl was going to grace our album with his distinctive tones, I wrote this one as an homage to Bolt Thrower.”
The Sky Is A Mirror (Plague: Luxuria)
Steve: “This one is about celebrity culture, and how a person’s fame seems to be more important than their worth as a human. As celebrity trumps all. As celebrity, Trump is all.”
Lee: “This one is all about bending the strings down as hard as you can and just revelling in the dissonance between the guitars and bass. I was really keen to get that Through Silver In Blood feel for the tribal intro and the sampling.”
Idolatry Of Self (Plague: Superbia)
Lee: “Pure Discharge and early Metallica.”
Steve: “The modern politics of self-serving cunts doing it for self-glory and with little or no consideration of what’s best for people. It’s about how vanity leads Trump, Boris Johnson, Brexit et al. Politicians stand for personal status, rather than for the good of the people. It’s the House Of Cards mentality and how being, and staying, in power is more important to those people than the effect they can make with that power.”
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As Vermin Swarm (Plague: Ira)
Lee: “This one is a total riff-fest. I really wanted to explore some of those major chords across four strings, punctuating the low heavy riffs – Morbid Angel-style.”
Steve: “A hard song needed some hard lyrics. Vermin is a reflection on things today and this horrible, hate-crime saturated world we live in. Perhaps the Devil’s greatest trick wasn’t convincing people he didn’t exist, but was convincing them he is the word of God. He sets to work to implant more chaos on Earth, to breed more hate and terror.”
GodFrost (Plague: Invidia)
Steve: “We wanted something fucking heavy, but also fucking catchy, and roaring the title of a song for a chorus is something a bit different for me, but turned out to be really effective. This one covers the impact of envy, of keeping up with the Jones’, and the rise of consumerism as spiritualism and community are being frozen out.”
Lee: “There is screaming feedback all over this album but I love how soaked the bass/drum intro is to this song! A simple song to play with a massive Hellhammer/Celtic Frost influence energy and groove!”
The Burden Of Their Scars
Lee: “I really wanted a slow, mystical Sabbath feel for the acoustic section moving into crushing sludge for the heavy part. Pure energy for the finale, and the perfect ending to the album.”
Steve: “The grand denouement; a touch of Ghost on the first set of vocals to work with the haunting effect of the acoustic build. This whole song is my favourite set of vocals I’ve ever recorded with the latter half recorded in one continuous, energetic, draining take. Our story concludes with Satan tracking down the last descendent of the bloodline of Christ – a pregnant girl. Could her child be the anti-Christ, or could it be the Saviour reborn? He whispers in her ear, encouraging her to end the bloodline, to end God’s influence on Earth. Burden is about asking questions: what is the ultimate sacrifice, and would you make it? Would you kill your child to save mankind? Could you kill what you love to save so many hated? Does she? Should she? What do you think?”
The King Is Blind’s new album We Are The Parasite, We Are The Cancer is released October 13 and is available to pre-order now.