MELODY LANE had a great interview with the Canadian Progressive Death metallers GREYBEARD! Their new album ORACLE' s been released on november 6th via WORMHOLEDEATH records. An album that combines elements of death, black and prog with a solid dose of classic metal and rock influences.
 I like the fact that we don’t fit into the typical metal sub-genres. I think we’re a metal band that isn’t afraid to utilize various genre-specific styles to help bring our songs to life..."


MELODY LANE: First of all, also if it can sound a bit expected…Can you tell us where does the name Greybeard come from?  
Ross - I have a really grey beard and this started out as a project with Casey and myself so I thought I would name it after my beard. Plus it’s a shout out to Gandalf!
Guy - I was forced to grow a beard to be in this band. But my beard is black!
Casey - My beard is slowly turning grey, so it seemed like a good name. 
Amanda - I've earned every one of my greys. None on my face, but time will tell!

MELODY LANE: The line-up of the band is confirmed, is it the same from the beginning of the band…or have you had changes in the last years? Can you tell us something about the roots of Greybeard? And where the band was born?

Ross - We are from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and we started out as a project between Casey and myself with Guy joining on our second EP, and Amanda joining shortly after our third EP. We actually didn’t become an official “band” until after our third EP as we had decided to start doing live shows. Guy was the initial driver behind doing live shows as I was content to just keep it as a recording project. In retrospect, I actually really enjoy playing live and it was a great move for us.
Guy - This is the original (and best) lineup. Each one of the other 3 band members is an absolute sweetheart, and a totally killer musician.

MELODY LANE: Can you list us 5 songs, from Greybeard discography (including new material), that can define the sound of the band …5 songs that can help our readers to know Greybeard at the best. 

Heiress of the Night - This song truly encapsulates Greybeard at its core. Heavy, pounding riffs with a mix of clean and growl vocals, sweeping dynamics with clean guitar interludes to create mood and tension; lots of interesting drumming parts with an unexpected rhythm for the verse. The vocals on the chorus are absolutely perfect and give the entire thing a pretty epic feel. Lots of melody and lots of parts that make you want to bang your head!

Serpent King - Super heavy riff, with cleans and growls mixed; cool clean guitar interlude in the middle; super heavy breakdown at the end. Killer double-kick drums on this track bring the chorus to the next level. Great guitar solos throughout this one; a clean one comes first and full-on shredder a bit later on.

Craven - Super-melodic, catchy riff is the root of this song. Lots of parts and interesting tempo changes make this one a true journey. Absolutely brutal riff and solo at the end closes this one off with majesty!

The Summoning - The start of this song just grabs you -- you’re into the song right away! Very catchy chorus goes right into a heavy bridge, then into a clean, soft part. Very cool dynamics and energy to this one; epic closing dual-guitar riff to our only fade out we’ve recorded so far.

Truth - This is the hidden gem on Oracle IMO! The interlude after the first chorus blends beautiful clean vocals with some brutal growls and is super catchy. This gives way to a really eerie part with creepy whispering voices and sinister guitars. When the song kicks back in it’s so heavy and brutal -- guaranteed to make you want to bang your head. This one closes off with a fast, almost thrash riff and ends the song with a bang.

 Guy - ^^Same!

MELODY LANE: Tell us something about the creative process of your music. Is there a main composer or we can talk about a team work? The songs come from ideas of a single member and then the band works on these ideas in the studio jamming together, or your songs are written in the studio and all the members compose together?What about messages and subjects of your lyrics?
Ross - I write and arrange the music for all of our songs and everyone comes up with their own parts to complement what I’ve written. We’ve only ever made small adjustments while recording. We’ve never had to rewrite parts or make big changes. The lyrics started out being more personal for me but with our last EP (Session 3 - Serpent King) and Oracle I wrote them more as concepts. Serpent King was a reflection on the rise and hypothetical trajectory of an authoritarian leader, while Oracle is pretty much a fantasy story (like a Dungeons and Dragons module!) I’ve actually found writing the concepts easier because it’s more like writing a story as opposed to such intense self-reflection. 

Guy - Ross usually has a clear picture of what he wants from the songs he has written, but he does leave the rest of us to compose our own parts as we see fit. He always writes amazing riffs for me to solo over.

Casey - This band is definitely Ross's vision. We are here to help that vision bear fruit. 

Amanda - I really appreciate that Ross trusts us as musicians to add our own feels to his compositions. Regarding my vocals especially, on songs like Vengeance and Heiress, Ross gave me the initial ideas for the melodies and I built the harmonies from there. It came together quite naturally, the music easily stirs the imagination! I'm just happy to serve the songs.

MELODY LANE:  Apart from all the problems and troubles related to the pandemic COVID-19, any chance for us to see Greybeard playing live here in Italy/Europe in the next months/years? Maybe summer festivals?Any plans?

Ross - Oh man! I would love to come over to Europe and play some shows. Once COVID-19 calms down perhaps we can get over there to play.

Guy - We absolutely would love to be on tour in Europe right now. Before the pandemic we were discussing an international tour, and we hope to do it as soon as we can.

Amanda - I'd hop on a plane in a heartbeat!

MELODY LANE: Could you tell us two bands, from the actual international scene, you’d like  to tour with?... Two bands that would represent a perfect line-up for Greybeard to play with. And why these bands?
Ross - From a stylistic perspective, I think Netherbird, Worm Witch, Novembers Doom, and Abbath would be a really good fit with us. All of these bands have great dynamics in their songs and have a certain amount of classic metal in their sounds. If a daydream about it, I would love to be on bills with Opeth, Mastodon, Enslaved, Insomnium, Dark Fortress simply because these are some of my favourite bands.

Guy - Along with the bands Ross mentioned, I would love to tour with Dark Tranquility and Amon Amarth.

MELODY LANE: We know that ‘to define is to limit’… but how do you define Greybeard sound? Are you a Melodic Death band? Progressive death band? …Or...?

Ross - I like the sounds of “Progressive Death Metal” let’s go with that! To be honest, I like the fact that we don’t fit into the typical metal sub-genres. I think we’re a metal band that isn’t afraid to utilize various genre-specific styles to help bring our songs to life.

Guy - Even our local fans find it hard to define our sound. The influences of each member in the band are similar but also very broad. We have elements of classic metal, thrash metal, black metal and death metal, but also atmospheric metal, folk metal and progressive elements. “Progressive Death Metal” is probably the quickest point from A to B.

Casey - Ross pretty much nailed it. Most of my other bands are either complicated prog or extreme death metal. It found it refreshing to lay back and focus on groove and traditional song structure rather than complex or extreme styles. 

MELODY LANE: Which musicians are/have been your main musical inspirations? 

Ross - So many great influences over the years… My gateway band was Iron Maiden. When I go back and listen through their early discography I realize how truly ground-breaking they were and honestly, their early material (everything up to and including Powerslave) still stands up. There have been lots of influences over the years but Iron Maiden was the genesis for me loving metal.

Guy - Early Van Halen is my favourite band ever, and I still study the first 6 albums today. I also really like The Ozzy guitarists, Blue Murder, Badlands, Symphony X, Opeth, Meshuggah and Mastodon. 

Casey - As a kid I was into a lot of Primus, Slayer and Pantera. Then Death, Dream Theater, SYL/Devin Townsend and just about anything Gene Hoglan was involved in. Once I heard Meshuggah, I realized that not all extreme metal had to be fast. Meshuggah marked a pretty big shift in my approach to metal. 

Amanda - My musical taste is quite diverse. I grew up playing classical piano and listening to a lot of classic rock and pop, also plenty of jazz. In my teens I was a grunge gal, so a lot of influence from the Seattle scene at the time. I fell in love with heavy and progressive music later on, Gojira, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and so many local Calgary and Alberta Metal and Hardcore bands, like Exit Strategy, Kyoktys, Fjell Thyngor, Quietus, Citizen Rage and Illuminated Minerva to name a few. 

MELODY LANE: Which are your favorite bands nowadays? Are there any musicians you’d really like to collaborate with?...and why?

Ross - I’ve been listening to new releases by Intronaut, The Ocean, Dark Fortress, 3TEETH, and White Stones. All of these albums are really interesting and heavy in their own way. As far as collaboration goes,I would love to get together with my own band for starters!! With Covid restrictions and precautions we haven’t really been jamming and I’m really missing that.

Guy - Tesseract, Monuments, Intervals, Arch Enemy, Ninja Spy, Neck of the Woods...all putting out amazing music.

Casey - Meshuggah, Car Bomb, Periphery, Toska, Plini, Split Lip Rayfield, Corb Lund, Delbert McClinton. The Aristocrats, Mr Bungle. 

Amanda - Mares of Thrace, Citizen Rage, Bill Wurtz, Louis Cole, KNOWER, Lady Gaga, Puscifer and many of the above-mentioned Aritsts. I love thought-provoking boundary pushers.

MELODY LANE: Until today...What was the most important concert for Greybeard’s career?

Ross - To be honest, I don’t feel like we’ve really had a big moment yet. We had only played a handful of live shows in and around our home province of Alberta before Covid lock downs kicked in. I hope that once Covid gets under control, we can start to play further away from home and get our music out there. That being said, the 2018 Loud As Hell Festival was pretty epic!

Guy - Probably the 2018 Loud As Hell festival.

Casey - Loud As Hell 2018 was a great one. 

MELODY LANE: As a musician, what has been your biggest achievement to date and what do you want to achieve in the near future? 

Ross - Releasing Oracle has been a great accomplishment for me as it was my vision to create a full concept album and it actually turned out better than expected! It’s completely self-produced and I’m really proud of what we did. Everyone worked so hard to make the album as great as possible and that’s really, really cool. For me as a musician, one of the coolest things was having a song featured on the soundtrack for one of the Tony Hawk video games back in the early 2000s. An obscure punk band from Calgary being included on a huge game was pretty epic.

Guy - I was featured in Guitar Player Magazine in 2009 with an instrumental album, But I prefer playing in a band with vocals. I’m very proud of the new Greybeard and my bandmates are as well. We are looking forward to bringing great music to more people around the world and gaining more recognition and achievements with a wider audience,

Casey - I have been fortunate with my previous bands. I have opened for Gwar, Cephalic Carnage, Suffocation, Origin, Cynic, Death (to All), Kings-X and played festivals with many other well known bands. I have earned a lot of respect within our local scene and will continue to explore different avenues of music that are new to me. 

Amanda - Aside from this album, the 2016 release of "Consumation" from Caveat, the other band Casey and I share. We're in the final stages of mixing a new album for Caveat, hopefully to be released before the end of this year. I'd love to explore an album of my own, but until then, I'm looking forward to new Greybeard music!

MELODY LANE:  After time, are you totally satisfied with your choices about sound and the writing of your previous albums? If you could… would you change anything? 

Ross - Oh yeah, I would go back and redo a bunch of my vocals on our first 2 EPs and I would have involved both Amanda and Guy right from the beginning. They’re both such talented, creative musicians and I think they could have made the EPs -- especially the first two -- much more impactful. I’ve joked with Guy that we should re-record all of our EPs and build an album of the best songs. 

Guy - I don’t think I would change anything. Although there might be a note or two that I didn't play 100% perfectly, I’m satisfied with the expression and feeling captured in the record. As for the Band as a whole, I think it has been a very natural evolution to arrive where we are now.

 Casey - As a musician, I prefer to keep the music the way it was from those times. It's a snapshot of where we all were at the time it was recorded. As an audio engineer/producer I find myself wanting to go back and revisit my old mixes and apply some of the techniques I learned since those recordings. 

MELODY LANE: In the end…A message from you to all MELODY LANE readers.
Ross - Keep on supporting sites like Melody Lane as they help small, independent bands like us. Enjoy our music and hopefully we’ll see you live and in person someday! Trust the doctors. Trust the scientists. Be kind to each other.

Guy - In a world where music has become almost disposable, sites like Melody Lane are like gold mines for incredibly talented bands. I hope your readers enjoy our music, and we hope to see you all on tour in the near future.

Casey - Never stop exploring music. As we get older it's common for music lovers to stagnate and stick to the classics. 

Amanda - I echo my bandmates' sentiments. Never underestimate the power of music to move us through the times. Support Music and Art, and sites like Melody Lane that give voice to so many of us. Buy merch, listen and share, get out to shows if Covid restrictions allow. It is an honour to be featured, alongside such esteemed company! Thank you for featuring us! Much Love from Canada.