It’s not uncommon for a lot of metalheads to get nostalgic about melodic death metal and claim that there aren’t a lot of good bands around in the genre anymore, instead spending all of their time listening to the same groups from the 90s and 2000s. But there’s still plenty of younger talent around if you’re willing to look for it, particularly when it comes to U.S. groups able to do the genre justice. My Missing Half is a good example of this, as they’re able to channel elements of that classic hook driven melodeath style while branching off a bit from the standard template. The Boston based band will be releasing their newest EP ‘A Proper Hangman’s Knot’ on June 10th independently, and it’s definitely worth paying attention to.
The first preview that My Missing Half has given for this EP comes in the form of a music video for the song The Cell I Call Home. It’s a great example of what these guys are capable of and wastes little time in hitting the listener with an immense amount of energy of force. The way that the song transitions over from its faster blasting and dizzying riffing into a mid-tempo chorus reminds me of a lot of the classic Swedish bands in the genre, but if you listen a bit closer you’ll hear some influences from other sides of the metal spectrum sweeping in. Particularly when it comes to the vocal work, there are some elements of hardcore and some other metal styles that are sure to give the band some appeal to those outside of the melodic death metal fan base.
With heavy hitting production values and songwriting to back it up, My Missing Half is a group that’s likely to make a big impression. As ‘A Proper Hangman’s Knot’ is only a few weeks away, I had the chance to ask the band some questions about their writing process and what their thoughts are on American melodic death metal.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): How’s it going guys? For our readers that might be hearing My Missing Half, can you give us some background on how you came together as a band?
My Missing Half: Hello! Bijan started the band as a freshman in college. After a couple of lineup changes, John joined after seeing our “drummer wanted” Craigslist ad, and Alex joined after seeing our “bassist wanted” Facebook post. None of us knew each other personally. We were all just looking to make music with others who were just as dedicated.
TO: Your new five-song EP ‘A Proper Hangman’s Knot’ is set to come out on June 10th . How long have these songs been in the works for?
My Missing Half: There are a few riffs and lyrics that were written shortly after our last record was finished, but the bulk of the writing was done from January through July of 2015.
TO: Was there anything you approached differently as far as songwriting or recording goes in comparison to ‘The Lives I’ve Ruined’?
My Missing Half: We approached this EP with more of a “what else can we do?” kind of attitude, while ‘The Lives I’ve Ruined’ was more about establishing a signature sound for the band.
TO: Who created the album art and how does it tie in to the concepts explored on ‘A Proper Hangman’s Knot’? I’ve noticed some similarities between the artwork for this EP and your last full length and I’m wondering if there’s any connection.
My Missing Half: Both covers were created by Colin Marks. He has made covers for Sylosis, Origin, Suicide Silence, Allegaeon and a bunch of other huge bands. Our goal with this cover was to invoke feelings of creepiness + dread that the lyrics expressed. We think he nailed it!
TO: You’ve absolutely nailed the elements of melodic death metal, coming in with strong, catchy riffs and high energy vocals. But I’ve also found myself really enjoying the softer moments such as the intro to Another Illness or piano outro on Erase Me. Tell me a little more about the construction of these two songs and the use of these softer, subtle elements.
My Missing Half: We try to incorporate softer passages on each record. It adds a breath of fresh air, and it helps separate us from a lot of other death metal bands.
The intro to Another Illness features 3 different guitar parts. In an attempt to be able to pull it off live with only 2 guitarists, we tried playing the clean melody on the bass, and then on the piano. Neither sounded very good, so we left it as a guitar-based intro. We still wanted to incorporate piano into at least one other spot on the record, and the end of Erase Me just happened to be the perfect spot.
TO: A few days ago you released a video for the song The Cell I Call Home, which showcases you guys running through the material. A lot of bands seem to be shying away from videos these days, but you’ve done several of them so far. How do you feel about music videos in metal and what is their importance for connecting with fans?
My Missing Half: Videos of any kind seem to be have become for a necessity for metal bands; Whether it be a music video, a guitar play through, a lyric video, or just live footage. We’re competing with every other person, band, and business on social media, so relying entirely on audio puts a band at a huge disadvantage for drawing attention.
Music videos also create a more personal connection with the listener and the musicians, and give the listener a taste of what to expect from the band in a live performance.
TO: So far all of your material has been released independently. Have you been shopping around to labels for potential interest, or at this point are you happy to keep things independent?
My Missing Half: We haven’t been shopping too much for labels until recently. We’ve been making steady progress as an independent band, and plan on continuing to do so for the time being. However, we would all definitely sell our souls for the right deal.
TO: When a lot of people think of metal and Massachusetts what probably comes to mind is the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. You guys were able to play this fest before, what has it been like to be a part of it? Also, what’s your local scene like outside of big festivals like this and what other local bands should our readers check out?
My Missing Half: We actually have not yet played the metal and hardcore festival.
Outside of the big festivals, we have a very tight local scene. Bands and fans are all on a first name basis. Everyone helps each other out. It’s great! Other bands in the area that we love playing with are Pathogenic, Begat the Nephilim, Carnivora, Sonic Pulse, Epicenter, Manifest, Heavy Necker, and many others who deserve to be on this list, but it would take up 3 pages to list them.
I recommend checking out Matt Coe’s reviews on Dead Rhetoric. He does an awesome job of finding great local bands.
It’s been very disheartening to see older local melodic death metal bands of amazing musicians not get the recognition they deserve.
TO: The U.S. has a lot of bands playing melodic death metal, but the European scene always seems to get a bit more notoriety. Do you think there’s a challenge for American bands in this genre to get exposure, even if they have the same songwriting chops as their European contemporaries?
My Missing Half: Absolutely. It seems like younger audiences here tend to be more interested in deathcore and djent. Both of which are genres which we love and try to take influence from, but it would be great to see melodic death be as appreciated as it is in Europe. It’s been very disheartening to see older local melodic death metal bands of amazing musicians not get the recognition they deserve.
TO: All of your upcoming shows are in the Northeast, do you have any plans to get to any other parts of the U.S. later in the year?
My Missing Half: Nothing is set in stone as of right now, but we do expect to be back out on tour shortly after our release. Stay tuned!
TO: What’s been your most memorable live experience to date and why?
My Missing Half: We had one of our tour dates get double booked with a burlesque strip show. The venue fixed this problem by just having strippers perform between bands. One stripper incorporated circular saw into her act and accidently cut off a huge chunk of her hair. It was actually terrifying to watch. She clearly had no idea what she was doing, and totally could have cut her face off.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘A Proper Hangman’s Knot’ or My Missing Half?
My Missing Half: Our EP release show is on June 10th at Sammy’s Patio in Revere, MA. Be there or be square!
We also have a message to our fans:
No matter what happens in the future, we are never going to give you up, never going to let you down, never doing to run around and desert you.