Band Interview: Infanteria

Ahead of the release of their brand new album, Patriarch (out on the 17th June 2022), GBHBL spoke to progressive thrash band, Infanteria.

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From Cape Town, South Africa and Manchester, UK. Currently independent, the band released two studio albums with Burning Tone Records, with their third album, ‘Patriarch’, due for release Friday 17 June 2022. Formed in 2005 by Vocalist & Guitarist Chris Hall, and his brother Rob, Infanteria managed to thrash through the high school party years to release their 2013 debut ‘Isolated Existence’. The release saw Bassist Tim Leibbrandt join the fold, propelling the band to win the Wacken Metal Battle South Africa Competition that year, affording them the opportunity to play at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany alongside Rammstein, Motörhead, Meshuggah, and many more!

Upon their return to South Africa, the band was direct support for Killswitch Engage and Trivium at Ramfest SA 2014. The following year, their critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘Where Serpents Conquer’ was released with Adrian Langeveld taking over behind the Drums. The group subsequently enjoyed extensive touring of South Africa. With Chris emigrating to the UK in early 2020, and the arrival of the pandemic, sessions for the band’s next album were put on hold. Two years later, the Thrash Metal Trio is now set to return, revitalised and ready to unleash ‘Patriarch’, their long-awaited third album. A mature expansion on their previous releases, ‘Patriarch’ shows the full development of Infanteria’s progressive metal sound from hardcore crossover runaways like ‘Embrace the Trauma’ to rich sonic opuses such as ‘Swansong’.

For those presently yet unaware of Infanteria, share an overview of yourselves to new fans.

We’re a progressive thrash band from Manchester and Cape Town about to release our third album, Patriarch. The band is Chris Hall (guitar and vocals), Adrian Langeveld (drums), and myself, Tim Leibbrandt (bass).

It has been a long wait … 7 years in fact since your last album ‘Where Serpents Conquer’. What has all been happening with Infanteria in this time, and what has taken so long to get your anticipated 3rd album ‘Patriarch’ completed?

Chris and Adrian were working on the new music for a while and we had just begun tracking when two things threw a spanner in the works: Chris needed to relocate to the UK and, of course, the Pandemic happened. They both occurred at basically the same time, so there was a bit of a pause for us to reorganise and get the ball rolling again. But it’s been great to take our time with the music and get everything exactly how we want it. Hopefully our fans will feel it was worth the wait, we certainly do!

‘Patriarch’ has a decisive and confident Progressive undertone, in slight contrast to your pure Thrash predecessors … by choice and evolutionary design, or a pure coincidence?

Every Infanteria album has a pretty distinct and unique identity, but it still sounds like us. We just try to focus on writing great songs and let the music go where it wants to. Some of it obviously comes from the bands that we’re enjoying at the time, but it’s also just musical growth as a band. Thrash can be a well-worn sound if you’re not making it your own and taking it forward, so it’s important for us to put our own spin on it.

Having represented South Africa at Wacken Open Air, and supporting Killswitch Engage and Trivium, you must miss playing live. What are your plans for taking ‘Patriarch’ to the fans and getting Infanteria back out there?

We absolutely love playing live and there’s definitely more Infanteria shows on the horizon, it’s just a question of when we’re all going to be on the same continent again! But for now, our beloved fans have waited long enough for new music. We’re immensely proud of this album and can’t wait to get it out there.

With members spanning South Africa and the UK, how hard, or easy was it to craft ‘Patriarch’ with a decentralised lineup?

Having the songs mapped out certainly helped, so we all knew exactly what we had to do. Adrian tracked his parts in one day (that talented bastard!) and luckily Chris managed to track his rhythm guitars and vocals literally right before he moved. It would have been a lot more challenging if he still had to do those across the pond. Once the lockdowns eased up, I tracked my parts and Chris smashed the lead guitar in the UK. Our producer Heinrich Köllner was a crucial part of everything going smoothly, I don’t want to imagine doing this one without him.

Who contributes what in the Infanteria makeup – what part does each member play in crafting the magic?

Chris is the mastermind behind Infanteria and writes the lyrics and music. From the very beginning it’s been his baby. For this album he workshopped the core songs with Adrian, and they plotted out the general structures. Once that was in place, l worked on the bass lines to compliment what they’d written and fill out any spaces. One of the great things with Infanteria is that there’s always a lot of freedom when we’re tracking to experiment and try new things, so there’s always bits that we added while recording because they felt good on the day or because something we planned wasn’t quite working. We had a lot of fun throwing around ideas in the studio.

The artwork for ‘Patriarch’ is strikingly sinister. Tell us more about this ominous visual and its meaning?

I’m glad you dig it! The album cover needed to be a reflection of the music, so we wanted something that felt timeless and carefully considered, while still being thrash as hell. There’s something undeniably sinister about the visual language of 19th century spirit photography that perfectly captured the atmosphere we were after. The imagery of haunting spectres serves as a manifestation of the album’s themes of familial legacies, inherited cycles of trauma, and the chokehold of the past. It’s definitely got a darker edge to it, but so does the music.

The production on ‘Patriarch’ is huge. Where did you record, and whom did you work with to deliver this level of production value?

We tracked everything with the amazing Heinrich Köllner at Burning Tone Studios. After the work he did on the previous album, there was no question that he was the guy we wanted to work with. He’s a fantastic human being and knows how to make things sound incredible. As a bassist, I’m always grinning when we get mixes back from him and that tone hits you. He was with us in the trenches from the moment we started recording and didn’t rest until everything was as good as it could possibly be. He was a fundamental part of the success of the album, and we love him to bits.

Where to from here for Infanteria?

We’re going to record a country-influenced blues rock album with polka overtones.

Which channels can folks all get a hold of Infanteria?

www.infanteriaband.com is our official site and has links to all our various channels. You can also find access to everything on our Link Tree. Bandcamp is the all-in-one stop for music and merch, you can find our albums on all major streaming services, and on social media you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

Q: Any parting comments or special shout-outs?

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two Wrights made an aeroplane. Thanks to all our amazing fans for their patience and support, we can’t wait for you all to hear the new stuff! Extra special shout-out to Gilby, Wade, and Carlos, the wait is almost over!




Links

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