Brand of Sacrifice's Michael Leo Valeri talks modernizing extreme music and the success of Lifeblood on Mosh Talks
Toronto deathcore unit Brand of Sacrifice have certainly made a case for band of the year with the kind of charge they have mounted from the success of their recent release, Lifeblood.
The fully independent effort not only showcased a band that seemed well in tune with their creative identity musically, but well informed in how to ensure that album reached it's intended audience. In fact, the band's celebratory livestreaming event saw more than 8,000 viewers, no small feat for a band that continues to be self-managed, self-marketed, and self-governed.
Among the most exciting and promising contributors to the modern era deathcore, the band's disregard for purism and willingness to think outside the box have resulted in a sound that has resonated with fans that are both passionate and casual about extreme music - again, no small feat.
To better sum up the scope of the last year leading into the release of Lifeblood, Brand of Sacrifice guitarist Michael Leo Valeri sat in for a discussion on Mosh Talks to detail how hectic and how rewarding the journey thus far has been and how validating it has been to connect with fans without having to pander to them. Stream the conversation below.
:21 - Leo explains how this particular album cycle for 'Lifeblood' has been insanely busy, so much that he feels spent, but that it's a great problem to have. He referred to the entire experience as incredibly humbling.
1:13 - While Brand of Sacrifice had always had their rabid base of fans, Leo explains that sometime after releasing the single "Demon King" did the band experience an immediate shift in their trajectory. Leo goes onto explain that the attention was validating given the kind of time, energy, and effort invested into the release.
(It is worth noting that your buds at KNOTFEST premiered the video for "Demon King" - HERE - *pats self on back*)
2:09 - Given the rise of 'God's Hand' and the effectiveness of Lifeblood, the conversation compares the two records to determine where Brand of Sacrifice have evolved and what they have maintained as a stylistic signature. Citing 'God's Hand' as a way to sharpen their tools both in studio and live, Lifeblood built off of that given the kind of time and focus they could invest in this album given the pandemic shutdown.
4:06 - The dirty word of "deathcore" and how Brand of Sacrifice's evolving sound and willingness to experiment has ultimately ushered in a new era of the reemerging genre.
6:10 - Modernizing metal, Brand of Sacrifice explain how they take inspirational cues from the likes of Mick Gordon (Doom franchise), Marty O'Donnell (Halo franchise), and Hans Zimmer and tap their sense of experimentation to have a much more well-rounded approach to songwriting and thus changing the perception of what extreme metal is and can be.
8:50 - Despite a conscious effort to make the band more palatable while remaining on brand, Leo discusses the success of Lifeblood and how the album didn't need to conform in order to achieve this kind of critical and commercial reception.
10:30 - Leo details the level of ambition that fuels Brand of Sacrifice. Though he makes clear that the band is grateful for the accolades they have enjoyed thus far, there is a need to strive for more and push the envelope when it comes to the band, the sound, and the brand.
11:10 - Leo asserts his belief that extreme music, alternative music, will certainly make its way back into the consciousness of pop culture. Citing artists like Ghostemane, MGK, and Trippie Redd as examples, guitar driven music is becoming much more visible in the landscape of popular culture.
12:00 - Dropping names like BabyMetal and Poppy with regards to collaborations, Leo shares the headspace the band has in thinking outside the creative box.
14:43 - Brand of Sacrifice grew so quickly that they ultimately experienced a crash course in the music business and feel in love with that element of the profession just as much as the creative. It's a requirement to be as passionate about the business end as you are about the creative end if going independent is ever going to work.
18:00 - Brand of Sacrifice has always been especially hands-on in all aspects of the band. It's that proactive nature that is likely why they have thrived as an independent unit and continue to do so. That dynamic also allows for the band to be especially connected to their fanbase.
19:40 - Bucking the negativity of metal, Lifeblood took inspirational cues from anime but was intended to convey a sense of optimism that is often missing from the space. Now more than ever, it seems as though it is needed.
20:50 - Leo details his longstanding friendship with frontman Kyle Anderson and explained how he really has been the perfect person to communicate the band's message and spirit - a true driving force in the composition of Brand of Sacrifice.
23:00 - Given the forward thinking nature of the band, Leo discusses if how the concept of the album is dated and may not be the nest route for them moving forward. Citing example like Bring Me the Horizon and Spiritbox we have adopted releasing singles and an eventual EP rather than an album, the case study shows how the model can be effective in getting the results and album won't.