It is a huge honor for us to be able to premiere music from bands all over Asia. But when it’s a band that is HUGE within the world of Asian hardcore, that just brings a massive smile across our faces.
Today is one of those tremendous days.
Today we bring you the first taste of Malaysian hardcore greats, Restraint‘s brand new album Rise Above Hate. The band has always straddled the world of hardcore and metal (ala Hatebreed, Throwdown) which was clear as day on their previous release – their debut record that put them on the map released 8 years ago entitled Pure From Blood. 8 years later and what is the band bringing to the table? Well from this exclusive premiere for the track For Better Days streaming below, it is a complete embrace of their metal roots while maintaining the angst and passion for hardcore all wrapped up in some pristine 2016 production.
We caught up with their vocalist Ijam to get the word about this album and especially to ask the question: what the hell took so long to put out a new full length!
What’s up Ijam! Super excited about launching the first taste of a brand new Restraint album! Let’s get the most important question out of the way – what the hell took Restraint so long to finally release a new album?
Life’s been good Riz! How long has it been since the last album Pure From Blood hit the streets? It’s been like what? 8 years? I know it seems like it’s been a massive gap, the idea for this new album however actually started back in 2010. We got into the studio in 2013 to begin recording this. I started recording my vocals only in 2014 and by 2015 we had finally finished everything. But when we listened back to the final product, we just weren’t satisfied with what we had. So we made the decision to scrap it all and re-record the whole thing. So today we’re happy to announce that the album Rise Above Hate will hit the streets soon!
What was wrong with original recording?
There was nothing wrong with it technically, but the feeling was like “it’s just not there yet”. The really funny thing was that the decision to scrap the original recording started late in the process. We were already in the mixing/mastering stage of that album. While we were going back in to retouch stuff, we just started realizing that we were redoing almost every single part.
The whole album is brand new tracks save for one song which happens to be a track that we left off the Pure From Blood sessions. That track is called The Final Hope and is actually the very first song we ever wrote as a band. That in itself makes this new album special to all of us.
Wow – that’s funny that the first song you guys ever wrote as a band didn’t make it to your debut album but made it to this album! So who’s releasing the record? Are there any special packages that people should be aware of?
After considering a few offers, we decided to release it on our own. I’ll be putting it out under my own small label Persistence Records. We’re still in the planning stage with the team regarding the whole release package, like we’re considering maybe a limited bundle package (CD with merch and poster). But we’re still figuring all that out right now. Announcements for the packages will certainly be out by early October. This is a major release for my label so we just want to make sure that everything is done properly.
In terms of sound on this record, is it similar to the debut album? The debut album had a clear heavy hardcore sound similar to Hatebreed, Throwdown, etc which was definitely a sign of the times back when that album came out! What does the Restraint of 2016 sound like?
The sound has always been evolving. There is a clear thrash metal influence on this album. Imagine Slayer meeting Hatebreed, or Kreator smashed into Sick Of It All. Of course in terms of lyrical content, the ideas are pretty common like tracks about the hardcore scene, friendship and even more broader topics like war.
Lately there has been quite a lot going on in terms of Malaysian politics – with corruption and so many issues with bands not being able to play in the country because of visa issues, has any of these issues shown up in your lyrics or influenced your writing?
There are a lot of issues in Malaysian politics and I believe the entire world knows about what’s going on here. As we are still strictly a non political band, there is a song on this record that we address some issues through a different lense. We look at it from how continuous political instability could lead to war. Haven’t we learned from what has happened in the past? So this is our role in society, speaking through our lyrics.
What is the story behind the artwork for the album?
When our graphic designer asked me what ideas I had, I told him about this image I pictured when I thought of the phrase Rise Above Hate. It is clearly a phoenix rising from the flames of a fire. Everyone has gone through times where they’re dealing with some bitter haters and it is in this moment that you learn to cope and rise from the bullshit with a stronger spirit. The flames surrounding the phoenix carries the will to uplift ourselves from the lowest moments in our lives.
After listening to this song my first impression is that this is metal as fuck! And the production is INSANE!
Hahahaha…thanks! The record is produced by Sendat of MC16 Studios. He is the same person who produces a lot of local Malaysian metal bands like Daarchlea and Massacre Conspiracy so that’s why it has that feel to the recording.
On this track, why did you decide to feature Iskandar of Artefacts?
On this album we featured 3 musicians from different backgrounds. The featured musicians are:
Iskandar from Artefacts
Godoy from Massacre Conspiracy
and Andre Tiranda of Siksakubur
The best part is all of them are guitarists and this is how we honor them on our release.
For those who are familiar with Artefacts they will surely know how good this progressive metal band is and to have his touch on this song is definitely an honor for us. Over the years we have played with many bands from different types of genres and to have someone from outside our world on this release actually adds some “color” to the entire song. You can listen to his signature technical solo from the 3:30 minute mark.
So all three of these features are guitar solos and not vocals? That’s pretty cool! Why did you decide to feature guitarists instead of vocalists?
To be honest, the original plan was to invite some local vocalists to be featured on the album but after I finished up all the vocals it just felt like I had already sung all the parts that needed to be sung so maybe let’s try something different. And that’s when we got the idea to try to feature some guitarists instead. Andre of SiksaKubur has been a friend and a fan of our band and he even flew from Indonesia to Kuala Lumpur to record his part, which is amazing! Godoy on the otherhand plays with Massacre Conspiracy who are easily one huge rising talent amongst the local metal scene. They are an extremely talented band and in fact have won a couple of awards, so why not ask them to be on our record too? This way we can learn from the best! Hahahaha…
Any last words since this will probably be the first time for many people outside of Malaysia to check you guys out?
Thank you Unite Asia for this interview! We are honored to have a chance like this. And to everyone out there, welcome! We hope you all can experience the new sound of Restraint.
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