Brewin here (lyricist, concept creator and director for The Calling album by The Dark Horde) to answer your questions – thanks for having us!
How did you all meet?
Many of those involved I met over couple of decades and more at metal gigs – Hanny Mohamed of Black Majesty (main composer and involved in this project since 2006), Shaun Farrugia of In Malice’s Wake (“demonic” vocals), Chris Kane of Eye of the Enemy (composer for the “Rebirth” guest musician track) and James Lowe (composer for the “Slaughter” guest musician track). Danny Cecati of Wicked Smile (and formerly Pegazus and Eyefear), I also met this way but his involvement in this project was really made possible through Hanny whom he’d previously collaborated with. Logan Jacobs (the other composer for the album) became my neighbour in early 2018 when I moved to the area and became involved in this project soon after. Kevin Powe (narrator for the album) is an internationally established voice actor whom I know through the local indie computer game scene and has been involved in this project since 2013. Andrew Carolane (guest actor on the album) I met through mutual gaming friends many years back, Jane Brewin and Dexter Seamus (guest actors) are my sister and nephew respectively. Aldo “Valgorth” Requena is the Argentina-based artist for the project, and Ricardo Borges is the Sweden-based sound engineer for the project – both of which were introduced to me by Hanny in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
The single biggest influence in terms of inspiring the idea for The Calling comes from Jeff Wayne’s Musical version of War of the Worlds, released in the late seventies. I’ve basically taken that idea (of setting a story to music, complete with narration, sung sections, actors and sound effects) and set it to a heavy metal soundtrack with my own story.
Other influences of mine, that can be clearly seen on the album, include Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. But I love thrash bands like Testament and melodeath bands like Be’lakor too, and I suppose you can see that imprint in there too.
What made you want to be in a band?
Not being a musician myself, rather a writer and game-designer (among other things), my motivation for creating and releasing The Calling was to fulfil a long-held ambition of creating a “musical prequel” to my supernatural horror novel (also entitled The Dark Horde). To achieve this, I sought out some of the best talent Melbourne has to offer (and from abroad in the case of the artist and sound engineer) and am honoured to have worked with so many fine people on this. From first conception to final release (after around eight unreleased versions of the album with differing line-ups over the years) is something that took me over twenty years to achieve.
What has been your best gig?
The Calling is basically a “studio project” with many of the band’s members in active bands of their own, touring and so on, so a live performance of the album requires a lot of logistics and things to line up to be possible. It hasn’t happened yet, but will sooner or later…
Can you tell us a bit about your music?
The Calling is a supernatural horror story set in 1989 and set to a heavy metal horror soundtrack with vocal and narrative sections, instrumentals, sound effects and acting sequences, thus creating an engaging musical journey for the listener. Musically composed and performed by the collective of internationally recognised musicians, vocalists and actors that is The Dark Horde, the story told is the prequel to my award-winning novel, also called The Dark Horde.
Describe your music in 3 words.
Heavy Metal Horror.
What makes your band stand out from others?
· The Calling album is a complete supernatural horror story start-to-finish complete with different musicians and vocalists, actors, different soundscapes and cinematic sound effects. Set in 1989, and prequel to my acclaimed novel The Dark Horde, the music also reflects the period in which the story is set.
· Featured on the album are some of finest musicians and vocalists the Melbourne metal scene has to offer, coming from internationally-renown bands such as the power metal band Black Majesty, melodeath band Eye of the Enemy, thrash band In Malice’s Wake and hard rock band Wicked Smile.
· The Calling has been universally well-received by critics, for instance Metal-rules gave it a 90% score and said (it’s) “one of the best concept albums I’ve heard in a long time.”, Metal Temple gave it a 100% score saying things such as “The intricate nuance and incredibly written story absolutely deserve all the justice it can get.”, and Metalheads Forever
Magazine said it’s “the most brilliant hybrid (of metal and horror books) I have yet seen.”
What are your plans for the rest of 2022?
I’m always working on one creative project or another (around the “day job”) and given I much prefer the creative aspect of my craft than the promotional aspect, this is where the bulk of my “creative career energies” are directed towards. Currently I’m focused on my next project which also happens to be my biggest of all, and something I’ve worked on intermittently since 1985. It’s a board/role playing game kinda thing, that has spanned many versions, had over a hundred testers over the years, and fills at least four of my drawers. I hope to be in a position to finally release it in the next year or two (but we’ll see since it really is massive in both scope and detail).
If your band had to be remembered for one thing apart from your music what would you want it to be?
I don’t think any of the others involved would give this answer, but for me it’s for The Dark Horde to be known as the collaboration that created the musical prequel to my horror novel, and that these two things (album and book) go together, while each can also be enjoyed and understood on their own too.
Thank you for inviting us and to you the reader for reading! If you want to know more, including links for the digital and physical copies, merch, artwork, lyric video playlist, reviews, social media links and more, just head to my site here: https://thebrewin.com/works/the-calling
By Siân Parker