Record Label: None
Luke Dinan: Children of Wrath is a solo project for a few reasons. The main reason is that I don't know enough people to form a full band. Another reason is that I work too fast most of the time and, historically, I usually can't wait for other people to find the time to sync schedules, practice, hash something out, and record it. It's great to work with other people, but sometimes there just ends up being too much drama. I don't try to be a control freak, but I've had a few situations in the past where other people's feelings got hurt because I've brought songs up to speed by playing other members' parts. I didn't want that to happen again or have any drama or bad memories associated with this project. It's a fun hobby and a personal challenge because I've never made a metal album before. I have a pretty flexible work schedule, so I can go in to work later in the day if inspiration strikes.
Luke: No Flesh Spared is actually my sixth album, but the only one to gain any sort of traction or interest in this short of an amount of time (any interest is better than none haha). I have two very primitive, experimental, IDM-type albums under the moniker Electronic Conversations, two electropop LPs, one EP under my own name, and a pop/rock project I recorded with my best friend called The Future Calling.
Luke: I wanted all the lyrics to totally be Scripture because I wanted the message to be unimpeachable vs the sound of the music. I grew up listening to a lot of Tooth & Nail Records artists who were always pushing the envelope in one way or another. It seemed like with every new album I bought, I had to be ready at a moment's notice to show my parents that there was a good message and it just sounded heavy/scary/wordly/etc. I know that stigma with heavy Christian music died out a long time ago, but there's still a part of me imagining some poor 15-year-old trying to explain to his/her bewildered parents that this is a totally Christian album. Some of the Scriptures stuck out during daily devotional reading and I would make a note of them to try to work them into a song later. I hear a cadence in my head when I read a lot of the New King James Old Testament verses. Some of those verses are from Psalms and were written for music. So sometimes I'm writing a song in my head while I'm reading the Bible. Other Scriptures came to me as I was writing in that I'd have the song done and say, "Okay, time to write some lyrics," and I would open my Bible randomly to the most perfect Scriptures to fit the music.
Luke: The first heavy music I ever heard was the album In The Kingdom by Whitecross. My mom was so cool - she used to do those mail-order deals where you'd get like ten tapes for a dollar if you agreed to buy five more or something like that. She let me pick out that Whitecross album when I was in Kindergarten or 1st or 2nd grade. It was the coolest! I think I was the only kid I knew with his own component stereo in his room, and I had huge headphones that would reach to my bed. I would listen to that album over and over and over before I went to sleep. I was also heavily inspired/influenced by Zao, CHATTERbOX, Training For Utopia, Strongarm, Skillet, Prodigal Sons, Michael W. Smith, Phil Keaggy, Circle of Dust, and MxPx. My more modern influences are secular extreme metal bands from when I left my faith for over a decade and was given over to a lot of bad stuff. Those bands are Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Septic Flesh, Satyricon, and Opeth.
Luke: What I'm hoping to achieve with the release of this album is the ability to reach souls that normally would not be receptive to Christian music, the Gospel, and likewise, maybe certain people of faith may not want to associate with some of the types of people that prefer this style of music. Secondary to that is that I want Christians to be able to have a totally extreme metal album that doesn't compromise spiritually, musically, or just be another piggyback clone of whatever the sound du jour is. A few of the bands I mentioned as my Christian influences got really nebulous later on in their careers, and I really can't stand that. I believe this album's lyrics are just as brutal as any secular metal band, but unlike some Satan-fest, these are things God said he's really going to do. I want this album to do spiritual warfare on behalf of the listener and change the extra-dimensional battle-space for their soul in their favor. I remember back when Marilyn Manson's album Antichrist Superstar came out, and in an interview, he said because of the way he looped the album and because of the content he put in it, every time someone played the album, whether they realized it or not, they were "re-casting the spell" he put on it, and each spin would usher in Armageddon. If the world can do it for evil, then I can do it for good. I really wanted to contrast beauty and brutality in this album to elicit a range of emotions from the listener and reinforce the message of the lyrics. There's too much metal out there that requires an enormous amount of talent to play, but is ultimately forgettable due to how technical it is. There are no hooks. Another thing I wanted to personally achieve with the album was to put all the skills I've honed in production, recording, songwriting, mixing, etc, and really try to make something that would blow people out of the water sonically without me spending an extra dime on any extra equipment or outside help. I'm also hoping to put the fear of God back into some people, myself included!
Luke: I chose the title No Flesh Spared for a few reasons. One (silly) reason is that I like three-word titles. Another reason is that I believe it accurately sums up the brutality of the sound as well as a majority of the content of the album with regard to punishment of the wicked. Originally, this album was only 8 tracks, and I was about to call it done. Then I heard someone quote Mark 13:20, but they used the word "spared" instead of saved. The NKJV says "saved." I forget which translation says "spared," so I guess that's my cheat, where 98% of the lyrics are NKJV. So I heard that verse and thought No Flesh Spared would be a killer album title. Then about a week later, I'm thinking, "How can I name the album after a song that doesn't exist on the album?" So I knew I had to do one more. For some reason, I get tons of musical ideas in the shower, and at least four songs on that album started in the shower, in my head. So I basically "heard" the entire chorus for "No Flesh Spared" down to the lyrics, lyrical phrasing, riffs, and drumbeat. I couldn't go in to work late that day, so I figured it was gone forever. Then I didn't have time to record it that night because of work (I'm on call all week in addition to working eight hours a day). And then I didn't have any time on the second day to record it either. Somehow I didn't forget anything that came to me in the shower, and I was able to record it and lay it down in a matter of a few hours a few days later. So I'm gonna say that was all God on that one!
Luke: That is a really hard question! If I had to pick one song to introduce my music to a new listener it would probably be "Grave Digger" over "By Fire and Sword," but only by a hair. "Grave Digger" showcases a lot of different musical aspects to Children of Wrath. It's a very progressive track with a lot of savage, pulverizing moments counterbalanced with a really beautiful passage in the middle of it. That's the track I got the most reception out of friends and family with. The lyrics are out of the book of Nahum. The song started when I read verse 14 in chapter 1. It states: "The LORD has given a command concerning you: Your name shall be perpetuated no longer. Out of the house of your gods I will cut off the carved imageand the molded image. I will dig your grave, for you are vile." When I read that last line, I thought, "That is the most heavy metal thing I've ever heard God say. I have to work that into a song!" Interestingly enough, I almost gave up on that track three different times. It used to sound like a real cheeky black and roll type sound. I rerecorded the vocals on that track and scrapped them more times than any song I'd ever previously done. Then it finally all came together. Never give up!
Luke: I would like to add that I believe God increased my skills to get this album done. I don't want to sound haughty, but sometimes I can't believe I pulled off what I did on this album, because I've been playing and recording for the better part of my life, but I've never had this much realization of a vision with a solo project before. So the glory is His. I'd also like to add that I've already begun on the next album, tentatively titled Supernatural Dimensions and I've already got the first non-instrumental track done. It's called "Vanity," and I guess it will be the single. It should be up on my YouTube channel soon (just search "Children of Wrath"). I'm in talks with a new label called Nosral Recordings, and it's an extreme metal subsidiary of Rottweiler Records. Hopefully we can work something out! I can be followed on Twitter @Child_of_Wrath, and there is a Facebook, Soundcloud, and Reverbnation page as well. I also have ChildrenofWrath.com under construction as I write this. Thank you for the interview!
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