Guitarist Corey Unger Offers Massive Update on Blood Has Been Shed
I tip my cap to the dudes at the BREWtally Speaking Podcast, who scored a new interview with Blood Has Been Shed guitarist Corey Unger this week, in which he shares a buttload of substantial information regarding the new BHBS album we’ve been hearing about for a decade.
For those who need a refresher: Blood Has Been Shed, one of the NWOAHM’s most under-appreciated bands, pretty much stopped being a thing circa 2003, when both frontman Howard Jones and drummer Justin Foley joined Killswitch Engage. Then, in 2009, Unger said the band would have a new album, but implied that Jones and Foley might only be peripherally involved, with “a vast mix of people… including the original members.” Later that same year, Jones told MetalSucks that he was involved. And then later later that same year, a rumor started going around that Jones might be replaced in BHBS by Burnt by the Sun’s Mike Olender. Then we didn’t really hear anything substantial until the aforementioned BREWtally Speaking Podcast interviewed Jones in August, at which point the singer offered a not-especially-encouraging update, saying ” I don’t know if [the BHBS album will] ever see the light of day” but “who knows, eventually we may get on the same page.”
The latest batch of news is and is not at all more encouraging: Unger says that the album “does exist,” has “around ten tracks on it,” which are in various stages of completion, and was recorded by a variety of musicians and not just the original members. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t know when, or if, that album will ever be released to the public.
Corey on the record itself:
“Well it does exist, that was awhile ago. Currently there’s around ten tracks on it. It’s been tracked drum wise in the studio on seven of those tracks. Roughed out demoed out guitars and other instruments beyond guitars just to throw a little piece in there.
“There’s multiple instrumentation on it beyond guitar work. Some vocals sketched out on a handful of tunes, and those things took multiple iterations.
“It was intended from the beginning to be a studio album. Knowing that in the studio settings you can write things that are not limitations to what you can perform live, and not so much in the performance side, but the creative side, the compositional side.
“So it does exist, I have it on a computer hard drive at my house in my Pro Tools set up, and it’s been there…it’s funny cause that was almost ten years ago when I actually got the thought of writing it.
“It was in a sense an intersection of the first three albums altogether into one, and then in some ways I would say going further than those other three.
“I had to rewrite certain ways to think about composition to actually write the album. I’ll just say it’s not what you would normally hear from a metal band.”
Corey on the album’s line-up:
“We actually had a number of vocalists that there was already a pipeline to talking to people. We were looking for it to be, less of a ‘because Howard wasn’t available therefore find such and such.’ We were already working in a hyper studio setting, and one thing we thought about the idea of doing was bringing in multiple people and multiple artists to really have a community feeling to this. Like what is it like when you bring the voice of a group of people together still having Howard be a major central theme in it, but I mean lots of other singers. We had three drummers working on it.
“Some of that was ’cause Killswitch was super busy, but also it was people came in the mix and we were coming with a very, I’ll call it an open collaborative feeling of creativity. It was exploring what could happen if you bring these other musical ideas into the mix.
“So we were friends with Burnt by the Sun as well as some other bands, so there’s what would happen if we tried that? Lets’ have 4-5 vocalists on, and what would they do if they did this part, and then they did this part? Kinda like the new Killswitch album.”
Corey on the album’s release:
“Now whether it sees the light of day, I don’t know if this was a self fulfilling prophecy, but when I really started writing again I said to somebody I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a decade for this album to come out, cause what we’re writing it just didn’t fit where music was.
“There’s one thing being ahead of the curve, not ahead of the curve, but pioneering something….and there’s the part where it’s like dude, no one’s going to be able to understand…..this is so far from what anyone’s listening to right now.
“In a strange way ten years later from writing the core beginnings of it, I can see where it would have more resonance today than it would’ve ten years ago.”
So he doesn’t say it’s not coming out, but, y’know, it also doesn’t sound like it’s a top priority for anyone right now.
I’m not shocked to hear Corey thinks the album was ahead of its time, though. I’d argue BHBS were always a little ahead of their time, which is part of why they never became as successful as they probably should have been.
So I shall continue to hold onto hope that we’ll get to hear this thing someday (and that the wait will have been worth it). In the meantime, you can listen to the full interview below: