Exclusive: Abrams’ Zach Amster Breaks Down the Band’s New Album In The Dark
Fridays are a big day for new music releases and we’ve got a special one here today that you’re absolutely going to want to check out. Abrams‘ latest offering In The Dark is the band’s fourth full-length studio album and damn it, it’s a doozy.
Into The Dark gets right to the point as an in your face sludge/post-metal package that just goes the moment you hit play. Over the course of roughly 45 minutes, this record grooves, gets heavy, hits you with some tasty hooks, and even gets a little personal in a way that nearly everyone can relate to.
So when we were approached to have the band break down each track like a director would provide commentary on their film, you bet your ass we were thrilled with the idea. And that’s exactly what Abrams guitarist and vocalist Zachary Amster did. If you’ve ever wanted to listen to an album and read a snippet of where the idea from the track came from, read on.
But you’ve heard enough from us already. Enjoy your deep dive into Abrams’ Into The Dark.
“Like Hell” was a no-brainer decision for us when it came to choosing what song should lead off the record. It’s one of our heavier songs that grabs your attention from the get-go. There’s a little something here for every rock fan—hooky vocals, heavy riffs, pounding drums, and even some HM2 (distortion) for those metalheads out there.
I’d like to think that if Queens Of The Stone Age played on Trap Them’s guitar rig, you’d get this song.
Lyrically, I took a lot of inspiration from the pain and sickness I was going through when I contracted COVID. It knocked me on my ass. Not only did the disease physically put me down, but it was just as tough mentally. The sonically dark and sassy vibe of the song pairs well with the lyrical theme.
This one’s got some of my favorite drumming from Ryan [Dewitt], who absolutely rips through the bridge in the out of nowhere noise rock-esque turn.
Most of my lyrics are pretty ambiguous and open to interpretation. A lot of the time it’s hard for me to decipher what I am going through when writing. “Better Living” is more of the opposite. It’s right on the nose, for me at least.
Generally, it’s about getting too comfortable with certain routines — and not particularly healthy ones. Knowing full well in the back of your mind that it’s time to pack it all up, but routine is comfortable and change is terrifying. Maybe it’s not as open to interpretation as I initially thought!
Anyways, this is one of my favorites with the most epic bass line and guitar leads throughout the hooky vocal melody.
In The Clouds
At 2:59, “In The Clouds” turned out to be one of our most to the point songs to date. The thunderous bass tone paired with the pounding drums are some of the tastiest and heaviest sounds on this record. There are hints of Soundgarden blended with the fuzziness of major key titans Torche. Think if “Jesus Christ Pose” was on Torche’s Harmonicraft. The climactic drop at the end of the song is probably my favorite moment on this record.
I’ve got to be honest, I have no idea what this song is about lyrically. Sometimes, it’s a math equation when I’m trying to write a vocal melody. You kind of hum a melody that sounds cool, find a couple of words to play with and just go from there.
We had a lot of fun in the studio with this one. Our engineer, Dave Otero, created some sick sounding drum samples over the pre-chorus leading up to an explosive chorus. This song also features some of my favorite guitar tones on the album with that crunchy Jazzmaster twang.
One of our favorites on this record! We were so stoked when [guitarist] Patrick [Alberts] brought in these beautiful riffs, but there was definitely some hesitation that had us asking, “is this an Abrams song?” I’m glad we answered that question rather quickly.
This song opened up a lot of doors for us creatively and gave us the confidence to realize it’s okay to chill out a little. We realized that we don’t have to be blasting on 10 for an entire song, let alone an entire album. The playfulness with the dynamics in “Body Pillow” really helped us create a better vision for how we wanted the record to sound. I think this is one of our favorites because it was just new to us and a slight turn from our past efforts.
Similar to Body Pillow, Patrick brought in the meat with the riffs and song structure. I had a lot of fun writing the vocals over it and felt like I reached some new territory with my vocals, especially towards the climactic ending.
[Bassist and vocalist] Taylor [Iverson] found inspiration with writing the vocals from a psychedelic journey he experienced at a festival in Taos, New Mexico. He really excels with conveying heartfelt emotion with his passionate vocal performances.
In The Dark
Thematically, this song encapsulates the overall concept of the record. So, it seemed fitting that “In The Dark” became the title track.
“Not wearing my own skin, it doesn’t feel like my own”
“It’s the way you act when you’re alone”
“When you’re in the dark, are you hiding from me? Just hold your head up high, it’s all you can do.”
Sometimes what’s portrayed above the surface is not what somebody is feeling on the inside. Dave absolutely crushed the production on this song, from the ethereal intro to the crushing close. It’s a crowd-pleaser when we rip it live.
Black Tar Mountain
Naming songs can be fun. A lot of the time, we’ll name new songs after a band it sounds like. To us, this one sounded like if Black Mountain wrote an Abrams song.
One practice, when asked what we want to play next, someone blurted out “Black Tar Mountain.” It was just too good to ignore! Come out to a show in the near future and hear the extended jam with no Hollywood fade.
Abrams’ fourth studio album In The Dark is available now vis Small Stone Records. Pick up a copy, including a limited edition opaque pink variant LP on Abrams’ bandcamp.