Cauldron may not be the highest profile bands in the traditional metal revival, but they’ve been one of the most persistent since their 2006 formation. While many of their peers fixate on speed and flamboyant showmanship, Cauldron has always opted for a sleazier approach with catchiness and glam influence fitting their 80s B-movie aesthetic. This is only exacerbated on their fifth album, New Gods, which just released on September 7th. Chris at Indy Metal Vault reached out to the band to discuss the new album and all other things Cauldron.
Indy Metal Vault: New Gods is more accessible than Cauldron’s previous albums, but it feels like a gradual evolution rather than a sudden shift in style. How do you compare it to your earlier work?
Ian: I suppose we perceive it in the same way; that we’re still evolving as a band and always trying to refine our approach to the songwriting. There are definitely certain things I’ll hear on the first EP or album and think “I would never do that again.” There’s no tapping on the new album!
Jason: I think we’ve gotten better as writers, performers, and our production has gotten much better, but I think you can tell right away that it’s Cauldron.
IMV: Cauldron always had some glam metal elements. I feel they’re more pronounced on New Gods, especially on songs like “Together as None.” Were there any new influences at work when you were writing and recording the album or any older influences that became more prominent?
Ian: We’ve never denied being fans of glam or hair metal. I have no problem listening to Cinderella’s Night Songs and then throwing on Napalm Death’s Harmony Corruption right after. It’s all good to me. The glam element was more prominent on the earlier stuff, so I guess we figured we’d go full tilt on that one song. I believe Jason was going for an 80’s Kiss/Desmond Child approach on that tune and it really shows. I still think it sits nicely on the album.
Jason: I think we take inspiration from anything that we enjoy listening to regardless of genre and put it through our filters to come up with our own song. I’ve always been a big fan of taking keyboard-oriented pop songs and transferring them to guitar parts, like we did on “Moonlight Desires.” Besides that, we’re just naturally glamours!
IMV: The vocals are also a lot cleaner and very melodic. How did you approach the vocals on this album? Did you undergo any sort of training prior to recording or earlier in your career?
Ian: I can’t speak for Jason, but when you’ve been recording vocals for over ten years you’re bound to get better at it. This is also the first time we’ve had a full-on producer (Chris Stringer) who wouldn’t settle for mediocre takes from any of us.
Jason: I’ve always been striving to get better, but I really only ever had one vocal lesson, and that was many years ago. We’ve also always been bound by budget restraints, but I think I have the experience now to get the takes we need while under the clock. We also gave our producer free reign to really go for it on this one and make sure he had the best possible takes needed…
IMV: The cover art for New Gods is very different than your other albums, more surreal in a way. What was the idea behind the artwork and how does it represent the music?
Ian: We’ve always tried to make each album’s artwork distinctly different. When we were discussing artwork, we discovered that a good friend of ours (Rob from Chainbreaker) had painted that back in the early 90’s. I was over at his house and saw it propped up in the corner and it immediately struck me and gave me a strange gut feeling, and I thought it would make a great album cover. I knew it would stand out and make people talk about it, which made me like it even more, especially when you realize it’s quite phallic. In my mind it’s a visual representation of any kind of negative manifestation that has affected our lives in the past couple years.
IMV: Cauldron has been around for over a decade now, having formed in 2006 and releasing your debut in 2009. How do you think the band itself has changed in that time? Do you think the way you’re perceived as a band has changed as well?
Ian: I feel like we’ve matured quite a bit. We always used to have a bit of tongue in cheek-ness about us, which I don’t think there’s any place for now. I think our taste has broadened quite a bit too, so we can take inspiration from a lot of different places. I don’t really know how we’re perceived as a band when I’m on the inside. I’m just gonna try not to read any reviews of the album this time!
Jason: I think we’ve certainly progressed in terms of performance and songwriting, but I have no idea how we are perceived. We’re probably too old now to be in tune with that sorta stuff, haha
IMV: Going along with that, is there anything left on the Cauldron bucket list?
Ian: We’ve never made it to Japan or Australia, and South America has pretty much always eluded us. Any time plans for South America came up they’d always fall apart due to lack of info or the shows not even being booked.
Jason: I’ve pretty much done more than I ever set out to do. We got to play with Metallica!
IMV: Last question, how does Goat Horn hold up for you these days? Is there a chance of another one-off show in the future?
Ian: I was always a big Goat Horn fan, and still think that Storming the Gates holds up really well. It’s pretty heavy on the charm. They seem to reunite for a show every couple years so I’d say it’s pretty likely!
Jason: Goat Horn is what we now call a “heritage act”; we get together every year or two to do special one-off shows and only talk about making new music, haha!