Interview: Colter from Serration Talks ‘Simulations of Hell’

On Sept. 15, Canadian metalcore act Serration dropped its first major release since 2020. The LP, titled Simulations of Hell, offers a chaotic, somewhat eerie take on the genre. The album takes inspiration from turbulent bouts of manic depression and Y2K horror games like Silent Hill, says drummer and primary songwriter Colter.

Immediately, the album grips listeners in a volatile grip of aggression and self-doubt. Opener “Boreal Serpent” overwhelms like a flash fire before fading out into what feels like a video game pause screen—an odd moment of calm following a chaotic whirlwind.

Simulations of Hell then takes off with “A Suicide Note In Midi Format.” Here, the snarled, distorted vocals of Cody Dewald cut through a clean, soothing chorus from Dying Wish frontwoman Emma Boster, the only feature aside from an appearance from Sanction’s David Blom on the track “Altar of Guilt.”

For Colter, the conflicting, frustrated tone of the record represent a lifelong battle with mental health.

“I’ve had manic depression since I was 10 years old,” he says. “The record as a whole, from start to finish, I think it goes through emotions that make you [feel like] it’s kind of all one piece. From the start, you hear a VHS going into a tape machine. And at the end, you hear it pulling out. And I kind of wanted to feel like it’s all one body of work and not a tract of music.

For years, the multi-instrumental Colter has used music for his emotional outlet. In fact, he struggles to writing becomes near-impossible at times when things are calm and collected. He might go weeks without putting a solid idea down, only to find himself in a feverish haze of expression when the urge hits.

“I wrote like 80% of [Simulations of Hell] in a weekend,” he recalls.

Despite the spontaneous nature of Colter’s process, the full-time journeyman electrician finds time to help more bands that he can remember in the moment.

This year alone, the musician will play shows with Serration, his vegan-straightedge project World of Pleasure with Jess Nyx, Mortality Rate and another side project called Delusion, all of which he handles most of the writing responsibilities.

Despite breadth of his work—perhaps the most prolific in Canada—Colter maintains a civilian nine-to-five, remarking that “especially in Canada, it’s really, really, really hard to make a living out of playing music and writing and stuff. I don’t get a lot of opportunities like that up here.”

Despite this, however, a run-in with Colter and his projects gets more inevitable with each passing year as World of Pleasure has been hitting festivals and a short upcoming run with Spy. And Serration is sure to announce more performances following the imminent new record.

At the heart of it all, is Colter’s love for a scene that gave him a sense of expression, and a tight-knit community fighting for each other’s stability.

“It’s reason I do it honestly,” he says. “I have made so many close friends, like, good people that have big hearts. You can meet someone once and you get each other’s numbers and then your best friends … all these things are hardcore.”

Simulations of Hell is available now from Daze. Follow Serration on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Ian Enger.

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