“I think, on this record in particular, we really just cared about writing a chunk of music that could be listened to from front to back as a singular piece,” Rivers Of Nihil guitarist Brody Uttley shares. “At this point, we realize we are never going to be the fastest shredders, most technical band, or most ‘brutal’ sounding act. However, songwriting has always been something that I feel we have focused on. I think writing a good song is way more important than just about any other thing.”

“Good songwriting transcends genre, time, and audience,” he adds. “A good tune is always going to resonate with people no matter what. That’s what we focus on, and I think we are getting better at it with each album.”

Indeed, Uttley and Rivers Of Nihil are proud of their third studio album, Where Owls Know My Name, out March 16 via Metal Blade Records. He explains, “The album title is referring to the idea of going to a solitary place away from everything and everyone, where the only real connection you have to anything is with the simpler things around you and within you: nature, time, self-reflection, nostalgia, etc.”

While the band offer an array of traditional death metal elements and plenty of devastating instrumentation, they’ve also incorporated numerous instruments one would not immediately associate with their music. “We brought in a lot of odd stuff on this one, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product,” Uttley says. “Saxophones, trumpets, cellos, Mellotrons, Hammond organs, Leslie rotating speakers, Rhodes Mark I pianos, Moog boards, fuzz pedals—and probably a few others that I’m forgetting—were all brought in for the recording process.”

As a result,Where Owls Know My Name offers everything from pure brutal death metal to jazz to electronica to acoustic music. Rivers Of Nihil strive to innovate and evolve throughout their writing process. This approach also coincides with the theme of changing seasons the band use within all their albums. “The reason that we chose to use a seasonal concept on our records is because it makes it very easy to demonstrate the passage of time,” Uttley shares.

He adds that the teamwork involved in crafting the new record was tight and sincerely encouraged everyone to create their best work. “I wrote nine of the 10 songs at my home studio and, then, sent the completed tracks out to the rest of the band, where they would add their tweaks, lyrics, and give me their opinions on if something was lame or overdone,” Uttley explains. “Having Adam Biggs—our bassist, lyricist, and backup vocalist—around is a super useful thing for me as a writer.”

“We told each other that we didn’t want to write a Monarchy Part II,” he notes, referencing the band’s 2015 full-length, Monarchy. “So, when I would send him songs, he was brutally honest with me and really kept me pushing for a higher standard.”

For Uttley, change is a means to keep his work exciting and allows him to continue creating evocative art. He believes there’s one core concept bands need to strive for if they are to grow. “Risk,” he states, “without a doubt.”

“Too many bands are afraid to make jumps into new territories, because they’re so comfortable with where they are,” he argues. “Any band that throws fear out the window whilst writing is a truly free band—in my opinion, anyway.”

Where Owls Know My Name is an outstanding record that takes the sounds death metal is known for and expands them into fascinating new territories. Clearly, Uttley understands what it takes to truly innovate and create meaningful art. “Fearlessness,” he asserts, “and a certain sense of awareness that we are all going to be gone one day and any risk we didn’t take is a lost opportunity for something potentially great.”

Purchase Where The Owl Knows My Name here

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