Having refined their broody, mesmerising vision of gothic/symphonic metal to cinematic levels, with three EPs and a full-length album behind them, BLACKBRIAR continue to set their sails towards the future. The Netherlands-based band are currently working towards their second full-length album, accompanied by long-time collaborator, Joost van den Broek. Today, the band have released a brand-new song titled ‘My Soul´s Demise’.
Vocalist Zora Cock stated about the new song:
“My Soul’s Demise is a song about love and pain, where you’re willing to do anything for the one you love, no matter what, even if that means that it will destroy you in the meantime. Yet sometimes you wonder, would that person do the same for you? It’s inspired by the medieval practice of sin-eating, a ritual where mourning families hired a sin eater to consume their loved ones’ sins. The sin eater would eat food left on the dead person’s chest. The food was believed to have absorbed the deceased’s lingering sins. Sin eaters were paid next to nothing for their service, they were reviled, and seen as filthy people, full of sins. Villagers even avoided looking them in the eye. I learned about the sin-eater when watching an episode of Outlander, where a sin-eating ritual got introduced.
Now it gets a bit more personal. While reading about the sin-eating ritual, and writing the lyrics, it reminded me of a story my dad once told me. A long time ago, my dad suffered from psychosis and was admitted to a psychiatric clinic. He told me a lot about his experiences, what it was like, and how his mind worked at that moment. He thought he was the devil incarnate, possessed by something dark, and he felt like everyone felt his evil presence as he walked by, everyone would flinch away from him. This made me write the bridge of the song “No one can even look me in the eye, everybody is flinching away from me as I pass by”. Somehow the story of a medieval sin-eater reminded me exactly of the way my dad explained how he felt, as if he had consumed the world’s sins and darkness.
I read about the last known sin eater of England as well, which was a very heartfelt story. His name was Richard Munslow, and he died in 1906. It is believed that the tragic loss of four of his children at very early ages that died within one week may be the reason he resurrected the macabre ritual. This made me write the song from the perspective of willing to do anything for the ones you love.
The songwriting process of My Soul’s Demise went pretty fast. After writing the lyrics, I recorded some of my vocal ideas a cappella. This is how we mostly start writing a new song. I then sent it to René, with a note saying that it sucks and that he could probably throw it in the bin right away. Haha! Luckily he didn’t throw it away, and he actually liked what he heard, and made the basics for the song that same night. We brought the draft version of the song to our producer Joost van den Broek, and worked on it some more. Another instrumental part was added, so I needed to come up with some more vocals for that extra part. This was the more ‘quiet’ bridge part where I am doing some weird stuff. I wanted to do something with my voice as if I just consumed so many sins that I couldn’t handle it anymore, as if it had taken over my body, sort of possessed, and got inspired by Anna von Hausswolff.
We shot the music video at a medieval 12th-century church in the north of the Netherlands, and it took us two days to shoot it all. I always get fascinated by the atmosphere of standing in such an old building, shooting this video there felt perfect and so fitting. We were very lucky to be able to get all the freedom and time to be creative.
Another thing that was perfect, is that the whole band portrayed a role in this story, even our ex-bass player Frank. Frank played the corpse, and it felt like we held a funeral for his bass-playing years for Blackbriar, celebrating the awesome time we spent together. A symbolic farewell. For this video we needed some extra actors to witness the ritual. We opened up a casting call to my Patrons, so the people you see sitting in the benches are all Patrons. But not only Patrons, you can also see my parents! For me, the video story itself was more challenging than other videos we did so far. I can say that I gave it my all, and I hope that you feel something when watching it. It’s one of the more personal songs of the album.”
Formed in 2012, BLACKBRIAR crafted their first single in 2014 – ‘Ready to Kill,’ but it was 2015’s second single ‘Until Eternity’ that truly propelled the band into the limelight, with now over 18.1 million views since its debut. Taking advantage of the growing buzz surrounding them, they independently recorded and released their first EP, Fractured Fairytales, which laid down an impressive foundation for the band’s ethereal, breath-taking sound, and brought about new opportunities, including EU tour dates alongside Epica, Halestorm, In This Moment, Delain and MAYAN. The band crowdfunded their follow-up EP, We’d Rather Burn in 2018. It would be the first time they worked alongside esteemed producer Joost van den Broek, and this collaboration allowed BLACKBRIAR’s whimsical and enigmatic sound to reach new sonic heights. The EP showcased a stronger sense of dreamy atmosphere and brought listeners beautifully grim tales of witches, banshees, and sea sirens.
In 2019 the band released haunting single ‘Snow White and Rose Red’ , their take on the Grimm’s fairy tales. Continuing to dig deeper into fairy tale realms, BLACKBRIAR closed the year with their third EP, Our Mortal Remains, followed up by further touring with Epica and Delain. Championing their continued independence, which included everything from song-writing, overseeing merch, as well as shooting and producing their own videos and photos, BLACKBRIAR reached out to their ever-growing and loyal fanbase for assistance to make their full-length debut album a reality in 2020. Fans heeded the call, reaching the €25,000 goal in under 24 hours, ending with a total of €70,000. It was an impressive accomplishment for an independent act, which shows their strong internet presence, with over 214,000 YouTube subscribers and 46.1 million channel views, as well as 27.6 million Spotify streams and 150,000 monthly listeners.
Entering 2021, the band relinquished a bit of control in signing with Doomstar Bookings to help support their first full-length album, The Cause of Shipwreck. It was recorded with Joost van den Broek (Epica, Ayreon, Powerwolf), and the release showcased the band’s continued evolution into masterfully dark gothic storytelling and theatrical aesthetics. On the live front, the band launched the record with six sold-out Dutch club shows, before further EU mainland dates.
With their vision looking firmly into the future, and a major label behind them, BLACKBRIAR have set their sights on 2023 to conjure their most deadly siren song yet. With accolades behind them, such as being nominated three times for ‘Best Artist’ in the EuroSonic/Noorderslag’s Popgala Noord Awards (2018, 2020, 2022), and continued fan support, with current monthly streaming totals on YouTube and Spotify nearing 1 million streams, the world is primed and ready for a spectacular journey ahead.
Zora Cock – Vocals
René Boxem – Drums
Bart Winters – Guitars
Robin Koezen – Guitars
Siebe Sol Sijpkens – Bass
Ruben Wijga – Keys
Connect with the band, here.