Introducing: Hellbore

Hellbore is an online death metal band featuring UK-based Charlie Munro (guitars, bass, mixing, and production) and US-based Chris Whitby (vocals). Charlie was on hand to talk about the background of the band, as well as the forthcoming first full-length album “Panopticon”.

What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?

I met Chris online via a Facebook group for DIY musicians. I had recorded a cover of the Testament track “Brotherhood of the Snake” and posted it to that Facebook group. Out of the blue, Chris sent me a vocal cover of the song that he had recorded over my cover, and I was very impressed by what I heard. A few months later as I was finishing up what was going to be a solo project, Chris messaged me and asked if I wanted him to help out on vocals, and this became the first Hellbore EP “Holy Sadist” which was released November 2019.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Hellbore?

Our music is definitely death metal, but it pulls from a variety of influences. Our first EP “Holy Sadist” was very much death metal with elements of thrash metal. The upcoming album “Panopticon” is much more diverse, and has been heavily influenced by progressive metal, deathcore, symphonic metal, and technical death metal.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

As I live in the UK and Chris lives in New Jersey our music has been an entirely online project.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

I think it is a combination of things. The quality of production has shot up in the last decade or so, and if your music has an amateurish production to any degree then it won’t take off, regardless of how good the songs are. No one wants to listen to a good song that sounds bad. I don’t think the music itself necessarily has to bring anything new (although this definitely helps!) but I do think the songs need to be very deliberate in whatever you want them to be. It is very easy to get lost down a rabbit hole when writing, and this is where bouncing ideas around with other people can help steer the project in the right direction.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

We have recently finished work on our first full-length album “Panopticon” which we are releasing online on March 18th 2022!

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

We aren’t a gigging band, but as for bands whose audience we think we might fit in with… probably Dyscarnate, or Shadow of Intent.

Excluding yourself! which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

I have a few I’d love to see get more recognition. Breed are an Australian progressive metal band, they don’t really sound like anything else I’ve heard before but their album “How the Equine Died” is fantastic. In the realm of death metal: Carrion Vael, Controversial, Hammer of Dawn, Spectrum of Delusion, Tabahi, and Where Deprivation Lies are all bands that I don’t see mentioned nearly as much as they deserve.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

I played acoustic guitar in primary school, and I stopped enjoying that pretty quickly. When I was about 13 I heard “Downfall” by Children of Bodom. That song single-handedly got me into both metal and music. Prior to that, I didn’t really have a taste in music, I just listened to whatever was on. That song is also responsible for me picking up the guitar again, and eventually learning to play it!

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Well, thanks to a certain pandemic it has been a while. Back in 2019 I saw Periphery, supported by Astronoid and Plini which was great. I’ve seen Periphery a few times and they are always great. In 2020 I was supposed to be seeing Whitechapel and Dyscarnate, but that gig ended up being cancelled. I don’t have any specific gigs lined up for the future, but I would love to see Architects at some point.

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

Oooh boy… I mean, everything at the moment seems to be so polarising. The “with us or against us” attitude seems to have infected almost everything. Social media has exacerbated this for profit. The idea that outrage generates more clicks, the idea that showing someone something they disagree with will make them stay on the platform for longer. This is social poison. It is almost impossible to discuss certain topics because, in the eyes of so many, you either agree with their position or you are evil. This coercive compliance via social engineering, the cancel-culture phenomenon, and the intentional obfuscation of cold hard facts by both governments and tech companies under the pretence of keeping you safe was a large part of the inspiration for the lyrics of “Panopticon”. So I guess you could say I am pretty passionate about it!

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Let’s see… The Uncanny Valley by Perturbator is one I keep going back to. Something about the raw electronic aggression in that album is so addictive. Other than that I do enjoy the Ozric Tentacles. And flamenco virtuosos Rodrigo Y Gabriela. There are so many to choose from!

Although 2021 was another year to forget, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year?

Again there are so many to choose from. Top 5 would be “Bleed the Future” by Archspire, “Vengeance” by Twelve Foot Ninja, “The Witch” by Tulip, “Witness” by VOLA, and “Swagger and Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole” by the Diablo Swing Orchestra.

What does 2022 hold for you?

2022 is going to be the busiest year of my life. I am buying my first house, getting married, turning 30, and of course, releasing a death metal album!

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

Hellbore Facebook, and Hellbore Bandcamp

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