Seven long years have passed since Long Island progressive metallers, Painted in Exile released their 2009 Revitalized EP. The band teased us in 2014 with the new single, DM”, but after what seems an eternity they guys are back with The Ordeal. The new album showcases a dynamic new line-up featuring founding vocalist Robert Richards and drummer Eddie DeCesare and longtime guitarist Marc Lambert. Rounding out the sextet are guitarist Ivan Chopik and bassist Jacob Umansky who joined in 2011, as well as keyboardist Alan Hankers who signed on in 2014. Hankers also handled the album’s orchestral arrangements. This month, Metalholic caught up with Chopik to chat about The Ordeal, recording with Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, The Contortionist, Scale The Summit), and the making of their debut video, “House of Cards”.
Much has been made of The Ordeal as a comeback album; first album in seven years and so forth, but in many ways this is really seems like a debut for the band.
“I think you’re right about that. Obviously the foundation for the band was established in 2009 when the Revitalized EP came out, but since then we’ve had quite a number of line-up changes, many years have passed, and we’ve listened to different music, developed our instruments in different ways, and I think The Ordeal is a pretty good representation of where we are at now as a band with the current line-up. But at the same time we’ve tried to retain the spirit of what the band was about to begin with, which is anything goes, there are no restrictions. There are no musical ideas that are off the table because they wouldn’t fit our sound.”
You have stated that you went into the studio with a specific vision for the record: Did it turn out as you envisioned or did the process of recording the album alter that vision?
“I think generally speaking, it did. What we’ve learned is, we plan for something but it comes out how it comes out. As far as the vision for the sound, to get what we wanted, we went to Jamie King as our producer. What we were looking for is to have a modern-type sounding record, but also retain a little bit more of a band-in-a-room vibe, if that makes sense. We wanted to retain some of the earthier elements as far as not cleaning up every aspect of the guitars, the drums, and the bass 100%…cleaning up every noise that’s there. It’s not a fully polished record. That’s something that we wanted because especially in progressive metal, for many years there’s been this push to strive for perfection. I’ve found with a lot of the music that I listen to, there are a lot of very human elements that make them special, and we wanted to have a little bit of that quality in there. That’s kind of what we were referring to a specific vision.”
Check out the full interview with Ivan Chopik below as he digs further inside The Ordeal, his favorite moments on the record, his own influences and inspirations, as well as how the band balances its creative egos. You can also check out Painted in Exile‘s new video for “House of Cards”.