While there are many bands in the hard rock/metal world that like to play with fire, it requires a certain combination of insanity and balls to douse yourself in it. That is exactly what San Diego, CA-based hard rock act PSYCHOTHERMIA did to spark some attention for their debut album, Fall To The Rising Sun, dropping on February 8th.
"We kept seeing other bands using fake fire in their photos and videos, we just thought it would be bad-ass to do it for real," says guitarist Jon Russo.
Real is right. A stunt legend, an exhausting weekend, and a lot of burnt clothing later they walked away changed... the fumes may have proved inspiring. With the easy part over, the band headed into the studio to really let loose. An indescribable energy lurks within the four members and is released in songs like the title track, 'Fall To The Rising Sun'.
"Stay one step ahead of yourself; stay one step ahead of the competition; always strive to better yourself... and if you don't, you fall to the rising sun. Fate will catch up with you," timely words from singer Johan Maldonado as he explains the meaning behind the title. One listen leaves you with the rush of ripping through the night sky.
Personal experiences play a large part in the writing found on the album, and nowhere is this more apparent than 'Warbly'. Bassist Chenzo Vidalez explains: "I'm all about family and being loyal to friends. This song is about a deep betrayal. I was on a motorcycle trip where I caught a friend in a lie... tension escalated and it got to the point where I feared for my life. My instincts kept telling me if I stayed there someone was going to die."
Quivering guitars and relentless double-bass drumming capture the inner turmoil of broken trust, while haunting vocals express the fear as ghostly silhouettes on chopper bikes approach at your weakest moment.
"One of my favorite tracks to jam live is 'Anarchy'," notes Mike. "It has a massive driving feel to it with galloping rhythms, and the build-up is just epic."
A song that was originally inspired by distant uprisings of the oppressed, it features the voices of children chanting "Anarchy!" in the anthemic bridge section and choruses. While on the surface the song may seem political, the deeper meaning behind the track is not so vile.
"Anarchy is far from what the name depicts... the song is about being an individual and finding your voice," says Johan.
No strangers to persistence and long hours in the studio, the guys in Psychothermia know what it means to take matters into their own hands. Fall To The Rising Sun was self-produced and recorded in the band's home studio (Control Volume Studios) as well as engineered by the band members themselves. With the exception of 'Anarchy', which was mixed by the notorious Fred Archambault (producer/engineer, AVENGED SEVENFOLD), all the songs were mixed by guitarist Jon Russo.
"I'd wake up after 15 hours in the studio, with my ears hurting, and have to go in and do it again... all while working around my jobs," says Jon.
One cannot question their dedication.
Fall to the Rising Sun Tracklisting:
'Fall To The Rising Sun'
'Slash And Burn'
'Don't Look Back'
'Here's To The Angels'
'Self Inflicted Wound'
Johan Maldonado - vocals
Jon Russo - guitar
Mike Russo - drums
Chenzo Vidalez - bass
More on Psychothermia here