There’s something of the wolf pack dynamic when you play in a band, or so Our Last Enemy singer Oliver Fogwell explains to Michael Smith.
It was obvious their time had come when, in 2010, Sydney-based industrial metal four-piece Our Last Enemy's debut album, Fallen Empires, topped the iTunes metal charts. Recorded over three months in Los Angeles with producer Christian Olde Wolbers, whose credits include Fear Factory, God Forbid and Threat Signal among others, the album meant a solid six months-plus touring around Australia and New Zealand, after which it seemed a good idea to get off the rollercoaster, recover and see where they wanted to go next creatively. The result is their second EP, Wolves Of Perigord.
“We didn't know what we were going to do,” singer Oliver Fogwell admits, “whether we were going to work on another album or what and we decided to do just a small EP and kind of just see where the band was at. We've got a few new members since the last record, so we just wanted to, you know, test the waters, see how things were going with that.”
Originally forming in 2006 around Fogwell, drummer Jeff Ritchie and bass player Matt Heywood, on releasing that debut album, their guitarist and keyboards player opted to move on and were replaced by Bryce Bernius from Florida band Genitortures on guitars and Craig Byrnes from Grimthor on keyboards and effects. The latter is a particularly important role in a band that revels in bringing unusual sounds to the metal table.
“[Bryce] definitely brought an obviously more mature, more professional kind of approach to songwriting and our preparation to record. We did a lot more pre-production than we have done in the past. He's got a little home studio and he put a lot of focus on our doing the arrangements more and I think that comes out on the record – it's a bit more focused as to where the songs go and the structure. He brought more of a songwriting ethic to it as well.”
Byrnes, a local, had been a fan of the band already, so slotted in easily but it seems Our Last Enemy had a hard time trying to find the right guitarist for the job. “We had a lot of auditions and people trying to get in, but we just couldn't find that right person – they were either over-qualified or under-qualified,” Fogwell laughs, “or not the right age bracket. We ended up someone just mentioning to us at a dinner party, 'Have you ever thought about this guy? Our friend is marrying this American guy that's coming over' and we were, like, 'Oh, wow, we know that band, give us his details' – and we just got in touch with him.”
The title track of the EP was the last track written, literally falling out just before the band went into the studio to record. “The Wolves Of Perigord is actually a story that the bass player Matt and I found on line about a town in France called Perigord in the 1700s and a pack of wolves who were terrorising the town. They tried to stop them but couldn't do it, King Louis came in and even put up a reward and they were like celebrities of their time for being bad,” Fogwell laughs again. “And we found a lot of parallels in the wolf pack as well. I guess in the rock'n'roll sense we're like a pack of wolves going from town to town and pillaging and terrorising, but then being persecuted for doing what came naturally and that kind of struggle that you feel as a band is what kind of came through on this EP.”