Tuesday, 6 September 2016

New Release: A Clockwork Opera - Act 1 EP (September 2016)

Steampunk metal band A Clockwork Opera are set to release their first EP, enigmatically titled Act 1, later this month. To see what it's all about we grabbed guitarist, songwriter and visionary Paul Cooper for a chat about what's what.

A Clockwork Opera was originally Paul's creation, starting out when he played the open mic scene in Manchester. The first song he ever wrote under the name, Penny Dreadful, features on the EP in a rather different form that its one-man incarnation.

The origins of the band's sound come from those early days, when Paul wanted to play something but lacked inspiration. That inspiration came in the form of steampunk.
"It's been a long journey, especially for me. It all started when I got into steampunk. I already wanted to write songs but had no subject matter, and it gave me some inspiration. I wanted to write songs that were stories. Penny Dreadful is the first song I ever wrote." - Paul Cooper
Vicky joined as vocalist through a spot of serendipity. Paul was looking for a vocalist, she was moving to Manchester and wanted to be a vocalist. The two joined forces and remain the only founding members of the band. Filling out the rest of the musicians took time, effort and heartache.
"We got a drummer and bassist, but it took ages to find a keyboard player, so we played with a backing track for our first gig. Then all the band left apart from Vicky. We begged and borrowed members for gigs, and slowly put a band back together. We've only really been back as a full lineup since January this year but we work well together and things seem to be moving now." - Paul Cooper
And moving they are, with the recording of the 3 track EP completed and ready for mastering for its September release. The songs demonstrate the band's many and various influences, preferences and styles, such that each song is entirely its own in style and substance.
"We have a lot of influences from non‐metal bands such as Dresden Dolls, Emilie Autumn and Abney Park ... Ozymandias is our "Sabaton song" ... and Queen Of The Aslyum [from the upcoming second EP] has been compared to AFI." - Paul Cooper
Other influences are from such things as Epica, Iron Maiden, Serenity, X Japan, Ancient Bards, any band Floor Jansen has been in, The Clockwork Dolls, progressive metal, power metal, 19th century romanticism and the grandeur of 19th century opera. Quite the eclectic mix of sources, so it's no wonder the styles are so wildly varied.

The band's stories come from a combination of steampunk and Victoriana, with some historically accurate and others entirely fanciful. The first track on the EP is Ozymandias, a song about the fall of the British empire, and about pride in accomplishments. A heavy topic maybe, but nonetheless catchy and with a driving, stomping beat to get its hooks into your ears.

Next up is the aforementioned Penny Dreadful, a sad tale of a pirate's wife murdered after her husband gave her up to bandits. She stalks the afterlife, hunting and haunting her traitorous spouse.

Finally comes The Girl With Glass Bones And Paper Skin, a melancholic tale of an orphan girl who meets and forms a strong bond with a clockwork automaton in a graveyard. A more progressive piece, and worthy of the complex story it weaves.

Paul tells us that these songs are not necessarily stand-alone. There is likely to be recurring themes and even recurring characters. The clockwork automaton and the girl with glass bones are set to return in an origin story, and other tales of madness and woe are set to haunt our ears. We are also promised more historical tales, such as that of the Mahdist uprising in Africa, fought by a young Winston Churchill.

There is set to be another EP after this one, Act 2, followed by a full album containing new and remixed tracks. We pressed Paul for an album title but he laughed it off, saying it would have to be something grandiose like "Magnus Opus". We'll have to watch this space to see what appears!

If you want to hear the tracks live you'll have to be quick. Thanks to a busy personal schedule and recording the second EP there won't be many dates this year. Check one out if you possibly can!

Whispered, Countless Skies, Necronautical and A Clockwork Opera
The Star And Garter, Manchester on 17th September

Rebellion, Manchester on 21st November

The EP will be released on 8th September and available as CD and digital download from Bandcamp. CDs will also be available from the live gigs.

The album art is provided by from Rowan Andrews, who also did the artwork for our very own Forged In Stone And Steel album series.

A Clockwork Opera are:

Vocals - Vickie Harley
Guitars - Paul Cooper
Bass - Alexander Jordan
Marco Iannello - Keys
James Horn - Drums

You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to Paul for talking to us and giving us an amazing sneak-peak of what's to come.

Originally posted by Craig Andrews on Femetalism.