Alda are one of the Pacific Northwest's premier Cascadian black-metal bands, and later this week they'll be releasing their long-awaited fourth full-length, A Distant Fire, via Eisenwald. Marking their first album since 2015's Passage, the six-track opus is a striking collection of riveting, folky black-metal with equal parts melody, grit and atmospheric textures.
Drawing from acts like Ulver, Agollach and Wolves in the Throne Room, the record fits snugly into a storied lineage of woodsy, forward-thinking black-metal bands while also providing enough of its own personality to sound fresh and exciting the whole way through. Today (October 5th), we're proud to be premiering A Distant Fire in full below a few days before it hits streaming services.
Additionally, we spoke with vocalist-drummer Michael Korchonnoff about what the band were up to in the six-year gap between their last record, the ecological storyline of A Distant Fire, what their vision was going into the album and more. Read our conversation below while you crank the epic A Distant Fire.
Pre-order the record on CD and cassette via Eisenwald's official shop.
IT'S BEEN SIX YEARS SINCE YOUR LAST ALBUM. WHAT WERE YOU GUYS UP TO DURING THAT GAP? In 2016 we had to leave the land and the house that we had rented together for the previous four years and had some physical distance put between us, and due to this big change we had no stable rehearsal space for over a year. After settling this problem with the help of a friend and following our European tour in 2018, we dedicated ourselves to composing the songs that would become A Distant Fire, and we were fully devoted to that process from the winter of that year through the Winter of 2019. In February of 2020, we tracked the majority of A Distant Fire. The general upheavals of that year and into the next delayed the mixing, mastering and production of the album, and here we stand after this long and strange journey.
DID YOU GUYS HAVE ANY SPECIFIC GOALS OR VISIONS GOING INTO THIS ALBUM? EITHER MUSICALLY, LYRICALLY OR OTHERWISE? We initially went into the writing process with a general rejection of any expectations or specific visions, and we decided to be open to whatever came out of the intuitive jam sessions that form the foundations for our songs. What came out of these sessions felt exciting and invigorating, and we felt like some of our early influences were emanating more clearly from the new music we were creating together. We decided to lean further into this experience and try to challenge ourselves, and all of this played a big role in shaping the songs on the album.
WERE THERE ANY PARTICULAR ARTISTS (MUSICAL OR OTHERWISE) WHO INFLUENCED THE DIRECTION YOU TOOK ON HERE? The biggest influences on the music of A Distant Fire are truly some of the same set of bands that inspired and influenced us when we first formed Alda in 2007. The music of Ulver, Darkthrone, Agalloch, Windir, the early albums of Dimmu Borgir, and a good handful of others will forever be inspirational elements of Alda's music. Whether it is apparent or not, the influence of the music created by these projects is present in everything we have made, but it might have come out a little stronger on A Distant Fire.
TELL ME ABOUT THE LYRICAL STORYLINE ON THIS RECORD, IF THERE IS ONE. OTHERWISE, ARE THERE ANY COMMON THEMES AMONG THE SONGS? All of the songs are linked together with a common theme. We did not initially write them with that intention, but they gradually became connected in that way during the writing process. A Distant Fire tells a story of navigating a devastated world in the darkness, with the only light to illuminate our trail coming from a glow on the horizon, the origin of which cannot be known until we reach its source. This distant glow may be the light of a new dawn, or a growing inferno that will destroy us when we find it. We wrote this as a reflection on the ecological collapse we are actually experiencing, and the uncertain future we collectively face as our biosphere steadily withers. The stories written into the songs on the album are told sequentially to describe this journey.
WHAT WAS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF WRITING AND RECORDING THIS RECORD? The rewarding parts of this process were definitely the writing sessions that produced the songs, and the spirited conversations and camaraderie that occurred around these sessions. The energy and intensity in the music really exploded after having had such a long hiatus. It was like a fire had been simmering beneath the earth, and had finally shot through the surface to reveal its presence to our world.