An Unlightly Story
CoC chats with Tino LoSicco of Tennessee's Epoch of Unlight
by: Paul Schwarz
All I gotta say is: they ain't a black metal band and their latest album, _Caught in the Unlight_ [CoC #52], sounds like Carcass in a very odd but not unpleasant way. I hope this e-mail interview with drummer Tino LoSicco will be to the liking of some of you.

CoC: When did Epoch of Unlight form, and what was (and is now) the idea behind the band: what are you here on the extreme music scene -for-?

Tino LoSicco: The band has existed in various forms under different names since 1990, but it wasn't until 1994 that we officially decided upon the name Epoch of Unlight. In essence, we are here to write and play music that we would enjoy listening to. We've been doing this for far too long to expect to make any kind of substantial living off of it, so we continue to do it for the personal satisfaction it brings.

CoC: Your latest release _Caught in the Unlight_ brings the sound of Carcass to mind; yet I wouldn't say you actually sounded like Carcass. How would you characterise the sound of this latest release?

TL: First off, thanks for the Carcass reference. They have always been a personal favorite of all the guys in the band and we definitely appreciate the mention. I think the first thing that will stand out on the new CD is the production. In the past we have been limited to working with guys in the studio that have had no experience recording this type of music. This time we had the opportunity to work with an experienced recording engineer (Keith Falgout) that basically knew how to record a metal album. The guitar sound is much thicker and the drum production is very deep and natural sounding. This was especially important to me on this release because we have some of the fastest songs we have ever written on this album.

CoC: How would you say it differs from previous releases in sound, lyrical content, and song structures?

TL: The music still has a strong melodic/thrashy component to it. (I think the fact that we all grew up listening to '80s thrash metal should be a bit more apparent on this release!) The vocals should be noticeably different. With the exception of a few backing vocals by Ben Falgoust (Soilent Green and GoatWhore), Jason handled all of the vocals this time. The lyrics were focused on a central theme based on an original story rather than being based loosely on the collective works of a single author. Overall we are much happier with this release than the last. The writing on this album has matured. The songs are built around a melody that makes the songs seem to flow more consistently from start to finish. Also, the longer the band has played together the tighter the band has gotten overall. The overall intensity on this record has increased as well.

CoC: If you wished to place a label on your band, or put it in a genre category, what would either be?

TL: I have gotten into so many pointless discussions over what genre we belong in that I try to avoid the topic. There is -always- someone that disagrees with the classification of the band. We listen, and are therefore influenced, by bands from varying categories of metal. I guess if I had to apply some sort of tag I would describe us as thrashy, black-influenced death metal (with a hint of melody). I think that just about covers it!

CoC: Do you consider yourselves to be representing any regional scene within the US, or to be representing US metal / extreme music on the international scene? Or do you do not see things that way?

TL: Unfortunately, there is no real regional scene of any sort near us in Tennessee. There are a few good extreme bands that aren't located too far away from us like Fallen Empire in Arkansas and GoatWhore in Louisiana. At best I would say we try to stand out in comparison with other US bands just for the fact that brutal death metal seems to be more prevalent on this side of the pond as opposed to any kind of aggressive music with melody.

CoC: Do your aspirations for Epoch of Unlight in terms of popularity reach beyond the international underground scene?

TL: Of course it does. We would never have worked with an actual record label if we didn't want our music to get out to as many people as possible.

CoC: What is the focus of the lyrics contained within _Caught in the Unlight_?

TL: I'm basically just a big fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, so I drew upon this as a source of inspiration for album lyrics. There is an underlying story that is carried forth throughout the CD's duration. It is about someone that gets caught in the Unlight. The album is a brief introduction into this sort of purgatory/void containing the Unlight is and what the character experiences. The protagonist wanted access to something that he did not completely understand and subsequently becomes stuck in it. The Unlight, which was thought to be only a portal between universes, is actually a sentient being that is slowly encompassing all of the cosmic infinities... every world, land, space and time. It is, by will alone, a being of sorts. (Kind of like a multi-cosmic malevolence... to borrow a phrase.) The individual that is in it is now being used in the Unlight to achieve its goals. Every time he passes through a portal he enters a different time, land or space. In each place he has a different role, such as sage, warrior, slave, etc. Often when he is drifting though the void (before he is cast down to a new plane of existence), the Unlight taunts him by showing him scenes through doors only it can open... scenes of life, scenes of man, and ultimately scenes unobtainable to the lone traveller.

CoC: What does the cover of _Caught in the Unlight_ represent? Does it fit in with the lyrics?

TL: The concept of the cover art fits with the underlying story on the new CD. The figure on the cover represents a struggling warrior caught in a foreign/alien environment.

CoC: If the next Epoch of Unlight album sounded exceptionally different from _Caught in the Unlight_, would it be because you sold out, or is the possibility for change within the band's sound and style broad enough to incorporate whatever musical change you might choose to put into action?

TL: As I said before, we write and play what we enjoy listening to. Considering we have been listening to music like this for over a decade, I would not expect any radical changes in our style any time soon. The focus on the combination of intensity with melody will always be there. I also think that we have such a broad range of influences that we could expand on certain aspects of those influences in future recordings.

CoC: Thanks a lot, hope that wasn't too boring for you. Please add anything about the band's current situation, history or work which you would like to, or anything else you might wish to: you have the floor.

TL: Thanks for the interview. Epoch of Unlight will be playing the Milwaukee MetalFest again this year. The Fest will also feature the debut performance of our newly acquired second guitarist. Several tour dates are being considered for the fall as well. We also have a split 7" on Bloated Goat Records ( coming out this fall with GoatWhore.


(article submitted 12/8/2001)

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