Darkness Everywhere is a new band comprised of vocalist/guitarist/drummer Ben Murray (Light This City, Heartsounds), guitarist Cameron Stucky (Crepuscle, Sea In the Sky), and producer/engineer Zack Ohren (Machine Head, All Shall Perish) handling bass duties.
Mining influence from the melodic death metal movement that was birthed in Sweden back in the '90s, Darkness Everywhere's debut EP, The Seventh Circle, features guest vocal spots from John Henry (Darkest Hour) and Laura Nichol (Light This City, Heartsounds) and has been getting a lot of play at No Echo HQ these past few weeks.
Ben just released The Seventh Circle through his excellent label, Creator-Destructor Records (Gulch, Sunami), and I spoke with him about the project, Darkness Everywhere's specific influences, and the crossover between the death metal and hardcore scenes in recent years.
You and Zack obviously go back many years, spending countless hours in the studio working on the Light This City records. Tell me a bit about your relationship with Cameron and how you came to decision to start working together as Darkness Everywhere.
Cameron and I first started hanging out 3-4 years ago when Light This City did our reunion record, Terminal Bloom, and had Crepuscle open some Bay Area shows, and then some Texas shows after that. We had a great time with all those guys, and I really hit it off with Cameron. We have a similar outlook on music and life, and very similar tastes in music. He then filled in on guitar for Light This City on our 2019 European Tour, and we grew even closer on that trip.
Once COVID hit and Light This City had gotten a full touring cycle out of the way, we decided to start a new band, sort of as a ‘darker’ Light This City, in some ways. We wanted to go full 1996 Swedish melodeath worship, with no frills at all, and no American metal influence.
From day one of sitting down to write some songs, it was the smoothest experience I’ve ever had in my 20 years of writing records. We met up every week and wrote a completely new song song each time. It was seamless, and a really enjoyable experience writing this debut album with Cameron. Our brains work the same when writing this style of metal, and we bounced off each other really well.
You mentioned your love for ‘90s Swedish death metal of the melodic kind. This is a style that also informed what you’ve done in Light This City throughout the years. Outside of the usual suspects, what are some other bands from that wheelhouse that have had an impact on you, whether from back in the original era, or later?
I really loved a lot of the projects coming out in the late '90s and early '00s from the melodic death world. The Dimension Zero albums, The Crown, early Nightrage records, the first few Arsis records, this super sick band Vehemence from Arizona had a few awesome records out back then. Hypocrisy’s mid to later catalog was a huge influence during the Light This City years, as well as Kalmah, who were a big inspiration even though they definitely dip their toes into the symphonic melodic death world.
Arch Enemy’s Wages of Sin is one of my favorite albums ever and was paramount in those years, and the self-titled Wintersun record also really changed the game for us back then. I could go for a while, but that whole sound completely defined how I started writing metal back in my teenage years. I’m gonna have to revisit some of these records!
The Seventh Circle is being released by your label, Creator-Destructor. Did you find yourself going about anything differently throughout the process, or did you proceed just like you would have for any other one of the releases on your roster?
Anytime I put out any records by my own bands, I go about it the exact same as any other band or release. It certainly makes it easier in the sense that decisions can get made faster and more efficiently, as it’s just me running ideas by Cameron and Zack, and we don’t then have to run things by a label. I also have a bit more control over our plans, given that I’m a member of Darkness Everywhere, whereas with other bands on the label you obviously don’t have control over the shows, their social media, etc (not that I’d want to).
In terms of PR, production, and budget, I treated the Darkness Everywhere record just like everything else. These days I feel pretty comfortable in that whole process, so I knew what we needed from the start in order to make this record catch as many ears as possible.
While No Echo certainly covers death metal from time to time, we’re predominantly a hardcore-focused music site. That said, it feels like death metal has been enjoying a great run these past couple of years, especially with labels like Maggot Stomp gaining a lot of ground with people from the hardcore scene. I’m curious to get your thoughts on the state of things in that world.
I think that the death metal and extreme metal world in general is stronger than it’s ever been. There are bands covering all subgenres and facets of death metal, and totally killing it aesthetically and stylistically, as well as with their sales and streams.
You mentioned Maggot Stomp, which is awesome because I haven’t been able to stop listening to that newest 200 Stab Wounds record. They’re an example of a newer young band that are just absolutely nailing the Florida death metal sound with a modern crushing twist.
I can also absolutely see why the hardcore scene loves that record—it’s got a lot of heavy mid-tempo and slower breakdown-y parts, which are classic to death metal, but seem to be appealing to a newer crowd who might not have grown up listening to Obituary and Cannibal Corpse.
The crossover between hardcore and death metal fans is really serving these younger bands and giving them more traction, which I’m all about. There are other death metal labels out there completely killing it too, like Dark Descent, who have been a favorite of mine for about 4-5 years now.
What’s the plan for Darkness Everywhere now that the record is coming out? I have a feeling this isn’t a one and done kind of deal?
Definitely not a one and done deal! We plan to keep making records with this band, as writing and recording the first one was such an easy and fun time. We’re playing our first show ever on April 1st at the X Bar in Cupertino, as part of the Creator-Destructor “Two Nights of Terror” weekend, alongside Mutually Assured Destruction, Doomsday, Upon Stone, Cartilage, and Crepuscle.
We also have a music video for the track "Darkness Everywhere" coming out a few weeks after the release of the album. There is certainly a lot in the works, and we’re open to anything! For now, we just want as many people to hear this record as possible.
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