The time has finally arrived for Exhorder’s first album in twenty-seven years, Mourn the Southern Skies (order here). During this year’s Decibel Metal & Beer fest in Philadelphia, the group promised their fans that a new album is on its way and now, it’s surreal and exciting to see that it’s here. We caught up with guitarist Vinnie LaBella to discuss more about the new album, their overall return, and what the future holds for Exhorder.
You guys had quite a few breaks over the years, what made you decide to create a new album after twenty-seven years?
We’ve tried over the twenty-seven/twenty-eight year span after the definitive break up, which was in ’92. We’ve tried to record a couple of times, so it wasn’t a new idea. We’ve had songs for a while, a lot of material we’ve been stockpiling until the time has come to bring it back, so to speak.
As you mentioned, you’ve been technically working on Mourn the Southern Skies for nearly thirty years now but, how long have you been really at it and finishing it?
Well, probably a good year and a half. We all decided to get more serious and getting our ducks in a row, so to speak. We’ve been planning it for about a year, year and a half and took around three months to record. It wasn’t an intense work schedule. We did 3, 6 hours a day on it. It didn’t take long to get off all of our ideas to come because we’ve been planning it for twenty-seven years.
Musically, how would you compare the new album to the first two records?
Me and Kyle met a long time ago. We were teenagers and we kind of promised each other that we wouldn’t write the same album twice. Unless we really wanted to. Slaughter in the Vatican is what it is and The Law is a little bit different than it. This one’s going to be the same thing. Especially now because it brings so many experiences in between these albums. There’s a lot of dying, a lot of darkness, a lot of new life experiences. So if I could give a bad analogy, think of it this way. It’s like walking into a Taco Bell or a restaurant with a hundred different menu items. That’s kind of what we’re doing here. The different ingredients we’re using and we’re presenting it in different ways.
That’s an interesting analogy.
Well it’s a horrible one but it’s true.
So how does it feel to be back to performing live?
That’s the easy part, it always feels amazing doing what we do. Performing is the easy part, that one hour we get a day to do it. The hard part is the other twenty-three hours that you have to get to that one hour. As long as we keep feeling good about the one hour, I’ll just forget about the twenty-three and we can keep doing it. It’s always humbling. And I’ve spent so much time, I can walk back on stage and feel the same love I felt in the ’80s and early ’90s. So yeah, it’s special
Before you guys first reunited, I believe in 2008, was there ever a time that you believed the group would never return?
Yeah. I think every time we broke up, we said we’d never do this again. We had an interesting relationship as a band and we always considered ourselves a family than a band. Believe it or not, it was secondary that kind of brought us together. It just kind of happened we were out one day and said, let’s make some music while we’re at it. We love one another also it’s just as strong that we hate one another. So, I don’t think there’s a wrong way around saying, it’s not something that we planned to do when we broke up in the past. So getting back together always seems just as easy as it is for us to break up. This is part of our lives. This the fire of our being so it always comes up, it always presents itself at some point in our lives and it’s probably because we all knew that we had unfinished business.
Gotcha. Now that you guys are back, I know you have a tour coming up soon, but what other plans do you have in the works?
We’re talking about a lot of stuff. It’s not a whole bunch of plans but we were thinking at this point maybe something in November or December, in 2020, I was told to kiss New Orleans goodbye since we’ll probably be on the road a lot then.
After recording this new album, how much extra material do you have left over, if any?
I have a ton of rifts left over. I got a catalog of songs with riffs that I can feed off of for a while. But, I’m constantly like “I’m already about five ideas into the next record.” So we got a good head start. There’s still a lot of music to come from us. So we’re not done by a long shot. Matter of fact, we were talking the other day, this feels like our first record instead of our third because it’s been so long.
So we will see another album in less than twenty-seven years then?
Yeah. When it comes to the tour, I get no time obviously, but yeah that’s the plan. The plan is to go back within the next two and a half years with a follow up. I’s just fantastic to be around the whole band and that counts.
Is there anything else that you want to say or add about the album?
Let’s just keep it a surprise because I don’t want to ruin it for everybody by giving too much.