Interview: Wraithstorm (Alicia Cordisco)

I used to actively avoid any music I felt wasn’t fast or aggressive enough. The faster the better. I wanted Dark Funeral. I wanted Keep of Kalessin. I wanted The Berzerker.

What a fool I was.

In the last year or so I’ve been trying to play catchup with slower and more melodic metal. I went through numerous “top ten” or “best of” lists for the multiple doom offshoot genres to acquaint myself with the classics. For some reason, I found that I was particularly drawn to funeral doom. What a turnaround from the militant stance my younger self took! The most melancholic, slowest metal genre there is turned out to be my personal favourite.

I’m always pleased to find new music I love, but especially so for new funeral doom because the niche for this genre is so small. I was delighted earlier this year to discover Wraithstorm, a three-piece from the good old U.S of A.

I have listened to their debut album Unseen & Unfound at least once a week since I discovered it, so you can imagine how happy I was when bassist and lyricist Alicia Cordisco agreed to answer a few questions.

As pretty big heavy and power metal stans, what prompted you and Lux to make perhaps an unexpected turn and put out a funeral doom album? What are the key inspirations in that genre you’ve drawn from?

Doom has always been a genre near and dear to our hearts, especially given the overlaps in epic doom and power metal. Lux has been doing Death/Doom for quite a while now in Soulmass, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to explore.

Why funeral doom specifically? I really wanted to explore something that could be both grand in scale and atmospheric, but could also be crushingly minimalistic. Funeral doom is the genre that perhaps marries those ideas best, and so it seemed like a really fun way to explore my creativity and also create something I hadn’t done in previous bands.

Unseen & Unfound has been out for almost 6 months now. How have you found your debut album has been received by people who know you individually from previous projects?

There hasn’t been a ton of overlap to be honest. It’s very humble beginnings, but I find a lot of our listeners are new to my work. Lux having come from Soulmass definitely shares more overlap, and reactions are understandably positive for their incredible vocals being showcased on more work.

For myself, a lot of people I know previously that are into my thrash/power work are just not super into funeral doom. The few that are seem to really enjoy it though and I’ve had a few say that they recognize my melodicism and its helped them appreciate funeral doom as a genre more than they did previously. I hope they check it out more.

Putting out a single 37 minute song as your debut album is a very strong shout. How different is the writing process between Project: Roenwolfe and this one?

Honestly not very different! I alway write music/lyrics separately, and I tend to write lyrics first when I am the lyricist. And then I compose all the music by myself, track things out, then hand it to a vocalist to combine the lyrics into the music and write the actual vocals. It’s almost tit for tat the same between the two bands in this case. I don’t vary my process much between bands, and they all involve a lot of the same people in various roles, and those people I’ve worked with—some for over a decade at this point—previously so we really have a nice system banged out between our little community of bands.

There’s no guitar at all on Unseen & Unfound I believe. What prompted you to compose this whole album solely on bass?

It was a combination of that minimalism I spoke to previously, as well as being very inspired by Bell Witch, and a desire to do something out of my wheelhouse. I get recognized a lot for my guitar playing, but I always think of myself more as a songwriter first, guitar player second. I really wanted to challenge myself by taking something people have seen as a primary skill out of my hands and working with what’s left. It was a really fun and challenging exercise in song writing and personal creativity and I loved the experience.

If Project: Roenwolfe represents your nerdy scifi side, and Transgressive represents your political side, what does Wraithstorm represent?

I would definitely say Wraithstorm is the more poetic of all my work. It’s wrapped up deeply in allusion, metaphor, and dense imagery. It speaks to much more personal, intimate, existential and even traumatic experiences.

I understand this to be Michael’s (Goodrich) debut recording performance. He absolutely kills it. I know that playing drums in time this slow yet keeping it musical and interesting can be difficult. A drummer and fantastic producer all in one – how do you know Michael and how did he come to be a part of the band?

Michael is truly a unique and powerful talent. His ability as a drummer has really helped him become such a great producer over the years. I’ve known him since he was a literal kid in high school just dipping into music for the first time. He produced my old band (Judicator) on our second album (Sleepy Plessow) as well as some other associated projects when he was just learning. And the potential he showed then having just dipped his toes in was immense.

Since then he’s produced many bands, and produced the latest Project: Roenwolfe in what I consider my best sounding work. Putting Wraithstorm together, it was natural to ask him—he is honestly on of two people (The other being Brett Windnagle of Lascaille’s Shroud/Soulmass who produces Transgressive) that I trust with my music at this point in my life. It worked out that he had been hoping to get to finally do drums on a project and this was exactly the kind of band he was hoping for. We found ourselves a perfect trio from there.

Are live performances on the cards for Wraithstorm?

Unfortunately, no. We are split between Michigan, Arizona, and Florida, and none of us are really replaceable in the equation, so this will remain a studio project. Which is unfortunate because we missed some label opportunities for not being able to do live shows, but at least we can produce high quality albums for literally zero cost between the talents of the people in the band.

I know from your updates on Twitter that writing has begun for Wraithstorm album #2. How is that progressing, and do you have a rough target date for release? Do I remember correctly that you’re writing some guitar parts for the next album?

Yes! The writing is actually done now! I’m very excited about it—it’s a four song album. We will be shooting for early (Q1) 2023 release. This album will include guitar parts in the form of each of the four songs has a guitar solo.

Finally, are there any links or shoutouts you want to include?

All my associated links are on my linktree here and you can check out Soulmass on Bandcamp.

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