"It’s about learning the best ways to get back to that place when you want and need to explore yourself creatively without losing yourself in the process"
wars recently released their new album 'A Hundred Shivers' via A Wolf At Your Door Records.
A visceral blend of post-hardcore intensity, metalcore brutality and arena-ready rock stature, the band have spent the last 18 months slowly drip-feeding the record via a series of chapters, each one representing a different component of the journey our mind can go on. Deeply thought-provoking and gloriously ambitious, it's a perfect summation of everything that wars represent musically and personally.
To find out how it all came together, we sat down with vocalist Rob Vicars to break down each chapter and how they all blend together...
"It’s interesting how whilst we were writing this record, the things we were focusing on started to become even more hyper-relevant because of what was happening in the world. I’m not sure whether that is a good thing or not, though. But even so, this is a thing that we all struggle through and struggle through together. ‘A Hundred Shivers’ as an umbrella idea was about reframing how we look at the world and communicate with ourselves. Our last album, ‘We Are Islands, After All’ was this philosophical idea that you see the world through this lens made up of all of your own experiences. So this album became a growth and reflection in taking those problems and figuring out how we can work through them in various ways.
'A Hundred Shivers' is actually taken from the play Richard II. Richard asks for a mirror to be brought in and it is this literal moment of self-reflection where he sees his own face, then smashes it onto the ground into "a hundred shivers". Once he has seen his appearance shattered, he suddenly realises how your internal turmoil can distort reality. Are you seeing the world for what it is or are you seeing it in a broken mirror? The band are in a stage of growth right now and that idea and image really resonated with what it felt like we were going through. The chapters may have evolved under it, but what that title represents has stayed the same throughout the whole process.
CHAPTER ONE - FORCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL
"A lot of this first chapter is based on the way that you speak to yourself, the environment that you find yourself in, and the things that are happening outside of that environment. ‘Only Monsters’ talks a lot about how we internalise the environment and the powers that the government put into place for us. When they are constantly choosing hate and division over and over again, it lives inside of you. It can be so poisonous and affecting. It’s one of those things that amongst the hatred and the isolation that has been so prevalent over the last couple of years and the decisions made by those above us and how they affect us, it all feels more relevant. It’s a feeling that simply has to come out within our music."
CHAPTER TWO - THE ALL-CONSUMING AND CONSTANT NATURE OF OUR THOUGHTS
"Those things you start to internalise quickly begin to turn into truths that aren’t strictly true. So, where does that lead us, and what effect does that have? It’s about how those things snowball and how they affect how you think. It can have an effect where you lose the ability to create in some cases. There’s a fine line in terms of creation because you always have to be somewhere in the middle of the 'above' and 'below' for it to work, which is a weird thing. But because of those truths that are now existing within you, you can quickly hit a brick wall, and we tried to capture the feeling of what it is like to experience that and have that creativity stripped away.
The thing is that you have to push yourself into certain places to get away from those truths, and it can be tumultuous. But you can capture little glimmers of who you were and who you may want to be by going there, so it’s about learning the best ways to get back to that place when you want and need to explore yourself creatively without losing yourself in the process."
CHAPTER THREE - DISORIENTATION AND SECOND-GUESSING YOURSELF
"The thing about making an album is you’re putting a drawing pin into a specific time in your life. It then encapsulates everything that you were thinking and doing at that time. So when you look back on things you have made in the past, you see that it’s not the same as you think now because of the perspective you currently have. And if you overthink what is happening as you look ahead, you’ll make yourself believe that what you are doing now is ludicrous. There’s a moment in which you can think that you don’t know yourself at all, which is a disorientating feeling. That gets better with age, and you start to realise yourself that bit more, but it still plays on my mind quite a bit. Perhaps that’s down to the constant anxiety you feel daily from overthinking absolutely everything anyway. It’s very easy to spiral like that. But you have to overthink to bring certain things out and find a way to survive within all of this."
CHAPTER FOUR - DEALING WITH CHANGE
"Even within the process of getting this record together, we experienced great change. We had a lot of tracks ready before we started, but we could bring in new things and change them because of the things that we were going through at the time. It feels like it was always supposed to happen this way to see how the record had shaped out in this way that we never really had any control over. The tracks within this chapter are very much about how to handle change, seeing how much has changed around us and everybody else in the world, and coming out the other side feels incredibly special. To have this album and still have a band and still be able to get out there is more than we can ever ask."