By Laura Collins // Photo by Laura Collins

Ottawa foursome Eagleson have been through a rough year to say the least. From having to bury several friends and family members, to parting ways with a close friend and the band’s original drummer, the boys have come out of the deep end to finally finishing the touches of their much expected debut studio album, Death Grounds, with producer Scott Middleton.

As a sneak peek into the upcoming album, the band is releasing a single and video, “Trapped Under Ice” on November 9, showcasing the heaviness the band has found along the way of writing the record.

“The name of the new album, Death Grounds, is based on the theory of Sun Tzu, which doesn’t allow yourself to go anything but forward, burn down the boats, don’t look back. We stripped everything back to create this new path we’re going down, and the album encompasses that,” said bassist Ryan Wolves.

Having to completely tear down the walls the band had previously built around themselves only to rebuild them again, frontman Tom Edward admits the road to the album has been difficult.

“When we started looking at our demo board and the stuff that was already done, we started asking ourselves what the album is truly about, and we dawned on the fact that after the year we’ve had, the album is a huge display of mental health struggle,” Edward said.

“There is a song about my family member that was really deep and open, and another personal song called “Wolves”, which is about you trying to change your life for the better, and the people around you keep trying to pull you back,” Edward said. “The chorus is “Don’t walk home alone, the wolves come out at night”. They come out when they smell the blood, when you are most vulnerable about making yourself better, and some of those wolves can be the people closest to you.”

Edward said the band’s goal is to tell their story in a way that is relatable to the band’s audience, both through the record as well as on stage

“I mean like the way the music hit us when we were in our teens, and music wasn’t something you latched on when things were fucking awesome. You latched on when you started to realize shit can be tough, so now I’m really getting into the world inside my head and cranking up volume on the disc man. That was the way to get away from everything, so we want to be the band that is like that for people,” Edward said.

Eagleson played their fair number of festival shows over the summer, and once the album is out, the band has set their goals to playing south of the border, as well as in Europe.

“There’s a huge difference between a group of guys making some noise together versus trying to run a business and grow that way. I have a vision in my mind that this album is going to change us, and the tradeoff of that good had to come from the tradeoff of how bad everything was for the past year,” Edward said. “And as cliché as it sounds, sometimes you gotta hit the floor before the stuff starts to turn around. It’s like a good guitar, it’s got to have some miles on it. Road scars and stuff like that.”

Eagleson’s sound has been heavily influenced by bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive, and the Canadian hardcore band Alexisonfire. Most recently the band has been drawing inspiration from the British metalcore band Architects.

“We love the band, and they just put out a song called “Holy Ghost”, which highlights one of the deceased band members, and some of the hardships. We threw on the record before going to rehearsal and we were all having a good time and listening, and then we’re all crying like babies because it was just so heavy,” Edward said.

In the age of social media and various different outlets spitting out artists, music and videos, the ball game has completely changed. Edward feels these days the story you relay to people means now more than ever.

“People have now heard great songs, they’ve heard the catchy chorus, and they’ve heard the guitar solo that melted their faces off, but that’s not what ropes them off anymore,” he said.

“It’s a complete opposite thing where my old man is able to have memories of when he was growing up and tie it to whatever song was playing in the car at that point, but now it’s sort of the flip thing where I hold on to the stories of things and the music comes with it. We have an incredible opportunity to perform in front of people and explain that story.”

The producer of the new record, Scott Middleton, had a huge influence in the band’s recording process and sound. Coming from a DIY mentality, recording the single “Chasing The Sun” at Edward’s home studio, and filming the song’s music video with friends on his backyard while having beers, the band put a bunch of kilometers to drive and record the album at Middleton’s studio in Hamilton.

“Scott did an unreal job opening us up as musicians. By song nine we were already delivering him songs that sounded like he had already worked on them, because we knew what his expectations were what to deliver,” Edward said.

Hard work and perseverance is bound to reward Eagleson as the much expected release is getting closer. The band is playing an acoustic show opening for Monster Truck, and another one with the local rockers Double Experience in November.

“I think perspective is everything when you choose art as the base of your life. We work seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for 45 minutes of playing on stage,” Edward said. “So if you’re not willing to have that trade off of 23 hours to one, you can’t do it.”