2 Dec 2023

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City of Souls



It is a word that Auckland six piece City of Souls were bound to deal with from their inception. Boasting members from bands that have etched their mark on the local and international hard rock and metal scene such as Blindspott, Blacklistt, 8 Foot Sativa, New Way Home, Cold By Winter, In Dread Response and Solstate, City of Souls was set to stir some interest, and stir they have.

Too often when something is hyped it is followed with disappointment, yet the first City Of Souls single Sleep arrives unashamedly explosive, touting emotive energy juxtaposed with a certain calm which will become this band’s signature. Recorded between Dreadstorm Media Auckland and Roundhead Studios, it was mixed by legendary engineer Clint Murphy, and mastered at Sterling Sound in New York.

With a power reminiscent of Deftones and hinting at new wave, the song progresses towards a critical peak, and a journey into Killing Joke territory, before spiralling back out into the melodic emotive hook of the chorus.

Received overwhelmingly by a growing fanbase, added to radio for day and night rotation Sleep went straight to number one on the iTunes rock chart.

‘We have approached the track with a heavy focus on layers,’ says guitarist Marcus Powell. ‘There are three guitarists with very definitive tones, it’s important to us to compliment the vocals with the right sound.

COS is a mashup of musicians from different metal backgrounds that have come together with a passion for melodic rock,’

‘The song is essentially about escape,’ adds vocalist Richie Simpson, ‘The catalyst for the lyrics was a breakdown of communication in a relationship and it falling apart. It also hints that sometimes silver linings, solace and fulfillment need to be found on your own.’

Founded by Trajan Schwencke and Steve Boag in 2014, City Of Souls steadily grew in number, their focus collectively widening from hardcore and metal.

‘When Trajan and I started City of Souls we spoke about creating a band that was all about the song’ offers Steve Boag ‘It wasn't about about being the fastest, or the heaviest band out there, it wasn't about any form of ego. It was all about creating beautiful emotionally engaging music that felt honest and truthful to where we are right now in our lives.’

With the band’s debut album titled Synaesthesia due for completion by October, the music video for Sleep was released in May, and a series of live shows planned for 2015, City Of Souls now embark on a new musical journey. An exciting chapter for the musicians involved, all of them eager to see their collective influences and experience bring something special to fruition.

Sleep is a good indication of what is in store for the rest of City of Souls,’ says Trajan Schwencke, ‘There are a few surprises here and there but basically we wanted to make something emotional, modern and at the same time familiar. We all come from very aggressive bands but have left that all behind here, even though there are still heavy elements in our music.’

Band Members:
Marcus Powell (guitar)
Trajan Schwencke (guitar)
Richie Simpson (vocals)
Steve Boag (guitar)
Daniel Insley (bass)
Corey Friedlander (drums)


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  • Auckland

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