Our first long-form addition to Metal May finds us chatting with Flaming Wrekage frontman Dave Lupton about the band’s compelling new album Terra Inferna – described by our own Michal Stronge as being full of ‘unforgiving chug’ – enjoy!

First off, congratulations on the new album – it’s a hell of a record. It’s been out commercially for a few days now – are you happy with the press reactions you’ve seen and heard so far? “Thank You so much! Absolutely. The reviews are flooding in now and we’re really stoked with the reaction across the board. This is an album that will reward you the more you listen to it. There’s lots to discover each time you throw it on”

There certainly is! Tell us about the name of the record – what is the concept of Terra Inferna? “Terra Inferna translates as “Hell Land”. It’s an album born from loss, anguish and deep struggle. This album will forever be a time capsule of a very difficult time in my life. It’s about being in the trenches of grief, guilt and trying to forgive yourself through overwhelming hardship. Ultimately it does hold onto hope and the belief that “this wasn’t for nothing” (Our Own Blood, track nine). The light in the distance that you can see on the album cover is always there, and while it may feel a lifetime away, its presence gives you something to fight for. Writing during these times is a therapeutic process and I’m very grateful I’ll be able to look back on this time and be extremely proud of what we managed to create”.

Can you tell us about the personnel on the new record? “Dave Lupton – Vocals, Guitars, Acoustic Guitars, Juzzy Humphry – Lead Guitars, Lach Campbell – Bass, Synth, Backing Vocals, Matt Thornton – Drums, Percussion and Chris Themelco – Pre Production, Engineer and Mixing. This is fast becoming our “dream team”. We’re three albums in with Chris, and this one was by far the most collaborative and creative one we’re done together. We worked hard during pre-production to ensure we had some extra time in the studio to experiment with some different elements like synth and twelve string guitars. These extra flavours really gave the album some depth. We used every second we had available to us to make this as big and spacious as we could”.

You tend to leave a decent gap between album releases – is there a reason for that or is it merely the dictation of circumstance? “It’s a combination of touring as much as we can between albums and being really particular with writing. We generally have the songs seventy to eighty per cent done before we take them to Chris, and that can take some time. The demo process is where the hard work is done, so before you know it it’s been three or four years since the last album!”

Talking of touring, do you think you’ll be able to tour much in support of this album or are the constraints of tour costs going to mean fewer, perhaps more select shows? “We’re currently in talks with our bookers, and 2024 will definitely be a busy one. Touring costs have gone through the roof, but that won’t stop us. You just have to rethink the strategy and be confident in taking risks to get your music out there to more people. We’re kicking things off with two big shows to whet the appetite. you can expect a lot more from us later in the year!”

Hopefully there’ll be a Canberra show to look forward to! Back to the record now – We read more and more about the changing nature of album releases – especially with regard to fans ‘cherry picking’ album tracks from streaming services. Is releasing an album now even really necessary? Or is it more of an artistic fulfillment thing for bands? “That’s an interesting one. I think if you want to make albums, then make albums. You should be making music for you and you alone so I guess artistic fulfillment is the whole purpose of being a band. Heavy metal is probably one of the last genres where people still have interest in full length releases, especially with vinyl making such a huge comeback. Understanding the streaming services is key to a successful release, and singles should be carefully considered. However, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I really enjoy the ‘A to B’ journey that an album can provide and making the time to listen to it from start to finish is always a rewarding process. We’ve always put a lot of thought into the flow and track listing of the album as well. For metal, the full length ain’t dead yet!”

Amen to that! What do you think stands out about the new album – and what are your favourite moments/tracks on it? “As I said earlier, this record will reward you in different ways with each listen. Songs like Blood and Bone and Ghosts feature some sonic left turns that you wouldn’t expect on a Flaming Wrekage album, while hitting harder than ever. Hell on Earth is my favourite track. It encapsulates the concept of the album while lots and lots of guitars take you on a real journey to hell and back”.

How strong do you think the hard rock/ heavy metal scene is in Australia at the moment? It seems to me that in the more extreme areas especially we are in something of a golden period… “You’re absolutely right there. We’re killin’ it at the moment. The best thing is the diversity within the heavy scene. You’ve got stoner rock, post metal, thrash and death all covered with great new upcoming bands. It makes for some killer mixed bills and some properly stacked festival lineups. Have you seen the lineup for Metal To The Max in Broken hill? Wild stuff! We have such a great crop of current bands to choose from as supports when internationals come out here too. It’s great to be able to show the big dogs how we do it!”

As an extension of that, what other Aussie bands are floating your boat at the moment? “Some of our favourites at the moment are: Freedom of Fear, Besomora, Crypt Crawler, Mountain Wizard Death Cult, Astrodeath and Dr Colossus“.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers of Sentinel Daily? “Cheers for listening to Terra Inferna and we’ll see you on the road real soon!”

Cheers and thanks again for giving us such a great record!

And here are those dates Dave alluded to earlier:
– Sat May 25 – Workers Club, Melbourne
– Sat June 8 – Lansdowne, Sydney

Read our review of Terra Inferna HERE