In The Midst Of Lions from Saint Louis, Missouri is an exciting new discovery from Strike First Records. Discovered by the label at last year’s edition of Cornerstone, ITMOL play absolutely ferocious death metal, with a decidedly spiritual edge. Their new EP Out Of Darkness has just been unleashed to the masses, and it’s well worth checking out! Here is an interview we recently conducted with one the members to find out just what makes this metal lion roar!!!
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do In The Midst Of Lions, and how long the band has been together.
Hello, my name is Alex Livingston and I play drums for the band. We have been together since October of 2007.
Where is the band from and what is your local music scene like there?
All of us are from different parts of Missouri, with the exception of our guitarist Sam Penner who is from Albuquerque New Mexico. We all reside in the Saint Louis area as of right now. Honestly the scene is not what it used to be, it’s in need of a revival for sure. Kids just don’t come out to shows like they used to, and venues have trouble staying open. It seems like things are looking up, so hopefully it will recover in the coming months.
How did you wind up being signed to Strike First Records?
Cornerstone Festival 08 really did well for getting our name out and we ended up meeting Jason Dunn from Facedown/Strike First and passed a demo his way. Apparently he kept it in a giant stack of CD’s for awhile haha but eventually got around to listening. He kept an eye on our Myspace and when we put up our new tracks he emailed us and said he wanted to work with us. It was quite a blessing for sure.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Out Of Darkness?
The CD as a whole is not a concept album but the name Out Of Darkess comes from 1 Peter 2:9. It’s about our vocalist’s (and all of us for that matter) past, and how we were terrible people living dark lives and how Jesus pulled us out of that darkness. That’s also the name of track 3 on the record.
Where did you get the ideas for some of the lyrics on the new CD. Please cite a few songs and what they are about.
All the lyrics on the record are influenced by the bible or are somehow related to passages. The intro and outro tracks are out of Psalms 57:4 and 1 Peter 2:9. Paid In Full is about how we do not own our lives or our possessions, but it all belongs to Christ. I. Crucifixion and Burial and II. He Is Risen, is pretty self explanatory. It’s about the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Why do you think in this day and age that there are so many Christian / ministry bands?
It used to be pretty rare to come across Christian metal bands or genres of the like, but it’s becoming much more widely accepted. It’s not too out of the norm to see that anymore so I guess that makes it easier for people to come out, do what they love, and do it for God. I would hope people wouldn’t do it for exposure, or for the wrong reason but it can be expected. As Christians though, it’s great to see so many bands coming out and playing music for God. Kids can relate to metal too, so that makes it easier to minister that way.
How did Dean formerly of With Blood Comes Cleansing become involved with the track The Field Of Blood?
Before we were signed we had played with WBCC a few times in our area. They seemed to like the tunes and we had become decent friends with them, Dean especially. When we picked up the record deal and had to get into the studio, I actually called Dean to ask him if he knew of any good, moderately priced studios. He informed us that Dennis, bassist of WBCC actually ran a studio out of Albany GA called Finale Studios. We ended up recording the album there and Dean luckily was in the area and dropped some vox for us. It was such a blessing to have him on the album. We have always looked up to them.
What is a live In The Midst Of Lions show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
Personally I believe it’s a much better experience, most seem to agree. The album gives you a musical idea of the band, but it lacks the energy and emotion of a live show. Some bands are great studio bands and some are better live bands. I believe our live show defines us much better then that of the album.
What was the experience like performing at Cornerstone this year?
Cornerstone is such an amazing time as it is, and it was even better than we could have imagined this year. It was our second year playing, but the first while being signed. Facedown/Strike First plays a huge role at Cornerstone in my opinion, so it was unreal to be a part of the family. It went over very well though, and the response we had was solid. Strike First has helped us get our name out there so much, and it showed at Cornerstone.
Any chance of your band coming over to the Los Angeles area to play some shows?
Absolutely! We will be there a number of times in the coming months for sure. We are in the process of booking a lot of tours, and trying to cover as much ground as possible.
Who did the haunting artwork for the CD and how much input did you have on the cover art? I want a poster of it 🙂
Our artwork for the album and our layout was done by Logan Lambert (thefragilemachine.com) and our logo was done by Roger Hensley Design (myspace.com/are_nasty). As far as our input, I had just suggested the “Out Of Darkness” theme and that’s what he made out of it. He did an absolutely incredible job, and he couldn’t have captured it better. We don’t have any posters of it unfortunately, but if we ever make any you can expect to get one 😉
How do you feel about kids who really enjoy your music but may not really be into the spiritual message?
Well that’s the great thing about being a Christian Death Metal band. The only people that listen to praise music and Christian rock/pop acts, are Christians. But we have fans of all beliefs and that creates so many open doors to minister or just to talk. We welcome all atheists and agnostics to shows, and if we can plant a seed in them then that’s amazing, that’s why we do what we do. But if not, that’s okay too! We’re down to befriend anyone.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember after hearing Out Of Darkness for the very first time?
We would hope it would be an anointing experience for them, or that they would be inspired by Christ’s message. But if all they get out of it is “That was some good metal”, then that’s alright with us!
Any final words of wisdom?
All I can say is that Christ is Lord even if you believe it or not! I question him on a daily basis, but He cannot be beat! People have tried that for all of history. That’s why we play music, to glorify Him, and without Him, it’d be pointless. Thanks for taking the time to listen to me blabber on haha! God bless. (Kenneth Morton)
In The Midst Of Lions Myspace