The Splintered Minds Asylum is the debut album from Glasgow based Splintered Halo. If this album guarantees you one thing it is that you will likely not have heard anything like this before. I caught up with front woman Evilyn Van Der Hyden, who is the driving force for the band, to discuss her influences and the process around producing the album. Evilyn explains that whilst growing up, heavy metal, black metal, classical and even musical theatre were high up on her interests and it is these influences of musical theatre and the macabre that comes through strongly on the album.
With her always white masked band of Slender and Jabberwocky on guitars, The Dandy Man on bass and Griever on drums you know that things are not going to be by the numbers heavy metal. In fact, it may not be heavy metal at all. We are not offered any more information on the band members but one thing is clear, they certainly buy into the dark image and mystery that is portrayed.
This album took a total of eight months from start to finish and was 20% crowd funded with the remainder self-financed by the band and recorded locally at the LoFI Rehearsal Studios in Glasgow. With commitments to gigging in the Scottish central belt (Edinburgh to Glasgow corridor) and other adventures further afield the band have found it difficult at times to financially balance the books. Evilyn and her merry band, like the many bands who have come before them, are clearly in it for the love of the music.
As for those gigs in the central belt, the Dreadnought in Bathgate and The Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh were a couple of favourites that Evliyn mentioned. For those familiar with The Banshee Labyrinth, promoted as Scotland’s most haunted pub, you could say Splintered Halo were born to perform there. Splintered Halo have also had a number of support slots for bigger known bands with the latest being Ne Obliviscaris at the 02 ABC in Glasgow. However, it is clear from talking to Evilyn that she and her band much prefer the comfort of the smaller and more intimate venues.
Looking at the album in more detail it can be found in the usual places: Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music, Deezer plus a high-quality download will set you back £10.00 on Bandcamp. The Digipak will get you an extra 12 page full colour booklet with artwork by Evilyn.
As for the songs, we get a varied collection covering a number of different topics from The Exorcist, The Wizard of Oz, Jekyll and Hyde and much more. All the songs have a distinct heavy feel about them with Evilyn switching characters from song to song whilst the band provide great heavy metal backing twisted into their own Halloween-esque style. From all this you start to get a picture of what Evilyn and the band are all about. And this sound has not come about easily. The band have taken a few different musical twists and turns over the last couple of years and they look like they have now found their “sound”. If you listen to the previous EP, We’re All A Little Mad In Here you can certainly hear the differences.
A number of tracks stand out for me, in particular Rise, The Butcher, Bloodshed in Wonderland and Mad Love whilst the others songs fill in the gaps nicely. Evilyn herself is most proud of Diabolus and so she should be having worked through many versions of the song before coming up with the finished version. It is a fitting end to what can be described as an innovative and ultimately brave album release. Maybe not for everyone, and likely an acquired taste for some others. But definitely worth a listen if you get the chance.
This Splintered Minds Asylum gets a 4 out of 5 from me.
- Welcome to the Asylum 2:54
- I Bathe In Blood 6:04
- The Dark Side Of Oz 5:36
- Rise 4:42
- Duality Of Personality 4:57
- The Butcher 4:22
- Bloodshed In Wonderland 5:00
- Your Face Is MY Face 4:26
- Mad Love 6:32
- Dark Disease 3:32
- Diabolus 7:11
Release Date: 1st Nov 2016