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Dan Lorenzo - Vessel of Light

Interview with Dan Lorenzo from Vessel of Light
by Justin Wittenmeier at 27 October 2019, 1:42 AM

VESSEL OF LIGHT is a New Jersey based Heavy Metal/Doom band.  Among its ranks is guitarist Dan Lorenzo (HADES, NON-FICTION, THE CURSE) and vocalist Nathan Opposition (ANCIENT VVISDOM). Their third album, “Thy Serpent Rise,” was released digitally on October 11th, 2019.  This album expands on the band’s sound. Metal Temple writer Justin Wittenmeier was able to talk to Dan himself to speak about this and other subjects.

So this is the first Vessel of Light album done as a full band. Did the song writing change knowing it wasn't going to be just you and Nathan?

DL: Not consciously, but I do think knowing Ron Lipnicki and Jimmy Schulman would be involved entered my subconscious. I know Ron is more used to playing more up-tempo songs and I know when I write a riff that Jimmy will love. Jimmy and I have argued over the years, but he's one of my very best mnfriends and he has more influence over me than most people would imagine. If I'm "iffy" on something I can rely upon Jimmy to be brutally honest with me.

You have mentioned you were out of the music business for awhile until you and Nathan hit it off, so to speak. If VoL had not been born, do you think you would have found your way back into the scene anyway?

DL: Not on this level where I'm spending a lot of my extra income on the band. Blitz and I have discussed giving the world another CD by The Cursed and I've jumped onstage with him a few times over the years to play cover songs at benefits. There's no way I would have this passion if I hadn't met my perfect songwriting partner Nathan.

So VoL are on the third album…I know you have said you have no desire to to big tours. As VoL grows, how will you go about handling promotion? Do you envision doing more and more shows? Or are you guys happy hitting up the studio and supporting it as you see fit?

DL: When Nathan and I released the EP we said "No shows. No way". Then as we were wrapping up Woodshed we thought it was too good to NOT play live. I got us a show playing for free opening for Life Of Agony in NYC. Jimmy and I rented equipment and paid our longtime guitar tech Dan Garber out of our own pocket. With Nathan having to fly in and get a hotel I'm sure with everything it cost close to $1,000. THAT is how much I love this fucking band. Then in May of this year we did 3 shows in 3 days. Jimmy and I honestly didn't know if we could handle that at 56 years old. We played the 3 shows and each night got better and better. As Nathan, Jimmy and I drove home we all said, "We need to do this again!". Ron called us, "I wish we were playing tonight". I went to bed at about 2AM three nights in a row and woke up about 6AM as usual. It was easy and so much fun we did it again last month.

The press has labeled VoL as a Doom Metal band from the beginning. I would imagine fans put more value over labeling a band than the bands do themselves. In the beginning of VoL did you always set out to have a more riff based Doom sound?

DL: I just write riffs because that's what I love. I love Alice In Chains, but they write chord progressions. I think anybody can write a chord progression. Show me a riff, meaning notes. Not chords. I prefer to hear Black Dog as opposed to a chordy song where the guitarist is strumming a dimished 7th. ( laughs)

With Thy Serpent Rise, the band's core sound remains intact but you expand upon it by introducing other elements such as Groove and Sludge. During the song writing process, did you purposely say, "I want to do something a little different?" Or was it a more natural process, where the ideas kind of flowed out?

DL: For me, if songwriting is NOT a natural process you might as well play in a wedding band. I could tell you, "Justin, tonight I'm going to write a thrash song" and then I would write a mediocre fast riff. I have no pre-conceived ideas to try to come up with. I just write. I wrote a few extra songs for Thy Serpent Rise. One was a very bluesy song that I realized wasn't for VOL. I always have to let my singer pick what songs he wants to sing on.

Thy Serpent Rise really sounds like the most complete VoL album—everything seems to fall into place. Was the writing and recording process as smooth as I assume?

DL: Yes. I wrote the majority of the songs within the last year. Save My Soul was the only "old" song. I wrote the music years ago and Nathan and I actually jammed it in his basement in June of 2017 the only time the two of us have ever rehearsed together.

What I love the most about Thy Serpent Rise is that it is straightforward. Not simple but straightforward….no symphonic passages, twenty minute songs, ambient sections that go no where. It is just honest to god heavy fucking Metal. Do you feel that sometimes it seems bands just do too much? That the sub genres are getting too muddled?

DL: Oh God, I'm the worst when it comes to people asking me what my favorite bands are! I basically like 5-6 bands. All the other bands in the world in my opinion have a couple of songs or maybe a couple of riffs I like, but there are zero bands I've ever heard where I say to myself, "I wish I wrote those 10 songs". Never. When I first "discovered" Ancient VVisdom I was in shock. I heard the song The Opposition and I must have listened to it 30-35 times over the next 3 days. I couldn't believe some "unknown" band had written one of the greatest songs of all-time. Then I heard their song Deathlike and I was kind of freaked out. There was a band with TWO perfect songs? I HAD to contact them if for nothing else than to tell them this was something very very rare. I love about 30 Clutch songs, but when I've seen them live I always think half the songs they pick are the "wrong" songs. I know I sound very opinionated and egotistical when it comes to songwriting, but when you're in high school and albums like Highway To Hell, Rocks and Kiss Alive! come out you set very high standards.

You said you have already started writing the 4th album. Do you feel that VoL has found its sound or will more and more dimensions be added to the band's sound?

DL: I would guess there will be some surprises. I really hope it happens. I'd love to do another record with this line-up.


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Edited 28 March 2023

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