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Home » Rock n Rolla

Sick and Twisted Affair picks up where MDD left off

Submitted by on March 26, 2012 – 9:40 pmNo Comment

Fuelled by the clout of My Darkest Days’ first ever single, their self-titled debut album sold well over a 100,000 copies.  “Porn Star Dancing,” which featured Zakk Wylde and rapper Ludacris, reached number seven on Billboard’s rock charts. The song was certified Gold in Canada and the US. For a first album by an unknown metal band from rural Ontario, the numbers were impressive.

Accolades soon followed.  MDD was named the best new band of 2010 by Hard Drive XL and, in 2011, got nominated for a Juno for New Group of the Year. Fans began flocking to MDD sets en masse and stadium shows and backstage shenanigans became the norm for the pride of Norwood, ON, Matt Walst (the title is actually shared by Walst and his older brother Brad, who is the bassist for Three Days Grace).

Still, MDD’s lead man said he and his men felt no real additional pressure working on their follow-up and sophomore offering, Sick and Twisted Affair. Despite having concerns going into the studio that it wasn’t the right time to write a new record, Walst said that initial hesitation passed quickly when the band got on the grind.

“There wasn’t a lot of down time between getting off tour and then getting back into this record. I felt we needed more time to write and jam and get our stuff together,” he said, reached by phone on the day of the album’s release. “At first we were a little freaked out going into it, but we found once we started writing that it wasn’t as tough as we thought it was going to be.”

While nine songs is a short album even by new-metal standards, the band wanted to prove with Sick and Twisted Affair that shorter is sometimes sweeter.  The run time of the album is just over 30 minutes – something Walst said was, if not altogether intentional, definitely beneficial to the record making process.

“I think when you put too many tracks on an album,” he said, “you get too many tracks where you don’t put as much time into it. This way, we got to put a lot of time into the songs that we threw on the record.”

The album includes a remix of the hit song “Stutter,” originally written by Roy Hamiton and made famous by R&B crooner Joe in 2001. It also features appearances by Barry Stock and Neil Sanderson of 3DG. Two of the tracks were co-written by James Michael, lead singer of Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx’s side project Sixx: A.M.

While the collaborations lined up for Sick and Twisted Affair include a number of artists as talented as those who appeared on MDD’s 2010 debut, Walst admits his band made something of a conscious effort to avoid co-signs from big-name stars this go around. That, and time was of the essence.

“We just wanted to do it on our own. We’re always up for collaborating with people – we thought about getting Jacoby [Shaddix] from Papa Roach to do something on ‘Stutter’ – but we didn’t have a whole lot of time. I think if we had more time we could have fit in more collaborations, and did more remixes and stuff like that.”

What the album lacks in remixes, it makes up for in unapologetic and unadulterated rock and roll songs. Sick and Twisted Affair differs from the last MDD record in that it houses only one ballad – the sombre and powerful “Gone.” Walst said cutting the slow songs by a third on the new disc was the idea, and also a reflection of being in a better place mentally when writing this record.

“We wanted to put a couple ballads on this record but that’s not the place I’m in anymore. The last one was slower and we just wanted to step it up,” he said. “All the songs we were coming up with were more up-tempo songs. We wanted to make this record heavier [because] you can’t play a ballad when you’re opening for Sevendust.”

In addition to being a heavier record, Sick and Twisted Affair is also sonically and artistically more mature than its predecessor. Other than the obvious two-year break, Walst said he credits freedom to create for the growth of both the band’s writing and studio prowess.

“On the first record we didn’t want to do too much that was out of the box. Now we get to experiment and do stuff we really want to do. This record we had a more open door – now that we got our foot in the door – to do what we wanted to do from the get-go.”

Story by Remi L. Roy; photo by Andrew Zaeh

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