Borrowed Time is a new metal band formed in Detroit, Michigan in 2010. J. Priest (vocals, keyboards), Matt Preston (guitars, keyboards), Victor Ruiz (guitars), Mark Kiseliovas (bass) and Sam Ceckowski (drums) issued a compilation of demos and live recordings entitled »Arcane Metal Arts« on High Roller Records. Their debut for the same label was the split 7" single »Black Olympia« with British act Wytch Hazel.
Earlier in 2013, Borrowed Time made their first trip to mainland Europe playing Germany's Keep It True festival. J.P. Priest comments: “It was completely surreal just like I thought, but at this point the best weekend of our lives! Oliver was very accommodating and patient, and after we played we proceeded to see incredible bands like our friends High Spirits, Midnight, Holocaust, Legend, Warlord, Quartz, Jack Starr, Liege Lord and play for and meet over a thousand bangers from all over, wild!”
Borrowed Time's self-titled debut album contains nine new tracks. Numbers such as “Wallow in the Mire”, “Dawn for the glory Rider” or “Of Nymph and Nihil” are a continuation of the band's earlier material (albeit with a more professional sound and better songwriting skills).
J. Priest explains: “It is the most focused recording in the band’s history. In many ways, and you hear them on »Arcane Metal Arts«, we’ve been off the wall and out of control since the beginning. This album is our attempt to work as hard as we could to make music. Before the pretence was to translate these metallic compositions to some sort of recorded form, here we’ve tried to get into the minutiae that other musicians practice. We’ve never worked more seriously on any recording. For not having a debut album it seems silly to try to stick to our roots, but we did in that we used the previous EP material as a standard of comparison. We spent a long time in early winter demoing the material before we took it to the studio, making sure it had that same dark spark that we can hear in the sound on our prior work. Matt Preston and I, living together at the time, spent long hours working separately on our own parts, and working together listening to the material making sure the right things were going on.”
In contrast to »Arcane Metal Arts« the new album cover is pretty complex. “It is both related to the band name and related to the experiences of having done this band since 2010,” J.P. remarks. “ We wanted something that reflected on the grandiosity, madness, melancholy and shame associated with really trying to create art and doing it in a place like where we live. You have a dying, syphilitic drunk chasing after his hour glass, losing his 30 pieces of silver and guzzling wine out of the holy grail. Seraphs need it back, they don’t like that he has it, after all, it’s theirs and not his to drink from. A gang of brigands and outlaws buys him time, which might be up. A kabala wheel perverted by a pentagram shows that all these figures fell from grace long ago.”
The "Necropolis" cover version on »Arcane Metal Arts« was received really well. Would it be fair to speak of Borrowed Time as a Manilla Road influenced band or is that a misinterpretation? “We are definitely a Manilla Road influenced band,” answers J. Priest “and it will come out more on the new record. The strange psychedelic thrash and speed of »The Deluge« and »Mystification« and the metallic thrush of »Open The Gates« with songs like 'Fires of Mars' and 'Road of Kings', several facets of their sound and times are an influence.”
Borrowed Time did choose their band name as a tribute to legendary N.W.O.B.H.M. band Diamond Head. In the mean time, the band got feedback from the one and only Diamond Head: “Heh, Brian Tatler remarked that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'. We ended up talking with him and the new singer Nick Tart just about UK Hard Rock and Heavy Metal in general. We would have played with them again, however, both them and UDO hit Michigan at the same time as Keep it True. We wondered why they couldn’t just have Metalcore or Nu Metal at our local clubs like usual and then both shows could have been another week, ha ha.”
For the musicians Borrowed Time is more than a band, maybe even a way of life: “Borrowed Time is meant to be a real Heavy Metal act every day. The main idea is still to capture the same ethereal feeling from record LPs like Ostrogoth’s »Full Moon’s Eyes« or Atlain or Pokolgep or Angel Witch or Manilla Road and to use it as a vehicle of expression. We’re going to continue charting the course we’ve set. By that I mean working to make Borrowed Time a respectable traveling band, putting more and more into our music by always learning and taking the right things from our experiences.”
At first glance, with titles such as “Pygmalion” or “Wallow in the Mire” it seems as if Borrowed Time's lyrics are all about fantasy and escapism. According to J. Priest, however, this is far from the truth: “Well, it’s funny you ask that, pretty much every single one of my songs are about real things. I talked about Dio briefly in the last interview we had, his lyrics were absolutely brilliant. Because he would contextualize social or personal problems, sometimes societal, and just wrap it up with fantasy metaphor and his signature rhyming couplets. This is the same language that bore great books for adolescents like 'Lord of the Rings' or 'The Wizard of Earthsea' or the 'Elric' saga; these are really tales of human weakness in lots of ways. Heavy Metal often relegates itself to simple power fantasy, which if you look at the post-industrial places it came from, it makes perfect sense. Powerless in the face of the world and the face of 'power' itself; the best art often reflects the truth. The fantasy in Metal is that this power structure can be downed with such ease, in reality it can’t. People in the 1980s, I’d like to think, believed it could. Borrowed Time’s lyrics characterize the loss of that belief.“