Tagged: Steve Boag


City Of Souls, fresh outta Auckland, New Zealand are today announcing the drop of another cut from their record SYNAESTHESIA (out on May 1 – pre-order at http://smarturl.it/SYNAESTHESIA)! The new track, titled ‘Cruelty’, and possibly the heaviest cut to date, will be live in all good digital stores and streaming outlets Friday April 17th.

From vocalist Richie Simpson – “‘Cruelty’ was a demo I had been sitting on for a few years before I joined the band. It was complete structurally so it just needed a bit of a fine tune and it was in the bag. I’m really stoked the lads dug it and it made the record, I love playing it live. It has a real swing and swagger to it. Kinda makes me wanna dance like Snoop Dogg haha. I remember channelling some nine inch nails reptile into the seasick bending guitar layers over the intro riff… it gave this dark energy to it. I love the mood changes that layering can give an idea. Cruelty is about the damage a lack of empathy can cause.”

SYNAESTHESIA has been an album five years in the making. Guitarist Marcus Powell elaborates:
“City of Souls have hit every single obstacle and block you can imagine. For us, this album
is about endurance, passion, and a deep love for music…To say we are excited to release this album is an understatement.”

City of Souls last dropped into Australia in 2019 to play the Progfest tour – and have made some headway into prog fans’ outside of NZ’s minds, having been spun on triple j’s The Racket, being added to rotation on The Faction, their videos premiered on Prog and being added to worldwide Spotify playlists New Metal Tracks, New Blood and Rock Out – which have put them in hundreds of thousands of ears!

One of New Zealand’s most reputable acts, City Of Souls was formed in August 2015 by guitarists Trajan Schwencke (Cold by Winter, In Dread Response) and Steve Boag (In Dread Response, Blacklistt). Vocalist Richie Simpson (New Way Home) found their existing tracks immediately captivating and joined the band. Guitarist Marcus Powell (founding member of multi-platinum bands Blindspott and Blacklistt) then joined, and the line-up was complete with Daniel Insley on Bass (Solstate) and Drummer Corey Friedlander (In Dread Response / 8 Foot Sativa).

The band’s new album SYNAESTHESIA is out on May 1 and can be pre-ordered at http://smarturl.it/SYNAESTHESIA – and this new single Cruelty is out on Friday April 17 on all digital stores and streaming outlets.


One of the fastest rising bands in the world at the moment are City Of Souls who hail from New Zealand. Over the past few months the band have been preparing for the release of their new album Synaesthesia on May 1st and during that time the buzz around them has just got louder and louder. They even found that their singles have been charting on the in the New Zealand charts.

Eager to find out more about the band that seems to have the world talking I had a chance to chat to guitarist Marcus Powell while he was looking after his kids.

“This has been a long time in the works – 2015 in fact,” says Powell when we start to talk about the beginnings of Synaesthesia. “We all came together after being in other bands because we were looking to create something that was a bit more emotive but at the same time keeping that heavy drive. We were just like minded individuals getting into a room together and jamming really.”

Hailing from bands such as Blindspott and Blacklistt himself Powell admits that the band members past musical experience all impacted on the song-writing for this album. “We found that a few of the band members were awesome song-writers so that helped us create an awesome production level. Everyone will go off and create things themselves and then they bring it to the practice room and we all jam it together. It is when we get together as a group that the songs really come to life.”

Powell says there is nothing that moment when they first come together and listen to what each other has been working on. “That is the part that I love the most,” he says. “If I have a riff that I create and I bring it to the group I get a real kick out of listening to their creative input and then see what they bring to the table… and vice versa as well. I love trading melodies and then meeting it up with a riff and then I’ll create something to go over the top or the same with Steve (Boag – one of the band’s other guitarists). I guess now we just all vibe off each other.”

There are some deep personal lyrics on Synaesthesia and as our discussion goes on Powell tells me that all the lyrics come from front-man Richie Simpson who previously performed with New Way Home. “The lyrics are all Richie’s doman,” he explains. “They all come from deep personal stories. For example some of the songs that we have written have been about people that have passed away in his life and he will be trying to come out of dealing with that so he’ll go into his room and try to write what that person would have wanted from him.”

“That is the beauty of music,” says Powell continuing to talk about Simpson’s lyrics. “When somebody shares on such an intimate level like Richie does it only creates a more intimate relationship with us. It makes us feel closer to him and I think that now shows on stage with our live performance. When we are all inter-linked into that story and have that understanding I think that it makes for a much better live performance.”

The fact that the band have started to find chart success in their home country has also been a surprise to them. “It has been quite surprising and really humbling as well,” he says. “Rock isn’t as widely spread here as some of the other genres. Like New Zealand is very big into six-sixty, LAB and there is a lot of dub-step, reggae and R ‘n’ B going on so to see rock hit the charts I see that as a bit of a milestone. We really want to send gratitude to everybody, thank you for listening, thank you for enjoying it and we hope that you guys really feel something when you listen to the album.”


Synaesthesia is out on May 1st.