Final Coil

UK prog trio explain that their conceptual trilogy was never meant to get this far.

Final Coil was originally a solo project born from the mind of Phil Stiles [vocals, guitar, synths] back in 2002, but didn’t remain a one-man band for long. After meeting guitarist Richard Awdry through a mutual friend, the duo would go on to write and record demos before Stiles would head off to Poland for four years to teach English. While over there though, Stiles and Awdry remained in touch, so upon his return to Leicester in 2008 they decided to get together to see whether they could scratch a collective musical itch together again. Stiles’ wife, Jola, who he fondly describes as a “very, very talented musician”, and completed the trio on bass duties.

Working on songs in 2008 that had existed since 2003 affirmed to the band that the material they had slowly written, formed, and even recorded during some of Awdry’s visits to Poland over the years would be worthwhile pouring more time, money, and love into, but they never had “any vision” of it going further than “just playing music together”.

Despite doing a few recordings that they “don’t really talk about”, it wasn’t until the release of 2014’s //Closed To The Light// EP that Final Coil began to garner attention. With the EP eventually attracting the attention of a small recording studio in Italy, the band was propositioned. “They wrote to us and said, ‘Look, if you come to Italy and record with us, we’ll pitch you to a label,’” Stiles tells //Prog//. “We live in an era of internet scams, so we looked at it a little aghast at first. But we thought, to hell with it, the worst case scenario is we get a month in Italy as a holiday and we get to play music,” he recalls. True to their word, the studio recommended Final Coil to Wormhole Death records, and their debut, //Persistence of Memory// would go on to be released via them in 2017. By the time that album was recorded and mixed, Stiles had already finished writing its successor, //The World We Left Behind For Others//, which was released by the same label in 2019.

Despite never setting out with the intention of writing a trilogy, that’s exactly what Stiles would go on to do, concluding with 2024’s //The World We Inherited//. The trio tells a story of Stiles’ grandparents, and how their experiences pushed them “to have very different mindsets” about the world we live in. The albums narrate polarising opinions and experiences, including the Brexit vote and the election of Trump, and goes on to discuss how people get churned up with conspiracy theories, leading them to lose themselves to their families and friends, having been “dominated by hatred”.

It’s a deeply personal narrative, presented in a way that many can relate to. It’s in this way that Stiles believes Final Coil are progressive. “I like the idea of prog being a very open-ended thing in terms of music, but if you’re going to stick the label on it, it comes through the conceptual approach that we’ve taken with our records,” he explains, “And what I wrote was a kind of dystopian fantasy that seems to have become the reality.” 

Prog File

LINE-UP: Phil Stiles (Vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, synths, programming), Richard Awdry (Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, vocals, programming), Jola Stiles (Bass guitar)

SOUNDS LIKE: If Tool and Katatonia had a baby that was immediately subjected to a post-pandemic world.

CURRENT RELEASE: //The World We Inherited// is out now on Sliptrick Records.


— Cheri Faulkner

From "Limelight - Final Coil" Prog Reprinted with permission.

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