When you hear the words ‘technical’ and ‘metal’ used together in the same sentence, what’s the first and most immediate cliché that springs to mind? Mindless mathematical fretwankery? Gaudy geometrical album covers? A total lack of anything resembling artistic originality and insight? Taken By The Tide’s Phil Illsley explains why the Nottingham wrecking crew’s dark and crushingly desolate craft might just convince you otherwise.
“I feel like we don’t really fit in anywhere and I like that,” comments Taken By The Tide frontman Phil Illsley on a brutal, darkly turbulent sound that’s left many a confounded critic at a loss to tidily pigeonhole and compartmentalise. Combining all the densely intricate complexity you’d expect of technical death metal with a rare knack for fiercely contagious, adrenaline-fuelled riffage, theirs is a refreshingly instinctive departure from the genre’s heavily technical but often soullessly robotic trademarks. Painstakingly honed and developed over the better part of the past decade, the Nottingham aggressors’ once rather primitive early sound has undergone no small amount of stylistic shifts and reshuffles since its humble inception back in 2010.
“The first music those guys wrote was very much cut and paste,” Illsley recalls. “It was manic and intense, but it lacked a certain focus. They’d write riffs that they couldn’t even play and then record them bit by bit, learning as they went. It’s a case of natural progression over time really. When you have a solid line-up and everyone shares a common vision, it seems to come together naturally.”
With recent years finding this tight-knit collective on infinitely more experienced and cohesive form, it was with seamlessly organic ease that the band’s third, groundbreaking EP first began to take shape. But for all the boundless creativity Illsley and co. encountered during the intensive writing and recording process that followed, the two gruelling years spent tirelessly developing and refining this long-awaited release were blighted by all manner of external setbacks and complications.
Phil expands, “The whole process has been the most stressful record I’ve ever been part of. We’re just really happy to finally be getting it out now. We started this record about two years ago and have hit setback after setback. Family issues, children, marriages, management dropping us, different studios handling the release. It’s been a rollercoaster and incredibly frustrating. It feels like that frustration shows though, which I suppose is a good thing. We’re a very angry band, so anything to adds to that negative approach is useful I suppose. Can you tell I’m trying to be positive about something bad?”
From bloodcurdling, incandescent screams and lacerating hooks to gargantuan slabs of violently churning reverb, every breathlessly energised moment of the aptly-titled ‘Revenge’ audibly crackles with a varied, pitch-black plethora of intensely violent energies. Sourcing ample inspiration from a modern world plagued by political unrest, mindless bloodshed and corruption, the album's accompanying lyrical dynamics encompass similarly dark and diverse thematic territories.
“Each song has a different loose topic that I’m penning bad metaphors for,” he begins. “Grave lessons is about the reliance on social media and the narcissism created by that. Moloch is about my Grandma’s death and the horrible events surrounding it to do with years of abuse. There are tracks about the holocaust, sewing up Rupert Murdock’s jaw to silence media lies and persuasion through NLP. The common theme though, seems to be the act of Revenge. Hence the title.”
With all this expansive host of horrors providing a rich and relentless wealth of creative inspiration, it’s unsurprising that the latter part of 2018 is shaping up to be an extraordinarily productive one as the vocalist reveals, “We hope to be touring the record soon. Beyond that, you never know with us. The early response to this record has already been enough for us to be inspired to work on the next one. If life doesn’t get in the way again, you’ll be seeing more of us.”
'Revenge' is out 3rd August via an independent label
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