The Core

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I was able to acquire Calmed by the Tides of Rain debut album, Phaeton, last year and was mightly impressed by their ferociously heavy sound. I called them the Russian equivalent to The Acacia Strain, but much better and more of a focus on slower groove oriented death metal. The album is punishing and the slams will make you want to lift houses up from their foundations and toss them around like Legos

In 2013, the band released, Hives, a little ditty of an EP that can only be obtained through download. It’s like $3, so fork over the cash. I thought the band really excelled on this release and the addition of some blast beats and spacey kinda feel to the overall sound really has made the band that much more of a force to be reckoned with. So without me wasting anymore of your time, please go out and support Calmed by the Tides of Rain and read this awesome in-depth interview with their vocalist Artyom and drummer Alex.

Congratulations on your new EP, Hives!  How has the reaction been to it and I love the added speed to the songs, as well as noticing some Fallujah like guitar melodies, care to comment?

Artyom: Sup Frank, thx a lot J We really like the reaction about our new EP in the web and it’s really awesome that almost everybody liked the new breath in our music. I’m big fan of Fallujah’s first full-length and happy to hear the right impression about changes in our concept.

Alex: Hi Frank! Thank you. I’m really happy that Hives came out at last. The release was pretty nervous, but now it’s all gone. About the reaction, there were some comments like “listening our music makes people dumb” or “we can not play or sing, only doing zeros on guitars”, but yeah, the most of  people’s response were great, and it seems that our listeners got into the new elements we’ve added to our music. As you’ve mentioned we composed some fast black metal-ish pieces, most of us like this kind of music, so we decided to try. Maybe it was similar to Fallujah, but I’m pretty sure that our guitar players, who wrote the songs, were mostly influenced by the bands like Deafheaven. By the way, you know that Alex from Fallujah made the artwork for “Phaeton” and we wanted to record some guest vocals by him, but we never managed to do that due to some issues.

I have said you guys are like the Russian version of The Acacia Strain, however with more of a death metal vibe, rather than core sound, do you agree?

Artyom: When we started in 2008 we were influenced by The Acacia Strain A LOT, but even in the beginning of our band we wanted to mix the downtempo-heavyness with a death/doom/post-metal and you can hear this even in our first EP. Today we have added some black metal in our concept and, in my opinion, your summary it sounds solid and original J And yes, I agree!

Alex: The Acacia Strain is a huge influence for us, actually, when we started a band, we were oriented in this kind of sound. But later we decided to bring more atmospheric elements, so we probably are more close to sound of The Yellow Sign (a big shame they aren’t a band anymore). We do consider ourselves more a ‘metal” band, that’s true, still we perform mostly on “-core” concerts and take part in this kind of scene.

Why play the type of music you play and what goes into crafting a real heavy slam part-what’s important for you?

Artyom: I think when you are playing music like a project with a concerts, albums etc. you must be sure in two things: first – you must really like what you are doing, and second – you must be sure that you can make something better than others, maybe not now, maybe in future, but you must believe in yourself that it’s possible for your to make something really good, something original.

Alex: Why play this type? We like it, it is heavy and powerful but with a touch of melody. It is a type of music we usually listen to and we love to listen. Writing breakdowns, when you have already made dozens of them, can be painful. It is hard to explain, but is should be really bouncy or groovy to ourselves. If we can slowly headbang with a mean face to it – we use it, if its mean, it fits.

Are you working on another full length album and can we expect the varying speeds, that are on Hives, to still be part of your future material?

Artyom: Yes! And we are working on it right now. And of course yes, it will be a mix of Phaeton and Hives, our classical heaviness with a doom/black-metal aftertaste J

Alex: It’s really too early to tell. We’ve got only a couple of songs in work and the shape of future album is very blurry. But as we got the good response to our experiment we always know that if we’ll have a good quick piece of music, we can use it well. Overall, as Artyom said there won’t be a major sound changes for sure, it will be good old CBTTOR. Oh, I must say that we have a new brother in the family – Dmitry, we’re playing with 3 guitar players now. He’s a big friend of our bass player and he had his eye on a band from the very beginning, Now he writes a lot of new material for the band and it sounds really refreshing. Actually he wrote most of the melodic parts on the track “Shores” from the New EP.

What is the cover concept of Hives about and I also notice a spacey feel to the melodies, in certain areas?

Artyom: For me as a “concept-maker” it was really difficult to put a strong, deep story in a 3-song EP. Story of “Hives” is some type of mix of dystopian and post-apocalyptic genres. Everyone can check out the lyrics on our facebook page. So what you are seeing on our cover are a giant, grey monoliths rising over an exitted wasteland.

Why is Hives not getting a physical release, why only as a download?

Alex: It is very hard to sell CDs at the moment, printing a bunch will be just a waste of money. We can never sell it.  I don’t know the leftover amount of “Phaeton”, but I’m pretty sure it’s much more than half of a circulation. It just hurts you when you realize it. But you can’t fix it, that’s the way the industry goes nowadays. We totally support sharing our music through internet and a principle “try before buy”, but the thing is most people won’t buy anything if they can get it for free. So the band for us is always a big money loss, BUT a lovely hobby, tons of positive emotions and unique feelings one can never experience without being in a band and performing on stage.

Explain to us the release of your debut album, Phaeton, regarding the concept from cover to music and did you accomplish your goal?

Artyom: Phaeton was a main goal for us as a band. We were working on it about a 1.5 year and that was a really hard job. That was very important for us to make a first full-length in maximum close to the ideal condition including every aspect: sound, mixing, cover art, lyrics concept, etc. Everything was polished to a max gloss J And I think our goal was accomplished J

The concept of “Phaeton” is well structured and tells us a story about a catastrophe of Phaeton – the hypothetical planet, from the very beginning to a crushing end.

Are the slam pits at Russian shows vicious when you guys perform live, since your breakdowns are some of the best out there?  How are live shows, in general in Russia?

Alex: Oh yes, the pits are vicious indeed! Check this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8rEjrwX-qs

People really go crazy! Moshing all over the place. The local shows gather about 100-200 people usually, when some foreign band has a show, there are more up to 1000. But I must say that being a band for 5 years we only performed in our hometown – Moscow.

I notice Meshuggah as an influence to your musical sound, as well as Whitechapel in the vocal department-am I off base here?

Artyom:  My favorite vocalists in modern death metal scene are a Nate Johnson and Phil Bozeman, I’m a real fan of deep growl vocals, and usually don’t like screaming in many of its variants. And of course my vocal taste is well presented in our music.

Alex: Well, to be honest not all of us are fans of Meshuggah. We have some riffs that can sound somehow similar, but -shuggah stuff is much more complicated. We use odd time signatures pretty often lately because it became rather boring to play straight-forward breakdowns, but still our music is much simpler. Another thing is we use 8 string guitars – this can also be a reference to Meshuggah, but we just wanted to sound really heavy and low from the first day the band functioned.

So why such a long band name and what does it mean?

Alex: Oh, well, Artyom left to pass his exams in the university, let’s wish him a great luck! So the rest is on me. The name was born from From Oceans To Autumn’s album “Calmed By The Tide”, it’s an atmospheric and …umm… “oceanic” post-rock. So we liked that phrase , than I must say that the summer of 2008 when we started the band was rather rainy and the days we were practicing were mostly rainy. So the name transformed to Calmed By The Tides Of Rain. It’s a long name, yes, but it sounds somehow poetic and it isn’t similar to most modern band names of the genre. There is a self-titled song on our EP, so you can try to find an extra meaning in the lyrics J

Are you happy with Soulflesh Collector Records?  Their products are very hard to come by in the U.S., by the way, which stinks?

Alex: Yes, we are happy, these guys are our friends at first and only after that – our label. We knew them long before they made a release for us. They made a physical release and printed the merch, we are really thankful. Well I believe that they just trade the CDs with their fellow-labels all over the world, all of which are underground labels and that’s why it’s pretty hard to get their stuff. At least there is always a way to order the stuff through internet.

I notice when you play drums you hit the drums pretty hard, is this your way of getting aggression out and how long have you been playing drums for?  How do you get such a punishing drum sound, it’s ferocious?

Alex: This is the kind of music where you have to hit hard, it’s based on rhythm, so to keep everyone in it I always have to stay loud enough. I’ve been playing drums since school, it’s 10 years already.  If you mean the sound on our recordings the praises should go to the sound engineers who made mixing and mastering. The final result nowadays is always different from the rough recordings made in the studio. As for live shows I really try to hit hard and with a big amplitude to get the groove.

Are you friends with other killer Russian bands, like Katalepsy, Abominable Putridity or Back Door to Asylum?

Alex: We know the guys from Katalepsy, though we didn’t manage to share stage, Abominable Putridity is more like a studio project now, the do not play live, so we do not know any of them. Backdoor To Asylum – we’ve played with them once or twice, but do not have communication. All of the bands you’ve mentioned seem a rather different scene for me. The more common for us is to play with and communicate to more -core oriented bands like One More Victim, Overflowing With Hatred and Victim Of Depravity. We have shows and “fests” with them and overall have more in common.  

What are your band goals and do you have any final comments for our readers?

Alex: First of all, we’ve started working on a second full-length, we have a couple of songs in the works. So, finishing it is our main goal. Also we would love to visit a couple of Russian cities and play some shows there. I always dreamed to shoot a music video, but I’m not sure we’ll manage to do that, so it’s still a dream, not a goal.

In the end I’d like to thank Frank for the opportunity and to wish everyone to listen to more good music and don’t forget to support the local scene. Cheers.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calmed-By-The-Tides-Of-Rain/215776584310
 

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