As we approach the release of our debut album Ellipsism on the 30th October, we decided to think back to it’s writing process. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll be sharing some of the influences that we were inspired by individually whilst piecing together these songs, building up a Spotify playlist of them as we go.
Today, we start with our bass and viola player, Richard’s picks. You’ll find the playlist at the end.
Bast – Denizens
Deftones – Prince
Primitive Man – Inevitable
Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Unendlich
Steak Number Eight – Slumber
Archelon – Hollow Gloom
Amenra – .The Pain. It Is Shapeless. We Are Your Shapeless Pain.
Conjurer – Choke
A-Sun Amissa – Remembrancer
SubRosa – Killing Rapture
My influences, like my daily music listening are generally pretty varied, but when it comes to thinking about specific things that impacted my writing and playing on Ellipsism, it’s impossible to get away from the big riff masters. I’d like to think that my equal loves of electronic, ambient, hip-hop and classical music might come through in more subtle ways, whilst this bunch of heavies might be a bit more obvious.
Bast are a band who blend a similar set of genres to us – post metal, black metal, sludge – and do it nearly perfectly in my eyes. In that sense they are a general influence, but this song in particular had a role to play in our track ‘An Orchestra of Flies’, the basic riffs on which were largely mine. In particular, Bast’s crushing slow riff later giving way to more atmospheric territories is something I think works really well.
The melodic ‘chorus’ riff on ‘Jouska’ (the other song I would say I had the most individual input into) is one that I came up with in the very earliest days of Ba’al and has been kicking around as ‘the Deftones riff’ ever since, so it was great to finally put it to use. This Deftones track is a good example of how they cross over with our heavy territories, with the low-tuned large riffery mixed with the chord-heavy emotional parts.
There’s rarely a moment where I’m not trying to make Ba’al sound more like Primitive Man. This track is one of many showing their technique of having disgusting, tremolo-picked guitar lines sat atop super slow-motion filthy drums and bass, which is something else I employed in ‘An Orchestra of Flies’.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit have, in the past year or so, become one of my all-time favourite black metal bands. Their super-tight, clean and precise aggression mixed with a powerful atmosphere is something I always have in mind for our blastier moments, but their song ‘Unendlich’ also shows some great movements in the bassline which change the feel of the guitar chords above them, which is something I’m always trying to do with my bass playing.
Steak Number Eight are a rare band who combine huge Cult of Luna-esque post metal textures with groovy, melodic riffs, without losing the power of either. That’s a big inspiration in general, but the opening riff on this song of theirs typifies the catchy, hooky yet still heavy riff style I was aiming for with the groove in the middle and end of our song ‘Long Live’. Similarly, our close friends Archelon’s debut album (also recorded at No Studio where we recorded Ellipsism) is full of brilliant riffs and shifts in texture, and this song of theirs again inspired some of the changes in feel from open and washy to choppy and rhythmic that I aimed for in ‘An Orchestra of Flies’.
Amenra are – and always have been – a very obvious influence on us as a band in general and this is one of my all-time favourites from them. The unending sledgehammer to the face that is the second half of that song is the feeling I was trying to go for at the end of ‘An Orchestra of Flies’. I wanted to be just as unafraid as they are to let a note ring out during a crushing moment.
Nick and I both love Conjurer, so again they are a general riff influence, though the absolutely frenetic pace at which they unleash a tight blastbeat when they want to inspired me to write what is definitely our fastest blast riff to date on ‘An Orchestra of Flies’. There’s also a cheeky nod to them in a little gap of silence in ‘Tarred & Feathered’.
SubRosa and our friends A-Sun Amissa fit together in this list for me, as they have a lot to do with the vibes I was aiming for with my viola playing on this album, albeit to opposite extremes. A-SA’s experimental dark ambient tones (here featuring Jo Quail on cello too) create a layered atmosphere which really inspires me when I’m planning out viola harmonies on our soft tracks. The twin violins in SubRosa, on the other hand, go all out with two separate and powerful melodies, panned to the left and to the right, during big, heavy riffing from the guitars. This gives rise to exactly the grand feeling I wanted to create with my gratuitous viola layers during the climax of our closing track ‘Rosalia’.
There’s plenty more I could talk about here, including the likes of Obscure Sphinx, Isis, Regarde Les Hommes Tomber, Earth, Gilmore Trail and Carbonscape. Needless to say, a lot of thought went into this album, not to mention a lifetime of listening as unintentional homework leading up to this point.