In May 2019, we released our second EP Reverence. It’s our first release with Joe Stamps (of Hecate Enthroned and Child of Ash) on vocals, and it also shows some new experiments in our sound that we’ve been toying with for a while. It was recorded at Tie Dye Tapes in Sheffield by our friends Adam and Michael (also of the excellent band naisian). We’re really proud of it.
Just after the release, we thought back on the writing process of these three tracks and each put together a list of our influences that had the biggest impact on Reverence. Of course, all five of us have lists longer than several arms of musical inspirations, but here we’ve tried to narrow them down to just 5 tracks each that most directly impacted these songs.
We’ve each written a few words on our tracks, and you can listen to the whole lot as a Spotify playlist at the end. Enjoy.
Nick – Guitar
Mew – Special
Bossk – The Reverie
Deftones – Digital Bath
Ultar – Nyarlathotep
Cult of Luna – Echoes
My influences tend to evolve based on what I’ve been most recently listening to (which is often immediately obvious to the others when I show them a new idea). There’s a few that have stayed with me for much longer than others but I don’t really like to stick to playing the same sort of thing, so a lot of my ideas can be a fairly violent mashup of influences that often don’t particularly gel together.
My first choice is never immediately obvious, but Bo Madsen, previously of Mew, is absolutely one of the most interesting guitarists I regularly listen to and his inventive approach to what would normally be fairly simple ideas is something I’ve always wanted to emulate. There are plenty of unusually phrased riffs, unexpected guitar effects and off-kilter time signatures which make them such an engaging band to listen to. Nothing they release is straightforward. ‘Special’ is one of their darker tracks but I would recommend all their work, especially the album ‘Frengers’.
Regarding Deftones, I think what strikes me the most is the relative simplicity of much of what Stephen Carpenter does. That’s not a disparaging remark, it’s a very considerate way of creating music. Knowing when to be the loudest in the room and when to step back and let Chino do his thing. I think he really took all the strengths of the whole Nu-Metal/Alt-Metal thing and really experimented with it; as a result, they have a timeless aesthetic which is just so distinctively Deftones. I view Cult of Luna in a similar way in that they are masters of dynamism. They know how to do loud and they know how to do quiet and they will transport you from one to another seamlessly. I wish I could have written this track.
As for Ultar and Bossk; these are both bands that I’ve absolutely hammered since I discovered them and as much as I try to be totally original, it seems like a lot of the music I’ve written recently has sounded like one or both of these bands. Bossk’s ‘Audio Noir’ is a perfect marriage of crushing fuzzy riffs and delicate proggy clean sections. Ultar are a relatively new black metal band from Siberia and don’t be surprised to see them everywhere soon, they’ve got that sound nailed.
Tom – Guitar
MØL – Storm
Deafheaven – The Pecan Tree
Cult of Luna – And With Her Came the Birds
Will Haven – Carpe Diem
Mogwai – Music for a Forgotten Future
Plenty of other records could have been on this list, but the 5 listed here had more direct impacts on the sound, feel, texture or pacing of the record.
So first off, Møl. It could easily have been any track off ‘Jord’, as the guitar sounds are superb all the way through.
‘The Pecan Tree’; the immediacy and savagery mixed with the shoegaze elements crossed through the EP both as sounds styles and textures.
‘And With Her Came the Birds’ was more of an influence on the title track than anything else. That dark spacious yet almost claustrophobic feel with different instruments and layers flowing in and out of each other was the simple skeleton framework and idea behind the title track and some of the other layering on the rest of the EP.
‘Carpe Diem’: The riffs are huge. If you want big riffs that still retain space and texture with enough weight to stop a bull elephant you don’t have to look much further than this.
‘Music for a Forgotten Future’ is sparse and made from just a couple of simple repeating refrains spread over 20+ minutes. Nothing heavy or soaring to a crescendo like much of the Mogwai catalogue, yet it seemed to fit perfectly with the album it’s attached to (‘Hardcore Will Never Die… But You Will’). This feel fitted well between our tracks ‘Grief Tourist’ and ‘Sepia’, giving the record a different flow and almost an antidote to the frantic urgency of the introduction of ‘Grief Tourist’ to the long build and crescendo of ‘Sepia’.
Richard – Bass
Primitive Man – Victim
Conjurer – Behold the Swine
Ulver – Eos
Conan – Total Conquest
Pijn – Hazel
I often find that my new riff ideas for Ba’al tend to be reactive to whatever riffs we’ve recently written; we’d not come up with many simple, slow and bludgeoning riffs for a while (whilst we had blasting black metal riffs coming out of our ears), so my love of Conan and Primitive Man seeped into my brain.
The first full-on heavy riff on ‘Sepia’ was written on an acoustic guitar (!) when I got home from seeing Primitive Man on a Sunday night in Sheffield, and I quickly paired it with what became the ending “beatdown” riff in the same track, which was originally aping my favourite Conan track.
Although they’ve both now released cracking debut albums, it was the earlier work of both Conjurer and Pijn I had in mind when writing this EP. This Conjurer track has some lovely rhythmic playing in the bass, sitting snugly beneath the guitar work, which is something I’m always trying to do, in this instance in the latter part of ‘Grief Tourist’.
It’s the orchestral strings on the first Pijn EP that influenced the way I worked with the viola parts on the title track ‘Reverence’, and Ulver’s ‘Shadows of the Sun’ album is just a soft and atmospheric masterpiece that really covers the vibe I think we were aiming at for that track.
Joe – Vocals
ColdWorld – Void
Altar of Plagues – Neptune is Dead
Katatonia – Rainroom
Aluk Todolo – Disease
Gnaw Their Tongues – I Am the Spear
My main influences lyrically for Reverence came from personal experiences rather than that of other bands. I’ve always felt it important to have my own individual style of being descriptive without being too specific, creating an image or a story but keeping it open enough so that others can relate to it in their own way.
Vocally I was largely inspired by bands like ColdWorld and Altar of Plagues, atmospheric black metal bands I listen to on a regular basis who are fantastic at arranging vocals throughout tracks that have large open spaces.
I’ve always felt that annunciation is important with harsh vocals, Mikael Akerfeldt’s performance on the earlier Katatonia stuff (as well as Opeth, naturally) was always a strong example of this for me.
In terms of atmosphere I was largely inspired by the likes of Aluk Todolo and Gnaw Their Tongues who create positively nightmarish soundscapes. Gnaw Their Tongues in particular with such harrowing, terrified screams.
James – Drums
Strapping Young Lad – All Hail The New Flesh
Russian Circles- 309
Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh
Tool – 46 and 2
Primus – Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
For this EP, I took quite a broad appraoch for percussion. My influences have always been quite varied; which is handy when as a group we often bring very different tastes to the table, so having a large pallet can be pretty integral at times.
I definitely take influence from the likes of Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad) and Mario Duplantier (Gojira) for the extreme sections of our music. While I could never compare myself to them in ability (or any of my influences), there is something about the mechanical styles of both of them that I can’t help gravitate towards, especially with their footwork.
Danny Carey (Tool); his very expressive approach around the kit I just find mesmerizing, and something I will always be influenced by. How he melodically builds to delicately compliment every other instrument, riff, and change; is something I try to do with any track, and definitely did my best to incorporate this approach into the EP.
Dan Turncrantz (Russian Circles) influenced me greatly for this EP, especially with his solid ghost notes and off beats. To me, his playing is like a hybrid of funk and military percussion which when added to post metal; just creates a brutal but also delicate smorgasbord of rolls, riffs, and intricate footwork that brings out every guitar and bass riff that sits on top of it.
Lastly, perhaps my biggest influence is Tim Alexander (Primus). His relaxed and playfully intricate funk approach is something that is a major part of my playing. Even when it’s not necessarily obvious, it’s pivotal to how I approach riffs both on the Reverence EP, and in general. Funk especially is the backbone of my playing with relaxed grooves and hooks, which for me Tim Alexander is my biggest inspiration when combining it with heavier music. There are plenty of drummers who take the same approach, but none that captivate me in the same way.
Check out all of the above tracks in a Spotify playlist via the link below, and if you fancy supporting us you can buy Reverence on CD or digitally on our BandCamp, along with various items of merch.