Madrid-based band Eternal Storm very recently released their debut album “Come the Tide”. The responses all over have been positive and it felt only natural to get members of the group to answer a few questions and tell us a little bit about the road behind the album, the responses and what is ahead for them. The two guitarists were grabbed right in for interrogation.
– Hello and welcome to Blessed Altar Zine, let me say it’s a pleasure to have you, and thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers.
Would you kindly begin this session by telling our readers a little bit about the members of Eternal Storm?
Jaime: Hi there! First of all, thanks for giving us the chance to do this interview with you and for the nice words on your review of our new record, we really appreciated it! About me, I’m one of the guitar players in the band as well as the main songwriter, and in my day to day ordinary life I spend my miserable existence working in the hospitality industry in Edinburgh, a bit far from my much beloved (and also miserable) bandmates.
Daniel: Thanks for the interview and the review, Julia! I’m the other guitarist of the band, I’m definitely sloppier than good old Jaime but we haven’t really discussed who’s more miserable, so perhaps you can help us out with this one, haha. I work in the music business, taking care of the technical production of various shows and festivals all over Spain, plus babysitting rather famous musicians and trying to make their lives easier so they can continue writing miserable music for miserable people, haha.
– So, you had a previous EP and a split release and now you have very recently released your first full-length album Come the Tide, how have the days been so far since the album has been out?
Jaime: It’s been great, we actually recorded the album in January 2017, so it’s been a really long, and at times discouraging way, but now that if has finally seen the light of day we couldn’t be happier about it!
Daniel: The album came out exactly one week ago by the time we answer this interview and, as Jaime said, it’s been a while since we recorded it (and don’t even ask us about the time that has passed since we wrote it, haha). It is a weird feeling because, you know, as much as we are really proud of what we achieved on “Come the Tide” it feels like it happened a lifetime ago and we were sometimes like “oh, you’re right, we have an album coming out” whenever people asked us about it, hahaha. But at the same time it feels so liberating to finally share these songs with all of you.
– And the responses so far, how have they been?
Daniel: All the reviews so far have been surprisingly positive, even those by reviewers who said they are not into that kind of music, and I’m not omitting bad reviews, I swear that! Some people did complain about the album’s length and I see their point: nowadays people are used to listening to shorter records and I can see how a debut record from an unknown band which lasts for almost one hour can be a bit too much for some. However, most reviewers and listeners have mentioned that it is a very diverse and dynamic album with a big emphasis on delivering solid songwriting, which was definitely what we aimed to do, so it is amazing to see we somehow made it work for these people! We are really grateful we have received words of praise by some of our favorite media like Angry Metal Guy (who actually did the album premiere), No Clean Singing, Toilet ov Hell or Dead Rhetoric, we have read countless reviews on those sites (and even seen some good albums being torn apart by some of their staff) so it feels really, really rewarding and makes up for the long time it took us to get the album out there.
– Tell us, which bands have been the principal influences on your work?
Jaime: In the beginning, our main influence was the whole Scandinavian scene from the mid 90’s, mainly all the melodic death and black metal like Vinterland, Dissection, Eucharist, Dark Tranquillity, etc, coupled with more traditional death metal such as Morbid Angel or Vader. Somehow that still remains at the core of our sound, but as time went by we decided to incorporate a whole lot of other influences into our sound, so then bands like Insomnium, Opeth, Alcest, In Vain, In Mourning, Enslaved, Amorphis, Katatonia, Russian Circles or Altar of Plagues to name a few became major influences in our songwriting.
Daniel: As Jaime has mentioned, at first we were into the classic Swedish death/black metal bands like Dismember, Sacramentum,Edge of Sanity, early In Flames, Hypocrisy and all those usual suspects from the genre and we wanted to combine that with more extreme sounds (I would mention Carcass, Bloodbath, Gojira, Strapping Young Lad or Gorefest as well, but you know, the list would be endless).
We often find that a lot of melodic death metal bands tend to forget about the death metal origins and don’t sound that much aggressive (and we’re super happy that several reviewers have mentioned that we had that in mind, too!). Shortly after we decided to spice up our spectrum, so while we kept the heavier parts, we also gave a lot of importance to developing our more atmospheric sounds. That’s how we implemented our love for black and doom metal as well as post-rock/metal, shoegaze or progressive music into what we were doing before. Sometimes it is hard to find the balance between both opposite sides, as bands often get softer release after release, but, at least for the time being, we want to increase the intensity of the heavy parts on each release until we just get too old to play that, haha. I would add Ghost Brigade, Isis, Ihsahn, Keep of Kalessin, Der Weg einer Freiheit, Swallow the Sun and Sentenced to the endless list of bands which are relevant to what we do nowadays.
– Possible other influences?
Jaime: Our music leans quite heavily towards atmosphere, in that regard I’ve personally been influenced by electronic artists such as Solar Fields, Carbon Based Lifeforms or Jon Hopkins, although a major (and quite a freaky one) influence in wanting to create sonic landscapes comes from early childhood, when the soundtracks for the Donkey Kong Country trilogy for the SNES, and to a lesser extent Final Fantasy VII for PS1, blew my mind, haha.
Daniel: All of us listen to an endless variety of genres. I’m also quite into soundtracks (film composers like John Williams, but also from videogames like Silent Hill’s Akira Yamaoka or Resident Evil’s Masami Ueda), ambient music like Ben Frost, Bohren & der Club of Gore or Boards of Canada and I guess I’ve had some non-metal bands like Thrice or mid 80’s era of Killing Joke permeating into some arrangements that I did for the band. You never know where the inspiration comes from!
– So, let’s talk some more about “Come the Tide”, could you tell us the goals you had in mind and what you wanted it to be like?
Jaime: We mainly wanted to push our sound outside the boundaries of melodic death metal (which we already explored in our previous releases, albeit quite timidly) and incorporate a richer palette of sounds that would reflect more accurately our taste, bringing in more elements of doom, black, prog, ambient and post rock, as well as incorporating some clean vocals for the first time. We wanted to achieve a balance between the aggressive aspect of death and black metal and the more reflective and calm atmospheres of post rock and doom.
Daniel: We also wanted to have a stronger production on the full-length, so that’s why we teamed up with Carlos Santos (Sadman Studio) as we are really into his work with bands like Wormed, Adrift, Toundra, Autumnal, Jardín de la Croix or Aathma (all of them amazing bands and people, by the way!). We had such a great time with him and will definitely work with him again on our next album.
– Do you feel like you have achieved those goals?
Jaime: I think that at the time of writing and recording this album we did our best and I’m extremely proud of it. However, I feel there’s still tons of roads to explore and I can’t wait for it haha.
Daniel: I think we were quite successful in capturing what we had in our minds. Sure it could have been tighter on our side and that there were some decisions which maybe could have been better, but that’s what this is all about, right? Learning from the mistakes you commit and growing as musicians, listeners, and individuals, all of that while having as much as fun as possible. And as much as there are things that I would change today, I’m really proud of what the four of us created and it’s great to finally share it with everyone.
– The artwork of the album appears quite fitting and atmospheric, could you tell us a little more about the cover?
Daniel: We sent the lyrics, a few songs and some general guidelines to Leoncio Harmr, the artist in charge of the artwork and layout of the album. We wanted to project some feeling of isolation and reflection on the cover while trying to be as minimalistic as possible and also don’t be too specific with the human silhouette. I’m not the best person when it comes to talking about symbolism, and as Jaime came up with most of the music and lyrics, I’m sure he could provide a more accurate and thoughtful answer, haha. The lighthouse is, of course, providing some guidance and hints to the individual on his/her life journey and the tide can be seen as the different ups and downs we experience throughout our lives.
– Having listened to the new album myself, I can´t help but glorify the track Detachment which was my absolute favorite, do you guys have a collective favorite track of the album or would you say that there is each to his own?
Jaime: For me it would be “Embracing Waves”, I think it’s slightly different from the rest of the tracks and it showcases a more personal side of our music, it’s got the interplay between clean vocals and growls, the atmospheric post rockish section in the middle, the groovier verses and the post metalish ending, which I think conveys an accurate representation of what we are aiming for with our sound.
Daniel: I would also choose “Embracing Waves”. It’s the most atmospheric and melodic song off the album and, despite its considerable length, I think we managed to create a very moody and emotional song. Our friend Fiar from Foscor performed his very recognizable clean vocals on two parts of the song (plus some additional screams) and our own Jaime also sang some clean vocals on the ending, and that probably adds so much to its atmosphere. Kheryon really is into “Of Winter and Treason” and Mateo really digs “Detachment”, but I think we collectively agree that “Embracing Waves” is our favorite one.
– The metal genres that have been attached to Eternal Storm seem to be melodic extreme metal, death metal, and even atmospheric, but what genre would you put on yourself?
Jaime: We’ve used the melodic extreme metal tag for a while as we think it is a nice umbrella term which encompasses a lot of our influences, as I see ourselves as neither pure death nor black nor doom. However, for me we just play metal music with a huge emphasis on atmosphere and quite open to influences from really diverse sounds from the whole musical spectrum.
Daniel: Yep, that one really simplifies everything. There’s also a lot of good old classic heavy metal on the melodies and some structures and as we have said multiple times, we just try to combine element from all of those genres while maintaining the balance between aggression, atmosphere and memorability.
– And at home, what do you have on your playlist?
Jaime: Lately I’ve been mainly listening to Blut Aus Nord’s Cosmosophy, Ulcerate’s The Destroyers of All, Neurosis’s A Sun That Never Sets and Gerry Mulligan’s Night Lights.
Daniel: It changes all the time but some of the albums that I’ve been spinning lately are the new album of our friends The Holeum “Sublime Emptiness” (go and check it out right now!), Shape of Despair’s “Monotony Fields”, Klimt 1918’s “Dopoguerra”, “Conquering the Deep Cycle” by Weight of Emptiness and “Retribution of Jealous Gods” by Malignant Altar, a killer new death metal band featuring members of Insect Warfare and Oceans of Slumber quite inspired by Morbid Angel’s “Gateways to Annihilation”. So many great riffs on that one and it’s just a demo!
– So what is in the near future for Eternal Storm? Any chance to catch you guys live soon?
Jaime: At the moment we’re writing new material for the follow up to Come The Tide, we’ve been collecting ideas for a good year and a half now and we have a pretty good amount of music already written which we plan to record early next year. We’re also planning a few shows to promote “Come The Tide”, including a small European Tour in October through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, we can’t wait to get on the road!!
Daniel: Finishing up the sophomore album while we play live as much as possible (considering one of us lives in an island some good 2,500 kilometers away from Madrid -where the rest of the band live- and that also some of us frequently work during the weekends) and overall just having a good time. We are playing two gigs in Spain in September and November with our friends in The Holeum (who I mentioned in the previous question) and Demised plus will do a week-long central European tour with Totengott, a great band made by Celtic Frost-worshippers from the north of Spain in mid-October. Hopefully, 2020 will be a much busier year for us on the live front!
– Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Jaime: To those who already knew about us, thanks for the support, and to everyone who does not know who the hell these four guys are, give us a listen if you want to hear some moody, atmospheric but still aggressive melodic extreme metal. And if you dig it and happen to live in or nearby one of the cities where we’ll be playing next October come to see us, we look forward to play for everyone and have nice chats and some beers!
Daniel: Thank you all for reading our stupid words and thanks for your support, Julia! Feel free to listen to our new album “Come the Tide” at eternalstorm.bancamp.com, where you can purchase a CD, vinyl or the digital version (remember that downloading makes Lars Ulrich very, very sad! Not that we care about that, hah!) or Spotify. Until we meet, make sure you buy records, attend shows, don’t buy stupid DLCs, brush your teeth and take care!
Interview by Julia
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre