Former Ephel Duath frontman Davide Tiso reveals his bedazzling new band

Howling Sycamore promo pic 2017

An artist who introduced us to the notion that saxophone, feather boas and black metal can make for thrillingly furtive bedfellows, former Ephel Duath frontman David Tiso’s muse has long proved a restless and ever curious beast. Having partnered with his wife Karen Crisis on her Gospel Of The Witches project, taken up guitars for fellow Italian industrial BM outfit Aboyrm, and unleashed a solo project, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, his latest assault on the far shores of our consciousness is Howling Sycamore.

A team-up with former Watchtower and Dangerous Toys singer, Jason McMaster and Necrophagist/Obscura drumming extraordinaire, Hannes Grossmann, the self-titled album proves more than the sum of its not inconsiderable parts - in part because it it also brings in members of Yakuza’s, Gorguts and Burials as guest musicians, but largely because the kaleidoscopic, progressive lurches, combined with McMaster’s classic metal-styled but clearly possessed vocals reach out to the kind of epic and enthralling realms that lie on the frayed edges of reason.

If all this sound rather spiffing, that prepare to be spiffed yet more because we have an exclusive preview in the exhilarating form of Descent To Light, a track whose startling vision scorches a path through genre definitions as if they were so much kindling.

Descent To Light is the last song that was composed and recorded for Howling Sycamore’s debut,” says Davide himself. “Because of its epic and bombastic nature the piece was intended to be the closing song: a powerfully melancholic farewell. It showcases Jason McMaster pushing the different vocal registers used throughout the album to the extreme, Hannes Grossmann performing some of the most enduring blastbeats of this recording and my guitars keeping the pace, frantically alternating arpeggios, big, fat sounding rhythmic parts and tremolo picking riffs: this is the fastest, most melodic and most sung piece in the whole album.

Descent Yo Light’s lyrics were written by Karyn Crisis. Her words ‘trace the steps a shaman would experience during initiation: the complete annihilation of the small self before the spirit is reborn in illumination of a truth that exists beyond the physical world’.

“We are quickly approaching Howling Sycamore debut release date,” David continues, “and I’m so excited for all the positive feedback we got thus far. The album was primarily made to fulfil an artistic need, I never really thought about the public till the mix was done and now I’m so curious to know what people think about these songs. I’m aware that because of its hybrid nature, Howling Sycamore’ sound isn’t everyone cup of tea, but I still believe it could be a positive surprise for some. Give it a try!”

Without further ado, brew up a nice big pot of ayahuasca, fear not the rainbow serpent and delve into Descent To Light below!”

Howling Sycamore is released on January 26 via Prosthetic Records

Check out Howling Sycamore’s Facebook page here

And pre-order the album here!

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.