Furious tech metal that’s the stuff of nightmares.
For Fans Of: Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sikth
Listen To: Moloch
People are capable of doing terrible things to each other. Like many bands before them, that destructive, cruel aspect of human nature is a source of fascination and fury for Nottingham’s Taken By The Tide, whose latest EP, Revenge, sets our darkest proclivities against abhorrent, slaughterhouse riffs and highly cerebral tech death.
“For me, it’s just easier to write about nasty, horrible, real-life stuff. I’ve never written fantasy lyrics about dungeons and dragons,” admits frontman and lyricist Phil Illsley, who wrote the band’s recent single, Moloch, about “decades of family abuse finally unravelled by dementia.” He explains: “My grandma died a couple of years ago. And just before she died, in the last few months she spilled out these horrible things that happened to her when she was younger at the hands of my grandad. I was writing the words to Moloch to process this stuff and I remember finishing writing and going to bed at 00.20 at night. I got a call from my mum in the morning saying my grandma died at 00.20. I’m not superstitious, I don’t believe in black cats or anything like that, but that was weird set of circumstances. There’s no other way round it, it just had to be turned into a song.”
Smashing together the harsh spite of Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge’s bleak intensity into progressive, Meshuggah-esque transfigurations, drenched in the cold sweat of John Carpenter atmospherics, Taken By The Tide’s music is not something you chuck on willy-nilly. The word ‘Moloch’, for instance, refers to a God associated with child sacrifice, while The Organs Are Mine not only has the most intestine-shrivelling title we’ve heard in ages, but is about Holocaust survival. This is dark stuff.
Although the band’s profile is on the rise, musically their modus operandi remains emphatically and brutally simple. “We’re trying to bring something that is genuinely angry,” says Phil. “We don’t like Donald Trump, we don’t like prejudice and we fucking hate Nazis. It all fits in with this theme of revenge. I suppose I’m metaphorically taking revenge on all these injustices.
“You look at bands like Tesseract, now we love Tesseract, but the early records, they were pretty aggressive. Now they sound like a dream and the scene has followed that. We’re almost going in the opposite direction.”
Since their inception that’s exactly what the band have done. Over the last eight years and through various line-up shifts, they’ve released two EPs: 2010’s There Is No Such Thing As An Atheist In A Foxhole and 2014’s Hands Of Spite. And while the quartet’s sound has matured and they’ve mastered the technical side of their grand ambitions, one thing hasn’t changed at all: that relentless anger that rages with skin-peeling ferocity throughout their music.
“We’re inspired by bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Sikth and all of that first wave tech metal stuff,” says Phil. “Just really awkward-length riffs that don’t make sense, that sound like they’re stuck together. That’s what our very first EP is like – it sounds like early Between The Buried And Me. We sound like a different band now and we’ve kind of cohered ourselves into something that feels bigger, but we still write really awkward music. It doesn’t have to be a particular subgenre as such, it just needs to fit that criteria. This record is polished but it still sounds really, really angry. We’re pretty proud of that. I think we feel like we’ve got that balance right.”
Taken By The Tide's new EP Revenge is out now (opens in new tab).