"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Interview

Tides Of Sulfur Spreads An "Extinction Curse" With New Album

Utterly misanthropic and aggressively negative blackened death metal cult Tides Of Sulfur just released new album "Extinction Curse" earlier this month via Black Bow Records.

We had the distinct pleasure of premiering a track from the album ahead of release, and now that the disc is out, we're diving into a full interview with vocalist / bassist Chris Bull (or as he calls it, the band's "throat and low end assaulter").

xFiruath: I'm a newcomer to Tides Of Sulfur. Can you give me a rundown of how the band got together and what the group had done prior to the recording of “Extinction Curse?”

Chris: Well Ant and I have played in several bands since we were teenagers. All those bands got to a stage where we had enough material to gig and then things just fell apart due to conflicts in terms of musical direction etc. Depression kind of stopped me from wanting to share my musical side with the public for a while but we carried on jamming in each others living rooms just for the love of it. In 2012 we knew we wanted to get out there and play.

I won't go into the story of our former drummer but if you listen to the 2012 demo you'll hear for yourself how he didn't fit the bill. We met Tom through our local doom/sludge scene; he was playing in a band called H O M O H (who were excellent by the way) and knew he was exceptional, not just behind the kit but as a human being so we immediately knew we'd found the missing piece.

We recorded and self released an EP thematically based on the 1st world war and called it "Ypres." We still have some copies of it on cassette but it's available on our Bandcamp page. Other than that, there's the spilt tape/CD we released with another criminally underrated and unknown band called The Air Turned To Acid and our friend Jeff of Against All Odds Productions released a compilation tape of pretty much everything we had released, including some digital only tracks and 2 previously unreleased tracks that we recorded in our practice room. Got all that?

xFiruath: I've been listening to the album a bit and noticed that huge change in tone between ending of “Eternal Bleeding” and beginning segment in “...Of Suffering and Grief.” It seems like metal is somewhat unique in the regard, having the ability to span completely different sounds right next to each other. Are you guys aiming to hit a specific sub-genre, and if not how do you go about putting together these songs that cross different styles?

Chris: We just play around with ideas until we have a song in all honesty! That's why this band works; there's no ceiling, no boundaries and no restrictions to what we play.

xFiruath: On a similar note, you've got some very long songs like the title track at 12 minutes, while the others are about half that. Do you start out intending to have a massive song, and how does the writing process for a track like differ than the average 6 minute track?

Chris: We just keep writing parts until we think they've outstayed their welcome and then come up with a different part. The length of the track is not something we concentrate on, we just let the music tell us when it's done.

xFiruath: I saw the name “Maltheist” on one track loved it – taking the concept of someone who believes in god, but feels he/she/it is actively antagonistic towards mankind rather than loving. It becomes much easier to reconcile cancer/volcanoes/terrorism/car crashes/SIDS/etc. with the existence of a deity in such a worldview. What's going on in the story of that track and how did the idea come about?

Chris: I have to give Ant the writing credit on that one. Usually, songs are a collaborative effort but this one was all him. We're all devout atheists and feel that organised religion has caused a lot of damage to the world, that's initially how the theme came about, we then turned it around and threw a bit of surrealism in there. What if there was a god and what if he was really the smiting bastard he's portrayed as in the old testament? That's how we approached it.

xFiruath: Other than “Maltheist,” what sort of lyrical themes overall are we dealing with on the album?

Chris: The never ending cycle of depression, the evils and corruption of the mental health industry, all consuming addiction, class warfare and the destruction of society, uprising against the corrupt leaders of the world, isolation etc. It's very bleak and miserable but at the same time, angry and vehement.

xFiruath: Where did the recording for this album take place and how did that process go? Were there any challenges or was it all smooth sailing?

Chris: We recorded at Skyhammer Studios (owned by Jon Davis of Conan) and run by master craftsman Chris Fielding. The process was wonderful; Chris knows his stuff and made sure he got the best possible recording of us. Plus they have tons of amazing amps and pedals which we really enjoyed using! The only challenge was when Ant's guitar wouldn't stay in tune!

xFiruath: That cover art is incredibly striking – it definitely gets an idea across instantly. Who handled the art and what sort of input did the band have during the process? What did you think of the end result?

Chris: Ant was in charge of sourcing the artwork. He discovered this french artist called Maxime Taccardi who uses his own blood for his artwork and we thought that was pretty metal!

xFiruath: Will you be hitting the road to support this new album soon?

Chris: We're hoping to play as often as life will let us! We've got a weekender with Battalions coming up in November and we'll be playing a few one off gigs in the meantime and after including a Saturday slot at Cardiff's Red Sun festival and Hibernation Fest in December. I'm getting married on July 2nd so I'll be enjoying some downtime for a while too. Also 2 of us are parents and we have to honour our fatherly obligations before anything else. If we had the time and were better off financially, we'd play a lot more frequently.

xFiruath: What's your favorite venue to play and why?

Chris: I'd have to say the Moon Club in our home town of Cardiff. The sound is always excellent and the vibe is always wonderful.

xFiruath: Are any of the Tides Of Sulfur members tattoo enthusiasts, and what's the most recent ink you've had done?

Chris: We all have ink. We also all have fairly low paid jobs so tattoos aren't a top priority. I've got a sleeve on my right arm that's still unfinished after 5 fucking years!

xFiruath: Other than your own album, what's going on in music lately that has you excited, or what albums are you really looking forward to coming out soon?

Chris: I could use this opportunity wisely and give an in depth reply...but instead, I'll just list a load of bands we've played with and think people should check out; The Air Turned To Acid, Dimensions, The Judas Cradle, Bast, Greenhorn, Victorian Whore Dogs, Batallions, Haast's Eagled, Spider Kitten, When Gods Burn, Monolithian, Morass of Molasses, Lacertilia, Sea Bastard, Heriot, Striga, The Drowning, Godbomber, Gulah... I'm also personally excited to hear new albums from Neurosis and Unearthly Trance!

xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to add?

Chris: Attend local gigs. Support your scene, kill your ego!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.


1 Comment on "Tides Of Sulfur Casts An 'Extinction Curse'"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. ianswannick34@hotmail.com writes:

good cd I like is music

# Jul 22, 2016 @ 4:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.