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Interview

Chariots Of The Gods Talks Upcoming Album "Tides Of War"

Photo of Chariots of the Gods

Band Photo: Chariots of the Gods (?)

Ottawa's Chariots of the Gods is nearing in on the release of debut full-length album "Tides of War," due out this coming January 29th, 2013.

Metalunderground.com will soon be hosting the premiere of a new track off the album, but in the mean time you can see what the band itself had to say about the impending album, which aims "to deliver straight up, balls-to-the-walls, in-your-face heavy metal."

The interview available below features Chariots of the Gods guitarist Mat St-Amour discussing the mythology behind the band's name, gearing up to drop a first music video, and the best releases of 2012.

xFiruath: I dig the band name and I’m wondering if anything specific prompted the title or if it refers to a specific pantheon?

Mat: It all came from the late 60’s book and later documentary movie of the same name, from author Erich Von Daniken. It’s about ancient aliens visiting earth and developing civilization and the links with human evolution and a lot of other stuff. We all thought it was a fascinating subject but most of all, it could be a great band name. So we all agreed on it. The band name itself gives for great lyrical themes and ideas. In the books mythos and also in history itself, every great civilization has influenced the one that came after. Their beliefs and their Gods all come from the same place if you look back far enough. Only the names have changed and this allows us to play with every society’s godly pantheon.

xFiruath: Can you give me a brief history of how the band got together and what’s happened until now?

Mat: The band got together in 2008 with former guitarist Chris C. and former Bassist Chris M. We just started playing around, building songs that never made it on any records but it got us to learn how to play with other people. Then, Rich (drums) came along and soon after Renaud (vocals) joined as well. That was the first line-up. We played shows and recorded our first EP “Reverence.” Chris M. then left for personal reasons, so we recruited Payam (bass) from another local band. Not long after that, Chris C. also had to leave, so longtime friend of the band Dimitri stepped in and there you have it, the current line-up. We played shows, practiced hard, and recorded our first full length album “Tides of War.” You can hear Chris C. on the song “Revillusion(1905),” where he does a guest solo.

xFiruath: When were the tracks for “Tides of War” written and what does the band’s writing process usually look like?

Mat: Some of the tracks we’re written a couple of months after the release of our first EP “Reverence,” and some we’re last minute addition in pre-production. Having had the time to perform certain songs live before actually recording them allowed us to see what worked and what didn't. As for how the writing process goes, the way we’ve worked so far is that I write all the music and structure of the songs, and then I hand the guys the sheet music/tablatures. I use the GuitarPro software to write all the music and it’s really allowed me to develop and get my ideas across more easily to the guys since they can listen to what the song could sound like at the click of a button. Once the song is written, I send it to them and they learn it, tweak certain things, add their touch, and then we jam it out and build the drums. During that time Renaud or I are writing lyrics and from there on we jam again until we think all the kinks have been worked out.

xFiruath: Where did the recording take place and who did you work with?

Mat: The album was recorded in Montreal with producer Glen Robinson. We did everything there except for the drums, which were recorded at Studio Martin Deschamps in Rawdon, Quebec. It was a really great experience and a big learning curve to work with a producer such as Glen. Having been in the studio at all times with him, I really learned a lot about recording music and capturing the player’s energy and feel. That’s one thing, I think, we really managed to get on tape: the fire, the passion, and energy of the band. What you hear on the CD is what you’re going to get live.

xFiruath: What’s happening lyrically on these tracks?

Mat: The album, as a whole, has a theme which is the “Tides of War.” Lyrically, all the songs can stand on their own, but they can all be linked together with this common theme that binds them. In each song you can find this theme, this ongoing battle that comes and goes. Humanity’s need for war.

xFiruath: You also have a new music video coming for the album’s title track. When is that going to see release and how did the filming go?

Mat: Yes we do, and its due out in mid January. It was quite nice to do. It was our first real music video and we’re all very pleased with the results. It was fun to play around and pose and all that, and especially being on location, feeling inspired by that and everybody's energy. But I must admit that after 6 to 8 hours of playing the same song outside in the cold, you hope the director has what he needs!

xFiruath: 2012 is now over – what were your favorite releases of the year and what you are looking forward to in 2013?

Mat: I really dug the new Testament record. I thought it sounded great. A good mix of old school and new school. Great songs and great hooks. The other one I really enjoyed this year was the new As I Lay Dying album. I think it’s probably one of their best records yet and the production is impeccable. As for what I’m looking forward to in 2013, well I know that Children of Bodom are currently in the studio rehearsing new songs. It’s always fun to see what they’re going to do next. There was also supposed to be a new Annihilator record in the end of 2012, I think. It must have been delayed, I suppose. There's also the new Killswitch Engage record with Jesse Leach back on vocals.

xFiruath: You guys have played with quite a few bigger bands - do you have a tour/live show memory that really sticks out in your head you could share, and what are the band's upcoming live activities looking like?

Mat: I do have an anecdote that comes to mind. It was in February 2011, and we were playing a gig with the band Blackguard. It was an unusually warm day and nearly all the snow had melted away. We we’re in shoes and small coats, nothing big or warm. We had a nice day out on the town, enjoying the weather and then went back to the venue. We played the gig and it was really great. The crowd was amazing and we felt like gods when we walked off the stage. After the show, we went outside and there was 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground, it was cold, windy and snowing. Now it wasn't so bad but the thing is we were 5 guys packed in a mini-van, having to drive 5 hours to get home in a blizzard. The road home was horrible, we couldn't see anything. It was a total white-out. It might have marked me more than the others because I'm usually the driver. In Chariots of the Gods, our worst enemy as always been the weather! As for upcoming shows, we’re currently working with promoters and we should be busy this winter! We have a couple of confirmed dates but unannounced yet and some in the works. We’ll keep you guys posted from our Facebook page and website.

xFiruath: What’s happening in your local music scene?

Mat: There’s a couple of good shows coming to Ottawa this winter but luckily we’ve got Montreal in a short driving distance and there’s always plenty of things going on there. As far as smaller local shows, things seem to be picking up and the metal scene getting stronger and stronger, so it’s always nice to see people going to shows and showing their support the bands, be they local or not.

xFiruath: Seen any really great or interesting live shows lately?

Mat: Unfortunately no. I was supposed to go see Wintersun in Ottawa in mid-December, but I got real sick so I couldn't go.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?

Mat: Well I’d like to invite everyone to go check us on Facebook and our official website. Also for those of you on Twitter go check us out @ChariotsOTGods and you can follow Rich at @Richcog and myself at @MatStAmour. If you also have a chance to come and see us live (which we hope you'll have), I promise, you won’t regret it!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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