Obsidian Tide

Obsidian Tide is an budding metal band from Israel that has released their debut full-length album “Pillars of Creation”. Grande Rock had a chat with Oz Avneya (guitar, clean vocals) about the band, the debut album and their future plans, among other interesting things. Read more below…
Obsidian Tide band pic
Hi Oz, and welcome to Grande Rock. First of all do give us a brief bio of the band.
O: It was in Spring 2012 when I formed the band. We are a trio; I am in charge of guitars and clean vocals. On bass and harsh vocals is Shachar Bieber and on drums and programming is Erez Nadler. We released a debut EP named “Debris” back in 2015 (which actually has a concept to it) and since then, we worked on our full length album “Pillars of Creation”, which we released this last August 29th.
How hard is it for a band that comes from Israel to compete with other bands that comes from let’s say the UK or US?
O: Well naturally, the “competition” is very much alive, and tough. In comparison to Europe and the US, Israel is a super tiny place with a super narrow scene, which dramatically affects the attendance in gigs, and even the ability to book a gig at times (ninety nine percent of the concerts in Israel happen in Tel-Aviv at the weekends and the clubs that usually host metal gigs are over booked months in-advance so…). Also, the cost involvement of logistics to perform is very high, etc.. Above anything else though, the main parameters of the competition are when touring and playing live. Moving from place to place in Europe is much more convenient and lots of areas and countries are not far at all from each other and the size of the scenes as well, which makes more people to come and see gigs.
How did you come up with the name Obsidian Tide initially?
O: When we already played together for quite some time, we ended up having a couple of songs ready and we thought about playing them live, what made us realize we didn’t have a band name yet. So, one afternoon we just sealed ourselves in Shachar’s place and decided we’re not coming out until we had a proper name. One of us searched for a lead in books and games, another searched on records / lyrics of bands that we like, and the third searched online. Eventually, after a few hours, we came up with the name Obsidian Tide (which happened to perfectly blend with our debut EP “Debris”’s concept).
So, you started as a trio and still 7+ years after you remain a trio without any member changes. That’s very hard to achieve, especially in our time. Have you ever consider adding another member, due to the technical/progressive nature of your music?
O: For a short period of time, we had a 4th member in the band (who did clean vocals & some rhythm guitar), but he isn’t even recorded in “Debris”, our debut EP.
We also thought about maybe having a keyboard player in the band and even auditioned one, what eventually didn’t work. We are 7+ years together (and as a trio, especially) mostly due to the nature of our chemistry from day one, both musically and on a more personal level.
In 2015 you self-released your debut EP “Debris”. What happened in the meantime that it took you 4 years to come up with your debut full-length album?
O: Well first of all, during those 4+years music wasn’t a primary income source / occupation for any of us since it is very hard to make a living from only focusing on music here in Israel. So naturally, it led us to having jobs that took a lot from our time and dedication on a daily basis. We also had other obligations such as studies (Shachar is a student, still) and of course the other usual life matters.
On a more practical and professional note though, I can tell you that we worked and focused ourselves around “Pillars of Creation” immensely. We didn’t want to compromise, which made us very perfectionist and we strived towards the best outcome we could possibly get out of every song and sound you hear on the album and this took a lot of time. In those songs, particularly the longer ones, the creation can sometimes take months. I think we worked on the last song “Magnanimous” for six months or so.
Did you search for any music labels to work with? Did you have in mind to release your debut independently? Are you still looking for a label to sign with?
O: Yes, I have been searching for a label for almost 4 months prior to the album’s release. Big labels, small labels... Nothing really came to fruition though, but we managed to receive some very positive feedback from a couple of big ones, one of them even tried to help us find another that should match our sound better and yet, to no avail. 4 months was the time frame we agreed on before pulling the trigger and releasing independently. Finding a label is definitely a target still, and we hope that with “Pillars of Creation” we will draw attention from labels towards the release of our next album.
What does the album title “Pillars of Creation” declare?
O: “Pillars of Creation” is a concept album, which describes a journey of enlightenment and discoveries. The album is written in chronological order – the journey begins with “Pillars of Creation”, and I truly believe this title describes the story at its best and at the same time has a strong vibe to it, which is also very important and pretty much says it all.
Do give us a hint about each track…
O: “Pillars of Creation”: The Journey begins, the eye gets sober... With waves of warmth and vibe.
“Seven”: First true taste of this ‘new world’... Kingkiller Chronicles fans, rejoice)
“King of a New Realm”: For the ones who deal with their inner demons.
“Portent of Betrayal”: Progy and swift, as if you find yourself fighting for your life.
“Hiraeth”: For the ones who miss someone/someplace/some feeling, which is no longer at grasp.
“The Harbinger and the Millennial Vengeance”: A discovery through a world in a state upon shifting.
“Magnanimous”: Grand and twisting bombastic finale!
Where did the recordings take place and who did the production, mixing and mastering?
O: We recorded guitars, bass, flute, violin and upright piano at Erez’s place. Drums were recorded in what used to be our mythological rehearsal studio in Tel Aviv (Heavy Studios) with the help of Roi Ben Shmuel. All the vocals were recorded in another studio in Tel Aviv (Vital Studios) with the help of Tal Harouvi. Mikael LePond’s bass parts were recorded by CJ Scioscia at Le Chateau Bow Wow and saxophone recorded by Omri Abramov at Real Life studios. The production process was a joint effort from the three of us although Erez is the one who’s more involved in production work and its aesthetics. Mixing and mastering was done by Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, Scale The Summit).
And who’s responsible for the stunning cover artwork?
O: An artist from Malaysia I found out about during a Facebook search, his name is Dixon Jong (Intuitive Designs). We had an idea of what we wanted to see in the album cover, so we sent him our vision and after a few back-and-forths, it was a done deal.
Do tell us about the guest appearances on the album.
O: Aside from Mike LePond’s (Symphony X, Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins) bass appearance on “The Harbinger and the Millennial Vengeance”, the majority of the guests we involved in the creation are talented local musicians from Israel. On the flute is Danielle Sassi (Storchi, Yossi Sassi), on the violin is Yuval Gur, on the saxophone is Omri Abramov (Niogi) and on the piano, is Nitzan Habler.
Which are the band’s main influences and how would you describe your music style to those who haven’t heard the band yet? Do you mind when they compare you to Opeth, among others?
O: Individually, we are influenced by lots of stuff. Music, stories, emotions, life situations, vibe... I believe we have an eclectic and unique sound (mostly due to the nature of all the musical styles we incorporate within our music), which draws inspiration from a wide spectrum of artists and genres we all like. We are very much around everything which is progy, atmospheric and heavy (but not only, haha). And to those who haven’t heard our music yet and want to give it a shot I’d say, expect the unexpected, really. You’d hear stuff you love and heard here and there, but with quite a bit of twists. The comparison to Opeth was very much present since day one, and I am totally okay with it. It’s a huge honor, but I truly believe our music has a lot to offer rather than just an ‘Opeth replica’ kind of material.
Do you plan to give any live shows in the next few months?
O: Well, I can tell you that we currently plan on revolving ourselves around writing and composing mode for the next album so live action on the next few months won’t be in a high volume. We have one local gig planned for the end of November, and we aim to play some gigs abroad during the second quarter of 2020, if possible, and also during the summer.
What are your expectations from your debut album and what do you wish to achieve with Obsidian Tide over the next few years?
O: I truly believe and expect that “Pillars of Creation” will survive the test of time and will be seen as a successful and mature debut even after our next releases. As far as it comes to achievements, number one would definitely be getting a solid worldwide recognition and reaching as many people as possible would also be nice. In addition of course, to releasing albums, and tour as much as we can.
OK, time for our “weird questions”!!! Which music kind can’t you bear to listen to at all?
O: Russian HARDBASS!
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
O: Rockstar: Fame and glory…
Metal God: Proven results…
Eurovision: Big glammy party…
Music Realities: Opportunity…
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
O: Ouhhh, that’s a tough one... but I would go with Isis – “Wavering Radiant”. This album during the years, like not so many but some, managed to change my entire perspective regarding music, its creation and emotions involvement in music. It is also one of the main albums that made me completely fall in love and dive into post rock/metal genres, extensively. This is my decision also because as a songwriter, I found myself not once nor twice pondering about sections in some songs on the album, thinking about what I could have done differently. I even jammed some ideas to it once or twice, just for the sake of it.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
O: Has to be either Opeth or Fallujah.
Which are the best 3 Prog Metal albums of all time according to you?
O: Dream Theater – “Images and Words”, Opeth – “Ghost Reveries” and Meshuggah – “Obzen”.
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Metal music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
O: Prog Metal music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for the endless desire to excel, reinvent and incorporate.
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced prog metal music the most?
O: It’s a very hard question to answer, not to mention it’s super individual and there’s more than only one. But, I can definitely mention Arjen Anthony Lucassen, as well as Steven Willson, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Adam Jones, Daniel Gildenlow and John Petrucci.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
O: Hermmm, my choice is Steve Lee (Gotthard, Ayreon). His voice was one of a kind in my opinion, and I think I could compose something super sick knowing I have him on board.
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock/metal history?
O: Mikael Åkerfeldt (2005), Anneke van Giersbergen.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
O: Steven Wilson – “The Raven That Refused to Sing”.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
O: I would travel to the future! I’m a curious person, and I also have a wild imagination, so it would be sweet to jump ahead. To see if the world and the environment is even close to what I imagine it will be like. To see where humanity goes and settles after there’ll be no more earth, etc…
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
O: I’d probably take all of her make up and throw it far out the window / from a cliff or so…
Thx for talking to Grande Rock, Oz. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care dude!
O: Thank you guys for having me, I enjoyed this! Feel free to follow our endeavors via social media, huge things are in the pipeline.