Not too often do you discover a solid up and coming Black Metal outfit that is not from Europe and does not write gimmicky lyrics about their admiration for Satan. Ethos from Livermore, CA is definitely a band to be on the look out for as they continue to release new material. After hearing their EP, “Empty Path”, I decided to reach out and send some interview questions to the band member who is know as “Wraith.” Here are his responses to my questions...
Q1: Hi Wraith, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions about Ethos. After listening to your EP on youtube I really wanted to discuss your music and give the people who read this blog a chance to learn more about the band. To begin, when did the group form and start writing music? Also, what instrument do you play in the band?
Wraith: The group formed in November of 2014. From the start I already had one song written which was empty path. After I was positive that this band was going to be a serious project for me, I got in contact with the person who is currently doing Bass/Vocals and he laid down the vocals on the very first recording of the song that we attempted. I recorded the drums and guitar for the first few recordings.
Q2: Your EP “Empty Path” is a really solid sounding release that reminds me of a variety of different Scandinavian Black Metal bands to the point where I don’t think it would be right to compare you to just a few names. Although, I was wondering if there are any bands who have influenced you as a musician and might have helped shaped your musical identity?
Wraith: At the time I really was into old school Swedish death metal and the second wave of black metal that had hit Norway and Poland (Graveland,early Behemoth,early Immortal, Darkthrone) Although not Scandinavian Inquisition was one of my main interests in the black metal genre. I also believe that Finnish death metal is extremely well composed, I’m not sure what it is about bands from that country but they rarely have generic boring sounding music. Purtenance and Krypts are good examples of the Finnish death metal sound. And last of all, I take a lot of interest in Ambient music, such as the album Zeit by Tangerine Dream, or Sol austan mani vestan by Burzum.
Q3: I wanted to now talk about the overall recording experience of “Empty Path.” When was it recorded? Also, where did you record the EP? Were there are struggles when recording the EP? Lastly, how pleased are you with the final product?
Wraith: There were many struggles with trying to get the right sound because that was the first legit recording that the four of us ever attempted. For the Ep's recording we had a drummer and a separate bassist (although now the vocalist plays the bass). At first I was very pleased with the final production, but looking back at it now, I think it could've been executed better.
Q4: Talking about the music making process, what do you think makes a strong black metal song? Sometimes bands just sound gimmicky by trem picking randomly and coming up with repetitive compositions. Do you try to push the boundaries of black metal by offering a more dynamic sound?
Wraith: Of course I do, the last thing I want to do musically is be a generic gimmicky tremolo picking no feel band. The problem with a lot of bands nowadays is that they rush the music writing process just to be able to get the material done and perform on stage. I think anybody can make a black metal band and get big locally just by playing boring black metal, but that type of stuff only goes so far, in the end its not really original nor does it stand out. I would rather have 5 well composed songs on my Cd than 15 boring songs on it. In all honesty I think the songs " Empty Path and Myriad Visions " were the only good songs on the Ep. Im pretty sure that I can do a lot better than those last two songs on the recording, which I have done, there are quite a few new ethos songs that I have been working on and recording that i think completely top anything on the Ep.
Q5: Now it can hard to pick one song, but if you were to pick your favorite track on the EP, which one would it be? I personally enjoy, “Myriad Visions,” because the intro riff to that song literally tears away at the soul in an unapologetic nature.
Wraith: Myriad Visions is definitely my track of choice of the Ep, the song would be a lot more heavier if it was re-recorded with more accuracy. That is something I am actually working on right now.
Q6: Looking at your Facebook Page I was surprised to see that you guys are from Livermore, CA. I grew up most of my life in San Ramon, CA which is not too far from Livermore, so I was surprised to see a Black Metal band from the area. Honestly, I thought you guys might have been from Europe when listening to the EP. I was wondering if you could describe the metal scene out there in Livermore? Is there any scene? Do you get the chance to play live often?
Wraith: There is not really a black metal scene out here from what I know. If there was I’m pretty sure I would've known by now or at least I would have run into somebody who listens to black metal since its a really small town. I actually get a whole lot of offers to play shows, some that might pay and some that are just for the local California scene, but unfortunately Ethos cannot play any shows right now because we don’t have a drummer. I could play the drums live without a problem but it wouldn't feel right for me to have someone else play my riffs on stage since I’m mainly a guitarist.
Q7: Lastly, I wanted to maybe get a glimpse of the future for Ethos. Is there any plans to record another EP or maybe a full-length album?
Wraith: I recently got a studio to record, so maybe by spring time or early summer there should be some much better material finalized.The next release will without a doubt be a full length album, possibly followed by some shows if everything works out. I'm just waiting until the right time to release this material.
Link to Ethos Facebook Page:
Listen to Ethos Here: