The Band: Antioch
The Man: Jordan Rhyno (bass)
Interview by Vpower
Today I bring to you an enjoyable conversation with bassist of Canadian Antioch, a band formed in 2013 but with an EP in 2014 and a full-length this year, the awesome "Antioch II: First Strÿke”, for me one of the nice surprises of the year, top Heavy Metal, addictive and powerful.
Hello Jordan, thanks for your time and congratulations for your fantastic second album, "Antioch II: First Strÿke”, released just a few days ago. How do you feel about it?
Greetings and thanks for your strÿking words. We’re absolutely thrilled about releasing the new album. For any person that picks up an instrument, I’d say your dream for the most part is to release a full-length at some point. Whether it’s released on a grand scale or released independently, that fact we actually released it is a great feeling. Though we’ve been listening to the album since March, so we’re already sick of it. (Laughs)
Hahaha, I didn’t get to that point yet, I still enjoy every song of it. Last year you edited your first album, a six songs Ep ,” Antioch II: First Strÿke” is a continuation of your previous work or there is some innovation in your sound?
For us it’s just one continuation. Some of the songs on this record, were actually ready when we recorded the EP (Venomspitter and The Stryker Rides). Even before we released the EP the majority of album was already written and was being performed live, so I think for this album it’s definitely a continuation. In terms of innovation, we just like all our songs to be different from the last one, so a couple more pedals get added, a couple more symbols, a couple more vocal ranges but not too much.
I’m glad you think that. Ebon Star, for myself, had to be done how I envisioned it from the start. When I first started jamming the riff in early 2014, the whole premise of the riff or song was to make it as “evil” or as “dark” or “moody” as possible. But that’s just myself, other members of the band have different songs on the album that they feel go further than others.
Also we’re sorry for transporting you to another planet, the cost of travelling back to Earth must have been hell.
Hahaha, yes it’s, so I’m still in Antioch’s star… hope i will be back in time to attend your shows on Earth. Face of Evil sounds to me as if Omen meets Cirith Ungol and they give birth a terrible monster, in the good musical sense. That is another constant in your music, the variety…
The variety comes naturally for us. If we get in a phase were we are writing faster songs, we just naturally try to go the other way to balance things out. Then we’ll start writing slower songs or doomier songs, and then we need to kick go on a turbo trip to the 80’s. Then the cycle repeats. We also have a motto when it comes to making the music “What Would Priest Do?”. If Judas Priest is okay with doing it we see no issue with it. I'm sure everyone would appreciate if our next album was in the same vein as Jugulator. The world could use more Jugulator metal! (laughs)
Jugulator, a great album never so much valued. We must talk about Nicholas Allaire’s vocals. When you hear the guy you can stay anything but indifferent, he combines pretty well the melodic or normal voice with that distorted high-pitch and the clean high-pitch too. It’s only Nicholas’ work or there is a second voice?
It’s all Nick. I do some very feint harsher growlier vocals on some songs and the gang vocals are done by all of us. But for everything that’s super prominent, it’s all Nick. He stepped up his vocal performance on this recording for sure. The variety of things he can do is pretty incredible given the fact most bands are fairly monotone in their vocal ranges.
Another strong point in these Antioch is the killer riffs, you make the Jeff Waters’ kind of riff selection or it doesn’t go that way?
Nobody in the band really listens to Annihilator so not quite sure what you mean by riff selection. If you mean Mr. Waters is a riff tyrant, then he must be stopped at once. Tyrants are just unacceptable. But the riffs come in a multitude of forms. Most of the riffs on the record come from Alex. I’ll usually have an idea for a song, a very simple outline or thought, and then he just turns it into a monster. Our main goal when it comes to riffs, is to have them be as hooky as possible. If we can’t remember the riff after a few practices, it’s usually tossed away.
By the way, how did you come to choose Antioch as the name for the band?
We kept quoting "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" at practice one day and someone said “The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch”. I remember suggesting it after thinking it might be a cool name and voila, everyone else thought the same.
The production is very good, you can distinguished every element of your music, for example the bass, without being a supersonic man. However, you produced it by yourselves, didn’t you? How did you get it?
We did produce it ourselves, but our engineer, John Dinsmore, was incredibly beneficial and helpful to us getting the sound we wanted in a recording sense. But the sound is us. There are no samples used on the drums, no programs used on the guitars, it’s all us. When we ‘d listen to the rough mixes, we’d keep sending them back wanting this to be higher, this to be lower, can we tweak this a little etc. John was very patient with us. Also Joel Grind, who mastered the album, also used his toxic magic in getting the final product the way it sounds.
I think the phsyical edition is not available for now, only digital, are you working on it?
Physical copies are available, but you just have to contact us through our facebook (facebook.com/antiochmetal) or email us. We’re looking into setting something up so it’s possible to get physical copies easier. So that’s coming, but for now people can just send us a message.
How long have you been working in the new album?
We started working on the songs themselves around mid 2014. Then around December of last year we started working on the album.
What are your main influences?
Judas Priest and Manowar.
What are the lyrics about?
Hyper bipedal lions riding rockets through space being chased by cybernetic dragons, executions, war, history, sex, satan, god, religion, gargoyles. Anything and everything.
Compared to that, Game of Thrones looks a bit boring to me… The cover art is fantastic, so cool, in my opinion it transmits emotions as fun, courage, freedom, imagination… Something your music reflects as well. How did you get it?
Thanks. We went through Herve Monjeaud, who also does Gamma Ray’s artwork. Our drummer, Brendan, is a huge Gamma Ray fan and was super insistent we go to him. So we did. We’re super happy with how the final artwork came out aswell. We also wanted to have our album art reflect our actual music or rather a song. Our EP which had three lovely ladies getting their heat on, that was based off our song Inquisition. “Antioch II: First Stryke” is based around the first song on the record, as well as another song, but I’ll leave that one to the imagination.
How do you see the Metal scene in Canada?
It's like anywhere else in the world. Especially where we live metal shows are far and few in number. Especially with the type of metal we play, there’s not a scene for it where we live. But Detroit which is just across the border from us, has a great scene, as well as Toronto. They don’t know how awesome they actually have it. But I keep seeing Canadian metal bands pop up all the time, so there is definitely interest and excitement in that regard. We’re just isolated from the other scenes so we can’t really comment.
Are you closing tour dates already?
We are not.
Recently, Canadian bands as Cauldron or Striker have been playing in Europe, they made several shows in Spain. Will we have the chance to see you through our country in the near future?
In the near future...probably not. But we would definitely like to. If the opportunity arose we’d definitely consider it.
You are still very young, I guess, you expect to go ahead with your project in a professional way or it’s more like a passion you can satisfy for the moment?
If we wanted it to be professional we wouldn’t be playing this type of metal. I wouldn’t say we are doing this just to satisfy the moment, but we are all very passionate about heavy metal and love playing it.
You have placed the level very high for future releases to come, are you not a little worried about it?
We aren’t worried a bit. We all personally think we can do better and we all have a drive to make better songs. The day we think we’ve made a better song than “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Hail and Kill”, or “Turbo Lover” will be the day we stop making music.
That’s the attitude, yeahhhh!! Well guys, again, my most sincere greetings for your fabulous album. If you wanna add something…
Thanks for sitting down with us and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from us.