Chariots Of The Gods - Rich O'Neil

Chariots Of The Gods - Rich O'Neil

CHARIOTS OF THE GODS release an impressive successor to 2010's "Reverence" and METAL KAOZ could not resist to submit the following questions to the band's drummer Rich O'Neil to get an inside look on the Canadians' Metal doings.

Chariots Of The Gods

Hey, Rich welcome back to METAL KAOZ and congrats on the release of “Tides Of War”. Since CHARIOTS OF THE GODS is a relatively young band, can you please take some time to make an introduction for our readers?
CHARIOTS OF THE GODS is a big blend of many different types of Metal. When people ask us what style do we play, something like "melodic/Deathcore/Thrash" comes out as the ‘official statement’, but we really prefer to put simply as "Metal". We’re from Canada (Ontario and Quebec) and we've been rolling for a while now. We are really proud to announce that the new album, “Tides Of War”, will FINALLY be released on January 29!

I am dying out of curiosity to ask: did you get the band name from Erich von Däniken book of the same title?
You got it! At the time, we didn't even have a singer and Mat (guitar) and Chris M (ex bass player) came up with the idea. They were really excited about everything related to that book and we decided that CHARIOTS OF THE GODS would be a cool and intriguing the name for the band!

Can you describe the band’s sound by mentioning three influences? In the album review I mentioned SOILWORK and IN FLAMES.
IN FLAMES is definitely a big influence of ours. You can also hears a lot of TRIVIUM and AS I LAY DYING in our sound now, but also some vocal elements from bands like AUGUST BURNS RED and UNDEROATH, bringing it to a whole different level. Of course, we cannot NOT to mention bands such as CHILDREN OF BODOM and NORTHER.

Let’s talk about the new album; first of all how is the feedback you are getting from the media and the fans?
One simple word: WOW! Every review we got so far has been more than positive, and the fans really dig this somewhat ‘new direction’ that we took. We had a lot of comments about the energy and maturity of the album, which is a thing that might have lacked in the previous release.

How did it take you to write and record the music in “Tides Of War”? Did you face any kind of problems/difficulties during this process? What were the changes in your way of working in the studio as compared to the making of “Reverence”?
It wasn’t my first time in the studio, but the whole experience was pretty different for me this time, in a good way. For “Reverence”, we were more like kids trying to do stuff by ourselves, figuring it out by relying on our own vision of what we thought the music had to be. But now with Glen Robinson, it was a whole new ball game. I think the biggest problem we had was the final mixes; we were never happy enough with our performance, and we had to take a step back, to let go, and let Glen do his job. He finally gave us the product that we needed.

There is a chanting in the album’s intro “Overture”, so what is its origin?
The chant in “Overture” comes from the “Epic Of Gilgamesh”. We chose excerpts from the 11th tablet which talks about the great flood (the one from which Noah escaped in his Ark). Those lines kept in touch with the album’s concept, the tides of war, which comes and goes; destruction to rebirth. Also, in the album’s booklet there’s an English translation for those passages, so people can understand a bit better.

What are the lyrics about in “Revillusion (1905)”, “Snow Falls On The White River (1914)”, “Severing The Bloodline (1917)”?
The main theme for those three songs (“Revillusion (1905)”, “Snow Falls On The White River (1914)”, “Severing The Bloodline (1917)”) is the Russian Revolution, the war and the bloodshed.
Starting with “Revillusion (1905)”, it’s basically about the beginning of the change of power that was to come in the following years. People wanting change, trying to overthrow the monarchy. The Tsar tried desperately to stay in power; succeeding, but not without problems. The song’s title is also a play on words; the Illusion of Revolution. Which for the people who fought for change we’re so close to their goals but at the end it vanished in front of their eyes.
“Snow Falls On The White River (1914)” is an instrumental piece concerning the start of World War I. We went with a very calm piece of music as a passage from one song to the other, giving the listener a chance to breathe before the start of another revolution (the next song). The feel of the song is basically what the title is, snowflakes falling from the sky, unto the many battlefields, graves and the fighting men.
“Severing The Bloodline (1917)”’s meaning is very straightforward. In 1917, there was another revolution in Russia where the people won and killed the Tsar and his entire family, thus severing his bloodline. The song is from the Tsar Nicholas II’s point of view; him loosing his family and feeling like he has failed his people.

While listening to the new album I found the vocals kind of different from “Reverence” where think there were some Metalcore influences; what is your point of view on this? Did you change the way of singing?
The change in style is more a question of Renaud getting better as a singer and wanting to have a more aggressive and powerful sound. When we recorded “Reverence”, Renaud hadn't been singing for that long and was still trying to develop. He’s always had a more Hardcore/Metalcore background in music than the rest of us, so has he became a better singer, he tried to incorporate new techniques from singers he liked. Having played many shows and him becoming more confident and trying new techniques and improving his vocal abilities give this record something stronger than the last one.

Aleksi Sihvonen is mentioned as guest singing in “Unbound”; how did this collaboration come up and what was his contribution to the writing/arranging this song?
NORTHER has always been a major influence in the CHARIOTS OF THE GODS sound, and when Renaud (vocals) wrote “Unbound”, we kinda had that idea of doing it as a duo. It was a no brainer that we needed some Finnish help! We contacted Aleksi's agent and sent him the song. Aleksi himself answered back saying that he liked it and that he wanted to be a part of it. We sent him the lyrics sheet with some specifications here and there, but we really wanted him to add his own flavour to it. This collaboration gave, in my opinion, one of the best songs on the album.

This is a self-release, right? So, how difficult was to get your music out without a support from a record label?
Difficult enough! There were so many things to do, and even more to be done… And this is just the tip of the iceberg! We’re really serious when it comes to that, and we work hard everyday to promote the album. We love what we do, and label or not, we will continue to do it.

Expanding the previous question, do you have any update on finding a record label? I imagine that this cannot be an easy task to do, especially nowadays where there is not much money in the music.
That's a tricky question! A record label is definitely something that pretty much any band would need. But as you said, the industry isn't as ‘generous’ with money as it once was, and bands have to be really aggressive to get help. For now, we’d rather focus on getting the album out there as much as we can.

You have published a teaser from the upcoming video for “Tides Of War”; when will it be released? How long did it take you to film this clip and is there any concept behind it?
What you saw was the FIRST teaser of the video, and meant as a joke more than anything! It took about 2 to 3 days at the cold start of winter. There's a concept in the video, somewhat of a storyline, but I’ll let YOU discover it for yourself!

Let’s talk the touring plans of the band; first of all why the shows of November 01st and 17th were cancelled? While checking the band’s official site, I did not see any live shows planned; are there any live dates on the talks? Any chance to see CHARIOTS OF THE GODS in North US (keep in mind METAL KAOZ is based in Chicago).
Some things just happen when you’re trying to tour, and one of the most common ones being ‘cancelled shows’. I can’t really say why these dates got cancelled, but we always hate it. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do... We’re currently dealing with several promoters to book a tour in February/March, but the dates aren't announced yet... As far as I can say, we will be around Montreal for sure and we’ve just been announced on the bill of the ‘Drummond Metalfest 5’ with CRYPTOPSY, GHOULUNATICS, and others. We would love to hit the US, but at that point, a booking agent would be more useful. As you mentioned earlier, we do pretty much everything by ourselves, and that includes the booking. Although, I can definitely say that 2013 will be an active year for us!

Is too early to discuss the next discographic step of CHARIOTS OF THE GODS; I mean, do you have in mind a timetable for this or you just take things as they come?
There WILL be a next album, no doubt about it. Mat is a real writing machine, and probably has like 40 new songs in his computer, waiting for the right moment. When the time will come, we’ll start working on them, but now the priority really is “Tides Of War”.

Thanks Rich for taking the time to answer to METAL KAOZ questions! Please end this interview as you like and have great Xmas holidays!
Many thanks for this interview, Dimitris and thanks to those who will read it! You can find us anywhere on the net, and feel free to contact the band members for any question. Thanks again!