Eternal Storm – A Rising TideSunday, 4th February 2024
Having made a splash with their debut From the Ashes in 2013 and the expansive Come the Tide in 2019, Eternal Storm have been on the ascent, refining their eclectic approach to extreme metal. Heavy doses of ethereal, melancholic melodic death metal are undeniable, with new influences coming into significance to fill out their sound profile.
Now with their latest full-length A Giant Bound to Fall, – which releases on February 16 on Transcending Obscurity – there has been a major personnel change, with multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Danny R. Flys replacing Kheryon, as well as other obstacles that were overcome to reach their collective destination. We can confidently say that Eternal Storm’s story thus far is one of perseverance, being true to oneself, and making music that blends many elements that come together to form something wholly distinct. A Giant Bound to Fall is the resultant, representing a triumphant work that is not only the band’s best yet, but a benchmark for engaging, emotive, and visceral heavy music.
We recently had the opportunity to have a chat with Daniel Maganto, Jaime Torres, and Danny R. Flys, to speak about the creative journey of their latest work, the many influences and sounds that have become integral to the band, key inspirations, challenges, and what’s next.
Dead Rhetoric: We’re now at the release of what feels like – to me at least – your third album A Giant Bound to Fall. It stands out as the band’s most varied and dynamic release thus far. The songwriting is creative, bold, and flows so naturally. In what ways do you believe the band has advanced as songwriters since Come the Tide, and what did you set out to do differently this time around?
Daniel Maganto (guitars/bass/vocals): Hi, Daniel! Thank you for having us here, always a pleasure to return to the pages of Dead Rhetoric, since I’ve been following the site for more than a decade now and you guys have always been great to us!
Actually, A Giant Bound to Fall is our second full-length since most of us (well, at least me, hahaha) consider From the Ashes as an EP which showed a more basic and less developed version of the band.
I feel that we have expanded both poles of our sound now by making the songs more atmospheric and progressive, but also increasing the levels of intensity and aggression on some riffs. I believe that even though guitars are still the most discernible element in our music (we are a metal band, after all), there is way more room for drums, bass and, especially vocals on this recording. Most bands usually go soft and proggier as they release more music, but we try to broaden the whole spectrum to the best of our abilities.
Jaime Torres (guitars/vocals/keyboards): Hi, Daniel, and thanks so much for inviting us here! I really appreciate your feedback for the record and am glad to hear you find it flows naturally; that’s something we put a lot of effort into and were worried that throwing so many influences into the pot would end up sounding forced. So it’s good to see it worked at least for you!
Pretty much what Daniel said – we wanted to bring in some more intensity and aggression, and a bit of a darker vibe on one hand, but also get more proggy and atmospheric on the other, so it was with this goal in mind that we took upon the writing of A Giant Bound to Fall.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the process of writing and ultimately finishing work on A Giant Bound to Fall. Were there any particular difficulties or major highlights of the creative process? I’m sure the pandemic didn’t do any favors!
Torres: We started writing the first sketches of A Giant Bound to Fall shortly after finishing the recording of Come the Tide, so we are talking about mid 2018 or so. If my memory serves me well, “Last Refuge” was the first track we had more or less finished at such an early stage; the rest being just loose drafts and ideas, most of which changed drastically in the end or even got completely discarded. I’m afraid that from this point on we faced quite a few hardships, beginning with our previous vocalist/bassist Kheryon leaving the band in 2019 after the release of Come the Tide, then the pandemic obviously, which affected everyone, and also our drummer Mateo (Novati) leaving in 2021 just a few months prior to entering the studio to record A Giant Bound to Fall. So, a bit of a bumpy road! Nevertheless, and onto the positive side, by 2019 Daniel R. Flys joined our ranks and by then we pretty much had a complete version of the record, but Daniel brought with him a lot of fresh ideas, especially in the vocal department, but also in terms of guitar, bass and keyboard arrangements. So even if it took us almost another two years to finally get into the studio, I feel all the extra time we spent polishing the record was worth it. I don’t think the record would have been as good if we rushed into the studio at the end of 2019.
Maganto: I guess it’s never easy with us, right? Yes, we started jamming the first bits of what would become the new material in 2018, since Come the Tide was ready to be released and it would take us another year until the album saw the light of day. In hindsight, I think we did the smart thing by not compromising the quality and flow of the material in favor of delivering a quicker strike when we decided to reschedule everything after Danny joined, although I must confess I didn’t expect it would take us almost three years between our original deadline for recording and the time when we finally made it happen. It doesn’t matter anymore, I guess, and the main thing is that, overall, all three of us are satisfied with the final result (which as you know is a very difficult thing to achieve) and that the band is still alive and kicking.
Dead Rhetoric: The usage of synthesizers throughout the album feels more pronounced in comparison with the band’s previous works. How do you think this particular element has enhanced this album overall?
Torres: Well, we are all big fans of ambient music, electronica, soundtracks (films, video games, you name it) and, even though through the medium of metal music, we’ve always tried to somehow convey that atmospheric, narrative feeling in our records. We have been using keyboards here and there since day one, but it was just logical for us to go a step ahead on this record and make them a more integral part of our sound, all the while not undermining the intensity and driving force of the guitars because of this. I feel that, in our case, and on this record particularly, the use of synths adds an extra layer that renders the music all the more enveloping and accentuates this sense of narrative and atmosphere we were talking about earlier on. Without keys, the whole record would be missing a leg, basically.
Dead Rhetoric: This is the first full-length featuring Danny R. Flys taking the helm on lead vocals, as well as a plethora of other contributions. What do you think he’s added to the band’s approach and creative process?
Torres: Honestly, Danny was such a breath of fresh air; not just in the vocal department, but as a musician overall, as well as such a lovely guy. He is such a proficient guitar and bass player, and even though the record was more or less finished by the time he joined, he still contributed a lot of arrangements in that regard. But obviously, when it came to the vocals, he opened up a whole new world for us, not just in terms of more clean singing, but a whole lot of other registers, toned screams, good old growls, and raspy black metal vocals as well. Thanks to him, we were finally able to explore new directions and make more room for the vocals to shine, and thus not having to rely on guitar melodies all the time.
Maganto: Danny’s impressive vocal range and ideas made it possible for us to try a lot of new things in the new album. As Jaime said, the core of the album was already written when he joined, but since he took a very active role and came up with some fresh ears, he helped us to spice things up greatly. Besides his obvious musical skills, he is also a much more organized and demanding person than Jaime and yours truly are, which I guess never hurts!
Dead Rhetoric: There are several guest appearances on A Giant Bound to Fall – including vocal contributions from Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé, White Stones’ Eloi Boucherie, Persefone’s Sergi Verdeguer, former vocalist Kheryon, and of course the mighty Dan Swanö, as well as keyboards/synths from TodoMal’s Jaboto Fernández and Ruinas’ Roberto Bustabad. Which of these contributions are you particularly fond of, and what do you think this diverse group of guests brought to the final product?
Maganto: They all did a great job, and it was amazing to have them on our album. Obviously, our session drummer Gabriel Valcázar and Jaboto’s keys can be heard on every song of the record, so we are especially thankful to both of them.
Roberto’s guest synths on the opening track probably are the most remarkable contribution, since what he did was very different to what we had in mind, but we loved it anyway. He really changed the vibe of the whole song with those John Carpenter-esque sounds, and you should have seen how surprised we were when he sent the first draft of it! Also, a lot of people know him because of his guitar riffs with defunct death grinders Machetazo, so having him playing synths on a sort of progressive death metal album is definitely not what most would expect from him. What made everything even more special was that we first got in touch because he added me on Facebook to tell me he couldn’t stop listening to Come the Tide, so as soon as the opportunity arose for having him on the new album, we just had to go for it.
I always like when bands invite people over on their albums. It sort of feels like a party to me. I also see it as a way to thank people whose music has resonated with me. For example, both Jaime and I owe a lot to Eloi and the music he created with Vidres A La Sang, they are definitely one of the artists we resonate to the most, so having him on one of our songs feels like a full-circle moment.
Dead Rhetoric: Speaking of Dan Swanö, his legendary status both as a musician and in his production work precedes him. What was it like working with him, and what kind of impact did his input have on the album?
Maganto: It was a true honor for us, having been huge fans of his extensive discography both as a musician and a producer/mixer since we were teens. Records like Crimson, Brave Murder Day, Morningrise, Welcome My Last Chapter, Rain Without End or Far Away from the Sun had a huge impact on most of us, and we always dreamed of working with him one day. The best thing was how easy it is to work with Dan! Communication is very easy and fluent with him, and his attention to detail and expertise live up to his legendary status.
Torres: It was an absolute pleasure working with Dan! Opeth’s Morningrise and Dissection’s Storm of the Light’s Bane are two of the most foundational records for us as musicians, so having the guy who produced those records (along with a ton of other records we also love) producing our album is simply incredible. Not to mention his own work with Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, Nightingale, etc. – the guy is a legend. He also graced our track “The Sleepers” with his vocals, both cleans and growls, so we couldn’t be happier about it.
Dead Rhetoric: There is an uptick in melancholic moments on this album, at times reminding me of Arctic Plateau and Anathema in the guitar work and downtrodden atmospheres. Songs like “A Dim Illusion” and the instrumental “Eclipse” are especially emotive. Was this a natural evolution, and what kind of impact has this style had on Eternal Storm’s overall sound?
Torres: We really like Anathema throughout all their evolution as a band, and I personally would say A Natural Disaster is my favorite record of them. I was not familiar with Arctic Plateau, but I will check them out! But yes, we have always liked shoegaze, post-rock and all those styles where the guitar work is highly atmospheric, so it just felt natural to incorporate more of that into our sound eventually. I feel the juxtaposition with the heavier parts works really well and serves to enhance one another and render the tracks way more dynamic.
Maganto: I only heard Arctic Plateau’s split with Les Discrets, but I’m a big fan of Klimt 1918, and both projects have some similarities, so I’ll have to pay more attention to his music. Thanks for the reminder! On the other hand, Anathema are a band we both love. I enjoy all their eras and I agree with Jaime; A Natural Disaster is my personal favorite off of their discography. All those genres (shoegaze, post-rock, dream pop et al.) are a big part of our musical DNA and I think we will definitely expand those moods on whatever we do next.
Dead Rhetoric: Are there any songs that were particularly challenging to compose and put together, or ones that you’re particularly proud of?
Torres: “Lone Tree Domain” was probably the most difficult track to put together. We had the intro figured out; this kind of upbeat, energetic type of melodic metal, and a rough idea of how the track would end, but in between there was a fucking barren land! We knew we wanted it to be a long track, and one which traversed through different moods and tempos, with a sort of ambient-style interlude. But it took a lot of trial and error to figure it out. Many sections were written, but even though they were nice on their own, they would not gel well with the rest of the track, and it would make everything feel disjointed and artificial. In the end we came up with the idea of using a melody from the beginning of the track as a leitmotif that would show up during different sections of the song, played with slight variations, with different instruments, at different tempos, etc., and this proved to be the way to finally get the track together.
I am also quite fond of how “A Dim Illusion” and “The Sleepers” came to be, as contrary to our normal modus operandi of writing at home and then work on the tracks on the rehearsal room, these two tracks took their first steps in the rehearsal space out of jamming and having a good time together. “A Dim Illusion” was born out of our former drummer Mateo and me jamming to Sorceress by Opeth, which had just come out at the time and we were massively into it. So we just started twisting the riff until we came up with the main riff; then our former singer/bassist Kheryon came up with the bass interlude, and pretty much in one day we had a rough structure of the track. For “The Sleepers,” even though some sections were already written, the drum intro was something Mateo improvised during one of our practices and he basically gave the track its foundation with it.
Daniel R. Flys (lead vocals/guitars/keyboards/bass): Personally, I think the opening track for the album, “An Abyss of Unreason” was a bloody hard one to finish. We had bits and pieces of different sections and we were dwelling on the idea of writing a long two-part song, but we had all sorts of complications trying to make all transitions work. Plus, we normally work on lyrics separately (different members will do different songs), but for this particular song, Jaime wrote the first half of the lyrics and I wrote the second. It was definitely fun yet challenging to make everything work and have a good flow. Nevertheless, I’m super happy with how it came out and it’s probably one of my favorite tracks of the whole album!
Maganto: I’m particularly happy with the title track, as it’s very epic and the guitars are much less intricate than on the other albums. It’s a more vocal-driven track, and I think both Danny and Jaime outdid themselves on that one. I agree that the opening track and “Lone Tree Domain” were more challenging, as they are both very long and fairly complex tracks and it took a while to get the transitions flowing properly. We also struggled a bit linking the instrumental bridge on “A Dim Illusion,” but luckily Danny and our session drummer Gabriel came up with a percussive groove a bit reminiscent of Tool, and everything just made sense after that.
Dead Rhetoric: What kind of themes did you want to portray with the lyrics this time around? Any concepts or topics in particular that were focused on?
Torres: There is a loose theme that runs through the record (although it is not a concept album), which has to do with communication and the impossibility of conveying one’s ideas in a 100% clean, unfiltered way. This can be read on several levels, be it at a larger one, involving society in general and the divides caused by politics, creeds, ideologies, etc. – this is mostly explored on the first half of the opening track “An Abyss of Unreason”- be it on the level of closer interpersonal relationships or even communication with oneself (“Lone Tree Domain”). On this occasion, we drew inspiration once again from the late novelist Ursula K. Le Guin, this time from her novel The Dispossessed, which is a fantastic philosophical sci-fi novel that tackles this theme brilliantly and in depth. The track “There was a Wall” pays homage to this novel as its title is taken from the opening lines of it.
The title of the record has this enigmatic ring to it. It embodies the concepts mentioned above, but what/who this giant is, and whether its fall is something good or bad is up for everyone to interpret.
Flys: I think Jaime’s answer is very spot on. I’d like to add that we also play with a concept that is portrayed during the whole album, which is having a part of our mind that is dormant or asleep, and struggling to break free of this condition due to our empty social interactions and the nature of the current state of the world. This is also a metaphor for the “Giant” that is “bound to fall”; little parts of us that are corrupted by fear and insecurity, yet somehow knowing that these parts of us do not define us and that they can be overcome.
Dead Rhetoric: The cover art by Leoncio Harmr is particularly striking, with what seems like a black face/mask emerging from black mist. It fits wonderfully with the Eternal Storm’s aura. Could you give us a little insight as to the inspiration for the cover, and what it represents?
Torres: Thanks mate, glad you liked it so much! We worked with Leoncio already for the Come the Tide artwork, and even before he did that one, we were already fascinated with his work. We simply feel his style, with that distinct evocative, dreamy aura, matches our music perfectly, so there was not a single doubt when it came to ask him again to take care of the next record’s artwork. We had a pretty clear vision of what we wanted to show in the cover; a desolate, barren landscape covered in mist, black, white and grey tones, and the “giant” emerging from the mist. If you notice, there’s a little hooded figure – who also appeared on the artwork – in front of the giant, looking at it, so it could be seen as an abstract depiction of introspection, of contemplation. Whether the giant falls in the end and crushes the little guy or not remains an enigma until we get our next full length done (fingers crossed he makes it).
Maganto: We asked Leoncio to do something darker and more abstract this time, but we also wanted to keep some coherence with what he did on Come the Tide. It’s like if Caspar David Friedrich had worked on Shadow of the Colossus! He is a really great artist, and we loved working with him again!
Dead Rhetoric: Heavy music has become quite a saturated market, with an ever increasing volume of music out there to consume. Is it more difficult these days to gain a listener’s ear and keep hold of it, and what’s your approach to stand out amongst your peers?
Torres: It certainly is difficult to stand out these days when there is such a massive amount of music to consume out there, and I myself also find it difficult to stick to something in particular when I know there are so many other good and interesting things out there. Also the shorter attention spans, the lack of focus and the culture of instant gratification doesn’t help either, but I don’t think we should present this as a good/bad dichotomy either and romanticize the past. It is a greatly positive thing that so many talented artists are able to share their music nowadays, and even though, fair enough, there will always be a lot of questionable music making the rounds, I do believe that music made sincerely will always have a chance to reach a certain amount of people and gather some recognition and appreciation. I might be a bit naive about it, and it won’t certainly be enough to put food on the table, probably, but I do think so. In that regard, we take our music very seriously, put a lot of care and love into it, and, while we are not reinventing any wheel, with every record we are trying to craft our sound into a more personal one. At the core of our sound lies extreme metal, and it shows, but also a myriad of softer, more delicate and ethereal sensibilities, so we are treading a path that blends intensity, rawness with more pensive tones. We can appeal to the extreme metal fan as well as the prog guy and the metal fans who enjoy more melodic tunes, and that’s where I think our strength lies.
Maganto: As Jaime has very well put on the table, there are a lot of projects out there and a sense of urgency when it comes to check out most things these days, not even just music, but also films, series, the news – it feels like the world is trying to remind us how ephemeral and futile both humanity and our own creations are and make us avoid wasting too much time analyzing or overthinking what we see or hear. Despite this bleak statement, I believe that there are still many genuine diehards who will spend endless hours surfing the Internet, reading zines and attending shows to find as many good bands as possible. I believe that because most of us in the band behave in that way; we are music fans first and foremost, and what we offer is a bunch of honest songs that we would still enjoy if we weren’t playing them.
Dead Rhetoric: I selfishly ask everyone in my interviews, as a total gearhead – what kind of equipment do you use for instruments/synths/effects/etc.?
Maganto: For tracking the rhythm guitars, we used a Gibson Les Paul Studio from the early 90s and Jaime’s Charvel DK24, other than for the title track, since we used my Fender Telecaster Blacktop instead of the Charvel. In addition to the Charvel, we also used Danny’s beautiful PRS SE Custom 24 for arrangements, leads and other sounds, and I believe that for the majority of cleans we used the Gibson as well. For the low-tuned overdubs on “Lone Tree Domain” we used Danny’s Chapman baritone. Oh, and I also used my old ESP LTD MH-1000 for the whammy bar squeal at the end of my solo on “Last Refuge.” Amp-wise, it was mostly an EVH 5150 III with my Mesa 4×12 Rectifier cabinet, but we did use an Orange Dark Terror during the song “A Giant Bound to Fall.” Of course, Dan Swanö used a lot of plug-ins and his magic arsenal for spicing up our DI tracks on top of the amp sounds.
Regarding the bass, we used a 5 string Mexican Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass from a friend of mine, and a fretless Precision Bass from Danny’s Dad, who also helped us a lot setting up the instruments and letting us use his Ibanez acoustic guitar as well. Most of the bass tone came from a Darkglass ADAM; a truly sick piece of gear!
Most effects for both guitars and bass were plug-ins, other than a couple of parts on “Lone Tree Domain” where we used a Boss HM2 for the baritone tracks and a Digitech Bass Synth pedal for the bass and, as you can hear, we love to use E-bows!
For drums we used a DW Collectors kit that was available at Sadman Studios: two floor toms, two rack toms – nothing too weird, although we came up with some creative percussion for some overdubs. Gabriel used his Pearl Demon Drive double pedal and I believe most of his cymbals were either Paiste or Meinl. Sorry, I don’t know much about drumming gear!
Dead Rhetoric: Switching gears, so to speak – what kind of passions and hobbies do you have outside of music?
Maganto: We all have our regular hobbies: watching series and films, playing video games (I’m a huge old school survival horror fan), reading books and zines, cooking, buying records and all that jazz, nothing too weird, I guess.
Torres: Same, I enjoy reading, cinema, games (more of a Nintendo guy myself), cycling. I like graphic design and photography, and try to learn on my own when I have time as well, but unfortunately, I’m a bit slow with it.
Flys: I personally really enjoy practicing yoga and martial arts – I recently got into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I’m loving it – reading fantasy novels, playing video games (I’m mostly into Souls-like games and shooters) and simply spending time with my family and loved ones.
Dead Rhetoric: What kind of music have you been enjoying as of late? Anything under the radar that you think folks should know about?
Maganto: I’ve been enjoying TodoMal’s album A Greater Good (editors note: check that album out), some spectacular and special “space doom” band from our country formed by our friends Jaboto (Fernández), who played a lot of keyboards on both of our albums, and Christopher (Baque-Wildman), who also did some guest vocals on our debut album. I believe it is really good and different.
My current playlist includes old classics and newer bands: Counting Hours, Afterbirth, Ripping Corpse, Slowdive, Miasmatic Necrosis, Cynic, DJ Shadow, Textures, Mortiferum, Dodheimsgard, old Resident Evil soundtracks, Fluisteraars, Purulent Remains, Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Katatonia, Jeff Buckley, Spectral Voice, Sanctuarium, Sonic Youth, Daughter, Tangerine Dream, dälek, Aphex Twin, Type O Negative, Rush etc.
Torres: I’m gonna have to double on that one, but honestly, TodoMal’s A Greater Good is a phenomenal record. It’s not that they are our friends, but they have really created an out-of-this-world record indeed. I’m also quite fond of Dutch musician Jurre Timmer’s acoustic folk solo project Thurnin. His first record Menhir grabbed my attention back when it was released in 2021, and his follow up Utiseta from last year is equally brilliant. Really soothing, evocative folk.
And just to round up some of the things I’ve been listening to lately: Hexvessel, Blut Aus Nord, Paco de Lucia, Bathory, Charles Mingus, Dissection, Solar Fields, Infected Mushroom, Vicente Amigo, Mortiis, Vinicio Capossela, Emperor, Dodheimsgard, Mourning Sun, Enslaved, Tangerine Dream, Bob Marley, the Metroid Prime soundtrack, Vangelis, Ulver, etc.
Dead Rhetoric: What kind of plans are there for Eternal Storm surrounding the album release and after? Any live shows or tours, other projects, or anything else interesting on the horizon?
Maganto: We will play a record release show in Madrid next 29th of March with our friends in Sun of the Dying and Last Forest Rain. We will try to play live as much as possible, although we have a busy year ahead with our other projects: Danny is about to release his first recording with Persefone – an EP next February 2nd – and I play bass in Cancer, who will release a new album later this year, and both of us have a lot of shows all over the world confirmed and, of course, our day jobs and obligations. Our drummer Jonathan (Heredia) is also finishing the much anticipated new album of his amazing black metal project Aversio Humanitatis, so if we get enough demand for Eternal Storm’s dates, the logistics will be challenging, but we are up to it!
On top of that, we are already working on another new album. Luckily, Jaime can’t stop writing and he still has a lot of great melodies up his sleeve!
Torres: As Daniel says, we will try to play live as much as possible, hopefully we can work through the busy schedules, but there will be some live shows for sure. And also we haven’t been idle all this time before the album release, and the next record is quite in an advanced stage at the moment. Not only that, but we have been working on a couple of extra things, more on the experimental side, and we hope we can share them with you relatively soon.
Dead Rhetoric: Is there anything additional that you’d like to mention?
Torres: Thanks again so much, Daniel, it has been a real pleasure replying to your questions! Also thanks to everyone who has read this interview, we hope you enjoy listening to our music, and if you already knew us we really appreciate your support and hope you get the most out of A Giant Bound to Fall after the long wait! Be well!
Flys: Thank you so much for your time and this great interview! Peace.
Maganto: Thanks for the kind words and great questions, and of course to everyone at Dead Rhetoric for their support and great content throughout the years! Best wishes for you and your readers!