Now You Know: ContinuumSaturday, 7th January 2017
Location: Waterbury, CT
Style: Metal with various progressive, death, thrash, and groove inflections.
Personnel: Brenda St Amant (vocals); Bryan Reilly (guitars); Jason Niezgorski (guitars); Tony Mica (bass); Darrin Yardley (drums)
Latest Release: Civil Lividity EP, 2016 (self-released)
Hailing close to this scribe’s new stomping grounds, Continuum are a five-piece group who synthesize a potent blend of extreme metal with progressive and groove inflections. Imagine one moment guitars that tear your body to pieces, then vocals that switch from unearthly growls to solid, clean melodies – surrounded by a rhythm section that can comfortably switch from thrash to death to power groove at lightning speed. Their third recording Civil Lividity shows no remorse in its pummeling nature – everything from Arch Enemy and Carcass to Swedish thrash/death and Nevermore come up for reference points.
Wishing to gain more knowledge about the band, vocalist Brenda St. Amant and the rest Continuum handle this set of questions. Prepare to learn more in regards to their history, the heady lyrical content for their latest release, and the strength of metal getting one member specifically through a personal tragedy. And what are you waiting for- pick up Civil Lividity or catch the band live if you frequent many New England venues…
Dead Rhetoric: Can you give us some background on the history of the band and how the current incarnation of Continuum come into being- were you all familiar with each other through previous bands or is this the first original metal act for some of the members?
Brenda St Amant: Continuum started in 2009 with Bryan Reilly and Darrin Yardley, they met while doing a reunion with a band they had in high school, then Jason Niezgorski joined shortly after. Then they tried a few people and came up with Brenda St Amant and Tony Mica. The guys all played in various bands growing up in the same circle of friends, Tony and Bryan were in a band called Lost Soul back when Bryan had long hair. I was mostly a rock singer who jammed in bands, this is the first band I’ve worked with that is this heavy.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about your two earlier releases Rise and Fall and Seven, what do you feel you learned most in regards to the band as far as songwriting, recording, and abilities within the musicians? Would you change anything in retrospect if you could?
St Amant: First off, we would change the quality of recording! Also, becoming more prepared for the studio. As far as songwriting we believe we have found where we want our sound to go, we like to always push what we can fit into our sound whether it be thrash, or death, or melodic. As a lyricist, I try to tell a story and on this new album we have painted a more complex picture. The first two were rougher and this one is more powerful.
Dead Rhetoric: Civil Lividity is the latest release, a 5 song EP. Please give us some insight into the songwriting and recording process for this effort – were there any particular challenges or obstacles that had to be overcome, and how do you feel this stacks up against your discography?
Continuum: By far this was the best recording and performance we have had. It also was the smoothest recording process. We took a long weekend at Dexters Lab where Nick Bellmore records and produces, and mixed the album over about two weeks, working around touring schedules, then sent it off to be mastered by Chris “Zeuss” Harris. Nick really helped keep us on point and had really helpful suggestions on how to tweak the songs.
Dead Rhetoric: Brenda’s ability to shift from extreme to clean melodies helps Continuum differentiate themselves, as well as how the band shifts into different nuances from song to song in the music department. Do the songs themselves go through a series of transformations from initial concept to final outcomes, and how do you know when something definitively fits the band mold?
Continuum: We take a riff and usually build on it based on how it makes us feel, then we arrange it into what will be the bones of the song. After the bones (of the song) is set it more or less is just adding the flesh and smoothing it out. So it is always kinda the song it was meant to be, if we get a riff that we can’t build on we shelve it until it is time. As for fitting our mold, pushing the limit of the mold is what makes us, us. It’s almost a challenge to see what we could work into our songs.
Dead Rhetoric: Lyrically for this new release there is an underlying concept regarding the media, government officials and social decay that seems very prevalent in society today. What worries you most about the general apathy that many people seem to have about what’s going on in the world, and do you believe your ideas could promote people to possibly do something about this?
St. Amant: I guess what worries me the most is what lengths will our apathy take us, what horrors will we allow and do nothing. My favorite quote for how we live is “the slithery dee – crawled out of the sea -he ate all the others- but didn’t eat me” – from Shel Silverstein I believe. Will we as a band make any great change? I’m not sure what it would take to make actual change, if this inspires someone to rage against the dumbing down of the world and the pacification of our minds then that is satisfying.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the outlook and approach of Continuum on the live front? What would you say have been some of your more memorable shows and experiences with the band in this department?
St Amant: Live we try to connect with the audience and let them know we see them. I’ll jump out into the audience and start handing out high fives. As a front person, I try to be theatrical so people know the intent of what I’m saying and Tony is a maniac getting up in peoples’ faces, we try to be something you enjoy watching.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the CT metal scene in general – what aspects do you like and where do you think improvements need to be made for the better? Who else do you think people need to keep an eye and check out?
Continuum: Generally, there is quite a lot of brotherhood in the CT scene, we’ve got nothing but love for it as it has been a big supporter of what we do. There are so many great bands in CT. Darrin has another death metal band called Kayotik that’s pretty brutal, our boys in Eyes of the Dead always slay, Xenosis, Cyperna, 60 grit, Virus of Ideals, I could go on forever.
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see the band in terms of a career over the next 1-3 years? How difficult is it to carve out band/music activities versus your full-time jobs/careers and family/relationships – do you have the support in that regard from friends and family?
Continuum: We’d love to get a nice distribution deal, maybe play a European festival, that would be the dream. We have to be very strategic in what we do as many of us have all the aforementioned responsibilities. We are definitely supported by our friends and family, this would be impossible without them.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you enjoy most about the heavy metal genre – can you tell us a specific time or two where the power of metal pulled you through an exciting or difficult time in your life and you came out stronger and better as a result?
St Amant: I think true metal heads are always affected by the music we listen to. We connect with the lyrics or spirit of a song and it helps us cope with the world around us. The only personal event I can directly site is when my mother passed I listened to Killswitch Engage’s The End of Heartache on repeat for like 6 months, it helped me get through the anger and sadness.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the digital revolution of music consumption with file sharing, streaming through specific platform sites, and social media as a whole? Do you prefer owning physical media like CD’s and vinyl versus having thousands of MP3’s in your listening device or computer?
Continuum: This is a split decision as we have a few metal collectors in the band. Tony’s CD collection is epic. But the easy access finding it online especially when it’s something you can’t usually find at the local music store is awesome. Online streaming and social media I think is great, it’s a great tool to discover new music and bands they might not have had access too.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for Continuum over the next 12 months? Will you shoot a conceptual video possibly for one of the tracks on Civil Lividity? Have you already started writing more material for the follow up effort- and will you continue to stay independent or are you looking for label support?
Continuum: A video is something we very much would like to put out. There are no current plans to release one soon. We have started writing the next album and already have a few songs in the works, As for a label, we aren’t opposed to the idea of a label but we aren’t bothered by continuing to be independent. .