Inspiration surrounds us every day, but for Below the Tide, deathcore rockers from Cleveland, Ohio, an animated crowd filling The Foundry on a hot, humid Tuesday night was intoxicating. It is why they do what they do. Clearly a fan favorite, Chris Conley (vocals), Brian Lamtman (drums), Travis Lamont (guitar), Jacob Greder (guitar), and James Neale-May (bass) were there to entertain and party right along with an audience ready to rage.
Sometimes, it’s what you don’t say. The inherent beauty of Below the Tide’s music is that the vocals are instrumental. Where most screaming is based on lyrics, and separate from the guitar, bass, and drums, the voice segments in their music is written as a percussive instrument. The vocals ‘play’ along with the music in a cohesive orchestration in each song. The music tells the story by guiding the listener through emotions unique to the subject. In the song “Epidemic”, a tale of addiction and loss is outlined by a soft, sweet intro depicting a youthful life full of promise. Leading to a chaotic crescendo that illustrates addiction and pain, the song ends in a powerful, irreversible sense of grief over death, the final outcome of this story. It is as compelling as any symphony, giving new meaning to what is billed as melodic deathcore music.
But where is the hooker? Below the Tide are serious musicians, but there is a whimsical side apparent in the song titles. One of the most poignant pieces is a song titled, “Tell Your Hooker to Shut Up”, which is about the cycle of abuse. The subject matter is a significant study of comeuppance for an abusive person. It is direct and driving, mirroring the desperation and helplessness that victims of bullying experience. The song asks the perpetrator to step into the victim’s shoes to feel the pain he has caused, hoping that it will set him on a path of redemption. There is no hooker in the lyrics, but the title is so fascinating it captures your attention, redirecting the listener to address the devastation of bullying and abuse.
Working for a living. Self-described as ‘blue collar deathcore’, Below the Tide makes no bones about having to work hard for what they have. All the members of the band have blue collar jobs. They go to work, pay the bills, and support their families. But a blue collar background adds an extraordinary flavor to the music. The music is more emotional, making it relatable to the average person, because they are average guys. A strong work ethic, essential in blue collar jobs, translates to a determined effort for excellence when it comes to writing and performing their music. They all work for their dreams, not expecting anything to be handed to them, and Lamtman states, “We wouldn’t be doing anything we are doing without how hard we have to work for it.” Lamont added, “You get something out of putting the effort into it.” The secret to success is approaching both the job and the music with a down to Earth, hard-working dedication that works for them.
This year will be exciting for Below the Tide as fans (like me) look forward to the release of their new album, slated for early Fall. They are currently taking in part in select short tours and hope to extend their time on the road soon.