Posted by: brad – Apr 14, 2016
The term black metal can inspire a number of images, but local's Tond want folks to realize they aren't your average black metal outfit.
“We always wanted to categorize ourselves as a black metal band, but not like ‘we record in a cave in Eastern Europe and no-one knows our real names’ sort of way,” said Noah Jones, Tond's vocalist, Bassist and the groups founding member.
Jones and a friend started the project back when they were in high school. He was 17 and in a grunge band. But he’d invested in some recording equipment so he decided to mess with a black metal studio concept album. The Key To the Water Gates EP was born out of that.
Combining traditional black metal riffs and drums, Water Gates tells the story of "a man who, discontent with his life, joined the crew of a ship, which was destroyed in a tumultuous storm."
The rest of the album's description is just as entertaining in that amazing black metal way:
Drifting in a state of limbo, neither dead nor alive, he eventually encountered a beautiful city in the ocean’s depths. After being lured in by its splendor, he was startled when the gates closed behind him, and the setting around him melted into an underwater hell. Discontent with the watery prison, he sought and ultimately consummated a physical confrontation with Satan himself. The tide of the epic battle ebbed and flowed but ultimately Satan was defeated and the protagonist wrested the key from Satan’s cold grip, opened the Watery Gates, and stepped into the "Great Beyond."
A bit low-fi, Watery Gates found a fan base and before long he had strangers contacting them asking to take the project out of the studio and into a live music space. It was at this point Jones found 14-year-old Nick Carolan.
Jones admitted that Carolan, coming it at 6’3, with truly metal-inspired long hair, played better then them. They started to piece together the rest of the band, with members coming and going for different reasons - one short-lived member’s mom wouldn’t let him play after discovering what black metal was.
About a year from the initial release of Key to the Watery Gates, the band ended up with their first show and before long they were on tour playing festivals and shows under the Tond Banner.
Since then, they've released another EP, Sine Nomine Est, which appears to have dropped the concept-album feel in exchange for better recording quality.
“We have a wide array of influences, some of us are into hip hop, some are into goth rock, we gravitate towards a personal style,” said Jones. “We work together in the practice space, and our songs have gotten longer with more movements. Some songs have two pages worth of lyrics. It’s not a personal expression exactly, but more personal in that collective mentality.”
Those practices have yeilded a whole new full-length album's worth of tracks. Jones and friends are aiming to head back in the studio and drop the new album this summer.
Until then, you can check out Tond when they come to Smatter this Friday where you'll hear old and new tracks.
“It’s the first performance with this new incantation of the band... I think its going to reflect us a lot more," Jones said. "It’s very dynamic both in presentation and writing. We’re starting with one of our old songs and ending with our new song, almost chronologically.”
Check out Tond with Misery Index, Seraph, and Abandon Earth this Friday, scoop your tickets here.
Words by Brad Kutner