Malta, a gorgeous archipelago country, has often been seen as a tourist location where British, French, Sicilian, African, and Arabic cultures intermingled to bring forth an alluring emergence of art, food, architecture, and an overall unique history. Now, the heavy music scene has begun to rise from these group of islands situated in the Mediterranean Sea south of Italy and above Africa, with Align the Tide bearing the up-and-coming torch in the metal scene.
We recently spoke to the raucous metalcore group about their new mental health themed album titled Hollow, their US tour with Mushroomhead, and other heavy bands from all around the Mediterranean region including Myrath, Shredhead, etc.
Check out the interview below. P.S. you might get to learn a curse word in Maltese if you read close enough.
Your new record, Hollow, reveals Align the Tide’s varied heavy style, meshing groovy thrash with modern metalcore. My favorite tracks are “Unbreakable” and “The Cost,” but more importantly, I really appreciate the album’s overall theme of mental health. Can you expand more on this theme and how it applies to the two aforementioned tracks?
Unfortunately, mental health issues have been on the rise in the recent years worldwide, due to several circumstances in life. We felt as if we needed to share our personal view on the matter to make awareness and even possibly connect with the listener. “Unbreakable” is a song structured upon a person that always gets challenges in life and the power to overcome them. As for “The Cost,” it’s about the inception of the sickness. We are talking about the very first symptoms of anxiety and depression, the birth of it all. We all have it but it’s a matter of how we control it. Each one of us has to find our own way how to battle this mental disease as there is no general cure for it. One has to tackle it immediately or it could be too late; this song is a warning against this in a nutshell.
I believe that Hollow shows progress from your previous album, Dead Religion, which was released in 2019. Which artists in particular do you recall discovering and really enjoying since then?
There has been a line-up change in between both albums so that’s a first in the change of our sound, however, yes, we have gotten into new bands and styles since then. We have been quite inspired by a few other bands such as While She Sleeps, Periphery, After the Burial, As I Lay Dying, and the list goes on.
My understanding is that Maltese and English are the main languages of Malta. Was there any consideration to ever write your lyrics in the Maltese language? Do you feel pressure to write in English to appeal to a larger audience? Can you also teach us a common phrase in Maltese?
That’s correct, our two official languages are Maltese and English, but we’ve always felt more comfortable expressing ourselves in the English language. We’ve never considered to write a song in Maltese as we do not feel any pressure in any way. Today we’ll be teaching you the phrase “Ejja minn hemm,” which means “Get the fuck up.”
Align the Tide is actually the first band that I’ve heard of from Malta. Can you describe the Maltese metal scene and any notable metal bands?
Back in 2018, you traveled to the US to support Mushroomhead on tour. What can you share about this tour with them and did you get the chance to try on any of their masks?
The tour was literally a dream come true, touring with such a prestigious band and touring in the USA which meant everything to us; it was the start of something very beautiful. The metal scene in the US is amazing and Americans really appreciate European bands, which makes us feel very special and welcome; we would love to go back one day if we get another opportunity. We don’t think Mushroomhead would let anyone try on their masks but it didn’t cross our minds to ask them to try the masks on.
While it is important for Align the Tide to be involved with the US and Western European metal scenes, there are also growing metal scenes in all directions of Malta. Below are some metal bands from countries near Malta. Can you give each a listen and share your thoughts…
We’ve never heard of this exotic mix with metal which is quite interesting as the atmosphere is heightened by symphonic elements.
These guys have some dark blues influences with some odd timings until the song escalates into a grungy feel, which sounds cool.
These guys rock! The style is more what we usually listen to; would be cool to tour with these guys.
Damn, that’s some groove! The contrast between the clean vocals complementing the riffs sounds nice; definitely has Deftones vibes.
They definitely reminded us of Obituary, which is a band that we love.
Whether it be the mental health themes in the new record or your long-term musical ambitions, what are your goals for Align the Tide?
Our main goal is to one day make it up there, to reach as many fans as possible worldwide so we can experience live performances with different cultures around.
What plans do you have next for the band (new videos, touring, etc.)?
The next move for Align the Tide is touring and promoting Hollow as much as we can.