Published Oct 13, 2010Since their 2004 inception, Montreal's Beneath the Massacre have created some of the most brutally technical and overtly complicated music around. The death metal quartet recently released their latest effort, the five-song EP Marée Noire, and it continues the tradition. In an interview with Exclaim!, vocalist Elliot Desgagnés discusses the EP and clears up the confusion as to the inspiration behind it.
Meaning "black tide," Marée Noire was thought to be about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But as Desgagnés explains, people jumped the gun on that assumption.
"The thing is, because it's called Marée Noire, people just assumed that," he says. "It's not necessarily about the BP oil spill."
Desgagnés says he finds inspiration for his lyrics from books he's reading at the time. "Lately, I've been reading about [Albert Camus's] concept of 'The Absurd Man' in The Myth of Sisyphus. It's a story of a guy pushing a rock to the top of the mountain, and once the rock is at the top of the mountain, it just falls back down the other side. Sisyphus is condemned for all his life to bring the rock back up, but it rolls down, he brings it up and it rolls back down."
He says this theory was the main idea behind Marée Noire. "It's just a way to say that our life doesn't mean anything and it's not supposed to mean anything, but it's the daily revels and passions that make life worth living; it's that simple," Desgagnés explains.
While Marée Noire follows the same path as Beneath the Massacre's previous works in terms of musical direction, the EP marks the band's best material since their stellar 2005 debut EP, Evidence of Inequity.
"It's nothing really that new from us; it's just after years of working on our sound, this is where we've gotten to. It's just another step in the direction we've always wanted to go in," Desgagnés says.
"As a musician, I don't think I'll ever be 100 percent satisfied, but I feel like this is as close as I'm going to get. This was the first time I came out of the studio being truly happy with what we recorded. It's still death grind, fast and heavy, and it sounds angrier and more organic. We spent more time writing the songs and it shows."
Desgagnés explains that the EP is a format he prefers working with rather than full-lengths because it provides more time to work on each individual track with less pressure from the label.
"Sometimes, the label pushes you to go to the studio and write songs quick so they can be released quick, so we can tour quick and sell CDs quick," he says. "[With an EP] you know in advance that no one's going to make money off of it because it's just a short four- or five-track disc. So we had all the time in the world to just sit back, relax, listen to the tracks, think about it and do this and that. It's nothing new, but it's definitely the best stuff we've released so far."
Marée Noire is out now via Prosthetic Records.