The concept behind "The Drowning Tide" is fairly straightforward: the protagonist faces a difficult crossing to a new land and weighs the value of safety in despair versus potential prosperity. In other words, is the reward worth the risk?

Aduanten, having been born from the ashes of Texas death metal act Vex, must have found themselves in a similar (if less life-and-death) situation when founding this new project, but clearly the reward here was worth the risk. Building on their past successes and leaning on a rich network of contributors, Aduanten provides an unusual take on melodic, experimental death metal, but it comes after an arduous year of isolation and the stress of rapid change. As a preview, watch the lyric video for "The Drowning Tide" off of the band's upcoming debut EP Sullen Cadence now, featuring Tanner Anderson (Obsequiae) on lead vocals with additional vocals from Damian Herring (Horrendous)—that's a hell of a double feature.

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The melodic aspect here is resolutely gloomy, but it doesn't fall back on tired melodic death metal tropes to get that across. "The Drowning Tide" emanates a forlorn, perhaps folk-influenced atmosphere, bringing in its own take on this well-traversed sound: tremolo riffs pluck out strange progressions during the verses, and the choruses and bridges integrate clean guitar to further deepen the textures. Intricate drumming toys with syncopation and subdivision to add another level of detail to the striking portraits painted here, sonically rendering crashing waves of grey despair in just as much detail as the accompanying video.

Aduanten's core lineup is a tight functional unit of guitars and drums; the vocals, bass, and synth elements on Sullen Cadence are provided by guests instead. It's an unusual setup, but it primes Aduanten for further potent changes to their sound after this EP. The band has crossed over from their previous projects already, but there's still a journey to come—Sullen Cadence is a noteworthy milestone on this path.

Drummer Eoghan McCloskey comments:

The lyrics are written from the perspective of a migrant worker who is wrestling with the question of whether or not to cross a tumultuous river to reach a country that is safer and more economically prosperous than his own. Former Vex vocalist Joe Jackson, who co-wrote some of the lyrics on this EP, initially sketched out some lyrics based on the concept of the Call of the Void. So Ciaran expanded on that idea by creating the narrative centered on the migrant worker, a narrative that explores the intersection between this sort of death drive and the promise of a better life.

We rehearsed these songs in person in January 2020 and we first started the principal tracking for the record in early February 2020. Obviously the world shut down a few weeks later and we had to completely rethink how to launch the band. Those rehearsals were the last time we all played together in person, and all the planning for the release has been remote since then. So, part of the reason it's exciting is that it's the culmination of a year and change of perfecting the EP and planning the rollout of the band. I think for the three of us it was also kind of a welcome distraction throughout all the god awful shit that happened in 2020 and 2021. All this planning gave us something creative to focus on throughout the pandemic which helped keep us relatively sane while the world burns. We are really proud of how it's all turned out, so it's very exciting to be able to finally share it with people.

The three of us (Ciaran, Mike, and I) were all in Vex together for many years. But Aduanten is not a continuation of Vex but rather a new band. So one of the ways we wanted to differentiate Aduanten from Vex and create a bit of a different sound was by working with guest musicians who would bring a different vibe to the EP than we would have gotten if it was the next Vex album. Tanner and Damian were both our first choices so we were very honored that they both said yes.

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The Sullen Cadence EP will release on May 3rd, 2021 and is available for pre-order via the band's Bandcamp page. Additionally, cassettes will be released via Eihwaz Recordings.