Profile: Anthony ‘Snake’ O’ Shea of Tides Of Sulfur

Tides Of Sulfur
Tides Of Sulfur

Tides Of Sulfur formed back in 2011 and ever since 2013 the band has been quite busy with a handful of quick hitter releases. But this year their debut full length Extinction Curse dropped and stands as an extremely bold, in your face manifesto of doom, death, and sludge that rivals label mates Conan as far as heaviness is concerned. However, the way this band strings together crushing riffs, clean guitar passages, and the ferocity of a black metal behemoth, one might say Tides Of Sulfur usurp Conan as a complete package. Big words for sure but one listen to Extinction Curse will add brevity to that statement. We recently had the chance to ask guitarist Anthony ‘Snake’ O’ Shea some questions, so find out what he had to say after the jump.

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?

It’s hard to be into this kind of music and not play it. We’d all been in numerous bands before Tides; me and Bull (Chris Bull, vocals and bass) have been in bands for about a decade and a half and ever since the first band, we’ve had a very similar vision musically. This is the only incarnation of this that has legs but we always struggled with drummers, be it lack of commitment/drive/talent/musical taste and so on. We were lucky enough to find ourselves drummerless pretty early on which meant our paths crossed with Tom (Tom Lee, drums) and we’ve just gone from strength to strength ever since. As far as success goes, we never thought it would even get this far. We are so stoked that we’ve actually got a proper full album recorded! Hopefully we will continue along this path and see where it goes.

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.

We’ve never really had to, to be honest. We’ve been good friends with people in the south Wales scene for ages and everyone sorts everyone else out, haha. To be honest that extends as far as we’ve travelled in regards to the heavy underground community, like one big group of friends. For me, the most embarrassing moment in this band was our complete failure at a gig. We played a Black Sabbath tribute show with a bunch of other local bands playing covers of Sabbath songs. Our then drummer (not Tom) was struggling with the songs at practices but we thought ‘Fuck it! What’s the worst that can happen?’ turns out, the worst thing that can happen is all the drums going to shit, then us all playing different songs at the same time, the mics failing, followed by the kit dismantling itself mid song. It was fucking horrible. The fact that Tom’s other band (H O M O H) were playing that same night and watched the entire show still amazes me as he was still interested in joining the band.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

There’s loads of cool things going on in metal at the moment and in heavy music in general. I don’t really care for the bigger stuff going on but the underground is swarming with cool shit. You just have to do a little digging. I mean I could spend the rest of the interview just firing names at you. I can only really comment on our local scene but I’ve been reliably informed by numerous bands all around the country that it’s exactly the same. I think the only bad thing with some scenes is the exclusion of certain genres as they don’t fit a certain mold. I can honestly say that’s not the case in south Wales. We’ve played with all kinds of bands who are all awesome, from grindcore bands like the Judas Cradle to death core bands like The Dweller to punk bands like Gung-Ho and Pizzatramp  to groovy blues rock bands such as Gulah etc. And there was me saying I wouldn’t drop names…

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).

There’s a lot of stuff out there that just boils our piss, music is a great outlet for that, playing and listening. I think it’s great that people are more open about giving opinions on stuff. For us, political corruption and religious indoctrination are things that infuriate us and this trickles into the songs. I could write entire albums on this current government and the endless stream of lies coupled with the unrelenting torrent of shit they’ve bestowed on the working class of this country. Nothing cleanses me more than a massive outlet of hate. Some proper vitriol and then you’re good again to get on with your everyday life before it builds again and you continue the cycle.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

I first got into stuff like the Deftones and Seputura and the like but didn’t really get into what I would class as proper metal until I bought ‘Divine Intervention’ and ‘Undisputed Attitude’ by a band I’d never heard of at that point; Slayer. There was no looking back. I was in a punk band with Bull shortly after and was outnumbered by punks 3 to 1 so I gave him ‘Undisputed Attitude’. He was blown away and each time we’ve worked on something together it’s gotten heavier and heavier.

What’s the stickiest you have ever been?

That night I spent with your mum! Ha ha!

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

Just to keep up the good work really. It’s tough getting your name out there and having a helping hand from guys like yourselves is always welcomed.

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

We’ve all got day jobs, you kinda have to in this kind of band. If you are looking for fame and fortune this ain’t the way! We plan on playing the music we get a kick out of to like minded people in as many places, as far away from home as we can.

Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

We do listen to all kinds to be fair, whatever takes our fancy at any given time. We quite like the sombre, acoustic stuff like Dax Riggs. I know the boys are big fans of old school Hip Hop. Makes great driving music on out of towners!

Tides Of Sulfur - Extinction Curse

Thanks to Anthony for his time!


Extinction Curse is available now on Black Bow Records. For more information on Tides Of Sulfur visit their Facebook page.

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