Review – For All Tides – The Gate Between Life and Death (DEMO)

Profoundly Morbid Visions

Recently, I came upon a one-man German Black Metal project through Instagram named For All Tides. Immediately, I knew I was onto something special. Alex Stieben, a young man of seventeen years from Olpe, Germany, is the sole member of For All Tides. His demo, “The Gate between Life and Death” (which features the vocals of Arisas of the German Black Metal outfit Blatta on the track “Armageddon”), is a masterful work of Black art, reminiscent of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene.

His methodical use of chilling chord progressions and dynamic tremolo-picked guitar riffs is evoking of bands like Mayhem, Satyricon, Darkthrone, and Immortal. In fact, when I spoke to Alex on Instagram, he particularly cited Darkthrone as a big influence on this demo. In describing how each of these songs came to be, he said that he started by recording and playing several original riffs which he called “dirty riffs,” primitive, dark riffs which were meant to pay tribute to vintage Black Metal’s sinister nature.

His songs were created around these “dirty riffs”, and what I thought was amazing about these riffs is that they had so much life and texture to them— the riffs were raw in nature, yet quite progressive in structure, blending numerous notes within each moment and utilizing variations of enthralling melodies.

It sounded like a much more developed taste, compared to many recent Black Metal bands that are in pursuit of the same aesthetic. To any fan of early Norwegian Black Metal, news like this is exciting. However, what makes it more exciting is that Alex is incorporating more atmospheric elements as he progresses his sound in preparation for his upcoming album of the same name as his demo. He says this comes as a result of being more and more influenced by Burzum. When asked if he is going to tour as For All Tides, he stated that it would likely not happen this year, but it could happen in the future. All in all, Alex Stieben is making great music, and his debut full-length has a lot about which to be excited.