“Hooked. Blindsided. Washed. Clean.” A perfect description of how you’ll feel after listening to Collapse, the latest EP from Dawlish/Plymouth-based math/noise outfit Tendrils and the first to feature Helpless frontman Dan Couch as a fully-fledged band member. Suffused with the boundless, breathless energy and jagged, needle-sharp guitar-work of the likes of Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan, early Converge and Gaza, breakneck riffs backed by a stuttering drum powerhouse are the name of the game.
First slithering onto the scene with their 2013 debut EP Dregs, the then-trio wasted no time in following up with 2015’s short and sharp Verse EP, all the while cutting their teeth sharing stages with acts including Employed To Serve, Fall Of Messiah, Monolithian and Irk.
As big fans of the band, Astral Noize Records agreed to put out Collapse earlier this year. Now that the release has been available for over a month, we decided to delve into the influences behind it with the band members themselves. Scroll on to see a selection of songs that inspired them.
The Chariot – Back To Back
Chosen not because my heart or my head told me to, but because of its acute and immediate impact on my central nervous system. From the assault of the screams and vicious stabs (which only later seem more like the efforts of a concerned passer-by trying to wake you with a sharp stick from your unwitting nap in a lion enclosure) to the very first lyric, “this is the last chance you got!” – The Chariot hitting you right in the primeval soft spot.
Converge – Dead Beat
So this is basically my idea of beauty. Like a sweet massage to my brain. It warms me like the sun on a grassy hill. Sure, I’ll probably leave the hill decimated or damaged in some way by my odorous presence, according to the vocals. Dead beat.
Fantômas Melvins Big Band – Page 3, Electric Long Thin Wire
Fantômas basically throw song structure and words out the window and say “screw it, let’s do anything.” Check out the crazy electric wire dude at the end in his Sunday best.
Botch – Saint Matthew Returns To The Womb
Botch are kind of the pioneers of being careless messy punk but retaining a sense of technicality. Rad video as well.
Converge – Vengeance
It took me a little while to get into Converge. I didn’t like them at all at first but when it clicked, it was a game changer and still continues to influence my approach to aggressive music and how it should be done. Ben Kollers’ drumming is another level and seeing this track live up-close was inspired. 58 seconds of ferocity. Gets me right in the aggro feels every time.
Every Time I Die – Bored Stiff
Saw these guys play in Exeter back in ‘06 I think. I’d never really heard of the band as I was listening to a lot of straight-up metal at the time. When ETID came on, I’d never seen a band smash it out with that much energy – it was a massive schooling in how to play a show and bang your songs out like you mean it. Pretty much changed my musical direction and what to expect from a live band after that. When this song and that line dropped the place blew up. “HEY THERE. GIRLS. I’M A CUNT!”
Gaza – He Is Never coming Back
Clearly my biggest influence vocally. This song was my main point of reference when we started writing the track ‘Husk’, though the vocal pattern had already been established by Steve, as this was one of the first tracks we worked on when I joined the band last year. Gaza capture that sort of “end of the world” sound in this song particularly and I wanted to replicate that feeling. I also love the production (or lack of) on this album. It was Gaza at their most organic.
Pyrrhon – Sleeper Agent
The first track I worked on before even getting into the practice room with the guys, was the song ‘Bastards’, which I rehearsed on my own to a demo Steve had sent me. I tried out a few different vocal styles as I didn’t want to encroach on the Helpless territory too much. I had a vocal pattern in my head in the style of Doug from Pyrrhon and it turned into its own thing from there. Pyrrhon are such a weird band and Doug has one of the most scathing, throaty screams I’ve ever heard and I wanted to inject that sort of venom into that song.