» Jacob Tyler Wright - Viathyn
« back

Interview conducted January 21 2015
Interview published January 27 2015

In the shadows of our wake, this past October, Calgary's ageless strangers - Viathyn - unleashed their sophomore gathering of souls: 'Cynosure'. The attitude of this Power Metal canvas paints a picturesque lattitude; a didactic guide for overcoming the lassitude of countless discordant aeons. Each song ignites a spark of energetic empathy, owing to its revered musicianship, enthralling lyrical diatribes, and precise vocal verisimilitude. All this allows for the listener to peregrinate through the aethers and discover his own true mettle.

I had the honor to speak with main song writer, and lyricist, the man of antiquity and geology: Jacob Tyler Wright all about the concept behind the album, the songs themselves, how the band came together, and other poignant art and facts of the petrichor and black reign. It is only a matter of time, before the music of Viathyn takes us all under her storm spell, casting us out three sheets to the wind.

MettleAngel: Hey Brother, I have really been enjoying 'Cynosure'. The musicianship is so professional, and the production values are top-notch for an independent release. I often listen to it when I sleep, and it helps me relax. When I play the CD with the lyrics, I instantly celebrate the vignettes, the mettle mythopoeia, and the clever concept over all. It is my understanding that a cynosure is a person or thing which finds itself to be the center of attention and focus.

Jacob: Yes, but that is a very text book definition. We are sort of creating our own explanation, and identification with the characters from the songs, and the concept overall. We have written nine songs which concentrate on both historical figures and fictional characters who gather together to discuss the future of the human race.

MettleAngel: Oh, so you mean like a cenacle of like-minded individual gathered for a noble cause?

Jacob: I suppose, but we are taking a more "tongue-in-cheek" approach to the subject.

MettleAngel: Then perhaps it is more like South Park and "The Super Best Friends"?

Jacob: I guess? The deal is the the human race considers ourselves to be so superior. We think we are the center of the universe, when it the grand scheme of things we are really quite insignificant.

MettleAngel: I agree with that. It reminds me of what the late George Carlin used to discuss in his stand-up act about our wanting to save Mother Earth, but allowing our egos to control our motives. After all it is: "All Bullshit folks, and it is all Bad for you!"

Jacob: Yeah, I agree with what he was alluding to with that rant. I am a geologlist, and I have always been fascinated with the earth ever since I saw "Jurassic Park" when I was younger. Originally I wanted to be a paleontologist, but later opted for Geology.

MettleAngel: Wow, how cool is that, a metal head who works with the earth's precious metals!

Jacob: Not quite, I am a petroleum geologist working in the exploration department of a South American oil company, but I still have that fascination.

MettleAngel: Well, you sure are quite an accomplished musician. Your guitar playing is exceptional and so magniloquent and mellifluent. Throughout the album, there are some keyboard elements surfacing, but no one of the four members is officially listed as being a keyboardist. Are the majority of the keyboard arrangements therefore performed by you?

Jacob: Thanks! I did have a hand in the keys, but Dave and Tomislav are much more proficient on that instrument than I am. They did the majority of the actual keyboard playing. The three of us collaborated to create the different layers and find the right notes to fit with the songs.

MettleAngel: Come to think of it, I did notice the quote on the back of the very colorful and highly detailed booklet which states that all noise effects and keyboard arrangements were haphazzardly thrown together by Dave, Tomislav, and yourself. Do you also have a hand in writing the lyrics?

Jacob: Yep, I wrote the lyrics for eight of the nine songs on the this one. There was a combination of inspiration and various life situations which allowed me to spend a lot of time writing the music. I ended up doing the majority of the compositions and arrangements of the music this time around as well.

MettleAngel: Damn, well you sure wrote and manifested an awesome album then!

Jacob: I wanted to create characters and stories with each song which would all come together as a whole. Our debut release: 'The Peregrine Way' was loosely focused on only a single made-up character, and I wanted to branch out with more characters this time.

MettleAngel: I really want to hear that debut on CD, I have heard and read very favorable things about it.

Jacob: I just had so many ideas in mind. "Ageless Stranger" is about Randall Flagg From Stephen King fiction. "Countess Of Discordia" is inspired by the Greek Goddess Of Chaos. "Albedo" comes from my fascination with alchemy.

MettleAngel: What about "Three Sheets To The Wind"? Hearing this I am reminded of Running Wild anthems, Maiden's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", Alestorm, and other seafaring shantees.

Jacob: "Three Sheets To The Wind" already sounded nautical in tone before the lyrics were written, so I wanted to make a sing-along drinking song that also had nautical themed lyrics. The term "three sheets to the wind" is commonly used to describe being really drunk, but the nautical origin of the term comes from untying your sails and drifting aimlessly in the sea. The combination of the two of those sounded perfect for a tongue-in-cheek drinking song.

MettleAngel: My step-father used to coin that phrase when he would refer to being inebriated so I instantly understood the reference and inference. I am also moved by the music and melodies of "Edward Mordrake". Have you ever seen the "Tales From The Crypt" Episode called "About Face" from the final Seventh Season. It was the tenth episode, when they moved the franchise to the UK. It dealt with women, but it was the same concept as the legendary Edward Mordrake, who supposedly was born with two faces.

Jacob: I did not know about that.

MettleAngel: Perhaps, this is where the term "two-faced" originated? I also detected a slight Edward Grieg "Hall Of The Mountain King" guitar riff in the musical notes of "The Coachman".

Jacob: Yeah, that was my bassist Alex Kot's idea, and suggestion. He himself is quite an accomplished guitarist in his own right, but we already have two.

MettleAngel: You can always emphasize the "Wall Of Sound". This is what bands like Maiden, Sinner, Leatherwolf, and other acts who employ three guitarists do? Are you yourself classically trained?

Jacob: I began playing on a classical guitar, but I studied all types of music from Blues to Jazz with a guy named Gary Wolfe. Early on, I was not sure of my musical direction. I was in a Punk band at age 12.

MettleAngel: So what made you want to write and play Metal?

Jacob: I began to listen to bands like Angra, Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica, etc. I just decided that I wanted to play like them.

MettleAngel: When I listen critically to the band, I definitely hear the Folk inclinations of the dynamic Danish act known as Wuthering Heights.

Jacob: Thank You! I am a big fan of them, and they are a big influence. When I first heard 'Far From The Madding Crowd', I knew this was the type of music I wanted to emulate.

MettleAngel: That was the album that had the instrumental "Bad Hobbits Die Hard". When I listen to the album, I also hear a propensity for Nostradameus - 'The Third Prophecy', Steel Attack - 'Predator Of The Empire', and a slight proclivity towards Angra - 'Rebirth' and 'Temple Of Shadows'.

Jacob: Thank You! At NAMM, I actually recieved some guitar tutelage from Rafael Bittencourt.

MettleAngel: I also detect that late 90's Stratovarius, Gamma Ray, Celesty, Nightwish, and Bodom sound echoing. Are you or your other guitarist and vocalist Tomislav Crnkovic at all influenced by Into Eternity? When I play the CD I hear certain growls here and there, similar to releases such as 'Buried In Oblivion' or 'The Scattering Of Ashes'.

Jacob: Tomislav and I are both casual listeners of Into Eternity, but I do not think they have been a direct influence on our songwriting. I am buddies with their current vocalist Amanda Kiernan, and drummer Bryan Newberry, though. The growls on the album were actually performed by a guest vocalist named Sean Jenkins. He is the singer for a Calgary-based Tech-Death Metal band called Divinity.

MettleAngel: I may have heard them? I was not aware that Into Eternity even had a female vocalist to replace Stu when he left to join Iced Earth. I aslo did not know that Matt Cuthbertson from Untimely Demise was playing with them. I am excited to hear what new music they plan to fashion.

Jacob: I have special respect for Tim Roth for his guitar skills, but I only met him briefly when we played together at Calgary Metalfest in 2013.

MettleAngel: I first met him when Tim "Ripper" Owens was fronting Iced Earth, when they were the openers for the tour with Evergrey. I saw them several times thereafter. I always appreciated Tim's guitar style as well.

Jacob: The reason this band came together was because of our love for several of the bands already mentioned. It is a funny story how I got my job teaching guitar, and how I came to meet Tomislav. He overheard me playing the solo to "Wolf And Raven" by Sonata Arctica, and got me a job teaching guitar at the store. We instantly connected due to our taste in music, became friends, and eventually started the band within a few months.

MettleAngel: It is my understanding that you coined the name Viathyn, as a play on the Leviathan.

Jacob: We originally were going to call ourselves Veritas, which is Latin for "Truth", but realized that the name was taken. We still wanted a name that began with the letter "V", and we love sea monsters, so Viathyn just seemed to fit.

MettleAngel: I agree, it serves its purpose and almost feels like a real name when it rolls off the tongue; it is pithy, clever, and incisive.

Jacob: We wanted it to be simple, memorable, and only three syllables. Also when you Google us, the name appears right away, which really helps.

MettleAngel: I bet, I have that advantage with the band with whom I work called The Porridgeface, as well. Brother, thank you so much for your time, and for creating a truly exilerating album,

Jacob: Thank You so much for the support. I am very grateful for guys such as yourself who care about Metal and music. I truly appreciate your support, and the level of research you underwent to provide proper exposure to the smaller bands, such as ourselves.

MettleAngel: Honestly, it is truly my pleasure to promote and honor such exceptional talent. So many bands get such exposure that really, in my opinion, are just not too talented. When I hear Viathyn, I am truly celebrating the moribund dance of eternity.

Related links: