The Tale Untold

Four musicians stand under a fort made of blankets and tapestries with three strands of exposed lightbulbs dangling overhead. Another woman sits behind a drum set, her sticks held at the ready, black paint chipped off from use. She starts up a fast, deep rhythm. The lead singer holds a microphone in her hand, her fingernails decorated with the same chipped black varnish. She brings the mic to her lips and begins a surprisingly low-pitched metal growl. This is The Tale Untold at work, creating a video for its new single.

Omaha metal band The Tale Untold will release its single “I Like It” on Feb. 26. Lead singer Eliss Hall, lead guitarist Jon Frost, rhythm guitarist Jack Akiki, bassist Brandon Mitzel and drummer Ashlee Boyce agreed the new track will have a lighter tone compared to the band’s former tunes.

Frost, who writes music for the band, said the new song has an industrial sound with hard rock riffs and EDM elements mixed in.

“When I wrote this song, I wanted to create something that the crowd would vibe to, but I also wanted to create something a little bit different than what we had done before,” Frost said. “It’s very simple stylistic-wise and just has a lot of post-production effects that are thrown into it. The thing that turns it metal, honestly, is the vocals, because without that I’m not sure it would be considered that heavy.”

Hall, who wrote the lyrics for “I Like It,” said the song has more clean vocals than their usual stuff  — not as much of the screaming and growling that characterizes metal — and is meant to have a sexy feel to it.

“The lyrics that I wrote and the melody that I wrote is kind of like when you meet someone, and it’s just that initial excitement,” she said. “That’s kind of what the song reflects.”

The music video for “I Like It” will be released a week after the song, on March 5. Boyce, Akiki and Hall set up a fort background and lights in Boyce’s basement to give the video a boho tent vibe to match the song. Gage Hanson — an Omaha musician and photographer — directed the video.

“The eye that he has for music videos is very knowledgeable,” Hall said. “He knows what’s going to look good. He knows how to shoot them. He knows how to edit them. The night we shot that music video, he did it in I think four hours tops, maybe three hours, and he had our first edit back to us that night.”

Hall said he’s excited to see how The Tale Untold’s current fanbase will accept the track, seeing as it’s so different from their usual sound. But according to Frost, the new tune isn’t a total diversion from the metal of their past.

“It still has certain really, really heavy elements in there,” Frost said. “There’s definitely a break down. It’s still got stuff for people who like to throw down in a mosh pit. It hasn’t lost that raw metal feel.”

In case the fans don’t like the lighter track, The Tale Untold recorded two more traditionally metal songs along with “I Like It” at All Poetic Audio in South Dakota. Those tracks will be released about a month apart — one at the end of March and the other toward the end of April or beginning of May. These two tracks and “I Like It” all have different sounds, according to Akiki, who said the band kept its options open as far as style goes.

“We didn’t start the band with a specific genre,” Akiki said. “Metal was our specific genre, but the post-core, metalcore, whatever, all those subgenres, we didn’t classify a subgenre of anything specifically so we could keep our horizons broad and appeal to a wider audience.”

The band members haven’t planned a release event for “I Like It” or any of the other new tracks, but Frost said they’re trying to stay relevant as COVID-19 halts live shows, like the ones they would play at The Waiting Room in Omaha. Before the pandemic, a new single would get added to the band’s set list and played live, but now the only way to put out new material and media is on the internet.

Of course, like most musicians, Boyce is excited to get back on stage and add “I Like It” to their set list, which has grown by nearly 40 songs since the pandemic started.

“It’s gonna be a fun one,” Boyce said. “It’s fun to play, it’s fun to listen to and it’ll be fun at a live show.”

When those shows start back up, Hall hopes her female vocals don’t push away new fans who like the traditionally male-led genre.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, which is fine,” Hall said. “But for the most part, it’s been very accepting and very encouraging. It’s rare that we have someone slam us for being chicks.”

Boyce said she hopes the love of metal is greater than gender barriers, both on and off stage.

“I just love being on stage,” she said. “We have fun together, we do our thing, and when I see people moshing and getting into it, that’s just such a rewarding thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re female or male, we’re up here rocking out, the crowd’s vibing with us and moshing and going all out. It’s an amazing feeling.”

culture@dailynebraskan.com