EPK – Neolia – Self-Titled (2023)
Publicist – Jon Asher – jon[@]ashermediarealtions[.]com
“We feel as if this album has traveled a lifetime with us, and being able to see it being published in… is amazing in itself and an honor for us as individuals and as a band. Being able to shine a light and allowing others to see, hear, and feel what we feel in this elaborate vision is in itself a blessing and it is what keeps us going. We’ve been described as Incubus meets Tool and Deftones in a bar and they start talking about how they love Sikth and being published in … Seems like the best place for such a mix that allows listeners to meet and get inspired. We wanted to allow new emotions and new subjects that we had felt were not given the proper attention, such as child neglection, mental illnesses, personal family issues, torture and more to be given the option to be approached from a perspective of a fictional story in order for people to be able to connect to the complexity of the lyrics more easily. The story in its simplicity reflects the struggles of a boy named Alex, after experiencing the death of his mother, and being left behind by his father, along with feelings of shame, guilt, and anger that he is unable to let go of.
Although this is a concept album, each track presents its own unique characteristics and expresses a variety of styles and musical ideas that are derived from world music, jazz, and electronic at times. The album also incorporates different interludes some atmospheric and some piano based adding more emotional layers and subcontext to the mood changes in the album. It was definitely intended to feel artistic in its nature and even send a message of freedom in its structures and general atmosphere.” – Neolia
For fans of The Mars Volta, Sikth, Mudvayne, TOOL, Snarky Puppy.
Album Title: Self-Titled
Release Date: May 5, 2023
Distribution: CD Baby
Neoliaband.com | Facebook.com/neoliaband | Instagram.com/neoliaband | Youtube.com/neoliaband | Soundcloud.com/neoliaband
Neolia.bandcamp.com | Apple Music | Spotify
“It’s as if Ben’s screams had come straight out of hell tearing the skies in all directions” – Metalist Magazine
“Filled with different time signatures, that incorporate beautiful melodic parts and screams that hit you directly in the center of the stomach” – Radio Ze Rock Magazin
[Download Album Cover | Download Album Lyrics]
Album Title: Self-Titled
Release Date: May 5, 2023
Distribution: CD Baby
1. The Shed – 3:44
2. The Shed outro – 0:52
3. Your prophecy – 7:44
4. Dance of violence – 7:10
5. Carried away – 5:49
6. Carried away outro – 1:24
7. Karma – 4:09
8. Karma outro – 0:44
9. Day in day out – 11:06
10. Anchors – 7:14
11. Rise and fall – 5:06
12. Blow the leaves – 7:02
13. A better version of you – 4:53
14. Refahim – 8:00
Album Length: 74:57
Album Recording Credits:
• All songs performed by: Neolia
• All songs written by:Neolia
• Produced by: Tomer Mash
• Mixed by: Yevgeny Levin and Idan Katz
• Mastered by: Howie Weinberg
Assistant mastering technician – Will Borza
• Album Artwork by: Amit Naamani
Members of: BMI and Acum
Album Recording Band Lineup:
Ben Reiss – Vocals
Tomer Mash – Bass, Guitars, Vocals Synth and percussions programing
Ron Minis – Guitars
Dror Goldstein – Drums and additional guitars
Shalev Neeman – Percussions
Ran Yerushalmi – Guest singer in ‘Karma’
Shahaf Ostfeld Franco – Mongolian singing – ‘Your prophecy’
Roy Weisglass – Flamenco guitar in ‘Your prophecy’
Yanai Habber Tzahor (RIP) – recorded some of the Lead
guitars in ‘Blow the leaves’
Carmel de Picciotto – B vocals – ‘Your prophecy’
And in ‘refahim’
Tamir Friedrich – Piano interludes
Amit Plaschkes – Lead guitars in ‘Karma’ – C part,
And lead guitars in ‘Truths pt.2’ – verse 2 and C part
Or “Coco” Maoz – B vocals – ‘Rise & Fall’
Live Band Lineup:
Ben Reiss – Lead vocals
Tomer Mash – Bass, Vocals
Guy Greenberg – Guitars
Inbar Davish – Guitars
Yair Ben Shalom – Drums
The album as a whole – Musically and Lyrically:
Musically the album is a reflection of years of soaking up music of different genres from Rock to Pop to world music and whatnot.
It’s a fusion of bits upon bits of pieces absorbed and processed and then spat out from a personal perspective.
In its musical aspect, it’s rock and metal based, but with a twist of African, Latin, Jazz, and ambient that reaches the spectrum of high and low, tender, extreme, and crazy.
The way the music combines with the lyrics is parallel in the sense that it doesn’t tell the story in a chronological way, but as a puzzle where the character reflects upon fractions of his life, from different phases.
We don’t know where the character ends up in his life, but we do know where he has been, and what he goes through in each place.
Each track gives us a glimpse into the character’s life and describes a certain scene, a thought process, or an emotional conflict from childhood to adulthood.
The character’s life starts pretty simple, and at the age of 6, he experiences his mother’s death, which casts a dark cloud upon his fate.
He gets shoved to the margins of society and follows a long and harsh way in search of purpose and communication with the people around him.
Track By Track:
The Shed –
The shed relates to a point in time when the main character (Alex) was around the age of 11-14 living on the streets and sleeping underground. Alongside other left-out kids, he managed to persuade them in following his path of rage the group becomes a teen gang that acts on their misfortune in life.
The song starts with a guitar duo followed by the main riff of the song that with each section progresses into different variations both rhythmic and harmonic but it is very clear to the ear that they have this common bond that holds them together.
The track has a pretty straightforward structure but still keeps a unique groove.
The energy reaches its peak at the very end of the song with an aggressive outro that collapses into a meditative percussion-based section.
Your Prophecy –
Your prophecy is originally a personal track to Tomer, describing the process of detachment of his father from his family and being isolated and less and less communicative as the years went by.
While the main character (Alex) experiences his mother’s death, whose circumstances remain unclear, his father starts avoiding him and so Alex imitates him and does the same and as time goes by things just start to get worse and they disappear from each other’s lives almost completely.
The title of the song is a moment of realization that the father’s actions project as a sort of prophecy that is something that he has become almost unable to overcome.
The song is inspired in parts from latin and gypsy music and it starts with a percussion intro followed by an electric guitar with a tremolo effect, and with a dance-like flow, the various parts continuously intensify rhythmically and dynamically eventually leading up into a dark and horrific interlude built from layers of Mongolian throat singing which transfers the listener into a Latin oriented Coda that becomes a sort of a track of its own.
Dance of violence –
The song’s lyrics are directly connected to the norm of Israel’s day to day life.
In our story, at the age of 18, Alex joins the army, but he doesn’t do it out of patriotism, but for his selfish need of acting out on his raging emotions. He becomes the commander of a vicious fighting team that worships him and follows his every word and leads them to death and destruction.
The music flows with the chaotic personality that is in constant change, switching through a spectrum of pure unaware anger and total exhaustion. The song doesn’t follow a specific structure though it does have its verse and chorus, but the second verse is a softer variation that leads to a vocal solo part, trying to give a sense of being as one with his inner beast during the battle moments, where the body sort of acts on itself.
The song tends to go through some sharp turns as it is a reflection of the roller-coaster of emotions that tends to overflow Alex’s mind. As we arrive at the coda section that suddenly switches from a 4/4 time signature to a 5/4. A final twist of events occurs as Alex decides to stop fighting and acts as the opposition while trying to drag the rest along with him.
This is a bitter, sweet memory, a sharp twist to a childhood memory from age 7. Being barely woken up, after fainting out repeatedly and passing out from rat-poison fumes that were sprayed throughout the house, Alex was experiencing hallucinations while being unconscious and imagining being at the same location where he found his mother dead while nature around him came to life in the form of a nightmare. But even within this horror show, while feeling scared, cold and alone he managed to take control and put up a fight.
The music starts gently and gradually. A fragile moment yet intense drops with a drum groove on the ride symbols paired with a dark and busy bass line that is being balanced by a tender choir section and guitars that contrast each other. Gradually the music intensifies and gets even darker reflecting an emotional spiral that reaches a certain climax after the second verse. After the last chorus, the song ends with vigorous unison of guitar and Synth lairs that drops
The song actually starts from the conclusion, that we are all temporary, and so our actions are also temporary, but it also plants seeds and affects our surroundings. Alex realizes he had been under the same ego trip as the people he had blamed for his misfortune and mistreatment. This criticism slowly throughout the song becomes self-pity and griff on the self, and instead of channeling these emotions to becoming better for himself and for others, Alex channels it into depression and self-hatred.
The music reflects the duality Alex holds, and builds up from this moment of clarity with an atmospheric reggae feel that drives you gradually into a fast and thrashy instrumental groove that drops at the verse. Although the song maintains its extreme energy while showcasing intensive changes in mood and tempo, it still maintains certain softer moments, the chorus is one of them. Throughout the track, the chorus increases in its energy up until the third and last one. The outro is stripped down into a piano only that uses the melody from the melody in a broken kind of way, desperately outlining the need to refuel energy and rest.
Day in day out –
This song gives you an inside glimpse of what happens when you don’t follow military protocol and undermine the sacred codes of the army and commit treason to the country. It tells Alex’s story in captivity by his own country, of being broken down into small pieces while kept isolated and frequently tortured and drugged for 6 months.
The main character could barely speak and his only companion was his inner voice.
He used to divide the people that came in and out as “demons and saints”, because every time after being beaten up, the “angels” would come and clean him up and keep him alive. It felt like an eternity inside but he accepted the punishment and did not resist as he knew that he deserved it.
The introduction for the song starts off with a soft and uncomfortable melody as it portrays an animal being captivated. Then the instrumental intro shifts into a raging explosion of aggression with a rhythmic riff that appears in the track repeatedly. Day in Day Out has other noticeable musical motives resembling its rhythmic and melodic elements. There are 3 unique moments in the song. One is the second verse, which is reflected musically with a dark and cold reggae- like feel with atmospheric guitars. The second one is the pre-chorus which has a mystic and slightly spiritual energy, and the third is the coda part that is based on an afrobeat drum and bass groove accompanied by the lead guitar melodies and vocal that are played in unison and are based on the ethiopian musical scale minor Bati. The song doesn’t quite end and the coda is drifting into an acapella part crafted by Ben Reiss representing the faze of madness the main character had reached.
This song contains some of Alex’s greatest revelations while dealing with his greatest demons and fears. As he returns to his home, and to his crumbling family and the absurd life that has become of it, he then decides to remove his burden by running away from his family and other remaining individuals that he has been carrying with him and so deeply loathes.
Anchors is an explosion of emotions and is packed with peaks and drops.
Throughout the first half of this song, there are two main musical ideas. The first idea is anchored by a guitar riff that comes in and out dynamically to reflect the hidden roots that bother Alex, throughout his journey. The second and main theme in the song is a five note melody that is played throughout the song in different variations and slowly steps farther from the starting point.
At the second half, the riff reaches a peak, breaks apart while exploding to a psychotic bridge that repeats ragingly and unbalanced.
Once the storm calms, and the song remains unchained to the riff, the song lifts up to an upbeat African Drum & Bass groove that deep down in its core, contains and accepts the DNA of the initial riff.
Rise and fall –
This song relates to the hardest point in time in Alex’s life, when first realizing he was alone at the age of 21. He tries to recreate his past steps and become a rage prophet. He starts his journey with a clear purpose to awaken the people that surround him about the false world they live in. Shortly after, Alex realizes he had been overlooked, and that no one believes him, and in fact they feel comfortable maintaining their current daily lives. In the midst of it all, Alex finds comfort in his depression, his demons reach out to him in his time of despair while reassuring him that he is where he needs to be.
The track starts off with a heavy groove intro, but it breaks once the verse enters with a drum & bass like groove basically stating the main characteristic nature of the song which is a sort of bi-polar feeling as the energy stretches back and forth in. The song contains some odd signature rhythms and polyrhythmic components and even leans into different genres.
Blow the leaves –
Is a deep dive into Alex’s imaginative journey inside a river that runs inside a big dark maze while drowning in a paralyzing sense of being defeated. His demons are hovering above him at all times up until the point he just ignores them completely.
As the journey evolves, Ales’s thoughts and conclusions get more and more complex and his pain and suffering intensify even more up until he can not handle it anymore and considers suicide but rather quickly regrets his thoughts and wishes to return to his path in life.
The music’s main theme starts at the very beginning as a dark polyrhythmic verse that transforms its energy building up and dropping down much like waves. The track slowly intensifies and reaches a heavy hardcore chorus building up into emotional catatonia that gradually decreases back into the main theme. The middle section is in ⅞ time signature and while it keeps a gentle feel it still maintains that uncomfortable feeling. The track shows various peaks, twists and turns and eventually arrives at the main theme again but in its most aggressive and hurting form.
A better version of you –
After a brutal journey, Alex manages to visualize a somewhat brighter horizon but he still carries with him his bag of self-pity, confusion and pain. Alex keeps wondering if only he could point the finger to what is inside him that keeps circling back to that big black hole inside him and wishes he could pull himself out of this state of mind and become better.
The track starts with an asymmetric guitar harmony that arrives at an explosion of screams and distortion dressed on an african style drum groove that keeps appearing in the the track acts as a motive. The track has rhythmical twists that lean on different ¾ patterns in most parts and a chorus that takes all the complexity and turns it into a slow motion dance with a flamenco like feel. The middle part of the song is a broken down section that has its own unique character and while being unpredictable and aggressive, it shows much vulnerability that exists despite the rage.
This final track is unique in this album, but not because it’s totally in Hebrew, moreover because at its core – Refahim is an improvisation experiment.
At the end of the last recording session Tomer reached out to Dror (the drummer that recorded the album), and told him to just play, whatever comes to mind.
At a later point Tomer filled the track with his interpretation, to this random yet mysterious rant, and passed it to Ben with the same amount of freedom, which made it as an opportunity to allow a glimpse into the future for Alex (in the narrative way), and also for the band, as a continuation for the vision of Neolia.
The lyrics to this song derived as an inhalation of the The book of Tao and presents a moment of clarity as we break our own chains of perceptions and lead our path towards new realms.
Fun Facts – Story Angles
1. Usually, before the show starts, Ben gives glowing paint to random people in the venue and encourages them to paint him. Sometimes people express skillfully tribal art or fractal themes, while others find the chance to write on Ben’s body, mathematical formulas or nonsense such as “Thug Life”.
2. Neolia tends to drift in their show to a jam session and also perform spiritual ceremonies. One time they even sat the whole audience for a meditation that shifted to a food sharing circle when Ben dropped a huge Watermelon on the floor, then started cutting it and passing it around amongst the audience.
3. Neolia went through a lot of hardships in its struggle to become. Two of them being the death of a previous singer that had just joined the band and after two months had a sudden heart failure at the age of 36. A second misfortune occurred after the previous guitarist (David) had decided to leave the country just before going into the studio. Searching didn’t take long and the band was thrilled to have found a replacement guitarist Yanai Haber Tzahor but 4 days after the first guitar session for the song ‘Blow the leaves’ Tomer had received a disturbing telephone call from Yanai’s girlfriend. She explained while crying that Yanai had just died from what seems to be a heart failure. These events had a tremendous effect on the band, but as painful and shocking as it was, the band felt like it was a part of their painful journey and that they needed to stay strong.
4. Some years ago, Neolia actually played a live set in an elementary school in front of 5th and 6th graders that were headbanging and moshpiting choo choo train style. Things started to escalate when they started playing a famous Israeli kids song in a versatile metal version, but the peak was while playing ‘Rise and Fall’. The show was documented but hasn’t been released to this day.
5. Neolia had made several acoustic shows during the years while replacing the drum set with different percussions. Because the music was very much inspired by world music, such as African music and Latin grooves and melodies, plus in some songs, percussions were recorded in the final album tracks, it was almost natural that it would arrive at this moment and also hold in a live situation. One time it was inevitable since a week before our show, the drummer had broken his hand and couldn’t play the set. So Ben grabbed the bongos and ended up singing and playing through the whole show while our drummer was smiling at us from the audience.
L-R: Neolia Current Line Up | Tomer Mash (Bass) | Yair Ben Shalom (Drums) | Ben Reiss (Vocals) | Guy Greenberg (Guitar) | Inbar Davish (Guitar)
Photo Credit – Avi Veldman
It all began on a bus, in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2008, when Tomer Mash, founder and bass player for Neolia shared with his close friend a story he had written. In the story, a little boy found his mother dead one day on his way to school with his friends and at that moment life changed.
His relationship with his father deteriorated and the feeling of alienation and detachment from his surroundings began. With his father not being present most of the time he then starts going outside the house and sleeps in the street, and slowly manages to find company that suits his need of projecting and lashing out his rage and frustration.
This story opened a door for the band to inject their personal ideas and reflect on humanity’s issues. Paired with a broad-shouldered and daring style that will challenge rock and metal listeners it was made possible for the music to pierce a hole that allows emotions to go deep inside.
A few years later, Tomer reconnected with his old friend and guitarist *Ron Minis and started gathering musical ideas. One day they heard the voice from upstairs, it was lead vocalist Ben Reiss. *Quickly the three gathered some local talents and in 2013 Neolia was formed.
In December of that year, the band started recording the album but things started to go south when the second guitar player David Nelband decided to move to a different country forcing the band to find a replacement guitarist, and so they found Yanai Haber Tzahor.
Yanai came to the rescue to help Tomer and Ron in the studio but four days later suddenly passed away at the age of 26. The song ‘Blow the leaves’ will forever carry his talented playing throughout the world.
In 2015 while the band was already playing gigs and local festivals the next challenge had arrived, and this time it was Ben’s father, who had severe cancer, so, the band took a step back. The next show in 2016 included a ceremony for his recently passed away father.
The same year while still self-producing the album, Ben was back in the game and had begun recording the vocals in the studio during which Neolia also recorded percussion and classic guitars.
The band finally finished recording and mixing in 2017 and the self-titled album ‘Neolia’ came to be. It was then sent to LA to be mastered by legend Howie Weinberg (Metallica, Pantera, Nirvana and many more) and 2018 held the final masters.
So what does the album sound like? Imagine you’re on a road that has different kinds of trees, and each tree grows in a different color and shape, and once you eat its fruit it’ll show you a scene of what reality is like from different perspectives, and what it will feel to walk in other’s path. In its musical aspect, it’s rock and metal base with a twist of African, Latin, and ambient that reaches the spectrum of high and low, tender and extreme, crazy and broken down to small bits. The lyrics are mostly based on a fictional story that describes a part of a life journey, and the hardships and mental struggles of the main character. The music in the album serves the emotion rather than the musician’s techniques but is still challenging and demanding. this speaks to you, you’re in the right place and you belong with us, and we will be there for you for as long as you choose.
In 2021, Neolia independently released 4 singles. ‘Rise and Fall’ (May 7th), ‘Blow the Leaves’ (June 18th), ‘ Your Prophecy’ (July 30th), and finally ‘Carried Away’ (September 3rd).
‘Carried Away’ is the most played so far on Spotify.
The self-titled album ‘Neolia’ is due to be released on May 5th 2023 almost 10 ten years after going into the studio to record drums.
In the meantime, Neolia’s members are planning live performance releases alongside other playthrough sessions that compliment already released singles and booking better and bigger shows with a clear vision of signing with a booking agency so they can start touring even in the summer of 2023.
Ben Reiss – Lead vocals
Tomer Mash – Bass, Vocals
Guy Greenberg – Guitars
Inbar Davish – Guitars
Yair Ben Shalom – Drums
Shared Stage with:
Walkways, Tatran, The Great Machine, Scalar, Obsidian Tide, Cyclops, Mokujin, MATRICIDE, Desert, Black Sachbak, Bzaat, WINTERHORDE, Laser Loyd, Reemot, Vergara, Yossi Sassi
Tours and Festivals:
The alternative collective Fest – Tel Aviv, Israel
2018 – Shablulim festival – Gamalia, Israel
2019 – Israel Tattoo convention – Tel Aviv, Israel
2020 – Bloody News Online fest – Online
2022 – Northern Heights Fest – Hagoshrim, Israel