THE MOTH GATHERER

Before I got sent the latest record by THE MOTH GATHERER I had not heard of them. As I wanted to know more about them an interview was in place. Interview answered by Alex. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

OK, could you please introduce yourself to those that might not be too familiar with your guys?
-The Moth Gatherer was formed back in 2008 morse or less as a project. Me and Victor just felt that we wanted to write music. Both of us had been through some life altering events so The Moth Gatherer became like therapy. And in 2010 we began to write and record what was to become our debut “A Bright Celestial Light”. And here we are now.

What would you say has been your greatest influences/inspirations in starting the band?
-Musically the biggest inspirations is probably Breach, Neurosis and Cult of Luna. But since we began due to losing people we love to cancer, I would have to say that our biggest influence is life itself.

Now that you are on your way, so to say, what has been the greatest trip so far?
-It has been many great trips with this album, just finishing it after working on it for two years felt great. To have Agonias support behind us and all the things they have done for us is also amazing. But I must say that the biggest ride of them all has been the amazing support and feedback we have got from all over the world. So thank you!

You seem to go down well with the critics but how do you take a positive review to mean something in real life? How hard do you work to get the band noticed?
-Of course we become happy when we read a good review! It means that all the work we put in this record actually means something for other people too, and that feels great! We work with what we got, twitter, facebook etc. Since there is only two of us, it’s quite hard to play live. It’s a huge process to bring The Moth Gatherer to a stage, but if we get a good offer we will come through and bring this beast to s stage. But at the moment we just enjoy this awesome ride! And sooner or later we will start to write a follow up.

Now that the album is out how pleased are you with it? How is it to live with it knowing that it’ll be there forever?
-I’m actually really pleased. Of course there are some things that you wanna change, but I think that you will never be 100% satisfied with an album you make, there will always be things. But overall I stand behind our debut and will do, forever. I wanna thank SCG for the superb artwork! Karl Daniel Lidén for the explosive master and last but not least Member 01 from The Konsortium. It’s thanks to them the album turned out this way so I won’t regret it!

When you are about to enter a studio to record how well have you researched the place? How well prepared are you and how willing are you to compromise with your art?
-Victor has his own studio so we use that one. It sounds good and it’s free! Most of the time we are not prepared at all, we just meet and jam. It’s a great creative space to write together, but since we’re writing in the moment the process of recording a song takes much longer.
We are always bickering when we are writing, I want it to sound one way and Victor has another idea, but in the end we end up with a song that both of us can stand behind. But we would compromise our sound in order to sell more albums or something like that. We do it our way and if people like it that is great!

When you pick an album title, with what kind of intentions do you do so? Is it important that it’s a catchy title or is it more of a declaration of intent?
-I would say that it is more of a declaration of intent. Since this album is about death, losing hope and trying to find a way back, we felt that the title “A Bright Celestial Light” was a good title on many planes. The rumour goes that when you die you see a bright light. Also, the moth always searches for a celestial light. And it is just irony, since the music is more or less black. Those are some of the reasons behind the title to our debut. If you guys have any other theory you are welcome to share it with us!

Are the colours of the cover important to draw people to it? Would bright orange or pink be instant death for the album?
-Yeah, the colours are important, at least for me. It’s something that draws attention to the album. The colours and good artwork. I have many albums with extreme colours that are great. I would almost say that I would prefer a bright cover than a black. But it depends on the rest of the artwork. A dark cover can look amazing, like our labelmates Kongh latest, and a dark cover can look butt ugly, like many extreme metal bands. So I would say that it comes down to how they use the colours with the artwork.

Does the lyrics have to match the music? What kind of lyrics are best suited to your music?
-The lyrics are as important as the music to me, so they are fitting the mood and sometimes even sets the mood to the song.
Our lyrics are very introvert and I hope that they give every listener their own meaning. I know what I feel when I hear them, but that mean that you feel the same.
On this album the lyrics are centered around cancer, losing someone, losing hope and wanting to find a way back. It fits this album since it is what we needed to write about.
All I can say now is that the next album won’t have the same theme. But the lyrics will still be introvert and atmospheric.

What would you like to see the future carry for you?
-If I get to wish I would say that I hope that the future brings another album I’m proud of and some great gigs at various festivals around the world!

OPHIS

Funeral doom? It is just not enough to play slow, you gotta play ultra slow too. Where will it end? Not that I mind though. German OPHIS is a fine example of how to do it well. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

I have to say that I knew nothing about OPHIS before. What have you to say to all those of us not familiar with you guys?
-I don’t want to convince anyone with words, only with music. To those who never heard us before (shame on you by the way, haha) I’d say, if you have a passion for slow maelstrom-like music that expresses depression and hatred all together, give OPHIS a try. We never cared much for image, attitude, hipness or commercial success, just for honest musical bleakness from within ourselves. If you find that interesting, give it a spin. If you can not stand slow, ugly, minimalistic, heavy music or if you need your Doom Metal to be colourful and marijuana-driven, then don’t bother. In that case, OPHIS won’t work for you.

You have released a couple of albums and a MCD before this re-release package that is “Effigies Of Desolation” package. What kind of following have you built on those records?
-The MCD did originally not do that much. It put us on the scene for the first time and helped us to secure some gigs, which in turn helped to establish the band a little in Germany. Our kind of Doom Metal was on a complete low regarding popularity back then, and the distribution of the records was not the best. But there were some people who missed the good old Death / Doom Metal, and they were happy to find us, as almost no one else did that kind of music in Germany back then. When we released the “Stream of Misery” album in 2007, Doom was a little more popular, and we gathered some following among Doomheads. The album also helped us to play our first European tour, which gave us a solid standing. When we released “Withered Shades” in 2010, we finally established ourselves in the scene.

Why have you agreed to let Cyclone Empire rerelease these records? What do they mean to you today?
-Well, why shouldn’t we agree to the re-release? Both records were out of print, so it was very difficult for newer fans to buy them. And there was still a demand, so we agreed. We did not want to do a simple repressing, though. We wanted both records to be put together, as a sort of compilation, a retrospective on our early days. This is why we gave it an own name and artwork. Today, we are still happy with those old records, but of course there are some things we do differently now. Especially when it comes to production-terms. But they are like old photos, and they still mean a lot to us.

What is funeral doom really to you? How would you define the sound of a funeral doom band and how does it differ from traditional doom?
-Let me put first, that I don’t think OPHIS plays Funeral Doom. Especially not on those old records (our newer stuff is a bit closer to Funeral Doom, but still not completely). Of course, it is all a matter of perspective, but we label our music simply Death-Doom Metal. Funeral Doom is very elegic, hymnic, almost lethargic and well.. funeral-like. There are only a few bands which I would really call Funeral Doom: SKEPTICISM, THERGOTHON, WORMPHLEGM, SHAPE OF DESPAIR and a few more… there is no aggression left in Funeral Doom, there is only apathy and despair. OPHIS has apathy and despair as well, but we also have some rather aggressive aspects in the music, I think. This is just my personal view, of course when you see it differently, I wouldn’t call you wrong.

With this rerelease is that to be seen as a new start for the band or should we consider it an epitaph of a band that is no more?
-No, none of that. As I said, it is just some retrospective. After 12 years, a band can do that, I think. It is not a new start, because we just keep going on since the beginning. And it is not an epitaph, we are writing for our next album currently!

If you look back at the band from the time you started to where you are at now how would you like to describe that journey?
-Long, difficult, but extremely rewarding. For every bit of success we ever had, we had to work very hard. But I don’t mean this bitterly or like “look how tough we are, we’re martyrs”. It makes me glad that it was hard work, because bands that have it easy lose their original goal very often. And it made the whole thing interesting. We had some very great times on tour and in the studio, and also some very bad ones. That made me appreciate the good ones much more, and so there was always a motivation to keep going and getting better (hopefully).

Have you as a band developed an aesthetic that is uniquely yours? How have you developed a sound that is all yours? What influences have been the most important to you guys?
-I try not to think too much about our influences, because if you do that too much, they become obvious and reflected, and therefor lose their natural aspect. We get inspiration from many different bands and artists from both Doom and Death Metal, especially from the old-school section and the early 90s.
As far as our distinct sound goes, of course we try to develop a certain feeling that is typically OPHIS. I think over the years I developed some certain style in creating melodies, some sort of handwriting.
If we succeeded in this, it is up to the listeners to decide. Concerning the sound, we do not use modern, ultra-expensive equipment. And also no even more expensive retro-equipment, we just use middle class gear that we adjust properly to get a sound that is raw but still clear.

When you play as slow as you guys do what part does lyrics play? How do you fit them in?
-The lyrics are quite important. Of course, the music comes first, but I consider the lyrics as the chance to express yourself with an additional dimension than with just music, and I see them as a chance to enhance the atmosphere of the music even more. So I always try to use this chance and work hard on my lyrics. We work on the music first. While we do, I make some notes and collect some ideas, you know, single lines or metaphors I want to use. But the final lyrics are written after the song is finished, so I can adjust them to the atmosphere of the song and get the vocal arrangement right.

With funeral doom come death. How important has the look of the band been? How important has art work and promo shoots been to look the right way?
-Well, this is indeed an important aspect, but I have to admit that I never had much talent in optical styles and never a good sense for art. That’s why we usually let some proper artist do that work. But we care about having artworks who do not look like everything else. You know, all those photoshop collages who are all in the same style. I am pretty sick of those. Our music is raw and bleak. And we want that reflected in the artworks. So they tend to be a bit minimalistic too.

Is there a future?
-A future for you: I hope so.
A future for OPHIS: I think so.
A future for mankind: I doubt it.

PEST

PEST is one of the longest running Swedish black metal bands in modern time. If you haven’t checked them out already time is now. Answers by Equimanthorn. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

You guys have been going for what seems like an eternity now. How would you like to say that the progress of the band has matched your intentions from the beginning?
-We have constantly become worse with every year passed so everything is going according to plan.

How annoying is it when there are other bands named like yours? How do you avoid that the other bands reap the fruit of your hard labour, especially if they suck badly?
-Perhaps more annoying for them since they’ve all split up by now. If someone reap the rotten fruits of our labour I can only congratulate. Most Pest fans probably know which Pest they are listening to, and if they don’t they are probably as happy as ever anyway!

You have a new album to promote. How would you say that this one fits on the progression scale of PEST?
-It fits like a noose around the neck. We have developed a more varied style of playing during the years and there’s an aura of Heavy Metal hanging over the music nowadays. It’s still obscure and evil but we let certain elements shine through more than ever, even if they are not considered orthodox within the “Black Metal scene”.

When you are about to enter a studio how do you know that the producer you’ll be using will get you the sound that you want? What do you do if you come out with an album that sounds nothing like the way you want it to sound?
-If the sound isn´t good enough you probably have to start over from the beginning. But to avoid this we make sure we work with people who know what they are doing. This time we were aiming for an early 80´s Heavy Metal production and we got close enough. Fred Estby made a really good job I think.

How important is the way the cover to your albums look? Do you have a message that you want to get through with your art work?
-To us who grew up with music on vinyl the covers are very important. I mean, if you´re in a record store and you see Destruction´s “Infernal Overkill” for the first time you´ll automatically buy it because you think if the music is half as good as the cover it’s still better than anything else. Then you come home and put the needle to the record and you realize it is better than anything else. Same with “The Crowning Horror” I hope! But to the new generation who are happy with having the music as mp3´s among their other one million mp3´s on their computer it probably doesn´t mean shit.

What kind of role do the lyrics play in the concept of PEST? How important are they?
-They play a great role. It´s the unholy unity between the music and the lyrics that creates the sound of PEST.

Would you say that your black metal is more true than the symphonic kind for example? When did black metal become a myriad of styles? What is black metal to you?
-Don´t know who is more true than the other, but I would definitely say our music is better! I didn´t know Black Metal is a myriad of styles, in my world there are two kinds: the great kind and the worthless kind. My advice is that you pay less attention to the second alternative.. Black Metal to me is the first Bathory album, when it comes to genuine Black Metal this one is unbeatable.

What kind of state is the Swedish black metal scene in today? How much of a scene is there really?
-There are a bunch of active bands that I know of. The most important is Nifelheim, who still keep an incredibly high level.

How much a touring entity is PEST? What kind of live show do you put on?
We don’t play live, so we don’t have to bother about this.

What kind of future would you like to see?
-Darkest possible.

BEYOND MORTAL DREAMS “Dreaming Death”

BEYOND MORTAL DREAMS
“Dreaming Death”
(Lavadome)
This band I remember from a package that I was sent many years ago from Australia. If you browse the archive section of the site you might find a review of it. I can’t say that I remember too much of the music but I’m not the one to give up that easy. Aussie extreme metal has for a very long time been some of the best. Thing Destroyer 666, think Angel Of Death, think SlaughterLord. BEYOND MORTAL DREAMS are no exception. From the first note I was caught in the web that this band weaves. What I like about BMD is that they incorporate traditional heavy metal in their extreme metal sound. It makes for a change to actually hear a guitar solo or two. I never thought I’d miss solos but I do. As for the rest of this album. If you like acts like Incantation or any other heavy and murky death metal acts then this is for you. Well, it is enough if you just like your metal extreme to pick up this album. Anders Ekdahl

BLACK OATH “Ov Qliphoth And Darkness”

BLACK OATH
“Ov Qliphoth And Darkness”
(I Hate)
I get a doom vibe from the name alone. I have no idea how true it will turn out to be but based on what label it is that is releasing this we can at least expect it to be heavy. There is something to the band name that seems vaguely familiar. I can’t put my finger on what it is yet but I guess time will tell if I’ll be able to figure it out. In the meantime I’ll stick to the music. I love doom metal. Have done so ever since Candlemass debut album in the 80s. I could live on doom alone for a long time. Unfortunately doom albums don’t come along that often but when they do they seem to come in pairs of plenty. BLACK OATH have an early Trouble feel to their doom. There is a loose 70s feel to the music. I love early Trouble. I still haven’t figured out why they seemed so familiar to me but that is not so important. I’ll just settle for some good doom metal. Anders Ekdahl

BORNBROKEN “The Healing Powers Of Hate”

BORNBROKEN
“The Healing Powers Of Hate”
(-)
In many ways I miss never having had the chance to be a part of a band. But in as many ways I’m glad that I am not. I think I’d be a pain in the ass to work with seeing as opinionated I am. I have a ton of ideas that I would have forced onto others. Not that I would necessarily have been right and the band would have broken up before we’d ever started. Don’t know about the future of BORNBROKEN but they have at least managed to produce an album. I was never that into Pantera. I’m sorry to say this but I thought that they were too American in their sound. But listening to BORNBROKEN I can hear the influence they have had on metal. This is Pantera-heavy thrashy metal. You could say that there is a modern metalcore touch to it too. This is thick as the London fog in sound. You need a big mother of a knife to cut throw it. But there is a charm to BORNBROKEN’s thrash metal that appeals to me. Somehow I can’t put this album down. It’s too good to be slagged off. Anders Ekdahl

DEATHEMBER FLOWER “Architect”

DEATHEMBER FLOWER
“Architect”
(Metalscrap)
This gotta be one of the better band names that I’ve come upon in a very long time. The band must have thought long and hard to come up with the name. Not only does it look cool but it also kinda hints at what to expect from this musically. I’m not gonna say that every female growler sounds like Angela Gossow because that is not true but I do get an Arch Enemy feel from this band’s music. Perhaps not by fave band of all time I can still enjoy an Arch Enemy album to its fullest. This is death metal in that same kind of mid tempo section. Not fast and brutal like Incantation or melodic like In Flames but somewhere in between. If you have no problem with the tempo then this will most likely appeal to you, like it does to me. There is a charm to this album that is hard to resist. Another fine example of the Metalscrap catalogue. Anders Ekdahl

ECHOTIME “Genuine”

ECHOTIME
“Genuine”
(logic(il)logic)
To me ECHOTIME is all the time. There is no specific part of the clock set aside for the echo. You just throw it out whenever you feel like it. Hopefully I’ll feel that same about ECHOTIME’s music. That this is the kind of music that you can listen to whenever you feel like it. The concept for this album seems to be very elaborate. I’m not gonna go into it in any detail (it is not a very nice picture that they paint of the world) but if you like you metal to be concept albums then this might give you some satisfaction. Musically it ain’t too shabby either. It is in some ways typical Italian symphonic power metal. And as a huge fan of that particular style I find this album to be very pleasing. Like many other stories this is a battle between good and evil. I won’t tell you who wins. I will tell you though that musically this is one for the good guys. Anders Ekdahl

EVANGELIST “Doominicanes”

EVANGELIST
“Doominicanes”
(Doomentia)
For some reason, no matter what your religion is, the stories of the Bible seem to fit doom metal very well. There is something upheaval about many of the stories in the Bible. They tell of disasters and such and that to me is what really great doom metal is about; the foreboding of the great disaster to come. EVANGELIST is like a super heavy Candlemass musically. Or you could say that they are Cathedral-heavy but with a melodic/epic touch. It’s like playing a Black Sabbath 45rpm on 33rpms. There is something to this kind of slow, heavy metal that appeals to my inner being. I love music that is really sad and melancholic. Listening to EVANGELIST is like being part of a procession. You put one foot in front of the other with ever so much after thought, like you are contemplating the consequences of your every move. Can’t get any better than that really. Anders Ekdahl

FORCEOUT “Delusion”

FORCEOUT
“Delusion”
(Metalscrap)
I like the fact that so many different styles of metal co-exist alongside each other. I would really hate if I had to choose one of two styles and then stick to them for the rest of my life. I’m totally addicted to metal and the more styles to choose from the better I feel. This is to me death metal, perhaps a tad on the more melodeath-ish side of things of a more controlled kind. Not as frenetic or frantic as some but more in the laidback school of things. There is something familiar to this bands metal but I can’t really out my finger on it. But I do like that there is plenty of guitar solos in the music. I’ve missed a really good guitar solo for a long time now. It is annoying when you have it on the tip of your tongue yet can’t speak it. As I try to figure out what FORCEOUT reminds me of I’ll keep listening to this melodic death metal album. Anders Ekdahl