Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Doomed battle shall now begin : (interview with ) VERDUN

A bit of history, for all those who need to refresh their memory about WW1 : VERDUN (located in the east of France) was the siege of one of the most cruel and inhuman war battle that ever happened, it lasted nearly 10 months and over 300 000 soldiers died on just this front...
VERDUN, the band, formed in 2010 in the (southern and sunny) area of Montpellier; these five guys don't express their feelings with bayonets but their extremely heavy and bleak approach of DOOM make it sound like an impressive and menacing (war)machine that hits your organs viciously and mercilessly... 
The vocals are here generally pretty angered with raw and darkened HC overtones while the rythmic section is very massive, making perfectly the link with the guitars type of riffing which remain pretty classic (doom) in the spirit, that's why -"despite" this special type of vocals- I would NOT use the term of SLUDGE !!! Without being notably complex and too refined, the 3 songs from their fortcoming ep "the cosmic escape of Admiral Masuka" give also place to quieter moments, just like soldiers relieving wounds between two shots, the menace is never too far, only slightly less painful, but still providing a welcome little light in this raw battle... 
The fact that they're french adds to my enthusiasm, that's true, we can be proud of several new (french) bands that appeared this year and this obviously includes VERDUN...  I'm not either telling you that VERDUN is the best newcomer of the planet,  but believe me this is a very very promising first recording, so give it an attentive listen and support them !  
Here's a little interview with Florian (bass) to help you discover a bit more the band :

Although one can find extremely heavy, bleak and sometimes apocalytpic yet epic elements in your music, which does not make it inappropriate in any way, why the name of Verdun?
I  always liked proper names, especially city names to represent a band. One day, the choice of VERDUN came to me like a revelation. Mud, trenches, bombings, corpses, etc. The apocalyptic atmosphere. I think it fits well with our music. It is also one of the most inhuman and stupid battle of our history : 300,000 soldiers killed for the conquest of just a few hundred meters is a good example of human stupidity.

Where we could eventually have expected lyrics about war and more especially the battle of Verdun, the title of the ep is "the escape of cosmic Admiral Masuka" and a title is called "JAXA" , does it reflect a particular interest about Japan's Aerospace Exploration? Did you prepare yourselves to answer questions about Vincent Masuka in Dexter?!
It would have been easy to dive headlong into military stories and stuff like that, but we did not really want to do a  concept-band around this theme. And anyway it will never be better than Bolt Thrower on the subject. David (vocals) is indeed very much into astro-physics and quantum physics in its philosophical aspect. The three pieces from the EP form a story somewhere between science fiction and metaphysical reflection: a Japanese admiral, who is the last survivor of a global nuclear disaster, he tries to understand the reasons of its survival and decides to get the answers directly with God by traveling in space.
For the reference to Dexter, I'm not sure he is aware about this guy!

I am a bit surprised by some influences you mention which I can not hear precisely in your sound like Hawkwind or Pagan Altar, I would more add  ELECTRIC WIZARD and YOB to  ST VITUS  for whom I agree as reference, then vocally wise there are also in my opinion some influences from HC/noise/industrial stuff or post-something, what do you think of this?
Obviously bands like SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, ELECTRIC WIZARD are major influences, but we also cite less obvious stuff like Hawkwind (for the space-rock edge), The 13th Floor Elevators (for repetitive and psyche aspects that we try to develop more and more) or Joy Division ... What is interesting is that everyone in VERDUN has very different personnal backgrounds, we are all involved in a lot of other projects ranging from Noise to  Crust, not forgetting Post HC and all these experiences feed the music of VERDUN .

The ep comes out on CD through HEAD rds,  will it be a limited edition? is it going to be available only by mailorder ? and  there's also THROATRUINER who release 66 copies of a tape version ... when is it due to be released exactly ...?
The CD version just came out on Head Records, first press was limited to 500 copies, if ever sell everything there could be another press. The Tape version is strictly limited to 66 copies and should be available in January via Throatruiner.

You've played a lot in your area and even a little further ... Indepedant scenes are pretty active  in the Midi-Pyrénées, more HC oriented a few years ago but it then opened to Stoner and then Sludge and DOOM now ... it's been a while you swim in there with other bands before, did it help to make you a name more quickly with this new project?
VERDUN is a very young band but all of us have been involved in the Metal / Hardcore / Noise scenes for several years and it surely makes things easier to find dates; and  I think that now the release of "The Cosmic Escape of Admiral Masuka" will definitely open some new doors and allow us to play far beyond the south of France.

I guess that now one of the objectives is to mount a little to see what happens further in the North, and on the opposite in the southern parts of Europe with the close Spain and Portugal? The beginning of 2012 promises to be exciting with the release of the EP and also a gig in January with Kylesa, are any other projects already planed ?
Our next date will be on January 16th, as support for KYLESA, CIRCLES THE SQUARE and KEN MODE in Montpellier. Then a small tour is planned in Brittany and in the North of France for February. We also expect to make a little tour with dates in England, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy later in 2012.

What's your opinion on the French DOOM scene which begins to grow slowly?  Finally, here's the opportunity for you to talk a bit about your association that organizes gigs in Montpellier ...
The french DOOM scene seems still in its infancy, but everyday I discover new bands, of varying quality; that gives hopes for the future of  the style on the french territory. In order to make things moving a bit, we have seted up an association, "les escargots électriques" ( "The Electric Snails"), which allows us to program all year long quality bands, it concerns french bands mainly and in all case heavy musics ! To celebrate the end of our first season, we're preparing a festival for next June 8th and 9th in Montpellier with  As We Draw Birds In Raw, Drawers, The Idiot Rodeo Engine, Calvaiire, Selenite, and many others more.


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