Wednesday, June 26, 2013

... Cthulhu Doom Quiz pt1 : ARKHAM WITCH, TENTACLE, BRETUS, YIDHRA, TAAK etc...

Here we have a very extended publication, therefore let me be brief. Mister Lovecraft has an unimaginable influence upon these filthy heavy bands, and Ancient Ones are one of most popular characters in doom genre. So it was logical to reach some bands who deal with Cthulhu myths or work under it’s impression (or at it’s command?!) and do a kind of quiz. Here are the questions which were asked to our honored guests:

1. What is the band’s state at the moment? What kind of sinister affairs you plan to perform for summer and on?
2. How did listeners and critics meet your last album?
3. What does stimulate you to play that kind of music against all difficulties? A thirst for glory? An itch for countless treasures? Obsession? Government?!
4. How does your vision of Lovecraftian revelations differ from vision of other bands of that kind? Do you consider it as original? Can you name bands which Cthulhian dreams you like too?
5. What is your greatest achievement in the sphere of Elder Gods cults?
6. What will you do (or rather where will you run?!) when Elder Gods awake?

Our guests today are: necromystic Arkham Witch, vernal Atragon, archaic Bretus, sharp’n’heavy Damnations Hammer, abyssal Fungoid Stream, grotesque Space God Ritual, heathen Taak, tentacled Tentacle and hulking Yidhra.
And stay tuned for a second part of Cthulhu Doom Quiz including Aarni, Astral Sleep, Cthulhu Rise, Evangelist, Grimpen Mire, Innzmouth, Lord Vicar, Tortured Spirit, Y'ha-nthlei.

Simon Iff? (vocals, bass)

1.  The band has a very busy time at the moment! We are currently writing songs for album number three which should appear sometime next year. In the meantime we have recorded a four track ep which we will shortly be releasing entitled Hammerstorm. After that we play the opening show for HOA in Germany and then in October we are playing a lot of gigs and going on tour! We have a mini tour of England, a few dates in Germany and Belgium with our old friends Hooded Preist and Iron Void, an appearance at Doom over Vienna, an appearance at Live Evil with Satan and Midnight and to cap it all the chance to play in Dubai with Manilla Road and England’s finest Pagan Altar! Also - our first album On Crom’s Mountain has just been released on vinyl by Journey’s End records. So sinister affairs abound!

2. It has largely been very positive and we have been lucky enough to get some really good reviews of ”Legions of the Deep” and a couple of mentions in magazines. We are not everyone’s cup of tea, but that is to be expected!

3. I think for all of us it is addiction. We don’t really know anything else. We have all been in heavy metal bands for the past twenty years and our goal has always been to make heavy metal songs in the style of the bands that we loved and respected growing up. It’s great that the fashion has come back around and that the internet has allowed us to reach a larger group of people because we can remember playing this stuff to bemused  nu metal audiences who were wondering why the big guy with the afro wasn’t rapping in the middle!

4. I think our Lovecraftian leanings differ from most bands in that we really do focus on the ‘pulp’ aspect of Lovecraft, rather than the desired effect of the literary weird tale. Some bands aim for that, using discordance and eerie atmosphere to evoke the spirit of the old ones, we try and do it through the more esoteric means of using his old gods and ancient ones as a kind of shorthand to rock! I always loved the idea of the overt cheery rock song carrying covert messages of doom and destruction as we gleefully sing along to our own imagined demise - I don’t know why! I think one of my favorite lovecraftian songs is Morbid Angel’s ‘Angel of Disease’, which, even in it’s death metal form, has a really good cheery singalong chorus!
Here’s “Kult of Kutulu” - inspired by Alan Moore’s ace comic book “Neonomicon”.

5. Probably invoking Cthulhu with ‘woos’ in the song “Lord of Rl’yeh”!

6. No point running - we shall serve them faithfully until they chose for us whatever oblivion they deem fit, which if we look at Lovecraft is usually an incurable and complete insanity! No change there then!

ATRAGON (Scotland)
Ruaridh Daunton (guitar)

1. We are currently in the process of writing our debut album, which we should hopefully have recorded and released by the end of the year. We have the majority of it written and should be ready to get into the studio very soon.

2. The reception of our debut E.P "Volume 1" has been outstanding. More or less everyone who has reviewed it has been extremely positive and supportive and even the less than enthusiastic reviews just push us to up our game and grow as a band. 

3. The huge passion and respect that we have for the genre and the bands that have come before us as well as the insatiable desire to wreak sonic warfare and auditory destruction upon the world.

4. We do not have songs based upon Lovecrafian tales although we are hugely inspired by his works. All of our songs are original tales of despair and woe conjured up by our singer Jan Gardner. The bands who we are inspired most by are Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Cathedral, Reverend Bizarre, Pentagram, The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Sleep, Orange Goblin, Hawkwind and Candlemass, however each band member has many other different inspirations from many different styles and genres of music.

5. Our greatest achievement so far has definitely been opening for Saint Vitus, that was nothing short of amazing. We have all been such huge fans of them for so long that it was just unreal and I still have trouble believing that it actually happened! 

6. We love gigging so we'd love to play a show & provide a soundtrack for the end of the world.                             


BRETUS (Italy)
Ghenes (guitars, bass)

1. We are working (with extreme calm) on a new full length but, for now, I don't want to speak about details. News will be out very soon. I can say only that it will be something amazing and also something new for us.

2. We had got many good reviews of “In Onirica” on fanzine and musical magazines. We are very glad about it, especially because we are from a very forgotten land (I don't speak about Italy sure) and we don't think that someone would have appreciated our music so much.

3. Nothing like that sure eh ehe he! we take care of the earth problems, but we are not a band of politicians eh he eh... all of us play with other bands and so everyone can express himself in many sides. Then with Bretus we satisfy our wishes of raw and dark vibrations. that's all!

4. We love Lovecraft's universe totally and for many years I personally was obsessed and very "under spell" about it. Then growing my passion was normalized, but reading his tales for me is a crescent pleasure now more than before. But in these years too many people speaking about Lovecraft or Cthulhu or The ancient Ones, and the last thing we want is all to expire in the ridiculous one. Bretus were born also without Lovecraft but his inspiration is deeply rooted in our music. To be considered original was never our wish. The first band that reminded me Lovecraft's feeling were sure High Tide. But probably less knows about this great dark/progressive band. In our times we love Sleep deeply and their new development High on fire.

5. To discover them and theirs degenerated sons! What kind of achievement is better than this?

6. We will wait for their arrival on the top of the mountain and to the right moment we will drink together an amazing fresh beer.


Tim Preston (guitars, vocals)

1. We’re actually writing for our second album at the moment – we have four songs complete with another two part completed. The idea is to have seven full songs and two atmospheric soundscapes one of which will be The Hex iii. Once we have everything recorded we plan to play a few live shows, but I guess that will be early 2014 as we still need to find a full time lead guitarist to play live. Andy the bassist plays the leads on the album.

2. “Disciples of the Hex” has met with some really great reviews, actually it has been quite humbling to read some of the positive comments people have said about the music. When we released the album I wasn’t sure if people would ‘get’ what we were trying to achieve – for me personally I put Damnations Hammer together as a tribute to avant-garde metal from the 1980’s such as Celtic Frost – I wanted to capture the same felling I had when I first discovered Celtic Frost. So, for us to receive positive reviews it’s really quite exciting. Obviously not everyone has been complimentary towards the music as we’ve had two really bad reviews – however I don’t mind at all as it would appear you either love or hate Damnations Hammer, no one has sat on the fence and said ‘well it’s just ok’ – you either get it or you don’t!

3. The whole concept of the band is to capture the same atmosphere I had when I was a kid growing up in the 1980’s and discovering new bands such as Voivod and Celtic Frost. I love writing this style of music, it seems very natural for me to do so and we are in a position to record at home so I guess Damnations Hammer is going to be around for quite a while – slowly and steadily releasing albums. The Hex is upon us!

4. I guess we are somewhat original in the current musical climate – we’re not death metal or doom metal as such – I describe  the sound as Doom laden metal, I try to keep a certain amount of melody in the sound, I guess it helps the songs have a groove. Check out the video we did for Disciples of the Hex…

5. Releasing the album has been as great achievement for us – especially having the guys at I Hate Records behind us, their enthusiasm has been great! Disciples of the Hex was our first time to record ourselves so as you can imagine we made quite a few mistakes on the way. The second album should be a little easier to complete as we won’t make the same errors again – I hope it will be a worthy sacrifice to the Mythos and that mighty Cthulhu will spare us!

6. Well I guess if mighty Cthulhu has awoken and left the city of R’lyeh the safest place would be to make our way to R’lyeh. I just hope Cthulhu like metal so we can pacify him if he returns.


Simon O. (vocals) and Joseph C. (all instruments)

1. Simon O.: We've just finished the recording our third album, called "Prehuman Shapes" (you are the first one to know that, it is not yet announced). The album is now on the release schedule of Furias Records, but date is not certain by now. Even the booklet art layout is already designed. 

2. Simon O.: In the best possible way. We received very good comments about "Oceanus" and it was even nominated for 2010 best extreme doom metal album by a well-known metal site.  

3. Joseph C.:None of above. Our stimulation comes from the compelling of creation, of composing music, obscure music, trying to give the adequate atmosphere to the Lovecraftian cosmogony. 

4. Simon O.: Under my point of view, most bands seem to welcome the Great Old Ones, hailing Cthulhu and his progeny. Our vision about Lovecraftian revelation is: what HPL wrote was a warning, not a welcome or a prophecy.

Joseph C.: In spite of lyrics, track names or album titles, I'd like to say Cthulhian MUSIC dreams, not only Cthulhian dreams. Dreams are nothing, music is everything. I completly enjoy adding lyrics to our music, but our main goal should be that just for hearing our music, the listeners' mind would evoke the Lovecraftian universe, with no titles, no track names, no lyrics. And speaking about Lovecraftian bands, I could name like Thergothon and Tyranny. Speaking about funeral doom, I'll add Skepticism, Colosseum, The Howling Void, Abstract Spirit, 1000 Funerals, Consumatum Est, Ea, Mistress of the Dead, Until Death Overtakes Me. 

5. Joseph C.: the fact of knowing that there are much more things underlying the daily life than we can imagine, some of them simple, some of them complex, some of them monstrous, some of them glorious.

Simon O.: the ability of correlating the contents of our minds and the facts we are witnessing every day in our world.

6. Joseph C: The Elder Gods are already awaken. Quoting Lovecraft: "The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."

The real question is: what side is yours? Would you fight for or against the Great Old Ones? We follow the HPL legacy: we are going to fight them, for throwing them away once more to the Outside, even if the battle seems already lost.


Lee Waldron (guitars, vocals)

1. Chtulhu fthangh! Ia Ia Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
Well right now we are sort of hanging out. We aren't the most consistent group, we converge, release something, then work on other projects until it's time for another SGR album. As for the summer, we are working on a music video, hopefully that will see the light some time this summer. As a studio band, we would like to record more albums. Maybe we'll record another album this summer, who knows

2. Well our last releases were both demos. We did “Beyond the Beyond” in 2010, and then “Pay the Price” in 2011. They have their fans for sure, but in my mind they are still just demo's, and they sound like it! Our debut, “R'lyeh Beckons” is the good stuff. It’s loud, heavy and full of killer riffs. So far, it's has received a great reception with listeners, though as of now it has yet to be reviewed.

3. Nothing quite as epic as all that. We just love heavy metal, H.p Lovecraft and other weird shit, and thus! Space God Ritual. We would like to be known in the scene, yes, and we would like to be selling mountains of records. But that not really our drive, its more about fun. We don't have any stress while recording, we come up with a bunch of riffs, pull some lyrics from a book or film and suddenly, we have an album. It's a rewarding process.

4. Lovecraft has been a huge influence in pretty much everything we enjoy: in film, music, art, popular culture, you name it. So with this in mind, no, it's defiantly not original. There is a ridiculous amount of Lovecraft influence in metal, from bands ranging from Arkam Witch, The Wounded Kings, The Gates of Slumber to, hell, even Nile. But for us, the point is not originality, it's about adding to the mythos that Lovecraft created. About continuing the legacy of his work through music, expanding it and adding to it. I like to think that we've succeed in that.
So one of the more surprising events in the history of SGR was this fan video we found. Philip here was one of our first fans actually, and he put this cover of our song Burning Girl together. Check out his other stuff too, he's a talented individual. And he has good taste.

5. Without a doubt out newest selection of hymns, R'lyeh Beckons. It's heavier, better produced, and, its our debut album. Check it out.

6. When the Elder Gods come, there is no where to run, and no where to hide. Might as well get drunk and go down swig'n


TAAK (Estonia)
Mart Kalvet (vocals)

1. We did a couple of shows recently in Tartu, one of them as part of the literature festival Prima Vista, which was unusual, but since I do write horror-tinged science fiction stories and Taak’s latest album was released together with one of the stories in book format, that clicked just fine with us.
We’ve no shows planned for the near future (well, besides a “river festival” in August in Purtse; I promise we’ll not try not to raise any batrachian, deep dwellers of the streams there…) and will mostly concentrate on writing new material as well as re-learning ancient Dawn of Gehenna songs, because our first demo „The Old“ from 1994 (I think…) is going to be re-mastered and re-released as a split with Discrucior’s „Mundus Subterraneus“ (a truly chthonic, if not overtly Lovecraftian masterpiece of the early 1990s Estonian underground doom metal scene) and we’re going to have to support the release with a couple of shows in autumn. Kaido “Tsunami” Tiits is going to rejoin us for the occasion. I hope it’ll be fun.

2. Mostly the reviews of “Rist Viletsuse Teel” have been positive; we haven’t received much feedback from abroad, though. People still come to the gigs, so we’re reasonably assured our newer material captures their fancy.

3. You know, I’ve been pondering this myself. By now it might mostly be force of habit. I attended the international showcase festival Tallinn Music Week, and several people there pointed out that being in a band these days is like participating in a lottery where the main prize is an opportunity to spend the next 10 or 20 years in a tour bus. Such a winning ticket might have been feasible for me 10 or 20 years ago, but I’m too old for it now. So we’re not setting our sights much higher than occasional shows in Estonia (and, hopefully some day, a couple of shows a year in Finland for crowds of more than 20 people) and releasing a new album every three or four years.
Also obsession — or even addiction — might explain why we still bother. The process of writing and developing songs that we like is an eternally fascinating and exhilarating process.

4. I don’t think we’re that original in our approach to the Bard’s legacy — which does not feature overwhelmingly in our output, to be sure. I’ve been as much or more inspired by the writings of Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, Aleister Crowley and Charles Stross, to name a few influential authors. The most original aspect is probably the use of the Estonian language, which, I hope, sounds a bit more exotic than most of the Lovecraftian lyrics in English.
Other bands? Well, Black Sabbath, to be sure (“Behind the Wall of Sleep”). Celtic Frost, Deicide, Entombed, Gwar, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Mekong Delta, Morbid Angel, Nile, Rage, Samael, Thergothon, Therion, Vader, John Fucking Zorn… The magnificent Electric Wizard, of course… I think the most recent discovery for me were the Polish Cthulhu Rises, whose 2012 demo “Ku Chwale Mrocznych Eonów I” was a breath of fresh air… or a breath of cold air, at least.
Speaking of our own videos, we don’t really have any. But you can listen to the song “Linnadesööja” (“Eater of Cities”), which is inspired by a couple of Lovecraftian stories, mostly by T. E. D. Klein’s “Black Man with a Horn”.

5. As a band, I think the last album’s tracks like “Linnadesööja” and “Ämblikkude hõng” (The Smell of Spiders) channel the bleak and horrid sensibilities that made HPL’s works immortal. Personally, it must be the two Lovecraftian stories I have written (“Ultima Cthule” and “Sügelisnõia kingitus” (The Gift of the Scabies-Witch)) that connect the Mythos with the prehistoric Baltic Sea and the more recent history of Estonia. The first places R’lyeh smack in the middle of the Baltic Sea, where a team of Swedish marine scientists disturb a slumbering entity when mapping the bottom of the Gulf of Finland for the laying of the Nord Skream natural gas pipeline. The second one combines the bleak, stagnant atmosphere of the Brezhnev-era Estonia with the cult of Old Ones practiced by a cabal of dissident intellectuals hiding in a psychic safe zone in an Estonian forest.

6. There’s nowhere to run, you fool! (Wink-wink.) I might take in some of what has been prophesied — men becoming “free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside”. But I’ll be happy to have Cthulhu eat my house last… or first, to spare me the horrors. Iä!

Ron Rochondo (vocals)

1. For the time being, we wait….dreaming. It was quite a good deal of work putting together our last album and it may be some time before we move on to a new one. Reading, writing, research. Spending some time at our retreat, the strange high house in the mist.

2. Very well it seems. One listener even commented on how “Ingot Eye” vaguely resembled a bizarre musical whistling or piping over a wide range. We greatly appreciated that.

3. Anxiety. Pain. Discontent. Despair. An attempt at relieving these feelings, or at least recognizing and coping with them, through music.

4. Hm. Can’t say as we know many other bands doing this exact sort of thing, not that we are incredibly original though, just have our own sort of vibe I guess. We try not to make things too obvious, or specific in our songs. More of a vague sense of foreboding and darkness is what we strive for. Hopefully it works.

5. Attempting to recognize mankind’s insignificance and its inability to comprehend the answers to its greatest questions even when given them.

6. There is nothing that can be done. There is nowhere to run.


Dave K (guitars, back vocals) Ted V (vocals)

1. Ted: We just finished our 9 song debut LP "HEXED" which we will be releasing imminently. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by the mighty Bill Metoyer at Skull Seven Studios. Bill is the legendary producer who helmed releases from such heavy hitters as Slayer, Corrosion of Conformity, Trouble, D.R.I., Sacred Reich, Hirax, Dark Angel, Morbid Angel, Six Feet Under, Warbringer and many more.
Dave: In fact he JUST finished mixing Trouble's forthcoming release "The Distortion Field." This is what Bill had to say about working with Yidhra: "I am a big fan of Doom Metal. Not since the Chicago band Trouble have I worked with a band in this genre so talented. YIDHRA!… I have no clue what the name means, but to ME it means DOOM!"
Ted: As for performing this summer, we are still working out details but we plan on going to Seattle and back and playing a few local shows as well. We are hoping to get to Europe in 2014.

2. Dave: Well, thankfully, people really seemed to like “Yidhra”. For a demo, it received a VERY positive response.

3. Ted: Truthfully, we just play the kind of music that comes naturally to us.
Dave: We aren't trying to be something that we're not.
Ted: We have always been into the heavier/darker sides of music. Whether it be Punk, Metal, Soundtracks, Blues, what have you, so that's what we write.
Dave: We also draw inspiration from the darker movies, books, cartoons and comics too.

4. Dave: We aren't limiting ourselves to the "Lovecraftian" mythos. Sure, it plays a part, but we draw from all aspects of life and death.
Ted: I don't mean to sound pompous or anything, but I don't really pay attention to what anybody else is doing when it comes to writing lyrics. That isn't to say that I am not influenced in some way by what I've heard. It just means that I don't draw directly from anyone or anything. So, in that way, it is inherently "original" and personal.
Ted: I don't know of any bands that are EXCLUSIVELY "Cthulhian." There a lot of GREAT bands out there that explore mythos related topics but I think it would be a disrespectful to single any of them out over the others.
Dave: Yeah!
Ted: We have 3 "Lovecraftian" songs on "HEXED," "Witch Queen," "Ancient Ones" and "Dagon." Right now you can hear "Witch Queen".

5. Ted: Huh? That is a curious question. I would have to say surviving life on this planet this long is an achievement in and of itself.

6. Dave: Why run?
Ted: Yeah, the lyrics to "Dagon" contain my answer to this question. Thanks for your interest in YIDHRA and keep your eyes peeled for "HEXED!"

Watch out for the 2nd part of this - within the next days on the blog... Thanx a lot to Aleksey Evdokimov for this great work !!! 

link to Part 2  :

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