Monday, October 28, 2013

... from the depths of Rotomagus : Interview with FATUM ELISUM

Tired of keyboards, violins and female choirs in Doom/Death Metal ? Wanna come back to old-school stuff but with an ambitious approach ? Then, Fatum Elisum from Rouen (Fra) should be what you need with their slow, dark and tormented form of Doom/Death ! 
Reminding more Bethlehem or Evoken than old Paradise Lost or Anathema, their nice debut album - released a couple of years ago - had shown a captivating personality with a real emphasis on aesthetic arrangements and solemnly mournful moods... A true promise for the future that still didn't find a suite to this day, whereas many bands become too quickly pervasive, F.E. is probably too discreet ! just a couple of gigs this year proved they were still active but Aleksey Evdokimov wanted to make sure of this and asked Alexandre (bass) a few questions about "Homo Nihilis", the band's present and future... thanx guys ! 

Salut Alexandre! How are you comrade? I would like to ask you introduce yourself and your band mates to our readers, so who are Fatum Elisum crew?
Hello Aleks, I'm quite fine even I'm a little bit tired of the work, I'm an educational advisor in a technichal high school. I play bass guitar in Fatum Elisum since the very beginning, and do a few clean parts on vocals. I also play bass guitar in Mhönos and in a yet not named post-black metal band, and sing in Forsaken Peddlers. The other members are Ende on vocals, Chrisophe and Hugo on guitars and my brother whose name is also Christophe who joined us in october 2008.

Fatum Elisum was born in 2007 and your first full length album “Homo Nihilis” was released in 2011, what does slow your creative activity?
Even Homo Nihilis is our first full length which was released two years ago, we did release a demo, called Fatum Elisum, in november 2008. The length of this demo was about fifty minutes, so you could see we were already working on long songs. This was re-released by Aesthetic Death in september 2009. All the songs on “Homo Nhilis” are all different than on “Fatum Elisum”. In fact, we'd rather take our time to write songs, to rehearse them a lot and to work hard on them. For example, the writing process for the song “ TheTwilight Prophet” took about ten months, because we did lots of changes on it before the final result. The song “Homo Nihilis” was also a long work before we got the final result. We haven't got any deadline from Stu, the boss of Aesthetic Death, that's the reason we are slowly but surely working on new songs for our second album. But the more we are growing as a band, the more the songs are longer with many parts on them. More over, when you write songs whose length are between fifteen and twenty minutes, you have to be plenty satisfied with all the riffs and the songs structures. That may explain the slow creative activity.

Band’s name, the name of your debute release, it’s art-work – all of these have a similar conception, may you open it for us as one of it’s authors?
I am responsible for the band name, which means broken destiny. Ende writes all the lyrics, and when it was time to chose a name for the album, our choice was to be Homo Nihilis, as the songs on this album and because we are very found of latin words. Maybe, that could be a tribute for the first Candlemass album in a way. More over, Ende is inspired by authors such as Nietzche, Cioran, Camus, Artaud, ancient philosophy and lots of mythological or religious facts. It's something you could find on our lyrics, on our artworks. Anyway, we are doomed, aren't we?

Of course we are! So what does drive you to play slow depressive music from philosophical point of view?
I’m not sure the fact we are playing slow depressive music came from philosophical point of view, even authors like Camus or Cioran have some pessimistic visions. By the way, it’s something important for us to be free to play the music we enjoy, and we’re not as happy as society wants us to be. I think we’re not living in a joyful world. I speak for myself, but playing that kind of music is something cathartic and it let me express some negative things that I witnessed everyday, maybe while reading some news or maybe some stories I saw at work, as I have some pupils who have to endure some bad situations in their life.

By the way, how did you find such art-work? It’s damned remarkable, who is it’s author?
Ende, our singer, is the author of the cover and all the paintings you could find on the booklet of Homo Nihilis. The cover painting is called “To dig in ourself”. He has a master degree of the Art School of Rouen, so that's why we used its abilities of painting on our artworks. Each songs on Homo Nihilis has its paint, so that's why you may find some unity between our music and our visuals. It's something important for us, maybe a key for the listeners to dig our music.

Fatum Elisum performs good old death metal with epic vibe and …. Who were your teachers? Can you suppose that may attract attention of old school fans to your vision of death doom?
Our teachers were old Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Cathedral, Anathema, Mournful Congregation, to name a few. We just wanted to play doom death metal as the elders did it at the beginning of the nineties, nothing more, nothing less. By the way, one thing important for us when writing music, is that each of our songs, because of their length, have to tell a story in itself. I'm quite disappointed with the trademark “epic vibe”, because we are not sounding like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Solstice or Isole, I'd rather used the word “tragedy” to compare with old books from Antiquity. This is also the word that came to me while listening to bands like Mournful Congregation, Mourning Beloveth, Asunder or Worship. In a way, I do not care to attract attention to old school fans of doom death metal. I know, we're not following the trend of nowadays death/doom metal with shorter songs that bands like Asphyx, Coffins or Hooded Menace play, and which I really enjoy. And we are not trendy at all, but the main goal for us is to play the music we want to hear and not giving attention about anything else. I think our music is quite cathartic for us, we can express some feelings with it.

Do you listen to new albums of Old Ones? Or “Icon” and “Turn Lose The Swans” are enough for you?
I still listen to the new albums of the Old Ones. For example, I think “The Last Spire” from Cathedral is a huge album and the perfect end for this band. “The Barghest of Whitby” from My Dying Bride was a good long song that reminded me “Turn Loose the Swan”. By the way, I listen to more often old albums from the Old Ones, notably the ones from the beginning of the nineties. It’s good to see that these legends are still in activity, and I still follow them, excepted the last Anathema albums who are too soft and shiny for me.

Do you see any highlights of death doom scene nowadays or does it stay in a state of stagnation? It seems that some bands have modern melodic touch as it ruins some important elements of this genre yet really strong newcomers are rare on the scene.
As I'm growing older, I become more and more nostalgic of the early nineties, not only for doom death metal, but also for many kind of music, like black metal and death metal. Maybe, this period was a kind of golden age for doom death metal, with the beginnings of Paradise Lost, Winter, My Dying Bride and Anathema, not to forgot some good bands like Ceremonium and Enchantment. But, I have the chance to see the rising of the “second coming” of this genre during the last decades. Perhaps, there used to be too much melodic and keyboards oriented bands that came out, but that's a matter of taste, even I'm not very kind of these bands. I agree that newcomers are rare on the scene, but I really enjoyed a band like Anhedonist. Anyway, I will not say that we are seeing stagnation in the scene nowadays. For example, the last album from our fellow countrymen Ataraxie is a huge piece of doom death metal with the good mix between old school vibe and new things they did not do previously. And for me, one of the best album released since the beginning of this year is “Formless” from Mourning Beloveth.  As said before, it's not hype nowadays to play that kind of doom, as bands would rather play stoner doom metal like Electric Wizard, proto hipster doom metal with female singer or sludge. Well, that's not a big problem, as there are some cycles, so maybe the next big hype would be doom death metal.

Alexandre, you also play in new epic doom band Forsaken Peddlers, what’s the story of this project?
I used to sing in a doom metal band called Devil's Bride during the year 2009, and Christophe, the guitar player of Fatum Elisum, was our bass player in this band at that time. The drummer of Forsaken Peddlers, Rolland, used to play with Hugo (guitarist of Fatum Elisum and Forsaken Peddlers) in a thrash metal band and also in a tribute band to Kiss. Rolland wanted to play epic doom metal, as he enjoyes Candlemass. So he spoke about this to Hugo, who agreed to form this band and said to him that I could fit for the vocals. When Christophe heard we were going to form this band, he joined us on bass guitar. That's the story.

Why did you start Forsaken Peddlers when you could concentrate onto Fatum Elisum? What are main differences between these bands?
The main reason is that we love listening to epic doom metal bands like Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Solstice, Griftegard, DoomSword, and also bands like Manowar (Ross the Boss era), Manilla Road and Bathory (viking period). I think we are the sole band in France to play this kind of doom metal. Even three of us are playing also in Fatum Elisum, we really enjoy playing songs more powerful and less darker and depressive than with Fatum Elisum. The main differences between those bands are clearly audible: I only sing with clean vocals, there are not growls or shrieks on Forsaken Peddlers, and we are influenced by bands mentioned above, with more heavy metal parts, notably the speed ones. It's also something vital for us as musicians to play in many bands, as we could do different things with different people. We expect to record our first album at the end of this year.


What is the current state of Fatum Elisum? I see that you’ve finished two new songs – how do they sound? And how long do you plan to work over new album?
Even we are forgotten and ostracized by mostly gigs organizations, for unknown reasons, we are still searching for gigs everywhere. By the way, we are working on new songs. As you said, two of them are mostly finished. You could expect long songs, maybe darker and a little bit extreme than before, but with also new things we did not do yet, something more intricate. As said before, we'd rather take our time to write songs and to be entirely satisfied with them, but I hope we could record our second album next year.

Are these new songs decorated with sonorous parts of clean vocals as before? Did you record only vocals for “Homo Nihilis” in church or were other instruments recorded there too?
On these new songs, you will find clean vocals parts, and a little bit more from myself, but also more extreme parts. So, you will have to be patient to hear the final result.
Only the vocals were recorded in the church, it’s too hard for the instruments.
We are currently thinking about our sound for the next album, something cruder, heavier and louder than on Homo Nihilis, we bought some new materials for that. We will record once again with Julien Bous, who recorded our demo and Homo Nihilis. As he knows the band and as he is a good sound engineer, we will still work with him.

Let us finish this interview onto this strange question: what book do you read now?
I’m reading some fantastic novels, like Le Horla, from Guy de Maupassant, an author of the ninetieth century who lived in Normandy. You should read from him, he had good stories, and it’s sometimes the best way to know the living in countryside and in Normandy from this period.

Alexandre, thank you for your time! Please let us know when you have new releases of both Fatum Elisum and Forsaken Peddlers. Good luck mate!

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