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Apocalypse de Saint Jean, chapitre VI, versets XII à XVII
Puis je vis l'Agneau ouvrir le sixième sceau ; survint alors un grand séisme, le soleil noircit comme tissu de crin, la lune entière devint rouge sang, et les étoiles du ciel se mirent à choir sur terre, comme les fruits verts que laisse tomber un figuier secoué par gros vent; le ciel se retira comme une bande de papyrus qu'on enroule, et toutes les montagnes et les îles furent délogées de leur cité. Alors les rois de la terre, les grands, les généraux, les riches, les puissants, tous, tant esclaves qu'hommes libres, s'allèrent cacher dans les grottes et les rochers des montagnes ; et de dire aux montagnes et aux rochers : "Tombez-nous dessus et dérobez-nous au visage de Celui qui trône et à la colère de l'Agneau, parce qu'est arrivé le grand jour de son courroux, et qui peut tenir bon ?"
Troublé par ces mots et par la grande teneur de l'album Apokálypsis, VS s'en est allé interroger la formation belge GORATH pour quémander à son oracle FLP quel allait être le sort du monde.
Gorath interview (january 2012)
Prince de Lu : Gorath is still very productive. Where the inspiration comes from?
FLP (guitar/vocals) : We’ve released five albums in eight years of existence. It might seems to be a lot, but besides 90% of Gorath’s music I also wrote an LP for Horus (RIP – sludge), a couple of EPs for P:407 (RIP – dark post-rock) and a full album for a clandestine black metal project. When it comes from the heart time isn’t a limitation. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to live your passion. Album number six is almost finished as well. That will be the last Gorath release for a long time.
I hope you don't regret the time Gorath was a solo project. How are the other members contributing to your art? Do you compose everything like before?
Today Gorath feels way better than the time it was a one man band. Finally all four of us are likeminded when it comes to the band. Throughout the years I’ve played with many members and this time it feels right. Guitarist Bart and I write all music. It’s hard for us to work on a song during rehearsals. Most the time we are so fucked up we are unable to work on slow and dark atmospheric parts. On MXCII Bart wrote a few parts and his way of playing showed a different face of Gorath. On Apokálypsis he wrote like 40% of the music pushing everything just that bit further than usually.
Since MXCII, you had a line-up change, as Dennie left the band. Could you tell us what happened? Is the line-up stable now?
Dennie stopped because he couldn’t bring up the dedication, not much big of a deal. Now all four of us are on the same level and the magic is stronger than before. I’m active in the underground for quite some years and this time I feel like we have a line-up that will last until the end. If one of us should quit, the band will stop as well.
To me, Apokálypsis is a mix between the melodic (quite progressive) parts of Misotheism and the atmospheres of MXCII. How can you compare your releases ?
You hit it right on. Apokálypsis is definitely the most complex album, but nevertheless it’s easy to listen to. When people read the term progressive black metal, they are afraid to hear Dream Theater alike crap. Gorath is still black metal for 80%. The rest is sludge and post-rock. MXCII was very dark and less easy listening than the new record. Songs like Millennium and The seven Seals are very straight forward and heavily layered with bits and pieces to keep it interesting after several spins. If I should answer your question directly, I would say Elite is the most catchy album, The Fourth Era the most melodic, Misotheism the fastest, MXCII the darkest and Apokálypsis a mix of the last albums.
Gorath walked a long way, from its first and quite "complicated" albums. What do you think (musically) about your first releases nowadays ?
Elite has got very good songs. It’s very easy listening compared with the last albums. Sometimes the songs are more a collection of riffs, but I still like the overall feeling. However I really despite the use of a drumcomputer which makes the album sound too digital. I would love to redo those albums, especially The Fourth Era, as I really like that album. The songs of that album have got a very natural flow and are quite original compared to most other releases that time. During the early days we were mainly influenced by the so called Moonfog sound (think of Khold, Satyricon & Thorns) mixed with classical Scandinavian black metal (such as Borknagar, Fleurety, Ulver,…). Recently I posted The fall of Winter (from Elite) and The fifth Birth (from The fourth Era) on You Tube. I still embrace the old records.
Can you tell us about the recording process ? This time again, Reinier Schenk was involved in the recording. How much time was spent to record Apokálypsis?
Every release is recorded at my own small Crestfallen Studio. Also this time I tracked all guitars, bass lines and vocals. Reinier from Shumcot Studio recorded the drums and took care of the mix, something I really hate doing. Afterwards Necromorbus mastered everthing. Because I worked at my own place, the recordings were spread during a couple of months. I think Heyde needed 2 days to play the drums, which is magnificent. You must know we didn’t rehearse the tracks on beforehand. He just got the finished songs on disc on which I recorded drum lines with a drum computer.
Many bands chose the Necromorbus for mastering, that's not very surprising. Why have you chosen to master your album there ? Have you heard about music and said "wow, I want the same sound" ?
Previously we worked with Dan Swanö and we wanted something else. Tore (NDR: Stjerna) blesses his productions with a very powerful sound. Sometimes it’s a bit too clinical, as I’m not a big fan of Watain’s last albums. Also this time he did a good job, though honestly, he doesn’t deserve too much credits, as both Reinier and myself recorded a very solid base. Without good recordings and a decent mix you cannot have a good mastering.
As he did for Misotheism, Jurgen from Theudho wrote all the lyrics of Apokálypsis. What does he bring out that you cannot write by yourself ?
Lyrics are very important, but I don’t really spend time writing them. I need to do a lot of research before actually writing them. Things being told need to be correct. The Fourth Era was about the Mayas and their foretold prophecies of doom, 2012 is coming closer, but the time I wrote the lyrics it wasn’t such a hype. MXCII was about my hometown, all written in a local language. Translating words took more than 2 hours per song. Luckily Jurgen wrote the albums in between. He perfectly feels what we want to express. He’s a master in writing lyrics and you can compare him with a living encyclopedia. We know each other from the time I did the bass guitar in his band Theudho. And without Jurgen’s words Gorath wouldn’t be the same. Funny thing is; I wrote half the songs for another band’s debut, namely Saille.
Can you explain us the lyrical concept of your new album ? If I'm not wrong, it talks about the Book of Revelations and a re-writing of Christian history.
According to the bible salvation comes after the Apocalypse. Like many other things the Holy Book can be interpreted in many different ways. Only John’s words are written down. Imagine, what if the martyr leading us to salvation is the Antichrist instead? What if there’s no golden age awaiting? Look at humanity, we not really going towards the right direction. Religion never lead us well. Right now we’re balancing on the edge of an endless abyss and our kind is doomed to fall deep. Apokálypsis tells us the opposite story of the bible. Eternal darkness will reign and true salvation will come when Jerusalem, Mecca and Rome and totally burned. Mankind isn’t following the path of light. Personally I do believe the curtain will fall. Not necessarily because of religious issues or strange cosmic powers reversing the earth’s poles. When a mega tsunami hit south east Asia almost a decade ago, the day of reckoning seem to be upon them . Also our western way of life will hit rock bottom. There are limitations to our fake democratic system, ruled by capitalism, hedonism and corruption. Like any big civilization it will come to an end. The Golden Age will come once we are all whipped away. That’ll be our personal Apocalypse.
Lyrics seem to be an important part of your art. Do put words on music or do you create music to fit with lyrical themes ?
Lyrics are always written afterwards. When Jurgen writes the lyrics, he needs music to focus on. And when I take care of the texts, I first need to finish all music before I can concentrate on the content.
The words are not yours. How can you describe your personal beliefs ? Are you a religious man or a man of belief ?
Jurgen and I have the same look on the world and share the same ideas. I’m 100% fully supporting his words. The intentions of religion are good, but over and over again history proves mankind can’t deal with religion, because it’s used to gain more power. When people are blinded by power the intentions aren’t good anymore. Religion is one of the proves mankind is the dumbest species on this planet. In fact, we are the cancer ruining Mother Earth. Mankind is growing exponentially, but we’re closer to extinction than ever before. The overpopulation of our species will be our downfall. Like a parasite we suck all life out our planet – And only a wasteland remains. Our self destruction is imminent and it’s also the only solution for global life. Religion feeds self destruction. Various religions encourage their flock to breed and even overpopulate this world even more. So be it. When we’re whipped away, hopefully a more intelligent species will come around.
For the second time, your album was released by Twilight Vertrieb. Are you satisfied with this deal? Even if Twilight is good at distributing and sending promos to press, don’t you fear to be drowned among the mass of uninteresting albums released by this label without real identity?
You answered the question yourself, that’s exactly what I’m thinking as well. We had a two album deal and it’s over now.
How much time do you devote to the promotion? How much time do you devote to Gorath, through concerts, rehearsals, recordings and nights talking about music?
I’m spending too much time to Gorath: writing almost all music, arranging all shows, working on artwork, making promotion, merchandise, spamming boards, developing sites,… Without having 100% control I feel lost. Paradoxically I know it’s too much to handle all by myself. Due to our jobs Gorath will never be able to tour and more or less we’ve reached our limits. Very slowly we’re gaining a solid reputation, but I’m not willing to write another five albums to finally get the recognition we deserve. Slowly I will be building down the work I put into this band.
Are there any chances to see you on stage in France ?
We would love to play in France again. Previously we’ve only done a few shows in the north, but I’m not sure whether it will ever happen again. For years I’ve been knocking on doors of promoters and bookers to score a show in France. It never worked out and made me quite pessimistic. Several shows for 2012 are booked and I’ve made myself clear I will not be knocking on doors anymore. For years I’ve tried to make the best of it. All our albums have stellar reviews and also our shows are praised because of their intensity. If people aren’t convinced and if bookers are too pussy to book us; it stops. We’re not searching for new shows anymore. If we are invited to play in France, we will seriously think about the offer – But I’m done with pushing Gorath through the throat of others. Also this is a part of building down the work.
Are your other projects still active or do you focus exclusively on Gorath?
Our drummer Heyde and guitarist Bart have a technical death metal bands for many years. Ill Fares the land is something like Myrkskog, Angel Corpse and Zyklon. They released a MCD like 10 years ago but have finished a new album. That band stays very low profile, as it’s more a bunch of good friends playing music together. Bass player Raf is also active in Torturerama, an old school Swedish sounding death metal band. On a regularly base they play shows in Flanders. And I’ve finished the debut album for a clandestine black metal band. As we speak we’re negotiating a deal with various labels. The music can be compared with Sargeist, Horna & Satanic Warmaster – But better, and less idiotic. I’m also working and guitar based ambient stuff, mixed with post-rock, dissonant black metal and ultra heavy funeral doom. The inspiration keeps on coming and is too different to be released under the banner of Gorath. However, the upcoming album is already written! It’ll be our last one and it’s more sludge than black metal. We’ve signed a deal with a small underground label (which name I cannot reveal right now) and they will release Apokálypsis as a double gatefold 12”. The second LP will hold the final album, as it’s lyrically an appendix of Apokálypsis. I’m pretty sure people will be amazed as the sound is quite unique.
Are there any French bands you're listening to ?
For me the French scene is the most interesting one in the world. Ten years ago Europe only knew Loudblast, Misanthrope and some obscure black metal bands. Nowadays the French rule the world: Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Celeste, Blut aus Nord, Nehemah and also one of my favorite bands: Year of no Light. Also it seems no other country can make the kind of perverse death metal made by bands such as Hell Militia, Temple of Baal or our friends of Bliss of Flesh. Also notice how a band like Svart Crown grew. Some years ago they were supporting us, but nowadays they’ve played all over Europe and signed to Listenable. Hard work pays off!
What do you think about internet? A useful tool or the Pandora box ?
I’m from the Mesozoic time when dinosaurs still walked the earth. Back then there was no internet, no mobile phones and only a few extreme bands on CD. I used a phone to call people and included stamps or something alike the get written letters answered. Osmose Productions sent a small A4 Xeroxed copy of their distribution list and tapes were traded all over the globe. The internet makes all of this much easier and is very helpful to score shows and close deals. However, I miss the charm of the old days and detest the lack of quality nowadays. Youngsters first set up a Facebook account and write music afterwards. They upload unfinished songs on You Tube and dare to say their music rules out the rest. When I started we first wanted to do local shows. Later on we wanted a demo tape, then some foreign shows, then a label, etc. Today we’re living in a hedonistic and capitalistic society. Everyone wants to have more and more. I’m sorry to go off topic here, but the overall western way of thinking seriously annoys me.
Thank you for your time! I let you the final words.
We appreciate your support. Keep the black flame alive.