The essence of the black light
Oriental Death Metal has finally risen again in cold Canada, once it was "Pharaoh of Gods", debut by the mysterious NECRONOMICON band, now their successors AETERNAM continue in this link. Itís still a young band that recently released debut album for well-known label Metal Blade, so the future certainly awaits them with open arms. Itīs name is "Disciples of the Unseen", almost everywhere getting positive reviews and high ratings, simply they have to have some talent without which itís difficult to muddle through. Even vocalist Ash has some Arab roots, what is a big advantage for these bands. What is currently happening in AETERNAM and what are their views on certain things, drummer Antoine Guertin answered.
HiÖ Your debut CD "Disciples of the Unseen" is several months out. Has anything changed on your live shows after the album release? Do people more know your songs? Arenít you going to play live in Europe?
Nothing has really changed for us... We play our stuff and keep on improving after every show. Weíre a pretty young band you know, so each gig is very important because weíre learning from these experiences. As for the crowd, the most impressive one was in Quebec City, at our release party. There were several people who were chanting along choruses with us. Itís a wonderful feeling to see other people singing what you wrote.
What was the experience to go into the studio first time? Have you had more songs ready to choose, or you had exact tracks number which has appeared on the album? Or you were improvising in the studio maybe?
It was our first studio experience as a band, and even as individual musicians so we didnít know what to expect. We were ready as hell man!! Everything was already decided before the very first day of the studio. Iím not saying that it was carved in stone; many things changed during the recording process, but there was no hole before entering the studio. Every song was ready, the lyrics were 100% done, and even the final order was already decided.
Is there any band that have significantly influenced you either in music or lyrics side?
Yes of course. There are many bands, actually. If Iíd have to give one band Iíd say Behemoth. Weíre not copying them neither musically nor lyrically, but we took what we liked from this band. The key in Aeternam is the diversity in music taste of every member... We took every element we liked in every band we like, and put them in a melting pot. The danger in doing this was to lose a sense of unity in the music, but you know, I think we managed to work something cool by keeping that little middle eastern feel all around the album. Thatís the ę unity Ľ if you want.
Your band is specific by the fact you have no demos and the first album is now released by such a giant as Metal Blade. Why did they choose just you?
We actually recorded a home demo in my basement one day, but we never released it (Two of those three songs are already forgotten). We decided to make an album because we felt it that way. We all had the dream to record in a pro studio and make a pro record, so we did it. The signing with Metal Blade has been a surprise for the metal community, but an even bigger surprise for us. They caught us on MySpace after reading good local reviews of the album. Who could have guessed?
Arenít you a little missing hot sun and dry desert in the cold and snowy Canada? How can you draw inspiration for Oriental Death Metal in such an environment?
Haha, not that much man. Winter is cool in its way, itís cold has hell, but really beautiful. Actually, the oriental inspiration comes from our singer, Ash. He moved from Morocco to Canada in 2007 for study purposes so you know, itís like in his DNA. He grew up with this music. The other guys and I quickly went into this culture after we met him, so now it has become natural for us to use these scales and beat when we play music.
Do you already know which direction you will take in next album? Will there be something different? Arenít you going to write more instrumental tracks for example?
By now we have 3 songs already written. We made them listen to some friends of the band and the comments were really positive. The overall feeling in these songs is a way more progressive approach. I donít know why, itís that way. We still have a lot more songs to write, so letís see what future tells. Itís still gonna be epic, oriental and hopefully good. Haha.
What about sound? Would you like to change anything in forthcoming recording? Some bands change studio with every album.
It is still too early to tell. Weíll have to finish the writing of the music and rehearse the songs before thinking of studio again. To go back with JeF is a good plan because we already know what to expect with him: no bad surprises, and a final product of quality. But you know, again Iíll say letís see what future tells.
What is the message of AETERNAM?
The main message in Aeternam is simple. We try to explain with metaphoric images and ideas that religion is bullshit. This main theme actually comes from Ash which grown up in a Muslim country. Ash was really in the margin while being non religious in his country, so thatís why he moved to Canada (and for studies too, that was a twin shot with one stone). But you know, if you read our lyrics you wonít find anything really drastic. Weíre just bringing our themes with colors so that it gives a more poetic approach to the music, which is really epic and full of images in its way.
What do the songs ďEsoteric FormulaeĒ, ďOuroborosĒ and ďThrough The Eyes of EaĒ deal with
Esoteric Formulae deals with some incantations about cosmic presences. Ouroboros is a double statement about how people run around in circles with their beliefs and the origin of mankind. We may not come from where we think. Through the Eyes of Ea is what a man rejecting is religion would say to his god.
Beside Egyptian themes you deal also Mesopotamian mythology. Do you believe this mythology is based solely on fantasy or it describes real things that happened once? I am aiming mainly to Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh.
You see, thereís something strange about Enuma Elish. You can find a lot of similarities in many of the creation stories of different religions, thus leaving us a chance to suppose what really happened. But letís be reasonable, I personally donít think that any of these tales are true. People still believe in writings dating back over 2-3000 years. It doesnít make any sense... Enuma Elish or the old Testament, what is the difference my friends?
What is your view at creation of mankind? Do you think words Annunaki and Nephilim are connected together?
Could be something like that. Actually it would be pretty exciting if it would be true. There are many people believing in Nephilims, Fallen Angels, and Extraterrestrials or in our case Annunakis. Whatever. I donít affirm that I can tell anything about the creation of mankind. Darwinís evolution theory is what sounds the more logic, but still, there are some weird holes even in that one.
Have also the Egyptians had some world creation epic as the Sumerians? Where did the Bible writers draw informationís from?
The Egyptian myth of creation is different from the one in the Bible. I donít think that there are any links between those two tales. The only place where they speak of Egyptians in the Old Testament is the Moseís tale.
What do you think of the pyramids in Giza? How were they builded? Was there any of you?
Well, again I canít affirm anything, but I think that it was really built by man. Egyptians may have built the biggest pyramids in the world, but they were not alone to build pyramids. Ancient people were all believing in gods living in the sky, so a Pyramid was the best way to get as close as possible from heaven. The only question I ask is: who were these gods? Were they real? Are these gods the Nephilim, Fallen Angels, Annunakis? Or were they as invisible as the actual God?
Do you think Hermes Trismegistos has really existed? According to some sources, it could be Egyptian king Sifaros. So the hermetic should have its roots in Egypt.
I donít have much knowledge in the history of Hermes Trismegistus. All I know is that he was actually known as the combination of the Greek and Egyptian gods Hermes and Thoth. From all I know, I donít think he ever existed.
Which religions do you like and which not? Do you think religion might be dangerous?
Iím not a fan of religions in all cases, but I understand that the most important part of our history has been written upon religion. Man needed the gods, man created the gods. Thatís what I believe. If you ask me if God exists Iíll tell you: Yes, he exists, because some people, actually a lot of people, believe in it. But it doesnít make it real, thatís the difference. And regarding how many people died in the name of religion, how fanatic some beings may be, yes, I believe that religion is really dangerous for man. Some people are finding peace within the fundamental message of religions which is always good in its way, but religion is human made, so itís bond to conquer and to enslave humanity.
Soon, the Mayan calendar ends suddenly. Do you think there can become something special in 2012?
No, I think that December 21st 2012 is going to be a great day. It will be the same as the year 666 and the 2000 year bug. Right now people are making money with this... Sounds ridiculous no? And you said it, the Mayan calendar ENDS suddenly. There is absolutely no recalling of the world ending at that specific date. But some people still believe in the Bible, which was written long before the Mayan calendar. So I wonít be surprised if some people agree with the world end in 2012.
Ok, that's all from my side. Thanks for the interview and if you can, add your current top 5 albums. Let Ea bless youÖ
And you too my friend. I actually doní have any top 5 albums at the moment. Iím listening to a lot of Porcupine Tree these days. Amazing band. And if not, Iím really into film music right now. Crazy stuff.
Antoine 18. 06. 2010 Storm