Irish doom metallers Mourning Beloveth are playing raw and melancholic doom metal. Their tunes are so strength and heavy that they can get you into a hypnotic state of mind. I guess their massive and gloomy harmonies can satisfy every doom fan, so doom freaks should check out their releases. Bass-player Adrian answered my questions.
Hi Adrian! You have recently come home from the US Doomination tour. Tell me about it. I would like to know what places you visited and what reactions you got.
Hi Robert and everyone in Romania. The tour in America was fantastic. We started off in Los Angeles with the first gig and worked our way across to New York and back around to San Francisco. There were 21 gigs scheduled in total but we ended up doing 16 in all due to promoters pulling out at the last minute etc.
We were there for 4 weeks altogether so we got plenty of time to have a look around us as we went along. Itís somewhere that I would like to go back to again sometime and spend more time at different locations like San Francisco, the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Nevada desert. We had some great reactions in all the places we went to. Some of the crowds were small due to bad promoting but the people that were there really appreciated the effort ourselves, The Prophecy and Orodruin made to put the tour together.
Is there a big difference between the American and the European metal fans/crowd? How do you see the American scene?
Well the main difference was the turnouts especially for the size of the country. The crowd responses are way better in Europe, Iíd say. I suppose the American scene is reflected in the size of the country, too. It can have different scenes of the same genres in many parts of the same city, districts, etcÖ I thought. And because it is so big, too, not every touring band gets to go to all the main cities, so you might miss out on your favourite band because they choose just to tour on the west coast, for example.
You toured together with The Prophecy and Morgion. What do you think about their music?
Morgion couldnít do it in the end because both their guitarists were involved in a car crash the day after the first gig in LA and one of them hurt himself. It was a great pity because all of MB are big fans of their music and they are cool guys, too. Their bass player, Justin, travelled with us for the whole tour, though, and became our tour manager.
Justin is a cool guy and did a great job getting us around safely. The Prophecy chose not to play any songs from the debut CD on this tour instead opting to play new songs which was weird until we got them to change their minds. They did still manage to sell shit loads of merchandise though. Their newer stuff is much faster and they seem to be moving away from their doom roots.
The second MB album has been out for a while. What kind of responses did you get so far? Have you read about negative reviews?
The new album has been getting great responses all over the world. Weíve managed not to get any scores below 7 again on this CD as we did with the Dust album. Our label Aftermath from Norway is doing a good job promoting us all in all the big magazines. We built up a good fan base and support ourselves when we self-released the Dust album too. There have been no negative reviews as far as I can see.
For the last CD Iíd say 99% of reviews were very positive and that 1% of them have been someone that hadnít listened to the CD or just wasnít a doom fan. Our music seems to touch the regular doom metal fan and those with an open mind and of course the lonely and miserable who have yet to discover doom for themselves.
How many CDs can sell a death/doom band nowadays?
For Dust we pressed 1000 ourselves, which sold out. Sentinel had pressed 2000 so far and a 3rd pressing will be needed soon. Back in March Aftermath had pressed over 2000 so I suppose that has increased by now again. These figures are good for a doom metal band I reckon.
What/who were the biggest influences on your music? I guess that My Dying Bride was a big influence for MB, I even feel a little bit of Solstice influences on the clean vocals. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Well, MDB is one of our favourite bands but we were not trying to emulate them in any way. They have their own style of gothic doom and thatís not the imagery we wanted. We just wanted things to be slow first of all, and then blend the melancholy and sorrow into it. The Solstice influence is there, too, with the clean vocals especially.
Besides playing in a band you are also running a record company: Sentinel Ireland. Song-writing, rehearsing, recording, touring, label managing- how can you make time for all these activities?
I donít, and thatís the honest truth. Sentinel has a few releases coming up that will hopefully propel one of us, at least into working fulltime on the label, and therefore make it easier for the other person, too. Itís hard at times juggling a normal day job along with my music interests and a girlfriend, but I manage it somehow. Itís all a matter of fine tuning things and making just enough time for everything. Iím a bit of a perfectionist at times, so it helps too.
What kind of qualities has to satisfy a band for you to sign them?
The music is the most important thing first of all, and then the marketability. You have to see what the current scene is like and where a new signing might fit in. We were lucky with Abaddon Incarnate as their first album had been on Seasons of Mist so they were a known band. The grind upheaval also was a factor as their new style suited what was going on at the time in the Death/Grind scene.
We have signed Bastardsun, who feature Stuart Anstis (songwriter for Cradle of Filth's Vempire + Dusk And Her Embrace CDís) + Dave Wayne from Metal Church. It,s obvious what qualities there are for us picking them and signing them. With big names already in the band and who knows who else joins the ranks, remains to be seen.
Will Sentinel release anything in the near future?
We have just signed Scavenger from Ireland. They are a new band with lots of great potential. They released their own demo/album a year or so ago and got some international interest but weíve just clinched the deal, so to speak. They play a mix of Death/Judas Priest and a bit of power metal thrown in along with their own exciting blend of melody and madness. This album is currently being remixed by Stuart Anstis in the UK and should see the light of day before the end of the year. Next month we are releasing the vinyl edition of the latest Antimatter CD, ĎLights Outí. Antimatter is the new project of Ex-Anathema bassist, Duncan Patterson.
When was your first contact with metal music and doom metal in general? How did you reach to play in a doom metal band?
I was given a compilation tape of AC/DC when I was about 12. That tape gave me a taste and after that I just searched out things for myself until I could actually afford to buy stuff in my later teens. I started a band called Hemlock in the early 90ís and we played over 40 gigs with 1 demo under our belt. Frank and Brian from MB also played in this band. The style was a mix of thrash/rock, I suppose. When that finished, everyone went its separate ways. The other 2 guys joined the fledgling MB, and a couple of years later, after I helped recording the first demo, I joined the band. Our vocalist introduced me to Doom, during the time we shared a house in Dublin in our college days.
How do you make your living? Do your band and your label make enough money to survive?
I work for an environmental engineering company that is based at the Intel site in Dublin. Itís a shit job but the work isnít really that stressful. The band doesnít make any money-If we do get some from gigs etc we put it into recording/merchandise budgets.
Are you following with attention zines, websites? What do you think about mp3s? Do you use the Internet to download music?
I have to keep up with the mags/zines etc for sending out promo packs etc. Itís a hard enough job, as there are new mags every week, and some that go out of print/offline etc all the time. I think Mp3ís are very useful and a good way to get introduced to a new band or give you an idea of an album that you might want to purchase.
In your opinion, which are the strongest doom bands in the present?
My Dying Bride-While Heaven Wept-Orodruin-Morgion.
What do you think, what is the essence of doom metal? What makes a band to be ďdoomĒ?
What do you think about the change of style of bands like Anathema and Paradise Lost? Do you think it's a shame that they left doom metal? What do you think about their newer stuff? What about My Dying Bride?
Well I think Anathema and Paradise Lost have had more of a change of style than MDB. It was probably down to them keeping a close eye on current commercial trends and getting a look at what the bigger picture could be like if they played that kind of stuff. I know Radiohead and Pink Floyd are a huge influence on Anathema and the Cavanagh brothers are massive fans of both bands. This comes out clearly in their music. Maybe it has to do with finding an easier route to writing songs and not having to construct something completely new as early 90ís doom metal was.
This is something MB will always remain true to. We have never copied/stolen riffs just because it might sound like something we want. I think Paradise Lost changed their style to suit certain markets like Germany and France where a shift in styles are more accepted but if thatís what they want, fair play to them. MDB have remained very close to their death/doom roots and their last album really shows what good songwriters they are and that they still have that true essence you mention above.
I know, some people like to have a moan about their 34,788% CD but who cares -that was basically their only step sideways to try something new. I think they know where the misery is.
Why and how did you choose this name - Mourning Beloveth - for the band? It fits perfectly to your music. What's the philosophy behind the name?
Mourning Beloveth was named by the original bassplayer Keith Parker. He started MB with Timmy from the ashes of a band called Traumatised they both played in. Shortly after this, Keith left. Darren was in the band at this stage and soon after Frank and then Brian joined. To be ĎMourningí ones ĎBelovethí is the basic philosophy behind the name. We all mourn or have mourned for someone at some time in our lives and this is what the music does try to emulate all the time.
The Sullen Sulcus CD has a really abstract artwork and it's pretty unusual for a doom band to come with this kind of cover. How deep is the artwork connected to the lyrics? The album title is weird too...
The artwork title and imagery are directly related to each other. The title ĎThe Sullen Sulcusí means: A ĎSulcusí is the lower part of oneís brain matter (Itís where all the parts join up together) and the ĎSullení is the misery and pain that dwells within. The concept, so to speak, comes from the madness and torment that goes on in our heads throughout our lives and because of things that have happened in our lives or in this case to Darren.
The imagery used for each page of the inlay relates as close as possible to the lyric for each song,i.e. ĎThe Insolent Caulí. A Ďcaulí is the soft part of a babyís head after it has been born and the Ďinsolentí part of it is represented by a screaming babyís mouth superimposed on the Ďcaulí of the fetus. The child is screaming from inside the womb and the impending madness of the outside world. The artist we used for this album is Paul McCarroll from Belfast. He has done some work for Century Media and a lot of Irish bands. You can check his site at www.unhinged-art.co.uk
I would like to know what you think about death. Do you think that death is the end, or just a beginning? Do you believe in any kind of afterlife?
Death is inevitable of course. You just got to try your best while the heart is still pumping away. I plan on being alive until I am 100 so I can piss everyone off for longer ha ha ha. But seriously, dying is more annoying for me than anything. We struggle out fucking nuts off for years to get old, die, and be forgotten about. I would like to be remembered for something after I die, even if it was just for the length of a generation after I go.
Death is neither the end nor the beginning. We are here today because of genes and cells that have been built up since the first sign of life all those millions of years ago. We die and melt back into the Earth. Thatís why when I die I donít want a coffin or any of that bullshit. Just stick me in a hole and throw in a hand full of maggots to speed up the process. Either that or get cremated and thrown into the Atlantic ocean- Iím still a bit undecided.
And what about Christianity and religion?
I was made a catholic but I am not a practicing one and havenít been for many, many years. I suppose when you get more into science and you see where life comes from and how the world was made etc you realise the amount of bullshit religion is. Itís true that people need a leader but back in the day when people were weak and ignorant, it was easy to say God made this and God made that etc-how were people to know or prove otherwise?
In that respect I hate the way religion has a stranglehold on the weaker of society and the way its voice has to be heard and respected. Ireland has a very strong religious presence but over the last 10 years itís been through hell with the scourge of paedophilia and sexual abuse that has brought it to its knees. In Ireland, if you were thought to be gay or had a tendency to feel for young kids you were put into the priesthood so as not to bring shame on the family.
This has all backfired now and every week they are in the news about it- Sick fucks!! Another reason to dislike religion is the state of the country because of the occupation in the North of the country with the English government.
How strong is the metal scene in Ireland? I have the chance to listen to more and more excellent Irish bands every year: Primordial, Waylander, Mourning Beloveth, Abaddon Incarnate, Primal Dawn, Geasa and many others. Do you keep in touch with other bands? Maybe with U2, The Cranberries, he he...
The metal scene is a lot better than it was about 5 years ago. There just seemed to be a resurgence for some reason, probably the fact that it had got so bad that it could only get better. Its still small but a lot more dedicated and people help out each other a lot more. The Metal Ireland website has been a great addition to the scene and itís got gig dates/reviews/interviews etc to make communication a lot easier - thatís the advent of the Internet, I guess.
I am always in touch with the Irish bands here. Some of the unsigned I help out by sending them my promo list of magazines etc so they can send their demos for review etc. I am a big fan of U2, actually, and I always check them out. The Cranberries have recently broken up because the singer wants to spend more time with her kids-no harm either- I fucking hate that band.
What kind of music are you listening to in general and what CD would you put on after a hard day of working? Are you listening to other types of music beside metal? Do you have any CDs in your collection that might surprise people?
It depends. If itís been a shit day or I am driving to work with a hangover I will put on ĎSlaughter of the Soulí by At The Gates-It always works. Depending on the mood I might stick on Antimatter, The V.L.E, a classical radio station, Arcana, In The Woods, Neil Young, Dark Tranquility, Dissection, Primordial, Iron Maiden, Canaan, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, U2, Depeche Mode, Katatonia, The CureÖÖ. It varies. I like to keep an open mind about music. Itís a lot more fun for me to have a varied taste. I suppose it stems from not being able to afford to buy stuff for many years after I became a big radio fan around the end of the first decade of my life. Iím still a radio person and like to keep in touch with what's going on, be it shit or good. You can learn a lot from listening to it and it can broaden your horizons and increase your perception of the formation of different styles of music.
The opener riff of The Words That Crawled reminds me of Nevermore's The Passenger. Do you know the band, or the song?
I know the band but not the song-I must check it out.
What are the future-plans for Mourning Beloveth? When should we expect a new release and what should we expect from it?
We are currently writing new songs for a new CD to be recorded next April/May. The DVD of the European tour should be ready in a few months. Our 7í Pic Disc is out now - limited to 500 copies. We will have Dust and The Sullen Sulcus shirts ready in a few weeks.
The penultimate question: I am curious what you know/heard about Transylvania.
I know that Bram Stoker who wrote the Dracula novel was born in Dublin. In his youth he used to play games in an old cemetery at short distance from where I used to live. I know that you have a lot of castles there - One of my lifeís aims is to own a castle - Anyone there got any for sale? There are a lot of Romanians living here in Ireland, too. I have seen some pictures of Transylvania and it does look beautiful - very nice landscapes.
OK, that would be all. Thank you very much Adrian, I wish you good luck both for the band and your label. Doom on!
Thank you for the interview. I hope it will help to make more people aware of Doom Metal and my band. Maybe we can go and play there some day - If anyone can fly us there we will go. Could you please mention these websites too? Doom on!
by Robert Sun