Interview with Hecate Enthroned

Interview with Hecate Enthroned
By Tammy Lomax

I recently had the wonderful privilege to get some questions over to long term bass player Dylan Hughes, from the band Hecate Enthroned. These absolute legends have been going strong for over 25 years!

Q: Firstly known as ‘Amethyst’ then ‘Daemonum’ in 1993, Hecate Enthroned were alleged to be one of the most intense bands that erupted from the death metal scene back in 1995. You embraced a symphonic black metal style in the early days, progressing and advancing with time and adding more elements of melodic death metal! What inspires and motivates you guys to keep going?

Dylan: We originated in Wrexham, North Wales. Back then the scene was young and very exciting, seeing bands come over for the first time, bands that are now regarded as instigators and albums that have become classics, gigs were sold out and the energy around the whole scene was electric. Being a part of that; recording albums, playing gigs was very intoxicating and fired what we were doing and of course we were young 😊 Now we’re older, wiser but still have the same passion for writing and playing music, we love creating as a band and doing shows, the energy and drive is still there and we have been incredibly lucky to have an amazing fan base that have supported us for over 25 years so producing for them and getting the reactions and feedback we do really keeps us going.

Q: In 1995, the first demo released, “An Ode For A Haunted Wood” was the start of something beautiful. MTV featured this release and Hecate Enthroned were one of the first extreme black metal bands to gain from this experience. Hecate Enthroned caught the attention of Blackend Records and you all collaborated to remaster the tape and turn it into a E.P “Upon Promeathean Shores (Unscriptured Waters)” From this moment you guys had a true black metal sound. How did the band conclude to this decision and why?

Dylan: Blackend had heard the ‘Ode…’ demo and our constant gigging had gained us a following over here enough for them to contact us and show considerable interest. We played a mini-UK tour in I think ‘94 or ‘95 with Primordial and Sigh. This did really well and after seeing us on the London date Blackend offered us the contract. They were a decent label and as a subsidiary of PHD they had excellent distro and promo. As the ‘Ode…’ demo was so popular we rehashed and re-recorded those songs as the first EP for Blackend “Upon Promeathean Shores…” and the track ‘Ode For A Haunted Wood’ got a video and playtime on MTV Headbangers Ball. There were very few black metal bands with videos at that time, so it did get us a lot of publicity and literally went across the world, with PHD distro our releases were one of the few bands and labels that got to countries outside of EU and US, and fans from those early times are still with us now.

Q: In 1997 Hecate Enthroned released its first full-length album “The Slaughter Of Innocence”. Produced by Andy Sneap, it directed the band to a faster, more brutal chapter. It was very well-received; however, the band did experience some negativity by being criticised as a “Cradle of Filth rip-off”. How did you guys approach this and what was the outcome?

Dylan: we’ve never given any credence to the COF press, we were both UK bands playing symphonic black metal, we shared members and COF were the bigger band so its natural this will happen. Most press and journalists don’t have the knowledge or imagination to write anything other than comparing bands to other bands, in a way we all do it. We just got on with what we do, we always have, we write the music we feel in the way that’s natural to us. As you say that album was fast and brutal, we have always been on the brutal side of symphonic and with a very Black Metal feel even with the Death Metal edge we have, our natural playing style is aggressive and that’s what comes out along with the orchestral and more gothic elements.

Q: At the end of 1997, a couple of band members were replaced by yourself and guitar player Andy Milnes. The following year Hecate Enthroned released their second full-length album “Dark Requiems…And Unsilent Massacre”. Using keyboards as the main instrument and adding layers of horrifying atmosphere, brutally consistent with the previous albums, What is your favourite track to play on this particular album and why?

Dylan: Yes, as a band develops, members will change or people will come in and out, it’s about finding the musicians that work with the band and that contribute to the creative process while bringing elements of themselves that either enhance or compliment, not always easy but we have been very lucky with the people we have had in over the years, some great musicians and friends. That album was again very fast & very nasty but with a darker overall feel, due in no small part to the production given by Pete ‘pee wee’ Coleman. We still play a few tracks from that album live and I’d say a favourite to play is the title track ‘Dark Requiems…’ it’s a powerful fast paced song with a really atmospheric end that builds into something horrific.

Q: The last album released by Blackend Records was “Redimus” in 2004, it showed a more aggressive edge and was produced by Phil Green via Blue Room Studios. In February 2013, guitarist Nigel Dennan and you were interviewed for the Hungarian documentary ‘Attention! Black Metal’, then later that year signed a new deal with Crank Music Group and delivered the album “Virulent Rapture”. Why did you sign a new deal and is there any advice you can give to bands regarding networking and getting their name out there?

Dylan: There had been around 10 years since the last album “Redimus” was issued, we had still been playing live but no studio work and no label. We had received a lot of offers but none we could work with or liked, and our personal lives had developed to where a lot of things were on hold. The offer from Crank was good and we went for it, unfortunately they didn’t exist for that long and reissues became difficult, but they did a great job with the album and it remains a favourite amongst fans if not a bit of a cult classic. Fortunately, our current label M-Theory Audio have rereleased “Virulent Rapture” this year and fans now have the chance to add it to their collection, also a beautiful vinyl release. The best advice for bands looking at contracts is to get a lawyer, a good one. Networking and promo are now online, social media, if you’re good with that stuff you’ll do well. It’s very easy for bands to self-promote as everyone is online.

Q: In 2006 Hecate Enthroned embarked on a UK headline tour playing in London, Southampton, Nottingham, Bradford and Wolverhampton. In 2007 you performed in Norway at Inferno Festival alongside Immortal, as well as several shows in Spain, Bulgaria, Romania and Germany. In 2013 Hecate Enthroned headlined a mini-UK tour, then headlined at the Hell Fast Attack Festival. With so many festivals and tours under your belt, What has been the most memorable and rewarding?

Dylan: Most memorable tour was probably EU with Satyricon and Behemoth in 2000, some great cities and venues on that and with 2 great bands who were both starting to really get huge 😊. Festival wise it would probably be Inferno as the bill was incredible and Brutal Assault in CZ, again great bill and what a great location for a fest, an old army camp. Such a cool vibe there. MetalDays as well, again it’s an incredible extreme metal fest with such good organisation in gorgeous surroundings.

Q: Hecate Enthroned were scheduled to do a gig in Bogotá in December 2012, which would have been your first show in South America, sadly it was cancelled twice. In the same month, the band announced they had fired both vocalist Dean Seddon and drummer Rob Kendrick. Rob was then replaced by Gareth Hardy, and in April 2013 Elliot Beaver was announced as Seddon’s replacement. How do you keep focused regardless of setbacks and disagreements in the band?

Dylan: Yes, that was very unfortunate and disappointing. South America holds great support for us, one of our biggest fan bases so not getting there and having several cancellations is very upsetting. But like anything in life if you love doing something and it means everything to you then you just get on with it, work around it, learn from it and progress.

Q: Since 2014, Hecate Enthroned have been preparing and gearing up, ready to deliver a new album “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” which was eventually released in 2019. How do you prepare, and what are the processes involved when writing a new album?

Dylan: We constantly write and have ideas, rehearsals regularly turn into jam sessions as well as individuals having ideas and riffs, it all comes together in rehearsals and we thrash ideas out into songs. There are always parts and riffs hanging about, some never get used and others can wait a long time before they do but it’s a band process and everyone contributes. The completed songs then get hammered out until they work and are ready to be recorded. By the time we’re in the studio the songs are there.

Q: This year has had a devastating impact on the music industry, how have you occupied yourselves and what can we expect from Hecate Enthroned in 2021?

Dylan: It has been difficult for us to do anything, obviously no gigs but due to restrictions even rehearsing has been patchy. We recruited a new drummer in Matt Holmes this year and literally only had a couple of rehearsals with Matt before the first lockdown so obviously priority, when we got the chance, was hammer the set and old songs with Matt. But there hasn’t been much of that in recent months due to personal circumstances around shielding and health. It’s been the same for everyone and it’s been so sad seeing venues and bands disappear, but we will get through this and, when we can, we will get back to the stage and resume blasting. We have some rescheduled fests and tours for 2021 we just hope these can become reality.

Q: Lastly, If you could all have one icon over for fine dining and beers, who would it be and why?

Dylan: I know Lemmy is dead but…got to be the man. And for obvious reasons, who else could you enjoy some fine dining with 😉

Many thanks for the interview Tammy and we wish all of you and everyone out there the very best. We are strong together and we will get through all this shit, see you all on the road very soon!!!!

Thank you so much Dylan and Hecate Enthroned, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with you over the last few weeks.

‘Plagued By Black Death’ (Brand new Lyric Video from the reissue of the “Virulent Rapture” album)

LINE-UP
Andy Milnes – Guitar
Nigel Dennan – Guitar
Dylan Hughes – Bass
Joe Stamps –-Vocals
Pete White – Keyboards
Matt Holmes – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Tammy Lomax and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent

Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent
Black Jasper Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 40:10
Review by Steven Hooke
6/10

For as long as time has been a follow-able construct in the eyes of man, there has been a constant battle between generations. From music to money, business, politics, how to properly cut the grass and everything in between, the old guard stands firm in their belief in that back in their day, peace and tranquility roamed the land, whilst the new kids on the block offered up new ideas and alternatives. Following into this extremely prolonged metaphor is London-based trio Phobetor and their seeming attempts to blend the duelling generations together through the medium of death metal. A genre definitely not drenched in creative misalignment.

The debut album features vocalist Debora Conserva and guitarist Mitch Revy, flanked by new drummer Marc Dyos from the symphonic power metal band Pythia. Together, the trio forge their own path into the world of death metal, combining the songwriting tropes of today with delivery and presence of classic DM. The modern-day elements unsurprisingly hold up pretty well, Revy’s guitar work and the constant churning of riff after riff after riff is amongst the highlights of the album, with particular mentions going to ‘Blind Widow’ and ‘Bury My Name’, and their respective incorporations of groove metal and the Gothenburg metal scene in at the highest tier. However, these riffs are difficult to spot in the first few listens due to the old school death metal durge-sounding production style.

Now, far be it for me – a self-confessed production snob – to criticize the production of a debut death metal album. But this goes beyond me wanting every album to sound as crisp as a Devin Townsend-directed Pringles advert. There is a strong argument that a strong debut is trapped behind questionable production choices. It takes decent headphones and a little concentration to truly hear the ideas Revy has conjured up, and they simply just don’t crunch in the way they’re meant to.

The album, as a whole, is drenched in modern creative ideas. From the dark orchestral opening of ‘Merging Infinity’, to Conserva’s albeit rare dabbles with clean vocals, Dyos’ more progressive rolls and fills, and the frequent tempo changes, it’s all so far removed from the old school days of “play fast, be heavy”.

Whether it was a stylistic decision, a financial wall, or if Conserva and Revy had a particular idea for the album before the introduction and experience of Dyos (as well as session bassist Richard Hunter from Maelstrom) came into play, remains to be seen. But something that they definitely should be holding on to for the follow-up is the range of their frontwoman. Conserva combines the low-end, bassy gruff of Angela Gossow, with the strong, unwavering screams of Dani Filth, resulting in a dynamic warcry performance that greatly succeeds, in spite of the noted turn-offs. Focus on any of her screams throughout the album and they are pristine, razor-sharp, and often the most commanding part of a song.

While we have been spoiled over the past few years with near-perfect debuts (Conjurer, Fvneral Fvkk, Møl) it’s often missed that it’s possibly the hardest album to get right, being the starting block for a band’s image and their presence in their respective musical community. Will “When Life Falls Silentset the death metal world on fire? In its current state, my guess would be no. But, that is not to say there’s nothing here. Individual components of this outfit are there itching to break out, but some serious consistency needs to be established to really define what kind of band Phobetor wants to be.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Merging Infinity
02. A Toxic Lie
03. Whispers of Dissonance
04. Blind Widow
05. Psychopathy
06. Bury My Name
07. Harmony of Solitude
08. Dysmorphia
09. When Life Falls Silent

LINE-UP:
Debora Conserva – Vocals
Mitch Revy – Guitar
Marc Dyos – Drums
Richard Hunter – Bass (Session)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 42.27
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Hello, my mischievous little munchkins and pixies. I trust you have all been cavorting around ancient forests like the good little misanthropic spirits you are and terrifying small children? Capital, my pernicious little piskies, capital. It seems that you are now allowed to go and get a haircut, but you aren’t yet allowed to adorn your skin with art. Because tattoo studios aren’t some of the most hygienic places in the world are they? I normally avoid politics because it’s a) Boring as fuck for you lot to read, b) I’m right and you’re wrong (TRUST ME ON THIS!) and c) the art of debate appears to have died a grisly and unpleasant death because we are all apparently snowflakes repeating fake news, regardless of which point of view we have. Suffice it to say that the current parasite inhabiting Number 10 appears to be hell bent on killing off our entire scene and I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! Apparently the choleric Mrs. Phillips from number 42, Saddleworth Road can now toddle off and get her fucking blue rinse sorted out and gossip with her equally unhealthy friends at a 1 metre distance in a hair salon full of hair clippings but we can’t get fucking tattoos or piercings and go and watch some heavy fucking metal played live in a sweaty, salty club somewhere. Even the mop topped fuckwits have their beloved fucking football back. It is not right and Boris is a right pigfucking cunt.  I’d like to curse the entire planet but that would leave me no virgins to defile and that would not be a good thing. I get testy when I am not able to perpetrate horrors on the wildly resisting bodies of nubile young victims. I’d like to say that that is my rant over but it probably is only the beginning… For the record, Dark Juan does not like football – if I want to shout myself hoarse for 90 minutes at people who aren’t listening and don’t give a fuck anyway I’ll just go to work as normal and I don’t have to pay investment groups gajillions of pounds for a season ticket to go and be wet, poor, cold and deafened.

Well, this is thrilling. I have, clenched in my sweaty and considerably sexually aroused hands the debut album from Lancaster death metal speedsters Bloodyard. Led by Amazonian, and not in the least bit frightening, frontwoman Donna Hurd, who appears to have been doing unspeakable things with acid, broken glass and large amounts of gravel to her voice, they have unleashed a record that would have done a very well established act justice. This is an excellent debut. My arousal only increases. You lucky things. I must note that it appears, from my past couple of reviews, the UK is undergoing a rather splendid wave of British death metal at the moment. And especially fronted by the fairer sex. This is not me being misogynist (although the darker ideas I have about ladies absolutely are…) this is me commenting that I find it gratifying that women are standing up in a genre that has not been historically populated by women and making it their own. Both Basement Torture Killings’ Beryl and Bloodyard’s Donna are as good as the classic male vocalists of the genre and actually better than the David Vincents of the world. I’m conflicted about the past couple of sentences because I’m not trying to draw comparisons. I’m all about equal rights (rites?) and I am a feminist, and to my sensibilities I have just been tremendously sexist, where all I was trying to say was that Donna is a great DM vocalist. Fuck’s sake. Being woke is hard sometimes. It’s staying in the review because I do think it a great thing that more extreme genres are starting to be populated by women and I believe in being honest with all you good folk out there. Extreme metal has been a sausage fest for too long.

Let’s move to less deep water where I can’t get myself in trouble any more, shall we? The music is excellent. The guitar sound is rather more crisp and legible than most death metal and there is an undercurrent of more traditional metal underpinning Bloodyard’s sound that proves to be an advantage, as it manages to break the unrelenting brutality up and makes “Orchard Of Corpses” something greater than the sum of its parts. There are also little thrash touches – on “Antithesis” especially there is an extremely Slayerish moment… I’ll let you all find out what that is. The fact that the band hail from the Historic County Palatine of Lancashire is another point in their favour considering your favourite Satanic shock rock hack is a Lancastrian boy too (apart from Donna, who is very obviously Scottish, but she does count as Northern and therefore brilliant!) The drumming on the record is tighter than a gnat’s chuff, the bass happily vibrates your nethers into a state of priapic excitement, the guitar work incisive and sharp, and the vocals facemeltingly intense. What’s not to love?

There are a couple of negative points I’ll quickly address because they are minor and don’t really impact on my enjoyment of the record – there is a slight case of musical schizophrenia as Bloodyard do appear to have moments of being unsure as to whether they want to be full bore death metal or add some groove in there, and a couple of the songs do feel to be a bit overlong, “Antithesis” (that song again!) could comfortably have had a minute shaved off the end of it and no one would have been the wiser. But, and this is a BIG FUCKING BUT, it is a debut album and a very, very good one. Everyone has to start somewhere and hopefully quality control will become better as Bloodyard continue their hopefully meteoric rise.

Standout tracks are “All Hail The Crimson King” which is just meaty as fuck, “Antithesis” which combines death, groove and thrash in a fashion that can only be described as sexual and the title track, which is old school DM of the highest calibre. Hopefully we are seeing a NWOBDM forming with Bloodyard in the vanguard.

To summarise – Bloodyard’s battlewagon is combat ready and devastatingly lethal, but the engine is missing a beat or two. Otherwise it’s a matt black, lead belching death machine razing everything, and butchering everyone around it. Just the kind of thing that gets my lust murdering tendencies fired up. Well done, you beautiful bunch of axe murdering bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Bloodyard a blistering 8/10 for a first class debut. Can’t wait to make them the soundtrack to my own personal apocalypse.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Begets Blood
02. Mortem
03. Rupture The Mask
04. Orchard Of Corpses
05. All Hail The Crimson King
06. Stack The Pyre
07. Choke
08. Purge The Rot
09. Antithesis

LINE-UP:
Donna Hurd – Vocals
Nick Adamson – Guitar
Dave Cowley – Bass (Proof of my theory that all bands have a hidden Dave! There is ALWAYS A DAVE!)
Matty Lee – Drums

LINKS:
www.bloodyard.uk/
www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/
www.twitter.com/Bloodyard
www.instagram.com/bloodyard666/
www.soundcloud.com/nick-adamson-4
www.youtube.com/user/bloodyard1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/12/2019
Running Time: 41:41
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9/10

Christ, this is one fast and thumping album!! It will turn you to absolute mashed potato…

Blood Oath, from Leicester, are one of those bands that are not going to go unnoticed, they are on everyone’s lips, and if you’ve seen them rip up the stage donning (fake) blood and a killer presence, you’ll have seen why! Forming in 2015, they have been rising through the levels, reigning chaos wherever they play. In the, just over four years they have been going, they have graced the New Blood Stage of Bloodstock 2017, Uprising, Ragnarok, Unearthed Festival, HRH Metal plus many notable others. “Infernum Rex Diabolus” is an album to get your ears around if you are well into your old-school death metal and mix it with elements, which to me, are quite Slayer-esque.

We are first walloped with the track ‘Angels To Some…Demons To Others’; a slow and melodic intro riff eases us into the next five minutes which is an earthquake of thrash. It’s a powerful start and the vocals are pretty evil, however, very clear. One thing about next track ‘Obliteration Ov Mankind’, that should be noted, is Ady McGlennon’s outstanding drumming – fast paced, aggressive and top notch, keeping the momentum going, it is clearly this track’s backbone.

NOW THEN – something wicked this way comes with the track ‘Infernum Diabolus’. This has to be my favourite track on the album and it really shows what Blood Oath are fully capable of. The monster riff that introduces us to this track takes us forward into a slow but absolutely belting headbanger of a tune. It then speeds up, with twists and turns of changing pace, something I absolutely need in a good track I want to get heavy to. Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson’s vocals here are low and growling, a pure demonic crazy train, but again very clear and well cut.

This is a track that will give you the following face of approval…

Halfway through track ‘Howling Of The Draugr’ the double-bass is UNBELIEVABLY intense and I fear if you are the headbanging sort, your head may just fall off, it’s utter whiplash. I love how this track blends that superspeed drumming with the slower riffs and bass giving it an almost doomy tone.

“Infernum Rex Diabolus” takes us through some crushing riffs from Mike Freeman and Frazer Hart and Bill Fordham’s bass blends its elements of Blackened Thrash/Death Metal and even a hint of Doom into a cocktail that just blows you away. Turn this up LOUD!

Blood Oath have achieved something pretty special, there is not one bad track and it does what it promises. No compromises. Killer album!

TRACK LISTING:

01. Angels To Some…Demons To Others
02. Obliteration Ov Mankind
03. Infernum Diabolus
04. Lycanthropic Bloodlust
05. Monuments To Our Ruin
06. Born Godless
07. Howling Of The Draugr
08. Entwined And Un-Divine
09. Solitude And The Silence

LINE-UP:

Mark Thrax Johnson – Vocals
Frazer Hart – Guitar
Mike Freeman – Guitar
Bill Fordham – Bass

Ady McGlennon – Drums

LINKS:

http://www.bloodoath666.com
https://www.facebook.com/BloodOathUK/
https://twitter.com/BLOODOATHuk
https://www.instagram.com/bloodoath_uk https://open.spotify.com/artist/6gcXkAjPfy4QoDTvOWrSa5
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCorkMmh-2BlQmzwP4pEnPIA

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.