Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"ME"TAL 101 w/Eternal Khan

Today's Eternal Khan's A Poisoned Psalm is being released and we couldn't think of a better day to share with you all our exclusive interview with the band. I was excited to hear the first track "Bells on the Black Hour" a few weeks ago and immediately reached out to the band for an interview. Eternal Khan are on a completely different playing field with this album. A Poisoned Psalm shows off the band's chops for orchestrating precise mind bending journeys embodied in all aspects of the death, doom and black metal genres. Let's take a journey in the shadows of the "Tower" and hear what the band has to say about their roots, the metal music scene and what methods of madness drive A Poisoned Psalm.

HMT: I'm totally loving the "Bells on the Black Hour" track from your upcoming cd.
You're a favorite of our writers. You hail from the city of Providence, RI. The city has bred some really great hardcore and metal bands over the years. Are you guys all from the area and how did you get together on this project?

Tou: Yes, we all grew up in Providence and still live in the area. At the time, these two guys were in another band, which went on a temporary hiatus. I had riffs. I showed Nate and we recorded some stuff which Da liked and here we are.

Nate: We actually met in middle/high school and have been friends for over 20 years. We were drawn to each other through music. One glance at our attire back then and it was pretty obvious where we stood on such matters. The unspoken communication (back patches, band shirts, sketched logos on book covers) prompted us to start talking to complete strangers, both sides recognizing some type of connection. It seems trivial in retrospect, but the lasting bonds speak for themselves.

HMT: It seemed like in the 90's there was a metal or hardcore show every weekend in Providence. What is your feelings on the club scene in Providence these days and the small amount of venues that still put on Metal shows.

Tou: There's been a lot of really good metal shows in Providence. Armageddon Records, Forza Morte, Intrinsic Events and Signature Riff, just to name a few, have been doing a great job putting on shows. Dusk is my favorite spot in Providence for metal shows right now. The sound is good and Gansetts are cold.

Nate: Back in 93/94, we were each in our first bands and it was very difficult to get on a bill. We had to do garage shows that our friends would put on. It's true, there seemed to be a steady stream of national acts that would hit Club Babyhead, the Living Room, Lupo's, and those events were well attended. But I think it was tough for a local act to get going if you weren't friendly with a lot of people in the right bands. With social media, it seems like local shows come together more often and with less friction. I think there is an engaged metal scene, it's just spread out a bit through the different subgenres that bands have moved into these days.

HMT:  I might be wrong but I hear a touch of Venom in your music. Who were your biggest influences? First albums that got you into metal?

Nate: The Venom influence is there, but indirectly filtered through second wave black metal. The first black metal album I listened to was Transilvanian Hunger and initially I thought it was a joke. The production turned me off but there was enough there that I kept listening. Eventually it all resonated and the haunting melodies burrowed in me. The Darkthrone and early Satyricon albums are some of the few recordings that have remained important to me throughout the years. They are my biggest influence.

HMT: I've always enjoyed learning about band's writing processes. Is there a primary song writer or is this more of a collaborative effort when it comes down to constructing your songs and overall feel of the latest album?

Tou: Nate and I write the riffs and then we show Da, who puts down drums and writes lyrics after we all construct the songs together during practice.

Nate: It's totally collaborative. Along the way we feed off of each other's ideas, coming up with alternate riffs, overlays, and vocal ideas. This band could not exist without all three of us.

HMT: How important was it to get those first demos/singles out before heading into the studio for your first LP? The production on this new album is great.

Tou: Hell Yeah! Nate did a great fucking job! He put a lot of work into it.

Nate: The demo was basically an experiment, it had been a few years since any of us had played metal. We took elements of what we liked there, mixed in some other ideas, and distilled it into the EP. This time we knew what we wanted and were able to focus our songwriting and sound. All the early stuff was written under the assumption that it would include accompanying bass. After the EP, we embraced the fact that we don't have a bassist. We shaped our sound to include lower octave guitars - something that I think would sound too muddy if we had a bassist. What you hear on this release is our live sound, just guitars, drums, and vocals. There's no way we'd sound like this without first doing the demo and EP. Thanks for the comment on the production. It means a lot since we were responsible for all aspects of this release, minus the artwork.

HMT: Looking at your new album, the artwork says witchcraft to me, it might be just cause we're in the thick of Halloween season. What was the inspiration for the new album and is there a historical time period you guys are covering in this?

Damian: A considerable amount of thought went into the type of imagery we wanted to use for this album with the sole intent of creating a particular mood or atmosphere; something dark and brooding that hopefully relates back to and compliments the mood of the music. The new album has seven tracks and we tried to find a common thread between all of them and then develop an album title and a concept for the cover art. We didn't want it to be "dark" for the sake of being dark; nor did we want to make an attempt at being "evil" for the sake of being evil. We really just wanted it to be genuine and to make sense. We explore many themes in our songs, witchcraft being one of them. "Bells on the Black Hour" is about the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, so you're not off base in your observation. "A Poisoned Psalm", is a lyric from that song, which Nate suggested as a possible album title and we all agreed it was appropriate. Although it has a Biblical connotation in the song, we're using it in a different context in the album title. If you think of the genre of metal as an anthology of subversive, counter-culture polemics, that is, "poisoned psalms," we consider this release to be a contribution to that collection.

HMT: What are your plans for the rest of the year once this album is officially released?

Nate: We're eager to continue writing new material, it's my favorite part of all this. But when live opportunities present themselves we always listen.

That concludes our interview. Make sure to purchase Eternal Khan's new album A Poisoned Psalm. You can get a preview of the album streaming on their bandcamp page where you can also hear their previous demos. Also check out their merch page where you can pick up their sick tshirt as well.

D.MURPHY: drums, lyrics | T.PHRATHEP: guitar | N.WOOD: guitar, vocals

Follow link below to order and listen to Eternal Khan

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