One of the finest metal releases in January 2019 was definitely Hecate Enthroned’s new, sixth album, “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon”. My brother in arms, Goth Mark, already highly praised the record in his review. Being in the front row of British black metal with their odes from all the haunted woods, dark requiems and hymns to the fallen, now the kings of chaos are more honest and more focused than ever on delivering trve kvlt black metal, as best as you can get. I used the opportunity to invite Hecate Enthroned for a talk over their new album, their experience and goals, their past and their plans for future, and Andy, Dylan and Joe were kind enough to respond to my questions. Is Hecate still enthroned? You bet!
(A) Andy – Guitars
(D) Dylan – Bass
(J) Joe – Vocals
It is an honour for me to welcome you to the Blessed Altar! How are you just right after the release of your brand new superb record? Is Hecate still enthroned?
Hello Blessed Altar, thanks for the kind words and interview, are we still enthroned? … damn right we are!
OK, you have been around almost 25 already, being into the history of British black metal…What is needed to be strong performer and delivering great music for such a long time?
(A) I think obviously having the right members in the band with the same goal, focus and dedication, also sticking to the plan and not letting negative talk from outside the band filtrate in.. bands have their haters as well.. ignore that!
How do you see the black metal scene nowadays? So many subgenres, so many bands… Where is the border between the trve and untrve? What is different now vs. back then when you started – for the scene and for you as a band?
(A) I think the scene is at its strongest I’ve ever seen it, as for sub genres I think that is a natural process of music evolution, some of the bands are good and some are not, that’s down to personal preference.. The trve or untrve border lays in opinion I think … of a 60 year old stands by their music they wrote 40 years before I think that is about as Kvlt as you can get.. if you don’t give a s**t and are doing it for the trend that to me is unkvlt.
What did all these years take away from you and what did they give you?
(A) it took away our youth and gave us old age 😉
Somehow you managed to keep Hecate Enthroned more into the Underground than go with the flow, despite “An ode…” being seriously rotated on MTV in the very beginning of your career. Is this correct, can you expand more on this and the path Hecate Enthroned went up to the present?
(A) yes that’s correct..I seriously think we partied a lot harder than most in the early days and maybe it was detrimental to the success of the band, we got to a point and decided to focus seriously on the band.. we still like a party though, just more and often rather than a continuous one!
What are your main musical influences and drivers?
(A) from classic rock to all kinds of extreme metal … the list is never ending.
Which is the best ever black metal record and why?
(A) In The Nightside Eclipse is definitely up there.
(D)Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane – classic black death with melodies.
You have just released your 6th(66) album “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon”. I personally have a great kick on it, but how do you see it? How would you present it to us and what do you think are its main strong points?
(D) Its strength lies in it being a total package, it’s 8 very strong songs that all stand alone but have come together to create a complete album. Along with the themes and imagery behind it delivers on all levels. There are fast aggressive moments, heavy brutal moments and huge open epic passages but they all have their own place and time and don’t fight but combine to deliver a truly monumental metal experience. The overall sound has a lot to do with this and the production and mix by Dan Abela has given the songs their space to breathe but be a part of the whole miasma. We have never been so pleased with the sound of an album and the art work totally reflects what is going on inside…Hecate, summoned and arisen.
How different is this album compared to the others?
(D) Again it’s down to the overall production, this album has all the elements of Hecate Enthroned, all the elements that were previously visible on all our previous albums but with this one the layers and depth is more evident because of the crystal production without losing any of the power and heaviness. This album is an accumulation of where we are as a band musically. We are very proud of it.
What is required to deliver strong black metal record? How demanding are you in your music in order to squeeze the maximum?
(D) We have always been very critical of our own music and when we write we have to be 100% happy with it or it gets binned. We only use what we feel is right and worthy of being a Hecate Enthroned song as we know full well our fans will know if something isn’t working and they deserve the best we can deliver, so we work hard developing tracks and our music and at the end of the day that’s how any band delivers is by working hard and being honest and true to who they are. Being your own critic can be difficult but it also means you are constantly striving as a band.
“Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” is the first album for Joe Stamps with the band. Tell us more about your choice on him joining the band, his work on the album – what did he bring to the band? I quite like his darker and lower vocals…
(D) We have known Joe for many years. He even stood in on live vocals for us in the past so we knew he could do it and was a good fit. Yes, his vocal range is very impressive and he nails all our back catalogue and equally importantly he brings out what needs to be done vocally on the new material. He slotted straight in with no real break in period and really hit the ground running. It helped as he knew our songs and he knew us, his writing on the new album encapsulates what Hecate Enthroned is but also what the new album is. It keeps our dark, satanic roots but he weaves a story around each song which means he captures the mood of each track and draws the listener in with a tale either based around a legend or history or something from his own experiences. The mood he creates has synced in with the album construction and the album flows as a complete piece of music.
Was this change the main reason for “Embrace” to be released 6 long years after “Virulent Rapture”?
(D) No not really, we had Joe in very soon after Elliott leaving. We actually had this album written and ready to go quite soon after Virulent Rapture and in fact it was recorded/mastered and ready to go a couple of years before its release in January. The main reason for the gap was getting the right deal to release it, we weren’t getting the offers we wanted or thought the album deserved so instead of ‘sacrificing’ it with a lesser deal, meaning less promo and distro, we waited and eventually got this brilliant deal with M-Theory Audio who have delivered an incredible release for us with an amazing looking package. M-Theory have been incredible and have brought all their huge knowledge and experience to weigh with the album and we are progressing together as a team.
You did have changes in the vocals line-up through all these years. Is it so difficult to be a Hecate Enthroned vocalist?
(D) Haha they might tell you it is, you would have to ask them, personally we think we are a joy to work with!
Did you change your messages – the lyrical themes, the way you express your thoughts? Are you still under the spell of the winter forest and blasphemy? Is there something else that moves you and you want to put it down on paper and into your music?
(J): The title Embrace of the Godless Aeon refers to a new era of enlightenment that we see from a more educated population that leads to less people relying on theistic religions for answers. I feel my lyrical approach is more inspired by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris than anything else. However, I did think it was important to retain the elements of Satanism and the occult that were present in previous albums, albums that I was a big fan of before I became a member of the band. There are also many references to fantasy fiction and historical events too.
What can we hear in all those silent conversations with the distant stars?
(J): That song is actually about the way in which an atheist copes with the deaths of those close to them. When I dream of people in my life who have passed away they never speak, which I believe is my mind’s way of telling me I can no longer communicate with them. I’m also very interested in astronomy, so I’m aware that when we look into the night sky we are looking into the past as the light from many stars can take years and years to reach us, some of those stars may well no longer actually be there. So when I’m dreaming and I look into the eyes of a person in my life who has passed away, the light that is in their eyes is like that of distant stars. It’s an image that is rather poignant to me, but oddly comforting.
If you have to pick one Hecate Enthroned record in order to bring on a desert island with you, which one will it be and why?
(J) Dark Requiems and Unsilent Massacre.
What’s ahead of Hecate Enthroned in 2019?
(D) Shows, fest, tours and metal carnage. Keep an eye on our pages for updates.
Shall we wait another six years for your next record?
(D) No not at all, we are contracted for a second album with M-Theory Audio so it won’t be a long wait.
Is there anything else important you would like to share with us and our readers?
Many thanks for this interview and our darkest regards go to your readers and fans.
Thank you very much for your time and this interview! Wishing you successful and blasting 2019!
All the best and many thanks for your support!!!
Interview by Count Vlad
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