with FLP (Guitars/Vocals)
by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs
B. Put (guitars)
R. Meukens (bass)
B. Vanderheyden (drums)
Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!
Starting with the most immediate news – is The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos really Gorath’s last album?
It really is our last album! It’s our sixth full album, the perfect number for closing down a chapter, right? It will be very hard to find all other Gorath releases, because the labels who released them are disbanded and our stock is almost entirely sold out. The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos will be most likely the last chance for people willing to spread their love and hatred towards us, as our past will slowly disappear,…
Are you able to expand on the reasons behind why this is?
For many years I’ve put so much energy in this band: writing music, lyrics, art, merchandise, contracts, shows, promotion, networking, interviews, internet sites, et cetera. As a Belgian band we had great opportunities to play in places most Belgian bands will never play.
We released albums on disc and vinyl and they all got excellent feedback, but it just takes too much of me. Let’s say German and French bands have a big country to rely on. For us it’s really hard to get noticed out there.
Gorath doesn’t give the satisfaction compared to the efforts put into it. There’s a lack of recognition. The only option to reach a new level is doing real tours throughout Europe or the States, not just short weekend shows. Especially due to my job I can’t take days off when I want to.
Also, we often had to decline show offers, because many organizers threaten us ridiculously. We have very low demands, but we aren’t puppets! Personally, it’s stresses the hell out of me. It feels like my hands are tied on my back.
This leaves open two options: 1. lower down our ambition or 2. quit. We rather choose to quit when we’re on our best instead of slowly fading away into oblivion.
Are you pleased with the results of The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos? Do you feel it is a fitting closing statement for Gorath?
We’re always excited when new tunes are finished and fully done. There are always some flaws, but The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos closes down the chapter perfectly. We wanted to end in beauty and personally I’m convinced we succeeded. This is the record I wanted to make, even though it might not sound typically like Gorath.
Gorath started life as a one man band – do you feel it’s come full circle to where it is today?
Actually, yes. Just as the first albums The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos is witten from my hands only. The other members didn’t hear anything before even the studio was booked.
I think guitarist Bart heard the album for the very first time when the final master was finished.
I knew this would be the last Gorath release, so I wanted to do it exactly like it was in my head. No compromises! Just like the old days.
Luckily the other members fully trust me. Gorath might me as the dictator, but without the slaves, we are nothing. The chemistry between the four of us on a personal level transcends the musical output I have.
Although the album has just three tracks as it were – it’s still nearly 40 minutes in length – did you write the songs specifically to be that long, or was it just the natural result?
It all comes very naturally. We could have made a fourth track, but then the playing time would exceed the ideal length for a vinyl release. The Chronicles of Khiliasmos is the most untypical Gorath album.
On MXCII and Apokálypsis there was some sludge, but on the new album there’s almost no black metal, apart from my vocals. It’s still very heavy, but downtuned and a lot more laid back. You still hear it’s Gorath, but people will be astonished – Both negatively and positively.
The Chronicles of Khiliasmos makes a rather original blend between black metal and sludge/ambient. Purists will hate it.
Now I understand the album is really the successor to previous release Apokálypsis – was it just that you felt you had more to say on those themes, or did you always intend for the albums to sit together?
Jurgen (the main man in Theudho) wrote all lyrics for Misotheism, Apokálypsis and also Khiliasmos. We both share more or less the same opinion about many things, like religion for instance.
His knowledge is unlimited and his words are perfect.
After Apokálypsis we talked about few other interesting concepts and we both believed the Apokálypsis story wasn’t finished yet. The seven (no coincidence) songs on that album were dealing about the Apocalypse seen from a different angle.
The bible it pretty unclear in some passages. So what if we all interpreted it the wrong way and salvation doesn’t come through God? It means there won’t be a millennium of light once the final judgement has passed.
That’s what the last (again: no coincidence) song on Apokálypsis deals about. On The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos chialism is the key word. Again the words of the bible are inversed and all three songs describe how world religion and their symbolic city will be destroyed and whipped away.
What is it about final judgement I suppose that captures your interest?
Mass destruction of humanity.
I assume it’s particularly fitting that The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos has been released in 2012 – the year that many say the world will end – as ‘heralds of the apocalypse’ what are your thoughts on the matter?
The human race is nothing more than a cancer ruining Mother Earth. We’re all heading towards self-destruction. These thoughts hail back from our first album Elite.
On the second album The Fourth Era I wrote about the Apocalypse through the eyes of the Mayas and their nowadays famous 2012 doomsday prophecies. The Mayas said a golden age will rise when their calendar ends in December 2012. I think a golden age is only possible without man. After all, it’s due to man there no golden age at this point in history. The western world is all about the ego and multinational’s money hunger never stop. But this can’t go on. It will stop.
In Europe few people understand there should be done something about the world (over) population, but they are unheard and said to be unethical. Will a polar shift take place this year? No. Will a super volcano erupt? No. Will a cometh hit the earth? No. We will not fade away in December! Sure, those things can happen any time, even tomorrow, but our race will take care of self-destruction even before it all will happen. We will evoke Tsunamis ourselves, and burn down the lungs of the earth ourselves. Let the world reborn without man. Perhaps we should hope it will happen this year. That’s the only way to be sure better times are coming.
Will you be doing anything to celebrate/mark the album? Any tours or even a wake planned?
No, in December there are three more shows listed and that’s probably it. We’ll play on Eindhoven Metal Meeting in Holland, supporting My Dying Bride, Satyricon, Taake, Sodom, The Devil’s Blood and many more. There’s a show in France with Temple of Baal and our friends of Bliss of Flesh and in Germany we will do a final show with Agrypnie. We think of doing a wake show in our hometown in Belgium, but we’re not sure if it will happen and if it will be a public show or invitee only.
The final question then – is this really the end for Gorath? Or is it a new beginning for the band, and members, in terms of continuing to produce music in a different form?
Bass player Raf is active in an old school death metal band, named Torturerama. He also started something sludgy with members from Sardonis. Drummer Bart will keep on blasting beats with his mates from Storm Upon The Masses. I guess they rather stay low-profile. I don’t have a clue what guitarist Bart will be doing. He is into very weird music, ranging from jazz to extreme classical music. He also plays the piano and the trumpet. Anything can happen here.
For me, I’m in another black metal band as well. They aren’t linked to Gorath and it’s not important to know more details about it. All I want to say is our debut album has been released on a decent label earlier this year. Most likely the vinyl version will be out next year.
Further I’m doing guitars for Hemelbestormer, a new band with veterans of the scene.
Hemelbestormer is the next logical step after The Chronicles Of Khiliasmos, but there’s way more ambient, sludge, drone, post-rock, et cetera. At this moment you can’t find any info about this band, but our first release will be a collaboration song (more than 40 minutes) with the Italian shoegaze band Vanessa Van Basten. It will be out on ConSouling Sounds next year. So we all stay active, but more low-profile, which I like. We’ll see what the future brings besides death and despair…
No, thank you!