The 11th Hour: Through The Shimmering Darkness

A tapestry of bleak and relentless despair, The 11th Hour presents a raging slab of doom metal in its finest hour.  Featuring the talents of Ed Warby (best known for his work in Gorefest and Hail Of Bullets) and Pim Blankenstein (of Officium Triste and Beyond Belief infamy), The 11th Hour is a wondrously collaborative effort that revels within the endless confines of shimmering darkness.  Lacrima Mortis is The 11th Hour’s second magnum opus for Napalm Records, and it’s a grand masterwork of melancholia that will remain with the listener long after the disc spins to its murky conclusion.  In the interview, we speak with The 11th Hour creator to find out more about his stunning musical compositions and lyrical inspirations, possible live shows, updates on his other bands, and many other topics of interest.  Read on for shadowy enlightenment…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The 11th Hour, and how long the band has been together?
I’m Ed Warby and I play drums, guitar, bass and keyboards, I also sing and I write all music & lyrics. The 11th Hour started as a studio project but I assembled a band for what was supposed to be a one-off show at the Dutch Doom Days in 2009 and after that I decided to do more shows. Nowadays The 11th Hour is a full band.

Where are you based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
The “headquarters” are based in Rotterdam, or Rotterdoom as we like to call it, but the band members are from all over the Netherlands. The metal scene is pretty good, there are lots of bands and webzines and most minor and major tours visit our country. It’s not as good as Germany though, that has to be metal country #1

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Lacrima Mortis?
Yes there is, the title translates as “tear of death” which is an actual phenomenon that sometimes occurs at the point of death: a single tear will be shed by the right eye. I thought that went well with the overall theme of the album (death, unsurprisingly) and it would also make a cracking cover.

Please select two songs from Lacrima Mortis and what inspired the lyrics?
First I’ll pick The Death Of Life which is inspired by the passing of my father. It’s strongly dramatized of course, but the basis is real. On the other end there’s Reunion Illusion which tells of a bereaved man’s journey into the netherworld to find his beloved, this was inspired partly by a movie I saw a long time ago called What Dreams May Come and I really liked the idea of following your love beyond the grave.

Will there be any live shows from The 11th Hour in 2012? And what could one expect from a live show?
Absolutely, we already have some confirmed bookings and are working on adding more to the schedule. One could expect extreme heaviness provided by no less than 3 guitars!

How easy or difficult was it to play all of the instruments on Lacrima Mortis, and do you prefer working on your own or would you like to record with a full band in the future?
Nothing is ever easy when it comes to making an album, but in my mind I had to do it on my own. It took me about 8 months to finish everything and during that time I lost hope more than once, sometimes even going as far as deleting complete takes and starting from scratch again, but now it’s done I’m extremely proud and satisfied with the final product. I did decide that the next album will be a full band effort, 2 exhausting DIY projects are more than enough for one lifetime.

How did vocalist Pim Blankenstein become involved with the project?
Pim has been a member of the live band for 2 years already so I knew he had what it takes when Rogga had to pull out due to being ill. Pim stepped in with his massive roar and delivered a performance that was better than I could hope for, so it all turned out well. I “found” Pim through guitarist Bram Bijlhout who was the second member I recruited back in 2009 and he’s also in Officium Triste, Pim’s main band.

What will the New Year bring for your main bands Gorefest and Hail Of Bullets?
It won’t bring much for Gorefest since we broke up in March 2009, the only Gorefest member I’m still in touch with is Frank Harthoorn who joined The 11th Hour last year. Hail Of Bullets will start working on a new album in April, it still needs to be written so I imagine we won’t record before the end of the year. We’ll keep doing shows of course, but less intensive than in 2011 where we did almost every major metal festival you can think of.

Will Napalm Records re-release Burden Of Grief, and when you look back, what do you think of the album now?
It’s still in print as far as I know… I still like the album a lot, it’ll always remain a very special project for me because of the profound personal meaning it has. I would change a few things maybe, but it’s fine as it is.

Would The 11th Hour ever want to go on a tour with Gorefest and/or Hail Of Bullets, and how do you think you would hold up playing in more than one band a night?
I don’t think that would be a good idea, I need to focus on one thing and I think I’d mess both shows up if I had to sing, play guitar and then drums. We are doing a show with Officium Triste later this year which means that Bram and Pim will be on stage twice, and since Asphyx and Hail Of Bullets have a slight overlap Martin and Paul also have double duty sometimes, but I don’t envy them.

Do you still keep in touch with Rogga Johansson and would you like to work with him again in the future?
Sure, looks like we’ll be doing another Demiurg album in the near future. The last one was terrific in my humble opinion so I’m really looking forward to making another album.

Any messages for metal fans here in the States?
Thanks for reading this and I hope it inspires you to check out the new album!

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
You’re welcome!

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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