Based out of the country of Belgium, Cult Of Erinyes is a black metal collective whose haunting rituals and dark artistry are mesmerizing to the senses. Their debut full length album A Place To Call My Unknown is staggering in scope, filled with intriguing ideas and blackened soundscapes. Seeking truth within the remote darkness, Cult Of Erinyes strive to create a listening experience that goes beyond what is normally expected within the extreme metal genre. Here is an interview we conducted with two of the members to find out more about the Cult Of Erinyes and their music manifesto…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Cult Of Erinyes, and a brief history of the band.
Corvus (guitar, bass, keys): Cult of Erinyes started as an ambient project in December 2009. The ambient track “Anima” (from the EP Golgotha) is the very first song ever made for the Cult. Cult of Erinyes fastly became more radical in its sound by the addition of Baal on the drums and Mastema as the vocalist. We recorded our first EP Golgotha between July and September 2010 and started the full length process in November of the same year. A Place To Call My Unknown was released in April 2011 through LADLO Productions, a French label, and distributed by Season of Mist
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Mastema: We’re from Brussels, Belgium. There are many metal bands in Belgium, certainly compared to its size. And although I’m not an expert in these matters (as it doesn’t interest me much), there are quite a few outstanding bands, such as Enthroned, Emptiness, Aborted, Panchrysia or Serpentcult. So I don’t think there’s a lack of talent. The real problem here is infrastructure. There is a big gap between big venues, meant for mainstream music, and very small (and often shitty) venues for “underground” music. Moreover, as there are way too many bands in this country (and many horrible ones, of course), it gets more and more difficult to attract people to “small” gigs. But as we haven’t done a single show until now, I guess this isn’t our problem anymore haha. Finally, it must be said that it’s also much more difficult for bands from small countries to get their name out. But then again, we don’t worry about these things.
A Place To Call My Unknown is such a enigmatic title. Is there any story or concept behind the title?
Mastema: The “unknown” typically refers to abstract considerations. You step into the “unknown” as soon as you start to refuse common ideas and beliefs, move away from a collective way of thinking and acting, and start defining your own principles and ideology in life. It is a true “unknown”, a black hole. One needs courage and willpower to cross that line. But it’s a tremendously important line to cross.
Please select two songs from the new album and what inspired the lyrical content?
Mastema: It’s pretty hard to just select two… “Insignificant” is about how the world is so-called “connected” today. You can reach people and places on the other side of the globe, which is fascinating of course, but also very deceptive. The idea of a “global community” is the main deception, as the main goal really is to serve as a platform to everyone’s hubris. The “community” allows people to become significant, to feel important. But it’s merely illusive, in the end the world keeps spinning with or without you, no one is truly “significant”. People are lonely, they need to feel they have some kind of weight, even a small one, in the world they’re living in. And today we see a lot of tools that are meant to serve that purpose. But it’s all an illusion, a sham.
“Last Light Fading” is an ambivalent song. It’s about the post-60s generations. People get more and more cynical and disillusioned. They feel emprisoned, unable to change their destiny or society, whereas previous generations felt they could turn things around. Some of them succeeded, other didn’t, but at least things weren’t immutable. Since a few decades, everything is fixed, people live in realities they don’t relate to but don’t seem to be able to reject. I express anger and frustration towards this situation, but I also can’t help to understand people, as we live in such unglorious times… I think most people hide their regrets and frustrations behind cynicism and indifference. I feel sorry, angry but also comprehensive at times, it depends. That’s why there’s also a spark of hope in this song, as I refuse to consider this situation is doomed to last for ever.
What is a live Cult Of Erinyes show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
Corvus: We’ll play here and there, but we’ll never be a “live” band sucking cocks just to play 30 minutes in front of people who don’t care. We’ll try to offer more than music. I see the Cult as the crystallization of a ritual, and our future live performances will be in that spirit. We’ll work with our close friend Dolmanseh to propose a total black ritual.
One of the most well known black metal bands in your area is Enthroned. Have you ever played shows with them or are you inspired by them at all?
Mastema: We’ve played with them only once with our previous band Psalm. It was for Enthroned’s Pentagrammation release party. I wouldn’t say we are inspired by them, no, as we have a very different approach on black metal. But we know their work and we respect them a lot as they were true pioneers in this country, along with Ancient Rites. They had to go through a lot of shit during all these years, but they’re still strong and putting out great records. Pentagrammaton is actually their best record ever, in my opinion, so… We also know the people, mostly Phorgath and Nerath Daemon, as both our EP and full-length were recorded at their studio, the Blackout Multimedia in Brussels. Phorgath has engineered, mixed and mastered A Place to Call My Unknown. We fully trust him and he has brought a lot of ideas while we were recording the album. Phorgath understands our music perfectly, it’s a perfect match for us.
How does the music and lyrical content on this new CD compare to what was unleashed on Golgotha?
Mastema: Both releases are very close to each other, in terms of music as well as regarding the lyrics. They were both written and recorded last year, so there’s definitely a common thread between them. Golgotha was our first release and we wanted something very organic and honest. With the full-length, we took a bit more time, especially during the recording process. But musically they’re very close to each other. Regarding lyrics, I see an evolution in terms of writing, but the themes are pretty much the same.
Are you or any of the other members involved with any bands outside of Cult Of Erinyes.
Corvus: I just started a new band with some guys who have a lot of experience so it’s really refreshing. I’m very excited about it since it’s very different from the bands I’ve played in before. More info about that soon.
What are the ideal conditions when composing your lyrics and music?
Mastema: I can only answer regarding the lyrics. I need to be under pressure, it has to happen fast, almost rushed. When I have too much time, I always convince myself (and Corvus and Baal haha) the lyrics are progressing well. But the inspiration is very poor, I rewrite things a hundred times. Then at the very end, when the studio is booked and things really need to be done, that’s when I work best, everything comes very naturally. It feels almost surreal to me sometimes.
Since an artist is always creating, how close are you to recording all new material?
Corvus: I already have something like 5-6 songs, but I don’t think we’ll record something before a year or a year and a half. At least! Or maybe an EP or a split album! We’ll enter the studio when we’re absolutely sure the new material will raise the level way higher in terms of intensity.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember after experiencing Cult Of Erinyes for the first time?
Mastema: We don’t have any specific desires, music is and should remain a personal experience. Everyone will feel something different while listening to our music. That’s why I never had a problem with people hating what we do. If that’s the way they react to our stuff, fine. If they only hate us because it’s “so cool” to bash a band, then I just ignore them. Until now we’ve been very lucky, almost everyone likes the album, so… But to get back to your question, the only thing we hope is to avoid indifference. That’s the worst thing when you’re playing “extreme” music. We want to create at least “some” reaction. Our music is a statement, a manifest, an outburst. It has to reach your guts, then you may react to it the way you want, we don’t care.
Any messages for metal fans here in the States?
Mastema: If you haven’t done already, check out A Place to Call My Unknown, you’ll see Belgians can produce something else than beer, waffles and political impasses 😉
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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