Devil Worship Reckoning – A Interview With Hooded Priest   3 comments

Aleks Evdokimov has come through again with another killer interview, this time it is Hooded Priest. The bio reads – “Hooded Priest was founded on 6 June 2006 and was originally conceived as a doomed collaboration pact between several members of different Dutch and Belgian old school metal bands. These musicians had been in contact with each other since the mid-nineties and were now seeking to create the ultimate bizarre fusion between screaming blackened hardrock guitars and doomed rock ‘n’ roll. The band started out as a classic heavy metal quartet, but soon incorporated a double bass in their music in order to extend the dynamics of their compositions with a deep darkened bass pulse and mad psychotic percussion picks. The first years of their existence, the band created a considerable number of songs, slowly shaping their unique style of dark and epic, yet hardrockin’, traditional doom. What was first intended to be a mere side project soon became a band of primary focus….. Hooded Priest was finally ready to take on the stage by the end of 2008. The Dutch Doom Days festival was one of their early highlights as they played with some of the bigger names of the doom scene without ever having released anything themselves. Shortly thereafter, Hooded Priest released a limited rehearsal-cdemo entitled Call For The Hearse, which was later rereleased on tape by Capricorn Records. In the summer of 2009 Hooded Priest came to an agreement with Emanes Metal Records to release their first official full length-album on both cd and vinyl. This album, called Devil Worship Reckoning, is officially released 13 May 2010. It contains seven tracks of traditional doom metal in the old vein and over fifty minutes of their blackest, most cynical humour to blend with your deepest fears……. Subsequently, many a European stage will sink under the weight of its own doom in the course of 2011.”

Enjoy this great interview and thanks goes out to Aleks and Luther ‘Finlay’ Veldmark and Niklas ‘Miroslav’ Szàtan of Hooded Priest for putting together such a compelling read.

Q: Salute comrades! How are you? Do you still reap the wicked fruits of your sinister harvest collecting good responses of “Devil Worship Reckoning” or do you already think you can gain more innocent souls with brand new songs?
Luce: The response for Devil Worship Reckoning is indeed way beyond our expectations, it’s a very reassuring tendency for the future of our band. There are more songs boiling in our stew and we are stirring the cauldron for more doom to come. There are quite a lot ideas in the vein of DWR, but we won’t settle for a copy of that album, let’s say the overall feeling will be more doom, and the strange twist we are hailed for by many reviews will be stranger still.
Niklas: About the first part of your question: the album already came out in May, but it wasn’t until the months of August and September that the album finally found its way to most distros and the first reviews started to appear on the internet. This probably had something to do with the holiday season as well as with the fact that we’re a brand new band whose name is still rather unknown and whose music is spreading only gradually. Over the last few months however, we cannot complain about the responses as we received some very good reactions to the album and it seems to find its way across the globe rather fluently. So we’re quite satisfied with that! The songs on the album have been written a few years ago however, so right now we’re ready for some new stuff and working on new songs which will try to provide a rather new synthesis of ultra-heavy doom metal and epic hard rock.

Q: I’m sure that the band attracted both the listeners and the critics attention with release of “Devil Worship Reckoning”. What do you think is the main reason of such attractiveness to followers of dark doom metal?
Luce: The chemistry among the different members of Hooded Priest reached a boiling point not long after the band started and is still boiling. We wanted to jam some doom the old-fashioned way, with slow sabbathesque riffing and a clear voice, just for our own pleasure but also to hit some stages as we felt the need to play more gigs than the ones we did with our old regular bands. I don’t know how or why, but the combination of the five quite different characters in our band is a perfect blend and the music we ended up with in the long run has a special feeling in it. Although we tend to keep the riffing quite simple, the whirlpool of feelings evoke complex aural pleasures.
Niklas: Right on, I have nothing to add to that!

Q: I know how this question might sound but why did you all play in very different bands and very different sorts of music and then selected doom as a platform for Hooded Priest’s manifestation? Luther sings in a heavy metal band, Niklas plays in a folk band Grimm and pagan thrash formation Wapenspraak & Drinkgelag, Joe is in a almighty black metal act Urfaust! It would be logical for you to play “folk heavy thrash with black influences”!
Luce: We don’t want to indulge in the logical, we just have the love for music and the intentional idea for this band was to play doom metal because we all love this music enormously and there were not many opportunities to incorporate that in our other bands.
Niklas: The original idea of Hooded Priest was one of a couple of friends jamming together, so at the beginning we had no clear, logical plan about what genre we were going to play. However, from the start we thought that doom metal would be an excellent vehicle for Luther’s voice and that it would enable us to return to the very essence of heavy metal: heavy, catchy, emotional, melodic and simple yet effective riffing! And like Luther said, we weren’t able to incorporate such influences in our other bands, as all of those bands rather stuck to faster varieties of thrash, black and heavy metal, and doom metal-influences were mostly just discarded at the spot. When the first rehearsals of Hooded Priest took place, I was listening a lot to bands like Sevenchurch, Reverend Bizarre, Warning and Pagan Altar as well, so maybe that formed some kind of secondary motivation. Besides that, the idea of us jamming together originally rose after a couple us saw a reunion gig of Candlemass with Messiah Marcollin in 2005. So it seems from the start it was written in the stars that Hooded Priest would turn out to be a traditional doom metal-band.

Q: Truly to say I think that Hooded Priest is quite original band though the visual image of the band that reminds me of a bit of a mix of Candlemass and The Equinox ov The Gods live shows. And it’s cool, it’s rare that a band can surprise nowadays with such good form but you have too much black metal features in it, don’t you think that it isn’t necessary for doom band?
Luce: I want to say that the imagery of our band is not exclusively preserved for black metal. We felt that it was a good idea to have a visual resemblance with the grimness in our songs on the stage. This is something which was already used for ancient Greek drama, and we all are suckers for the dramatical. We have also done quite some gigs without paint which worked out fine as well. It’s not really needed for bands to have a special stage performance but it won’t hurt as well. As of late, we left the paint, in the beginning for practical reasons like lack of time, and it suits us as well, the music still creates a fucking epic and theatrical atmosphere during our gigs.
Niklas: It’s interesting that Luther mentions the practices involved in the ancient Hellenic drama, as the genre itself evolved from the games and plays that were performed by the pagan Greeks in honour of their deceased heroes and forefathers. Nowadays, “necro-paint” or “corpse paint” is used by black metal-bands, and earlier by heavy metal-bands or shock rock-acts like King Diamond, WASP and Alice Cooper, to create some kind of theatrical yet morbid atmosphere. Most of our songs deal with death as a topic, as most of them are telling short stories and, like the writer J.R.R. Tolkien once suggested in a radio-interview, all stories are about dealing with death in some sort of way, and hardly anything more than that … And so, not much unlike the ancient Greek, Hooded Priest once more evokes a play in honour of death, like there have been many before. In this context, the theatrical paint that is used to emphasise this morbid feeling seems very fitting to this concept.

Q: Does such memorable scenic image of the band play really important part in your live shows? What does Hooded Priest’s congregation say about it?
Luce: like I just said we don’t feel bound to any rules, I don’t know what we’ll do next gig or in the future.
Niklas: We’ve had all sorts of combinations going on on stage. We have played with different forms of paint, but on other occasions we just dropped the whole thing due to practical reasons. So we’ll see how things evolve in the future.

Q: Hooded Priest took part in Dutch Doom Days – how it was for you? It’s pleasure to see how quantity and quality of Doom Festivals increase in Europe, USA and even here, in Russia. How did the show go and what are your best memories of festival?
Luce: We are looking back on a very good gig, actually one of our best musically, I was suffering from an angina, but still my voice didn’t let me down. We had a bunch of crazy headbangers in the first rows, something which we are more used to when we play abroad, but like at our first gig ever in Holland, the crowd at this Hooded Priest-show came from different countries. This was our second appearance on Dutch Doom Days and there seem to be a lot of people that really digged our show, even quite some funeral doom fans, so that’s a good thing because we don’t want music to be put in box with a label on it. I have been three times to DDD now and my best memories from those three times, where definitely The Lamp Of Thoth, Saturnalia Temple, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band, Count Raven and Lord Vicar. During these gigs I have seen the whole place whilst dancing…on the other hand I really admired the harmony vocals of Isole, the sublime gig of Griftegard, the vocalist of the band Faith, the show with the violins….and not to forget it’s always fun hanging out in Baroeg Rotterdam, I meet a lot of people there that I got to know in Germany during Doom Shall Rise.
Niklas: It was indeed the second time we played at the Dutch Doom Days. We opened the second day of the festival two years ago, in 2008, but we hadn’t even released a demo at that time. So we were glad to return to the festival after two years, as a more experienced band, to introduce our debut album to the Dutch Doom crowds. It was a great experience, and we had a great time there all weekend. We were also happy to share the stage with our labelmates from The Bottle Doom Lazy Band and I saw some great gigs this year, especially from Revelation, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band and Place of Skulls. I’m always having a good time there actually, whether I have to play or not, so I’m already looking forward to next year.

Q: How do you organise concerts for Hooded Priest? Do organizers contact you or do you have to organise each gig by your own hands?
Luce: So far we have been asked by organisers, we haven’t been pro-active in finding concerts but we have appeared on many stages and most of the time in a good setting and a good bill. We only organised “Doom Over Jonosh” in the youthclub nearby as a cd-presentation gig, and invited our friends Children of Doom to come over and play. BBF ‘Tétar”, their vocalist, is the new “Lips” if you ask me. Man, he is so rock’n’roll ! Reinheitsgebot and Vincent McDoom are also nice people to hang around with. It’s always a party when they are around. Sometimes it feels like they are my own breed of Doom.
Niklas: We may organise one or two gigs ourselves in the future. Right now we’re considering the possibility to get the mighty Procession to Belgium in early 2011. It’s possible that we are going to organize this ourselves together with our record label, but nothing’s certain about this so far.. As for other gigs, we can’t complain! We’re added to the bill by organizers on a rather regular basis, and so far we have played in several countries like The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark and Austria. We hope to add some more to that list in the course of 2011!

Q: Luther, do you sing in Witchsmeller Pursuivant in a same manner as in Hooded Priest or is it a special way of singing – only for this band? Is it hard to sing that way during gigs? Cassock, beard, triumphant vocal lines – how did you realize that the combination of such features will be successful?
Luce: It might sound very contradictory but I sing a bit lower in Witchsmeller, which is an old school pure heavy metal band. I think the way I sing in Hooded Priest is a bit similar to the way I sang during the early days of Witchsmeller, a band that became faster with the years. Using triumphant vocal lines is just the way I sing and the way I look is just the way I look. It’s nice that people like the combination…

Hooded Priest – “Well Worth The Dig”
Watch The YouTube Video Here

Q: Well, Luther, sorry for I do not want to show my disrespect but… is it difficult to look after such a huge beard and keep it in a good condition? 🙂 I feel some kind of jealousy because I fail to have a beard and even sidewhiskers!
Luce: Oh, no offence, don’t worry although this is quite an odd question to answer during a music related interview. I just didn’t shave nor cut my beard last years, I wash it once in a while, I comb it daily and that’s more a less all that there is to know. Furthermore it doesn’t take me years to grow it, six years ago I had a beard like this as well, but in between then and now I have cut it once to the size of a more regular goatie…

Q: And a question for Niklas ‘Miroslav’ Sz?tan – what’s about your nick-name “Miroslav”? Do you have Slavonic roots?
Niklas: Not really, at least none that I am aware off. When we started out, we were seeking for a pseudonym for every bandmember that would sound somewhat traditional. Most of them seemed to fit in some kind of twisted Dutch or German tradition but, as far as I was concerned, we blended a nickname I had in another band, “Nick Satan”, towards “Niklas Szátan”, which sounded more Slavonic. So I added “Miroslav” to it as a secondary name. But even if I may not share a genetic bond with the Slavs, I do feel some kind of cultural and spiritual connection to the Slavonic parts of Europe as I am very interested in its roots and its culture, its history and its ancient traditions and mythology. I like to travel to Eastern Europe as well, and I surely hope we’ll play there someday with Hooded Priest..

Q: What equipment did you use recording “Devil Worship Reckoning”? It seems that vocal lines sound a bit raw – in an old school fashion if you wish! And where did Notaris get that great violin alike bass?! I think it’s not simple to deal with such a huge instrument on the stage.
Luce: Our album was recorded on modern equipment mainly out of practical reasons, but we are so glad it doesn’t sound plastic, Nerclath did a good job on that, I’m very fond of the way the vocals were recorded. The recordings were very relaxed, even if Nerclath had the right dose of criticism needed to get all the vocals on point. The double bass is brilliant on stage, especially the way it is played by Notaris, he adds so much energy to our music that even at rehearsals we soon get on that hypnotic level of mysticism which lingers in our songs.
Niklas: Indeed, we used rather modern digital recording software and equipment like Cubase, Nuendo and Line 6 pods to record this album, so I was very enthusiastic that the album was later on received by some critics as sounding rather old school and even eighties-like. I’m very pleased to hear we still succeeded in giving it an old school-vibe. Notaris used to play in a psychobilly band when he was younger, that’s where he learned to play the double bass. We thought it would sound great in a doom metal-band as well, however!

Q: Oh, and you can consider this question is quiet naïve but do you really think that worship to the Devil has any meaning? Or is the album’s name is just a tribute to the genre?
Luce: The title our album comes from the song ‘Devil Worship Reckoning’, a song that deals with the consequences you might suffer if you worship something too much, we used Mr. D as an example. You don’t have to look to more than 10 metal albums and especially doom to see that religion is often used as a source of inspiration, just make your own choice how the pendulum must go, I think the equilibrium of it is the animal side of the human race. The fact that we can make choices, especially if they are made by reason makes us human.
Niklas: The concept of “Devil Worship Reckoning” may remind somewhat of the song “Slave of Satan” from Reverend Bizarre, even though not entirely. It certainly acknowledges the fact that there are things larger than life in the kosmos, and that there are some things that better would not be challenged all too much …

Q: I would like to ask you to comment on songs from “Devil Worship Reckoning” and their lyrics… Of course if you have nothing against it. And don’t forget about “Well Worth The Dig”! I’ve learnt about Hooded Priest due to the Doom Metal Front compilation where your band is represented by that song!
Luce: The song “Devil Worship Reckoning” is a metaphor for everything I’m occupied with, which goes from singing in a band, listening to music, raising a family, painting pictures, making love, and surprisingly my normal day job, I tend to give everything priority and always feel that when I favour one thing everything else gets neglected…besided that Devil Worship can be seen as a spit in the face of organised religion and especially the lack of self-criticism in certain religions. Since you asked if I don’t bother to tell about the songs, well telling about the inspiration sources of songs and analysing the writing process might spoil the ideas one can form for oneself when listening to it. I never sung much about love but all of a sudden I wrote two songs, ‘Mrs. Satan’ and ‘Well Worth The Dig’ ,both songs about rather difficult love affairs, of course with an (un)healthy dose of romanticism incorporated, at least that’s how I look to those songs. ‘Bleak Ol’ Tyrant’ tells about the powers that be, you don’t have to be a realist to conclude that decadence rules the world, I really fucking love the way the song goes, with the two musical themes, the beginning that describes the rise and fall of the main character, the second one that shows the power behind the power….
Niklas: I think there are several bandmembers in Hooded Priest who, at the time the songs from “Devil Worship Reckoning” were taking shape, had something to reckon with one way or the other. As I myself was able to get rid of a huge pile of personal bullshit during that period, the album title serves as a personal metaphor to me. But next to that, it also has a deeper meaning on a larger philosophical scale of course.

Q: I read your interview in which Luce (if I’m not mistaken) told that some of Hooded Priest lyrics could be used as stories for children who want not to go to sleep. So, Luce, do you read books before they go to sleep or you just threaten them with your full-length album, playing some songs from it?
Luce: I pointed out to “8 o’ Clock Witch” because it’s a legend around where I live, that you have to go asleep on time, if not the ‘aacht uren meuier’ (dialect for “8 o’ Clock Mother”) comes to get you. I once scared my sister in law with that story because she always wanted to hang around with me and my girlfriend, her older sister, they differ 10 years, and me and my girlfriend obviously wanted to have a more private thing going on for the two of us…That actual story was something that struck me…and a good theme for a Hooded Priest song. About my own children, I don’t tell them too much scary stuff of course, I read normal children’s stories for them or tell them really comforting stories…If I play metal at home my oldest son always asks me ‘Papa, shut down that noise’, the youngest one always starts banging his head, he actually sang along with Darkthrone in my car, not the real lyrics but it was a good match phonetically. I hope I will be making music long enough so that they can come to one of our gigs, I always think when they are ten years older they will never believe that their father performed hundreds of gigs. Of course they are really not obliged to follow my footsteps in music choice…

Q: Which of your songs is closer to your heart? Which one was most difficult to record?
Luce: Oh man, I cannot really choose, I just like each riff Niklas came up with. Although I have written some melodies for “Bleak Ol’ Tyrant”, it was not the easiest song for me to record my vocals. Mrs. Satan was the first song we wrote so that song will always remain special, so far it has been the opening song of all gigs we did, it’s a song that immediately triggers the band’s chemistry, Mrs. Satan is mostly followed up by “Alibi” which gets us really going energywise, that song is so fucking exiting to play live. “8 o’ Clock Witch” is for me one of our most beautiful songs, it has all it takes for a Hooded Priest doomtune. Since you asked: “Well Worth The Dig” was the last song we wrote for DWR, and that song was a revelation to me when it came to putting the words on the music. Our new songs profit from the way how I wrote vocal lines for this song….”Hooded Priest Pt I and Pt II” will have continuing parts on future albums, although it’s duration the song has its fucking addictive riffs which are the most doomed Hooded Priest-riffs up to date, and which is an inspiration for songs to come.
Niklas: Hm, although I find it difficult to choose, maybe “Mrs. Satan”, “8 o’ Clock Witch”, “Well Worth the Dig” and “Hooded Priest” are the songs on the album I like most, but I’m quite satisfied with the other songs as well. The most difficult one to record was probably “Hooded Priest”, as it contains some faster, thrashy parts at the end of the song and a couple of guitar and double bass-solos as well.

Q: Yes, I agree with you – “8 O’Clock Witch” is most powerful song of Hooded Priest, but I must ask you to tell us about new songs. Do you just plan to compose new ones or do you already have something prepared? Do you have any rules when you write songs? Do you have some clichés which you would like to include into new material or to avoid?
Luce: We have been jamming quite a lot riffs since “Devil Worship Reckoning” was finished, and a lot of good melodies emerged. Since J-Maze is composing songs as well, we will have plenty of very vast heavy doom riffs on future releases! Niklas’ new writings have the same quality for headbanging like our old songs and a nice blend of more progressive riffs with fucking epic old school hymns. The combination of this writing tandem is needed to lay the foundation of what is going to be a concept album, and although the lyrical themes from the song will differ a lot from “Devil Worship Reckoning”, it will evoke a true doomed atmosphere. I hope people gonna like that as well for I think the concept we have in mind for the lyrics is a very original storyboard for a music album.

Niklas: The songs on the previous album erupted in a very spontaneous manner. They were written almost on the spot while jamming in our rehearsal room. Later on we added a few details to the whole or changed the song structures a bit, but the main procedure was for me to come up with some riffs and for Luther to add some vocal lines to that. We weren’t really bent on avoiding cliches as we felt that when some riff works, it just works! So we weren’t really bothering about originality or stuff like that, and even though the final result did not turn out to sound rather cliche, it was not specifically our intention to avoid that. The songs for the next album will be composed in a more complex manner, as both J-Maze and I are working on them at the same time. As things are going right now, this will result in a more varied sound including eerie heavy doom-parts that intertwine with more epic-like, mid-tempo heavy metal.

Q: What do you think about the modern doom scene and metal scene in general? There are a damned lot of new bands, there are even good bands among new ones, but some of them have not got their own face and sound though geneticists swore not to clone human kind!!!
Luce: I am really proud that we are hailed for our originality, although I like to bang my head on typical sabbathesque doom metal bands as well. In my opinion there are still 100 possible Black Sabbath albums missing, so actually I won’t be bothered if they all get released.
Niklas: Some rather new bands that I find very refreshing are Saturnalia Temple, Jex Thoth, The Wounded Kings and The Bottle Doom Lazy Band. They turn this traditional doom metal feeling into something brand new and sometimes incorporate some modern elements in it, without losing that particular old school vibe. But I’m quite content with the way some so called less original bands sound as well, good things are allowed to be continuously reinvented in my opinion!
Luce: Saturnalia, Jex and Bottle Doom, interesting original bands for sure! I must point to Hour of 13 as well, for besides the fact that that band creates an unbelievable doomed atmosphere, it fills my head with magical mystical thoughts like Mercyful Fate always does. It’s all in the melodies really, regardless of the mythological lyrics involved, of course all those singers contribute to that in different original ways …
Niklas: Hour of 13 is definitely one of the best new bands around, indeed! Apart from the tremendous vocals, it sticks out because of it’s haunting hardrockin’ doom riffs.

Q: Which maximal result do you want to get with Hooded Priest? If we will observe the world doom scene attentively then we find that even world-known bands worked hard through the years and even their patience and talent didn’t guarantee them wide success amidst the public of underground music.
Luce: We don’t have real plans about that and we do hope we won’t be the victims of our own success, no matter the scale, we just want to create more songs and hope with each new song to succeed more in our ultimate dream to create the perfect aural equivalent of fear.
Niklas: As for now, we’d just like to record our next album, improve our sound and do a few gigs in different countries and different places we have never been before. We’re quite content with the way things are going and we’re very glad to have a record company, Emanes Metal Records, that supports us entirely, so we hope we can keep evolving positively from the point we’re at right now.

Q: How do you relax after gigs? Well, how do you relax in general? Do you have certain reliable receipt when you want to rest and restore your forces?
Luce: I hardly relax with anything besides just lying lazy in my bed, apart from that I have so much activities and interests that I just have to go on for whole days and nights.
Niklas: Luther is a real insomniac. That’s what the song “8 o’ Clock Witch” actually is about … My impression is that he just never relaxes. That’s probably something we have in common. I’m always working on something, even at night, because I’m drinking too much of those unhealthy energy drinks during daytime. And when I’m not working, I try to read or to study, something which most of the time just triggers me to undertake new enterprises.

Q: Ok, I’m glad that we used this chance to do this interview – thank you for your patience! Accept my best wishes – to you and other members of Hooded Priest! Do not worship Satan! 🙂 No one gain from such deals!
Luce: I don’t worship anyone apart from my wife and kids. Thanks for this interview, it was a pleasure doing it. Thank you for reading it, and if you want to learn more about Hooded Priest, visit our myspace, facebook, last-fm…, all links are to be found on http://www.hoodedpriest.org . We hope to see you all around when we do(om) your town !
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov
Hooded Priest @ Myspace
Hooded Priest Official

Advertisements

Posted December 7, 2010 by doommantia in Hooded Priest

3 responses to “Devil Worship Reckoning – A Interview With Hooded Priest

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. 1)Electric Wizard
    2)Ramesses
    3)Bongripper
    4)The Wounded Kings
    5)Witchsorrow
    6)sHeavy
    7)Zoroaster
    8)Asteroid
    9)Triptykon
    10)Hour of 13
    11)Samsara Blues Experiment
    12)Cough
    13)Gozu
    14)Solace
    15)My Sleeping Karma
    16)Brant Bjork
    17)Rotor
    18)Yawning Man
    19)Sardonis
    20)Hooded Menace

    Have not heard yet:
    Cathedral
    Naam
    Dragonauta
    Enslaved
    Quest for Fire
    Salome

  2. Great band (surely one of the best discovers of 2010), and great interview!
    Thanks!

  3. Very interesting interview! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: