Monday, September 30, 2013

Forestfather, Black Chalice, Lamentations of the Ashen Reviews: From The Dust Returned

From The Dust Returned offers thoughts on the new slate of releases.

Proof positive of the power of online networking, Forestfather is a project long in gestation which was finally brought to light when original member Kveldulf (from Chile) inevitably collaborated with a pair of prolific US musicians, Jared Moran and Michael Rumple, who, between them, in particular Moran, have written and released a wealth of other ventures across numerous genres. In listening to Hereafter, though, you really can't tell that there's any sort of cultural gulf or distance between the members, because the five tracks here flow seamlessly across an emotional, folkish, black metal landscape; dark in a reflective sense but largely built upon crescendos of loss and rustic reverie. A number of styles are distributed equally across the 37 minutes of content, and more importantly the vocal arrangements offer a rather unique mesh of timbres that are simply not something you'll hear on many recordings in this niche.

There are probably four central themes to Kveldulf's playing here that are given even face time through the record. Bright, hazy drifts of chords performed at a moderate pace reminiscent of the mid-period Drudkh records, which are anchored by the most potent bass lines on the disc. Tasteful, folksy acoustic licks that transition rather well in and out of the distorted escalations. Dreamy, shoegaze-like, minimalist melodies that stretch into the highest elevations of rhythmic pitch on the record, while canvasing the other instruments (great example of this is after the 1:00 mark in "Ethereal", which is very true to its title) and creating some of the most haunting and effective instances of the experience. And lastly, there's a more savage, traditional black metal ethos with intense, melodic picking supported by the hammering double-bass lines. This was most impressive in the first half of the track "The Emerald Key", which had patterns that instantly summoned nostalgia within me for Borknagar records like The Olden Domain and The Archaic Course, not to mention Enslaved around that later 90s era. Shimmering, well-plotted, yet as solemn as a wall of granite.

I wouldn't necessarily say that the majority of the riffs here were equally memorable, but each cut has at least a few to distinguish it among the album as a whole, and Forestfather has a number of other distractions to help balance out any tedium I might have felt during the less interesting progressions: the foremost of which is the multi-pronged vocal attack here, in which a number of sharp, clean lines tend to take you by surprise. Far from a common commodity in this genre, Rumple's performance nevertheless sheds the strange Scandinavian soaring of an ICS Vortex for something more dagger-like and unnerving in shape, with some soothing and expressive harmonization that adds quite a lot to the rural imagery conjured up through the chords; not to  mention the crazy screaming in the back-end of "All Tears to Come", which is bloody fantastic. I wasn't half as immersed in the black snarls here, which are really par for the course, but in fairness there are some individual instances where the lines become wretched and ugly enough to really stand on their own. But I'd actually go so far to say that I would have preferred more of the harmonies here, since there are entire swaths of the record filled only by the rasps that don't feel nearly as refreshing.

Bass lines are silk-smooth, really finding their stride during the mid-paced sequences of the album where a groove is established to bolster the sad and pretty high-end picking patterns. The drums also feel fairly loud and natural without becoming obnoxious or drowning out the other performances. A lot are performed with a laconic, rock sensibility befitting the ebb and flow of the guitars, but numerous double kick sections and loud, abrasive fills help to challenge some of this tranquility; and there are some outright blasted components like in the latter half of "The Emerald Key" or in "The Days Ever-Done" which are more or less like a Frost/Pure Holocaust-era desperate charge through a blizzard. But, really, it's a testament to the variation here that even the percussion-less pieces, like the intro and bridge in "The Days Ever-Done" hold the attention through their composition and never give the listener any urge to be anywhere else. There's a dramatic egality across Hereafter, between its calms and storms, which seems meticulously structured without ever revealing any semblance of robotic predictability....

...that's not to say I loved every track equivocally, and was, in fact, rarely blown away here, but there was indeed something pleasant and compelling about the experience which rarely put me to sleep. For a debut, Hereafter is strong and self-assured, the sort of rustic acclimation that many black metal/folk artists seem to strive for without achieving. I felt transported to some woodland riverbank where a rucksack of supplies awaited my arrival, and then departed on a journey worth taking. Forestfather is not particularly 'evil' or sinister as far as black metal goes, nor is it happy and summery, but more like a long autumn afternoon hike when you are standing in the shadows of the trees just as often as a clearing, surrounded by withering foliage. A curious evolutionary nook between folk-era Ulver, Olden Domain Borknagar and the quixotic current flavors of bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Woods of Ypres or Alcest...but certainly not restrained to these, there's really a lot of potential appeal here for anyone who wishes to whittle away his/her sorrows in a campfire headspace beyond the eavesdropping of humanity.

Review: Here

I'm often at a loss as to what constitutes a demo recording or an 'official' album, especially in the metal underground, where the latter can often prove just as important or substantial as the former. In the case of the Submission demo by Black Chalice, it probably has something to do with the studio process and the original intentions for the material. This is actually a considerably longer work than the Obsidian album I covered, and recorded the year before. Strangely enough, it offers some of the added variation I felt could have strengthened that work, but at the same time it's a little less consistent overall, and there were a few points at which I felt myself nodding out. I guess this better deserves the brand of 'death/doom' than Obsidian, because the growls here reign supreme, and it definitely possesses a more mournful, crushing, funeral pall, but texturally I also felt it a little dryer, less saturated with the imagination of that album.

Submission opens with a four-minute instrumental constructed from clean, sad, scintillating guitars that eventually builds into a union of chords and single picked melodies, and then beyond that comes the really heavy stuff. There's still a combination of drudging, filthy chords and melodies, but the former feel a little more gratingly tuned, and the latter seem slightly less tethered to the bottom line. The drums are really underwhelming here, faint beats that barely support the huge, ugly riffs canvased above them, though they pick up steam in the bridge of "Regret" when they start hammering away. The guttural vocals take on a maudlin, almost monotonous drift as they would in many recordings of this field, and they don't really distinguish themselves as being particularly weighted or brutal. "Submission" itself features more clean guitars, and some of the submissive, clean vocals that are commonplace on Obsidian, but it also has a pretty weak transition and then picks up into what is basically an admixture of driving, older Katatonia-style guitars. I found "Cornea" more to my liking, though the rhythm guitar distortion seems to clip a little and nearly bust out of its own recording.

The last track, "Wain" seems to come from a separate recording session and has a more repressed quality about it. Melodic vocals, groovier riffs and a bass-heavy, Sabbath like substance to some of the riffing in the bridge. Perhaps an attempt to make inroads to a more antiquated style of doom metal, but it does seem a little out of place with the rest of the material, and sloppily constructed so that the riffs don't exactly flow into one another in a meaningful way. That said, I actually did enjoy the project of Patrick using his clean vocal style over this more psychedelic riffing aesthetic, I only wish he were louder. Lyric-wise, Submission was quite good as the other Black Chalice material, especially the song "Regret" where I really enjoyed the closing line: When will we be sorry? We will be sorry. Still very personal and deep, wrist-cutting and depressing, but perhaps a bit more image-laden. Ultimately, I think this was a work borne of experimental intentions more so than Obsidian, but some of the songs drudge on a little much without many ideas of note, and "Wain" just didn't fit for me. Not without a few moments, but I simply felt more rewarded by the experience of Obsidian.

Link: Here

What hit me the hardest about Obsidian is just how abrupt the album begins, especially for a death/doom record. No lengthy, pretentious acoustic passages to kick off the experience, no treacherously slow build into the solemn and crushing riffs. This one just dumps a bucket of sorrow directly over your noggin through a miasma of churning, burly doom metal progressions, haunting and tonal clean vocals that hover below the loud swell of the chords, and a foundation of dreamy atmospherics that seem as if they could only been inspired by a dreary, overcast New England coastline. Or at least that's how I'll imagine it, since Black Chalice is the work of one Patrick A. Hasson of Maine, who some underground pundits might recognize from his black metal oriented projects Auspicium and Avulse.

But even more important, this album got me nostalgic for what must be my favorite doom metal epoch, the 90s, when the strong presence of the British scene was joined by an emergent Swedish wave of Gothic-tinted bands. For instance, some of the emboldened chord patterns here recall the first two Lake of Tears records, but then Patrick is constantly splaying out resonant melodies beneath them that remind me of Paradise Lost (circa Icon). Granted, this is marginally more solemn and funereal in disposition than those albums, to the point that it might even appeal to fans of stuff like Evoken, but this guy clearly dug out the roots of the genre and avoids the droning, endless excess that the style has often fallen into, even on the longer pieces "Heliocentric" and "Obsidian" that make up about 21 minutes of content between them. Some might balk at the stiffness of the drum programming, or the oft calamitous resonance of the production in general, but this tape is nothing if not consistently eloquent and oppressive in equal turns.

Naturally, he gives himself more space to explore in the wider tunes, like "Obsidian" where the drums drop to a sparse cadence, the drudging bass-lines rumble beneath a glaze of harmonies; or "Heliocentric" where he produces these warm, climactic fusions of the grainy rhythm guitars and melodies. But most of the material is based on the same, steady formula of dirty chords and drifting vocals. The singing is strangely subdued, and this might also prove a turnoff for those accustomed to the vocals being on top, but in reality this just gives them the substance of another instrument in the mix. He doesn't exclusively stick with this one style, capable of belting out the dirgelike gutturals most equate with the genre, but it certainly feels more drugged, numbing and ultimately unique. I did feel at times like the album might have benefited from further variation, perhaps some vocal-only passages or tempo shifts, but as it stands, four tracks in 33 minutes isn't quite enough to wear out its welcome by turning the same few tricks repeatedly.

All in all, a fairly unique style here that rewarded me with the escapism I seek of it. The lyrics are personal and cautionary as opposed to poetic and image-heavy; dealing largely with depression, alcoholism and the confines of the human condition, but at the same time their humble. Patrick isn't speaking to you through some pretentious haze of Gothic grandeur, but more on a person-to-person level, and it helps to ground the epic quality of the music, to 'reel it in' if you will. You know, I just had to make a fisherman joke because I'm an asshole, and because there's just something so contemplatively coastal about this...lighthouse doom...a walk on the rocks, breakers spraying your toes with cold, salty tears. Obsidian isn't perfection by any means, but it IS an experience, and there's not a lot more I could ask for in a niche of metal that I sometimes find to be the antithesis of compelling. Recommended for your next gray afternoon.

Link: Here 

With three tracks eclipsing 15 minutes each, one of which nears the 23 minute mark, EKIMMV is an album that demands a large degree of patience and contemplation from the listener. It's a demand that I'm not sure is consistently warranted, for while there are some pleasant and engrossing riffing progressions throughout, and the sole musician behind Lamentations of the Ashen, Bon Vincent Fry, is adept enough at building layers of tension and sadness through a mixture of fell snarls, atmospheric tremolo picking and subtle bass contours, these behemoth compositions seem to drift, drift, and drift some more through a series of overt, patchwork transitions. So, the earnest attempts to imbue them with highly necessary variation tends to meander, never quite achieve a climactic payoff, and only a handful of the rhythm guitar patterns really stick.

Interestingly, the wordy song titles like "Eventide Sentinels Bedecked with Ineffable Twilight" and "Viperine Shades Linger Quiescent Among Erstwhile Passions", while lovely, seem to really set up the expectations that this is going to be quite indulgent and channel a Romantic, poetic sensibility which I feel it definitely does accomplish. This is clearly true of the lyrics, which have a classicist sense of wonder in capturing their imagery which dial back centuries. The rhythm guitar structures are largely rooted in tremolo picking sequences, which encapsulate an antiquated, Gothic longing rather than the sinister despotism I generally equate with much of the black metal genre. This is statuary black metal, regal and lonely and meant to elate the listener's spirit to a state of soaring and sadness, not to repeatedly prod the audience with aural pitchforks, and I don't believe anyone seeking out such an aesthetic would be ultimately disappointed with what Fry concocts here. He also doesn't shy away from anything: understated, atmospheric synth pads implemented sparingly across the course of the record. Samples in numerous languages. Solemn, ambient drops within the meat of the metallic content. Or cleaner, sparkling guitar passages that could be just at home in an alt rock context as this. Predictable this is not, but at the same time the pieces seemed to be wedged into the puzzle at random.

Where I find no faults at all would be the production, which is impressively clean, and even without losing the emotional depths of each instrument. Guitars are bright enough to cut right into the imagination, but gain a little power and traction when blossoming into denser chord patterns. The drums sound live and fresh, with an effortless capacity to handle the variety of beats through lumbering kicks and steady snare strikes, not to mention there are some experimental percussion sections as you'll hear in "Viperine Shades..." that might take you by surprise. The bass is pretty bleak and smooth, often just wallowing along in the wake of the guitar but always somehow managing to add another tonal tier to the experience. Fry's rasping is nothing necessarily out of the ordinary, but he generates enough of a nasty sustain that it fits the mood of the music rather well, even if there are few individual lines that I might consider gripping or interesting. Most impressive are the subtle nuances, sounds you'll hear on the edge of perception that are constantly woven in and out of the music; even if they're just synth or feedback, they often generated a compelling, panoramic effect. I'll also note that Patrick A. Hasson of Black Chalice lends his clean, haunting vocals to the track "Veiled in Clairaudient Litany" which felt like it veered into a minimalistic Dead Can Dance territory before picking back up with the guitars.

Ultimately, though, I found myself struggling to retain interest the more journeys I made through this. For one, the 5 minute instrumental intro, "...of Wraiths in White", which is essentially a piano leading into some glaring feedback and then a few droning notes, seemed the driest and least worthwhile piece on the whole album, and might just have been left off. The outro, "Ascent into the Empyrean", built on angelic synth choirs, also seems a fraction cheesy and not living up to its potential. As weighted and swollen as the three primary tunes are, they're far less irritating and decked out with generally more interesting ideas. Just not always configured into the most climactic or emotionally resonant progressions, so I often had to dig around to find a few truly inspirational moments. That said, EKIMMV's conflagration of components does feel somewhat if not entirely original, and fans of dreamier, spacious bedroom/basement black metal which doesn't adhere to any specific set of rules might find this a journey worth experiencing.  

Link: Here

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Thy Light - No Morrow Shall Dawn

Thy Light mix a bit of folky guitar work into keyboard ambiance with an occasional passage of a distant distorted guitar drowned in a sea of reverb while the captain of the sinking ship known as the echo pedal screams as if he were waxing poetic while he's really just screaming while avoiding hyperventilating. The synths feel fairly bright most of the time, making the screams an odd inclusion - the metal side of the music appears sparsely, as this is predominantly ambient, and it really doesn't make sense at all. While the band seems to consider this some variant of black metal, it's not even background music like the neo-medieval synth/folk of Burzum's "Daudi Baldrs," it's just bland background ambiance. It's sort of like a Yanni album where nothing happens, save a few passages of echoing arpeggios played on guitar with distant screams over it. That's what most of this album is.

I mean no disrespect to Yanni, as he makes some interesting ambient/new age music, but I think most metalheads would understand what I mean when I say that the first 34 of these 41 minutes basically sound like a poor imitation of the backing tracks of Yanni's "Dare to Dream" punctuated by an occasional scream rather than an 80s-as-fuck synthesizer. It's basically the ambient equivalent of an episode of Seinfeld played at half speed - nothing happens, but if it's some sorta dumb joke that you can relate to then you'll like it, otherwise you're left wondering, what's the deal with this thing about nothing?

It's all a setup for a mediocre atmospheric black metal track. No thanks, I'll take that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer gets a garbage disposal installed in his shower so he can prepare food in it. At least I can relate to that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Master Fury - Circles of Hell Review #5

From Pure Grain Audio:

"You have to love labels like Contaminated Tones Productions because without them a lot of cool stuff would fall to the wayside and never be released. As of late the label has been slowly but steadily putting out some of the more interesting things in the underground and this release is no exception.

Master Fury is a New Jersey-based thrash metal band that released a couple of albums, split up, and recently reunited. That said, this new release, Circles of Hell, is a compilation of their two previous albums, Hell Party and Circles of Hate, that were released in 88 and 89 respectively.

The band are extremely tight sound-wise with a non-stop, full speed thrash attack. Think Slayer, Overkill, and even early Megadeth and you'll have an idea of what to expect. The band never let up and the record is a fantastic listen for anyone who's a fan of 80s-era thrash. The only thing that may be off-putting for some is that production-wise Circles of Hell is quite rough. Most fans of early thrash, however, should be fine with it as most early recordings we love have similar a production value.

Overall this release is a solid, yet raw compilation of two albums by a band who never got the recognition they deserve. Thrash fans owe it to themselves to seek this one out before it goes out of print... because it's a good listen!"

Fatum Elisum Interview

France's Fatum Elisum put out an album earlier this year by the title of  Homo Nihilis that inks the band indelibly into the ranks of France's burgeoning Doom / Death clan. Earlier I had the chance to talk to bassist Alexandre about Fatum Elisum and their peers across the Atlantic.

CT: For those who have never listened to Fatum Elisum, how would you describe the music you've thus far created?

Alexandre: Fatum Elisum plays doom death metal, without keyboards or female vocals, these are important points to notice. I think we sound like old English doom death metal bands like Cathedral (In Memoriam and Forest of Equilibrium era), old Paradise Lost, old My Dying Bride and old Anathema, with other influences. So you could expect long songs with heaviness, gloom and maybe some kind of tragedy on our music.

CT: Can you relate to us the origin myths of Fatum Elisum? How did the group form and since, how have the members coalesced? 

Alexandre: Christophe (guitar) and I met in March 2002 in a metal shop in Rouen called Hellion Records, and we spoke about doom metal. After that we thought about forming a doom metal band with Sator, our former “drummer”. After many tries, we had a more serious project during summer 2006, with Sator, Céline our former keyboard player, Jean Cédric on guitar and with Ende on vocals. But we did not agree about the musical direction and this project stopped quickly. So in March 2007, Christophe, Céline Sator and I asked to Hugo to join us. Hugo used to play with Sator, and was at that time playing guitar with Last Offender (heavy thrash metal). We rehearsed during spring, and in July 2007 Ende joined us as the singer. That was for the real beginning. In October 2008, when we split up with Sator, we had at that time a gig scheduled and we could not cancel it. So we asked to my brother Christophe to help us for this gig, and as he really enjoyed it, he became our drummer. I think this gave us a real start as playing with him was what the band really needed.

CT: Does each member bring a specific aspect to the music such as, is one member particularly excellent at writing convincing melodies, or lyrics?

Alexandre: Since the writing of the song Dancer of Spirals on our first album, we have the same method for writing songs. Hugo and I work together on the songs structure and showing to each other our riffs. Then Hugo makes all the melodies and harmonies, and after that we rehearsed the song altogether. Ende writes all the lyrics.

CT: On your facebook page, you mention that you made a specific decision to not include keyboards in the band after originally starting with a keyboardist. Why did you specifically choose to leave keyboards out of the band? Many bands in the doom death style utilize keyboards prominently and do not suffer from the inclusion. Morgion comes to mind.
Alexandre: Céline was at that time Sator’s girlfriend, so in a way, that’s why she was in the band. After many rehearsals, Hugo and I felt disappointed by the keyboard, which avoided Hugo to express him with lead guitars. In the beginning of June 2007, we did two rehearsals without Céline, and after listening to the recordings of these rehearsals, we found out that it was far away better. Céline is a good keyboard player, but this instrument did not fit to our music, as we wanted to do something very dark and crushing. And the melodies from a guitar, for me, are clearly nobler than coming from keyboards with synthetic sounds. More over, in my opinion, it is quite difficult to be very original when adding keyboards to doom death metal, as everything has been said by many bands, notably by My Dying Bride and Saturnus. Even I like bands like Skepticism, Profetus, Saturnus and My Dying Bride, I think this instrument has no place and will never have its place in Fatum Elisum music.

CT: Where do your influences lie, musically, lyrically and conceptually?

Alexandre: As said before, our main influences come from lots of bands, like Cathedral, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost, Celtic Frost, Mourning Beloveth, Evoken, Mournful Congregation, Black Sabbath, to name a few, but we listen to many kind of metal, notably Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, and Epic Metal. We also do have personal influences, Christophe our guitar player, Hugo and Ende, listen to a lot of classical music, and Christophe also listens to a lot of world music, and for example, I enjoy artists like Neil Young, Sixteen Horsepower, Wovenhand and Joy Division.
Lyrically, Ende reads a lot of thing, so you could find his influences on his lyrics; this is something important in the band, as we often speak about the books we read in the band. Ende really enjoys author like Nietzsche, Cioran, Albert Camus, Antonin Artaud and William Blake. Conceptually, the word Fatum means Destiny in Latin, but in the way of its fatality, as Victor Hugo described it in some of his books. So, in my opinion, there is something about this fatality in our lyrics and in the emotions brought by our music.

CT: Tell me about the recording for your most recent release, Homo Nihilis. How did this recording differ from the first self titled release?

Alexandre: Well, there are no big differences from the first record, as we worked once again with Julien Bous. I think the big differences were on the drums as my brother is a good drummer and did a very good recording session for this album, so there are real drums on this record. But, we all progressed as a band, so the recording sessions were better for us. We recorded the drums, the guitars and the bass guitar in Postghost Recording Studio in December 2010. The vocals were all recorded in the church Saint Romain of Cailly, in February 2011, with Julien Bous. That was once again an amazing experience, but very extreme as it was very cold in this church, but the result is better than on the first record, as we had more time to record. We were happy to work once again with Julien, he knows us well and also knows what fitted for us, and he is a very good sound engineer. He did a great work for the mixing process which was done from March to May, and we obtained what we really wanted for this album.

Thankfully to Stu, our marvellous boss from Aesthetic Death, our album was mastered by Greg Chandler (Esoteric), who also did a great job for us. So we are really happy with these recording sessions and with the final result.  

CT: How has the reaction been to the record so far from what you can tell?

Alexandre: At this date, there is only one review about Homo Nihilis. I know that Stu is very pleased with our album. The only reactions about our record came from friends, they were good but it is hard to take a distance from that. Romain from Postghost Recordings told me that this one is good, and far better than the first one.

CT: In a recent review of your new album, Homo Nihilis, Dominik Sonders of compared Fatum Elisum with another local band, Ataraxie, practically pitting the two bands against one another (1). You've played shows with Ataraxie, but do you know Ataraxie personally? Have they been an influence on you?
Alexandre: I’m fed up with the endless comparisons to Ataraxie, as we do not sound like them, they are more extreme than us, and we are more influenced by the Peacevile Three than them. In fact, it seems that as we are from the same town, we are and maybe will always be only a copy cat of Ataraxie for many reviewers. That makes us laugh in the band, and Fred from Ataraxie was amazed about theses comparisons. Anyway, there is no competition at all between us, as we are friends. My brother and I are working on a new project with Fred and Sylvain from Ataraxie, Hugo and I have a gig organisation with Fred, and Jonathan is a good friend of mine. They’ve been an influence on us, not musically but in the way they managed their career, notably for their integrity. In fact they told us good advice when we begun, and let us play our first show with them and with Indesinence in November 2007. More over, I discovered doom metal during the nineties, so before Ataraxie was born.

CT: Do you feel that often times critics fail to look at each band singularly, instead perceiving each band as being in conflict with others? It seems that Dominik was hoping you would be a different band.

AlexandreI am also a reviewer; I often compared bands to other bands, but not in the way of making or creating some conflicts, but in order to have some main references for the readers. That’s the problem with a review, sometimes you loose something while doing comparisons or making some competition like “this one is slower than the other one”, or “this one is darker than this one”. It’s good to have reviews for a band, as it is a good way of promotion, but the best way to discover a band, in my opinion, will always be to listen to them on a disc or during a gig.

When we created the band, we did not want to be a revolutionary band, but only to play the music we wanted to do and to hear. There is some kind of worshipping of the elder bands in Fatum Elisum, and we pay our tribute to them, notably while doing cover songs, but you could also find it on many way on Homo Nihilis. I do not know what Dominik was hoping, he is free to think and write what he wants to, and this is not a problem for me.  

CT: Outside of Fatum Elisum, what do you occupy your time with? Do you work? Have kids? Hold candlelight rituals to the Elder Gods?
Alexandre: I have a daily job; I’m an educational advisor in a high school. I spend a lot of time rehearsing as I play in many bands, notably Absynth (black metal), the new project mentioned above and Forsaken Peddlers, an Epic Doom Metal project with Hugo and Christophe from Fatum Elisum and Florian from Absynth. I listen to a lot of music daily and read books. I’m an atheist, so there is no god worshipping.

CT: How does the message of Doom Metal, relate to reality? Does it?

Alexandre: Sometimes I think I was born too late, and everything I do, I do it very slowly. More seriously, I do not think there is one message, as they are some many bands and styles. I really enjoy the integrity of doom metal, and the loyalty of its fans. It’s always good to meet people during festivals whose listen to or play the same music as you. Anyway, sometimes, when I am in a bad mood, there are only few bands that I could listen to, like Warning, Abandon or Mournful Congregation, as their music reflect well what I feel.  

CT: What bands would you recommend for those who enjoy your music? What local bands would you promote to readers of this article that you feel deserve the attention of the underground loyalists?

Alexandre: Sorry if I’m not original, but I would recommend old Paradise Lost, old My Dying Bride, old Cathedral and old Anathema for those who enjoy our music; and bands like Imindain, Loss, Asunder Ophis, Mournful Congregation, Mourning Beloveth, Process of Guilt, to name a few, but all are different and very good. Did I mention to Ataraxie? 
Apart the well known Ataraxie, we are lucky to have a good scene in Rouen, with many good bands, so here is a brief presentation of them:

Prön Flåvurdik, a fantastic experimental drone doom band, with very good musicians. You should check their latest record, Opus 3, which was re-released by Paradigm Records this year. Their forth album is actually on the mixing process, and will be surely a huge album; I saw the band playing the new materials many times this year.  
Mhönos, a drone doom ritual band with unknown musicians from Rouen, their first album will be released on November on Le Crépuscule du Soir.
Telümehtär, a black metal band, with, once again, very good musicians from different bands from Rouen.
Caruos, true pagan metal, with Nekurat from Hyadningar, Tommy from Wolfinside and Siegfried from Keen, they’ve just released:
Yuck, a unique band of grunge black metal, the perfect meeting between Seattle and Bergen. Their second album, This One Is Good, has just been released on Postghost Recording:
BadSwamp, a heavy rock band, with an excellent front woman:
Hyadningar, epic and insane black metal, even the band split up last year, I recommend this band, and I recommend to you to check Void Paradigm, the new project of Marquis and Nehluj:
Last but not least, even it is not metal, I recommend to those who enjoy folk music The Middle Tide:  

CT: What are Fatum Elisum's future plans? Are there new tracks in the works already? Tours? Gigs? Any plans to play shows in North America or abroad?

Alexandre: The future plans are to play the more gigs we can to promote Homo Nihilis, so we are searching for gigs not only in France, but also abroad. That would be nice to play in North America, but we have unfortunately no plans to play there, but if you have some, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I think it would be difficult to play in North America, notably for the travelling costs, but if one day we have the opportunity to play there, we will surely get it. We are working on a cover song of Darkthrone, Hordes of Nebulah, and on a new song, for a third album.  

CT: Thank you! Feel free to end this interview with whatever insights, commandments and philosophies you wish.

Alexandre: Thank you this interview and for supporting Fatum Elisum. Check our second album which will be available on November the 5th. Support the real underground and, Doom or be Doomed!