Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Beithíoch is doomy black metal from the north west of Ireland. Early releases by the band were entrancing, ambient styled metal in the vein of Ildjarn, Burzum et al, newer material leans more toward early Immortal, early Slayer perhaps. Currently working on a new album, and recently released the mini-album Summoning the Past.
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
Heathenish metal in the original spirit - as personified by Angel Witch, Celtic Frost, Slayer, Darkthrone, etc. Esoteric and experiential; music designed to summon the ghosts of the ancient world.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
The first album, Aisling Dhorcha, was written as a single story/concept – a descent into a dark dream world, where the real world is revealed for what it is and the protagonist must overcome fear of death to be reborn as a burning light that will reawaken the sleeping world.
Beithíoch releases since then have each represented a stage in ancient and prehistoric times, with an unreleased album representing the most unknown abysses of time, An Sealgaire the early hunter-gatherers, Dúchas the late Palaeolithic/Mesolithic and the forthcoming album representing the age of warriors/the Bronze Age. Summoning the Past stands apart from this as it is a recap/reworking of what has been done so far and a hint at what is to come.
4. The band has done both instrumental and vocal albums, how would you compare the 2 and which one do you prefer?
Generally making instrumental albums is less hassle, all focus is placed on the music rather than the lyrics or the personalities behind it all etc. Using vocals however increases the possibilities of what can be made and the bredth of what can be communicated, so they are not without their use.
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the band’s name?
The name is Irish for Beast/Animal. It is intended to reflect the primitive sound of the music and the amoral, lawless ferocity that underpins all that is strong, virile and survival oriented.
6. Has the band done any live shows or is this strictly a studio project?
No, there have never been any live shows, but it is not ruled out in the future.
7. The band has released albums on HiArcTow, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Hi Arc Tow is less a label than a useful platform for releasing music directly to people. It’s a website that hosts the music of bands and artists it deems worthy of support and helps them reach an audience without involving in any of the commercial aspects of releasing music. It works up to a point (demos especially), but it is not meant to be a replacement for a ‘proper’ label, and is not there to compete with the promotional clout a label can offer.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and doom metal?
People have tended to respond positively to Beithíoch. It’s gratifying to learn people like and identify with the music. Many people I think instinctively regard modern civilization as a sort of sickness; a stultifying, sugary, but ultimately false experience, with too many bureaucratic rules and too little opportunity to face the wild and live or die by one’s own volition. Beithíoch is for those people who are happier with the wind in the face, dirt on their hands and cuts on their knees than benumbed in front of a tv or computer screen.
9. Are there any other musical projects or is this a full time line up?
Right now, working on the next Beithíoch album takes up complete creative attention.
10. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
For the new album expect more metal, less ambient. Longer songs with more varied emotional highs and lows. Even more sense that the music is taking you on a journey.
11.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Mostly old school death/black/heavy/speed metal: besides the names I’ve already mentioned: early At The Gates, Varathron, early Therion, Black Sabbath, Primordial, Sepultura, Massacra, Voivod.... also King Crimson, and a lot of classical/baroque music, particularly Bach and Beethoven.
Beithíoch has also been influenced by various European folk musics and some ambient (Tangerine Dream, Biosphere).
Nowadays I’m listening to all of the above and not much new, I’m quite set in my ways.
12. How would you describe your views on Paganism?
I think a lot of religion is about people trying to connect with something beyond mere words, beyond justification or explanation. Christianity has a tendency to get bogged down in moralism, but it too is about that striving for something beyond the ordinary. Paganism isn’t much different. At its best it sees gods and magic in all things, no matter how fearsome or strange, and at its worst it is like the neo-pagans - moralistic hippy nonsense for people looking for a supernatural excuse to be feeble-minded.
13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Walking, reading, being in wild unpopulated spaces.
14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for taking the time to write, read and listen.