Over the last few months, I have reviewed a number of releases from up and coming to more established acts from France and I have found that I have enjoyed all of them. Bands like Mercyless have been flying the flag for French extreme metal for more than twenty years and encourage more bands to come out of the woodwork and making the French scene a metal force once again. One new band I came across are called Epitaphe and after reviewing their first demo, Demo MMXVII, I found myself being immersed in their death metal and having three vocalists is certainly something that will catch the eye in the live front. I feel it won’t be too long before this band are picked up and releasing their first album. Over to you, Epitaphe.
Can you tell our readers a bit about the band and how you all came together?
We are Epitaphe, from the French Alps. We are long-time friends and we created the band during our teenage years, covering classic metal songs (Slayer, Obituary, Bloodbath, Immortal etc). Thereby, our first compositions were more close to an old school death metal, with a great live impact. But progressively, we have defined what is “Epitaphe” today – a doom/death metal mixed with multiple influences like black metal, noise or psychedelic music.
What are your influences when it comes to extreme metal and the band Epitaphe?
Incantation, Immolation, Dead Congregation, Portal, Evoken, Chaos Echoes, Full of Hell…there seems to be resurgence within the French extreme metal scene at the moment.
There seems to be resurgence within the French extreme metal scene at the moment. Has there always been a thriving local scene and do you feel that French bands are now being more noticed again?
Like a lot of local scenes the French extreme metal scene have known ups and downs and is composed by almost the same people as the years go on. Maybe the difference now is the Internet and the different way to promote itself. But of course we can assume that the French extreme metal scene is doing pretty well in recent years. Nowadays maybe more than ever. Among the relatively new bands, we mostly recommend Chaos Echoes, Hexecutor, Cadaveric Fumes, Ritualization, Venefixion, Defenestration, Fall of Seraphs…
What about more than the French scene. Are there bands more local to Grenoble that we should pay attention to?
Yes, there are. Satan (black/punk), Grand Bouc Noir (black/thrash), Black Owl (black/thrash), Barùs (black/death), Demenseed (death metal), Alarm (cold punk), Metal King (harsh noise), Lovataraxx (dark wave), Death Reign (epic crust).
How often are the band able to get together to rehearse and record music?
Our drummer is studying music in London, so there’s no rehearsal at all for the moment. Despite that, the band is still active, and we are currently recording an album.
What are the recording studios facilities in the French Alps like for recording?
We’re having a good experience with Plastic Lobster recording our first album.
Has the demo gone down well in the live environment?
Not yet, unfortunately. As said before our drummer lives in London, but playing live is something we plan to do. Probably before the end of the year.
One of the things I love in a band is dual vocalists; however, I see that you have three vocalists in the band. I think this adds so much diversity in the songs and it’s something I would encourage to continue. How did the idea of three vocalists come about?
PBFK: Thank you! I think that the idea came from me. Actually I have always mixed different style of voices in the band (high pitch black metal scream, death growl, doom voices…) but at a moment with the band, like 3-4 years ago, we started to have more complex structures and the vocals had to follow. It was the time I was discovering bands like Bölzer, Lvcfyre, Malthusian and interesting myself in Tuvan throat singing… so we decided to add three other vocal parts, which are still present now.
All the pitched voices in the Archgoat-style are singing by DRZ and the counterpoint singing at the end of “Smouldering Darkness” is by LBK. The clean vocals in the introduction of “Embers” are sung by the whole band. VLVR was unfortunately not here during the vocals session but he has his special part. The rest is by myself.
DRZ : Personally seeing a local band “Satan” using some pitch shifted voices as some bestial black metal bands made me want to do the same so I bought a nice pedal and suggested it to the band. At the same time, everyone started to add his own voice, it adds diversity and dynamics. Singing while playing an instrument adds a more visceral engagement towards the music.
How has the response been so far for your one and only demo?
Good and encouraging.
Throughout the demo, there appeared to be harsh electronic and ambient elements, however, in our review for your demo, you used the term “violoning”. Could you explain to our readers what this term means and will it be something that you will continue to use?
LBK: There must be a term in English for that guitar trick but I don’t know it. It consists of attacking the strings with the volume at 0, then increasing it slowly. You can do it easily with a volume pedal. It’s quite a common trick actually, but it works really well and we love how it sounds. Probably going to use it again in the future.
What are the plans for the rest of 2018? Do you plan to tour and record new material?
Promote the demo, record our first album, set up quality live shows.
You have released Demo MMXVII through Mexican label Chaos Records. How did that come about and how has the relationship been so far with them?
Good. We contacted him in a very simple way, by sending him our demo with a press kit. Thanks to him for his trust.
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
- Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
- Ashbury – Endless Skies
- Ténébreuse Musique – Ténébreuse Musique
- Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance
- James Brown – The Big Payback
Judas Priest’s Turbo, Whitesnake’s 1987 & Praying Mantis’ Time Tells No Lies, for sure! I’d also bring a compilation of cult new wave songs from the 80s (with bands such as A Flock of Seagulls, Cutting Crew, Duran Duran etc) and most of all, a mighty ABBA best-of. Can’t talk of a proper party without blasting some ABBA, right?
- Hexentanz – Blutverlust
- White Lung – Deep Fantasy
- Ghali – Album
- I Hate Models – Totsuka No Tsurugi
- Paul Kalkbrenner – Berlin Calling
- The Necks – Silverwater
- Camel – Mirage
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc – Full OST
- Snarky Puppy – Ground Up
- Alash Ensemble – Achaï
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
Le coq bat le chardon – The rooster fights the thistle.
Demo MMXVII is out now