When the murmur is no longer
The teething biting the dark
The Depths of Earth
Have been waiting for me
Astute readers may recall we covered US one-man DSBM project Woeful Echo‘s killer last EP Dreaming In Eternal Sleep in Bandcamp Misanthropy – Volume 18. If that seems like only yesterday, well, it kinda was; four months has barely gone by and the prolific D is already back like a man possessed to lead us further into the eternal void with a brand new full-length, The Emptiness.
If Dreaming In Eternal Sleep tapped into a particularly vicious and virulent strain of DSBM then The Emptiness definitely seeks to continue in the same black and bleeding vein, yet bumps everything up a notch once again. And, I mean everything. More tracks, more rage, more fury, more hopelessness. More blast, more atmosphere… And it all works, still tied together with a production that’s polished just enough to always retain that delicious DIY charm. The dynamics (and synth work) in tracks like A Single Tear Of Eternity are great and he can hit you with a seriously insidious head-banging riff when he wants, too; just check out that recurring stomper in Weakened By Life. Fucking hell.
The DSBM tag it may have and lyrics filled with self-loathing, suicide and hate, but this still isn’t weepy, anguished black metal. Seething within the melancholia is a powerful vortex of old-school vigor, violent tendencies and a core blacker than the coal you got in your Christmas stocking when you were a kid because your stepdad was an asshole (and so were you). I’ve seen many people giving this album respect lately, and it’s well deserved as a surprisingly accomplished debut album from a one man project on a steady rise. Seriously, it’s a cliche, but big things are ahead for this project.
With the CD just released a couple of weeks ago through Share Your Pain Records I took the opportunity to catch up with main man D to lift the veil on all things Woeful Echo; you can read the results of this chat below, and be sure to pick up a copy of the album and show him some support. Don’t be an asshole, he deserves it. Hails.
Greetings, D. Sincerest thanks for speaking to us. Your latest album and third overall release The Emptiness has just dropped via Share Your Pain Records, and it’s great. How do you feel it differs from your previous work, and what does the album mean to you?
– The last thing I have released before The Emptiness was Dreaming In Eternal Sleep. I have added more synth and faster tempos, but still include a lot of atmosphere. It’s a new, unique chapter for me to continue creating an interesting atmosphere for myself.
At the time of writing these questions I haven’t had the opportunity to read the lyrics yet; what are the themes you touch on throughout the album?
– For this album (and the majority of my work) my songs are inspired by depression, self guilt and/or nihilistic views, or things inspired by Alan Watts.
Wait, as in Alan Watts, the British philosopher? I’m intrigued. How exactly has he informed your work, and why him in particular?
– His lectures on nothingness and negativity are very interesting and fall in line with the lyrical concept and vision of this project. I like the idea of the weird and abstract.
I agree, they are interesting, and the fact you draw inspiration from him is wonderful. But, getting back to it: now that you have a few releases under your belt, what was the writing/recording process like this time around?
– I would sometimes start with writing synth, than continue to write with guitar and/or do guitar first and write synth to it. I really enjoyed tracking bass to some of this and tried some new things in production with bass compared to the previous EP, but I wanted to keep production similar to how I did the EP because I really enjoyed the drum tones and overall vibe. The most fun of the recording process for me though is tracking drums, because it is my main passion in music. Vocals are something I also love to do, and I try to approach everything with something harsh.
You can definitely tell they’re your passion, and it’s refreshing to hear real drums on a solo black metal record as opposed to programmed (love your work on Cloaked In Darkness and the grooves on Weakened By Life in particular). How long have you been playing for? Is Woeful Echo your first project?
– I have been playing extreme metal for about 18 or so years, starting with guitar and bass first and then drums, I fell in love with drums because of blast beats. I have 2 solo projects, Woeful Echo and Succorbenoth in which I do everything. I also play for many bands on drums: Necrosadist, Lilin, Ravenfrost, Emptylife, Unearthly Torment just to name a few. I do a lot of session drum work.
You mentioned it in an earlier answer, and I’m loving that increased use of synths. I had a guess last time as to your influences (I think I mentioned Bezmir and Ajattara) but those synths are giving me a whole new view on the subject. Are there any artists in particular that you feel have strongly influenced either this album or you as a musician?
– Well Bezmir has played a little role, I like the intensity and vocals of Severoth’s latest project. But as far this this project is concerned bands like them and Lifelover, Ajattara. Although as a musician I am always trying to create something I would like to listen to, it’s why I prefer doing things solo, ‘though I like to collab with others as well. But it’s more rewarding coming up with my own stuff. Being influenced as a musician I have many, many, many to list. Just to name a few when it comes to drums: Frost and Derek Roddy, George Kollias, Fenriz etc. So many to choose from, all different styles and unique things to them that I really enjoy in their playing.
You’re releasing through an underground DSBM label not many may know about: Share Your Pain Records. How has it been to work with them so far?
– Very good. Always in direct communication with David Thery (the label owner) who is always on top of making sure everything is correct for art, final product and merch. They approached me when I put out a demo a while back. I had no plans to really release Woeful Echo as a physical entity, as it was purely just something I wanted to do for a passion of mine; they go out of their way to make it happen.
The album is adorned with some great pencil artwork, something I personally enjoy seeing as it really captures an old-school vibe. Can you tell us a little about the artist and how the cover relates to the themes within?
– I discovered the artist Ikhsan Baihaqi through a few Black and Death Metal pages on Facebook advertising his work. I gave him a lot of ideas to create me a unique album cover that played into what I wanted lyrically and my vision of what the album is: Death and Nothingness, the Emptiness thereafter.
I’ve seen a few people already saying they absolutely adore this album, one or two have even listed it in their early “top ten” predictions. How does it make you feel that people are connecting with it so strongly?
– Wow. It’s a pretty cool feeling, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s very humbling. I don’t know if it would be, there are so many great releases this year, so many amazing and talented artists in the great year of 2018. For me it’s been Bezmir and Marduk’s Victoria.
I’ve seen that you’re also in the process of compiling a tribute EP of classic Black Metal covers, ‘Echoes of the Past‘. Great to see respect being shown to the old. So far you’ve done Darkthrone and Mayhem, any hints as to which old masters may receive the Woeful Echo treatment next?
– Well, I plan to continue to keep adding to that Echoes of the Past. Bands we may hear are like Marduk, Emperor, maybe even Windir… who knows. There are a lot of ideas brewing.
And finally, now that the dust has settled on this ‘The Emptiness‘ and it’s out in the wild… What’s next? Have you started thinking about the next album, or about putting together a live band to do some shows?
– I have been thinking about a possible live band, though if I were to do that I’d need to find a solid drummer comfortable playing traditional stamina blasting material so I could focus on vocals and guitars live. I would possibly sing and play drums, but some of the vocal patterns I think would be too hard to do while playing drums, it’s an idea maybe! Finding like-minded musicians that are ok to work with one guy writing all the material is a hard thing to do. I am already starting to come up with ideas for another album, I wouldn’t mind doing a split with a few bands, *cough* Bezmir or someone!
Thanks for your time once again D, looking forward to more Woeful Echo. Any last words or final wisdom you’d like to impart to us?
– Black Thoughts and Death Wishes,
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