Friday, August 15, 2014

Interview: A. Poole (Chaos Moon, Esoterica, Lithotome)

A. Poole is a multi-instrumentalist who is responsible for some of the most forward thinking and innovative metal music today through projects such as Chaos Moon, Esoterica, and Lithotome. He recently released the latest Chaos Moon album Resurrection Extract via I, Voidhanger Records, which is a journey of blistering black metal bathed in dark psychedelic textures. I recently sent him some questions regarding the new album and his multitude of bands among a slew of other things. His music can be found at the following places: Chaos Moon, Esoterica, Lithotome. All three come with the highest recommendation possible, if you haven't heard them do so.

Horn of Woe: You abandoned the Chaos Moon moniker in order to start playing as Esoterica, what led to the creation of the new project? Did you see Esoterica as a continuation of what you were doing in Chaos Moon?

A. Poole: I had a major block writing in the style I wanted to write in for Chaos Moon. So, I approached writing in a new method which resulted in the formation of Esoterica. At the time, it did seem like a natural progression and I considered Chaos Moon dead, but something clicked and I was able to articulate what I wanted for Chaos Moon.

 HoWYou have recently resurrected Chaos Moon and have just released a new album Resurrection Extract. Why did you revive the project and what does a new Chaos Moon record mean for you?

AP: I “accidentally” wrote in the style of Chaos Moon again. I couldn’t release it under the Esoterica name, because it wasn’t the sound I was going for with that, so I had to bring it back from its short coma. Reviving the project has been a fulfilling experience for me because I was able to tap into something that I had been trying for years to tap into again. I didn’t want to write an album of “Languor Into Echoes, Beyond” tribute songs, I wanted to write something new, but from that same “place.”

Resurrection Extract

HoWLithotome is completely different from both of your more black metal oriented works, with a sound that is almost entirely rooted in the realm of death metal. What was this project born out of?

AP: Lithotome came about during the writer’s block time. I was experimenting with various tunings and the album wrote itself.

HoW: You are obviously extremely immersed in numerous forms of dark music, having been involved in several bands for over ten years now. What first drew you to heavy and dark music and what continues to drive your prolific output?

AP: I’ve always been attracted to darker or “sad” music, even when I was a child. Music that made you really feel something. I stumbled upon “In the Nightside Eclipse” by Emperor my first year of high school and that did it for me. I immediately tried to write music like that and haven’t stopped since. I’m addicted to recreating that feeling. 

HoW: With several projects you must dedicate an immense amount of time to the writing, I’m interested in finding out more about your creative process. Do you keep each project separate during creation or do you simply write and see where it fits best?

AP: I let the ideas come naturally. Sitting down and forcing myself to write music 98% of the time ends in failure or something down the road that needs a lot of work. I have to let the excitement of creating hit me and then I can write music that is honest. It’s all about conveying feelings or ideas, not writing like the band/style you’ve been listening to a lot. Because of this and the amount of projects I’m involved in, it’s easy to write a song after feeling inspired and sort it to the appropriate project.  

Esoterica Live

HoWI’m very curious about the lyrical themes for each of your bands. Is the lyrical subject matter similar for all three or do you use each as a place to explore different topics and ideas? Are there any catalysts you take direct or indirect inspiration from when writing lyrics?

AP: Lithotome’s lyrics are handled by Neill Jameson, but the other two projects come from various places, but are still pretty closely related. Chaos Moon is more personal, when I do write for it, but this past release has lyrics from myself and a few other individuals while still remaining thematically cohesive. Esoterica plays more into darker trains of thought and relies more on concepts. My experience with various psychedelics has played a huge part in the lyrical influence. Unlocking the mind yields maximum results.

 HoWAlong with your various other bands you are now a full-time member of Krieg. How did you join the band and what do you personally contribute?

AP: My wife introduced me to Neill (Imperial) a while I was still living in Nashville, TN. We became good friends, worked on Lithotome together, and I finally moved up into the Philadelphia area. I was pretty much forced into playing guitar for Krieg, which was a very unusual experience being a fan of the band several years prior. I am the full time studio/live guitarist and I assist with writing, arrangement, and recording (when needed) duties. 


HoW: What’s next for you? Are you continuing forward with Chaos Moon once again or is it back to Esoterica? Will new Lithotome material ever surface?

AP: I’m currently writing for a new project called Martröð with H.V. Lyngdal (Wormlust), MkM (Antaeus/Aosoth), Thorns (Acherontas/Blut Aus Nord), and a few others. We’re finishing up a 7” that will hopefully be out sometime later this year. Krieg’s full length we recorded back in February will see a release in early September. Esoterica has a mini-album called Lesser Sun that will be out later this year and will be the final release of that project for a while. Lithotome is in limbo right now due to a large number of issues,  but I’m sure that material will surface eventually.

HoW: Thank you for answering my questions, anything else you would like to add?

APThank you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Inurn - Inurn I

Inurn, a shrouded depressive black metal project divided between Arizona and New Mexico provide Horn of Woe with yet another great submission. Described to me as influenced by Judas Iscariot, Forgotten Woods, and Philip Glass my interest was instantly piqued. The two members Luke and John each record in isolation and send their work via email to each other. I was wary when I heard that there was little physical interaction between members but my worries were unfounded. These two musicians create something unique in the ever growing (and redundant) world that is depressive black metal. Their work is extremely repetitive and utilizes keyboard in a way that is not overdone or too "dungeon synth" for it's own good.  While most depressive black metal falls somewhat flat for me, Inurn give the genre new life through their stedfast dedication to repetition, using it to create a somber, meditative atmosphere.

The opener, "Anchorless, Adrift" is nearly eleven minutes of crushingly dark, hypnotic, swirling guitars, crashing digital percussion, and gentle droning synths. The guitar tone is surprisingly thick, not the typical paper-thin tone implemented by depressive bands, adding a new texture to the genre. Throughout this record old ideas are indeed rehashed but not in a way that leads to stagnation, instead the ideas a worked with and built upon by the two musicians. Yes, repetition has been a cornerstone of the black metal genre since it's creation, but Inurn takes that repetition to a whole new level, barely ever striving off course, completely submerging the listener in the music. Luke Henley's vocals also provide a unique stamp on Inurn's sound. Rather than opting for solely traditional black metal screeches or wails, he utilizes a wide variety of styles to express a range of emotions. The screeches and wails are still present but a gruff bark and a pained shout are also part of his vocal stylings, helping to make the album not grow stale. Inurn I is just an extremely well crafted piece of music, it's obvious it's two creators know exactly what they are doing and understand what it takes to use repetition in a way that does not grow tiresome. Their addition of synths and loud thunderous drumming, plus the distinct and varied vocals only add the the wave of guitar fuzz that washes over the listener.

Inurn breathes cold, dismal life into the depressive black metal genre. While obviously incredibly derivative of the works of some of the dreary art form's masters the duo leaves their own stamp on the genre. One which is full of heavy digital percussion, white-washed guitar fuzz, and tasteful synth work. This will appeal to longtime fans of the more depressive stylings of black metal and to those who are looking for something that is not a carbon copy of the likes of Xasthur, Moon, etc. Highly recommended and can be found here.

Review: It Only Gets Worse - Creation Myths

The first submission to Horn of Woe comes courtesy of this new collaboration between Matt Finney of Heinali and Matt Finney and Mories of Gnaw Their Tongues, Aderlating, Cloak of Altering, etc. etc. Matt contacted me and said he had a new project with Mories and was wondering if I would be interested, of course I was. I am no stranger to Matt's work, the masterful droning soundscapes of his collaboration with Heinali had easily filled the hole the demise of the Angelic Process left, but it was much more than that as well. Rooted in the duos ability to create intense, emotional, and reflective music. Finney brings spoken word vocals and cripplingly personal lyrics over Mories instrumentals. Mories, for those of you who do not know, is a Dutch practitioner of all things depraved and noisy. His projects run the gambit from dark ambient to black metal nearly always falling somewhere between the two. A creator of some of the most challenging and forward thinking music lends his instrumental talents to this three track EP.

Beginning with "Dropped" immediately heavy synthetic drums pound along with distant floating synths. The tone of this album is reflective from the offset, clouded like a distant memory. Over the fluttering synths and mechanic drums a simple, subdued synth plays a coldly mournful melody. The instrumentation is joined by Finney's spoken word. Calm, whispered vocals guide the listener through Finney's despondent lyrics. The music acts as a platform for him to lay bear his poetic expressions ripe with illusions to longing, regret, and failure. The words are deeply personal, covering lost love, dysfunction, hurt. Perfectly accompanied by the synth work of Mories, the two work together to create a cloud of negative emotion, both pouring themselves into the project. The second track "Indian Summer" displays more upbeat percussion, rhythmic yet distant, while synths glide and Finney whispers pure melancholy. The final track "Creation Myths" makes use of choral vocal sampling to add yet another grief stricken layer to the music. Finney utilizes dark humor saying, "knew that his death would at least get this album some critical acclaim" proving yet again that his ability to use words is nearly unparalleled. What Finney writes is poetry, plain and simple, and Mories provides the perfect soundtrack to his dark and reflective whispers.

It Only Gets Worse successfully straddles the line between it's two creator's works. A plodding, post-industrial synth filled drone scape ripe with vivid whispered lyrics. Mories brings his dark instrumental ability into new realms, focusing less on noise and more on slithering synth compositions, while Finney continues to write some of the most personal and heart-felt lyrics I have ever experienced. These two musicians work extraordinarily well together and I hope that soon their paths cross again. Find the album on bandcamp here, you won't be sorry you did.