Once more we are going to present you brand new act this time we are talking about Hooded Priest a doom metal band that comes from Holland.
Hello there! Since this is your second full-length tell us something about
it. "The Hour be None" is indeed interesting. Please present it from your own
point of view.
Our new album marks a rather dramatic shift – both conceptual and musical. As our previous release, Devil Worship Reckoning, was largely written by our former guitar player, the tracks on this release represented his take on the doom metal genre – resulting in a sort of slowed- down thrash metal vibe. With The Hour Be None, we took a totally different approach and tried to focus on doom metal in its purest form, trying to take the slowness and heaviness of the genre to the utmost extreme. In addition to this, our bass player, Joe, wrote most of the material for the new album. Whereas our earlier material largely originated from jam sessions in our rehearsal room, Joe employs a different method. He starts with landscape, a thought or emotion that he tries to describe in music. Each riff, lead or what have you is carefully written, re-written, selected and composed, and then made to fit the rest of the song – it’s much more made to measure, resulting in a more natural, sometimes even unnoticeable progression in our songs. His main influences in this area are bands like Godflesh, Bauhaus, Joy Division and such – bands who combined minimalist aesthetics with an unsurpassed intensity. This,
we believe, applies to our new material as well. To us, this essentialism, for lack of a better word, marks a ‘non plus ultra’ – or rather, a return to the very foundations of the genre and, hence, of our identity as a band. The six tracks on The Hour Be None, in our view, do not only represent everything we believe doom metal should be about, it also provides us with the ultimate vantage point – a clean slate, if you like – for us as a band; a letting-go of the past and a sound and solid basis for whatever the future brings.
We had never a chance to present Hooded Priest on Metal Sound’s pages. So
tell us something about your band.
Well, as you can read in our biography, Hooded Priest started in 2006, when a few members of some local bands (Grimm, Urfaust and the black-thrash metal band Zwartketterij) decided to explore the more darker, slower and gloomier aspects of the metal genre. After a few rehearsals, they attracted the attention of our vocalist, Luther Veldmark, who joined the band soon after. This all led to a few concerts, some festivals we played and then – in 2010 – the release of our debut album, Devil Worship Reckoning. After that release, we did quite a few performances, which took us to Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Malta etc. In 2013, we toured Continental Europe and the United Kingdom with our friends from Arkham Witch and Iron Void. However, due to personal stuff, setbacks and internal issues with some members, who were also good friends, it took us quite a while to get our momentum back – which is sad, but I guess this happens to everyone every now and then. Anyway, I believe it was back in 20152016, more specifically when Jeff joined us, that we had overcome our demons and were ready to embark upon new adventures. We recorded a promo EP with our new material – These Skies Must Break – which quickly drew the attention of Markus and
Peter at I Hate Records from Sweden, who then offered us a record deal. And the rest is,
well… recent history. We recorded the material we had been working on and The Hour Be None was released with I Hate Records on 1 December 2017.
What kind of topics do HP usually cover? Occultism and doom metal seem to
go together somehow. 🙂
They do, don’t they? Actually, I had a discussion about this a few weeks ago when a friend asked me to describe they lyrical content of our new album – what’s it all about, really? Luther writes our lyrics, so you should really ask him, but he is indisposed at the moment. Anyway, the first word that came to mind was ‘outrage’ or ‘indignation’… thematically, the lyrics on The Hour Be None are not about your regular doom metal themes, occultism, Satan and witches you know the drill. Instead, they are set against this often tragic, absurd and downright depressing background we call ‘reality’ or ‘the world around us’ – literally or metaphorically. Herod Again, for instance, deals with the war in Vietnam, particularly about a story Luther read about an entire village being executed by American soldiers and the tragic history of the one girl that survived: [they killed] my father, my beloved mother, all of my sisters, my baby brother… It’s a horrible story that really stuck to him. These Skies Must Break is a fictional story, a thought experiment about a lost polar expedition – with no chance of returning and madness creeping up on you, do you give up, or do you keep going – trying to reach the goal
you have set for yourself? As you can see, they’re all very human, maybe even existentialist themes we’re dealing with on our new album – it’s a more realistic interpretation of the occult, or a more occult interpretation of the real.
I am not so familiar with the group but do you play live anywhere or do you
plan to have some shows here and there?
In fact, we just came back from playing Dutch Doom Days, Doom over Vienna and Dublin
Doom Days and we also did some other shows in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Slovakia. We initially had a more extensive tour scheduled in order to promote our new album, but the band accompanying us unfortunately backed out at the very last moment. However, we felt obligated to come and play at the dates we had committed ourselves to… At present, however, it’s time to start working on the new material we have, so we currently have no live events planned.
I have noticed that there’s a huge distance between your two studio album,
something like seven years. So, was there any particular reason for that?
As I mentioned earlier, the large gap between our two albums was mostly due to personal reasons and internal issues within the band. With Hooded Priest, we’re all good friends, so when it turns out someone has difficulty combining his personal life with the obligations of being in a band – well, it’s a difficult situation, which took us quite some time and a lot of energy to resolve. Aside from that, life just got in the way… I mean, some of us have had children, moved to another part of the country; we’ve found and lost loved ones, friends, family… All things considered, the most astonishing fact is not so much that it took us this long, but that we’re still here and that we’re still going strong! The release of The Hour Be None, to us, is truly a fresh start… and we’re very much looking forward to wherever it will take us.
Tell us something about your relationship with the record company I Hate
Records. How did you come to the label?
Now that’s a funny story… late 2016 we had finished enough material for what was to be our new album. So, in order to show everyone in what direction we were heading – both musically and thematically, we recorded a short promo EP called These Skies Must Break – a rather simple home recording, but we believed in the new tracks – as we still do. We had quite a few physical copy’s made and drew up a list of record labels we would contact, in order of preference. At the same time, to maximise exposure, we also put the EP out on Bandcamp and it immediately caught on. Within a few hours of putting the EP online, we had already received some very positive responses from all over the world. And the very next day, I believe, we were contacted by I Hate Records, who told us they loved our material and asked us to release our new album with them. And, in all sincerity, I Hate was in the top three of our list of labels we’d like to work with! Markus and Peter are great guys, honest and straightforward – a true pleasure to work with! At the same time, though, we’re now stuck with a few hundred promo EP’s that we never got the chance to use…
What could you tell us about the future plans when it comes to HP?
As soon as the f-ing holidays are over, we’re focusing on writing new material – just to make sure there’s not another seven years between The Hour Be None and our next release… Seriously though, things are going great! We’ve already written three new tracks, which show us going in yet another, new direction. It’s still heavy, it’s still predominantly slow, it’s still doom metal – in fact, as mentioned earlier, if you take the atmosphere of The Hour Be None as a basis and add some more ‘open-ended’ or more ‘eclectic’ influences, ranging from new wave to black metal, some more dissonance and probably more energy and aggression, well… you might get an idea of where we’re heading. If not, just