Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes...
CoC interviews Adrian Butler and Darren Moore of Mourning Beloveth
by: Pedro Azevedo
Mourning Beloveth recently travelled to the Academy Studios in England. There, where Peaceville doom history was written, these Irish doomsters recorded an album that is likely to make you feel as though you are trying to breathe through dense, suffocating dust while you listen to it -- such is the weight of this debut full-length. Mourning Beloveth called it _Dust_ [CoC #53] and subtitled it "a true Irish tragedy". Both tags speak volumes about the album's musical content: doom metal played the way few bands do these days, sincerely emotional and devoid of any pandering to trends. _Dust_ is a self-financed record like few I have heard before, and thoroughly shows the band's belief in their music. I interviewed bassist Adrian Butler and vocalist Darren Moore by e-mail to find out more about what the band has been through and their plans for the future.

CoC: Yours is one of those band names that does not belie your musical style. Would you like to go into some detail about the meaning of the name Mourning Beloveth and its origins?

Adrian Butler: The name Mourning Beloveth was invented by a member who no longer exists in the band. Its meaning comes from the style of music we play. The loss and mourning of innocence... Mourning Beloveth began existence from the embers of a death metal band, Traumatized, whom had earlier released a good quality demo of death metal. Following another line-up change, only Tim (drums) and Keith (bass) were left. Frank then joined on guitar and the foundations of Mourning Beloveth began with the name change in 1992. Late '92 [vocalist] Darren joined and MB had already three songs written with no real common link between them -- one song being a doom song, one being a black metal song and the other a death metal song. MB played one gig at which our bassist met the second guitarist, Keith. The bassist then disappeared and Brian switched to bass. He then disappeared and it was left with myself on vocals, Frank on guitar and Tim on drums, practicing in a shed during the winter months of 1993. Brian then reappeared to play guitar on our first untitled demo, following which I joined on bass. Brian switched to guitar and finally our musical goals became clearer, and following a lot of torture we recorded our second demo, which shows the MB horizon a lot clearer, as our goals on the debut were muddied and confused to say the least. Still unhappy with the sound on our second demo, we decided where better to record than Academy with Mags, and why not go a bit further and record a self financed album -- and here we are.

CoC: _Dust_ is your first full-length release, yet the band has been active since 1992. How useful do you feel such an extended period was for the band to mature?

AB: The band has been together for a while alright, but I do think you are right in your comment about maturity. We have learned how to write songs properly -- arrangements, structures, etc. Of course we would have liked to have released an album sooner, but it hasn't done us any harm. I think this time/age thing would bother some people and they might worry about stupid things like thinking they only have a few years to make it and after that they will be too old -- fuck that. I hope to be making music until I die and if that is when I am 60 so be it. I'm not saying Mourning Beloveth have cracked the doom code or anything; I'm sure we will continue to discover new things within the band and the music -- that's where the fun is after all.

CoC: You were still an independent band when you recorded _Dust_ -- even though the disc carries the name of a label, Bron, which I am not familiar with. What is your current situation label-wise?

AB: Yes, we are still an unsigned band. We are currently negotiating with two or three labels and by the time you read this interview we should be closer to getting something down on paper -- no names yet to avoid disappointment. Bron: we wanted to put a label name on the CD. The reason for this is we wanted the CD to get reviewed in the signed band sections in mag/webzines instead of the demo one. Our drummer Timmy came up with the name. Basically it is Irish for "sorrow" -- it is suitable, I think. Maybe we will start up our own label sometime.

CoC: Despite the difficulties, you did record this self-financed CD at the legendary Academy Studios with Mags. What can you tell us about that experience?

AB: Recording at Academy was a thrill for us, you wouldn't believe it. And with Magz was an honour. I met Magz before in Dublin when he was over with Primordial doing their _Spirit the Earth Aflame_ CD [CoC #48] and we got talking and organized the whole thing. The studio is inside this house which doesn't look like a studio from outside. When you go in the front door, the bedroom is on your left and then it's up the narrow stairs (the walls are lined with vinyl). Then there is a chill-out room on the left, the kitchen on the right -- through that is the mixing room and underneath all that is the live room. You can smell the Doom in the air. In the kitchen on the wall is a red vinyl of Paradise Lost's _Gothic_ and various other vinyl. We found an old log book with the booked in times for MDB's _Turn Loose the Swans_ and Paradise Lost's stuff. On the mixing room floor were the eight reels MDB used for their last album! Downstairs in the dusty live room is great -- no divisions and just full of bits of amps, an old wind organ, Magz's guitar which was used on several CDs recorded there... On the first day he asked me what we wanted. I asked him for a big wide sound, heavy like the doom sound of old but not to plagiarize certain elements. He said OK and took it from there. Being confined for seven days gets pretty intense at times. It was the longest time the five of us had ever spent together. It was like "I'm going insane -- fuck you and fuck you as well"... But we are in Academy, so fuck it. I'm not saying it's the best studio in the world or anything -- there are better ones, of course. But this was down to money in the end. After everything was recorded and we began to mix, everything just gelled together like we never heard before -- Magz pulling out ideas, improving little things... what do you think of this?, etc. Any ideas we had we threw them at him too and he was great at interpreting what we wanted. It was a great experience and to get someone who all these years ago helped discover a new sound and redo it almost ten years later was cool. He said he enjoyed it. We were the last doom band to record there too, as Academy is now closed up and moved from its original premises to Keith's (owner's house). He built an extension and according to Magz it's very nice. We look forward to going there in April next year to record our next album.

CoC: Mourning Beloveth's lyrics are well suited to the music and show that plenty of thought has been put into them. Would you like to tell us more about sources of inspiration, or detail the thoughts behind tracks such as "Dust" and "All Hope Is Pleading"?

Darren Moore: Thanks for the compliment on the lyrics. I do not usually go into detail about the lyrics but leave that up to the reader for his/her own interpretation. They usually deal with the negative emotion every person deals with sometime in their lives, such as loneliness, grief, love and love lost, world weariness from this world of shit we live in and the fact that we are born astride a grave. The song "Dust" encapsulates the thoughts I had on life at that moment in my life. I could see no joy in the world but only in fleeting moments, and I locked myself away both physically and mentally from the outside world for some solace. Into this darkened world I came to the conclusion that this world is not worth living in, as we stride towards our graves and into the unending cycle of life and death -- as Tomas Lindberg said, "Like a flickering in the perpetual chaos". "All Hope Is Pleading" is about being so overcome by a certain emotion that you become blind to the outside world and so your world becomes silent as there is no one to share it with. I could go on, but I would probably bore you. These are just my meanings to the lyrics; what are yours?

CoC: There is a symbol depicting a cross within a circle which you frequently use; what does it mean?

AB: We have had so many different interpretations of that symbol, it is strange. It really is a window taken from the front cover of the CD. It looks like a cross alright, but not so. If you study the cover you will see it is a guy lying slumped over something in a room and the rays of light coming in the window. the rays illuminate the dust -- hence the name if the CD (there is a lot more to this contained in the lyrics). It is vague enough, as have been the previous demo covers. I really shouldn't tell you what it is, because it is nice to get different people's interpretations of what the cover looks like. It's like the music on top of it -- you take what you want from it and see what windows it opens up for yourself.

CoC: The promotional flyers for _Dust_ use the words "A true Irish tragedy" as a subtitle, which I found quite interesting. Is there a story behind that? Any special meaning for you?

AB: That line is taken from a review Alan from Primordial did for us to use to send to labels, etc. It was the best thing at the time we could use to describe the CD. It speaks for itself -- "oh, this must be miserable".

CoC: How bothered are you by the likely comparison to bands such as My Dying Bride and Evoken?

AB: We are not really bothered by it anymore. In the beginning it used to piss us off, but people seem to forget that there are death metal bands, thrash metal bands, black metal bands still playing the kind of style as was when those genres started, and so what the fuck? Maybe it is because doom metal is a small scene and when people think of doom they think of MDB, Anathema and Paradise Lost. And are any of those bands playing that now? No. So when anyone else comes to the fore like Mourning Beloveth, people automatically tend to refer to these bands and compare us to them. This style was forgotten about (except for the true doom fanatics) after those bands went on to something else. Some call this true doom, but then you get fans of bands like St. Vitus, Trouble, etc. saying that is true doom, and on and on. It is a compliment to be referred to those bands somewhat -- it is a small enough scene and important to stick together as any other.

CoC: How do you find the current state of the doom metal scene? Which of the attributes Mourning Beloveth possesses do you find most important to make the band relevant in the genre?

AB: In reference to the last answer, it is a small scene but now you hear of bands like Mournful Congregation from Australia, Worship in France, Solstice in the UK, Unsilence from UK, Officium Triste from Holland, Within Tears from the USA... there are a good few more. The current scene is quiet and the quantity and quality is there. Doom is something everybody should listen to because of what it possesses, but it is no good if you don't hear what is coming out from the music. You must pay attention to the music, especially if the quality is there and it takes a listen or two to get it. I got an interview from a guy in Canada -- his first question started with "The first time I listened to it, I fell asleep at work. The second time I wanted to kill myself. The times after that, things were a bit more moderate; it just made me get lost in my thoughts. Alright... what the hell is this?" This guy never listened to doom metal before, but yet understood very quickly what was in the music. That's what Mourning Beloveth like to see. When you get a comment like that, I think it blatantly shows what attributes we have to offer and makes it all relevant.

CoC: The only other Irish band I can think of is Primordial, but on theother hand that is an excellent band. Are you in touch with m theat all? Are there any other Irish bands you would recommend?

AB: Yes, I know Primordial very well. I used to live with Alan at Heavy Metal HQ Dublin. He is still there with some more recruits. A lot of people have passed through that house and have stayed there for a length of time -- Magz (Academy), Simon from Destroyer666 (Australia), Steve from Slaughter Lord and Mourning Beloveth's Darren and Brian were the original inhabitants with myself. Lots of great memories. Other bands I would recommend: Kingdom (doom/black/death), Mael Morda (Celtic doom), Waylander (recording a new CD for Blackened), Abaddon Incarnate (recording their new CD for Sentinel in Sweden with Miezko from Nasum producing).

CoC: What are your plans for the future in terms of touring or recording new material? Is the label situation critical for you, or are you willing to carry on without a label?

AB: As I have mentioned, we are in talking stages with some labels. If we get the right distribution and some more money, we would seriously think of recording and releasing the next CD ourselves, but it would be nice to have the backing of a label.

CoC: Any final words for this interview?

AB: Thanks for the interview. Can I plug my label? It's called Sentinel ( and it was set up by myself and Brian Taube (ex-Misanthropy UK). We are releasing Abaddon Incarnate's second CD (brutal gore/death, ex-Season of Mist) in September. I just spoke to them in Sweden today and it seems to be really going well. Our first release is _In Unison_, a double CD with 19 Irish bands (signed and unsigned) including fine album tracks by established acts like Primordial, Waylander and Cruachan, and unreleased songs from Abaddon Incarnate, Arcane Sun, Geasa and Lunar Gate. It's an introduction to a wide variety of styles from Ireland's lesser known acts; demo tracks from Moonfog, Inhumaine, Desolate, Karnayna, as well as tracks taken from self released CDs of Kingdom, Hexxed, Primal Dawn, Mael Morda, Scald and Mourning Beloveth.

(article submitted 12/8/2001)

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