God: Tied in Steel Handcuffs?
CoC chats with Heimoth from Seth
by: Paul Schwarz
It's possible that to many people the phrase "good French metal" is an oxymoron. However, I'd say that this is most commonly due to a lack of investigation combined with prejudicial nationalistic sentiments. That said, good French metal bands do not come -my- way with a great deal of frequency, although in the last year the likes of Symbiosis, Scarve and --- case in point -- Seth have somewhat turned that tide. Seth's style is strongly influenced by Sweden's Dissection, but what stands out is not only the high quality of their black/death metal assault, but also the fierce individual character they imprint onto their work. Guitarist Heimoth chatted with CoC about Osmose's "French metal revelation".

CoC: How do you feel about being called a "French metal revelation" by Osmose? How much do you think Seth connect to French metal?

Heimoth: Actually, it's something that has been around since our first album, _Les Blessures de L'Ame_, because people were quite astonished, because they didn't expect this kind of band in France. It was maybe a surprise because we were not well known before this album.

CoC: Do you think it's at all because of the musical style? It's quite a Norwegian style.

H: Yes.

CoC: To my ears it owes quite a bit to Dissection as well. It was quite interesting, after I listened to the album, I started singing Dissection again [I had "Unhallowed" stuck in my head for nearly a week -- Paul]. I think you've worked in a lot of good stuff, I think you've done it tastefully. What d'you think?

H: I think that this time I wanted to present the album as something based on guitars and we wanted to make something more unusual compared to the first album, and when you mentioned Dissection I think you were totally right, because they are one of the few bands that shows that it is possible to create atmosphere only using guitars.

CoC: Absolutely.

H: I wanted, in a way, to create this feeling. So I think with this new album everything is more efficient; the tracks are more concise.

CoC: They don't overstay their welcome.

H: Exactly, and we worked a lot with my drummer on a lot breaks: to get a good structure. I have done this album under the idea of not making a compilation of riffs or something. I have tried to make good links between all the riffs.

CoC: Talking about the lyrics, you've done them in four different languages -- as far as the song-titles go, at least -- German, Latin, French and English. I am curious why, and what effect do you think that creates?

H: The thing is that on the first album everything was sung 100% in French. Now, about 60% of it is in French and the rest is in English. For us it was important to keep our roots.

CoC: What did Fenriz from Darkthrone contribute to the album and also why?

H: Maybe you have noticed that he mentioned our band in the _Goatlord_ album. We just wanted in return to in a way include him on this opus, we thought that was maybe the best thing we could do. We told him and he agreed to make a song; he wrote "Let Me Be the Salt in Your Wound", which is possibly my favourite track. The lyrics and the music go right together.

CoC: I liked that song and also "Bastard Beast" a lot. I was really impressed with how well you managed to weave in the acoustics and crescendo it back into the song. It must have been difficult.

H: You're right, this and "Legion Spirituelle Damnatrice" are maybe like the only two tracks that add a lot of heavy metal stuff.

CoC: Would you say you're ideologically anti-Christian, with song titles like "Acid Christ"?

H: Well, of course you have anti-Christian mention but it's more like an anti-religious stance. We just think that a lot of people can have their own idea, better people can have a will to create what they think and not to follow a principle. It's just something we feel should be [the case].

CoC: Also with "Acid Christ", is that a pun? [Anti-Christ -- Paul]

H: You thought it was like a word game? No, no, it has nothing to do with a comparison or a link or something like that, it was just an idea of how it would be trying to put acid on Christ. And I think another reason of this song was about the symbols, the icons of religion.

CoC: How did Peter Tagtgren end up remixing the album? What was wrong with the original mix? How did it come about?

H: Well, actually there was a lot of confusion about that, because we recorded the album in France, and we remixed it in France. We -wanted- to have a remix in the Abyss studio but it wasn't possible because we didn't get the right connections with the tapes, so it didn't happen. So only the mastering was done there.

CoC: It has got a very good sound, actually.

H: It was recorded in December and January and mastered in July.

CoC: Are you happy with the result you've got in the album?

H: Yeah, I am happy with the whole CD, maybe. This is one of the first times I've been very proud of what I've done. I've completely realised what I wanted -- what I composed -- and it was a goal for me. Yes, maybe there are points that could have been better -- that could have been improved for me --, but obviously I can't be very proud of everything; I can't be happy with everything I've done. When you have done the CD nothing can be changed. No one can be happy with everything.

CoC: Generally, where are you, Seth, aiming to get as a band? At the moment it's good and it's interesting but it's not pushing any particular boundaries. I was curious where you might be hoping to go in the future with the sound. What is your idea?

H: It's a bit complicated because a lot of ideas have been coming to my mind, maybe. I'd like to go ahead and to change again but I don't have precise ideas so far. So I can't answer precisely, but in the future we have got a few dates in Europe.

CoC: Right, touring.

H: Yeah, but we don't know yet with what band we're gonna tour. I guess some French dates will be done about December.

CoC: So, are you the principal writer in Seth? Do you write pretty much all of it?

H: Am I the composer, do you mean?

CoC: Yeah.

H: Yeah, yeah, I suppose almost everything. On this album I composed about 80% or 90% of the material. Before, it was shared between my bass player -- about 50% each. Now I have done almost everything. I had more time to work and I got more time to work arrangements and put it with my drummer so the music can just be better.

CoC: Is the band name Seth with regard to the Egyptian god of death?

H: Yeah, we chose that name at the beginning of Seth in '95. So it was a long time ago and in reference as well to the bible because it's Adam's son. We thought that it was interesting to find this word because we wanted to get a short name as well. Not to get something with "of" or "on" in the name.

CoC: Like Maze of Torment?

H: <laughs>

CoC: You know, where you rip off some other band's song title. Not that like half the bands on Nuclear Blast don't do that.

H: Yeah <laughs>, exactly.

CoC: Any particular significance to the cover, these bound stigmatated hands?

H: Yeah, exactly. We wanted to symbolise that Seth has been able to take God's place with these handcuffs and the scars. It is God's arrest and the topic of the album concerns this image, this idea: that it's possible to get this power. The title goes with that as well, it doesn't mean that we are making excellent music <we both laugh>, but we wanted to get really strong words and it marks a lot of people.

CoC: It's definitely a striking title. How are things with Void [excellent London-based black metal band echoing Dodheimsgard's recent work; see demo review in CoC #47 -- Paul] going?

H: I will have to go back probably at the end of this month or maybe in December. I don't know, I don't know how Void are going on. But I guess I am gonna go back. <laughs>

CoC: Are you finding it difficult to divide your time between the two bands?

H: No, no, no, because so far Void doesn't take me so much time. So, I will see in the future.

(article submitted 10/1/2001)

8/31/2004 P Azevedo 8 Seth - Era Decay
1/10/2001 P Schwarz 8.5 Seth - The Excellence
1/16/1999 D Rocher 8 Seth - Les Blessures de l'Ame
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