Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: France’s Father Merrin
Because every day another band records another song. Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck. Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm. Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.
Like most people, when I think of France, I think of burly, hairy doom metal. If you are not like most people, however, you may be surprised by the rumbly midpaced thunder offered by Father Merrin’s debut EP, All Is Well That Ends In Hell. You might ask, what good can come of a band blending its love of classic horror film with meaty riff platters and serving it all at a steady gallop? Lots of good, we reply. At four songs and about 25 minutes, All Is Well is a supremely enjoyable argument in favor of everything this band stands for. Once you hit play on the stream below, we don’t think you’ll want to make it stop. While you get addicted, read our interview with the band’s vocalist – known only as A – and sink further into their clutches. This is your doom.
Who are the musicians/personalities that make up Father Merrin? When did you start playing music, and how did Father Merrin come together?
A (vocals): FATHER MERRIN was born in 2009, three of us were in a group of Doom / Death Metal called CIRCLE OF HATE that had split a few months earlier. We started writing new stuff without imposing style and the song “Hellride” was born. Then, to play on stage, J joined us on bass. We have continued to refine our style and music to record four of our best titles that make up the EP All Is Well That Ends In Hell released last May. Earlier this year, we welcomed a new guitarist so I can focus on singing. The Brotherhood is in working order now and everything is going well. On the EP we were 4 (S – Battery / J – bass / D – guitar / A – guitar and vocals), now we are 5 with the arrival of another guitarist.
What were your interests that led you to Father Merrin’s style of heavy music?
A (vocals): We had just as a guideline to propose a dark and powerful music, which can be done in several styles of metal but in the way we write and sound, we have this Doom Metal gene that [comes through] quite clearly. We all listen to different styles but Doom Metal brings us together. [Critics’] first reviews talk about influences from BLACK SABBATH, ELECTRIC WIZARD, CELTIC FROST, TRIPTYKON, CATHEDRAL, CANDLEMASS or MOSS and I quite agree with that, we can be seen as an assembly of all.
Father Merrin has existed for several years, though this EP is your first non-demo release. How much of that time was Father Merrin writing songs and playing live?
A (vocals): We take our time to compose. We propose an accomplished music which requires experiments on arrangements, structures, and vocal lines because [though] we do not want to lose certain spontaneity, we want to have some perspective on our music. This is also why we recorded “Hellride” in a demo version; it allowed us to [become] known to the concert organizers and the metal scene but also to prepare the recording of EP, fix some little things. However, before the first EP we wrote more songs than what appears on the record. We wanted to offer something homogeneous, [so] some tracks are definitely left out, other ideas were still not mature enough to exploit. Furthermore, we welcomed two new members, find concert dates for honing our music, keep repeating our set to be ready for the stage and the time passes very quickly because it’s been almost a year since we recorded this EP now. As we take care of all aspects that revolve around the band, it takes a lot of time and energy but you will not have to wait 4 more years to have some of our news.
What has your stage experience been like? How widely (geographically) and you played, and who have you shared the stage with?
A (vocals): We gave around fifteen concerts in 3 years, which may seem low but in our style and our country it is a great achievement. Finding people who [enjoy] Doom Metal is not common in France, but we do not despair, we work very hard to play live soon (if an organizer reads these lines, he should not hesitate to contact us!). We’ve played with CALDERA, CHILDREN OF DOOM, SPIRIT, SURTR or LYING FIGURES as well as the LEZARD’OS METAL FEST which were scheduled on the same day LOUDBLAST or NIGHTMARE for example. We have played in France in Metz, Nancy, Clermont Ferrand or Chalons En Champagne but if an opportunity comes to play abroad, our bags are packed! Our concerts are dynamic and powerful, and in general, the organizers expect something rather soporific with Doom, wrongly.
What was Circle of Hate (your pre-FM band) like? How was the dynamic in that band similar or different? Did you significantly adjust your musical style or goals?
A (vocals): CIRCLE OF HATE was another dynamic, another universe. We were the Doom / Death Metal very basic and it matched what we wanted at the time. The starting point of this band was the ASPHYX or SOULBURN albums still part of our musical background. However, we are not able to go further than the demo; we had other desires and have finally split. But with S (drums) and D (guitars), we knew for years and we wanted to make music together very quickly. Both bands are really totally different in their dynamics and approach to music; I think that CIRCLE OF HATE could never do what we do with FATHER MERRIN.
What will Father Merrin be doing over the next few months?
A (vocals): Continue the promotion of All Is Well That Ends In Hell because we are proud about these 4 tracks and the first feedbacks give us reason; then to find a maximum date to play as it is on stage that FATHER MERRIN takes its full extent and write again and again for a first full-length or other format according to our desires and what is being proposed. We do not have a career plan, but that’s how we see the coming months.