. Debut full-length from Ireland’s DEATH THE LEVELLER! “II” combines dark, impenetrable doom with the sweeping arrangements of epic metal! The perfect union between dark, sweeping epic metal and doom. They give a steo forward over the ashes of their former band Mael Mórdha, this is a new story as Shane tells us, an interesting conversation to know more details about this emerging band.
Hello Shane, “II” is the logical title for your debut album after your ep “I”, how do you feel about it?
Hi Metal Brothers! We feel good. We are very happy with the outcome considering…. We had a very clear idea of how we wanted it to sound and while we got very close to it, it’s not 100% on the money. Initially this was a little disappointing but considering the material was committed to tape I think the overall sound grew on us. We all have other commitments too such as jobs and families and it can be difficult to schedule everything. The recording itself was splintered over a number of months and weekends then every Monday evening for what seemed like a lifetime but I think the songs spoke for themselves however.
Yes, and we thank all that effort. You started in 2016 and your first live concert was on 26th March, 2017 opening for Ereb Altor in Dublin, Ireland. What do you remember of that night?
Not much to be honest, we may have had a few beers that night too. We know the lads fairly well and I do remember they were excellent as always. I think we were ok too…
Death the Leveller was born out of the ashes of Mael Mórdha, how much of the later is on your new band?
I think it’s worth bearing in mind that MM was quite a concept driven band, and that the main instigator behind that concept is not a member of DtL.
I think when we decided that MM was not continuing the only conscious decision was not to try to write within that conceptual setting. In some ways I think it became part of a genre and scene that doesn’t really speak to us or excite us any more, by which I mean the folk metal world that’s developed over the last number of years – drinking horns and furry underpants can fuck off. While talking about musical genres is only useful to a degree, I think it’s fair to say that MM always had a foot in two camps, doom and folk metal. DtL, I suppose, fits more solidly in the doom scene and in a way that’s where we’ve always been musically.
In terms of the material, it’s not been a question of rehabilitating discarded MM riffs or anything. The music is what sparked when the three of us returned to jamming together, and now with Denis established as part of our quartet, it’s just the music and the songs that the four of us want to write without any preconceived concepts.
Clear as water. Mael Mórdha went on hiatus 2015 and it had a discography full of big albums. Suposedly that is a great marketing for DEATH THE LEVELLER, what do you think?
It certainly helped in terms of having the right contacts in the industry, so we knew exactly who we needed to contact and for what purpose.
The band’s name is taken from a poem by the English dramatist James Shirley, how was it?
I think this poem speaks to us, firstly, at this stage of our lives and our musical endeavours – we’re not such young men after all! It’s message is that in the end death comes to us all, and makes us equal. It also speaks of the hubris of taking too much pride in earthly things, I think this is an encouragement to honesty, to accept our inevitable death, and to embrace life while it lasts.
Yes, sad and raw as it may sound. If a label like Cruz del Sur Music, with a great roster of bands, has signed you that means something already, doesn’t it?
To us it means we are honored to be in the same great company that Enrico has been developing and keeping for some time now. To have both Enrico and Tom (While Heaven Wept, also working for CdS) as enthusiastic and interested in the music and what we do is an excellent source of encouragement…the lads are very sounds too so that goes along long way!! Coincidentally, we spoke to both Enrico and Tom about joining the label. We encountered Enrico at the great Doom over Vienna festival in late 2018 and had some good discussions, although memories of that festival are a little hazy. Dave and Ger know Tom and While Heaven Wept from touring in the US and elsewhere with Primordial, and following WHW’s triumphant performance at Dutch Doom Days in 2018.
Usually Irish Doom Metal bands have a characteristic folk edge, it seems that is no so present in your new album
I’m not so sure many Irish doom bands have any folk elements to be honest..Mourning Beloveth, Graveyeard Dirt etc are all doom but I can’t hear any folk elements. If you mean specific folk lamentations then I could be wrong…. Folk was never going to be a part of DTL and the journey we were on with MM certainly had its fair share of folk elements so there was no need to bring that into the fold here.
Still you have something that makes your bet different, a poetic touch, some epic feeling and a sense of melancholy…
We are all big fans of the 90’s doom scene and I think naturally we progressed to this style without any real intention. I suppose if you enjoy a certain type of music it is inevitable that it will come across. I think Irish culture also has its influences Irish music/ballads/poetry/history often have a sense of sadness at the core of what is being expressed. It’s just something inside of us that is inherent. Whether meaning to or not I’d imagine there is some reflection of that in the music too.
It’s not usual either to find an album with four songs and 40 minutes. Deliberate or the magic that flows in your rehearsals?
This is all just natural flow without any boundaries or barriers. If the songs wish to be 10/12 minutes long then so be it. They will be as long or as short as is needed in order to portray the feeling that we needed musically. Once the lyrics start coming, that is the only time that we consider adjusting the parts of the passages that are needed but essentially once we feel that musically we have told the story of that song there always seems to be a natural end.
How long have you worked in the songs and how was the creative process? What has been the hardest task when composing?
All in all around 2 years…and a lot has happened in the last number of years. Good and bad. Musically we’re in a really good place as a band and it was a natural progression to carry on and write more music. The hardest part is getting everyone in the same room at the same time.
Denis Dowling is a key to your music, he is able to pass his pesonality to the songs
For sure and we wouldn’t want it any other way. This time around Den was involved in the process from the beginning, so while the rest of us were jamming out ideas, Den was putting some lyrical concepts together. This time however, Den was with the songs from their inception and watched them grow.. As the songs grew , we all grew organically with them and it was all fairly natural. Lyrically we put our heads together for one particular song when Denis asked for our thoughts on particular experiences. In return Den took that and did an amazing job of forming a coherent and powerful lyric. That is something that none of us have ever experienced and was certainly different from ‘I’
What are the lyrcis about?
Well I don’t like to go deep into what songs are ‘about’. I prefer to just put the work out there,and allow the listener to use their own idea of what words mean,and their own imagination or experiences to form meaning for themselves. I try to use words and phrases that provoke a response, often visual,in the listener,and as such it’s a ‘guideline’ to meaning rather than just a strict “this is what this song should mean to you”.
The cover art also deserves a mention, what is the meaning behind it?
The sands of time are to signify the frailty of humanity and life, time slips by just as people do. Life moves on and can do easily without you and for sure time will stand still for no man. We don’t have a choice about when we are taken, you don’t have to pull a ticket and wait in line, or do we. Are we slaves to the office clock or do we keep time with our natural surroundings…..what journey if any is there after we have died. Over all the death theme, linking our animal nature and our spiritual yearnings. It’s about the question of ‘Why?’ and the acceptance of death. There’re elements of pseudo-Jungian energy and even Egyptian magical themes and imagery. III will be The Boatman, and so on.
Are you planning to tour around this year to play live these new tracks?
After a tour with label mates, Argus, was cancelled then we were frantically trying to book a few dates to mark the release of the album. We have the 13/14 march in Dublin and Limerick with Dread Sovereign and then we play Redemption Fest in Dublin in April, on to the Netherlands for Little Devil Doom and finally we have Hammer of Doom confirmed for later this year. There will be more announcements for Germany and the rest of the EU coming soon too…..
Thank you very much for the attention, Shane, if you wish to add something…
Cheers for the interview and if anyone out there would like to book us in Spain fire us an email.