Ahhh the Gathering of the Bestial Legion, the most brutal metal fest to run through the city of fallen angels in the fledgling new year. Eight different bands from all over the country have gathered here to pull our souls out of our chests and shit on them. HOD, Divine Eve, Autopsy, Incantation, Grave Ritual and a shite load of others converged on the city. It was a bone crushing night that was almost ruined by the crowd being well, very LA. The Gathering started at 4pm and the opening bands were playing to handful of people that weren’t paying them much attention. Not even the promise of swag bags at the door were enough to get the crowd off their asses. I always get so annoyed when I see a band working their asses off for a bunch of people that aren’t paying them any attention. Despite the disinterest of the rest of the crowd, I screamed my lungs out for the opening bands. I needed them to know that not everyone in LA is an asshole and some of us do appreciate what they were doing. That being said, the small crowd did ensure that I snagged myself a sweet, sweet, swag bag and was able to get some solid drinking in before the main event.
The crowd was a bit better when HOD hit the stage, but they were still being dicks. How the crowd managed to stay silent and disinterested when HOD was doing “Victims” or “Demoralizer” is absolutely beyond me. Both songs are fucking awesome and HOD played them both with precision and brutality. For awhile I was a pit of one headbanging to my hearts delight while everyone else milled around booths buying shirts and swilling beer. The lack of response got to Lord Necron as well. In between songs he stopped and said “I guess we do have bigger dicks in Texas.” I would wish I could take this time to defend my home time, but when you’re right, you’re right and I bow at the mighty dick of Texas sir.
Sadly I missed Incantation, spending that half of the show out on the smoking patio chatting up some hot guy whose name escapes me. Luckily I made it back inside in time to see Divine Eve do their thing live. Jesus fuck words can’t describe how awesome that set was. Actually words probably could, but to be honest it was all a haze of headbanging, booze and the energy of the crowd. But suffice to say, Divine Eve put of one hell of a show.
With the night coming to the end and the booze wearing off, it’s time to check email. While going through my stuff I found a Divine Eve interview from last summer that I never ran. With Divine Eve on my mind and the Gathering of the Bestial Legion behind me, I figured this was the perfect time to run it. So without further adieu I bring you Divine Eve!
You recently returned home form your first tour of Europe how was the reaction there? Divine Eve had parted ways for quite some time. What prompted the decision to start recording together again?
Hello and thank you for the interview, Xan from Divine Eve here. Yes we recently finished our first European tour and the reaction was great, the turnout was usually pretty high and the shows were generally really good overall. We played in 9 different countries so the travelling was sometimes a beating, but the shows were excellent for the most part. That first show we played in Nottingham was the first time we had played live as Divine Eve since the mid 90’s. As it was our first time touring we learned a lot and we plan on going back to Europe some time this year if possible. As far as why we reformed…we hadn’t talked at all in 15 years or so, since the breakup of Divine Eve. I had been living in Los Angeles for a good amount of that time, and after I had been back in Dallas for a while and Mike and I had gotten in contact, we got together with Matt and decided to give it a go. It took a while to get things going again from that point as we all had/have various other things going on, but once we got rolling we decided to go ahead and record an e.p. and get it out there.
For Vengeful and Obstinate, did you record new material? Or did you revamp the abandoned material from the 90's?
Two of the songs are new ones we wrote for the e.p. and two are older ones we revamped and added some stuff to. These 2 old songs were on the Crimson Relic record but as with everything but one song on that record it was a Divine Eve song initially. There has been some criticism in some of the reviews that the e.p. is way too short and that “after 17 years they should have been able to come up with more material” and so forth, but as I’ve already pointed out we weren’t in contact at all for many years and when we got back together we didn’t have much time to rehearse and write new material. It took us quite a while even to record the e.p. because of the piecemeal manner in which we did it, but we got things done when we could get them done.
I know that you're working on the full length album right now. How does it expand on the Divine Eve legacy?
It will be in the vein of what we have recorded before, and I hope it will please old fans as well as gain some new ones. We are writing material for it right now and hope to have around 11-12 songs for the release. We will again be revamping 2-3 older songs that were never recorded as Divine Eve, but the others will all be new ones, although some of these “new” songs actually have riffs we never used from back in the mid 90’s.
Even though Divine Eve was dormant as a band for a long time, your music was still relevant to a lot of people. How does having such amazing fan base make you feel?
Personally I’m very appreciative that there are people who still remember us from back then, and we’re certainly hoping the people who know us from those days will like the newer stuff we’re doing.
At times there is a lot of grumbling about bands not playing "pure black metal" or not being "brutal" enough. What is your definition of black metal?
My definition of black metal is Bathory’s “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark” album, to me this record is the true representation of the quintessential black metal sound : dark, fuzzy, and nasty. Of course I’m aware of Venom’s “Black Metal” record (one of my favorite recordings ever, long live Mantas) released several years before, but Venom were still more of a heavy metal/rock n’ roll type band with satanic imagery I think, sounding not unlike Motorhead and some of the other NWOBHM bands that were also very Motorhead influenced in the early 80’s. Bathory’s first two albums were very Venom inspired themselves and so also have a bit more of a rockin’ feel at times. I love the brilliant sloppiness of “Bathory” and “The Return”, but “Under…” is what all black metal should be judged by in my opinion.
Your lyrical influence takes a lot from pagan history and ideas that to some may be considered hieratic. What other kinds of ideas do you like to explore with your lyrics?
Well we certainly don’t mind being called heretic hehe. Our lyrical concepts vary quite a bit, from general sort of battle themes, to some pagan historical ideas as you said, to other more esoteric concepts.
How do you feel about synths in black metal? Do they help or hurt the sound?
That all depends on the band and what it is they’re trying to accomplish. I’m generally not a huge fan of synths in black metal, a lot of bands just plain do it wrong and it ends up sounding more comical than anything. But that’s really the fault of the band putting crappy synth parts in already crappy music and not the fault of the synth itself, there are some bands that use synths as an atmospheric tool that actually helps their sound rather than hurts it, but it can get old really quick.
How do you prefer to go into production? With all of digital gadgets of compression? Or do you prefer a more organic sound?
Again, that all depends on what you’re going for. For Divine Eve we prefer a fairly raw/primitive sound. Not to the point that we have to record in retro recording studios with ancient gear only (nothin’ wrong with that either by the way), but we do try to keep the gadgetry to a minimum. On the other hand, if you’re doing some technical death metal or something you need a fairly clean, compressed sound otherwise it will end up pretty muddy, and if you’re doing certain kinds of black metal you actually want it to sound shitty. It all depends on that you’re trying to do.
When can we expect the new album?
We’re hoping to record the full length sometime this summer and have it out by the end of the year.
Anything else before we wrap?
I want to thank Kyle from Incantation for playing drums with us on this last European tour and I would like to say hello to the other bands on the tour, Hate, Noctem, and Nerve. Thank you very much for the interview, we appreciate the support. Keep an eye out for the full length later this year, and hopefully we will playing live somewhere near you soon!