Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Random band

This young Portuguese Doom act makes slow death/doom in the vein of early Anathema (think 'Pentecost III' era). The vocals resemble Da...
(read more)

Having just signed to WormHoleDeath to have their second full-length released (and debut re-released), Desolate Pathway's founders Vince and Mags were happy to talk to Comrade Aleks about their style of Epic Doom.

Interview with Desolate Pathway.
"Desolate Pathway was born in London in around 2014. It was founded by Vince Hempstead (guitars) - who gained a lot of experience playing for three years in the legendary Pagan Altar - and Mags (drums). They recorded their debut full-length 'Valley of the King' in the same year, with Simon Stanton on vocals and Jim Rumsey on bass. This gorgeous and competent Epic Doom metal helped the band to find listeners, and later opened the way to some good venues - for example, the band played at the famous Malta Doom Festival! Not everything worked out so nicely, as Simon and Jim left the band as early as 2015. That didn't stop Vince and Mags, and now Desolate Pathway's sophomore record, 'Of Gods and Heroes' has been officially released on WormHoleDeath. Vince and Mags are going to tell us about their long road to doom..."

Desolate Pathway's founders: Mags (Drums) and Vince (Guitars/Vocals).

Hi Vince and Mags! How are you? What's going on in the Desolate Pathway camp?

Vince: Hi. I'm fine thank you. It's going steady. We have just been signed with WormHoleDeath for a physical distribution deal and have some ideas in place for a third album, although we have been on a quest to fill the bassist position and it has been very hard to get the right person for Desolate Pathway.

Mags: Hi, and thank you for the interview. We are thrilled to have signed with WormHoleDeath and are now in the process of writing the third album. It is seemingly impossible to find the right bassist but we have not given up hope (yet) and continue regardless.

You've both been in the band from the very first album, 'Valley of the King'. How did you work on that material? Who was responsible for the musical and lyrical content of the songs?

Vince: I wrote the guitars and arranged the music before I started the band. With an idea and theme in mind, I asked the singer from my solo project Origin Konrad to write all the lyrics to the album. Once these were settled I auditioned for drums and bass and both Mags and Jim wrote their own musical parts into the tracks to form our debut album "Valley of the King".

Mags: I was sent tracks without drums and just worked from what I had - some of them were only guitar tracks - some had guitar and vocals on.

Original band line-up: Simon Stanton (Vocals), Jim Rumsey (Bass), with Mags and Vince.

Back then Desolate Pathway was a quartet, yet Simon Stanton (vocals) and later - Jim Rumsey (bass) left the band. What did happen?

Vince: With Simon it was mainly lack of commitment to the band to be honest. Not that I'm putting him down, it's more he had commitments that would put the band a lot lower than we first expected. With Jim I think he got bored as we had a struggle to replace Simon, and he and Jim were very close. It seemed to hit Jim hard after Simon left us. Four months on and Jim had gone too.

Mags: Well to be perfectly honest I never felt either Simon or Jim put in the required amount of effort. It showed at rehearsals and, of course, live shows. It just couldn't continue like that.

Desolate Pathway - 'Valley Of The King' (Album teasers):

What made you continue the band after the release of the single 'Into the Realms'? You recorded it with Jim on bass and Paul Corr on rhythm guitars, yet both disappeared after that.

Vince: The 2nd album was almost written and we believed it was better than the debut, so we just had to go on and release it regardless of past member issues. Paul only recorded on the single, but again like Simon, he had other commitments. The track was re-recorded for the album with myself on all guitars.

Mags: Well we thought we had good compositions on the back burner ready for the next album and we wanted to get the album out there. As the writing had been done by both Vince and myself, we felt we could produce an album by ourselves.

Desolate Pathway's second full-length, 'Of Gods and Heroes', was recorded despite all obstacles in 2016. Four guest bass players helped you with the recording, and Kostas Salomidis performed guitars on the track 'Into the Realms of Poseidon'. How did you organize the whole process?

Vince: I put a status on social media offering guest slots on the album. The response was great. Hearing from people around the world that wanted to be a part of our journey and help us create some great music.

Mags: It was really great that so many bassists came forward who wanted some input on the album and we are very appreciative of that (and fantastic work, may I say) We had already asked Kostas if he would like to guest on Into the Realms of Poseidon before the single came out and, of course, kept his solos on the re-mix of the album track.

The concept of 'Of Gods and Heroes' is based on Ancient Greek mythology: why did you choose that?

Vince: I think I put a few ideas into the mix, Mags wrote a couple of tracks and lyrics based on the subject. I think The Perilous Sea was one of the first ones I heard. That influenced me to write some more lyrics based on the subject and it went from there. With equal input we had an album ready in a few months.

Mags: I remember that initially Vince put the idea out to the band and we all thought it was a really great subject to write about.

Live at Malta Doom Fest 2016, with Jonathan 'Sealey' Seale on bass.

There are a few modern movies depicting different myths ("Clash of the Titans", "Immortals", "Wrath of the Titans") from that culture, but they're shot in an over-simplified "comic strip" way. What do you think about these interpretations of Greek legends?

Vince: They are fun, cheesy and Hollywood style movies with more fiction than facts. With "Of Gods and Heroes" we did lots of research to get it right. Ok I may pronounce some of the names differently but the facts are spot on to the actual Mythology written.

Mags: Oh I love "Clash of the Titans". Badly interpreted or not, it's just epic! I can't comment on the other two as I haven't seen them but think of all the movies which depict half truths or twisted facts for entertainment purposes.

There's the song 'Trojan War' amongst the others on this album, and I remember that Manowar had a half hour long composition based on the story of Achilles. How did you decide to put the whole epic in one song? Didn't you think of doing an album based on one single story?

Mags: We wanted to make the second album separate stories for each song but keep it along one theme. Our first album, "Valley of the King" tells one long story. "Trojan War", like the other songs, just evolved from our ideas.

Desolate Pathway - 'Trojan War' (Official):

How do you see necessary elements of Epic Doom metal? How would you summarize your general influences concerning Doom metal?

Mags: Heavy doomy riffage with epic vocals works for me.

Vince: It's gotta be clean vocals for me with Epic story telling and heavy but melodic riffs. The ultimate song for me that has everything is "Samaritan" by Candlemass.

What kind of 'Valley of the King' features you did want to keep in the second album? Was it hard to resist NWOBHM influences when you wrote those songs?

Vince: It's very hard for me to resist NWOBHM but when recording our 2nd album I was listening to nothing but Doom! I need to get in the right head space to create something special from the depths of our souls.

Mags: Not for me as I am not really a NWOBHM fan. My heart lies in doom and always has. We didn't really set out to create an album which reflected "Valley" and what came out came of it's own accord.

Live at Malta Doom Fest 2016.

And what new things did you want to add to Desolate Pathway's sound on the second album? Your singing is bloody expressive, the song structures are a bit different, but in general it's the same band, isn't it?

Vince: Yes it's the same band. Mags and myself have always been the forefront of the band and all the time we are active it will stay that way. We have created our own style and sound that is becoming recognizable in the doom scene. We like to mix it up a bit but the format will always stay the same.

Mags: Yes the same band really but I think that with any vocalist change there will be quite a noticeable sound difference and I think it takes people time to get used to. We wanted to go with a pure epic sound and Vince's vocals nailed that.

'Of Gods and Heroes' has been a DIY record until now: have I got it right that WormHoleDeath Records have finally released the album officially?

Vince: Yes that's right. WormHoleDeath signed us in April and the digital release was 12th May. The physical release will be June onwards, depending on the country.

What are your plans for the next album? Will you continue with just you and Mags in the band? What kind of topics would you like to explore in your songs?

Vince: We are desperately trying to seek a suitable bass player to complete the band. We love writing and recording but we are mainly a live band as that is where we can express ourselves more otherwise Mags and I would have probably written several albums by now. We have some ideas for further concepts but you will have to wait and see.

One of most important albums in the Epic Doom genre this year is the Arduini/Balich full-length 'Dawn Of Ages'. And their material has a certain progressive vibe: what do you think about blending Epic Doom with progressive elements for Desolate Pathway?

Mags: I think progressive doom can work very well though this generally will really be down to personal taste.

Vince: It's good to be progressive but at the same time it could lose its way in the "Doom Genre" and sometimes I feel doom should stay more traditional.

Vince, you spent a few years in Pagan Altar - how did you get into the band?

Vince: It was really simple actually. I had an advert on a musician website, Terry emailed me and asked if I wanted to meet them in a pub for a chat about joining them, what was great is they lived only a few miles from my home so I met Terry and the drummer in a pub, had a few beers, they passed me a CD-R with 4 tracks on and gave me 2 weeks to learn them. I think the tracks were "Lords of Hypocrisy", "Samhain", "Pagan Altar" and "Cry of the Banshee". I went to the audition, nailed it and the job was mine. It was being in the right place at the right time. I'm a strong believer in fate.

How do you see the main elements of Pagan Altar, both lyrically and music-wise? What attracted you to the band?

Vince: When I heard the music it was like nothing I have heard of before. At first I hated the vocals but the music was so passionate and moving. I just wanted to play it. Terry's vocals grew on me but like Alan always said, I never really knew what he was singing, haha.

Did you take part in the songwriting? I've heard that the band planned to record some new material around that period?

Vince: Their 4th album "Never Quite Dead" was written 3 years before I joined but they never got to play it. When I joined I learnt the whole album of new material and it was really special. We played a few live and tested them out but still to this day 8 years later the album is still not released although I Alan has decided to work finish this with previous members and go out as a Monica of the band called Time Lord. During my final months they were also working on a 5th album but Terry became sick. It was a great experience I will never forget and be very humble to have been part of a legendary band.

How did this experience of being in Pagan Altar reflect on your work with Desolate Pathway?

Vince: It gave me the confidence, experience and ethics to make a band work. I think with that in hand it has caused a lot of members to leave us because both Mags and myself are perfectionist at our art.

Vince and Mags, thank you both for your time! I hope that this interview helps to spread the word about Desolate Pathway further! How would you like to finish our conversation?

Mags: Thank you very much for interviewing us! We really appreciate your interest.

Vince: Cheers for the support and great interview and good luck on the book.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Desolate Pathway bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-06-17 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com