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Having risen from the ashes of promising-sounding French band Marble Chariot, Carcolh's debut was released last year. Comrade Aleks sets out to find a bit more about Doom in Bordeaux...

Interview with Carcolh.
"Marble Chariot was the beginning. That band from Bordeaux lived through four hard years, from 2011 to 2015, and they only managed to record four tracks before disbanding, but all of them were good enough to cry over Chariot's demise. They knew a few things about Trad Doom and how to perform it in a most effective way, so I was pleasantly surprised that three ex-Chariot members, along with the guitarist from equally dead Doom band Oyabun since gathered under the name Carcolh. Their debut album, 'Rising Sons Of Saturn', was released by Emanes Metal Records in 2018, so why not take a look inside this band's machinery? That's not too difficult, since Quentin Aberne (bass) and Sébastien Fanton (vocals) are here to help me with that task."

Hi Quentin! How are you? What's new in Bordeaux?

Quentin: Hi Aleksey! Fine, thanks, glad to share some doomy words with you. Sebastien (our singer) will help me to answer a few question.

Well, that's even better! It was huge surprise for me that most of Marble Chariot's line-up gathered under the Carcolh name three years ago. But what happened with Chariot? Can you say that you're resurrecting its spirit this way?

Sébastien: Due to huge relationship problems, we had to redefine the Marble Chariot Project. The band was going straight into the wall before it even started to become anything! The last rehearsals were... trouble... "Thirsty and miserable", you know what I mean... nothing new...

We don't want to resurrect Marble Chariot at all. A page has been turned, Carcolh is born from a stronger new team, with an indestructible faith for the true spirit of heavy doom metal, and we don't care about the rest.

Quentin: Even though Sebastien and I were composing and singing in Marble Chariot, Carcolh's ambition now is to release music that sounds more heavy and epic doom.

Quentin Aberne (bass). (Photo: Perspective Anormale).

Carcolh is the name of a beast from Gascon folklore: did you want to demonstrate a connection with your roots, or is it more of an allusion to Doom's down-tempo sound?

Quentin: I got the chance to grew up in a bucolic land, full of mysteries and magic. When I found this name, it was really evocative for me, a massive evil presence under the village you cannot see but everyone warns you about.

Was it something that scarred you in your childhood? You know – some of American bands for example seem to spent half of their childhood watching B-rated horror movies.

Quentin: Yes, but not with this beast especially, there were stories about hidden evil artefacts under the village or dragons haunting some places at night. There are many legends of this kind in France, in fact, it's almost always created by Catholicism to represent the old believes in an evil way and them as saviors.

Marble Chariot - 'For Long Lost Friends' (2012):

I remember that everything about Marble Chariot was quite… chaotic… Do you feel yourself more focused now with Carcolh's new members?

Quentin: You're right, it was. We can resume it in one word: alcohol.

The current line-up is sincerely the best we ever had. Everybody is focused on the music and playing with those guys is one of the things I prefer in life.

Your debut album 'Rising Sons Of Saturn' was released one year ago by Emanes Metal Records, was it comfortable to work with them? How did you solve questions over the album's promotion?

Quentin: We like to work with Emanes Metal Records because the man behind the label is a very kind French guy really dedicated to his passion for music.

But concerning promotion, I must admit that we didn't make it well. When we signed, we thought that the label will take care of the promotion and that we just had to focus on our music. But I realized that it's maybe too much for an artisanal label like this. The band should have contributed, especially on the internet communication, which unfortunately is not our best skill for the moment.

Sébastien Fanton (vocals). (Photo: Perspective Anormale).

But things look easier now when you have the internet: just send digital promos to a hundred people, and voilà! You have five reviews! And maybe even an interview like this. Don't you feel excitement about enlightening people around the world of Carcolh's coming?

Quentin: You may be right, I did that with sites which had reviewed us during the Marble Chariot years, but unfortunately many of them are closed now. I have to admit that I don't consult many sites, I discover music by reading magazines or with friends. There are also some activists like you that I follow on the social networks to be aware of the new releases. I will actualize my knowledge in that point and will promote the band this way… I know that Laurent from Emanes sent some promo CDs, but there is nothing in return for the moment.

Of course, it's exciting, even if Rising Sons Of Saturn is out since some years now. I'm really looking forward to the next album and will do it better for this one.

Your songs remind me of Patrick Walker's Warning probably more than anything. Was that your main focus during the composing of 'Rising Sons Of Saturn'?

Quentin: I really appreciate the comparison! I like his work from Warning to 40 Watt Sun very much. But I think we rather play somewhere between traditional and epic doom. To tell you everything, in my opinion the most important influence after Black Sabbath in Carcolh is The Gates of Slumber.

Our first goal was to take pleasure at playing doom. After our Marble Chariot and Oyabun experiences (concerning Olivier, (guitar-lead)) we were tired by relationship matters of our past bands and wanted to do something spontaneous and record it quickly. Maybe it explains why the album is composed like a rock one. Thematically, there is something about rebirth and the cycle of life. It starts with a quiet enlighted tune and ends with the slowest and heaviest song.

It was recorded in 2016, so we want to play another way now, but recording Rising Sons Of Saturn was helpful for our sanity at the time.

Benoît Senon (drums). (Photo: Perspective Anormale).

How carefully did you pick the lyrical themes? Do you pay attention to such questions, or is it more to have a collection of dark images rather than some global concept?

Sébastien: Most of the time, lyrics are written in one go, very late at night because these are the best hours to bring out the most twisted and blackest ideas that obsess me throughout the day. Dreams and their symbolism inspire me a lot…just like death, eternity, or nature. These are themes that come naturally, the end of the world and humanity. This is a truly inexhaustible source of inspiration since one way or another, those things will happen someday. That's what all our texts are about, which ultimately creates an indirect link between the songs and gives that twilight aspect to the album.

Do you consider Doom metal one of the most "escapistic" genres? You know – Thrash takes an antisocial position, Black is for an anti-clerical one, Death can mix both attitudes with some macabre stories, but Doom very rarely deals with reality.

Quentin: It may be true, but we all know what Wino is talking about in Dragon Time for example. You can hide a personal meaning behind a fantastic story. Actually, I think it's true most of the time.

Carcolh - 'Rising Sons Of Saturn' (Full album, 2018):

Doom is usually considered to be a sort of "English" genre, and there aren't many French bands playing in this direction, despite the presence of some strong bands like Barabbas, Hangman's Chair, Northwinds, The Bottle Doom Lazy Band or Witchthroat Serpent. So, one year on from the album's release can you say which country supports Carcolh the most?

Quentin: It seems that Hangman's Chair are successful since their last album, they even played on a TV show, but yes, those excellent bands are here since a long time, and for me they are terribly underrated. For example, Winter by Northwinds is one of the best songs/albums I have ever heard in metal.

About our album, I can't tell you in which country we sell the most part of our merch, because it is sold by Emanes, but the reviews or interviews were written Canada, Sweden, Russia and local activists like Metal is the Law.

Manowar said of Metal something like "it's more than our religion, it's our only way to live". Can you say the same about Doom? Can it be a way of life?

Quentin: I can tell you that Manowar with Into Glory Ride is more into my "religion" than any doom band playing like Electric Wizard and talking about weed and Satan. So, yes Doom metal takes a huge place in my life, but I'm sad that the spirit of this music is turning into a joke.

You can even meet people who say that "Candlemass is just heavy metal shit, Electric Wizard is the true doom" like stupid inversed fundamentalists. I have nothing against the stoner-doom bands, I even like some of them, but a part of their worshippers are like a plague for the music I love.

Olivier Blanc (guitars). (Photo: Perspective Anormale).

Agreed! It seems like a question of promotion. If a few big magazines claim shit smells like a perfume, some will repeat this mantra too. I guess that lot of people just forget why Nature gave them brains… I hope we don't offend the tender feelings of Satan-worshippers here, so lets return to Carcolh. How did you spend this year? Did you prepare new songs or just play occasional gigs? What role does planning play in the band's life?

Quentin: We did both, some gigs and working on new songs. Our drummer lives in Brittany, so we try to play a gig or do a big rehearsal when he is available.

We spend the rest of the time writing the songs with the other members.

With whom did you play? Speaking about Brittany, I wonder if Stangala perform live nowadays. I wonder if they're active at all…

Quentin: We went on a little tour with my other band Sweven in 2017. Locally, we played with Putréfiance, Tentation, Pillars, D.Dent. We will do a gig at a death/grind festival in Bordeaux on 8/06/2019.

I have no idea about Stangala, they released an album in 2016, maybe they are working on a new one.

Mathieu Vicens (guitars). (Photo: Perspective Anormale).

What are your plans for the rest of 2019? Do you have a goal to finish as many songs as you're able for a new album?

Quentin: We have almost all the songs for a future album. It will be more epic, more Metal. We are digging darker ways than our previous effort and have the will to do something much better.

We want to thank you for your excellent questions and for taking time for us, long live doom-metal.com!

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Visit the Carcolh bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-06-30 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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