It’s been a while since I last wrote about a French black metal band on these virtual pages. In fact, the last time was back in March, when we premiered a track from Abduction’s A l’heure du crépuscule. We’re making up for that today, however, with an album stream from not just one, but two French black metal bands: Malepeste and Dysylumn. Both bands hail from the Lyon underground, but neither of the closely-aligned bands sound particularly French – they have more of their own thing going on instead, which they demonstrate on their forthcoming conceptual split Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui sera.
We’re streaming the split, which will be available on October 15 from Goathorned Productions (preorder here) in its entirety today at the Vault, along with my interview with both bands. So while I could keep going with this intro and delve into the music and its themes, I’d much rather just let our loyal Vault Hunters listen and let the bands themselves explain the split’s concept. So snag yourself a preorder and check them both out below.
Indy Metal Vault : So, for starters – ça va? Merci pour l’interview. I’ll admit that even though I listen to quite a bit of French black metal, neither Malepeste nor Dysylumn were really on my radar prior to Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui sera landing in my inbox, but I’ve been listening to it a lot since then. I find myself appreciating it for two reasons. The first is that it’s remarkably cohesive as a split, to the point where if I’d heard it somewhere and didn’t know it was two bands then I’d never have guessed it. Secondly, from a stylistic perspective, neither of you really fit with any of the styles I think of when I think French black metal – you aren’t really avant-garde (a la Blut Aus Nord), atmospheric or shoegaze-influenced (Alcest, Lantlôs), or depressive (Nocturnal Depression), though I can hear elements of almost all of those styles in what you do. What’s your relationship like to the rest of the French underground? Do you sort of exist in your own corner, or are you part of a larger collective of sorts?
Malepeste: The French underground is very big and we have many very good projects here. We obviously know some of them personally, but we’re not really part of a private underground circle or anything like that.
We are first and foremost auditors.
Malepeste sometimes exists outside France, as we have played on a few occasions in other countries or with our albums that travel a little bit around the world, but it is true that our existence is more closely linked to the city of Lyon, where musicians are often friends and play together in each other’s projects. It is not an official collective, therefore; but groups like Tower of Silence, Udyr, Aeon Patronist, Poisöncharge, Triste Terre, Temple of Worms…are projects of friends with whom we regularly have exchanges.
Dysylumn: We are in a way part of a community of underground bands from Lyon, but in the broadest sense we exist only in our own corner.
Nevertheless, we reach an international audience, and we consider ourselves part of a global movement rather than a local scene.
IMV : From what I gather, Malepeste and Dysylumn are pretty closely aligned, and have done collaborative live performances. How did you first connect? How long was it after that before you started thinking about doing a split?
Dysylumn : The first time I met members of Malepeste was in 2013, during a concert in Grenoble.
But Jacques and I really started to become friends at the Wolf Throne Fest II in Paris in 2015. Since then, several projects were born: the creation of the label/distributor Egregor Records, the Occult Death project Ominous Shrine, and Dysylumn in its live formation.
We got the idea of creating a common split between our two bands in October 2016, one month after the release of our EP Chaos Primordial.
It took us two years of reflection, research, composition and exchanges to finalize this project, but at least it is genuine and everything has been done in the spirit of moving forward together.
We have shared the stage several times since then, and thanks to this split we sometimes have an appearance by Michael on a song and vice versa during concerts.
IMV: As I mentioned earlier, this split really feels like a singular, cohesive record. Since Malepeste and Dysylumn do have that collaborative relationship, how closely did you work together when composing your respective halves of the split? Did you communicate about musical direction at all, or are your sounds just that complementary that it worked out that way without much need to communicate?
Malepeste: First of all we had to agree on the concept. We didn’t want this split to be just a release with three unconnected tracks from two different bands.
The idea was not to share a précis or something, but to show two different ways to speak about the same subject.
So we communicated a lot about the subject, but after this each band had to express it in his own way.
Musically we agreed on some little things like making the singer of each band record vocals for a track of the other part (you can hear Larsen on the Dysylumn song “Decima,” and Seb on the Malepeste song “Atropos”).
And the “Prologue” was to be the Malepeste part, and the “Épilogue” the Dysylumn part. But, musically, this is the only communication we had. Both bands were free to do what they wanted.
IMV: I’m curious about the album’s title: Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui sera. It translates into English as “what once was, what it is, what it will be.” Is there anything thematic or conceptual behind that title that carries through the lyrics on both halves of the split?
Malepeste: The main concept of the album is the figures of Moirai for the Greek version by Malepeste and the Parquae for Dysylumn (same figures in the ancient Roman religion).
One represents the past, the second the present, and the last the future, and each song is link to one of them in that order. With that in mind the title explains itself.
IMV: I’m always intrigued about bands’ recording processes, and from a production standpoint Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui serasounds fantastic. Did you actually use a studio for the recording, or was it more of a DIY thing?
Malepeste: For our part, we’ve recorded all the guitars, bass, and vocals in Larsen’s home studio, Studio Akashik. The drums were recorded in the theatre where he works through an analog board. He also mixed and mastered the whole thing.
So yes, you can say it’s kind of DIY thing…
Dysylumn: For the Dysylumn part, all guitars, bass and vocals were recorded in my home studio, and then sent to Camille for reamping at Trvvmwxlt studios.
For the drums, we transformed our practice space in temporary recording studio, using a lot of analog preamps and microphones, where Camille recorded his drum parts.
The whole thing was then mixed and produced by Camille at Trvvmwxlt studios and later mastered by Larsen from Studio Akashik .
So all in all, it was self-produced using the best equipment and methods available.
IMV: The cover art for Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui sera is really striking. Who’s the artist? How closely did you work with the artist on the concept for it? Is it a safe guess that each figure represents one aspect of the title?
Malepeste: The illustrator is simply Nostra our bassist, as it has been for all of Malepeste’s visuals (except the cover of Dereliction by Saturn VII).
The indications given were that the theme of the album needed to be translated, and the desire to graphically remind the vortices of Dysylumn.
It is also the first time that colors appear in our discography.
And of course, it quickly appears that the three entities represented resonate with the title.
IMV: So what are your plans after Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui seracomes out? Any plans to tour together behind it at all? If so, is there any chance of making it over to the US at any point?
Dysylumn: We are currently preparing a release party for the beginning of the year. We plan to play the full split, as well as other songs specific to each band (for about an hour each).
I think that a US tour would be perfect, but it’s complicated at this time. However, we do not take away the possibility of a tour together.
IMV: Thanks again for being willing to answer a few questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
Malepeste: We are currently thinking about a recording for our parallel project Grande Loge, and are already thinking about Malepeste’s next album at the moment. In the meantime, we are rather curious to see how Ce qui fut, ce qui est, ce qui serawill be perceived.
Dysylumn: The future of Dysylumn will be a conceptual project split into a trilogy. Thank you for this interview, and your interest.