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Interview with Seb Montesi of Auroch

Following the release of their debut album, ‘From Forgotten Worlds’, at the end of October, Planet Mosh finds out a little more about Vancouver death metal trio AUROCH. Under the interrogator’s spotlight, frontman Seb Montesi (pictured right)…

Hi, and thanks for taking the time to talk to Planet Mosh. You’ll be a new name to our readers, so can you start off by introducing the band and telling us where you’re from? How did the three of you meet?
Thanks for having us out. My name is Sebastian Montesi: I play guitar and handle vocals for Auroch. We’re a Canadian death metal band. In some capacity or another, the three of us have known each other for a long time, so to join forces and summon death metal terror seemed only fair.

How did you all get into music and what were you early musical influences?
The same way that many metal fans start out: Metallica, Slayer, Grave Digger, King Diamond, etc. The great classics.

You started out as a thrash band but have moved into death metal for your debut album: is there a reason for the change in direction?
To be totally honest, it’s for the same reason that I’m telling to everyone: the change was a natural evolution. Our demo days were clean-vocalled thrash metal, but as early as 2010 we had already begun the transition.

The album is being released on a Polish label (Hellthrasher Records): how did that relationship come about?
They contacted us after hearing one of the tracks we had put up to promote the record. They’ve been great to work with.

Where did the interest in HP Lovecraft come from? Is it one particular member’s influence or a collective interest?
Though I wrote all the lyrics for the record, it is definitely a collective interest. That is both because of each members love of dark, gothic horror, and collective attitude, which is cynical by nature.

Can you take us through the album – the lyrical influences and any stories behind the individual tracks?
It’d be my pleasure.
The record starts off with the title track [streaming below], and lyrically this song is really both the glue that holds the album together and the prerequisite to understanding the rest of the lyrics.

The outlook, some quotations and vibe is certainly Lovecraftian, but there is a lot more at play here. Starting with “Walk the Ley-Lines and embrace the horror (whore) of the revelation(s)”. Herein we’ve got two crucial statements at play. The ‘Ley-Lines’, as one might suspect, represent a geographic alignment of some pivotol world locations. This is important given the massive amount of correspondicies that the song spirals in to and is therefore a sort of suggestion of adhesive qualities between the articles of faith that go on to be mentioned. The first of these references is the line immediately below it: “the horror of the revelation” refers to man’s inability to process the horrible and unthinkable. Through the lack of being able to accept horrifying knowledge a human becomes stagnant and weak. The idea of the Faustian man, who would do anything for knowledge is the adversary to this.
This concept is firmly Lovecraftian, but on another level may obviously be seen as how man must shed imposed morals, and so-called ‘ethical thought’ in order to ascend beyond his weak, frightened state. This being explained, the reference to the Biblical ‘whore’ becomes clearly revealed as the Whore of Babylon – the harlot of sin and death who appears in the Book of Revelations (hence the plural) – the lustful consort who rides a seven-headed Sirush, which appears on the gate of Ishtar along with the Aurochs itself. This being explained, the “horror of the revelation” and the “Whore of the Revelations” become one and the same, as explained above, while remaining polar opposites; ability and inability to cope with forbidden knowledge (the truth).
The quotation which follows from Howard Phillips was a perfect marriage of the Lovecraftian vibe I wanted to evoke, the lost faith in the daemons of old as mentioned above and the Mediterranean references we were trying to get across through the riffs.
Now, I’d go on and explain all the lyrics, but clearly that would take a long time, and I’d also rob the reader of the enjoyment of figuring it all out. So, there’s a starting hint…

None of the songs seem to be directly taken from Lovecraft’s work though? For you as songwriters, is the feel, the atmosphere, the spirit of his stories that are important to you, rather than just copying his stories and translating them into heavy metal songs?
Exactly. See the above.

Do you particular favourite Lovecraft stories?
Certainly! ‘The Silver Key’ and ‘Through the Gates of the Silver Key’ are two of my favourites. Clearly the classics such as ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ are horrifying.

What do you think is the basis of our continued fascination with them, especially as he wasn’t particularly popular or recognised in his own lifetime?
Like many great artists he is certainly more popular posthumously. As I hinted in an earlier question, I am of the belief that man is attracted to hidden and forebidden knowledge (even if very few have the courage to attain it), hence the continued fascination with Lovecraft.

I said in my review of ‘From Forgotten Worlds’ that movies based on Lovecraft’s work have often been mediocre, at best: are there any you think have done a good job?
I enjoy the recent black and white films done by the HPLHS.

Returning to the album, have you been pleased at the reception it has received to date, both at home and further afield?
VERY pleased. Hundreds of great reviews and many people sharing/talking about it. (We) couldn’t ask for more.

Finally, Canada’s metal scene seems to undergoing a bit of a resurgence at the moment, certainly as far as it’s international profile is concerned: any other underground acts you would recommend the Planet Mosh staff and readers check out?
Oh, its crazy right now: Burialkult, Galdra, Funeral Circle, Mitochondrion, Tyrants Blood, Radioactive Vomit, Gyibaaw, Weapon, Dire Omen, AMSG, Begrime Exemious, Xul, Antediluvian, Autaric, Ominosity, Adversarial, Paroxsihzem, Nuclearhammer and Hellacaust are all MUST check out acts.

‘From Forgotten Worlds’ is out now on Hellthrasher Records.

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff