(Our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks presents his interview with Henry Bones, bassist of Italy’s Caronte.)
There are a lot of bands who use the tag “occult” in speaking about their music. But the Italian dark masters in the doom stoner band Caronte are not ordinary followers of this genre. They play their songs with true and darkest passion and energy in practicing their mystic sacraments and sharing this experience with Caronte’s listeners. The second full-length album of this Italian cult was released by Van Records under the name Church of Shamanic Goetia in 2014, and once again Caronte have shown their best, revealing new heavy super-hits, as if Danzig himself were playing with them! I’ve used a chance to speak with Henry Bones (bass) about this new record.
Hello Henry! Caronte has released the album Church of Shamanic Goetia through Van Records in 2014. And though the band’s core remains the same, I hear some advancements in your music. How do you class the band’s evolution?
From the previous releases we are all matured a lot, both on a human level and at the level of composition. On our last album we really expressed ourselves as never before.
By the way, how many virgins did you put on the devil’s altar to gain such driving riffs and catchy tunes?
You should ask at our drummer Mike. Normally he is dealing with the virgins.
Caronte has a very recognizable and powerful sound since the debut album Ascension. How long did you work out this sound?
Actually we never stopped to think about how we should play the songs. I can’t say that we have spent a lot of time on this, it is something that we have always lived with, naturally and by instinct.
Doom rock and doom metal with occult lyrics has become more and more popular today, and there is a huge number of bands playing in that genre. Do you have any clue about the kind of social processes that have driven us to this point?
Yes sure, it seems that’s cool in this current period! But there’s a big difference between bands who make this kind of music because it’s cool and bands who make this from real passion, and people sooner or later understand this.
With the new album Church of Shamanic Goetia you’ve plunged deeper into other occult, or rather shamanic, themes; you had “Navajo Calling” on your first record and now you’ve recorded another “Indian” song” – heavy and driving as hell — “Wakan Tanka Riders”. What has attracted you to North-American native culture?
Just before writing Church of Shamanic Goetia, our studies were mostly focused on shamanism, more specifically on “Core Shamanism”, as Michael Harner defines it. M.H. theorizes that all of the Shamanic practices have a common ground even if they come from different places and never really crossed paths as such. The reason why most of our lyrics are inspired by the Native Americans is that they always had, in each tribe, a warrior spirit and a vision of death which is something we also share. We feel closer to this spiritual approach more than any other.
Most of your songs are dedicated to occult stuff and the devil itself. From where does this sympathy grow? And the devil — Lucifer — what does this image mean for you?
All of us in the band have a connection with occult and magic practices. Caronte as a musical project can be considered magic. Our route goes back to the left hand path, the evolution of our interior journey to expand and merge to the cosmos — this channelling through sound, mantras, the studies of shamanism, and pilgrimages that are the main subject of our latest album. If you can call forth the light, you will no longer need to see.
Caronte “Wakan Tanka Riders”
The music in one of new songs, “The Sulphur Shaman”, has a sudden sludge/doom taste and heaviness. Was this just a temporary experiment or do you feel an urge to record a few more sludgy tracks?
No, it wasn’t a strange experiment. One evening, during the composition, this song emerged. Immediately it has liked by all of us, and we decided to include it on the album. We asked our friend Parker Chandler from Cough and Windhand to sing on the song, and he did an incredible job.
You have songs about Indian shamanic rituals, about voodoo, about Ancient Egyptian and Buddhist traditions, without even mentioning all the Satanic stuff. But what does “hanblerchenapi” mean?!
It is a sacred ritual in the Native American culture.
You had a song “Black Gold” on the first record. Is it really about oil and the shit it brings upon mankind?
No, black gold is a song that speaks of sex, power, and sperm as vital sap .
After two pretty successful records do you feel Caronte is a part of the world doom scene? Do you feel a feedback from your listeners and other bands?
I think yes, the feedback from the listeners and other bands is good for now.
What’s new in your side-project Black Gremlin / Whiskey Ritual?
I’ve just come back from a European tour with Black Gremlin. We still have some gigs around before the summer, and then we will focus on the new album for which we have already set aside several materials.