Seven Gates of Hell with CAPE OF BATS

17. srpna 2017 v 14:59 | RaznAgul |  seven gates of hell interviews
The aim of the open series of the blogzine´s Seven Gates of Hell interviews is to introduce the bands and their music that struck my metalhead´s heart and soul recently. In seven questions, the gates are open for those who make their music of true metal spirit, pure dedication and of what I understand as underground approach and aesthetics.

You might come across them under the lids of their coffins in a shabby attic where they wait for the blessed vampyric hour to rise and spear your metal heart with their savage music. Or you might dig them out of the darkened underground where they dwell, hidden from the daylight and drinking fresh blood that spurts from the vital sources of devilish tunes. No matter how you get in touch with them, if you do, you can hallow that very happening. Because the Anglophone horde of CAPE OF BATS is definitely worth all your discovery efforts. They have been playing their riveting blend of demonic riffs and spiky beats, which they call vladcore d-bat, for some time already. And in December 2015, as a so-far peak of their haunting the scene, they put out their vinyl debut album "Violent Occultism". About that damn-good record as well as other stuff round the band I spoke with their vocalist and guitar player Francis Kano.

I. Where could an inquisitive metalhead find the Cape of Bats on a map and what kind of metal do the weird indigenous inhabitants living there listen to?
"Right now I am back visiting in Glenullin, Ireland, having lived half of my life here with the grave of Abhartach the vampyre, slain by my ancestors, buried just down the road. This is where I discovered black metal of my own accord at the age of 13, being my favorite 'metal' since. Right now I am listening in rotation to Vlad Tepes of Les Legiones Noires, and the final Zépülkr tape which happens to feature Wlad from Vlad Tepes on vocals. My favorite black metal is always dirty & vampyric a lot of which happens to be French and Japanese... All of Les Legiones Noires, Peste Noire, S.V.E.S.T., Manierisme, Arkha Sva. Japan's Sigh are also not to be forgotten, nor the metal punk of Japan a la G.I.S.M., Zouo & Metal Skull. Fairly certain this is also Cassidy's favorite metal. Living some time in Philadelphia Matt & I learned playing guitar through a mutual love of early Death & Morbid Angel of who's spastic and spooky thrashy influence can be heard."

II. How did you, guys, meet together? Did you start up the band on some common musical tastes, or was it rather a variety of flavours, so evident in your music, that pulled you together as a challenge to forge the band´s distinctive music style?
"At the age of 14 I moved back to Philadelphia where I was born after having moved to Ireland. After meeting Cassidy and playing in several punk bands with her, I asked her to drum for some tracks I had written before I was moving again back to Ireland. We were both 15 for the first "Tape ov Bats" in 2009. At the time my main influences were Samhain and Mayhem, with some other hardcore punk, deathrock and black metal. It is really terrible. I wrote everything up until our debut 7" "Transylvania", after which Cassidy wrote and played every instrument on the next release "Olcott Rites", having grasped our sound without much discussion and further evolving it. Matt Geary then offered some songs he had written which fit right in and appear on "Violent Occultism", most of the songs featured on there having been written by the time we were 18. The music style was entirely natural on my part saying how I have basically listened to the same dozen bands since I was 15, including Bathory, Christian Death, G.I.S.M., everything Danzig & LLN."

III. The title of your debut album "Violent Occultism" is quite a provocative one, as practices of occultism usually do with some sort of calm, concentrated efforts to evoke the esoteric elements from the base of nature. Do you really mean, with your music, to bash the spirits out of the matter?
"The title you have so perfectly grasped the essence of is a direct attack on those passive armchair/internet/weekend/fashion occultists we see so much of today. The occult has been my only lifelong persuit and interest, my mother never knowing whether to take me to a priest or a psychiatrist. The occult obsessed my brain since I could read, so by 5 or 6, years before I discovered black metal. When I discovered black metal and felt the essence it was grasping it felt so natural, as opposed to the obvious so many who take up faux-occultism after they have heard black metal and then picked up Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. I rejected the Satanic Bible at age 10 as watered down entry level Satanism though now I can admittedly appreciate some of his writings. As an early teenager I quickly gave up on grimoires and magic circles, finding my own natural ability for what I consider 'magick'; making my own will come to fruition through what I consider a Satanic existence, heavily inspired by the Order of Nine Angles. While our music has plenty of upbeat and even 'happy' sounding parts, this is in no way contradictory to being Satanic, as it is a reflection of my own devil-may-care attitude as opposed to some posing, much to the dismay of our 'trve kvlt' detractors. "Violent Occultism", with its colorful, extravagant art is a procalamation and declaration of true Satanic personality against the fake black and white posturing which has infested both occult and black metal circles which have been unfortunately somewhat intertwined."

IV. Before you put out your first full-length, you spent six years and lots of effort in recording miscellaneous splits and demos. When did you realize that the band is ready to record a regular album and why did it take you so long to make such a move?
"If you look on the album art closely, it was done in 2011 by thee Grand Chingon, Diego Bureau, who was the same age as us at the time, 18, three years after the first horrendous tape release. We then finally recorded the music for it two years later with our friend Rob Orr of Integrity at the age of 20 in a two day drunken bender, in 2014. I was living in Ireland at the time and took almost two years to finish the vocals for many reasons and excuses. A strange mix of depression but being content having the music and not rushing on anyone's terms. Splits and demos were put out in the meantime for fun and to keep interest. I love splits as a public alliance with kindred splits, every split having been with close friends. Demos are a great excuse to experiment with songs on a shorter scale."

V. I guess, your debut album can appeal to both sacrilegious metalheads as well as hardcore/punk freaks. In which of those quite distinctive scenes do CAPE OF BATS feel more comfortable - black metal scene or hardcore one?
"We have never felt fully comfortable in any actual physical 'scene'. We do align with a collective in the states of comrades dubbed the Wolven Brotherhood, who's festival in Lexington, Kentucky, Blood of the Wolf, is becoming a pinnacle of extreme underground music. We are also actively part of the Holy Terror community, with Dwid Hellion of Integrity finding and encouraging us from the start, having released our first 7" "Transylvania" on his label and also being featured on a 7" compilation "NO PEACE/VVAR" with Holy Terror bands covering Japanese metal punk. I also now play bass for Integrity live. They are a supportive clique and audience who I enjoy, as much as our music may not fit exactly right in. While I have close relationships with black metal musicians who we have discovered a mutual appreciation with, the black metal community at large is a laughing stock who ironically sometimes scoff at us, hence my disdain for the term 'blackened' and instead labeling us tongue in cheek as 'vladcore d-bat', emphasising that the vampyric essence does not belong to black metal clowns. We are friends with many punks and metal heads alike, maybe in person falling more in with a punk crowd as they do not take themselves so seriously..."

VI. CAPE OF BATS has its core line-up of Francis Kano, Matthew Geary and Cassidy McGinley, plus for your live gigs you take other musicians on board to have all the gear complete. What is the difference between the band´s core line-up and the live performance one, in terms of creative involvement and musical/spiritual resonance among the members?
"As stated, the band started as a recording project of mine with Cassidy doing drums before moving back to Ireland, these circumstances already making any idea of attempting a live band shaky. Some friends expressed interest in playing my songs live, so I tried teaching them riffs from abroad and would return to play a couple of shows in the summer as a stand alone singer. We did this for a good few years with several different lineups before my moving back to the states three years ago where I took up playing guitar live too. As stated above, Cassidy contributed early on to writing, and Matt Geary also jumped in as me and him had a resonance in sound, his solos always leaving me at a loss for words, shifting between bluesy thrashing shredding and total classical sad vampyre emotions. Kyle Armine joined us on bass a few years ago, having played in bands with Cassidy, Matt & I years before and the band has never been tighter live as it is as you say, the core line-up, with the addition of Kyle who has always been a musical brother. Now there is almost no difference between the live and recording line-up."

VII. You put out your "Violent Occultism" almost two years ago. Since then, you have been back on track with your old practice of forging split records. Do you want to stick to that pattern for the years to come, or could your fans expect another full-length load of your music in foreseeable future?
"The only excuse for the lapse in time between these releases is the burdening realities of mundane life, never enough time in the night... When I moved back to the states three years ago, before even finishing vocals on "Violent Occultism", I had already written three more albums in the solitude of Ireland. Now there is enough material written for another, each more elaborate than the last saying how some songs on "Violent Occultism" were written 10 years ago now. Cassidy plays in several very active punk bands including Blank Spell, S-21 and Devil Master which I also play in. As I write she is on a six week tour with Blank Spell. Devil Master has been active the past two years with it being a more democratic band with a full line-up. Matt, Kyle & I also play in the 'blackened' tinged metallic hardcore band Deathmonger AD, who's debut album we are wrapping up currently, and I have also been pretty busy with Integrity practice and touring. Splits and demos have been again released in the meantime for fun and to keep relevant, a split with Mexico's Herxsebet having been plotted for a while. The next full length assault entitled "FEAR'S RETURN" should be recorded before the year's end.Thirteen more tracks of pure visceral and somber spells, miles beyond "Violent Occultism". Diego is wrapping up the art soon which is as tripped out and psychotic as before."

Thanks a lot for the interview. Let their blood will ever be served to your vampyric might!
"Fangs and hails to you Radomir for hearing and riding with the children of the night!!!"


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