When a band describes their sound as a ‘twisted brothel’ you just know that they are going to have a lot of people curious about the sound that they conjure up. The thing is it is probably a pretty accurate description of the sound that French black metal outfit Doctor Livingstone have managed to create on their brand new album – Triumphus Haeretici.
Anything hard – hardcore, black metal and death metal and Doctor Livingstone have melded into their latest album to deliver an album that critics are labelling one of the greatest ‘black metal album of 2017’ something that a quick discussion with two of the bands members Rel and Reverend Prick reveals is a bit of a surprise for the band themselves.
The band are really pioneers of the French black metal scene and Rel explains there has been a couple of decades of hard work for these guys and it is finally paying off. “Doctor Livingstone started in 1996 or 1997,” he recalls. “In the beginning we were more punk rock or hardcore music but things got darker and in 2014 when Six and Reverend Prick joined the band, they were from the black metal scene, and then things got mixed up automatically and that is why our music sounds the way it does today. We didn’t do it intentionally, it just happened… accidentally really. Because of the influences of Reverend Prick and Six, there was never a moment where we said to ourselves ‘hey let’s do this style of music. It just happened like that – I had the hardcore background and they had their background and that is why it sounds like this today. When I was younger I listened to everything – hardcore, punk, thrash metal, black metal, electronic music and even pop music. I started playing music when I was 11 and I fell in love with Guns ‘N’ Roses.
When I ask about the French metal and hardcore scene and briefly mention German and Scandinavia Rel laughs, “You listen to German and Scandinavian music? I pity you… nah I’m just kidding.”
Reverend Prick intercedes with, “French black metal is the best black metal in the world!” before Rel goes on to explain that he doesn’t actually listen to a lot of French black metal. “I did ten years ago but today I don’t so I can’t tell you a lot of what is going on aside from the fact that there is a lot mixing going on, there a lot more bands that now mix-up hardcore and black metal, but not in the same way that we do. That doesn’t mean we are better or anything or even the original but yeah there is a lot of mixing-up going on.”
Reverend Prick again interrupts with, “France has the best black metal scene in the world because Doctor Livingstone is part of it!!!”
Rel says despite what the critics are saying they really didn’t do anything different when they were putting this album together. “We did what we always do,” he says. “I wrote the songs before we went into the studio and then I showed them to my bandmates. Then we start working on things, transforming things by changing the pace or tempos or rhythms. Then there a lot of things we do in the studio, in the moment, like adding the percussions and adding the atmosphere. Then with the lyrics we just add the vocal lines as we are recording – nothing is done beforehand. I write everything but then the other guys are like – let’s change this or change that and it’s when we all start working together that things start getting interesting. That is probably the one thing we did do differently this time because with all the previous albums I just did everything myself and that wasn’t really interesting but this time but this time there was teamwork and that is why I think the album sounds the way it does today.”
He goes onto say that the album was very much inspired by some very modern topics. “We take a look at human condition, we like to talk about ourselves but not in an egocentric way, but we like to talk about the theatre of life and the comedy without giving out any lessons. We just like to talk about how we see things and we like to do it with irony.”
As we start talking about the band touring in Europe during November Reverend Prick again chimes in saying. “We want to come to Australia please tell us if there is a tour manager that would like us… if you are a tour manager and you are reading this please contact us.”
“For now we have a few shows in France coming up,” says Rel getting things back on track but laughing at the same time. “Next year we are aiming to do a European tour… we’re not too sure yet. One of things we love about touring is partying, forget about playing on tour we prefer all the things outside of that – the sleeping, the eating, the partying, the drugs.”
“AUDIENCES SHOULD BE SCARED BECAUSE WE SPREAD THE WORD OF THE LORD OF THE UNDERGROUND,” bellows Reverend Prick.
“No… no, that is just a bad joke,” laughs Rel. “I hope…anyway.”
So if you are a tour manager willing to take on Doctor Livingstone don’t forget to contact the band but for their fans in Australia right now they will just have to sit back and enjoy Triumphus Haeretici which is out now.
Written by Dave Griffiths