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Comrade Aleks talks to band founder Alexey Ignatovich about Lorelei's history and direction, and the distinctions between Death/Doom and Gothic Doom...

Interview with Lorelei.
"Lorelei's story is long, yet it wasn't rich with events for a substantial period. The band was founded in 2003, in Chita (Russia), by Alexey and Marina Ignatovich with a few of their friends. The idea was to perform good old Death Doom metal with both growl and female vocals, but everything went slowly and the first official EP 'Стон разбитой души' ("Moan Of Broken Soul") didn't appear until in 2011, by which time the core of the band had already settled down in Moscow and completed their line-up with new musicians. (Well, I didn't mention the demo 'Королевство призрачных теней' ("Kingdom Of Ghostly Shadows"), but that passed by unnoticed in 2007). So, this four song EP paved the way for the more mature material of debut full-length 'Угрюмые волны студёного моря' ("Solemn Waves Of Gelid Sea"). Lorelei demonstrated some really good melodic yet absolutely heavy Death Doom metal, with Russian lyrics performed in proper growls and soprano, that allowed the band's style to be tagged as "Gothic Doom". A contradictory label indeed… What was in Lorelei's mind? Did they want to play Gothic Doom, or Death Doom with some female vocals? That's easily answered by hearing the new album 'Тени октября' ("Shadows Of October"), the details of which we discussed with Alexey Ignatovich (guitars, vocals)."

In the hot seat: Alexey Ignatovich.

Hail Alexey! Your new album 'Тени октября' was released in November: I believe that was a deadline for the label because of the album's concept. Would it be really bad if Solitude released it in December? Would it work then?

Hey, Alexei! Thanks for inviting us.

Frankly speaking, we wanted the album to be released in October, because of its concept. This is a kind of symbolism, which builds a particular mood. But, as the mixing of the album took much time, Solitude had to plan the release of the album in November. The release in December won't be a disaster of course, but the idea itself would be lost.

Four years lie between 'Угрюмые волны студёного моря' and 'Тени октября' - why did it take so long to finish the record?

Well, we are rather strict to our music. That means, that before start recording, we work a lot on each track, paying attention to all details. Moreover, I see no point in releasing albums often. That's not a race and we are not in a hurry. Time is an important thing in music writing, it helps you to grow as a songwriter, and prevent from any repeats of what you have already done. I prefer to take time and think over new tracks thoroughly.

Alexey and Marina Ignatovich.

I read that you consider the sound of your new material as a progressive one: how do you see this element of your music? How would you explain this?

It tends to be progressive, but not progressive in its traditional form. Though the tracks seem to be quite simple, the harmony of melody of each instrument is complicated indeed. The music is full of non-standard complicated elements. We constantly go through experiments with music signature, shifts, harmony. This is how I see progressive elements in our music.

Initially the band's name suggests that there should be female vocals, but their role is episodic in the new material. Why did you decide to increase this part of your music?

There is nothing like breaking stereotypes. Ha-ha. This is a joke of course.

In fact, when the band was founded many years ago, there were no female vocals at all. I just liked H.Heine's poem «Lorelei» so much, that decided to name the band Lorelei too. Female vocals were a kind of experiment and we liked the result. As for the new album, the role of female vocal is episodic indeed because we had no-one to sing female parts as good as they were in our last album. So we decided to shift emphasis from opera vocal - growls to melody of guitars and piano. And the result was pretty good. We are very much satisfied with what we have in the final end.

As Autumn Calls - 'Тени октября/Shadows Of October' (Official):

So, I see Ksenia Mikhaylova couldn't continue with the band for some technical reasons, right? Who performed the female vocal parts on 'Тени октября'?

Unfortunately Ksenia couldn't join us at this recording. But she is still with us at the moment. Female parts in «Teni Oktyabrya» were performed by Maria Kiverina, whose soprano is as good as Ksenia's. She is a professional soprano singer, and now Maria is graduating from Schnittke Moscow State Institute of Music. We are satisfied the result.

Maria Kiverina in the studio, 2017.

I see that there's a new guitarist in Lorelei - Egor Loktev, how did you meet him? And did he take part in composing new material?

Yep, Egor is our new guitarist. Frankly speaking, he joined Lorelei a couple of years ago. He liked our music and he got in touch with me and asked if he could try playing with us. Since that time Egor is with us. Talking about composing music, I must say that, all parts, starting from drums up to vocal parts, excluding some bass parts are made by two people: me and Marina. Alexander made some bass parts.

Was the fact that there's almost no operatic vocals the real reason why Solitude Productions released 'Тени октября' on its major division – not on the sub-label BadMoodMan Music as with 'Угрюмые волны...'? Is it a problem that the band is often described as Gothic Death Doom because of the keyboards and female vocals?

I believe, this is so. This album is more doom-death due to many things, starting from female vocal absence up to music itself. It is just different. As for being described as gothic doom-death, this is a particular stereotype built by most labels and reviewers. This makes a sort of problem, because this tag does not allow our music to be heard by more listeners. Gothic in the mind of many listeners is something not serious and definitely has a negative meaning. I never referred Lorelei to Gothic, though I have nothing against this genre, this isn't my thing and have never been, though there were female vocals. This is more of a classical music influence. And the idea «Ugryumye Volny…» was to introduce operatic vocals into doom. As for keyboards, this instrument is present practically in all sub-genres of doom, starting from funeral up to progressive doom, whatever.

Discography: 'Королевство призрачных теней' (demo, 2007), 'Стон разбитой души' (EP, 2011), 'Угрюмые волны студёного моря' (2013), 'Тени октября' (2017).

What do you think about the phenomenon of Gothic Doom? Which bands are associated with this tag from your point of view?

I think, this is a so-called try to find a balance between beauty and heavy sound. I know only two bands which were good at it: Theatre of Tragedy and Draconian.

'Тени октября' was recorded in Moscow-based Studio Cosmos and mixed and mastered at Navaho Studios, it seems that you were really serious about the new material. Did you work with a producer or local sound engineer? How did you explain what kind of sound you wanted to get?

We were really serious regarding new material. We were looking for the particular sound ourselves. We had demo of our tracks with approximate sound we wanted to get and the balance of instruments. It was not that easy to find the right sound and balance, but in the final end Arkadi Navaho did a great job. We are very much grateful for his efforts.

I guess that the album sounds very tight and intensive; it's almost overloaded with guitars. Was it an initial goal to build this sonic pressure?

This is correct. It was the goal - to make such and intensive and tight sound and reach, as you say, sonic pressure.

With new guitarist Egor Loktev.

I have to admit that, despite that, it's easy to hear nuances of the sound of individual instruments in the compositions: how much time did you spend in the studio to achieve this result?

It was our goal from the very beginning - to reach distinctive sound, because last album was very much overloaded with effects, which hid parts of some instruments. We spent much time, especially at mixing process, to reach this result. It was problematic to find the right balance among instruments.

The band's lyrics are in Russian again, so that means that the texts are important for you. I see it as a part of Lorelei's main idea: for me you have something from classic Death Doom bands, something from classic Russian composers (though it's a minor part), and lyrics influenced by classic Russian poetry. Are these three items necessary components of Lorelei?

You got the idea. You are the first who noticed this. And thank you very much for this. All three components are equally important for Lorelei. These three components build Lorelei the way you hear it. We started to receive reviews on album. In one of the interviews, we mention some of our favorite bands and this made people think that we try to make doom like in 90s, because of the influence of some particular bands. This is an absolutely wrong idea. We listen to absolutely different music, not only doom of the '90s. The playlist is very much diverse.

As Autumn Calls - 'Морская /Marine' (Official):

How would you describe Lorelei's lyrics? Are they reflections on the changing seasons and accompanying switches of mood?

Lorelei lyrics are the reflection of my inner world, so it's fully personal. Frankly speaking, it's hard to answer the question regarding lyrics, because when you write a poem, you never put a particular goal what it should be about in the final end. The text is born under some emotions. So my lyrics are the reflection of my thoughts, feelings at this particular moment.

Why do you think that Death Doom is the best form for transferring this lyrical concept?

This is just a more general term, which does not limit you to do something particular in this or that sub-genre. You have more freedom here and so you can choose how to interpret music.

Bassist Alexander Grischenko.

Lorelei is a part of Moscow Death Doom scene, which was pretty active some time ago… indeed, I lost track of it for almost two years. How would you describe it now? Which of the old bands are still alive and which new bands you would recommend to listen?

Frankly speaking, we are not following other bands that much. We have just no time. I know definitely, that there pretty good bands in the Moscow death doom scene, like Mare Infinitum and some others. Moscow death doom scene is still active, but as we were much busy with the new album for the last year especially, we have no opportunity to follow of what was going on there.

But you do take part in local festivals or at least play individual gigs, don't you? Which bands did you share the stage with in 2017?

We didn't take part in festivals or gigs, because our line-up still lacks drummer. Due to complicated parts, there are no volunteers, unfortunately.

It is hard to say whether we will take part in any festivals or not, but we are definitely open for invitations.

Live in 2016.

Alexey, thanks for your time, That was my last question for today. So how would you like to sum up Lorelei's message?

First of all, I'd like to thank you for this interview. I was really happy to answer such interesting and deep questions.

We all have to admit, that it's a hard time for music everywhere. There is a huge amount of music bands and information, which sometimes lacks quality. And classification of music styles makes the problem even worse. It influences the quality of music, because everyone tries to fit the style, and forget about music. In the final music becomes a sort of a scheme, and for this reason, it loses creative part. That is why there are quite a lot of bands with similar music. As a result the listeners stop being amazed by music.

I wish everyone to listen to good music and stay free from stereotypes.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Lorelei bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-12-25 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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