Clash of the Titans
The Dutch extreme metal scene is doing great. Not only has it recently seen the return of the likes of Altar and God Dethroned, but also Ramon Ploeg from the defunct Houwitser has found a new musical outlet in the dark metal band Bleeding Gods. After their debut ‘Shepherd of Souls’ they signed a deal with Nuclear Blast for their soon to be released sophomore album, ‘Dodekathlon’.
Last time you took inspiration from the South American mythology. This time you’ve looked a little bit closer to home with the 12 works of Hercules, a subject that has been tackled often in many guises, so it can’t have been easy to find an original approach.
O, ‘Shepherd of Souls, we also used the Scandinavian and Egyptian mythologies, not just the South American one. Both that record and ‘Blood Symphony’ in fact told about a variety of subjects and continents. For the new album we wanted to concentrate on just one topic and the choice fell on the 12 works of Hercules from ancient Greece. So the challenge really was to stick to just that one concept and have everything fit seamlessly to one another, both from a musical as a lyrical perspective. As you said, not an easy task, we like to raise the bar for ourselves.
What do you find so fascinating about mythology?
History and Mythology have always fascinated me. That’s an interest I share with Mark, our vocalist. The stories and visions of a culture are really interesting and match well with our style and lyrics. There are scores of examples you can take from books or the internet. It’s very inspiring.
It would make an ideal soundtrack for a new installment of ‘God of War’.
Can’t say I’m familiar God of War, but I’ll take it as a huge compliment to hear that our new record has that quality. You’re not the first one to say something like that, actually. You never know we might one day get the chance to write a real soundtrack or so, it would be awesome!
Next to the references to the old Dutch metal bands from the nineties I’m also hearing some more modern influences like Behemoth?
I think it is primarily influences from Septic Flesh, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse mixed in with the vintage Dutch death metal style, I’ve adopted from the very start. We’ve rather diverse tastes, I think that’s why it’s not so easy to pigeonhole us. What has had a profound impact on our sound are the keyboards and orchestral arrangements. They have been handled by none other than Martin Powel (My Dying Bride, Anathema, Cradle of Filth) He had helped us out earlier on our promo in 2016 and adds a whole new epic range to Bleeding Gods.
The old scene looks like it has made a comeback as well with for instance altar and God Dethroned dusting off their instruments?
Yeah, it’s really great to see how the Dutch scene has picked up again. It hasn’t always been like that.
How come you stopped playing music and what brought you back?
After I left Howitser, I did not feel like doing anything at all for a while. However, music’s in my blood, so that just lasted for about 2 months or so, after which I took up my guitars again. I’m actually a guitar player even though I always played bass in Houwitser. The ideas started flowing and soon I had 4 tracks and the beginning of bleeding Gods. I never intended it to be more than just a nice demo, but luckily it turned out quite different.
The album has been recorded with a revamped lineup.do you feel you’ve brought the ideal band together now?
Mark, Gea and I have stayed. Ruther joined us in 2016 and Daan just before we started the tour in Russia. For sure we have the best, most musical and pleasant linup currently! All our heads are turned in the same direction, both from a musical and personal perspective. We’re all very motivated and I’m sure we’re heading towards a great future.
What are your plans for next year?
Mostly touring and promoting the new record ‘Dodekathlon’. The release is set for January 12, so that will make for a nice start of the new year. The reviews so far have been quite positive and we’re still only halfway through our promotion campaign.
Any last words?
Thn aks to everyone for believing in us and supporting the band. It has brought us to where we are today. We’ll be having our release show on February 2 in the Fluor in Amersfoort together with Apophys, Deathmarch and Weltschmerz.