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The Eternal interview (10/2005)

With: Mark Kelson [Guitars, vocals]
Conducted by: KwonVerge
Published: 15.10.2005

Band profile:

The Eternal

1. First of all I'd like to thank you for this interview and congratulate you for your new album, "Sleep of Reason".

Thank you, its great to finally have it out.

2. Would you mind telling us a few words concerning the history of the band; how it all started under the name Cryptal Darkness, why did you change your name and how does it feel since you keep on going on?

Well I used to be in Cryptal Darkness, but I would say that with me now being the only remaining member that was in the band The Eternal is very much its own band. Cryptal Darkness had run its course musically, the label was screwed, the line up was no longer getting on so I decided to start fresh and I am glad we have, because to me 'The Eternal' is a much stronger band.

3. The Eternal; how did this name come to life? Does it have to do with the renowned composition of early Paradise Lost, "Eternal", or it has a connection with something else, something personal?

We just wanted a grand name, something strong, it was going to be 'The Fallen' or 'The Eternal' but after some discussion we felt that 'The Eternal' suited us better.

4. "Sleep of Reason" is the title of your second release under the name The Eternal and it is an inspired album, with beautiful melodies and intense atmosphere. How much time did you spend in the studio and how was it co-operating with Mika Jussila, known for having co-operated with renowned bands like Therion, Amorphis etc?

Mika mastered the album in Finland. The album was mixed and produced by Estonian Guitarist Endel Rivers. He now lives in Australia and has a studio here. So we did not actually spend any time with Mika, we just trusted what we had heard him do. Endel is very much responsible for the sound of the album, Mika just gave it his touch in the final stages, it was great to have these guys working on the album.

5. "El sueño de la razón produce monstruos" is the title of the etching by Goya that inspired the cover art of Sleep of Reason, and also inspired the name (for our readers Sueño de la razón translates to Sleep Of Reason), the cover harmonizes beautifully with your music, gray adorned with black colors making its overall aesthetic more bleak and oblivious.Why did you choose that particular etching? Could you explain more about the creative process of the cover art?

Well James Hunt our bass player came in with the etching one day, and we talked about the concept and how it would look great if done in a modern context by Travis Smith as his art is also very dark. So Travis took it on and did a very good job, in the end it just seemed to go with the music very well, so we are pleased with the result. If any thing it just puts you in the right mood before you put the CD in the player.

6. Comparing it to your debut album, "The Sombre Light of Isolation", your sound on "Sleep of Reason" has become more mature and your compositions sound stronger since the ideas harmonize together in a better way and the production is very good. Where do you think the two albums differ?

Well experience, since doing the first album we toured around the world and generally lived the band, so coming back from tour and then recording could have something to do with it. Production is a big difference with Endel taking over as well as Marty now on drums & Lincoln on Guitar. It's a stronger album with more experienced players I guess. But I think with any band each time you make an album your bound to get better, well you would home so!

7. Concerning the sound of "Sleep Of Reason", it has an intense Paradise Lost approach in it, and to be more specific, a more "Icon"-"Draconian Times" approach, but also adding a more modern sound at times like the self-titled latest release of Paradise Lost. But, despite the fact that these references are very vivid, there's a will to unfold some personal ideas here and there and the compositions are really good and inspired, with a more doomy/bombastic approach at times or a softer one. What's your point of view?

I see no reference to Paradise Lost in 'Sleep of Reason'. Songs like 'To Drown', 'Beneath the Soil' & 'Weight of empathy' in my opinion show no reference to the Paradise Lost sound. Yes we both have clean vocals, and some mid tempo songs but I feel we are coming from a different place with very different influences. Some members of our band have never even heard Paradise Lost for more than 2 minutes.

8. Also, in your guitar work, some The Sisters Of Mercy and, generally, gothic rock, references are obvious adding a more fragile approach to your sound at times. Does it have to do with your Paradise Lost, a band influenced by The Sisters Of Mercy in the way they use their chords, influences or these references come straight from The Sisters Of Mercy?

I have never listened to Sisters of Mercy or Gothic bands, I am more into Hard Rock & Heavy Metal and Ambient stuff: Whitesnake to Dead can Dance. So what ever is there is not intentionally taken from some one's sound.

9. Let's move to the piano/keyboards part of the album. The piano passages resemble a lot to the feeling of "Draconian Times" with their melancholic/romantic approach and they pace wonderfully with your sound, whereas the slight, but obvious, atmosphere-evoking keyboard ideas that float in the air at times have a sense of "Gothic". Did these references just came out this way or you knew that they would refer to Paradise Lost?

The keyboards came from Chris & Myself and the need to build ambience and colour in our music. When we write, we are focused on our own sound and songs, not other peoples.

10. Your vocals are very good and very expressive, giving life to the beautiful and poetic lyrics. They have a personal approach as well but many times they resemble to Nick Holmes' way of singing when they sound more intense, on songs like "Everlasting" and "To Drown", whereas in some others, when the vocals are more melodic and more fragile, like on "In My Skin", they resemble a lot to The Mission's singer and very soul, Wayne Hussey. What's your opinion?

I sing like me, I've never heard The Mission! Vocally I love Porcupine Tree, Amorphis, Anathema, David Coverdale & Dio! But I just try and sing with my natural voice, and what comes out comes out.

11. The use of female vocals is something that paces with your music beautifully when they enter and they harmonize wonderfully with your vocals. Do you intend to use them more in the forthcoming future?

Ainslie has performed with us since our first album & I would always love to have her involved so the intention is to keep that element in the music as she has such an amazing and beautiful voice!

12. The lyrics have an esoteric approach, a melancholic and desperate one, they pace with the music and the vocals beautifully and they add a more intense sense to your music. Would you mind telling us a few words about them? When is the right moment for you to unfold your thoughts and turn them to words on a paper?

Its really hard to place where the words come from, it's just from life, if you loose a friend, get your heart broken or even just have a bad day, lyrical creativity can come from these things. Usually in most cases music is done first and one day I'll be listening to the demo and the feeling just comes, it's a very natural process, so I'lI try not to force lyrics and just let them come when they are ready.

13. The songs that touched me the most, and they touched me deeply, from the album where "Hollow Inside" and "The Dying Light", especially the first one. Would you like to unfold your thoughts on them?

'Hollow Inside' lyrically came from our return from or European tour, we got back tired, wiser and two members short. It was a great time and a trying time for the band, and I remember listing to the demo of the music in the van on rainly European days and when I got home it just came out, it was ready.

'The Dying Light' is more personal, more just about being me, finding my way and just trying to understand myself, getting to know one's self is no easy task as I'm sure we are all aware.

14. Which are the bands that have stigmatized you as a person and what's your view in nowadays' doom metal scene?

Doom Metal scene is confusing for me, I don't know exactly where we fit in! We seem to making a broader audience but at the same time not really being excepted by the hardcore doom heads, which is fine, because everyone likes what they like. But in the early days, like early Nineties, My Dying Bride, Candlemass & Anathema all played there roll in me getting into darker music, the more emotive stuff. But as far as what I like there is so much, because every music has there own approach their own emotion, their own point of view, so many different bands touch me and effect me in different ways.

15. What's your opinion on some doom metal acts of your country, bands like the atmospheric Avrigus, the utterly influential and great Disembowelment, Elegeion etc? Which bands, moving in doom metal soundscapes, would you like to mention from Australia that you think are worth checking?

The only doomy band in Australia I have paid much attention to is Virgin Black because they are brilliant, nothing else to say except they amaze me with their creativity. I plan to check out the new Elegion at some stage as I've heard good things.

16. What should someone expect from you on stage? I guess intense emotions are about to fill the listener while seeing you live!

Well when we can we like to use dynamic and ambient lighting but this is hard to achieve everywhere. But you will 5 men playing their hearts out and trying to connect with our audience on some level. On a few occasions I have seen emotional and teary faces and it's a beautiful thing.

17. And a question concerning Cryptal Darkness before ending the interview. Back then you had co-operated with Martin Powell, renowned for his work with My Dying Bride and, now, with Cradle Of Filth, how did it feel working with such a big musical personality of the 90s metal scene and, also, nowadays?

Martin was great, we were kids making doom metal and having him play with us was a blast and something that will always be special to me, he was my first up close dose of European metal and I loved it. I still send him an email every now and then and hope he makes he's own music sometime because he is such a great muso and wrote some of the most emotional music that still effects me when I hear it to this day.

18. I'd like to thank you for this interview and thank you for having composed a song like "Hollow Inside", it means a lot to me. End the interview in any way you like?

I'm glad you enjoy the tunes, thank you very much for your time and to your readers I hope you take some time to check out 'Sleep of Reason' and we see you on tour sometimes soon!



Posted on 15.10.2005 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."

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