The Devils of Loudun's Scott Enters the Oblivion to Never Be Seen Again?

From Seattle, located in the heart of the rain drenched, frozen wastes of the Pacific Northwest, comes The Devils of Loudun. A six-man melodic death metal outfit named from a tale of religious fanaticism and demonic possession in 17th century France. Formed in the Summer of 2009, the band slowly but steadily gained ground in the Washington underground metal scene by destroying every possible show that has been thrown at them. Drawing from influences spread across a wide musical spectrum The Devils of Loudun's ever-evolving sound could be considered a combination of Scandinavian melodic death metal, symphonic power metal and American death metal topped with hearty serving of classical and video game influenced melodies. In late 2014 the band entered the studio and recorded their first official EP titled “Entering Oblivion,” which was released by the following year in 2015. Be sure to keep a look out for The Devils of Loudun because they shall not want to be missed! Guitarist Scott Hermanns discusses the EP, band insight and the future.

1. What type of band are you?

Scott: I guess the short answer is we are a Death Metal band. The long answer is we are a Symphonic Technical/Melodic Death Metal band.

2. Tell us the brief history of your band.

Scott: The band was formed in 2009 by myself, Drew Tuel, Jose Gutierrez and our first vocalist Grant Hogan. We started playing shows that same year and eventually would complete the bands lineup (for a while) with the addition of our keyboardist Ben Velozo and first bass player Jamey Pierson. For the next 4 years we wrote songs, played shows, drank, toked, smoked, joked and went through a few different vocalists and bass players until about 2014 when we started to get more serious. We found a solid vocalist, Vance Bratcher, and a solid bass player, Billy Keller, which brings us to where we are today. At the beginning of this year we released our first “real” EP titled Entering Oblivion.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Scott: When we started the band we were based out of Tacoma, WA – since that was where our jam space was. And back in the day there were plenty of good bands in Tacoma though over the years most of them have broken up. Right now, The Devils of Loudun is based out of Seattle, WA – where we currently meet up to practice. The scene in Washington is a little different. There are definitely some metal heads who like to come out and rage, but it’s not this huge expansive scene you might think it would be seeing as Seattle is a fairly big city. I think a lot of the shrinking scene has to do with a ton of awesome smaller venues getting shut down over the years. (RIP Hell’s Kitchen, Tacoma WA). As for bands? There are plenty of good bands raging around here still: Blood & Thunder, Xoth, lb.!, Perception, Rhine, Ghostblood, Deathbed Confessions, Czar – to name a few.

4. What is the story behind the name, The Devils of Loudun, if there is one to tell?

Scott: The name “The Devils of Loudun” is the title of a book by Aldous Huxley, who most famously wrote Brave New World. The novel is an account of an actual event that happened in 17th century France known as the Loudun Possessions. Long story short a priest in the village of Loudun was accused of making a pact with Satan and the events lead to a bunch of public burnings, executions and exorcisms. Needless to say the tale is pretty grim and appropriately “metal.”

5. Who are your musical influences?

Scott: Scott: Boy, this could be long. We draw from bands all over the metal spectrum really. But if I had to narrow it down I’d say our sound mostly is a combination of 3 genres – melodic death metal, technical death and symphonic/power metal. Some of the biggest influences from those categories –Arsis, The Black Dahlia Murder, Blind Guardian, Children of Bodom, Darkest Hour, In Flames, Obscura, Wintersun and Versailles. Throw in some video game music, film scores and classical music.  I probably shouldn't forget to include the metal inheritance bands: Iron Maiden, Metallica, King Diamond, etc.

6. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Scott: You would have to talk to our singer, Vance, who writes all the lyrics but off the top of my head.. I know some of the songs topics include video games, serial killers, horror and sci-fi related themes, Dracula.. stuff like that.

7. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Scott: We do write our own songs and I suppose I would be considered the primary song writer of the band. There isn't too much detail to discuss but usually the process includes me being locked upstairs at my desk with a guitar, a cup of coffee, and the absence of other people and distractions. Once I have a draft of a song I bring it into the practice space or record a demo of it and show it to the rest of the guys. If they dig it, we start playing it. And then it’s not uncommon for a song to change quite a bit as certain things sound good and certain parts may sound bad in a live setting.

8. You have your new release "Entering Oblivion", what can people expect from it?

Scott: Listening to “Entering Oblivion” people can expect all the trademark Devils of Loudun sounds! Epic symphonic parts, blast beats, a lot of riffage, some brutal vocals, some shredding guitar and keyboard solos and some calming piano parts. The EP has 5 tracks, the first track being an intro, but I would say this EP leans more towards our power metal / symphonic influences. You can expect our next EP to be a little “darker” sounding and lean more towards our death metal side.

9. If you had to pick one song off "Entering Oblivion", to show someone to introduce them to your music, which would you pick?

Scott: I’d pick our song “Dominion” which is the second track on the EP. I feel that song has just about all the elements that make up our sound.

10. Why did you see "Guise of the Deceiver" and "Born From Science" to be good song choices for everyone to hear?

Scott: “Guise of the Deceiver” is heavy, short and catchy. We figured it was the most obvious choice for a “single” and so we had a lyric video made for it by James Furrow. As for “Born From Science”, that is one of the more technical songs with a lot of good riffs so we figured it would make for a pretty sweet guitar play through video.

11. Are you guys currently signed or unsigned? What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Scott: We are currently unsigned, but since releasing the EP we have had two offers from smaller labels. One label based in Asia has our interest peaked but as of right now nothing has been decided.
People should take interest in the band if they dig the music! We have been jamming now for 5 years and have progressed as a band getting better at song writing, musical ability, and stage presence. Hopefully people see that we trying to do something a little different from what’s trending in the metal scene right now. And I think most people can appreciate that whether or not they enjoy our music.

12. Did you guys have any leftovers from this release that will be used for future releases or have you gone forth and already written material for future purposes?

Scott: We did record the drum parts for three more songs which will most likely end up on the next EP. We have about 14 songs in our practice rotation and a ton more songs being written currently – so it’s safe to say you can expect to hear some new songs from us fairly soon.

13. How about shows and touring, what do you have in-store?

Scott: We have some good local shows coming up – we will be opening for Septic Flesh and Moonspell at Studio Seven on May 4th, which should be awesome. We are also going to be doing a West Coast tour in the summer of 2015 and we will be hitting quite a few cities in California and Oregon – so be on the lookout!

14. What do you guys have planned for the unforeseen future?

Scott: Touring, writing, playing shows and releasing more music. You can definitely expect another EP by the end of this year.

15. Anything else you'd like to add or would want to say?

Scott: Thanks for the interview opportunities and thanks for supporting independent metal! \m/

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