By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Compared to acts like Crematory and Trail Of Tears, international melodic death/doom/dark metal group Monumentum Damnati released their nine-track debut album ‘In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King’ on March 30, 2020 via GrimmDistribution, The End Of Time Records and More Hate Productions.
Monumentum Damnati are based in Eastern Europe and celebrate their album as a culmination of their hard work since their 2018 formation. Their participants are attached to well-known projects, which prompted them to cover their faces with grotesque masks and seal their identities with pseudonyms – Abhoth (music, lyrics, bass), Thanatos (vocals), Shoggoth (guitars), Rapsidis (guitars), Athame (keyboards) and Nyarlathotep (drums).
“In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King’ was produced by Greek musician/sound director Filippos Koliopanos (Ocean Of Grief), while Olga Kann manned the designs and Mikhail Stefanovich served guest vocals.
The Music Bugle recently had the chance to talk with Abhoth and Thanatos from the mysterious group about their latest release and more.
Music Bugle – What spawned the name of your new album ‘In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King’? What was it like putting together?
Abhoth – In the beginning, we had a lot of ideas for the foundation of the main concept of the album. Some songs were added and some removed. In the end, we came up with the solution of naming it as our fifth song. It was written in a dream, in a nightmare actually, but a beautiful one. This song is some kind of invitation to slightly open a curtain of mysterious underworld, where the things once forgotten become alive once more and where is eternal is lost in oblivion. This is circulation of the fantasies which has no place in a living world and which could be wild even in a dreams.
Music Bugle – How would you describe the “scene” in Eastern Europe for your genre of music?
Thanatos – We consider ourselves as cosmopolitans and wander around the world in order to discover our inner selves. Speaking of a place where we live right now, there is a quite strange situation with metal scene, nevertheless, better not to discuss this. It’s just a subjective opinion, after all. Music is beyond time, borders, gender or any other differences. It is important to support a scene in general, not a specific region or a particular case.
Music Bugle – Who designed your masks and how do you feel it personifies the group?
Thanatos – Abhoth did all of this, came up with the idea to wear masks, to create most of the design and made them. Behind these masks is a deep concept. Masks not only cover our faces, but also unveil our inner demons and help us to be ourselves. It is important to separate personal life and art, so pseudonyms and masks really help. This idea is similar with black metal corpse-paint you know, but the problem is that corpse-paint is too much for us, too cliche.
Music Bugle – How would you describe the emotion of the music on ‘In The Tomb of A Forgotten King’?
Abhoth – In the debut album, we tried to pick up songs from a huge amount of material, songs that were not so heavy and not too dark. In a manner of speaking, we wanted to introduce this project with a little pomposity. We really wanted to gave a birth for those songs, which was too personal to appear in our other projects. For us, this album is a closure in some way – a gestalt. We opened a very old tomb, where the entrance was closed for far too long. On one hand, this is an abandoned badlands burnt to the ground, but at the same time, it is a lunatic vision, phantasmagoria of a morbid mind and an adventure across the infinite fields of illusions. We invite everyone to meet a strange world full of the broken hopes, madman killers, The Great Old Ones. Every listener will be able to find something familiar in these nine compositions.
Music Bugle – Has the COVID-19 outbreak affected the band in any way?
Thanatos – Unfortunately, yes. It totally ruined our plans for a live presentation and other concerts. This is a terrible headache to everyone, but we never seek for the easy way anyway and not going to complain how bad everything is.
Music Bugle – What are your future plans?
Abhoth – Currently, we are working on a new material for a next album, the first single will be released probably this autumn. We are going to invite the new guests for a record and use new unusual instruments. Actually, the new material will be really dark and authentic, can’t wait to share it. There will be some other video clips as well. Meanwhile, main musicians are working on the studios with their projects. We continue experiments with masks and costumes and now we are looking forward to the end of a pandemic madness so we can start touring.
Music Bugle – Did you have any material that didn’t make the cut on the album?
Abhoth – Well, you know, it was not so easy to gather the songs together due to the stylistic and idea differences. We have a lot of unreleased material in the different genres and heaviness. It will appear gradually during the next couple of albums in parallel with the new written songs.
Music Bugle – Did you listen to any particular artists while putting together the album?
Abhoth – We listen to something all the time, always looking for new, awesome artists and seek an inspiration from the old classic ones, but it’s hard to say that we listened to something particular. The band participants have the really different preferences in music.
Music Bugle – What’s something people should know about the group?
Thanatos – We believe that the less people know about us, the better. Don’t get us the wrong way. We don’t mean that we play only for a small group of elitists. It’s just the way we think about the music. Music is everything. It is supposed to be the very first and last thing that fans should be interested in when they speak about the band. It is music, not the people who stand behind it. When the fans and social media know too much about the artists, sooner or later, it will become a fucking series drama. People will begin to searching for the dirt and all the stupid things you’ve ever said in order to create a media boom and hype instead of listening the music. We realize it is pretty much impossible to avoid such things, but we will try to remain as secret as possible for as long as possible.
Music Bugle – What inspired the name ‘Monumentum Damnati”?
Thanatos – It was quite easy to choose the language. Abhoth and Nyarlathotep were always attracted to dead languages, so they both came up with this name. It has some personal meaning behind it. Lots of failures, bad luck, accidents and mind suffering in our lives might make us think that we are damned, so we are kinda digging our own grave for ourselves and build a monument as a reminder of certain death. “Memento mori,” you know.