WHITEMOUR – THE DEVIL INHERITS THE WORLD – ART GATES
As everyone knows Finland is a backwater as far as heavy metal goes. Instead this backwoods of good music and heavy sounds is punctuated with K&F (keyboards & female vocals) acts that are hoping to break into the pop charts so they can take their girlfriend on tour and hence have the benefit of warm food and home cooking while dancing in front of audiences. Well, Metallian is the setting for power and talent and would never resort to such lows. As such, do not fret. While Whitemour is based in Finland the band is everything a metal fan would want. No wonder the band’s new-ish album, The Devil Inherits The World, was Metallian’s Album Of The Month for September 2019. Ali “The Metallian” takes a call from the band’s guitarist Jani in order to bring you more information. – 22.09.2019.
METALLIAN: Thanks for the interview. Let’s start here: Is it ‘Whitemour’ or ‘White Mour’? This simple question is unclear. At the same time, can you tell our readers what the monicker means to you?
JANI: ‘Whitemour’ is the correct spelling. Founding member Jani came up with the name and the story goes that it is a reference to a maximum security prison somewhere out there in the world. The name has a quite dark meaning which of course suits our music perfectly.
METALLIAN: Does it bother you, or is it a matter of contentment, that the band has been around for more than ten years yet has such a low profile. Is this something the band wishes to change or is it irrelevant?
JANI: Ten years is a relatively short time and from our point-of-view that time has been quite eventful and gone past quickly. Those ten years saw the release of two demos, two EPs, numerous line-up changes, the band splitting up for two years, one digital single with a new line-up and our debut full-length released in 2018. This all happened while the members had full-time jobs, pursuing a career or were studying so we have always been quite busy in our band - and private lives.
From 2015 onwards when Whitemour was re-established with a new line-up our activities have been more serious and determined compared to the earlier years. Whitemour has always had an important principle of doing things on our own terms, which manifests not only in our music, but also in our timetables. This principle is something we will not abandon, but with that being said, we would like to put out new music more often and we have been making plans to make that happen.
METALLIAN: That is welcome news. The World needs more such music. Let me pick up on the split. Could you recount the circumstances behind the split and the reason for the band’s re-emergence?
JANI: The band’s activity plummeted after the release of our second EP Astarte. We had no permanent vocalist, inspiration to make new material was gone and one member was soon to become a father. Overall, everyone's interests and priorities were moving away from the band. So, the conclusion was that we decided to call it quits and move on with our lives. Two years later Jani and Juha discussed putting the band back together with a new line-up. Reason for that was that they thought the story of Whitemour was far from over and not everything had been said and done. They still had the burning desire to live up to the band’s full potential with renewed vigour together with new band members. New drummer Juho joined soon after and couple of months later Kristian joined to play the bass. Later he also took up the main vocal duties.
METALLIAN: How did the deal with Art Gates come about? Is it a one-off deal or can the fans expect more?
JANI: We recorded a three-song demo in 2017 and sent it to various record labels. Art Gates Records was interested in our material and offered us a deal which we decided to take. At this moment we are working on new material for a future release so you will definitely hear from us again. When, with whom and in what format, we cannot yet say as even we do not know that yet.
METALLIAN: The Devil Inherits The World is a serious yet obvious title. It the title your literal view? If yes, what is “the Devil” from your perspective?
JANI: That’s right, the album title is quite obvious but it is supposed to be interpreted by the listener whether it is literal or not, because in actuality it can be both. To us ‘the Devil’ in this context represents wisdom, science, enlightenment and understanding. It would be nice to shed more light on the lyrical meanings on the album, but Whitemour is not a band that preaches to the listener nor tries to dictate any truths and wisdom. Rather, our lyrics let us deal with world events and phenomena, as well as dark sides of the human mind, as a bystander. We strive to bring out to the open the dark thoughts which many would rather leave unsaid.
METALLIAN: Is embedded in your answer a Luciferian thought process? That is, the Devil is an angel of light who represents wisdom.
JANI: Not directly, but the lyrics also touch on that subject and point-of-view as well as other matters. We tend to use many metaphors and references to different subjects, phenomena and events throughout history and the present time. This way, we leave it to the listener to interpret the lyrics if they wish so. The main focus of Whitemour is in the music, atmosphere and feelings those create and the lyrics come second. That doesn’t mean we don’t place emphasis on the lyrical matters, but that has been our way of doing things from the very beginning. We don’t see any reason to change that.
METALLIAN: Musically, the band’s latest album wins Metallian’s Album Of The Month designation. Here we noted obvious comparisons to Necrophobic, Napalm Death and Amon Amarth. Can you take a moment to comment on this comment! That is, did the review get it right?
JANI: Thank you, we are glad that you liked the album, you have made a fine choice! We worked hard on this album and shed a great deal of blood, sweat and tears on recording it so it’s always good to hear some positive reactions from the listeners.
This has become somewhat of a joke within the band throughout our career as we have been compared to a very diverse flock of bands. Worth a mention are the Finnish bands Amorphis and Abhorrence, and other bands we have been compared to include Benediction, My Dying Bride and Entombed. We are, of course, flattered by these comparisons because these bands are all significant influencers in their own sub-genres but about 99% of these miss the target - at least when it comes to our own influences. Several names to mention as our largest influences are Morbid Angel, Dissection, Bloodbath and old school black and death metal in general.
However, the impact of these bands is more or less subtle and it can be almost impossible to hear it directly from our music as they influence us on so many levels of inspiration, whether it be melodies, rhythms, lyrical content et cetra et cetra…
METALLIAN: Blackheart Deathride is the one track that sounds different. Is there a reason this track stands apart from the rest of the disc?
JANI: Blackheart Deathride was born the same way as all our songs, which is through free creativity and following whatever feels good and right. From that point of view we don’t consider it to be that different from the other material, but of course we can’t deny that its rabid and misanthropic black ‘n roll drive isn't especially catchy among death metal songs, right?
Our music has always been quite diverse as we try not to limit our musical expression to any narrow style on genre. That is the reason why you can hear a mixture of different influences of death, black and even thrash metal on our records.
METALLIAN: The album’s intro is entitled Deathlike Silence. Is this title meant to be a tribute to Mayhem?
JANI: Not really. The name was chosen because it describes the feeling of the intro song. It rather is a reference to the lyrics of the album’s title track. The fact that it happens to bear the same name as a quite famous record label from times past is both inconsequential and a pure coincidence.
METALLIAN: It is difficult to believe that it is purely coincidental, but I will take your word for it. Earlier you referred to new music and your plans. Can you tell the readers more about what is next and hint at the new music’s direction?
JANI: At this point it is too early to say anything specific as we are still amidst the writing process. The new material is slowly but surely taking shape with time.
The Devil Inherits... album represented all the musical aspects we have done in our earlier days from the time the band was reformed right up to the end of the album's writing process shortly before the recording started. The new material continues that evolution and we started writing new material immediately after the recording sessions so we have kept ourselves pretty busy during the last winter and summer. Like described earlier we take most of our inspiration from old school black and death metal and in the new material those two genres are intermingling more closely together, so no light on the horizon and we are heading into the darker waters.
METALLIAN: Finally, as you know, Metallian is the galaxy’s best and most elite website. Everyone has their own reasons why Metallian is a dream-come-true. Why do you find Metallian to be so superior?
JANI: It’s great to have media dedicated to the underground with no ties to any major music businesses. This allows the reviews and opinions to be honest in every situation. It is also good to give a platform for the ‘little guy’, the underground bands which never get too much attention or visibility.
We really enjoyed Metallian's review of our debut album as it was by far the most deep-cutting and analytical review it has received so far. Sometimes it feels like the reviews have been really half-assed, but this one was clearly genuine and showed interest towards our music and real thought had gone into writing it.
We thank you for the interview and interest to our music and we wish all the best to Metallian, fans and readers alike. Stay true, stay metal and support the bands!
Thanks go to the band for the music and the time spent with us. The group is Kristian Nyman on bass and vocals, Jani Mäkinen on guitar and synthesizers, Juha Kormano on lead guitar and drummer Juho Lepistö. The band’s web page on the Art Gates’ website is here http://artgatesrecords.com/home/artists/whitemour/.
If you enjoyed this, read Sudden Death