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Aeternam (Antoine Guertin)

Interview with Antoine Guertin from Aeternam
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 28 April 2010, 4:04 PM

"We're not as brutal as NILE, not as raw as MELECHESH, not as soft as ORPHANED LAND, and not as symphonic as AMASEFFER…" In just one sentence, AETERNAM's drummer Antoine Guertin describes the music his band plays. And fuck yeah, we couldn't miss the chance to interview him!

Hello there! Where does this mail find you? Home or on the road?
Hey! I'm home right now! Home sweet home!

Since you are a pretty new band I would like you to give me a short bio of AETERNAM for those who don't know you.
Well the band came to life in 2007, when Achraf, our singer/guitar player moved to Canada for study purpose. Alex (the other guitar player) and I were already playing music together when we met him, so after we had found a bass player and a keyboard player we were all set. We started jamming some Power Metal songs, and kept writing new music, to build a chemistry you know. That is when Ash came up with the song "Circle In Flames" (that you can hear on the album) and our style started to become more definite. We kept adding more extreme elements while keeping a strong melodic base, and of course incorporating that little Middle Eastern feel.

How did you manage to sign with Metal Blade Records? I mean you had no other release before "Disciples Of The Unseen" and out of the blue you appear with a full-length album!
The idea of recording a full-length album came in way before the deal with Metal Blade actually. The album was already finished when the deal was inked. It came across when they heard the tracks that we had uploaded on our MySpace page. The guys from the label showed interest in AETERNAM. It's awesome to be on a so prestigious record label like Metal Blade. The guys at the office are awesome, and to know that your music is going to be known all around the world gives that little push that you need to continue.

Have you scheduled any live dates to promote your album? Is there any chance you may stop by Greece?
We're currently doing some shows in the Eastern Canada just to start the machine you know, get some experience before any real tour. For now I can't say anything about touring Europe, because there's nothing to be told yet. But if we have the chance to hit Greece some day, be sure we will! I'd personally love to make a show with SEPTICFLESH, I love these guys!

Why did you choose this title for the album? Is there a concept behind the lyrics?
Yes, definitely. The title "Disciples Of The Unseen" refers to the disciples, apostles of those we do not see, the gods or God. There is truly a little message against religion behind our lyrics, but we don't say that directly you know. It's easy and boring because so many bands did that before, and are still doing it. Still, it is important for us, especially for Ash, to speak about this theme because he lived the biggest part of his life in a Muslim country, and I won't teach you anything by telling you that there is not much tolerance for liberty of expression against religion there… So we use metaphoric images and themes from the ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Sumerians, Mayans for example) to deliver our "blasphemy" if you can call it so, and moreover it fits with the music!

Who designed the artwork and how does it connect to the album's title?
Pascal Laquerre did that one. We're very proud of it, and it does really fit with the album in my opinion. It connects with the album title very well actually: the jinn, an Arabic demon invoked by some king of priest, is rejecting his religion by eating the Eye of Horus, an ancient Egyptian symbol. As I said before, we are using a lot of images from ancient civilizations, and that is the best example I guess.

What are your main influences as a band? I guess NILE is one of them, hehehe.
Yes of course, but this is really not our biggest influence. The influences of everyone are different, and it comes from everywhere and every style of music, even through Pop music and movie scores. Middle Eastern music is also a big part of our influences I must admit. But if we stay into Metal, I'd say BEHEMOTH and OPETH are really important for us, as well as classics like METALLICA, JUDAS PRIEST, KREATOR, IRON MAIDEN

Really, what made you choose to play this Middle Eastern influenced Metal? I mean, you are from Canada and you probably didn't have such influences there. This is really Ash who brought that in when he came up with "Circle In Flames". We dug it, and right now it has become natural for us to use these scales and beats when we play music. I must admit that without Ash we wouldn't have so much credibility doing that kind of music while being from Canada… It's part of his blood you know, he grew up with this music, so it's easier for him to "feel" it than it has been for us.

Antoine is also involved in a Power Metal band called SOUTHERN CROSS. Has their schedule ever affected AETERNAM's schedule?
Not yet, but you know, there is a really good communication between the two bands so let's hope it will never happen. Take a look at SOUTHERN CROSS, too! All I can say is that the new songs are awesome and the band has really turned more into Progressive than Power Metal.

What are the band's future plans? Have you started preparing any new material?
Yes, Ash and I are writing new songs right now. So far, so good. We can't wait to start jamming them! I can't say much about the future: touring as much as possible to promote the album, and then keep writing new materiel for the second album. The kind of things a band does you know! Haha!

Really, who is the main songwriting force behind AETERNAM?
That would be Achraf. He's bringing on the table most of the songs. I help writing down some lyrics, riffs and all the arrangements. I also help improving the weaknesses in the structure. I basically act as an objective eye on Achraf's music. When we start practicing the songs, the other guys are bringing their own ideas to put the finishing touch on them, so in the end, the songs are mostly a result of a collaboration between the members of the band.

What do you think makes AETERNAM special? What different do you have to offer to the Metal scene?
There aren't that many Middle Eastern themed bands in the world. I can pretend that AETERNAM is a good compromise between all of them. We're not as brutal as NILE, not as raw as MELECHESH, not as soft as ORPHANED LAND, and not as symphonic as AMASEFFER… Well, we try to incorporate a lot of elements in our music so that there's always something for everyone to like in the band. The hardest part is to try to keep a good balance between all those elements, so that the album keeps a good unity from the beginning till the end.

Thank you and I wish you all the best! Anything last you would like to add?
Thank you for the spot! Horns up!


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Edited 07 June 2023

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