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Skelethal's Gui Haunting: "I personally have always been fan of guitar solos and I think it really improves a song. It also can bring more personality to a band"

Interview with Gui Haunting from Skelethal
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 December 2020, 11:47 PM

Opening another dimension, retaining another possibility, a version of a life that could have been different, for better or for worse. These kinds of wonderings through what could have been, the possibilities, decisions, the works, could be endless, another chip that could make one insane like most of these thoughts. However, from time to time, it kills time, so why not? Maintaining the old flame, but also thinking loudly, the Death Metal mongers of Skelethal deliver their new album, "Unveiling the Threshold", a strong old school vibe, as putrid as it can be. Steinmetal had a chat with Gui Haunting of the band about the new release, the band going forward, the artwork, sound and more…  

Hi there Gui, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, with all of what is happening in France in regards to the pandemic, how have you been handling yourself?

Fortunately, I’m busy with the album release, but to be honest it’s really hard to handle the situation as a musician, we can’t rehearse and play live, and that’s what we live for.

Other than the normality of people’s lives that went down the drain with the increase of the infected, in particular with this second wave hitting Europe pretty strong, and also other places in the world, the culture life, similar to many businesses, is shut down. Do you see any way back for establishments to open once this thing goes away?

Everything is uncertain. Most of the people seem eager to buy clothes or consume blindly for Christmas than trying to save culture life.

How have you been keeping yourself in check when it comes to your possible burning desire to head out there and perform gigs on stages? What have you been doing to maintain your sanity?

Reading, listening to music, playing guitar.

One of the connections that led me to your band, Skelethal, other than your sweet promo lady, Mona Miluski, is actually your drummer’s band, Schizophrenia. I noticed that he has another band, a Death Metal band, since 2019, and there you have it, I found myself an old school treatment with Skelethal. Moreover, now you guys present "Unveiling the Threshold". How would you summarize the reactions to the sophomore? Any comparisons with the debut already made?

Yeah feedbacks are really good for now, with great reviews from magazine/webzines specialized in the style we play. People continue to support us with this second album and the largest part prefer this second album.

Diving into the conceptual meaning of "Unveiling the Threshold", what is there behind this threshold that you found to be of importance, what are you shading behind the veil? What is this mystery all about?

This ‘threshold’ can be seen on the fantastic cover art Eliran Kantor painted for us. It refers to a portal opening to another dimension. Only you have the choice to cross it or to wait and see what comes from it. Skelethal lyrics are strongly tainted with Lovecraft universe and also many other sci-fi / horror writers.

Eliran Kantor made you quite an artwork, a kind of pictorial that also raises wonders and questions about the intent and the vision that engulf the creation. What do you make of it? Is this a sort of a danger zone that only a few can go through?

For this album artwork we asked Eliran to paint a tormented landscape representing monolithic monuments emerging from the boiling sea and a portal opening in the sky.

With the chaos going through the tracklist of the album, with what were you dealing with while writing the lyrics for the album? Which kind of ideas and themes led you to the main narrative of the album?

Skelethal lyrics are not only about death or gory things, we like to speak about unknown forces, foreign dimensions, cosmic voyages. The most interesting thing in death is what comes after

The old school Death Metal passion is felt within the halls of "Unveiling the Threshold" right from the atmosphere created on the opening track and right until the last very moments of the swansong of the closer. With this form of Death Metal being the band’s mainstage, what would you say marked a development within the Skelethal ranks on this album?

A lot of things changed for this album. Being a quartet helped a lot because all the members brought ideas to improve the result. I personally adapted my way of writing the songs order to fit with Lorenzo’s drumming style and skills which are awesome. Lucas also wrote the guitar riffs for one song in its entirety (Adorned with the Black Vertebra) and we collaborate for another (Repulsive Recollections).

I gave their instruments parts to Julien and Lorenzo but they were free to change it to make it fit with their playing. We jammed the songs so every member's ideas were taken into account to improve the songs. I really think that the new songs are stronger than on the previous album, much more in-your-face and aggressive, also better written and played. I think that this new album is more personal than our previous records.

With pure evidence of both US and European Death Metal of the early 90s as the prime evil of the album’s musical prospect, what other influences gripped you while the songwriting process was in place?

80’s thrash metal, punk/hardcore, grind, crust…

Were there any dilemmas or deliberations on perhaps experimenting a bit on "Unveiling the Threshold" as a sort of a refresher or mainly maintaining the band’s direction as is?

Not at all, everything felt natural for us.

A songwriting process is never an easy venture to go through, unless everything came out so fast that all was ready for production, which is a rare occasion. What kind of hardships did you overcome while writing the songs or even going forward into the studio?

Sometimes I had struggle to find the best structure or searching how to finish the song. In my case a lot of the work is inside my head. I find riffs with my guitar, then write the drums and after that I play it in my mind a lot of times before going further. We recorded the tracks for all the instruments by ourselves in our rehearsal room, the good point was that we weren’t short in time but the room is not a studio so you have to record all day long in a very noisy room (every instrument was recorded at a very high volume).

"Unveiling the Threshold" sustains the same grandeur that swept away both the Scandinavian and American Death Metal scenes, while the rawness suggests more of the Scandi approach, back in the heydays of Death Metal, now that is a commodity to stick with. Who took charge of this endeavour and what is your appreciation of the work done?

Greg Wilkinson from Earhammer Studios did the mix and master, we are really glad with that, we think it is our best sound yet.

Virtually a lot of Death Metal releases nowadays, and not only today but also from the mid-90s and onwards, abandoned the need for lead guitar solos. You guys preserved that richness that once was an integral element with the old extremity. Why do you think it is so important to maintain those peak moments of melody as part of your music?

Lucas and me are both soloists and it’s natural for us to put solos in our songs. I personally have always been fan of guitar solos and I think it really improves a song. It also can bring more personality to a band. Lucas playing is really different than mine so it’s a good point to have two kind of solos.

One of the tracks that I found to be quite articulate, and also memorable in their own special way, is “On Somber Soil”. The song structure is surprising in a way, its soloing efforts top class and riffs are pretty assorted. What do you make of this tune? What can you tell about its creation?

It’s a song I had in my pocket for a long time, and until the recording of the album I wasn’t sure to really like it. In my mind there was a duality like: "On Somber Soil" will my favourite or my least favourite song of the album? I can say now that’s my favorite.

If there is a question that I like to challenge bands with is the top tune. Which one is yours on "Unveiling the Threshold"? Elaborate on your pick

"On Somber Soil" because of the structure of the song and all the influences I brought into this song.

Right before the vaccination to the nation, where would you like to be with Skelethal to perform properly to support your new album? What are your plans forward?

We would love to be part of big fest across Europe. Nothing can be planned yet.

Were there any considerations for live stream shows to support for now?

Nope.

Gui, old school Death Metal lives through your band and I am glad that you made it so swift and deadly. Many thanks for the interview mate. All the best !

Thanks for the interview! Cheers to all the readers!


 
 



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