INTERVIEW: DESOLATE PATHWAY.
Epic British Doom Metal band 'Desolate Pathway' (formed by Pagan Altar guitarist Vince Hempstead) whose music creates "elements of fantasy, magic and adventure whilst keeping true to the British tradition of heavy, riff based doom", have recently re- released their earthshaking debut album 'Valley of the King' through Italian Record Label 'WormHoleDeath'.
We caught up with Vince and Mags for a quick chat on the re-release of their stunning debut, its epic follow up 'Of Gods and Heroes' and everything in between.........
First off tell us a bit about yourselves.
Who are the members of Desolate Pathway, where are you guys from, how long have you been around, and how did you guys get together?
(VINCE) Hi, We are Vince on vocals/guitar, Mags on drums/backing vocals and our newest member Jaeme on bass.
We formed in 2014 after I decided to turn a solo project into a full band. I advertised for band members online and after a few months we were complete.
(MAGS) Hi Trev, nice to meet you and thanks for the interview. I answered an online ad, Vince sent me a few guitar demo's he had done for Valley of the King, so I wrote the drums, went for an audition/jam and here we are. We are located in South East of England.
Desolate Pathway is very much a doom metal band but the concept or term ‘Doom Metal’ seems to be a very loose one these days.
For me, bands like ‘Sabbath, Candlemass and Cathedral are quite different to some of the more newer emerging doom bands.
For example, traditional doom bands like black sabbath were actually, dare I say, progressive and more nomadic than the newer style of a handful off riffs stretched out into a thirteen minute track.
What is your opinion on this and which wave of doom do you find more influential on the sound and style of Desolate Pathways?
(VINCE) I totally agree. We can be very progressive at times although it’s natural for us to change things up. I would prefer to keep our style as traditional as possible with Epic story telling thrown in. If we were to relate to any band I should think it would be Candlemass.
(MAGS) Yes definitely there are so many sub-genres of Doom these days. Sometimes it's hard to recognise the Doom element it's so far removed. I have been a Doom fan since 13, starting with Black Sabbath and my heart still lies in Doom. We have been compared quite a lot to Candlemass and Black Sabbath and I would agree that these bands are influential in our work.
Apart from Doom Metal, what else would be the band’s other main musical and lyrical influences?
(VINCE) I am open minded on any music although Doom and classic metal is in my mind, body and soul. We do have some New Wave of British Heavy Metal elements, other than that I tend to stick with what I love.
(MAGS) Vince is more influenced by NWOHBM than I am. For me, my influences are Doom, Doom and more Doom. Lyrically, we have up to now just gone with the concept we have chosen.
You are getting set to Re-release your stunning debut album "Valley of the King" January the 26th via Wormholedeath / The Orchard.
What was the decision to Re-release this record?
(VINCE) Valley of the King was a raw early offering that was originally released when we were barely established and just playing local shows. Now we have become more established in the doom scene we wanted to bring it to light again and what better way to promote it than via WormHoleDeath.
(MAGS) WormHoleDeath offered us the digital re-release in the wake of Of Gods and Heroes and we thought it was a great opportunity to get it out there by an established label.
What can you tell us about the re-release. Is there any alterations or additional tracks?
(VINCE) The re-release is exactly the same. We wanted to keep that raw feeling and we are proud of how we started out
Was there any temptation to tweak it before re- release?
(VINCE) Not at all. If anything, I would really want a label to release it on vinyl.
Is this the release you are most happy with so far?
(VINCE) Our 2nd album 'Of Gods and Heroes' is my favourite.Our aim is to raise the bar and make each album better than before.
(MAGS) My preference out of the two albums is 'Of Gods and Heroes'.
How does it compare, in your opinion to last years brilliant “Of Gods And Heroes”?
You re-released this album, "Valley of the King" and “Of Gods And Heroes” through WormHoleDeath Records. How this this come about?
(VINCE) Of God’s and Heroes is my favourite because we have progressed from that rawness of Valley and evolved into an established doom band.
What was magical about our 2nd album is we invited several bass players as guest musicians on the album to give a different vibe on each track but still keeping that Epic flavour. We are a different band now with myself and Mags as core members from day 1.
(MAGS) Valley of the King is a really great debut album. Any band would say they try to improve each and every album they release. WormHoleDeath offered to re-release both albums, Of Gods and Heroes on both CD and digital and Valley of the King on digital.
You're a couple of years on the WormHoleDeath Record Label now.
What advantages does working and releasing through a label have?
(MAGS) It's great to have an established and well respected label like WormHoleDeath backing us up! It's awesome that they recognise our potential and in doing so validate our work in the eyes of the world.
(VINCE) It’s all about getting the name about. Making people aware that we are not just a band, we are serious musicians that want to show people our craft and make people happy to hear it. Being on a label pushes us to our goals.
For folk, like myself, who missed "Valley of the King" the first time around is there any themes or concepts both musically and lyrically running throughout the album?
(VINCE) Valley of the King, tells the epic tale of Prince Palidor and his rag tag army fighting their way to the Throne of Lights. It includes elements of fantasy, magic and adventure whilst keeping true to the British tradition of heavy, riff based doom.
Is “Of Gods And Heroes” in anyway connected or is it a follow up to your debut or is it a completely new chapter and new album for Desolate Pathway?
(MAGS) 'Of Gods and Heroes' is not in any way connected to the debut. Valley's concept was one story throughout the entire album whereas in Gods each song tells a separate story factually based on Greek Mythology.
(VINCE) It’s still a concept album but a new adventure. Solely based on Greek Mythology and view points from different angles.
What expectations do you have for the re-release of "Valley of the King"?
(MAGS) It's really great that Valley of the King is getting a second shot. I would hope that people who missed it the first time round would want to buy the back catalogue after hearing Of Gods and Heroes.
(VINCE) We want people to hear it, like it and buy it. It’s for those like yourself that missed it the first time around as we believe it deserves to be heard and hopefully labelled as one of our classic pieces in years to come.
Regarding live shows and tours. Will you or have you ever ventured over to main Europe and Ireland at any stage? Is this something you’d look into?
(MAGS) Oh yes, we definitely would love to come over to Ireland and we have a good few overseas shows already lined up.
(VINCE) We have already played Malta and Austria so yes Ireland for us would be fantastic.
Let’s make it happen.
So what’s next for Desolate Pathway in 2018?
(MAGS) We are so looking forward to getting our shows underway this year! We are playing with some amazing bands and it's such an honour to be included.
(VINCE) 2018 is a great year for us. We have some local shows then we are off to play in Denmark and Sweden with the legendary Iron Void, then cross over to Holland to play Little Devil Doom Days, write a new album and play the main stage at Hard Rock Hell Doom vs Stoner in Sheffield, UK.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, I wish you guys all the best for the future.
(VINCE) Thank you for your support Trev. It’s a pleasure.
(MAGS) Thank you Trev and thanks for the interest and taking the time to include us.
Interview by Trevor McCormack.
Catch Trevor's live weekly metal FM radio show the 'Cranium Titanium Metal Radio Show' every Monday from Galway City at 8PM.
"Valley of the King" From DESOLATE PATHWAYS was re-released January the 26th via Wormholedeath / The Orchard.
About "Valley of The King":
"A quest of legends is ahead, unknown to them what lies waiting beyond the desolate pathway to the entrance of the forest. On entering this dark, mysterious place, the trees change form while whispering and tormenting. The witches stand guard and the vultures wait for one or more comrade to fall. The small army begins to wonder if they will ever reach the castle to crown their leader upon The Throne of Lights. Take this path and your fate awaits you."
1. The Valley of the King 2. Desolate Pathway 3. Forest of Mirrors 4. Last of my Kind 5. Season of the Witch 6. King of Vultures 7. Shadow of the Tormentor 8. Upon the Throne of Lights