Dream Upon Tombs - ''The music should carry you into a distant, forgotten world''
Palaces of Dust is the incredible new album from Dreams Upon Tombs, that reflects both beauty and darkness, the juxtaposition of styles between funeral doom and black metal with the melody and power of extreme music.
Jak Shadows (all instruments) ‘’ Dream Upon Tombs was originally a side project of mine while I was occupied in a much more furious black metal band, Burning in Shadows. DUT was an outlet to experiment more with melodies without the constant, blistering pace. Lyrically it was also an opportunity for me to extend my focus on old folk tales, superstitions, hauntings and further indulge my undying fascination with gothic tragedies. Each Dream Upon Tombs song should fit the mood of the tale within and the music should carry you into a distant, forgotten world, a journey into the realms of the unknown.
It has Been a long time, what brought about the re-emergence?
‘’It was the itch I couldn't scratch. One that had been bugging me for the longest time! Ideally, I would love to also complete/continue on with Burning In Shadows at some point but right now I'm focused on writing follow up material for Dream Upon Tombs & also lyrics for the next Graves For Gods.
Was it timing or delays?
‘’Let's put that down to delay - in the late 90's I suffered from debilitating tendonitis in my picking wrist. Musically, I was at a creative high point - Burning in Shadows was about to record an album and Dream Upon Tombs ticking along nicely in the background. It was devastating news that ground all song writing and playing to a halt. It appeared I would never play guitar again and that is the message I was told by medical professionals. Eventually, I moved on and focused on growling for the death grind band, Jesus Anal Penetration, it was a lot of fun but a totally different vibe which suited the anger I felt at the time. Eventually that too ended, life trudged on, and alternate directions and paths were travelled. One hell of a delay but I always dreamt about revisiting the unfinished material. Then, one day David sent me a song I had recorded with him back in the 90s, it was Carrion Dreams and at that moment the fire was fully re-ignited in me. Next, we exhumed the track that would become Twins of Evil, and I vowed to write more material.
Was Palaces of Dust something that you had gestating for a long time?
‘’Yes, it was absolutely an epic tale of triumph and agony but like all dreams you must surrender yourself to the darkness...
It contains both beautiful and darkness. How important is it to have all the emotional spectrums?
‘’I see these as the elements that define life. The value of beauty is weighed in the scales of darkness, and one can't truly exist without the other. The day we believe we have nothing to fear is the day we lose the value of life.
The importance to have melody in your darkness?
‘’Entirely essential. The melody is the road we follow on our journey, it conveys the many moods of the piece and the song itself is the story. For example, The Ghost of Dawn is tale of tragedy for some folk, but it is also the revenge saga for Tamora. I find a song bereft of melody akin to being lost in a foreign city, it may show you a surprise or two but for the most part it is utterly frustrating.
The sense of inevitability and mortality? Is it something that should not be feared?
Yes, fear of the unknown because mortality has a used by date and as such, we will all, inevitably, die. To be honest, I think immortality is mostly an attraction for the young, for whence one loses their youth, one becomes invisible to youth. Since as long as I remember, I have been obsessed with tales of vampires, I imagine it was partly a fancy of my youth and part of a deeper question - what really exists in our world and who, if any, are our gods?
Is it a major influence on you as opposed to the more vacuous concerns of modern "society"?
Absolutely, I am completely absorbed by gothic tales rather than modern society. The modern world disturbs me greatly, there is a loss of understanding, in a way due to the digital nature of society. For all the advances the western world has achieved I feel we are actually heading somewhat backwards. If something doesn't sit in its designated box it becomes a target. People seem to forget how deep the colour wheel goes, colours blend and make more colours and that is what makes life exciting. What surprises me is how in an educated world one would think you can remove the grey? What exactly has history taught us?
The state of extreme metal? Has it changed for the better since you began the project?
Interesting question, I think the term extreme metal is a very loose term that likely means different things to different people. It became a popular term in the late 90s. Metal has changed in many ways since then. We have always utilised technology to our advantage, but I also am very fond of raw music, it is that punk attitude that made metal truly great to begin with. I believe the perfect recording is one that delivers a live sense and if you are being ruled by click tracks and grids then you have lost the game. "Is extreme metal still extreme?" would be my counter question.
Is extreme music something that should remain formless yet always extreme?
I tend to agree with this concept, yes, it should remain formless. Metal reached a pinnacle in the 80's when it very nearly ruled the decade entirely. Fast forward four decades and Metal still stands strong and is currently one of the most popular physical format sellers which translates to chart toppers. What I am trying to say is that metal has this power that still can't be controlled by the mainstream, but it also won't go away thus making it formless.
Is it considered "extreme" when it is the basis for everything?
Yeah, the extreme factor can be washed away by too many cycles. It's not that it doesn't exist, you may just have to dig deeper and look harder to find what appeals to you. The levee has well and truly broken! I also think we like what we like and as we grow the parameter of what people or artists like may change but the original intensity will always be there. These experiences have the power to begin new chapters. For Dream Upon Tombs, it is about bringing the lost, the beauty, the power, and the darkness together, eschewing the need to be extreme or to use violence as a crutch.
Future plans: will we get more music?
Yes, that is the objective. I am currently writing new material that has yielded a tune or two in a dark, folky vein. I'm excited to see these ideas reach fruition.
Yeah, I do vocals for Graves for Gods. It's completely doom metal, in a funeral sense with a dash of stoner. I'm very proud of our debut s/t album, it is a simple, yet complex piece. It requires focus and patience, qualities that are in short supply these days. Lyrically, I choose to tackle the concept of how people are drawn to worship, and each Graves album will cover a different religion.
Top 6 albums of all time?
Oh man, that's a tough ask! It's unlikely this is a perfect reflection of my aural history but here we go, these are some of my most highly impressionable albums and in the order, they arrived in my ears...
Venom - Welcome to Hell
Celtic Frost - To Mega Therion
Dead Can Dance - The Serpents Egg
Necrophobic - Nocturnal Silence
Siouxsie & The Banshees - JuJu
Dissection - The Somberlain
Satyricon - The Shadowthrone
Ulver - Bergtatt