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House Of Atreus | Interview


The ugly side of life is what metal’s all about. So too is a fascination for the harsher moments in history.

Combining both are House Of Atreus from Minnesota. Their new cd has been making quite the impact, including a recent review on here.

Taking their lyrical and musical themes coming from the myths and histories of ancient Greece, the band have crafted some quality melodic death metal.

Anthony McGee got in touch with Daniel Huddleston and Andy Lindbloom from the band for this wide ranging and provocative interview.

As far as I can tell, Dan and Andy are the core of the group. Is this accurate? How did Allen and Jordan get involved?

DH: Originally, HoA started as a one man project named Ashened. Later, I wanted to record the songs with someone that knew more about the nature of recording, and recruited another member.

I’ll refer to him as Helios. Helios had experience with composing songs, the use of MiDi applications, a plethora of recording devices, and a hunger for creating meaningful music.

We called the project House of Atreus, as we were (are) interested in Greek mythology, and obsessed with the idea that there are a myriad of stories to choose from, to put into song form.

He had a little more passion for Shakespeare than I, but we decided it was thematic to incorporate the same “tragedy” inspired work by him.

Helios decided not to participate anymore and moved on his way. I decided to further incorporate Andy (him being an excellent guitarist) to perhaps agitate the possibility of moving beyond the studio and into public view.

Allen and Jordan have both been friends to us for years, and after witnessing them in live performances with Maledicere, Diabolical Sacrilege, Masshu, etc. It seemed natural that I asked after they expressed interest in the project.

AL: I was originally recruited as a sort of farm hand, lending my abilities to whatever was required of the project, namely live performance.

Early on, I played bass for the first live show, wrote and recorded a solo on Demo I, and laid bass and some leads down for the EP. After Helios’ departure, I’ve taken on lead guitar, and have been situated as a sort of co-pilot to Dan’s leading vision.

With the upcoming material we are writing, I’m further injecting my influence and abilities, as well as being our group’s tab whisperer.

As far as songwriting goes, is House of Atreus a democracy or a dictatorship? How does a typical HoA song come together? Does anyone hold the power of veto?

DH: I have written the majority of the music so far for HoA, but I have had some very powerful riff writers and contributors (some request not be mentioned) actively helping me arrange riffs, write riffs, and offer suggestions for composition.

Passing riffs back and forth and sharing full project files with Protools via the net will play an even larger role in the near future among ourselves as we are family men, full-time students, professionals, etc.

I would never consider myself a dictator (I don’t like dic in my taters) when it comes to this, since I have some great musicians in this group and also around me, I trust their vision as much as mine.

I do have a template of sorts that is shared among us, so that the project doesn’t veer off course. Typically,

I’ll toss down a skeletal version of a song; Andy will have it tabbed, than we will all kind of lull it around for a time until we have it satisfactory.

Jordan does what he does well, and I prefer him to take the lead for anything on the drums, albeit I program them for the skeletons to keep a general idea. He is a great guy to work with.

AL: Much of the material in the HoA catalog is an amalgamation of contributor’s works.

If something of quality surfaces, regardless of who wrote it, we’ll use it. We all have similar taste and vision for what the band’s product will be, so shaping these works hasn’t ever been arduous or divisive.

Dan has never wielded his authority carelessly or to anyone’s disagreement, as the musical process has been so organic. Usually it is Dan that brings an organized collection of riffs to the table and then runs it by me or a close peer for further refinement.

My part is most often to add leads, solos, or an accompaniment.

Could you describe your relationship with your label, Antitheist Disseminations?

DH: Our mutual friend Shane runs AD, and he has helped our project a lot, getting it off the ground. He also owns the sister store to Dublins’ Into the Void records in our humble city of Saint Paul.

He is rooted pretty deep in Ireland’s music scene, jumping at the chance to chaffeur Primordial on their tour in the eastern states, and touting the Irish flag in his well-stocked shop.

He has a discriminating taste in music, so naturally I felt honored when he gave us a drum to beat under his AD flag.

AL: Shane has been unwaveringly supportive of House of Atreus, and we owe much of our progress to his work and belief in the band. Antithiest

Dissemination has released our music and Shane has helped us with shows and to connect with metalheads worldwide, on top of being a good friend. We wouldn’t be the band we are without AD and Shane’s support.

There is definitely a small buzz about your music in Ireland. How do you feel about that? Are you aware of our scene? What bands do you admire?

DH: It’s great to hear that we have made a small impact over there. I’d jump at the chance to visit, and see culture and history first hand, and see some local metal.

Aside from the obvious greats like Thin Lizzy and Primordial, I’ve heard little else. I remember hearing a little Morphosis and enjoying it.

AL: I’m thrilled that HoA has fans in Ireland. After spending (or perhaps wasting) so many years in sophomoric, unorganized bands it’s just exhilarating to know people out there bang heads to our stuff.

I feel honored and grateful. I must admit that I’m not very fluent with much of the metal happening in Ireland, however. I’ve sampled some Altar of Plagues and Primordial, and of course some Thin Lizzy.

You released your first demo tape back in 2011. How do feel about it today?

DH: I feel It could have been much better. With the equipment at our disposal and the amount of time we had then, Helios and I could have found other musicians. Instead, we settled for subpar GP5 written midi drums we spent hours on trying to make sound real.

In the end, you can tell where the attention was spent though, in the riffs and the lyrics.

This makes it a worthwhile listen in my opinion and it creates a more cerebral effect to the music, since everything else was given more thought.

In the end, the demo was a much needed learning bridge to cross for me, and I daresay the start of a downward spiral that would be the end of Helios’ involvement with recording music altogether.

AL: I hardly played a role in this release, but I think it is a solid effort. The foundation for the band was paved there, and as a launching point, I think it holds up quite well.

It is a few and far between demo where the band aces a record with the first attempt, and I think this trait creates an admirable personality to early releases. Albeit the execution has somewhat shaky aspects, the songwriting and lyrical content speak for themselves.

That tape is sold out now. Are there any plans to repress it? Are there any songs left over from those sessions that may make an appearance as bonus material?

DH: Well, it’s possible we would release this again in the future, AND include a couple of the songs that didn’t make the cut, but it would probably be sometime long from now. After our second full length, possibly.

We may repeat a couple songs, those being “Throne of Chariots” and “The River Black” that made it to our live set and I feel with a full line up and the mastery of these songs, they would make a larger impact re-recorded on our next full length.

I hate the idea of rehashing old material, but they just simply sound like new songs, and I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the previous outcome.

AL: I’ve always thought a CD/vinyl reissue of ‘Demo I’ would be fitting, with bonus goodies. But yes, this wouldn’t come for some time, I imagine. We have a few releases to accomplish yet before addressing that.

For the nerds out there, would you mind identifying the sources of the spoken word samples that pepper that recording?

DH: Haha, yeah. I love and hate snippets from movies and the like in metal, much because it has been abused and just damn lame for the most part.

However, Helios and I both had aspirations of making these songs feel like plays and bring them closer to where they came from. Instead of performing the spoken words ourselves or hiring actors off of craigslist, we took the well-traveled road and found some quotes that mirrored our efforts.

As far as the sources, they were extracted from various plays found online, and in one case a commercial for a theater act in the UK.

AL: Christopher Lee was an expensive choice. We’ll be paying for that hire for the rest of our lives, but I think it is well worth it.

One quote goes: ‘there is a degree of childishness in everything we hold dear’. Is there a measure of immaturity in metal heads?

DH: Indubitably there is an affliction of immaturity in every passion, but very much so in metal since it came from the young angst discovering a new sound.

That quote referred to above comes from a movie (also a good book) called “The story of O” in which the main character subjects herself to sexual misogyny for the amusement of men, and for the masturbatory amusement of the reader (Not guilty!).

The lyrics in this song were written by Helios, and were followed by an in depth conversation about the positions women will put themselves in to feel accepted by a ‘superior sex.’

Of course, we argued the points of that last rancid statement until we both had our share of fun. But they weren’t serious conversations, in that we take some sexist stance or something.

These topics aren’t generally discussed without a feeling of disgust with oneself, or a comfort barrier being breached.

I think that was the point though, evoking feelings inherent to one’s own place in the world.

This is what I think the greats did in the golden years of the inked quill. Some of these topics are supposed to make you feel seedy and uncomfortable.

Ones “internal barometer” of offence, only meets its threshold when one party thinks they are “correct.” The drama behind this motivation is so sinister… but necessary for our intellectual development, moral decisions, and least of all, entertainment.

AL: The “degree of childishness” in my interpretation of the quote refers to any raw or seemingly illogical joy that one experiences, like a child would.

Undiluted satisfaction not influenced by conventional reason, or that matters of consequence are only considerable as an adult if only befitting a productive gain.

There is a sometimes an unnoticed difference between deliberate revelry and caustic obsession.

I think there is evidence of immaturity in metalheads just the same as anyone else, really. Some just give more consideration to their passions than others.

I’m sure there are some truly poetic epics penned out there telling the tale of how the mighty beer can was vanquished alongside trivial tales of elves and devils.

Moving onto your current set of songs. The lyrics ‘Into The Brazen Bull’ deal exclusively with Greco-Roman themes. Will this be the template for future work?

DH: Yes it will. Eventually, almost exclusively. The next album will be a bit more hodgepodge in that it won’t have a complete underlying conceptual theme.

The songs will span from dramatic poetry to classic literature. I really like hearing stories interpreted by my intellectual friends, having small tangents of thought move outside the realms of specific words used, and deliberated on emotionally, rather than entirely logically.

Sometimes this leads to one’s understanding of movies, books, and poems to differ so greatly, it becomes buried in its profundity and subjectivity, and the other person is forced to also dig within themselves to reveal yet another layer of diversity.

I think for this reason, we will continue to explore the nebulous realms in the earlier Greco-Roman era, to further bleed the stones of their blood into our wine glasses.

Dan, are you the primary lyricist? What is it about this era of history that inspires you?

DH: Yes, I write all the lyrics for HoA. I addressed this above, but I can also add that an element of history always excites me.

When I was a child, I grew up in an extremely religious household. With that came bible stories, movies and childish songs.

I feel asleep to drama stories on tape that were all fire and brimstone, dreams of serpents gliding over erupted bodies and the earth opening up to swallow hordes of screaming women and children being punished for their circumvention.

I loved it, for some twisted reason, and when I abandoned the Christian religion for self-respect, freedom and common sense, I let that part of it stay with me; that childish attraction to the passion people share with their inherent magnetism to a higher consciousness.

The passion that inspired some of the most beautiful chants echoing in ancient churches, the lavish paintings slathered on golden halls and chapels around the globe, instruments created for the sole purpose of praising their god(s).

It’s the same reason why I love Christ splitting, human eradicating black metal like Goat Penis, or the self-righteous condemnations uttered from Lordian Guard and the like.

I’m hopelessly addicted to the controversy extreme ideology brings, regardless of its origin.

Marcus Aurelius did say that it’s possible “to be vehement and remiss” and I interpret this for myself, as being not a man afflicted by laziness, but by his lack of motivation to see either side of the victor.

I may not share the passion of painting myself white or black on this marbled chessboard, but I can love the art on both sides of the spectrum without a single needle-nudge on my moral compass.

Perillos invented the brazen bull. His king, Phalaris, tested the device on him. The reason why he did so isn’t clear. Could you explain your interpretation of this event?

DH: Perillos was a “Plebian” or normal class denizen of Rome and a metal worker by trade. He, as a gift to the tyrant king Phalaris, gave forth his torture invention: a bull made of bronze with a series of tubes and stops throughout small chambers in the throat and neck of the furnace.

This created an effect of a raging bull when the burning incumbents were slowly roasted to death in their own bubbling jus.

It has been said that after the body had been inside long enough, the remaining bones would be glossy and polished and make for excellent jewelry.

At any rate, when Perillos shared his project with the king, he said “The bull will emit the most melodious of bellowings.”

The king was actually disgusted with this, and commanded Perillos be the first to experience the effects of his treachery. Before he died writhing and kicking against the super-heated walls of the bull, he was removed and thrown from the top of the tallest hill (Lycabettus) by Phalaris himself.

I found this paradoxical reversal amusing, and worthy of elaborating. He condemned himself by his obsession with the device.

AL:Here we catch a screenshot of the ménage-a-trois of wrath, guilt, and punishment. A penalty of torture by fire devised for the treacherous, turned against it’s creator, guilty of sadism. A historic and most extreme example of “Let’s see how YOU like it!”

‘Seed of Discord’ is fascinating, lyrically. Agapenor was one of the men inside the Trojan horse. This song seems to be about the conclusion of the Trojan War. There could be dozens of albums written about this topic. Will you revisit it in the future?

DH: Yes, I derived this from more romantic perspectives of the tale. That being the love entanglement between two doves on opposing forces, rather than just sheer political allegory painted across the two worlds.

The newer movie “Troy” (although bearing some falsehoods) is a good example of this, two lovers split by war. I will eventually revisit this topic and probably go into greater detail of the root characters, the Trojan Horse, and its effect on the war between Sparta and Troy.

This verse conflates sex and death succinctly. Please expand on this notion.

“The golden apple of contention/Beheld in the hands of Eris/Turns black with ripeness/Entrails and limbs scatter the shores/Screaming to their wives and distant gods/These men dispelled, by a quivering mouth in climax”

DH: It was said that three women were offered the Golden apple that was inscribed with “ΤΗΙ ΚΑΛΛΙΣΤΗΙ” (to the fairest one) on its inedible surface.

Helen, Athena, and Aphrodite had a vanity driven contest to see who was the fairest. The real boner in this story, is the crafty Eris (derived from the word discord) who threw the apple in the middle of a wedding between Peleus and Thetis.

The apple “ripening” is alluding to the fact that its final spell had come to fruition. This helped spawn the Trojan War, as well as a hilarious pseudo-religion hailing Eris as the goddess of chaos, in the book “Principia Discordia” written by Malaclypse the Younger.

My intentions behind the phrase “a quivering mouth in climax” is to paint the picture of these men dying in war while Helen was rolling her eyes and shaking beneath her lovers grasp in mid orgasm.

Suddenly, I am sitting in the bays of Troy; smiling, with a frantically moving quill in my hand, recording the devastation that unfolds, whilst knowing the deleterious roots in which the parties contend. That is the kind of tragedy that motivates my lyrics for HoA.

The philosopher Empedocles believed that love and strife were the driving forces of the universe. Do you agree with him?

DH: Interestingly enough, you could argue that since the human condition is chained to reactions to the world around it, that the rest of the universe would follow this observation.

I agree that without the bounty of learning and experience the pinnacles of love and strife bring, we could never fully understand what it means to be human.

You can’t experience joy without misery, and vice-versa, which is why I conclude ultimate heaven and hell to be a fallacy. Celestially, I would have to disagree with this man, as I don’t think the laws of nature are governed by the observations of mankind, or our assumptions.

The philosophy was good enough for other practices; the elemental earth, air, water, fire has been adopted by many facets of religion. I also think his untimely death could have also concluded that there is an impossibility of immortal god among men, as did the story of Christ.

AL: It’s kind of funny: Empedocles meant this literally to explain atomic structure, but the accidental inference is considerable.

Emotional actions to attraction and aversion are the basic act-able influences for human behavior. Like how atoms vibrate for matter to exist, emotional regard in the affairs of man are the makings of life.

No one seeks out passivity; we seek satisfaction and fulfillment (love), and react to their threat with hostility and resolve (strife). So yes, the dichotomy of this is everywhere.

I’d have to say I find Empedocles to be pretty disagreeable, though. The poncy fruitcake dressed like a second-rate Santa Clause and fell on his own sword of arrogance when he (dis)proved his divinity by hurling himself to his grave of magma.

But you can’t blame him too much; he was Pre-Socratic after all.

Rome was a slave state. At the height of Roman conquest about a third of the city’s population was slaves. The lyrics of ‘Bastards in the Hillside’ deal with a slave uprising in Sicily, while ‘Pitiless Chains’ is about recruitment. What drew you towards this topic?

DH: I would say trying to detail the atrocities, brutality and downright hard-assery of the Roman struggle for dominance is a difficult thing to do without hurting any feelings for some reason.

I like that though, that mirror reflecting back, showing that no one race, ethnicity, or peoples have ever been free of ownership, domination or enslavement.

It sort of takes away the veil a bit on a sensitive topic that we should all be aware of. True accounts are a lot more horrific than anything made up on the plains of typical hack-em-up, dead body lyrics that are fun for shock value but not much else.

What better way to relay this message by examining the most dominating culture in all of history?

This creates a different kind of drama for some, beating a dead horse with an even more dead horse.

Sexual slavery was also a fact of life in ancient Greece and Rome. Slave owners had complete freedom with their property. Is the line ‘bundles of ass men earned by impirium’ an allusion to male slave rape?

DH: No, I didn’t think of it that way when I was writing the song, but that is an interesting point!

I wrote “ass men” to signify the slaves being as mules or beasts of burden.

I have read that the rape of slaves, male and female, was an assertion of dominance rather than a sexual attraction.

This breaking form of ownership was not something you could relay from a psychologist’s chair and receive pills and guidance to get over it.

It was real and daily for some. As was selling your children into slavery to pay for feeding the ones you kept.

As was prostitution, gambling and fighting in the streets for survival. Some slaves had it much better, being educated men and women used for health care, education, and combat expertise.

It depended on the capitalist value system in a way, in that everyone had to have a marketable skill for trade; if not, it was the manure pits and rape for you, sir. And it had little to do with ethnicity.

Sarcastically: “don’t want to be in the manure pits? Learn to make bricks from straw, or suffer from a debilitating case of hemorrhoids.”

Many lines on the EP are quite disturbing. I believe there is more of a sense of horror than of revelry. Other people may feel differently. How would you respond to accusations of prurience or fetishizing the act of rape?

DH: The answers to these kinds of questions seem to change when asked by different people.

On one hand, I can play the art card and disassociate myself from the content to protect myself from suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous assholes, although I generally try not to.

But sometimes that is the only answer someone will accept. The lyrics are horrible. I wanted them to be horrible.

If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have written them for those that would see it for what it truly is, as opposed to those knee-jerk reactionaries sipping Chai-tea in their favorite glittery coffee dispensaries, or the ironically smelly neo-fascists that simply have no levelheadedness for the problems they choose to exacerbate.

These guys are huge advocates of freedom and art, and love, and shit, but as soon as the sketchy red breast of discrimination pops up, it puts all the heavens in a rage.

(Or what is misinterpreted as discrimination) On the other hand, I could just write about hating Jewish Jesus and Christian religion, and it’s totally tolerable and sold at Walmart. WTF?

AL: The idea of answering for the one’s art at the charge of a dissenter is insulting. Those would-be offended miscreants would then have to answer for the insult of their existence and criminal lack of comprehension for the concept of artistic expression.

The horrors in some of these lyrics are rightly repulsive, so it’s appropriate for the listener to have a reaction to that, but censorship is self-serving, and being offended at something you don’t understand is careless and selfish.

Slavery, albeit from a different era, is also a recurring theme in Arghoslent’s work. It’s not a secret that HoA have been musically influenced by them. However, has the association caused you any problems? Is HoA a political band?

DH: We all really do like Arghoslent, GBK, Absurd, etc. but we can separate the music from the artists. If you delve into Arghoslent’s lyrics, you find extremely well written racism. That’s what they set out to do and holy fuck, they do it well. Not that I am patting anyone on the back for being racist.

And, it’s certainly inappropriate in a public context. I haven’t seen any side effects from listening to this music, however.

I haven’t joined (or created) any neo-nazi movements (another hilarious rumor circulating currently).

Just because I don’t hop in line into whatever mob comes by to shout threats at the racial tyranny they invent in their predominantly white he-man clubs, doesn’t mean that I give a shit about the KKK.

Racism is dangerous, but when it comes to music, it’s a peccadillo sin to me. This dismissible, venial sin in Death Metal doesn’t cause anyone harm that I have seen personally.

Music isn’t a weapon, like a gun. You can put it into a kid’s hands, but it doesn’t kill anyone. Not even by accident when you drop it.

It CAN help motivate political ideologies, but chances are you are doing a lot more than just listening to a few heavy metal records if you are an activist.

Wanna know why I’m not hypnotized by any political propaganda? Because I wear big-boy pants and I piss standing up.

The way things are, how I selfishly see them every day, is through my eyes, not someone else’s.

It’s my reality. However, I can completely understand if someone is just really irked by this band in particular.

The stuff is really harsh and can be grotesque. But to “ban bands that support their music” and cite “Nazism” like it’s an actual threat to little Minneapolis, MN is a complete joke.

Granted, I don’t bring this topic up with my black acquaintances and co-workers out of respect, but in my experience it’s never been an issue.

I think most black people that enjoy metal don’t really give a rat’s ass about any of this shit, but watch out for those rally hungry white kids.

Racism exists, but you can’t fabricate it from thin air to support your recent epiphanies … what is this?

The Third Reich all over again in reverse? I should be above this kind of rhetoric, really, but I feel very strongly about the censorship of all for the sake of comfort for the few.

Of course, I’m not advocating tolerance for racist propaganda being handed out at local concerts, but I’m certainly not advocating about pro-multiculturalism brochures being handed in inner cities out either.

I am just simply self-removed from beating a drum for either side in that self-perpetuating ruckus to its final stupidity.

But the topic just doesn’t seem to fall away from House of Atreus. However, I refuse to be some sensitive knee-bender, and change a small facet in my musical tastes, so that makes me a bigot.

AL: Of course HoA gleans from Arghoslent’s work, but the ideologies behind their music are not adopted in our band.

They write genius music, and pen some of the most devastating lyrics, tales of cruelty and savagery, arrogance and malice. The impact of that is what we appreciate, not any ideological fumblings.

The dark outlands of man’s consciousness is the life force in metal, but the territory of racism is a dour idea that some decide to take literally when they hear it put to a blastbeat.

Projections of murder, rape, conquest, blasphemy, violence hatred and gore are prominent themes in every metalhead’s collection, but no one actually reenacts a Cannibal Corpse album cover.

As an analogy, some dummkopfs would love to believe that we’re doing just that, or advocating it, but it’s simply propaganda from the weak and bored would-be revolutionaries out there goose stepping to a cause fabricated out of their own self-hatred and lack of identity.

It’s ironic that black metal has become a trend in punk rock circles around here: a politically correct satanic threat to humanity.

Some people just need an enemy or conflict to validate their angst, and we do feel the brunt of that misguided and selfish fallout here and there. We’re not a think tank for any political guerrilla outfit, we play music.

The inability of the listener to separate the art from the artist is a slight punishable by death with wild beast.

To the lions with them!

The back print of your t-shirt reads ‘Incinerating the Plebeian’. It can be interpreted a number of ways. Are you elitists? What does elitism mean to you?

DH: That’s a loaded question. “Incinerating the Plebian” came in part from the event in the storyline of the brazen bull, but I did come up with this as a small jab at the johnny-come-lately’s to metal in my locale.

Those I would classify as elite would never claim to be elite, and I’m sure they feel the same way about those they would consider elite.

When I think of an “elitist” I think of the guy everyone knows that has every fucking amazing vinyl from every fucking band you have ever loved or you’ve never heard of, and continues to absolutely shit on everything you like and even break a record you like in front of you in spite.

Fuck, I love that guy. To some, metal is more than just music, it’s their absolute persona, passion and pursuit.

For those who have dedicated their social life to collecting, playing and trading records and tapes, I salute you. In that fact, I’m a lot less “elite” than some that I know. Some of the elite are really humble guys that encourage metal as a study, because it’s something to take seriously.

Some guys wear tankard shirts, have more shit than you, and call you a “queer” between a huge beard and mustache, because you take it so seriously (haha).

I personally still look up to some people, so I could never classify myself as elite. However, that doesn’t mean I accept being disrespected and jeered by some hipster punk that just had his first Pabst.

AL: Being elitist generally isn’t considered to be a term of endearment, but the word is more malleable in metal, I think.

An elitist to me is a metaller that has discriminating taste and holds a wealth of knowledge, ability and passion for his music that he can effectively employ in his lifestyle.

Having a firm grasp on your craft and the confidence to fortify it, whether it’s collecting records, playing an instrument, or simply being a seasoned or “well read” listener.

The difference between being a snob, band whore or music hoarder and elite is being humble and proud while exploiting the strengths you know in your music and not getting bogged down in the snares of petty politics and excesses that nullify many a headbanger.

I suppose the guys in HoA are a bit elitist that way, simply because we see a lot of chaff in the metal scene around us, and agree to generally remain separate from that caricature in the twin city’s environment.

On the b-side of the Brazen Bull cassette there is a Rotting Christ cover. This also appears on a recent tribute album. Why did you choose ‘Archon’? Do you follow their modern work or did you cease paying attention after ‘A Dead Poem’?

DH: There is a lot of material from that band, and many faces to their releases. Of course, ‘Thy Mighty Contract’ and ‘Non Serviam’ are masterpieces, but we assumed at the time that some of the more predominant bands would procure the classics from those albums, which was the case.

There were plenty of other tracks from those two albums mentioned we could have chosen from, but I think people forget their 3rd installment, ‘Triarchy of the Lost Lovers.’

The songs on this album seem to be more settled and mature although a little lazy at times. ‘Archon’ was the song our drummer really wanted to do, so we went with that one in particular.

Maledicere also performed a cover on this tribute as well. I don’t really know too many people that talk about RC’s latest installments in a negative light, or at all for that matter. Most of us are so hung up on the classics that we forget to reach for something new, more often because we grab the rose by its thorn and then complain of the results on forums and blogs.

These pricks can teach you a lesson though, I say smarmy, of course. They have been making metal for a longer period than most, and consistently pump out fresh material and wow people (including me) with their energetic performance. They are true metal masters. Not a lot of bands can (or want to) say that.

AL: I simply agreed that ‘Archon’ is an excellent song! ‘Non-Serviam’, ‘Thy Mighty Contract’, and ‘Triarchy of the Lost Lovers’ are the base works for my appreciation of Rotting Christ.

It seems there are a lot of people that enjoy ‘A Dead Poem’ out there, but I’m not one of them, ha ha.

Also, the rehearsal track ‘Beasts of Antiquity’. Why didn’t it make the EP?

DH: I felt this song needed more scrubbing down before putting it in pen, per-say. This song is really simple, and I think it needs a bit more zazz. (haha) Plus, I haven’t (and refuse to) finished the lyrics for this song, since I do so when I hear the final product of the song. It’s just the way I do things at this point in the game.

Before moving on, are you fans of Virgin Steele?

DH: I can speak for myself. I’ve heard less of this album than I ought to have. I’ve spent some time trying to get more intimate with this album lately, that being reading the lyrics (which are fantastic) and picking up on some of the musical nuances throughout.

Haha, I should mention we have reviews out there that contain only comments about how “Virgin Steele rips!” This doesn’t upset me of course. We literally just got started. I know I’ve developed more of an attraction to it lately just because I hear the name so often.

I love this style obviously, being big fans of all eras of Running Wild, Helloween, etc (Hear Bastards on the hillside) I sometimes wish the music moved less at times in certain songs, and more in others on this album in particular.

Like a chorus that just didn’t seem climactic enough, kinda thing. Then again, that’s part of the maturity of this band. I just wish the newer wave versions of groups like this (I won’t insult anything directly) wouldn’t scrape the proverbial mayonnaise jar like a fat kid making a cheese sandwich, and just add a little more ham into that mother fucker. 🙂

AL: “Virgin Steele” sounds to me like the description of a weapon of war that has never orgasmed within the flesh of his battle opponent, but has only felt a masturbatory embrace upon penetrating its own scabbard.

Jokes aside, I’ve known they have album titles that share our band name, but never checked out their music till I was writing this answer. Not bad! A-la Manowar/Running Wild.

I noticed in their video for “Perfect Mansions” that a print of “The Fall of Phaeton” by Peter Paul Rubens adorns the wall in one of the shots (which is also the image that emblazons the cover for Arghoslent’s “Galloping Through The Battle Ruins”). Apparently our two bands also share an appreciation for fine art!

Do HoA often play live? Are you a ‘set up and play’ band or does heavy metal spectacle play a role in your shows?

DH: I would certainly like to play a lot more, I think a strong performance can help solidify a group’s confidence in their song writing and make things more exciting.

I started this stuff in the studio not intending to ever play live, and my attitude changed when I saw that my friends were interested in playing it.

When I say friends, I also mean talented musicians that give a shit about their craft. They bring a lot to the table and if it weren’t for them, I’d be in the basement writing more songs no one would ever bother listening to.

So far we’ve only played a handful of shows, what with our recent stigma locally (which is completely fine), but we fortunately have a few figureheads in the scene that like what we’re doing, Behold Barbarity being one. So that affords us enough opportunity to get out and about.

AL: We try not to play too much, and then only shows that align with our musical goals and personality, and with bands that we appreciate.

There are herds of metal groups around here that play constantly for their own vanity, and that is something we certainly avoid. Playing every Tuesday night to the handful of friends you begged to come and the other bands on the bill is a lazy and self-serving pageant.

A “Live Rehearsal” is boring and needless. As for performing, we don’t employ any theatrics or props, but we’ve tossed around those sorts of ideas before.

That part of the live show just hasn’t been relevant yet. I definitely appreciate blood-splatters and fire lit blasphemies if it is befitting to the band’s display.

What does the future hold for HoA? I understand you are currently writing songs for an album? What can you tell us about this?

I have 9 songs planned for the album we are hoping to record at the end of the year. 2 of them, as I mentioned before, are from the 1st demo.

Andy, Allen and a couple more unnamed kickers of the galloping horse will help out with leads and solos, things like that. I think it will be a really great learning process for us as a group, and I look forward to working with professional sound engineers.

AL: We are looking at a few shows outside of our home territory in the coming months, but nothing has been set in stone just yet. We certainly aspire to bring a few more songs to the live setting over the course of the year.

We’re also compiling and refining new material for the record, which is the primary goal at the moment. World conquest comes later.

How strong is the Minnesotan underground? Does Into the Void Records (US) play an important role? Apart from Maledicere, who should we look out for?

DH: There are a few bands worth checking out from Minneapolis. Obsequiae, Diabolical Sacrilege, Beastial Whore, Vothana, Blood Folke, Canis Dirus, Hohl, Teratism, and Azrael, just to name a few.

It’s a strong underground scene, what with our parties consisting of our bands playing together in our houses, things like that.

It’s getting a lot better now that there are new clubs picking up metal shows, and taking some of the repetitious beneficiaries out of the equation.

No more of the same bands opening for every national show, etc. Since ITV moved in, the proprietor has made things a lot more fun in the twin cities.

He sets up metal nights at bars, supports the new wave of micro-brewery’s by DJ-ing events, and helps sell tickets at his shop for national and local acts. We really can’t thank him enough.

AL: The MN underground is vigilant in its dedication, I’d say. The fall of our local Station 4 venue is giving more breathing room for the evolutionary process of quality metal to progress, and allowing a (better) variety of venues to thrive, so it will be cool to see how that takes shape.

ITV is such a refreshing and notable landmark that gives our scene some much needed confidence and character. As for the troops on the ground, the people that fly their flags outside the common territories of metal around here have a stalwart and humble pride for their music, and a true admiration and camaraderie for their peers.

The musicians I appreciate in our local metal community are also my friends and teachers. I sometimes think its wild to have friends that are also your musical heroes. I love all the bands Dan listed, but also check out Masshu, Vulgaari, Red Desert, Celestiial, Lockgnar, and Finger of Scorn.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. The final words are yours.

DH: Thanks for the great questions. I took the opportunity to shed some light on what I think is important for House of Atreus, and what I think is not important.

For those of you who cannot stand political commentary from artists, I apologize. I too crave the day when we can all be left alone to our own devices. I hope that the readers of this interview in Ireland are well and that we get to see you sometime soon!
AL: I really enjoyed expounding on the answers to such thoughtful question. Thanks a lot!

– Interview by Anthony McGee ::: 25/03/14


14 Comments
  1. I think they are a little bit too harsh in their assessment of ‘Demo I’. I like it a lot.

  2. Nice interview! Great to see them responding and getting into real detail about the concepts behind it.

  3. Eoin McLove Says:

    Looks like I was wrong about Pat Walker’s involvement!

  4. Loved Demo I myself, and have both demos on cassette. The essence of the band is put forth quite beautifully at times, without ever losing the savagery of antiquity.

    Song titles like “Salome’s Passion is a Severed Head” are evocative of an age, and time in particular, but also make the listener question the thought processes involved in lust, love, anger and the inherent fragility of the synapses when it comes to making decisions based on any of the above emotions.

    I’d expect nothing less from a band named after one of the greatest tragedies the Greeks could recount.

  5. Superb interview. The author turned me on to these lads a while ago, a very impressive band with a unique cloak for their music.

    Tremendous work Crow.

  6. Superb interview alright.
    Baffled by the Virgin Steele question though.

  7. Virgin Steele have albums called ‘The House of Atreus Act I’ and ‘The House of Atreus Act II’ 🙂

  8. Great interview, but alas the music doesn’t really grab me. I have the demo and think it’s grand but not fantastic and, while reading the interview, I streamed the mini-album and thought more or less the same. Then again, I can take or leave Arghoslent and I think House of Atreus are really treading the same path musically.

  9. Eoin McLove Says:

    Matter of taste and all that but in terms of actual riff-craft I think HoA are on to a winner. Very immediate and catchy tunes while maintaining that all important savagery.

  10. Musically not really my bag, but a great read nonetheless.

  11. “Baffled by the Virgin Steele question though.”

    Hahaha it was the most Crow question I’ve ever read. Actually read it in his accent.

  12. yeah, didn’t get the reference, just figured Crow was just randomly looking for an excuse to talk about them 🙂

  13. Black Shepherd Says:

    Great interview – dig the tracks I’ve heard, but not crazy about them either: same boat as Pio.

    Nothing wrong with the pre-Socratics though…

  14. These dudes are macho pricks that think they way cooler than they are. Don’t be fooled. Music is incredibly mediocre and even more boring live.
    They show up at shows in Minneapolis and sieg heil in the front row and when they get called out they shove women out of their way to get to their target and spout off bigoted phrases to make sure their point is heard in a REAL EFFECTIVE WAY.
    Hence, no promoters at real venues in mpls will work with them.
    Dan is a total douche. Even though bad comments are sometimes good comments and can help perpetuate the buzz about a band I don’t give a fuck! Fuck these guys. They deserve to be called out on their shit and held accountable.
    Want metal to be a real threat? Don’t be like these dudes. Be a REAL threat.

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