DIVINE EVE (Full interview) APRIL 2011 with Michael A. Sleavin. Questions by K.Shevil.
Texas Frostian Death Metal Legends DIVINE EVE are back in business with a new album in the pipeline which will be released later this year via Ibex Moon Records, the band returned to the scene back in 2008 and shortly afterwards a comeback EP titled "Vengeful And Obstinate" was unleashed via Ibex Moon, this released saw the band picking up from where they left off in 1995 when they disbanded. I recently sent some questions to guitarist/vocalist Michael A. Sleavin about the bands reformation, the upcoming debut full length album and Celtic Frost amongst other things and here is what he had to say:-
Hails Michael, first of all how did the initial reformation come about, what or who instigated it, I thought it was a real shame the band disbanded in 1995, but your reformation was a very welcome return..how does it feel to be active again and picking up where you left off?
Michael:- Greetings, feels great to be back and thank you for the support. The initial reformation came about when I received the bands copies of "Upon These Ashes Scorn the World" when it was released in 2007. Matt, Tyson, and I thought it was fair that Xan received however many copies he wanted. Also at the time my other band RAPE PILLAGE & BURN (which Matt also plays drums) was in search of a lead guitarist, Matt, Richard, and I thought we should see... So after some searching, I found out he was living in Dallas, phoned him up and met that night for some alcoholic libations. I had not seen or spoke to Xan in a long time and it was a good meeting of once fractured old comrades. I gave him some discs and set up a time to audition...We rehearsed together and played a couple of riffs of old DIVINE EVE songs and something in myself awoke. The 3 of us looked at each other in a weird way, I think it awoke in them as well. Then back to business of the RPB audition. After that short rehearsal RAPE PILLAGE & BURN chose another lead guitarist which eventually did not work out either, another story for another time. A couple of months passed and Matt and I had a few conversations about DIVINE EVE as RAPE PILLAGE & BURN was kinda dormant at the time. I again phoned up Xan and in early 2008, we had our first rehearsal in over a decade which was quite a memorable moment! Things have been moving forward since Toured Europe, released the E.P. played a few select shows... It was a shame that we disbanded in 1995 but to be honest looking back I feel it was natural thing to do. All of us were very young and also the music industry was changing. At least for extreme underground metal music, a division. Black Metal was eclipsing Death Metal and the whole scene was changing. Record labels were pressuring bands and a lot of the bigger bands admittedly put out some mediocre or watered down material. Or even worse became jump around or nu metal. I'm glad we were spared this... But yes we lost a lot time in the years that passed. This Time is Now for Us...
You signed with Ibex Moon after getting back together, how did this deal come about, the label seems to be a perfect home for the band, they released your "comeback" "Vengeful and Obstinate" EP in 2010 and are due to release your debut and long awaited full length album, can you please give us some info on your upcoming full length, title, some songtitles etc. When can we expect a release? And what can we expect from this recording?.
Michael:-Well, John from INCANTATION/IBEX MOON Records has been a friend and supporter of DIVINE EVE for a very long time. He was one of the first in an American Death Metal band to hear our demo before we licensed it through Nuclear Blast Records. Matt and I played it for him in Matt's car behind a club in Dallas back in the early 1990's. I was so young that I was unable to see them perform as it was a school night. IBEX MOON Records is a perfect home for DIVINE EVE, the deal came about basically when I saw John at Maryland Deathfest 2008. It had been a long time but old friends are always old friends. We initially got a deal for the release of the RAPE PILLAGE & BURN "Songs of Death... Songs of Hell..." E.P in 2009. Having known John and this industry it was only natural for DIVINE EVE to go with a label that actually supports underground music. Plus he will answer his phone when I call unlike many other label folks. As for a "comeback" I guess one could call it that, for us the "Vengeful and Obstinate" E.P. is more "shorthand" for what the album will be. The Debut record will be out on IBEX MOON Records in late 2011. The album is Untitled thus far. As for studio time we plan to begin recording sometime this summer with an early September deadline. The album will be tracked at Klearlight recording studios with our now Bass guitarist Scott Cooksey once again engineering. We recorded the "Vengeful and Obstinate" E.P. with him behind the board before he officially joined for those unaware. Currently we are in pre-production with tentative titles for songs "A Nameless Thundering Voice", "Divine Eve", "Cold Black Currents", "Vessel of the Dark Stained Heart", to name a few, however this can change. As for expectations on this being our debut record,I would say if you are a fan of the Doom Death Metal that DIVINE EVE creates, you will be very eager for more. I assure you this!
Divine Eve have always had a very noticeable Celtic Frost influence to my ears, what other bands fuel and influence your overall sound? I always thought the opening of "Last of the Sunset Faded" from your 1993 "As The Angels Weep" EP sounds a lot like the beginning of "Circle of the Tyrants"!!. I personally love the obvious Frost worship that rears its ugly head throughout your recorded output so far!! Can we expect more Frostian riffage on the full length?!
Michael:- Ah yes the intro riff for "The Last of the Sunset Faded", yeah it has a CELTIC FROST feel to it. Hell, I sing that song. The rest of that song is quite diverse, doom parts, fast parts, and a NWOBHM kinda break....Good observation though. Of course CELTIC FROST is an influence as well as many others. BLACK SABBATH, HELLHAMMER, WINTER, AUTOPSY, MOTORHEAD, CARNAGE, SODOM, VENOM, BATHORY, NIHILIST/ENTOMBED "Left Hand Path", CATHEDRAL's "Forest of Equilibrium", old PARADISE LOST, DISCHARGE, and to many others to name. One of the things DIVINE EVE always will have is that certain aspect of the songs like we've done in the past. Just compose and create songs with riffs, parts, fast/mid/slow, and back up the material with what we feel is strong lyrics. This is something that will always be intact, so as for will there be "tasteful" songs on the debut record like the material we have already composed and recorded. Yes.
You have always had a good mix of tempos from Crushing slow Doomed out passages to mid paced Frostian parts and faster Swedeath style parts, I always love it when bands mix up their tempos you guys are a perfect example of a band who does this with very effective devastating results. Can we expect more of this from the new material?
Michael:-Yes, that we get compared to a lot of European and Scandinavian metal is good as those bands we consider the style we see things more eye to eye on. I always thought that those bands in Europe and Scandinavia were only following the model we do of BLACK SABBATH and MOTORHEAD kind of rock/metal hymn structure or idea. To make songs we would like as fans of this music. These concepts are nothing out the ordinary for us as a band, the style of music we play was almost non existent back then in the US, and kinda still is. Some bands were doing Doom Death Metal but none in our region. Plus we have known many of those bands over the water since the early 90's from tape trading and fanzines. So for us to have chaotic tempo changes, crushing doom parts and the like was nothing strange to us. If regional bands get that label that we fall into but are no where near I see as just coincidence... We have always tried to mix tempos and create a bit a chaos with our songs so as far as your observation. You can expect similar material as well as up date material for what we consider the future of DIVINE EVE.
You hit the road in Europe with Incantation amongst others in early 2010, how was this tour for the band? Must have felt great to finally bring your live assault across the pond?! What were the highlights of this tour? Do you have much live plans for 2011?
Michael:-To have had the opportunity to Tour Europe was monumental for us. As we have always had a stronger following in Europe and to finally be able to bring our live performance over the water was one of many highlights in my experiences in being a member of DIVINE EVE. To share the stage with long time friends INCANTATION and having Kyle pull double duty and play drums for us live as well as INCANTATION was unforgettable. Many moments to remember, all the shows were very well received by the audiences. Many times after we played I was approached by someone younger and unfamiliar with DIVINE EVE that would praise us and how much they enjoyed the show. Highlights were of course playing all the shows for me but London, all the Spain and Italian shows, and Czech Republic were all great shows! We hope to return sometime in 2012. As for shows in 2011 a few select ones we already played and so far confirmed the Rites If Darkness festival in San Antonio Texas at the end of this year.
What else have you got planned with the band, what other releases are in the pipeline? what are your other future plans?
Michael:- As for right now, we are proceeding in the pre-production phase of the album. Composing new material, writing lyrics, and concentrating of making the content of the record with extreme importance. There will be a companion release to be recorded during or shortly after the recording of the album is complete, news on this is still pending so watch for details. We are playing this years Rites of Darkness festival in San Antonio Texas at the end of this year. Some shows may be played in between then and now but nothing official as of right now. As for future plans, after the album is released we plan to Tour Europe and the USA in 2012. After that we plan to continue and record DIVINE EVE material into the end of time.
You are also a member of Rape Pillage Burn, this band is still active right? Whats the future plans with this band, is Richard Cabeza still a member? How did you end up hooking up with him?
Michael:-Yes, I am the vocalist/guitarist for RAPE PILLAGE & BURN...We have been dormant for several years do to outside obligations in life as well as other creative outlets. Richard got busy with UANANIMATED, the same time Matt and I got busy with DIVINE EVE but things are coming together and regrouping. Yes Richard is still a member as well as Scott Cooksey will handle lead guitar duties from now on. This is the first announcement that we have a full line up now but only after the completion of DIVINE EVE's current obligations will things happen... RAPE PILLAGE & BURN will be up and running in 2012 and will record our debut record "AUDIBLE HELL" although this title may change, some time in 2012. Matt and I have been friends with Richard since DISMEMBER toured the states in the early 1990's. It was quite natural to start a band together now that he resides in Dallas. He has been in Dallas for about 6 or 7 years now...
Thanks for partaking in this short Q&A session, any last words/plugsreaders?!
Michael:-Thank you and Eternal HAILS for the interview! As for DIVINE EVE, watch our facebook for updates and more news to come. Same goes for RAPE PILLAGE & BURN, Both bands have pretty much abandoned myspace so follow us in facebook. News and details will come for both bands on future releases and plans. The music industry is in transition and we plan on taking more control and do things in a different manner to keep our fans and supporters satisfied. We will be opening an E-store SICK SERENADES for E-commerce, digital downloads, and merchandise sales very soon!