The French black metal band SETH celebrates the 20th anniversary of their album “Les Blessures de l’Âme”. On this occasion, the band released a live edition of this album called “Les Blessures de L’Âme – XX ans de Blasphème” under the label Les Acteurs de l’ombre. I take you to their world with an interview of Heimoth, one of the founding members of the band.

First of all, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? Who are you and what is your job in SETH?

Heimoth, original member, guitars.

In a nutshell, what is SETH? What is the story of the band?

In a few words ? It is a bit difficult to sum up a 25 years career in a few words. We started in the southwest of France to rehearse black metal, which was something that few people knew back in 1995. There were bands that stood out such as Marduk or Emperor. It was very motivating to be born in an era where bands in this style could still manifest themselves authentically without being overshadowed by the quantity of surrounding bands.

After a demo we were approached by Season of Mist, among its first bands, we then arrived on Osmose during our second album in 2000. We had a lot of gratitude from the first years of the band because I think we stood out from the French scene thanks to a very intense, fast BM whose melodies remained very assumed. Our singing in French has also established itself as a cornerstone of the style since 1998.

In other words, we naturally came out of the underground when certain bands of the time openly criticized our interviews solicited by large magazines. Subsequently, all the bands followed these same tracks. Today, some speak of us as the French pioneers.

Why did you choose to honor this particular album, 20 years after its release?

The bands has released albums which differ from each other over the years. After twenty years, it seemed normal to us to pay homage to what constituted the living source of our journey, by reviving the roots of our entity, by celebrating an anniversary entirely faithful to the essence of the spirit of the time. An era too often caricatured that we wanted to revive in an assumed way. It’s a pleasure for us to be able to offer this show.

On the occasion of this very special anniversary, you have decided to release a live edition of “Les Blessures de l’Âme” called « Les Blessures de L’Âme – XX ans de Blasphème ». Why did you choose to record the album at les Feux De Beltane (May 2019) ?

We did not premeditate, it is actually an idea of LADLO. Following our performance, we were made to listen to the recording of it, Gérald from LADLO offered us himself to release this in CD version on his label. We kept our live sound engineer to remix the tapes and we were seduced by the quality of the recording.

Today we can finally present this album in a different version, far from the very compressed sound of the original CD. It is very exciting to be able to offer a new sound to these songs, slightly more current and much better for my taste.

In 1998, “Les Blessures de l’Âme” was released by the Season Of Mist label. Why did you choose the label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre for the live edition (2019)?

As I said above, it is just the circumstances, it was an idea of LADLO at the base. Gérald contacted Season afterwards and there was no problem.

In 2012, Season Of Mist released a reissue of the album. Was it following your request or that of the label? Why did you remaster the album?

We had a break a few years before 2012. We had planned to come back to Season who offered to reissue this album because as I understood it was no longer available. Then we released our fifth album “The Howling Spirit”.

Some bands sometimes tell me that they get tired of playing this or that song of their set but that they continue to do so to satisfy their audience. And you, is there a song (or several) that you get tired of but that you still play?

Not really because we are not part of the bands that are always on the road. We play quite occasionally so we don’t necessarily feel tired of playing this or that title.

How do we keep this same freshness, this same emotional power to an album that is 20 years old?

We thought a little about the best way to magnify the spirit represented by this album. We favored sobriety with a few tapers and a backdrop directly reminiscent of the cover. It was not our wish to bring any modern touch – no kakemonos or too recent devices. All this was done naturally thanks, among other things, to the charisma of our singer Saint Vincent. Some of our recent members have also pushed to rekindle the flame of “Les Blessures”.

When we listen to an album, we often have our favorite song, this little nugget that makes us travel even further than the others. What about you? Is there a particular song on “Les Blessures de l’Âme” that makes you vibrate more than the others and why?

“A la mémoire de nos frères” of course does not leave me indifferent because it is the one that had been highlighted in 1998. For many it is an essential title of the French BM scene and it is felt when we are on scene.

You already have a lot of great dates under your belt, some experience too … Do you still have dreams you wish to come true, goals to achieve with SETH? (Ultimate concert, label of your dreams, band(s) with whom you dream to play,…)

It’s always nice to be able to have good festivals without losing sight of the intimate aspect of small rooms. This year we are offered to play at the Hellfest to do “Les Blessures de l’Âme” and it is frankly a certain achievement to be able to present this album in front of tens thousands of people on French soil. I can’t wait! There is no ultimate label, there are only record companies who are motivated to release a band specifically. This is what we are looking for, a label whose motivation can be felt.

I leave you the last word of this interview to allow you to close it as you see fit and leaving you the opportunity to deliver a message that is important to you.

This anniversary of the album ends this year, do not miss our latest performances to bring “Les Blessures de l’Âme” to life forever !

I end this interview with a video of the live given by SETH at Tyrant Fest in 2019.

Picture by © Thomas Mazerolles

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