Ahead of the release of their upcoming second record “Sombre Dessein”, we caught up with Swiss sludge-rs Herod to discuss highlights, lowlights and legacy.
Introduce us to Herod!
Herod is a progressive/sludge band from Switzerland. Initially the brainchild of guitarist Pierre Carroz, 2014 saw Herod’s debut release “They were None” (2014) via Mighty Music and the subsequent “Deathcrusher” tour with Carcass, Obituary, Napalm Death and Voivod. Following the departure of original vocalist David Glassey, former THE OCEAN (Precambrian) vocalist Michael Pilat was recruited for follow up album “Sombre Dessein” produced by Julien Fehlmann.
How did you start out?
The premises of Herod started when Pierre was living in Sweden for 6 months in 2006. He bought a baritone guitar and recorded about 12 compositions on a four-track recorder with an ancient drum machine. The band really started in 2011 when Fabien Vodoz (drums), David Glassey (vocals) & Bertrand Pot (guitar) joined the band. Herod entered Studio Mécanique (La Chaux-de-Fonds – Switzerland) to record their debut album in 2012 with Julien Fehlmann as producer.
How would you describe your band’s sound?
Although Herod makes use of extended range guitars, the tonal approach is much more vintage in sound. Fehlmann’s touch has been distinctive and he tried to take the exact opposite view from the modern down-tuned productions. We have been related to Djent in the past and that’s cool and we certainly hold nothing against any of these multiscale guitar wizards! It is just not the sound we look for, despite playing similar instruments. We just use these tools as our sound cannot be achieved using regular guitars.
What influences your craft?
Influences are mainly Nordic: Meshuggah, Breach & Cult of Luna but also Neurosis, Yob, Scarlet and King Crimson. We listen to an eclectic mix of music as a band; a lot of it is certainly not “metal”. We believe that influence can come from anywhere… Movies, feeling, mood but if we have to drop names then here it is. The dark nature of our music is a common ground of something that we all wish to release when playing together. A positive way to release this energy and to deliver our message.
What makes Herod different? Why should people listen to you?
What makes Herod a little different is the sludge/postcore (so many “cores”) mix but also a progressive approach. The set-up makes the band somewhat original because we do not have any bass player as such. All guitars are using octave pedals to compensate for the low end. Mike uses a baritone 6 string Schecter which is somewhere between a bass and a guitar (30” scale neck) Bertrand uses 7 strings and Pierre uses 8 strings.
When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
Now then, that is a difficult question… In order to introduce Herod, I would most likely play the song “Don’t speak last” from “Sombre Dessein” because it gathers every aspect of Herod. It is a ten-minute journey to explore the belly of the King.
What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
The biggest struggle has been having a line-up change after the first record/major tour. During the Deathcrusher Tour in 2015, we parted ways with David (vocals). It was a mutual decision after a long tour for such a young band. Today we have Mike on vocal duties and on guitar; this adds an extra layer of musicality and a wider vocal range. He has plenty of experience from fronting The Ocean and we share the same common goals. But… that was in the past, we strive to look forwards… Experience, learn & grow together.
What has been the biggest highlight in your career so far?
We are quite a young band but playing a tour with metal legends such as Carcass & Obituary etc. for 35 shows has been the highlight so far for sure!
How bright is the future of your band – what are the plans?
We will release our second record “Sombre Dessein” on February 15th this year. Next, we play our release show at Pont Rouge in Monthey, Switzerland on February 23rd. After that, we are on tour all around EU with The Ocean and Downfall of Gaia. The future is looking good! We feel humbled to find ourselves in such a position.
When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
As the heaviest band of the universe of course! Thank you for your time and interesting questions.
Herod’s new album, “Sombre Dessein” is released on 15th February via Pelagic Records. Pre-order here: http://bit.ly/herodEU
They will also be touring Europe in March & April with The Ocean: