Follow Me Through Body is out on 30th October via Bandcamp.
In just a few days, Cork post metal quartet Partholón will release their debut EP Follow Me Through Body. A raw and rending composition consisting of four tracks of brutality and vulnerability, the set is an imposing and grinding collection that sees the group set the foundations for their purgative and, at times, soaring sound. Mastered by Magnus Lindberg of Cult of Luna, and drawing on the likes of Neurosis and early ISIS, the EP is an engrossing and captivating affair that trudges and ploughs its way through its near 40 minute running time. It is defiant, ugly, and beautiful.
We spoke to Donal Howard, vocalist and guitarist with the group, about how the songs deal with existential crises, humanity’s inability to learn from our mistakes, and carrying a dying heritage forward.
Follow Me Through Body
The title of the release was a difficult one, I’m sure every band that’s ever done a release has had the same difficulty. We wanted something that we could carry forward to future releases in terms of concept and atmosphere. I’ve had a pretty clear vision of what Partholón should represent since we began, but to articulate that in a single title was a challenge, and not a fun one. Up until a month before the release, we had a different title, but Alan (drums) and I had being discussing lyrical content. He proposed “Follow Me Through Body” as part of a wider concept. It fits and was worth the extra effort. There’s not much to explain on what it means. For now, I’d like to leave it open to interpretation. This is our first release and our first songs, but we’re thinking ahead to the next two releases already. “Follow Me Through Body” will make more sense with each listen.
1. ‘To The Stars’
The opening track is an axis of crisis. It was written during a very difficult personal time, where identity and purpose fed into difficult circumstances. It’s about acceptance and realizing the worth of a difficult situation. There was a fantastic Dutch post black metal band called Terzij De Horde, who had come to play some shows here. They spent a few days with me in my hometown and a lot of drinks were had. It’s a hard thing to explain, but it helped me to accept certain things and to be braver in expressing a point of view. Those guys were unknowing catalysts in a change of pace to how I approached the more difficult aspects of being alive. The simplicity of it all had a profound impact on how I saw myself and the town I come from. I wrote this song immediately after they had left. It’s essentially a conversation with myself about thinking in truth, not right or wrong. I hope this embarrasses them as much as it does me. IK BRAND!
This is probably the most accessible track on the release. It was the least troublesome song that we wrote. Alex (guitars) and Alan (drums) did a lot of the ground work, which gave me great freedom in writing the lyrics and vocals. Jerusalem is a circular view of settlement and civilization. It’s about evil consuming itself. It’s easy to point fingers at politicians and so called leaders of the world for the state things are in, but we’re all part of a greater evil that will eventually consume itself. We keep getting it wrong, and the scales have tipped for the worse. We have no one to blame but ourselves. The next wave of civilization will learn nothing from our mistakes, just like we’ve learned nothing from past mistakes. As long as we articulate god in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic way, intelligent people will continue to do stupid and destructive things. We’re currently working on a video for this song, I’m hoping it works out, but it’s a difficult thing to achieve with a small budget. We’ve got to figure out if there’s any real worth to it, but for now, it looks likely to happen. Dillon (bass) really shines on this track. For such a young kid, his approach was incredibly intense.
This song had a brief life with our previous band Five Will Die, although, in a different context to how we approached it with Partholón. It’s about killing the external and awakening the internal god. Reaching inside and pulling that fire to the fore. The album artwork is based around this song in particular. Alan (drums) had an unusual interpretation of the main riff which just took the song forward very quickly. Alex (guitars) reminded me very much of Mick Ronson of David Bowie on this, hence the lyrical nod towards the end of the song. Bean also took on lead vox towards the middle of the song with great confidence. Light is the death of the divine and the birth of the individual, a simple concept around a heavy riff.
‘Hunt’ is the real beginning of Partholón, this is the bridge to the next release. It was the most enjoyable and difficult track to record. There was an old Hammond type organ in the studio that was beat to death, we used that along with a piano for the beginning of the song. Bean did some unconventional feedback with his bass effects, which took a lot of effort to control. It’s a difficult thing to replicate live, but we kept it as authentic as possible for the recording. The vocals were initially meant to be by someone else, but I came in after a stroll around Temple Bar and just went for it off the cuff. The two takes on the record are the only takes that we did. All the vocals were actually done in one or two takes, but they had all been thought out previously. Hunt was far more instinctive and I think it shows. The song itself is about carrying a dying heritage forward. Some things are just in the blood.
Grab Follow Me Through Body via Bandcamp.
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