-- Lethvm gets shredded! --

Stijn Daneels
On January 24th 2019 I was invited to an official press event at the headquarters of Dunk!Records. A record label dedicated to doom, sludge and post-metal and whose activities also include the yearly 3-day event Dunk!Festival as well as the vinyl production plant Dunk!Pressings. My good friend Sean Vali (head of booking agency Arawn Agency) offered me to interview several of Dunk!’s associated bands and one of those was Lethvm. I sat together with vocalist Vincent and guitarist Mathieu to discuss things like the meaning behind their band name, their participation in the LOUD music program, their partnership with Dunk!Records and their appearances at Dunk!Festival and Durbuy Rock Festival.

All pictures by Elien Swinnen (https://www.elienswinnen.com).

BMS: Hello guys. Let’s start with an ordinary question, how did Lethvm begin?
Mathieu: In 2015 Lethvm came out of the ashes of a local band that I played in. And after the lineup was completed, things went pretty fast for us.
Vincent: Yeah, two months after I joined in we recorded our first EP, which was “Affable Erosion” and we recorded a music video for the EP’s track “Shine In The Crawling Darkness.” The big advantage we had was that the EP’s material had already been written, so I only had to add my vocals and then we brought out the EP and began playing gigs.
BMS: Pretty effective strategy! So, what does the name “Lethvm” mean?
Vincent: The name Lethvm comes from the Latin word “letum” which means “lethal,” or “death” but also “erosion,” and it’s the latter meaning that constitutes the main theme behind our band and the music that we make. Slow, heavy stuff that, like the natural phenomenon that is erosion, strips away the light and fertility from a certain location and leaves behind darkness and decay.
BMS: I see. Personally, I feel that your band’s sound is a mix of post-metal and doom metal.
Vincent: We mainly identify ourselves as a doom metal act. Most of our compositions have that typically slow and moody doom metal pace but we also have a love for melodies that you could associate with post-metal.
BMS: What are your primary influences?
Vincent: Our three main inspirational pillars are Amenra, Cult Of Luna and Neurosis. Also Black Sabbath, Chelsea Wolf, Hexis and Celeste come to mind. And we also have a large appetite for drone and ambient stuff.

BMS: I saw that in 2017 you participated in the LOUD Program by Court-Circuit. What was that program all about?
Matthieu: The LOUD Program is a biennially competition organized by Court-Circuit, a joint-organization made of music promoters who help out young musicians from Wallonia. It’s basically our version of Poppunt, that you have here in Flanders.
Vincent: Yes, and in 2017 we competed in the LOUD Program alongside 3 other heavy music bands from Wallonia (which were Concealed Reality, How To Kill An Asteroid and Wyatt E) and we came out victorious!
BMS: Congratulations!
Vincent: Thank you. Thanks to our participation we scored a gig at the Entrepôt venue in Arlon, supporting the Lithuanian black metal band Au-Dessus and we rejoined the other 3 competing LOUD bands during the LOUD Fest event in the Botanique in Brussels alongside two Flemish bands called Fire Down and Sons Of A Wanted Man. All things considered it was a great, satisfying experience.
BMS: I agree! And I love the fact that Court-Circuit decided to mix bands from Flanders and Wallonia together on a single, all-Belgian event!
Vincent: Yeah, for that LOUD Fest event Poppunt and Court-Circuit joined forces, narrowing the gap between both regions.
BMS: Great! So, last year you played a gig at the Durbuy Rock Festival. How did it go?
Vincent: Well, during the LOUD Fest event, the organization of DRF came over to check out the participating bands and they invited us to join their festival. We took the opportunity right away and the day we played there was unforgettable. We played on a bigger stage than we were used to at the time and had a large, fun-having crowd before us. It was a true eye-opening experience for us and it motivated us to push our band and music to the limit!
BMS: Ah, a true testament of strength and determination! I love it! Now, let’s talk about your collaboration with Dunk!Records?
Vincent: Well, it was 2017 and we were close to releasing our first album which was “This Fall Shall Cease.” We were looking for a record label and one of the people we emailed to was Wout Lievens of Dunk! and he responded very positively. Not only did he press our album’s vinyl version, but he also invited us to play at the 2018 edition of Dunk!Festival, which was an absolutely marvelous experience. The dark forests of this festival formed a perfect setting for our style of music and the multicultural audience had a lot of fun during our show. Now we have several gigs ahead of us organized by Dunk!Records such as a major gig at the Baroeg (Rotterdam) in March. 2019 will be one hell of a busy year for us.
Mathieu: Yes, we got gigs in the Netherlands and in Flanders, which is great for us, since we’ve already played a lot of shows in both Wallonia and France but not that many in the northern parts of the Benelux. So, yeah, we’re moving up in the world, literally! Ha, ha, ha!
BMS: What other future plans do you guys have in store?
Vincent: For the past few months we’ve been writing material for our second full-length release. We’re planning to reenter the studio by the end of April to put all that new stuff on record and bring it out in September.
BMS: Ambitious plans! I like it. Let’s see, what other things do you guys do in life aside from being part of Lethvm?
Vincent: I play guitar and sing in another doom metal band called Rope&Bones. That band is still its early stages but we do have a gig next April in the Garage in Liege.
Mathieu: I have no other projects aside from Lethvm. I have a family to support and we all know how much commitment that takes.
Vincent: Our drummer Tony has a one-man project called Shelther (sic), in which he combines ambient/drone music with photography and other visuals.
BMS: Great! So, you’ve got anything else you wish to add before we wrap this shred up?
Vincent: In the past few months we’ve played some really great gigs here in Flanders (such as one in the Trix bar) and we’re absolutely pumped to play many more shows in your region again. Flemish crowds are numerous and very enthusiastic.
Mathieu: Thanks for this shredding chat! We’ll be seeing you soon!
BMS: Yes, you will! Now let’s have the lovely Elien take a nice picture of us!