The Katara mountain pass is situated in Northern Greece and its name evokes legends and traditions. And its meaning from the Greek, curse, helps in accentuating its sinister significance. But, in this case, “Katara” is the new full-length of the Finnish gothic death doom metal band Aeonian Sorrow. And as a fortunate Dantesque’s contrapasso law, reflects the curse, the pain of a difficult and personal period of singer Gogo Melone. Learn more in our interview!
Aeonian Sorrow “Katara” production
Hi Gogo, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. Thank you for taking the time to check out this interview. How are you?
Hello again and thank you very much for the beautiful invitation. Busy days but I’m doing very well, thank you! 🙂
1st November 2023 marks the release of the second Aeonian Sorrow full-length “Katara”, what can you share about the album production?
Once again, the production has the signature of Saku Moilanen (Deep Noise Studios) who is also producing bands like Wolfheart, Before The Dawn, Kaunis Kuolematon, and more. He nailed it with the sound and he tried to highlight each song in the best possible way. We are all very happy with the result. And we are looking forward to sharing this with our fans out there.
The origin of the word Katara
Katara is a mountain pass in the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece. Which is the correlation between the lyrics and the title album?
The album’s main inspiration is about the “Katara Pass” but the word itself in the Greek language means “curse” so the whole concept of the lyrics goes around that and of course death and sorrow. The tradition says that the pass took its name from a despot of Ioannina who wanted to cross the dangerous pass with a destination to the city of Trikala in the 1800s. But he couldn’t bear the heavy winter and once he arrived in a glade, which is locally known as the “Valley of the Despot”, he died and cursed the place.
Since then, legends and traditions have wrapped the story of the Katara Passage so I used all of the things I heard as a kid, and with a little bit of self-inspiration I created the concept of the album. Now each song has its purpose but all together musically and lyrically are reflects the curse, the pain, the sorrow, the sirens, the air, and the cold atmosphere.
Katara and the life changes
In the press release, you mentioned that you have been through enough difficult changes in your life. How have these changes impacted your life and Aeonian Sorrow?
I would say that the impact was quite visible in every aspect.
First I lost my grandmother from a heavy stroke and I had no chance to say a proper goodbye then came COVID-19, lockdown, depression, taking control of my life, and moving to a different country later.
So yes, I guess it was a lot for a person to deal with and the band too unfortunately took a fall as the album took a few years to be done. Luckily things got better after a while and this helped a lot and gave us the energy and motivation to continue with the things that make us feel happy and complete so that is a big win for everyone.
Life difficulties and Joel joining the band
Then, in retrospect, how does writing lyrics about these difficulties help you?
Well in my opinion the whole process of writing is very cathartic and it always makes me feel great and less heavy when I do it. I’m not the only one who feels this way as a lot of musicians who are writing their materials are often inspired by their burdens and difficulties, if not from other side stories, other people, etc.
In essence, we can say that when you write about something you get all your toxic emotions out of you and then you let it go. Music is something beautiful and magical. It is often dark and mysterious but still, it’s very beautiful and those who have the privilege to write are in my opinion, fortunate people.
“Katara” also marks the debut of the new singer Joel Notkonen. How did this collaboration start?
Now that’s something very interesting to share. Shortly after Ville left the band, we announced that we were searching for a new singer. We got a lot of applications from different people all over the world but besides a few that are still in our contact in case of emergency, the rest of them were not what we expected.
So we started to track Finnish bands from Metal Archives. And Joel‘s band was one of those that got our interest immediately. We checked his vocals. Luckily he was very interested in our band’s sound so we started to share demo tracks. And after listening to his takes on our songs, it became clear that this could be the right guy for us. It worked out super well and we all hope that his debut live performance will be appreciated by our followers.
Aeonian Sorrow new single
After a few lineup changes and serious adjustments, Aeonian Sorrow returned on July 11th, 2023. With the new single entitled “Anemos”. Which insight can you reveal?
“Anemos” is again a Greek word that means “air” and I could say that alongside the song “Katara”. They both represent the famous passage of Pindus plus the state of mind I was in when I wrote them. They reflect all the emotions and of course the feeling of pain and loss. It is the very first time that I’m using my native language. But I somehow had to and I think we will keep it this way. And combine it with the Finnish language too.
Besides being involved in music, you are a well-known graphic artist. Which was the main drive/influence for the cover album of Aeonian Sorrow “Katara”? Practically speaking, how the creation of a cover artwork is?
As a designer, I always like to do a small analysis and check all the materials before I start creating an image. Since we are talking about a specific mountain location, it is important to use nature. The trees in the area are very similar to the wild nature in Finland. And since we are half Finnish and half Greek bands, this was a nice combo to use.
Then the spiritual figures on top represent the despot who lost his life in Katara Pass. But it also has to do with my grandmother who was a very religious person. And of course her husband, my grandfather who was a priest. This album is dedicated to them too.
The woman’s figure in the center is the mysterious being of the forest/mountains that dwell there. And it has seen a lot of people losing their lives. It looks peaceful and calm but you can’t tell if it’s a good being or not because her face is covered. I’d like to think that she is protecting those who are gone and there is hope after that.
Other projects and the future for Aeonian Sorrow
Alongside Aeonian Sorrow, you have been performing with two other bands: Luna Obscura and Elyzia. Do you have any updates?
I don’t have news about Luna Obscura as this project is inactive for over a decade now. But with Elyzia we are slowly putting together songs for a second album. So you will hear something new in 2024.
After the release, what is in the pipeline? Any chance of a European tour? What are the next band’s plans?
Two days after the album’s release. It starts our “Mourning Fall European Tour” with As The Sun Falls and Sanity Obscure. This is something that we’ve been cooking for a while with the help of Dark Moon Events and we are all very excited. The last shows will end in Finland with Pressure Point and Beyond The Hate. There will be another Tour later but we will announce this as soon as all information is provided.
So, Gogo, we’re almost at the end. Please be free to say hi to your fans and readers. Thank you so much for this interview.
Once again thank you too for the invitation. It’s always a pleasure and of course warm greetings to everyone out there.
I hope you enjoy our new album as much as we do and see some of you on the road.