Metal Anarchy’s Music In The Age Of COVID-19 Series: Interview With River Of Souls

Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “Music In The Age Of COVID-19” series, the feature where I discuss the ongoing pandemic with various musicians. This time I have an interview with Paul Beltman of River Of Souls.

METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

BELTMAN: Well, I must admit that Covid-19 surely had a negative impact on our excitement regarding the release of this year’s album ‘Usurper,’ but on the other hand: we and our families are all healthy and alive and that’s the most important!

METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?

BELTMAN: I haven’t been working on new tunes yet. On one side, after finishing the music and the production of the album, it takes some time to get into the composition mode again. And on the other hand, I had a lot promotional stuff to handle, and I haven’t attended rehearsals since March. The other band members are practicing once or twice a month, and the basis for a few new tracks is made. We expect to be able to start with the more serious rehearsals in October or November again, when our drummer Koen has set up his new recording setup in his rehearsal studio. But, mostly because we’re not able to bring our music through live shows, we have released a new lyric video last week. We’re very pleased with the results. It’s made by YOD Multimedia. We gave him some guidelines what how we felt it should look, gave a rough idea of the images, and we provided the lyrics of course. When we saw the video for the first time, it was directly spot-on : YOD nailed it.

METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?

BELTMAN: Well… that was long ago… November 2018, I believe…. We had a few lineup changes in 2019 and it took a long time before we were able to play again, and once we were ready for our first shows with this lineup, the shutdown started… So, that was surely a major bummer. But I’m sure next year will be a good year for River Of Souls.

METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?

BELTMAN: Once we have the studio ready, we might do a live session. But no solid plans yet.

METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?

BELTMAN: If you start playing music to earn a living, then you’re having a really hard time, but that’s nothing new. The internet killed the indie artist years ago, but as long as people enjoy live music, live music will never die. That being said, live venues are having a really hard time. Some are facing bankruptcy at the moment. It could very well happen that many stages will disappear. So, yeah, some will go down, and maybe others will benefit from that. Time will tell.

METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?

BELTMAN: Surely! If you really want to support the bands you really like: Buy their albums, be it physically (CDSs/vinyl/whatever), be it digital downloads (CD Baby, Bandcamp, iTunes, etc.). Playing their music on streaming platforms simply doesn’t help them much in a financial way, but in the case of River Of Souls, we’re not in a financial struggle, feel free to listen to our music through streaming, but please do listen to a complete album to understand what we’re doing!

Metal Anarchy’s New Music Showcase: Exclusive Q&A With River Of Souls

Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “new music showcase,” the feature where I introduce you to bands that readers of this site may find interesting. This time I have an exclusive Q&A with River Of Souls drummer Koen Spierings.

METAL ANARCHY: Tell me a little about your band:

SPIERINGS: River of Souls was founded in 2014. The music can be described as heavy doom death metal, but it’s all about the guitar riff!

METAL ANARCHY: Who are your main influences?

SPIERINGS: Our main influences vary a lot, this goes from 70’s prog rock to extreme death metal. You can hear all of this in our songs, but sometimes it is really subtle. It’s not like we use really high speeds or blastbeats constantly, but the way they arrange their songs and how they use their song structures.

METAL ANARCHY: What is your latest release and why should readers of this site check it out?

SPIERINGS: Our latest release is “Usurper”. It was released on May 15th this year. You should check it out because it is a really cool and diverse record! We put a lot of effort in the structures and melodies and the sequence of the track list. If you like cool, catchy riffs with lots of additional melodies and variations, this is your album. It goes from old school doom metal, to heavy metal, to Gothenborg death metal and even some black metal parts, but it never sounds misplaced, it fits the songs.

METAL ANARCHY: What can people expect when they go to your live shows?

SPIERINGS: A decent performance from a band that tries to bring the atmosphere from the album on stage. Do not expect a lot of talking. We try to use soundscapes to connect our songs so it will feel like we start, and we end, and you can only think wow, was that already 45 minutes to an hour?

METAL ANARCHY: Where do you see your band heading in 5 years?

SPIERINGS: Hopefully, we will have released one or two more albums by that time and we are able to play some bigger venues as a support act, and we can do maybe one or two small tours throughout Europe. Maybe even some festival performances. But the most important thing is that in 5 years we still have fun doing it, and are making the music we like.