In a world where our differing understandings of the word ‘god’ can start wars, incite racism and homophobia, and affect the moral judgement of millions, it’s no wonder the topic of religion is a bit of an uncomfortable one right now. For something that was meant to bring people together and give them a positive purpose, the modern notion of ‘faith’ has become a pretty warped concept in many people’s eyes – as well as the subject of a lot of angry music.
During a recent interview, I spoke to London industrial-metal band Entermienum about their own personal experiences with religion and the unexpected role it has played in their music-making over the years. When brothers Julian and Daryn teamed up with guitarist Asa to start the band, they discovered that they shared an unusual religious past. Growing up, all three had experienced the dark, extreme side of religion first hand, and had all eventually broken away from their faiths, as well as from certain family members. Their mutual experiences brought the guys closer together, however, as well as giving them a powerful motivation to make music whenever they could. Despite working normal full-time jobs, submitting to the daily grind like the rest of us and rarely having the time to get together to rehearse or record, Entermienum have independently produced three albums and two music videos – all with no financial backing or support.
Sitting in the back garden of a Croydon pub, sipping on beers, Julian, Daryn and Asa discussed their strange experiences with me. Though they weren’t ready to give too much away about their pasts, it was clear that making music had been an important outlet for them and a way to express their anger at the hypocrisy of organised religion.
Julian: There were a lot of corrupt and bad elements to our upbringing in terms of religion. Stuff that was going on was swept under the carpet. And that’s why we don’t have any faith. We developed a pretty poor opinion of religion from a pretty young age.
Daryn: It wasn’t immediate family that was the problem though. It was the other people – they were the church-goers who were meant to be setting a good example, but all they did was do exactly the opposite. I remember being seven years old, and having cousins and people turning up at the house because horrible things were happening. One of my main issues with the religion in question that we have a problem with is that if there’s a problem in the family, they will just cover it up. So instead of going to the police when there was a problem, you’d go to the church elders, and the church elders would do whatever they could for the name of the church not to be affected. And these elders – they weren’t qualified to deal with these situations. They were there purely just to keep things quiet.
Julian: The kids that were affected had no voice. They’re the ones that have been put in this situation and they have no outlet. They’re just restricted on what they’re allowed to say.
Daryn: That’s how cults are run. It’s just backward thinking.
Julian: Exactly. In the extremist sect, it seems to be the end of the world that we’re not religious – but why can’t we have our opinion and they have theirs?
Asa: If you give an element to people to believe in which is completely false, it gives you a route to manipulate. A lot of people believe in it and that makes them happy, and that can’t be a bad thing. But equally, there are a lot of people who will invest in it because there’s a means to an end – you have investment within you as a person, or you as a preacher – and you can eventually see that that sort of power can drive someone completely mad.
In 2015, Entermienum created the music video for their single Spilt Blood & Lies:
I asked the guys what the story was behind this pretty intense video. Daryn explained to me that they had made the video themselves one day using nothing more than an iPad, a blank wall in Daryn’s house, and some gritty viral videos pulled from the web. In its own visually frank and unapologetic way, Spilt Blood & Lies highlights some very raw current affairs, featuring vivid images of religious violence and war, and leaving little to the imagination. It seems a mutual disdain for religion was a driving force behind the creation of the track. Julian explained that another of their tracks, Innocent Minds, also uses sinister religious themes, featuring lyrics about child molestation in the church. It was now apparent that these songs had a lot more depth to them than first meets the eye, and had come from a dark and personal place.
As Julian and Daryn talked about their difficult memories growing up together, Asa pointed out how being in Entermienum had helped him deal with his own experiences:
Asa: When you guys were writing tracks about anti-religious ideologies, I could fully buy into that. And to go through the sort of passion you have through playing something that actually means something to you – it can be a really nice outlet.
Daryn: I had someone come up to me once and say, ‘Why does your music have to be so loud and angry?’ I mean it is loud and it is angry but…
Julian: Well, we’re quiet people, so our outlet has to be loud and angry!
The band laughed at this and finished off their pints. As our interview came to an end, what was striking was how these guys had used their harrowing experiences and loss of faith as artistic fuel, turning the bad in their lives into something positive and interesting, creating something genuinely tangible and affecting with it. Their drive to create dark, moody and rage-filled music was understandable, and makes even more sense after hearing the real stories behind some of their songs and creative choices. It is widely recognised that many ‘alternative’ bands and artists like to associate themselves with anti-religious imagery and even Satanic ideologies in an attempt to appear as ‘rebels of society’ and ‘attractive outcasts’, rather than because of personal experiences. For Entermienum, though, it seems their image is not just for show.
Find out more about Entermienum here:
Cover photo by Daryn Brown