Give 'Em Hades, Not Hell!

By Joe Who?

Lair Of The Minotaur - A great band from Chicago, that up until this year I didn't even know existed! I found out about them by pure luck. Earlier this year I saw them open up for Exhumed on a small sized Metalfest in Chicago, and was blown away by their performance.The band consists of members of 7000 Dying Rats, and Pelican, with a style I'd describe as straight up metal mixed with doom.

I recently had a chance to talk with lead singer / guitarist Steve Rathbone, (via e-mail) about some different topics, and learn more about the band...

Wormwood Chronicles: A Brief History if you would on Lair Of The Minotaur - How did this all get started?

Steve Rathbone: It was an idea I had floating around in my head for some time. No one I told the idea to liked it. Good thing I usually don't listen to people's advice. Mixing two of my favorite things, heavy metal and stories about mythological monsters and war. I wanted it to sound like if Celtic Frost made the soundtrack for Clash Of The Titans. The songs from the 6 song EP had been written about a year before we became a band. Donald (bass) had played guitar in 7000 and bass in another band with me called Junken Groil. And Larry (drums) was a long time friend and I knew he was a metal head, and so Lair Of The Minotaur was born.

WC: What's the status on 7000 Dying Rats? I've read that you don't want to perform live with that band, but still want to release studio recordings. Will there be anything new coming out down the line?

SR: Yes, we're in the process of finishing the recording on our next album. 90% of it is done. It will definitely be the darkest album we've put out. We're currently shopping it around to labels, trying to find somewhere that makes sense.

WC: Lair of The Minotaur has just signed to Southern Lord Records - Congrats. Southern Lord was a great choice for your style of music, how did it all come together?

SR: Thanks. It was all due to Southern Lord's web designer. He had ordered an EP from us and was really into it. He kept telling Greg Anderson about us and finally Greg asked him to send him a copy of our stuff. He got a hold of us right away after listening to it and the rest is history.

WC: Do you feel any pressure now that you're on a label?

SR: No, not at all. Southern Lord is a kick ass label and we're proud to be on their roster. It's a great opportunity for our music to be heard by a lot of people, but we'll keep making our music the same as if it was going to be heard by just a few.

WC: With the songs written in this manner, do you want them interperated as seperate songs - like short stories, or do you want them all to blend together like a "concept" album?

SR: They're definitely seperate songs. It's more of a concept band, than a concept album.

WC: What about the music? Do you guys have "Jam Sessions" to come with ideas for songs?

SR: I write the riffs and then come up with a rough draft for the arrangement. In the beginning I had made demo's of the songs and just gave them to the guy's and then we went from there. Now with the newer songs, we just go riff by riff in the song and work it out in practice.

WC: Should Lair Of The Minotaur be considered a "Side Project" band?

SR: No. We all have different things we do besides LOTM, but it definitely is no longer just a side project.

WC: What is the meaning behind your band name Lair Of The Minotaur?

SR: Well, the Lair Of The Minotaur is the labyrinth. The story goes, the minotaur had caused so much terror and destruction that king Minos ordered the labyrinth be built to cage the beast. Daedalus built a gigantic maze that was impossible to escape from. The minotaur was captured and imprisoned in the labyrinth. Every year they would send 7 men and 7 women as sacrifice. (Until the heroic Theseus finally slew the monster! Incidentally, the labyrinth really exists on the Island of Crete!--Prof. Mality) I thought it was an awesome story to center a band around.

WC: You guys have been keeping busy playing shows this year. How has the reaction been from the different crowds you've played to?

SR: So far all the crowds have been great. As long as people are head banging, we've done our job right. Everyone has been really supportive. We can't complain.

WC: For fans of the doom metal scene - What would you say Lair Of The Minotaur has to offer that sets you apart from other bands?

SR: I guess we slide above 60 bpm more often than most doom bands. I wouldn't consider us a traditional doom band. We're a heavy fucking metal band!

WC: So what are your plans for the months ahead? Any up coming tours in the works?

SR: Our first full length Carnage will be out on September 21st on CD / LP. We're touring the west coast in September. Playing the Three Days Of Darkness Fest in San Francisco and The Knitting Factory in LA with High On Fire, Goatsnake, Khanate, and Graves At Sea. That should be a killer show. We're planning on touring the east coast in December. And 2005 is up in the air right now. We shall see.

Southern Lord Recording's Website

Lair Of The Minotaur's Official Website