Erimha: Not as Serious as it Sounds

I was a little disappointed in Erimha.

At first glance, everything about them seems ripe for parody. They're a death metal act that comes fully packaged in corpse paint and costumes—complete with character names like Kthien and Diusternas—like a kind of K-Mart version of GWAR. The idea of these guys sitting around conducting interviews in the guises of undead Sumerian warriors was too good to pass up.

“There was a quick talk when we were forming the band about 'are we going to keep the makeup on for interviews', but personally, I'm not 16 anymore,” said guitarist Kthien, whose real name turns out to be Patrick. “I think it was just important for us to keep that division; to keep the image on the stage. Off stage, it's always going to be no makeup, no matter what.”

Well shit.

So it turns out that Erimha is really just four pretty nice French Canadian guys from Montreal who got together and decided to churn out some incredibly heavy music. It was when they were putting together the concept for what kind of band they wanted to be, that the makeup and costumes entered the picture.

“At first we were supposed to lay out a whole back story,” Kthien recalled. “I think it just ended up growing on us. When we sat down and brain stormed with the band, we came upon some Sumerian mythology and got into that big-time. 'Erimha' means 'army' or 'legion' in Sumerian, and we just built from there. So when we finally settled on (the name), we felt that having this whole mythology and then walking on stage in jeans and an Iron Maiden t-shirt didn't fit. So we said let's go all-out or not at all.”

After independently releasing their first album in 2010, Erimha signed with Victory Records for the release of their follow-up, “Reign Through Immortality.” Victory—home of acts like The Reverend Horton Heat and The Bunny & The Bear—hasn't really been known for its recent successes with hardcore metal acts.

“When Victory came calling, we were like 'what do they want from a band like us?',” Kthien admitted. “When we start to work with someone, we all go a bit insane with the research. They do have black acts, but we were still wondering why (us).”

Perhaps Victory sees the band as a way back into legitimate black metal acts. But regardless of the label's reasoning, Erimha's members are pragmatic.

“When you look at the landscape today, the industry is changing,” Kthien said. “You've got to work. You've got to be touring and you've got to be working. Victory lets us do that. We've got a crazy devoted team—I don't think they ever sleep—and we're super happy with the results.”

Now Erimha finds themselves on the cusp of a new American tour, and they've got big plans and high hopes for the coming year.

“2014 is going to be a big year for us,” Kthien announced. “We wanted last year to go out a bit bigger, but there were a lot of issue with booking agents. It's cool to have a label, but you need an agent also, especially to come in to tour the states.”

“We've got things lined up for this year that are really interesting,” he concluded. “We've already started working on the concept for the next album. We want to really put some effort behind this and work on it big time. We want to blow people away.”

Originally appeared in Cityview January 8, 2014