|Founded by Kostas (psychologist and researcher, but also co-founder of the www.doom-metal.com website and ex-Anonymous Soul/Bellator), in the beginning of 2000, Pantheïst is first and foremost a philosophical reference, a personal reflection (pantheism) about which I will not write, being a complete stranger to the concept...
All on his own and with only a few resources, Kostas (keyboards & vocals) recorded his first attempt, a demo called 'Dying Millenium' which was a synth-based ambient project, that remained unreleased.
Soon after, Nicolas (guitars & spoken words) joins him and Pantheïst takes its definitive shape.
Helped by some session musicians, the two men invade the famous Templa Libitina Studio, home to THE Belgian reference when it comes to Doom : Stijn Van Cauter (Until Death Overtakes Me...) Here they record their first (and only) official demo, '1000 Years'.
This demo helps to define the sound of Pantheïst : Funeral Doom strongly influenced by the Finnish style (especially Thergothon and Skepticism...) but also (lyrically speaking) by the 2 first albums of the Swedish band Tristitia and the classical composers Chopin and Bach (mostly in their relation to the Religion).
Our Belgian doomsters play on the contrasts, between the sounds of a Church organ, Kostas' keyboards and piano parts and the insanely heavy rhythm section of Nicolas. The vocals are very diversified, altering grunts, spoken words and clean singing.
In 2002, bassist Frédéric Caure (aka Istari / Bellator, Death Anos, Dune, Firma, Rhymes Of Destruction, Secundo Flumine and currently Thee Plague Of Gentlemen) and drummer Oscar Strik join Pantheïst.
Kostas and Nicolas continue their experimentations, mixing in their Funeral Doom some Progressive Rock parts (Anathema and Pink Floyd influences are strongly felt on the acoustic parts), Nicolas even trying some 7 strings guitars.
The band invade the CCR Studio's in Zulte (Aborted, Ataraxie, Thee Plague of Gentlemen) to record their first album "O Solitude" which is released in April 2003 by Firebox Records. The band participates in the Funeral Procession mini tour with Skepticism and Until Death Overtakes Me. Soon after, Arne joins the band as a second guitarist.
Due to musical differences, Oscar and Frédéric are replaced by Kris (drums) and Wim (bass) in January 2004.
This year has also seen Pantheïst hitting the stage again and paying in numerous festivals, among such legends like Esoteric or Count Raven...
However, by the end of 2004 Kostas, who in the meanwhile relocated to England, moved the band to England because of continuous problems concerning rehearsals and gigs. Nicolas decided to stay in the band, without however moving away from Belgium.
Luckily for us, Andy and Mark from Esoteric joined the band during the recording sessions of their second album Amartia in October 2004, forming what is seen as the band's best line-up to date. Soon after the recordings, Pantheist saw Ilia (Indesinence) join the band on guitar.
This was followed by the release of the "Amartia" full-length and "The Pains of Sleep" EP in 2005, two works that set off on a more conceptual journey. Both releases were recorded at The Lodge Studios, owned and run by Robert John Godfrey (of 70s Prog giants The Eind / Bartclay James Harvest). "Amartia" was the band's first (and so far only) fully concept-based album, inspired by liturgical and religious themes, and "The Pains of Sleep" further developed Pantheist's increasingly progressive leanings, while simultaneously keeping a strong foothold in their underground sound and ethos. Both releases received worldwide acclaim and enjoyed overwhelmingly positive reviews, which were followed up with a number of highly successful European shows, including a headlining mini-tour of the Netherlands. "The Pains of Sleep" was the first release to feature current drummer Sterghios Moschos (The Lost Legion) and guitarist Ilia Rodriguez (Indesinence), and would be the farewell recording for original member Nicolas Tambuyser and also Andy Semmens, both of whom relocated to the US and Finland respectively.
2008 saw the band's 5th release and 3rd full-length for Firebox Records, "Journey through Lands Unknown". The result of 18 months of arduous work and serious musical and spiritual exploration, and recorded once again as a 4-piece, "Journeys..." harked back to the more personal themes found in the band's earlier material. Musically, it was the band's most complex and layered yet accessible and engaging album; one which, in its daring stance towards genre boundaries and refusal to conform to expectations, managed to polarize opinion even further yet still reaped shining reviews and gained new adepts. The band's reputation as a live act was further cemented with a number of shows around the UK and abroad, which culminated on a second and highly successful co-headlining tour with old friends Skepticism and supported by Ophis; a tour that ended in Berlin with a venue filled well beyond its capacity and several dozens of people standing outside and unable to get in.
Over the years, Pantheist has come to be known for turning shows into special events. They have performed alongside artists as varied as While Heaven Wept, Evoken and Blaze Bailey. The band enjoyed their first foray into Eastern Europe in 2009, on a mini-tour of Czech and Poland in the company of Polish underground legends Gallileos, and were also invited to perform in Russia, as part of the prestigious Moscow Doom Fest in 2010.
Pantheist are firm believers in keeping creatively active, and have recently finalized writing their fourth album. A refinement of sorts, this new collection of songs takes the band's blueprint and progressive leanings, and merges them into a coherent whole where introspection and heavy riffs go hand-in-hand. With Kostas' unique compositional and conceptual vision, the original model remains instantly recognisable, but has now been given more space to breathe; with a larger emphasis placed on songs, yet without losing sight of the value of the whole.
Official Biography: http://www.pantheist.co.uk