Potmos Hetoimos (Greek for “Doom is at Hand”) is the solo metal project of Matt Matheson that came into existence some time in 2005. When he embarked on this endeavor, his sound was of sludgy, crushing doom with stoner undercurrents. Each track was improvised; their respective recordings were completed in one take and any slip ups were not removed. No re-recordings took place; it was Matt just putting himself out there. This crafted a raw aura that permeated throughout Matt’s first few albums, though as he aged, matured, and progressed through life, so did Potmos Hetoimos. Many of his earlier albums were recorded and released about one month later, but as the complexity of his albums grew—be it by bringing on guest vocals or constructing vibrant instrumental arrangements with saxophone, piano, woodwinds, and a sundry of other strings—the time he spent producing each lengthened. Additionally there emerged a more progressive tone in his work. He, more or less, shed his stonier inclinations and on his eleventh (and most recent) Potmos Hetoimos record, Vox Medusae, he embraced a sound of progressive blackened sludge with heavier infusions of jazz. And amidst this aural evolution, a key characteristic of Matt’s style persisted: the articulation of a ponderous concept.
Vox Medusae encapsulates Matt’s personal struggle with pornography addiction. It is utterly intricate in its formulation as it’s pieced together as a play comprised of nine distinct characters, each of which have their own unique voice provided via a non-traditional musical scale. Medusa, the physical embodiment of lust (voiced by Jane Vincent of Curse), is, for lack of a better term, Vox Medusae‘s antagonist. She theatrically and vociferously protrudes throughout the album’s duration as a bevy of characters inside the protagonist’s (the Addict’s) mind snarl, indulge, and manically jest and argue with one another. At times it is chaotic, but passages serene, dismal, warm, and intense, percolate. And the catharsis Vox Medusae yields near its end is overwhelming, yet the conquering of his struggle is left ambiguous.
In this conversation, Matt takes us deeper into Vox Medusae. He describes how he selected the musical scales associated with each character, how this concept developed, his sentiments regarding the rawness of this record, and how it feels to be so frank and open with listeners about this struggle. Thank you so much for listening.
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In addition to the hyperlinks above, you can peruse the Potmos Hetoimos discography at the following link. Matt also writes for the music blog, Can This Even Be Called Music?. For folks interested in the music theory component of Vox Medusae, Matt wrote an incredibly in-depth piece about each individual scale, which you can read here.
Thank you Kyle at Ash & Dust Studio for mastering this conversation’s audio.