Omega Thanatos” was released in 2015. With it, Skeptical Minds started an album trilogy. But it initially remained just one album. Until now, eight years later, the second part has finally been released. Under the name “Kharon“, after Charon, the ferryman in Greek mythology. Skeptical Minds were founded in 2002 and had already released two albums by 2015. I was also able to conduct a first interview with the musicians in 2015. Now it’s time to find out what has happened over the past few years.

Hi, I’m Rainer and I write for the Metalheads Forever Magazine. I’m delighted to be able to do this interview with you. How are you doing?

Karolina: Hi Rainer, thank you for this interview and thank you for your support and interest to the band. We are very happy to answer your questions. 

We are doing fine and as all the bands who release a new album, we are very excited and also impatient to be back on stage!!!

Please introduce the band briefly.

Karolina: Skeptical Minds is a Belgian band created in 2002. Our music contains 3 main ingredients we use since the beginning: melodic female voice, electro-industrial sounds and electric guitars. Beside that, we love to create dark, sad or aggressive atmospheres.

Since 2011 we have a 5th official member, Alain Poncelet who collaborates with us for all the design, graphic and comic book parts. Alain and Michel are friends since few decades and it was logical that one day, they would collaborate on something 😉

Encyclopaedia Metallum categorises you as a Gothic Metal band. How would you describe yourself your sound?

Nowadays, the “gothic” word is often used when you have a female singer and if you play dark or depressive music. That’s bigger than that and it’s a very large family. We don’t identify ourselves as gothic band. Maybe the global result sounds “gothic” to most of ears but we consider we are a band mixing their 3 main influences. Nothing more. We try to create our own universe, just combining those elements. We use to say we are an electro industrial metal band. Our music is a sort of crossover of different influences we have and that’s enough for us 😊 stickers are not important. You listen, you like, or you don’t like, you enjoy, or you don’t enjoy 😊 so simple.

If I’ve got it right, there have only been changes to the bass line-up in the band since 2015. There have been several changes on bass. Adrien has been with the band since 2022. How has he contributed to the band structure?

Karolina: you are right, Adrien is the 4th bass player in the band (in 22 years, it’s not so bad) 😉

He joined the band end of 2022 indeed. Since he came, he mostly worked on learning the setlist and play the songs live with us, in order to be ready, promote the new album on stage. In fact, the album was already recorded when he arrived. In studio, Michel did record the bass because we were without bass player at that time. It was not our biggest priority to find a new bass player before the release of the new album. Adrien is exactly the kind of bass player we needed. He has the human qualities we were looking for (very important for us), he’s involved, motivated, plays like a metronome and it fits perfectly to what wanted. On stage, he’s like he always played with us. All came naturally as he was a fan of the band since years. Now, he’ll see the shows from the other side.

You started an album trilogy in 2015 with “Omega Thanatos”. Part 2 “Kharon” wasn’t released until eight years later. Why did it take so long? What have you done in the meantime?

Michel: Hello Rainer, in fact, the album was ready to be released in 2020. Since 2015, we worked between 2 and 3 years to build all the thing. As we work in parallel on the music, a scenario and a book, it takes much more time to build something coherent. So, recording in 2019 was not so bad for us 😊 the problems came after with the Covid situation. We decided to delay the release. Release an album with so big investments was not an option for us if we cannot promote it live and sell some merch to cover the costs. We always worked like that and it’s perfect for us. We decided to wait that the situation comes back to the normal before we release this album. It’s bad for the fans who wait but it’s also a wise choice to make on the financial side.

What we did during that time is spend lot of time on the production level and also practice the new songs to be able to play them live when time will come.

In fact, we lost 3 years on the schedule due to the Covid situation. That’s long and we hope the next one can be released in 2 or 3 years max from now.

The album titles suggest that Greek mythology is the theme. What is the current album specifically about?

Michel: Greek mythology is just an inspiration for some things but after that, we create our own fiction. In the first part of the trilogy (“Omega Thanatos”), the story happens on earth. In this episode, the protagonist is waking up in a hospital room but quickly, we understand that she is between two worlds. Between our world and the realm of death. That’s where the story of this album takes place.

In the Greek mythology, KHARON is the boatman that helps you to cross the rivers that lead to the realm of deads. That’s why we decided to refer to him for this album because he’s an important character of the story. 

The third episode will happen in the third world: the realm of deads where they will finally meet THANATOS. As the music is like the soundtrack of the story, I let you imagine how it can be 😊

KHARON album is mostly built around mid-tempo songs because we are in the transition world. It’s like a dream between life and death. After, you’ll see what happens! 😊

“Kharon” was initially only released digitally. Why haven’t you produced a CD? Or will it follow later?

Michel: It will follow later. For “Omega Thanatos”, we didn’t have digital release first or in the same time. It was in 2015 and digital platforms were not as popular as now. We made a live release party and it was a blast. Concert, signing sessions, dedications of the comic book with Alain Poncelet. It was really good and exciting experience for everybody. We would like to do the same. That’s why we wait a bit more, in order to organize a real live release party. There, the physical objects will be presented too. 

We found partners, venue and the concept. We just wait for the last confirmation and book a final date. Then things can be announced.

How did the recordings for the current album go? Were the individual songs written together within the band?

Michel: Let’s start from the writing of the songs and the studio after. For Omega Thanatos, it was difficult to find the good way of work, but we understood what the good way was to do.

For this album, we first wrote the scenario, then we discuss it with Alain Poncelet who prepares his storyboard and sketches. When we all agree and consider things are ok, we share the work as following: Alain Poncelet works on his drawings, based on the main scenario. I write the electros, guitars and the structure of the songs. Once we have that, Karolina writes her melodies and lyrics. Ben received the tracks without drums. Just a click for the tempo and he could write his drum parts.

It’s the first time we involve everybody like this. It’s very different than if one person writes for everybody. You cannot put some else’s personality in your writing. It’s very difficult. Like this, everybody plays something personal, with different feelings. We put it all together, we have listening sessions where we all give our opinion, adapt some things if needed, and after that, the demo is ready for the studio.

The studio recording happened in Athens with Fotis Benardo (ex-Septic Flesh) who also helped us with the arrangements. He was the producer of this album, and he really pushed our compositions higher.

The recording went quite fast. It’s like every one of us were used to record with him like this, since years… The collaboration was great, and we all had a big complicity that helped a lot to reach what we wanted. Fotis is very professional, and he knows how to make each one’s potential explode.

The mastering was done by George Nerantzis. He’s an alchemist. You have to listen the mix without mastering and with it, to understand 😉

How does “Kharon” differ musically from “Omega Thanatos”?

Karolina: I think that the main difference is the production level. Here, is sounds mature and more professional than all what we did before. Lot of melancholic and dark melodies. We also wanted to refer to all the albums we did before (“The Old Man”, “The Training”), and also explore new things like “The Path”, “Rebels” or “Desert”. Not that we invent a new style, but some elements or atmospheres we were not used to bring in our music before.

This was also the first time we spent more time to work on the vocal lines and especially on the harmonies. Fotis Benardo helped us a lot with this. It’s one of his multiple strong points.

How satisfied are you with “Kharon”?

Karolina: 200%!!! We all are proud of that album, and we all agree to say it’s our best so far.

How were the reactions of the fans and the press to the new album?

Michel: Until now, we have very good feedback. Especially about the production and the maturity of the compositions. We are very happy with the first feedback we receive. No insults so far, then it’s a good start 😊

What can we expect from Skeptical Minds in the future? Will you be presenting the album live outside your home country?

Karolina: Yes!!! We really want to play everywhere! Booking is on the way; we are busy to fill the agenda. Some gigs are already planned but not announced yet. It will be done soon.

We’ll do our best to play in as many countries as we can.

Do we have to wait another eight years for the third chapter? Or has the songwriting for the sequel already started?

Michel: 8 years?????????????????? Please no!!!!! HAHA 

The songwriting didn’t start yet. We have the global idea of the scenario in the head but that’s all. This year, we’ll focus on the promotion of the new album and end of 2024, we’ll work on the next one. I think it’s reasonable to expect a release in 2026. And I think we all are impatient to finish the trilogy and after that, we also think to propose special shows just based on the trilogy. Combining the visual side with the music. But let’s see what the future will tell. 😉

Thank you once again for the interview. Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans at the end?

Karolina: Thank you all for your support!!! We hope to meet you all on the road and share great moments as usual!!!

Michel: Watch your back! We are back!!!

Skeptical Minds are:

Karolina Pacan – Vocals
Benjamin Lazzano – Drums
Adrien Josson – Bass
Michel Stiakakis – Guitars


First Experiment – Demo 2004
Rent to Kill – Album 2005
The Beauty Must Die – EP 2007
Skepticalized – Album 2010
Living in a Movie – EP 2013
Run for Your Live – Live Album 2014
Omega Thanatos – Album 2015
Force Within – Live DVD 2017, Live Album 2023
Kharon – Album 2023

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