If Old School Death Metal which harks back to the days of Autopsy and early Death gets your blood rushing, then look no further than Norway’s Obliteration who recently returned with their second full length album ‘Nekropsalms’ (read Paul’s review here), its also quite amazing, that for such a young band, they have their sound and outlook firmly planted in the golden era of late 80’s/early 90’s so intrigued to know more and with the help of Cristiane Richardson, I caught up with vocalist Sindre…
Can you give a brief introduction to Obliteration?
Obliteration is a Death Metal band that started out in Kolbotn, Norway in 2001, but then as a punk band, when we were 13-14 years old. Since then we’ve just played music with the same line up (Kristian drums, Didrik bass, Arild guitar and Sindre vocals and now live guitar) released demos, a 7 inch and now two albums. We include lots of punk, Crust thrash, doom and black metal into our death metal mix, and just keep it going with our little twisted chants of death.
For such a young band (if I’ve got my maths right, your still only in your early 20’s), your sound has its feet firmly rooted in late 80’s/early 90’s Death Metal, in particularly Autopsy spring to mind, but who would you say has been a major influence on your sound?
We’re 21-22. I just turned 22, and I’m starting feel old, haha.
Autopsy has been a huge influence for OBLITERATION for many years, ’cause they are the perfect death metal band, with the right sound. Our roots and the core of our music is inspired by late 80’s extreme metal, bands like DEATH, dark angel, Possessed, Dr.Shrinker, Nihilist, Darkthrone, Sadus, Devestation, Repulsion and the list goes on forever! Our musical tastes are huge, and we’re inspired by a trillion bands so to mention a couple, it doesn’t really work. But we’re really into old 70’s stuff like BLACK SABBATH and so on and lots of punk, and they all have had some kind of influence on our music. Right now I’m listening to a country comp made by a friend of mine, fucking great stuff.
I also read that the floodgates to music of the underground opened when you met Apollyon of Aura Noir & Cadaver who gave you a copy of their album ‘Discipline’, so can you tell us how this chance meeting came about and how it changed the outlook of Obliteration?
Well yeah, that’s somewhat correct, but we were into Slayer and stuff like that at that time as well. His parents are my next door neighbours so I meet him there. Remember listening to that album at school, we thought it was so sick, and too extreme to be listening to at school, haha. We were playing a kind of dark punk at that time, a mix of Misfits and Slayer I guess, but we entered into the more extreme parts of music at this time, so getting music from Apollyon only helped us finding our path.
Your debut album ‘Perpetual Decay’ was released in 2007 on Tyrant Syndicate which is a sub label of Peaceville Records and run by Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone, so how did this deal come about? Did being from the same town of Kolbotn help? And what was it like working with Nocturno Culto?
We’d been in contact since 2004-2005, mostly with Fenriz though. They loved our demo, so ever since we’ve been in contact, trading music and supporting each others bands and such. So when they started the label, it seemed like the dream label for us, but we NEVER thought we were good enough compared to the other bands on the label. After recording our 7 inch and a rehearsal tape in 2006 he decided to sign us to Tyrant Syndicate, which was a dream come true. Being from Kolbotn didn’t make this worse, hehe, but he signed us ’cause he thought we were a good band, not because we were friends or were from the same place.
Most of the work was done with Paul from PEACEVILLE, but it was always great working with them, they’re great guys with the absolute right attitude. So it sucked massive when they had to close down because of Snapper.
In support of this, you also toured the UK with our very own purveyors of doom Ramesses, so how did you hook up with Ramesses for these dates, how did they go and are there any plans to come over to these grim shores in future?
YES! That mini tour was excellent, Ramesses are the coolest guys ever!
We hooked up through Cristiane Richardson who I got in touch with through Peaceville and Nocturno Culto. She put up the tour for us, which was our first time playing outside of Norway. It was a great experience, we got to play insanely cool concerts with cool bands, and got a taste of the glamorous life on the road, hehe. It was sick, and the UK met us with open arms, so we’ll never forget the Brutalizing Britain tour. We really want to get back, so I certainly hope we get the chance to get back sometime soon. If anyone wants to book a OBLITERATION show, please get in touch. And by the way, your shores are nothing compared to the shores at the Norwegian west coast at winter time. THAT’S GRIM, almost grimmer that the first Vomitor record.
On to the present day, your latest album ‘Nekropsalms’ is already receiving some amazing reviews so firstly, what can people expect from the 7 tracks on offer?
The true sounds of grim and merciless death. We think with NEKROPSALMS we managed to capture somewhat of a unique attitude that isn’t fully explored in extreme metal yet. While we’re 100% true to the ancient sounds of the 80’s, which is the soul of metal, we’re adding something fresh. Our “PROGRESSION” if I may use that word, happened by itself, without us being aware of it, HAHA! All we ever wanted was to make killer music, and that is still our main goal. But as our musical tastes and awareness of music history grow stronger, something happens. Call it regression in progression, or vice versa. Two steps back, and one forward at the same time.
It was also released on Fysisk Format, a Norwegian label which is run from an independent record store and have an interesting concept in that they only release music from Norway’s underground, so how did they become to be involved with Obliteration and how are you finding working with them?
When we finished the recordings of Nekropsalms, we went out looking for a new label, since Tyrant was no more. we sent around promo’s to every label we thought could be interested in us, and since I have loads of contacts, I thought finding a new label would be a piece of cake, especially since we were sure that Nekropsalms was a good album. We got NO RESPONSE whatsoever for months.
That totally sucked and I was pretty fed up. So at the Hole in the Sky Festival a buddy of mine tipped me on Fysisk Format. Already loving their record shop, I thought I’d give it a try and slip them a copy. They usually don’t release metal, only punk/hardcore and some arty stuff, so I was a bit skeptic going in, but they are great guys with cool attitude and so far they’ve done a great job for us, even though we were one a TIGHT timeframe to release it when we signed, so something could have been better, but hey it turned out great, and the response has been phenomenal so far. We got nominated to album of the year (all genres) at the Oslo awards, hosted by a pretty huge mag here in norway, Natt og Dag. SO go in and vote for us!! http://www.nattogdag.no/avstemninger/osloprisen-2009-arets-osloskive.
You recorded and mixed the album at Kickarse Studios in Kolbotn and I’m curious to know whether it was laid down in a digital or an analogue format as you’ve managed to capture the true rawness of Obliteration and at the same time stayed away from any modern day digital trickery?
KickARSE studios. It’s Kick (nekromantheon/Audipain drummer) and Arse (Arild, Obliteration guitars) own studio. All equipment is analog except for the hard disc recorder. But hopefully they’ll get an analog recorder sometime soon, but that’s expensive and a lot of work. But we sent some of the different tracks(vocals and bass for example) through an old tascam tape recorder, to add that ancient crust. There exists no computer of any kind in the studio, just standard recording stuff, so we mix with our ears and minds, not pro tools. The main goal is to achieve an organic and honest sound that reflects our attitudes towards music, and life in general, and to be an alternative to all the plastic jibberish that’s been poisoning our ears the last two decades. This studio is freedom to us, ’cause we can do whatever we want. We HATE trigger and all that fake bullshit, OBLITERATION is an honest alternative to all the LIES in the metal scene. HAIL Bastard Priest from Sweden who does EVERYTHING right with their demo tape!
The final song ‘The Worm That Gnaws In The Night’ is a 9 ½ minute epic journey that see’s you transform from a bowl churning death doom onslaught before erupting into a pure black metal assault which features the harrowing vocals of Sven Erik of Repellent, so how did this track come about and will it be an area you will explore further in the future?
Hehe, thank you. I actually sing the “clear” vocals, Sven Erik only does the scream into the drone black metal part. The track came about as every other Obliteration track, just making killer riffs and creating the song together at the rehearsal room. We listened A LOT to Darkthrone’s GOATLOARD album without vocals when we created this song, so it’s inspired by the weird dark feeling that album gives us. The song was a journey for us to create as well, and we’re extremely proud of it. Don’t know if we’re heading further down that way because we never plan how to make music, but we’re obsessed with the feeling Goatloard gives us, so I would assume that THE WORM THAT GNAWS IN THE NIGHT is the start of something you’ll hear more of in the future.
We also have to talk about your sound as like I mentioned earlier, your music has a true organic feel so can you give us an insight into the equipment you use which helps you to achieve this?
We use “organic and original” equipment that we think sound cool, like my ORANGE amp from 1973, gibson guitars and such. Very little typical metal gear like Children of Bodom and Satyricon uses. .. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT EQUIPMENT ARE YOUR EARS AND MIND, AND THE CHOICES YOU MAKE IN THE STUDIO, OR ON STAGE, REGARDING YOUR SOUND, BASED ON YOUR INSTINCTS.
Since we’re true maniacs we use a lot of time to figure out how to get that organic sound that we love, and the sound that is RIGHT for us and our music. I’m listening to MURDERESS from Portland Oregon now, they have PERFECT distant and organic sound. Total respect!
More a personal question, CD or Vinyl?
We have a saying in Norwegian, “Yes please, I’ll take both”, hehe. I don’t limit myself when it comes to music, if something is cool, I want it anyway’s regardless if it’s cd, vinyl, tape or mp3. But Vinyl’s are the coolest, and the sound is way better than cd’s. I only dislike picture discs and stuff like that, I don’t understand the point, the best sound is on the black vinyl’s!
And to follow on from that, will ‘Nekropsalms’ ever see a vinyl release or is it strictly CD and digital download only?
We’re working on the vinyl release as we speak, but things take time I’m afraid. Most likely will it be released spring/summer of 2010. And the artwork/layout will be slightly different from the cd version, so it’s perfectly cool to own them both, haha. We will include a bonus 7 inch with exclusive OBLITERATION tracks on it, so be forewarned! It will kill in eternity.
Finally, what does the future hold for Obliteration?
No idea, hehe. More recordings, more rehearsing and more gigs! If anyone want to book us, just give me a call. We’re playing at MARYLAND DEATH FEST in Baltimore in may 2010 and several other US gigs when we’re over there. Hopefully we’ll get back to the UK soon! And we have some splits planned, but we’ll start to write our next album pretty soon.
Thanks for the interview Sindre and please use this space for any final words…
Thank you very much for this cool interview! Keep supporting the underground, be open minded but selective in regards to music in all genres, and check out our new album NEKROPSALMS if you want to get drawn in to a sea of horrid doom and gruesome death. HAIL!
More info on Obliteration at: www.myspace.com/obliterationnorway
Interviewed by: Lee Edwards