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When we hear an outstanding new album, an interview has to be done. ’Cenotaph Obscure’ is such an outstanding album and therefore we asked singer/guitarist Sindre Solem of Norway’s Obliteration some questions about the new album and some other stuff.

By: Pim B. | Archive under death metal / grindcore

Welcome to the realm of Lords Of Metal. It’s about time we pay some attention to Obliteration in the form of an interview. Let’s stay away from questions about the past as we can find plenty of that elsewhere. Let’s focus on the new album ‘Cenotaph Obscure’. In an older interview you did, when you just released ‘Black Death Horizon’, you said you put more thought and more soul and blood into the songs. This could be translated as drifting away from your initial influences and getting more original. To me it comes across that you “re-invented” yourselves even more when you composed ‘Cenotaph Obscure’. How do you see this yourself?
Well, maybe. It’s not been that intentional this time around, we’ve just been following the inner voice of Obliteration and kept on focusing on atmosphere and the vibe of the music, instead of inspiration sources, what others have done before us etc. The process of getting ‘Cenotaph Obscure’ together has also been fairly long, so it’s been a much more organic and natural evolvement this time around. Re-inventing ourselves has never been a thing we’ve sought after or even thought about, we are just going further into the dark void that is surrounding us.

I assume your influences/inspiration comes from various sources. Yet, as a reviewer you have to make comparisons to let the audience know what to expect. When I listened to ‘Cenotaph Obscure’ I had to think of ‘Soulside Journey’-era DarkThrone, Autopsy and Voivod. The latter perhaps not that obvious but the fact you became a bit more progressive within your compositions made me think about that Canadian band. Your riffs have that Voivod-like quality. What do you think of this comparison?
It’s a good comparison I guess, but it’s one we’ve heard for many years. It maybe fits ‘Black Death Horizon’ better. For instance, I don’t think we sound much like Autopsy anymore. Autopsy has been one of our favourite bands for a long time, but I feel we have been moving away from the Autopsy-esqe death metal for a long time.. But maybe that’s just me. The vibe of Voivod weirdness fits us quite good though.

In addition I also think that Didrik’s bass playing is a true asset on this album. I think he adds a lot to the overall sound and it seems the bass has a more prominent role compared to previous recordings. I assume this was a deliberate choice?
It was not, and I disagree on the fact that is has a more prominent role now. Didrik has always been an ambitious bassist of sorts, creating his own twists and turns and odd elements. This is something that’s been a big part of Obliteration for many years. But it might be move evident in the mix this time around? (That is basically what I mean – PB) But it is a huge part of our sound.

What I also like in your music is the fact that next to the aforementioned progressive elements you still sound raw and wild, which to me is a killer combination. I assume this was intentional to get a result like this?
Yes. It is all about the wildness. I would never call us progressive though. Overall feeling and insanity is the ultimate goal. Everything else comes second.

I think this is also your first album that was recorded outside of Norway. Can you tell us a bit more about the decision to go to Studio Cobra in Stockholm, Sweden? And are you satisfied with the result? Was this the sound you were after?
Correct. We basically went there to get away from our lives and commitments in Norway. To focus solely on the recordings. I wanted to go there because I am a huge fan of a lot of the albums Konie has recorded there. We knew he had a bunch of vintage gear we wanted to use, so I’m very pleased it came through. It was also a bit to challenge ourselves by not recording it ourselves, stepping out of our comfort zone etc. I’m very pleased with the result. We wanted to sound like Obliteration, and it did.

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Concerning your sound it seems you have pride in creating an organic sound, hence recording at an analogue studio? Does it also mean you detest modern productions other bands use? In other words; do you listen to bands with triggered drums for instance?
Yes, but we’ve never recorded 100% analogue ether, but that’s just a coincidence. Using as much analogue equipment and hardware instead of software sounds in my opinion much more honest, warmer, rawer etc. But it’s the final product that counts, and your attitude towards treating your music right. I hate triggers and modern productions for death metal and black metal, and ESPECIALLY for thrash metal, but for some types of music and bands it can work. You just have to do what feels right for you and your music, and don’t follow trends because that’s hot shit then and there. It takes something special for me to get into albums that sound like that, but there are exceptions. Morbid Angel - Gateways for example is a fantastic album, with horrible sound. Some newer Mayhem stuff also. Dead Congregation use triggers, but I still consider them a great band. Not all is black and white, but it would take something pretty special for us to stray away from organic productions…

This is your second album for Indie Recordings whom you signed to after Nekromantheon got involved with them (if I’m correct). However, your previous album was also released by Relapse in the United States. Was that a one-off deal and will Indie handle your new album globally?
No, Obliteration signed first, but the Nekromantheon album came out first. This time Indie is handling it worldwide, but we are looking for a US release of the LP, as it’s so expensive to ship LP’s, and we want the maniacs over there to get the album on vinyl.

Having mentioned Nekromantheon in which two of you are involved, you guys are active in other bands too. Is that all easy to deal with when it comes to rehearsing, composing, touring and so on? Is there any band that you see as a priority or does that change whenever one of the bands has a new album out?
No, nothing is easy. For me Obliteration has always been the priority, but everything goes in cycles so we prioritize what’s active at the time. We don’t tour much or play that much live, we try to focus on shows we think are cool, with good line-ups that suits us. The most important is that the music and recordings are good. Everything else comes second.

What bands are you currently involved in besides Obliteration and what is the status of those bands?
I’m involved in Obliteration and Nekromantheon. I also play live bass for my buddies in Djevel. The rest in involved in Black Viper, Void Eater and Aura Noir (from time to time).

Do you actually feel you are part of a scene since you are in multiple bands? And what bands do you feel affiliated to?
I guess. Scene here in Oslo and Norway is pretty small and everyone knows each other, ish. That's gonna be a long list, but we have comrades in great bands all over the globe. You know who you are.

You are about to embark on a tour with Aura Noir and Vorbid. Is that the only tour you have planned so far or will you do more in that department? Any shows you are particularly looking forward to?
It’s the only tour planned and most likely the only tour we’ll do with this album, unless something really special comes our way. We are not gonna focus as much on live activity as we used to, making each show a tad more special than before. Time will tell. But we are not going on a bunch of tours. I always like going to Paris, so looking forward to that show, and the Polish dates in particular. And our release show in Oslo.

That’s all from this side. Anything else you’d like to get off your chest?
Thanks! Buy vinyl and listen to Sepulchral Zeal.

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