OBSCURITY – Prepare the axe – Onward to the battle – The raid begins
Obscurity plays Viking metal. It is a straight forward attack just like the Vikings used to do. No fucking around with ballads or mid-tempo songs; just going for the kill with double bass drums, thundering rhythms and aggressive growls!
E-T: What is your name, and what is your part aboard this Viking ship?
Ziu: Hi there, my name is Ziu and I'm playing the bass axe!
E-T: How did the band come together?
Ziu: Well, we are 5 buddies, which know each other over 14 years now. Most of us grew up together. For example Arganar, Nezrac and I know each other about 20 years now. As we all have been real metalheads listening to old-school metal, Death/Trash/Black metal since we were young teenagers we decided when we were about 18 that we might could start an own metal band to play the sound we enjoy and would like to listen to. Some of us already had first experiences in kind of school bands. As we always invaded concerts, festivals, metal bars and clubs and just hang out as a bunch of metal brothers it was kind of a logical step to think about creating a metal band. So we got a rehearsal room, everyone put in his instruments (I never held a bass in my hands before the formation of OBSCURITY, so I had to buy my first equipment) and we started to cover some songs and creating own pieces of brutal music art, har har. I have to add here that our brother Dornaz (guitar) had to leave the band for job-related reasons in 2004. We are lucky that we could win Cortez who is also a long-time friend of us to take up the guitar axe for OBSCURITY. That was in the year 2004. What I want to tell you is that we are "just" a normal bunch of metalheads, which enjoy brutal music and formed a band to play the music we love and support so much.
E-T: Who does what in the song writing process?
Ziu: We are working altogether on the songs. Normally Agalaz of Cortez, our guitarist come up with a riff or melody or something else and Arganar contributes his drumming and I'm doing the bass stuff, hehe. Then we work it out until a song is ready for the lyrics. On "SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN" Agalaz and myself are responsible for most of the lyrics.
E-T: Which bands have inspired you to become a musician yourself?
Ziu: Bands like Bathory, Unleashed, Dismember, Slayer and such veterans of the Black/Death/Viking Metal field and some other old-school metal bands.
E-T: Schlachten & Legenden is your third album in seven years; do you feel that the band is evolving?
Ziu: Yes, of course… you can notice an evolvement in technical and musical quality of the song writing and recording process and our live performances. Our fan base is growing steadily and even more rapidly because of "SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN" and our concerts throughout all these years. "SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN" is definitely the culmination of our hard work in ten years at this point and unites the qualities of our first and second albums. It's full of the uncompromising hardness, speed and grim coldness of "THURISAZ" and the anthem-like, marching battlesongs of "BERGISCH LAND". The new album sounds more compact and more "round" as well as more straight forward. It punches right in your face.
E-T: Do you feel like you have accomplished everything you could with your latest album or are there things you regret (not) putting on the album?
Ziu: Hmmm well, we don't feel that we have to regret anything by putting or not putting something else on the album. Musically the songs are exactly as we wanted to have them but there occurred technical problems in the post-production, which we were able to solve in the mastering process.
We are really happy and more than satisfied with the result and hope the metalheads around the world will like it, as well. We are confident that we can contribute a piece of music to some metalheads listening to Black/Death/Viking Metal which gives one strength and the right background music to fight one's way through the day-to-day struggle of a boring job, fucking politic, false conformity within the general society or just the eternal battle against the own personal daemons.
E-T: I was pleasantly surprised when I first heard Schlachten & Legenden, and the other reviews I have read has also been very positive. Did you expect the album to be as well received as it seems to have been?
Ziu: Haha, we are always very cagey with any expectations but everything turned out to work smoothly and quite well for the new album. We get a lot of requests for live shows (which are the most important point for us), reviews, interviews and all that stuff and the overall response is very well. We are very glad about the increased interaction with our fans, new warriors that join our battle force around the world now. We put a lot of hard work in our new album and everything around it, sweat and blood, but it's all more than worth it. It's a big blast and we are very thankful for this experience and hope to expand our raid even more in the future for and with all the metalheads, which enjoy our music!
E-T: What is the worst thing you have heard/read about Schlachten & Legenden?
Ziu: Monotony… but we'll come to that later, hehe
E-T: Do you prefer to work on the songs, (writing, and recording) or to be out on the road playing your music?
Ziu: Performing live is the most vital point for all of us. We love to play our music and to stay in that direct contact with the metalheads. Concerts are always great experiences which no one in Obscurity wants to miss. It's an awesome feeling when you push the envelope and the audience is moshing and cheering.
Being in the studio during the recording process is also a very nice time. It can be much fun and is very welcome for a change since we normally spent only 10-12 days in studio for an album. If you have 2 or 3 years between 2 albums the recording process is quite a small period.
Working on songs in our rehearsal room is maybe the "work" for us. It can vary from giving you a great time to very boring and frustrating but the first mentioned are more likely the standard, hehe. If you made a new song, which gives you a good feeling that's quite a blast but on the other hand sometimes you can work way too much on a song and it never comes to a satisfying end and that sucks!
E-T: You have just a few concerts planned for the summer, why are you not currently on a long European tour to support the album?
Ziu: Oh man…we would like to be on a raid across Europe and there are already plans for the near future to start it off but as we all have normal day-to-day jobs and two of us have kids (Cortez' child is only 3 month old) it's quite a challenge to get on tour at the moment. We have some very promising battles in the next weeks and months and we can't wait to play each concert. Playing live is always like a blood cleaning, man. Furthermore we are still in contact with some booking agencies but unfortunately we didn't find the right partner yet. Don't misunderstand me, that has nothing to do with commercial purposes. It's just that we really want a reliable partner who shares our engagement and supports us with everything we need to give everything for the fans at the live shows. We are open for any concert offers and will try to take any opportunity to get on stage.
If there's someone interested to host a concert just contact us via our website www.obscurity-online.de or http://www.myspace.com/obscuritybergischland . We'll be glad to recieve any offer. We just need to get to the battlefield and some food and booze, hehe.
E-T: Your music is somewhat monotone; there are not a lot of variations throughout the album. Apart from the acoustic guitar the music is brutal, fast forward extreme metal. Are you afraid that this might typecast you as "just another Viking metal band"?
Ziu: Oh here it comes now. Before I tell you our point of view just let me congratulate that you have the balls to ask such a question… it's the first time we get something like that, hehe.
Well, as you already mentioned in your introduction we're playing straight fast forward, we don't take any prisoners it's just "no retreat, no surrender". If you are listening to OBSCURITY you have to know that you get songs that are intended to kick ass.
If you want to listen to fucking ballads and fine pieces of virtuosic metal play… go and get the last two Iron Maiden albums or cut your hair and rave to the music of Within Temptation and Nightwish! If you want some extreme metal sound that grabs you by the balls and gives you the right music to fight your own battles… without the full load of keyboard pussy play… then get your exemplary of SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN! HAR HAR… does that sound rude and arrogant? I don't hope so because it's not my intention, hehe.
Anyways, we know what you mean but we don't really see monotony within our songs or throughout the album. If you take other bands that ride always on the same well proven rhythms and beats you can see that we have a lot a variation in our songs. There are 10 songs, 3 are real stompers which march with you straight to hell and back, 4 songs full of hate which gives you the power to strike down any enemy on your way and 3 songs for the little snack in between. The motto of OBSCURITY and especially of our new album is "Prepare the axe – Onward to the battle – The raid begins!". I think that gives you a good idea of what is expecting you… battle hymns and warrior songs. Furthermore we have too much Black and Death metal influences to be a typical Viking metal band. Nevertheless if our new album and our live performances may typecast us as "just another Viking metal band"…well… then I'm proud of it and can live with it without any problems, man.
E-T: I do not understand the German lyrics at all; can you give us a quick lesson in what Obscurity is singing about?
Ziu: As SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN means "Battles & Legends" the lyrics focus mainly on warrior and battle themes. Some songs have a historical background some are just fictional. For example "Die Letzte Schlacht" (The ultimate battle) deals with the fight of metalheads against the fucking society. It's a hymn on the metal and each metalhead. "Bergische Löwen" (that's the heraldic animal of the landscape we live in) is about the landscape we live in, the people and the band itself. With "Schatten" (Shadow) do we have a song about the fight against a very personal daemon. Of course do we have lyrics about the Viking theme, as well, hehe. These are just a few examples. We are already working on the translation of our lyrics into English. When it's done you'll find the lyrics on our websites.
It's not that we can't or don't want to use the English language, we already had a lot of English songs on our previous albums, but this time we all felt that the hard and often rude sound of the German language does fit better to the songs and gives them an even more martial vibe.
E-T: How important are the lyrics to you, are there messages you are trying to send?
Ziu: The lyrics are always a very important part of song or should be at least. We don't have any political message. Our message is about to stand tall and face any situation you might to have to go through without any hesitation about being true to yourself and to everyone else. Don't bend yourself due to any conformity demanded by the society. Be a metalhead, a warrior and make your way. We provide listeners with tales about warriors and battles and maybe they can take a little power out of them or just dream about long forgotten times. SCHLACHTEN & LEGENDEN is an album for warriors, which share the same passion for the history before the Christians claimed the throne of the almighty godfather Odin.
E-T: Do you feel that it is harder for you to promote your music international since you are singing in German?
Ziu: Nope. Well, from a more commercial point of view we might sell more copies if we would sing in English but as the German language is a stylistic medium that is most suitable to the songs we gave a fuck on commercial advantages. It's the music that counts and not the money. But who knows, maybe we'll have some more English songs again in the future. I'm quite confident, hehe.
E-T: What do you believe in?
Ziu: Metal… ‘nuff said!
E-T: What do you do when you are not focusing on the band?
Ziu: We do all the stuff every metalhead does. We go to concerts, metal bars/clubs, hang out together, watch DVD, and visit the cinema and such things. We are interested in the old Viking history and religion and the general European history of that time period. Some of us visit medieval markets. Don't forget our families, which we have to take care for. Beside the band activities, which take a lot of our time we don't do any spectacular activities.
E-T: What makes you angry?
Ziu: Way too much to tell in a few lines, man. Don't complain, fight!
E-T: And to finish of: Why should anybody buy your Schlachten & Legenden?
Ziu: It kicks ass and gives you the right Teutonic steel to crush your enemies, man! Just check it out at your record dealer or the mp3 songs on our websites.