With their album In These Woods, From These Mountains due out at the end of this week (we reviewed it recently), Aoife fired a few questions at extreme metal supergroup The Wretched End. Samoth (Emperor and Zylkon as well as TWE) responded…
The first question I want to ask is how did you guys actually form back in 2008?
After our final tour in Japan with Zyklon at the end of 2007, that band had come to an end for various reasons, and for a while I had been thinking of maybe getting together with my friend Cosmo to work on another project. Throughout 2008 we exchanged ideas and started to record pre-production of what became our first album Ominous in 2010. This project was formed as a creative studio alliance, rather than an active live unit and has remained so over the years.
Fast forward to this year, you guys will be releasing your new album In These Woods, From the Mountains. What are the lyrical and musical themes on the album?
Musically, this album has a much darker edge to it. I almost feel I’ve come full circle with this album, where I’ve brought in more black metal elements. Overall it is still very much an extreme metal album with also clear references to death metal and maybe even some thrash metal. In general, I’m not really so caught up in all of these “tags”, for me it’s an aggressive, yet atmospheric, metal album.
As through all of our albums, we always try to have a somehow “eerie” undertone in our music, and I definitely feel this is a lot more present on this album. Lyrically, I also think this is our darkest album to date, maybe because more of the lyrics are more personal. Many of the lyrics are rooted in almost living like a hermit up in the mountains, and me reflecting on life. Be it personal issues or topics related to religion and society in general. My surroundings have always been the strong Norwegian nature. Basically this is where my outlet of creativity took form.
Listening to the album it has many folk influences running through the ambient black metal sound. How did you come up with the idea of mixing the two together?
I’m really not sure exactly what you mean with folk influences, personally I do not feel there is any folk influence, but it is interesting to hear other people’s interpretations of your work. As I said before, I consider us an extreme metal band with varied influences, we definitely also try to incorporate some atmospheric parts to our sound.
How did you find the recording/writing process of the album?
To be honest, it became a little longer than I was initially hoping for. Since the release of our previous album, Inroads, it has been 4 years. You know, we are not in our 20’s anymore, sometimes you have to prioritize in life. We are two guys living in different places in Norway with families and kids, houses etc. In 2014 I did the Emperor 20th anniversary “In the Nightside Eclipse” shows, which also took a lot of the priority in 2013. In the end we decided not to let any pressure get to us, and just work on the album when we had the time and make sure it ended up the way wanted it.
Did you encounter any problems with the recording or writing process of the album?
No not really, other than what I just said about the process being a bit inconsistent in periods.
Did any other band or musician influence the album in anyway?
Not really, however, as an interesting sidenote, during this time period, I was also asked to possibly join Mayhem, but as I was not able commit full-time, it never came to be. Plus, I had the Emperor live reunion coming up, which obviously was a major focus for me artistically. In that period, I wrote some ideas with the spirit of Mayhem in mind, which morphed into a few of the tracks on this album.
You recorded this album yourself. Did you feel as though this gave you more freedom or control?
The basis for the whole recording was different as this time we have done the whole recording ourselves, and by doing so we also have to learn by trial and error, and that also made the process take longer than if we had booked a studio session to record all at once. Again this was a conscious decision we made to try to capture a more organic and spontaneous sound.
How do you feel people have reacted to the new album?
So far the reactions have been very good. It would be nice to see us make a stronger mark with this new album. Personally I am quite pleased with the outcome and I feel it is our strongest album to date. I hope my fans over the years take their time to check it out, and also our back catalogue.
What is next in store for the band?
At the moment it’s all about talking to press and promoting this album. Thanks for the interview, be sure to check out our new video for “Primordial Freedom” [scroll down! – Mosh] and check us out on Facebook. We also have an online merch store at www.omerch.com.