January 04, 2015

Interview with OBSCURITY about "Vintar" album and more

I interviewed Agalaz from the band OBSCURITY
The interview deals with their new album "Vintar", gigs, the band itself and more.

01. Hi Agalaz! You have recently released through Trollzorn label, your seventh album entitled “Vintar”. Are you happy with the result ?
Hi there and thank you very much for this interview!

Definitely happy! The music on Vintar is not totally different to the previous albums, Vintar is 100% Obscurity! It is a musical combination of the last three outputs, Várar, Tenkterra and Obscurity looked at that way. It combined these characters of Black/Death/Viking Metal to a powerful, brutal and much more epic composition of “Battle-Metal”! It´s a compact album and the next step in our musical progress but no worries, we don‘t brought you an album that sounds like Keyboard-Kindergarten-Metal in the vein of Nightwish! Vintar is very diversified, as every one of us has his own favorites songs on this album. So I think Vintar is not only for the die-hard “Viking – Pagan” scene fans, it can satisfy every Metal fan who is more into the brutal ways of metal.  Combined with the great sound provided by our friend Tim Schuldt at the 4 CN Studios and our finical work with our instruments, which was very sudatory this time, we can proudly say, we are happy with the album. 

* Also, we have taken a new way for the lyrical concept for Vintar. I think Vintar is maybe our strongest output so far.

02. You said this new record deals with a fictional lore after Ragnaroek (Cf. Nordic mythology). How came the concept to you ?
I had this idea a few years ago. In my opinion, there are enough stories told about Nordic mythology and the ancient gods. Many bands use Nordic mythology for their lyrics and lyrical concepts, Obscurity has done it too. I think that´s ok for sure, but for me, it was time to bring a new tale, a new way of looking about this traditional lore. There is so much space to create new stories around this traditional lore and I ask myself: What would it be like if … and so, the idea about Wodanheim and the new fictional story was born.

03. Can you describe us your new continent so called “Wodanheim” ?
Wodanheim is a raw and stubborn land, geographically Wodanheim is located in the heart of nowadays Europe ; its center being the “Bergisch Land”! The most of it is covered with snow and mainly, the mighty mountains around, rising to the top of the world. This Mountains are formed like a rampart around Wodanheim, there are only a few ways to go to the heart of Wodanheim. At the westside of Wodanheim are green valleys covered with mighty trees and passed through clear wild rivers as far as the eye can reach. That is the heart of Wodanheim. At this place lived the die-hard Tenkterer and their new allies. At the east and north of Wodanheim are clear white ice deserts, one have to pass through those deadly deserts made of ice to go in or out of Wodanheim. You see, nothing for sissies, haha! And when anyone now think, the uncle Agalaz is freaky, yes he is, haha. 

04. I noticed there are two versions available for the new record. What is the content of the Digi-Pack and Digi-Book hard case editions, exactly ?
Well, this time we skipped the jewel case edition (the normal cd edition everyone knows best) and so we chose the Digi-Pack version as normal Vintar edition and the Digi-book (hardcover book) as the more exclusive one. The Digi-book version is something we always wanted to have. This time we finally got it and followed the request of the fans. Furthermore we had the limited Digi-book special edition which contains an exclusive shirt and a banner with the Vintar cover artwork. But this edition was sold out before the actual release date.

05. Any guest appearances on “Vintar” album ?
No, not this time. We had on Várar and Obscurity, but we were not sure how to include guest this time, rationally on Vintar. We didn’t want it on this record in the end, as we have already done with our dear friend and sixth Obscurity Lion Bony, if you liked it to see it from this point of view. He is the singer of the German Punk-Grindcore band “Japanische Kampfhörspiele”, metal institution and our producer for the last 14 years.

06. Can you explain us shortly the story for each track ?
Schicksal der Götter [Fate of the Gods] tells about Ragnaroek  and paves the way to the concept of Vintar. It deals with the four eschatological acts of god, the downfall of the “ancient“ world.

Naglfar is the narration of the great ship of the dead, which belongs to Muspell. Right after the inevitable end of the world, it set sails to take all fallen warriors (Einherjer) on their last journey.

Nebelwelt [Fog world] is the first partly fictitious song of the album. “Nebelwelt” is the connection between the ancient, lost world and the new eolian fictitious continents, a world in between. The song concludes the tale of Ragnaroek and gives access to a new era. The new continent “Wodanheim“ is mentioned here for the first time.

Wodanheim describes extensively the new continent. A land which is not visible to the eyes of everyone. A mysterious land, buried deep in Mother Earth’s womb which reveals itself only to those loyal to the old Germanic values. The inner force in Wodanheim are the Tenkterer, who serve as the lyrical theme on Vintar. Wodanheim – a free and dissociated land, a place of refuge!

Alter Feind [Old enemy] describes the consistency of ecclesiastical institutions. A construct built on lies and thralldom! The aim of Christianization was the imposition of a new Christian belief as well as the extermination of the convictions of the Germanic tribes! Even after Ragnaroek this “Alter Feind” continues to exist and is stronger than ever. 

Vintar is lyrically built upon the preceding song “Alter Feind“. The song is the inner monolgue of a Tenkterer warrior of Wodanheim. His name is unknown. As the threat of the “Alter Feind“ is omnipresent, the young Tenkterer enunciates his thoughts as combat announcement! He has lived for the ancient Germanic laws and beliefs and is prepared to defend those until death. When he reaches the end of his journey, he will be lead into the golden hall! The ancient and perpetual belief is the “Vintar“ of the “Alter Feind“!

Dominium marks a lyrical break from the master plan of the album. It is a homage to the “Bergische Krieger“ [Bergisch warriors], who have always stood for liberty, sincerity, indomitability and a relentless will! Dominium describes the “Herrschaft der Löwen“ [sovereignty of lions] “ on the continent of Wodanheim referring to the lyrical master plan of Vintar.

Alte Zeichen [Old symbols] is the counterpart of “Alter Feind“. It deals with the consistency of ancient Germanic rituals and symbols. e. g. the runes and the Germanic belief of Ragnaroek. Both songs “Alter Feind“ and “Alte Zeichen“ share a common statement: no matter how often a world is doomed, there will be perceptions of belief that will always outlast those cataclysms!

Sieg oder Niedergang [Victory or demise] is delineated by another Tenkterer, who survived Ragnaroek. This veteran warrior has fought several combats far away from home and seen friends and enemies die. He knows about the raw brutality and the disingenuous adversities of life. He fights for Freedom of Wodanheim, & his own freedom. His flame of life has not burned out and he has only one desire: The return to Wodanheim. 

Feld der Ehre [Field of honor] describes the last march of Wodanheim’s forces into the final battle on the field of honor. The last battle against those who clutch at Wodanheim and try to exterminate it! This way leads through different vegetation, reflecting the various thoughts of the warriors.  He leads the forces to pass fallen friends and enemies. The last engagement awaits at the end. Oden, protect your son! 

Legiones Montium is a second lyrical break from the concept and is based on “Feld der Ehre”. The last battle has been fought; Wodanheim and its forces have been victorious under command of the Tenkterer. The new world endures and all enemies are defeated. Many have died for this freedom! This song is dedicated to them!  To all “Bergische Löwen” out there, proclaim it: Legiones Montium – March into battle!

07. Do you plan to make one official video, soon ?
Yes indeed, we are planning. But since time is running low last year, we will have to postpone it into early 2015. We are still working out how to arrange some special visual stuff to make sure the video can match and mirror the stories in our songs. This isn´t as easy as one can imagine, hehe.

08. You will play live at Turrock in Germany along with Imperium Dekadenz, Gernotshagen, Bitfröst, and Firtan bands on 28/12/14 which is the date of the release party. What do you plan on stage for this event ?
If you already saw us live on stage, you know that we don´t use that much oversized special stuff. That´s not Obscurity. We just perform our asses off to give you a hell of a ride and that´s what we´ll gonna do, in an authentic way! If you want metal, you shall get it! The release gig was a great success! The Turock club is something like our living room”and the fans whose with us have gone into this release battle were great! Most of them could sing the new songs already, that was incredible! A great evening! Vintar has arrived!

09. And what will you play for the next European Paganfest & Ragnarök Festival (Cf. Calendar 2015) ?
I think we have on the Paganfest tour only about 40 minutes stage time, so that means no fancy stuff, no big speeches, just performing, performing, performing!

For the Ragnarök festival We may bring some fire and some other fireworks and stuff. Our car’s trunk is big enough. It gonna be a metal-vintar inferno! 

10. Have you already shared the stage with all the bands at the two festivals ?
Well, we shared stages with Turisas and Korpiklaani, Grailknights and some others but we don´t really know them very good. We know Wintersun only from their releases but we are befriended with the dutch warriors of Heidevolk. I guess that gives us the opportunity to hang out with old buddies and to make some new friends.

At the Ragnarök festival it´s always like “coming home to your metal family”, many bands gather there are very familiar with each other. But this time I´m very curious to see Amorphis´ “Tales from the thousand lake” 20 years anniversary show. Man, time flies by so fast.

11. Do you plan other concerts or another tour next year ?
Yes, of course. Plenty of shows and Festivals like Barther Metal Open Air and Rock for Roots for example, no further big tour so far, but who knows. Just check out our site or facebook site, if you are interested to see if we play in your area. Would be a pleasure for us to go onwards into the battle with our lion-warriors wherever!

12. What previous album appears like the most significant to you, and why ?
Oh, I´m pretty sure, that every one of us has his own favourite. I think Várar is one milestone because it´s the first album with some kind of concept work, really state of the art sound. Tenkterra was our first full-scale concept album and Obscurity is more mature than it´s precursors. The first three albums Bergisch Land, Thurisaz and Schlachten & Legende have their own charm. They are quite raw but still relevant! I can hardly named only one album, you know, haha!

13. How does Obscurity come up with new compos ?
Oh, that´s is quite easy: We don´t have strict masterplan we followed if we start to compose songs and new stuff. Three times a week we are in our rehearsal room and play until our fingers are bloody. On the other hand, one of the bandmembers will come up with his own riff or idea for a new song. If there manifests a good song and we like it, we keep it. The worst thing that could happen : That the beer is empty so we have to stop the songwriting immediately, haha. No car drivers without fuel, you know ;-)

Of course, we have a clear idea how the new material have to sound but we never say : Hey, the next song must be a black-/death- or viking song. That´s not the way we work. If we play together and there is a riff that sounds well to us and drilled in our little brains, so we take it as I mentioned! That was the top secret story about the songwriting of our new stuff, haha.

14. You did the harsh vocals for "Schwarze Flügel" song available on the CRAVING album " At Dawn". Can you share with us how came this opportunity, and this experience ?
Yes, that´s right. I know Ivan, the founder of CRAVING, let me think… since 2006. We played a concert together in Bremen (I think it must be 2009) and after this gig we talked about a collaboration. He asked me whether I have interest to join in the singing for their next album. But when the recordings for their previous album of “At Dawn” started, I didn’t have the time to go into the studio and give their album my elves Voice. So Ivan asked me again for the song “Schwarze Flügel”. He sent me the song and the lyrics and said, I could do what I want, but please don´t touch the clean vox, haha. And so I did the screams and growls at this track. I really liked the track before I gave my voice to it, catchy melodies and always forward ramming. I liked it! It was a lot of fun recording the song at the studio of Tim Schuldt (4CN). I felt like flying on black wings (Schwarze Flügel), haha!

15. Thank you for the interview! The last words are yours.
Thank you very much for this pleasant interview. It was a lot of fun to answer your questions. I hope the readers didn´t fall asleep, haha. Also I want to give all metalheads and readers out there a great Hail and Berge Romerijke! Let us bring “VINTAR” over the world, all together! Thank you for all these years supporting Obscurity! You guys are the real stars … Horns up!

There is one more thing to say, my band brother Cortez will be the third time father in January 2015, all the best wishes my stud stallion at this point!

Thanks a lot! Vintar will raise…

Agalaz / Obscurity

Congratulations, Cortez!

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