Saturday, February 6, 2010

interview with Dominant Obscurity (France)

Dominant Obscurity (France)
Massive black metal riffs, of the big-riff type: “Fall of the Unlucid” (7:39) is a good illustration: the first three minutes have big, ambitious black metal guitar, of the school of the mighty riff. The vocals are gruff and guttural, not shrieked, with a tone of heaviness to them. In fact, some might say that the vocals are closer to the death metal style (maybe the Immolation and Bolt Thrower style, but of course, others will disagree, etc.). After three minutes there is a brief moment of pause on the way to the middle section of the song, which is black metal prog/doom. This gives the band a chance to show a different side besides their black metal speed, here you can clearly hear the bass guitar, the intricacies of the drumming and a feel of abstruseness; then, this gives way to the speed once again and now the bass guitar just seems so much more obvious than before, and a nice headbanging last section of the song.
After the first song, “Profiles of Delusion” (4:36) just seems so much more a discernible entity once the foundation has been laid: the bass guitar is audible, there seems to be a bunch of interesting details taking place in the barrage that is this song; another strong effort.
The last one, “Unleashing the Whispers” (9:55) begins in blasting fashion, but that’s one of many valleys and trails that this travels. After a while, it makes no sense to analyze it too much, because, if you like it, it’s more fun to just take the trip. Dominant Obscurity is not a melodic band by any stretch of the imagination and they don’t write songs that use the listener’s preconceived expectations of where the song as a whole will develop, it’s not “ear candy.” However, they transition from one moment to the next so well, that it’s easy to forget how different this is. This certainly does require more than one listen. The first response will probably be, “It does nothing for me,” or “Sounds like another black metal band to me,” etc. That’s because this is Dominant Obscurity, and not something else that might have been expected.
Eric (drums), Fred (lead guitars) and Vincent (bass) answered here. Evidently, no one told Metal Bulletin zine that some questions are not ok, as you will see.

What is going on in 2010? Was 2009 a good year for your band in France and Europe?
ERIC: 2010 is going to be a year of uncertainty. Members of D. O. have all not the same possibilities and opportunities as far as the time devoted to the band is concerned. We do not always share the same idea concerning the way every one of us must involve in D.O. There are some divergences that we hope to solve and to get through this year. Our line-up has not been stable since 2006 and 2 members are still session members at the present time. The future will tell us about that. Line–up changes have often occurred in the band. Year 2009 was a little bleak for different reasons, but I prefer to spare you the details.
FRED: In 2009, D.O. has been trying to spread his name in South of France. I think this 1st recording is a good first attempt. We received encouraging reviews as far as our demo was concerned. We also did 5 gigs in Sept. and Nov., still in South West of our country, which were my first steps on stage. A full length cd is planned in 2010, but it's not absolutely sure. We'll see how many songs we will be able to gather and it also depends on the time we have left. We'll certainly reduce the number of live shows.

What is the situation for your band? Is there an audience for your black metal? Do you think you have opportunities for recording more music, etc.?
ERIC: The French scene has its trends and fashions; we don't care about it. And I think we have a place in the French metal music. We'll have to get more songs and learn how to handle the stage during live shows, in terms of sound and in terms of emulation, but first of all, we will concentrate on the recording of a full-length CD that could perhaps be ready around September 2010.
FRED: Unfortunately, in France, Metal music is not widely spread. There's a little audience, but few people come to gigs where local bands are playing. This is what happens in South of France. And it's also difficult to get a deal with labels. Live and recording opportunities will certainly happen in the future, but we still have to work on the band's sound and live performance. I also hope that we'll get some stability in our line-up and get through our disagreement. I believe in change.

“Fall of the Unlucid” lasts 7 minutes and 39 seconds. This song has massive riffs and attitude. What can you tell us about the story of this song? Do you know how many riffs you use in this song?
ERIC: «Fall» stands for the transition between the early years of the band and what we consider to be the second period of D.O. It had often been modified because I am a bit slow when I'm composing a song and I need time to get my final version. Our lead guitarist, Fred, had also modified his guitar's lines, and the result made this song a masterpiece of our list. I think there are some 10 riffs in this song, but they rather evolve and complement each other. Guitars parts were doubled in the studio to make the song more massive.
FRED: In my opinion, «Fall of the unlucid » is one of our best songs, very massive, captivating and atmospheric, it's pretty progressive with intro, interlude, changes in tempos and sounds, etc. These are the elements that contribute to a musical progressive structure. It will certainly be recorded again for the full-length, with better sound and improved by melodic arrangement. When recording, we had 3 guitars sound tracks: rhythmic, lead and solo, but the latter was not enhanced enough. How many riffs in the song? Well, I let you have fun counting the riffs ...Ah Ah!

There is obviously black metal in your music, but is there another big element in your sound? Is it prog? Is it strange to call it progressive black metal?
ERIC: I think that in fact «progressive black metal » is commonly used. It's a kind of coverall term. DO does not completely belong to this category, but there's something in our music's atmosphere which extracts us from standard black metal. Our different and respective influences are the main point. You can find in DO an epic and Norwegian touch inspired by bands like ENSLAVED but also a more rambling and disjointed aspect close to true black metal, in the style of DEATHSPELL OMEGA, for example. There's something like that in some of my guitars' intentions and we also try to include (in a coherent way) more ethereal sections, influenced by the 70's music. So, in this sense, it's progressive.
FRED: I will not find it strange. Indeed, you can call it progressive black metal. I agree with you. There is also a death metal touch in the vocals. D.O.'s style falls into the black metal category. Eric is the composer. Vincent and myself are in charge of making arrangement and we add our personal touch to the songs. We all have different influences and the way we interpret Eric's stuff brings originality; So that it can be defined as a progressive style. However, there's no precise progressive style that can be applied to a metal band. When listening to music, it's prog' or it's not. It's just a matter of feeling.
VINCENT: Basically, D.O. is a black metal band . Eric's influences are to be found in Norway with masters of black metal like Emperor, Enslaved, etc. Fred likes black metal bands too, but he also brings into the songs some prog' and technical metal influences . His lead parts and solos are a plus for D.O. As for me, I really appreciate the 90's Scandinavian black metal but I 'm also a huge fan of heavy metal music from the 80s and the early 90s. Bass lines in DO 's songs are not really what you can expect from a black metal band. It could be seen as heavy metal bass blended with black metal guitars riffs.

On myspace you have a friend called “Metal Fans Against Nazis.” Do you have this problem of racist metal scumbags in your city? Do they have neo-Nazi concerts in France? Do other people into metal in France stand up and speak against these perspectives?
ERIC: Obviously, this kind of deviance can be found everywhere and unfortunately, no one can prevent it from existing. It often tarnishes the metal scene reputation in the public opinion. There is often some hodgepodge. People are led into confusion by TV reports which are totally «off the subject» and people consequently get it all mixed up between music, nihilistic black metal and Nazi movements. It's a threat for music and for ignorant people who look at music from the outside. Anyway, skinheads and all this sort of scum are generally not welcome in French concerts.
VINCENT: Yes, there is some Nazi bands in France. It's a minority, I will not give you names cause I don't want them to be more known than they already are. It's a real problem. We're against fascist metal. It's in contradiction with what metal means, I think; Black metal has often emphasized on the flaws, the stupidity, the sordid aspect, the insanity and the absurdity of human beings and the ideology that they create, but without drawing any distinction between races. That's why Nazi metal bands are a nonsense to me. Anyway, politics should have nothing to do with metal music. Neo Nazi bands are a minority even if they do exist in Europe and everywhere. I've never heard about Nazi bands live shows. Actually, the problem is that most of these fools do not explicitly show their political opinion into their lyrics, they promote their ideas in a more underground and implicit way. Fuck them!

What it is that you have done so that the bass guitar is so easy to hear in your music? Why is the bass guitar so difficult to hear in metal music?
FRED: That's true, the bass is scarcely heard when listening to metal recordings. I found that its presence in the mix is good and fits in well (even in live situations) without disturbing the atmospheric nature of D.O., on the contrary it makes this aspect more emphasized.
VINCENT: Raphaël of the EHOES STUDIO did a great job when he mixed the bass guitar sound track. He's a really good sound guy who has recorded many metal bands in France such as ASMODEE, ANGMAR, WAY TO END, SAEL, ANNTHENNATH, etc. Check: He really wanted the bass to be heard and achieved his goal. It was not so easy because D.O.'s equipment and amplifiers were not so good but, he spent time for us and he succeeded in making a good mixing and found a good balance between guitars and bass. On most metal records, the bass cannot be heard, that's true, but I think it's up to each band to choose if they want their bass player to be heard or not; But beware, sometimes, most people think that they do not hear the bass because the bass supports and reinforces the guitars in the low frequencies register or just because it sticks with the drums. But, in fact, in this case, the bass does its job and is present into the sound. But low notes are often the most difficult to hear. And sometimes the guitar sound is so big and powerful that the bass cannot cut into the mix. In short, it depends on each band's choice of sound.

Do you dis/like it when people interpret your lyrics a different way from what you intended it? Your
song “Profiles for Delusion” could be interpreted a critique of the military and it’s policy of not wanting
soldiers to think and speak, just follow orders?!
ERIC: It's no use being naÏve. We know that most people do no take time to read the lyrics. The topics we deal with have to be seen in a general way. There is no really precise details to guide the reader. It actually depends on the way I or Vincent write the lyrics.
VINCENT: People can interpret our lyrics in their own way, i do not dislike it. We write lyrics in a way that allows people to think and to ask questions to themselves. You can understand «Profiles for delusion» as a critic against the army. That could be an interesting interpretation. In fact, it describes how people are ready to give up their own identities and opinions in order to fit in a social circle, or to have a job, to have a false life. It's a song that criticizes those who blends in with the majority, they submit to the mass without being asked to do so and for the wrong reasons. Fuck imitations!

“Unleashing the Whispers” lasts 9:55. In your opinion, what is the musical element that ties the whole
song together? At the beginning, did you think it was going to be about 10 minutes long? Does the song sound like you heard in your mind before recording it?
ERIC: As far as I am concerned, I make songs and compose according to my mood and my desire to express; I never know what I will create but when I find the first riff, a consistency is settled and it gives me a framework that I can change at anytime in order to achieve and complete the music all this lies in short moments when I 'm enjoying myself, feeling that the riff I get is the good one and not another, and step by step, this leads me necessarily to the overall consistency of the atmosphere.
FRED:«Unleashing the whispers » was patiently composed. It took pretty much time to finish this song. Furthermore, new additions and arrangement have been made since the demo was released, but we didn't plan how long it would last.

Have people ever asked you—directly or indirectly—why do you make music that you know will never be financially successful? Why do you think that the idea—making music or (making a zine like this one!) with no financial advantages—is so useless and stupid, to those people?
ERIC: Each one has to know what he [or she; MB] wants to do. Metal music is not made to make you a millionaire. Those who do not understand this must stop playing metal music or never start to make metal. As for D.O., we just want to enjoy ourselves playing what we like; we just need to have our travel expenses paid when we move somewhere to play concerts.
FRED: This question has been asked to me very often. i think that the audience and the musicians do not share the same interest as far as the making of a record is concerned. The audience of today is too much influenced by the radio, the TV, and what they're are told by people close to them.
VINCENT: I just think these people only see music as an entertainment. They just believe musicians are professional entertainers. They can't imagine that musicians can make music just to express their dark thoughts and feelings in an artistic way.

What new songs do you have? When will you record them?
ERIC: Step by step, new stuff is being composed. We may have our full-length album ready for September 2010.
FRED: Since our first demo was released, only 2 songs have been composed and completed. Three more songs are needed if we want to make a full-length in 2010.

What foods do you like? What drinks do you have with it?!
VINCENT: It's a very strange question in a metal band interview. I would just say this: «Fuck MacDonald’s and Coca Cola!»
ERIC: Are you interested in French food? Ah Ah...Just get a gastronomy book!

Final comments? Thoughts about France’s entry into the football (soccer) World Cup with a hand goal, by cheating? Would it be funny and ironic if France won the World Cup??!!!
ERIC: Fuck soccer!
VINCENT: Sorry, we don't give a shit about soccer! We do not care about mass entertainment. As for DOMINANT OBSCURITY, well, i hope we 'll be able to continue the way we started, writing metal music and lyrics to criticize institutions, dogmas, social systems, absurd behaviours. Goodbye. Thanks for the interview.
FRED: I've never been interested in soccer and it's still not the case today. I prefer music and guitar playing. There is no cheating in music. Thanks for the interview. It's good to know that someone, who is so far in the US, can be interested in our music. THE END.

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