Enthroned has always been a band that releases incendiary, callous black metal. Their music has always been straightforward with little to no frills, much like the meat-and-potatoes type of traditional death metal found in America. Always choosing substance over style, Enthroned are one of the few continuously reliable bands in the world of metal, not just black metal.
Eight albums under their belts and now isn’t the time for the Belgian quartet to slow down or reinvent themselves for full-length number nine. Enter Obsidium, arguably Enthroned’s finest record to date, one that sees the band not only maturing as functional unit but also sticking to what got them to this point in their careers. Blistering.com recently had the chance to chat with guitarist/lead vocalist Nornagest and pick his brain about Obsidium and how that monster was created. Oh, and also how Enthroned look for ugly women. Read on…
Blistering.com: Congratulations on the new album, Obsidium. It’s a very strong release. What are your thoughts? I’ll assume you and the rest of Enthroned is happy with it.
Nornagest: Yes, thank you. Yes, for the first time I am very happy and satisfied with one of our own releases. Even though this one was the most spontaneous one we ever did, it’s quite surprising in a way. So, yeah, I’m really, really satisfied with it.
Blistering.com: You say that this is the first one with which you’re satisfied. Are you saying that you weren’t happy or satisfied with your previous albums?
Nornagest: Oh no, no, no. It’s not like that. We were always very happy with our previous records but there was always something that drove us crazy like little things here and there. Like the guitars could have been more or less or the vocals. Things like that. But here with Obsidium? Nothing to say [laughs]. Not to sound cocky, but it’s something we did ourselves and we are very proud.
Blistering.com: With this album being so spontaneous, as you said, this meant that the songs all came together without much real thought? You didn’t practice and/or take a long time to write the songs?
Nornagest: Yes, exactly. We didn’t have to think twice about this or that. There were no compromises between this or that member. We all had the same ideas and all went in the same direction. We all had the same direction, same goals and everything. When someone would come up with a good riff or something, it was accepted because it was just what the other guys had in mind. In total, from the time we started composing the songs and until the time we finished, we did it all in about six months. So, that was quite spontaneous, I got to tell you.
Blistering.com: Why do you think this is? Is it maturity within the band? Has it just become easier to write songs together because you’re all better musicians than in the past?
Nornagest: Well, I’m working with the same guys in the band now for several years. In the past, we had different guys trying out for the band and it took time for everybody to fit together, even though we were already friends. I think that’s one factor. Also the concept for Obsidium is something very special to us all in our private lives. We had to be honest as well and instead of having to think twice about things, we kind of just puked it all out instead of composing.
Blistering.com: Musically, what was the biggest inspiration for this album?
Nornagest: When we were composing, we try to keep our distances from other bands [in our genre]. We were trying not to get influenced by this or that band. Of course, there was always that sort of influence when we were first trying to play. But nowadays we are looking into ourselves and not so much what we are listening to. Our inspiration really came from within us, what’s inside and not other bands.
Blistering.com: Obsidium definitely sounds like typical Enthroned, though it possesses a more pronounced, more mature sound and direction. It’s like you’ve evolved as a band tenfold all the while retaining that classic Enthroned sound. Were you aware of this as a unit while you were creating Obsidium?
Nornagest: Not really, actually. We were really into the whole concept of the album. We’d practice and create parts of the songs and then meet each other in the studio with our ideas. I’m not really sure but everything just came together. Aside from that spontaneity, it didn’t really feel that different. But I guess that came from all the years together? There was no conscious thought about how we’ve grown [as musicians] or how we’re going to put this all together.
Blistering.com: When you had the first few songs completed, before the album was finished, did you know that this thing was going to turn out stronger or better than your previous albums?
Nornagest: Actually, it was when I listening to the final mix. I wasn’t looking at anything or doing anything except listening to that final mix. I just looked at Phorgath, our bass player, and he looked at me and we just laughed. It was at that point where we realized that we had just created the album that we were going to be the most proud of until now.
Blistering.com: Do you think that this album is the one that will be your “breakthrough” album, your Reign in Blood, so to speak?
Nornagest: I can say that now, but you never know will happen in the next years. Hopefully I don’t think it will be [laughs] because I hope the next one will be even better. If we started getting shittier and shittier with each album from here forward, I wouldn’t see the point in continuing. As long as we record the perfect album that represents what we do, then that’s okay with me. But to say that this is our breakthrough album, that’s for the magazines and fans to say. I can’t say that because I’m in the band. How would I know what our breakthrough will be? [laughs]
Blistering.com: To me, “Horns Aflame” is the best track on the record. What do you feel is the best one from Obsidium?
Nornagest: Well, as you can imagine, each of the songs has a special meaning to me. “Horns Aflame” is a very special song to me and I was in the same mindset as I was back in ’97. I had the same approach and I just puked it out. So in a way, it’s sort of the alien of the album because it could easily fit on our second release (Towards the Skullthrone of Satan). But I love “Deathmoor,” that’s a song that is very special to me. How do I say, the first riff I composed before the rest of the album started [being created] and I ended the song after the rest of the other ones. So even though it was a total spontaneous album, this song took the time of the full completion of the album to be finished.