German OBSCURITY has been going for 20 years now. On their 8th album they continue to bring us their take on extreme metal. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
-Hi this is Agalaz of the band Obscurity and before we start I want to give a great Hail to all Battlehelm followers, the whole staff and all Metalheads outside! It´s a pleasure to having this interview with you!
You are celebrating 20 years as a band. Where did all this time go?
-Oh yes, where is all this time gone? Nowadays we are nearly 40, mostly lost our hairs and having pain as hell, because of our old bones, haha! But we are still alive!
Obscurity was born in 1997! My four brave brothers and me sat together and drunk a lot of beer and at this point we decided, that we have to do something to impress the girls, haha! We thought there is only one way: We have to be Rockstars! So Obscurity raised up!
It was a long way from the earlier days to the point Obscurity is today. The first two years were marked by the earning of the band’s first stripes, the forging of two demos. In 2000 we recorded our first self-produced studio album “Bergisch Land”. The album was named after the German region we originates. Our music developed during all these years from 1997 to 2017 from being pure Black Metal, later with Death influences to the sound Obscurity creates today. At nowadays we make music with influences of Black/Death, traditional Heavy Metal and Viking Metal. We call it: Battle Metal! We think this describes our music in the best way. Meanwhile we have done millions of glorious live-battles, our beards have grown, we killed a lot of moose, we have played four successful european tours and now the forthcoming album “Streitmacht” is our 8th studio output. If you see, we´re old and stinky, but still alive, hehe. Furthermore we are very proud to noticed that Obscurity has grown up the last few years in this fast way. Thank you to all the “Bergisch-lion warriors” out there who made this possible! No retreat!
Your 8th album is about to be unleashed. What can we expect from this new one?
-“Streitmacht” is not a concept album neither from the lyrics as well as from the music. You can expect 100% Obscurity and “Streitmacht” is a musical combination of our last outputs, from Tenkterra to Vintar 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 very compact and straight album from Heavy Metal Fans to Heavy Metal Fans and another step in our musical progress but no worries, we will not bring you an album that´s sounds like Keyboard-Kindergarten-Metal in the vein of Nightwish! In my opinion “Streitmacht” is much more rougher than “Vintar”, because there are some more Black Metal ingredients as on “Vintar” but the album is another testimony of heavy metal firepower! “Streitmacht” goes a little bit back to the sound of “Tenkterra”, so back to the roots. In addition Jan Yrlund did a great job with the cover again and Tim Schuldt at the 4 CN-Studios also did a great job with the recordings and the mastering! Thanks brothers!
We all carry baggage with us that affects us in one way or another but what would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-We don´t have only one influence in our music so it´s difficult to answer this question. We are five guys and listening to a lot of different music. All these differnet kinds gives birth to the Obscurity typical sound. We are a band that does his kind of music which we like and not the kind of music who is dictated by the mainstream, you know? I think the most influence of our music is the autonomy and the honesty. We never followed any trends, also we never looked to other bands and want to copy them. I for myself listen to bands like Bathory, Immortal, Naglfar, Hypocrisy, Amon Amarth, Primordial, Dismember and so on and I´m sure you will find some small parts of each band in our music, but how I said, Obscurity is a machine for itself!
A band cannot exist in a vacuum. Is it important that there is some sort of local scene for a band to develop? What was it like for you guys when you started 20 years ago?
-Oh yes, it is very important for a band that there is a local support scene. When we started twenty years ago there was a much bigger Heavy Metal scene in Velbert. The last two decades it changed and has disappeared, but the scene is not dead! Nowadays there a lot of elder Heavy Metal Hippies like us (haha!) and only a hand full of young Heavy Metal Forces in the town There are also still some of the older bands like The Hellboys, The Jamheads and yes, Obscurity, but not really a young brood of Heavy Metal bands that raises up at „Velbert Dead City“. There are some good and talented guys, but they didn´t get their asses up. With all due respect, I didn´t want to say that the whole scene changed, at Germany there is a big and constantly growing Metal scene and that´s good to see and to know! On the other hand when we played a concert maybe fifteen years ago the audience are mostly from Velbert and from close to Velbert. If we play these days a concert for example in Essen, the audience will come from all around. They even come to our concert from over 300 kilometers far away. Great support! So yes, you need a supporting scene as a band to develop!
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Yes, I think we are a part of the big and great Heavy Metal family! I know a lot of people who have their home in different kinds of music, but I´m convinced that there is no family like the Heavy Metal scene! So we are very proud to be a part of this movement, if you want to say so. There is alot of respect for each other, between the bands and between the fans and the bands, that makes Heavy Metal so special. So the bands and the fans are a part ot this movement, not only the bands! And for sure, there is a narcissistic minority of guys who are thinking they are a greater and a bigger part of something, but I can say: No you aren´t, haha!
Is it important that the cover art work reflects the music and lyrics? What is a great album cover to you?
-I like it when the cover says something about the music on the cd. But I like it too, when the cover stands for something you want to transport with your music, for something you feel when you create and listen to your music or something that happend in your life. In the best case the cover is telling us a story, even it is just only a picture. But that is my way. I respect any kind of cover artwork, except cover artworks that shows some political and ideology stuff or contemptible stuff! Also I don´t like kitschy stuff like the covers of Manowar. A great cover for me is one that has a statement and is not to much confused and totally overlapped. It doesen´t mater if it is a colored or a black and white one. There are a lot of great covers artworks not only in the Heavy Metal scene.
I am no technophobe but I feel that some technology is for the worse, that it stupidify mankind. What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-This can not be flattened. I think there are a lot of useful things if you use digital technology in a moderate way. We recorded our first demos on tape machine, the first album we recorded only digital was the Schlachten & Legenden album in 2006. And as I said there are some useful tools in the digital world, please ask our drummer, he loves the „I drop you in“ thing, haha. But you are right if you meant that more and more bands use the digital technology to program the whole drumkit or example, because that is much cheaper and faster as if the drummer does the recordings or even worse, a band programed their whole music production! That is not my way and that is not the way of Obscurity. We make handmade music and only use some tools, because this tools help us to get a better sound. Music must have dynamics and may not be static like a machine! But I´m sure, the handmade music will never die as long as there are really musicans who love to play their instruments. So you can be calm down, haha. Also, the great bands have their on tradmarks and if the production sounds like millions others they will lost their trademarks. That will not happen. At least I hope so 😉
I hear more and more about how rock clubs all over the world are closing its doors for live music. What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-In Velbert there is unfortunately no live scene yet, this time has past away, but in Germany there are many locations where Rock and Heavy music can be celebrate. At our time on the european tours we played at some great and cultic stages all around Germany, the Benelux, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Close to Velbert there is the TUROCK Club in Essen, the Live Music Hall in Cologne and the Matrix in Bochum. Also there a some scene Pubs where a harder kind of music is played, for example, the Helvete Pup in Oberhausen, the Nord Café in Essen and the Black End in Dortmund. If you see, there are a lot a scene locations around us and if I can assess the trend in Germany and Europe, the scene will never die, it will grow up at least!
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-We always have a lot of fun on stage! It is a great thing to celebrate our concerts together with our fans, when we stand as one! Even for these moments when the fans sing our songs, bang their heads in front of the stage and when you look in their eyes and you realize that our music is important for this people, that give us back so so much! Let me ask something: What is a band without their fans? Right, a Fly-crap on this world. In my opinion and view of tings: When the time has come that a musican only stand on stage and let things happen and don´t feel something through playing a concert, stop to make live music! The most important thing on stage is: Honesty and authencity! You have to stand for what you are! Obscurity live = Party with the fans 😉
What would you like to see the future bring?
-We want the world-domination, haha!
Seriously, I hope we will remain healthy, can play many more live concerts and celebrate with our fans! We still have a lot of plans with Obscurity and we also have many of bullets to fire! In this way I can promise that Obscurity will still continue to grow … The raid goes on!
-Some last words: In 2016 our drummer and brother Arganar left the band after 20 years, because of privat reasons. He will ever be a part of the bergisch-lions! The drumming on Streitmacht was done by Draugr our new brother in Obscurity. You are welcome! Draugr did a great job at the drums, the only mistake that this young guy has is, that he is a wannabe and very mouthy. But what should I say, he is an half-Italian, haha. We love you Luigi 😉
Thank you very much for this pleasant interview. It was a lot of fun to answer your questions! I hope the readers didn´t fell asleep I did my best, haha. Also I want to give all metalheads and readers out there a great Hail and Berge Romerijke! Thank you for all these years of supporting Obscurity! You guys are the real stars, you are our STREITMACHT!