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Interview

Necronomicon's Rob "The Witch" Heralds The "Rise Of The Elder Ones"

After a stint with Napalm Records for 2010 album "The Return of the Witch," Canadian death metal horde Necronomicon is back in the extreme metal scene with a new label home and a new dose of blasting heaviness.

The band just released fourth full-length album "Rise of the Elder Ones" earlier this month via Season of Mist, but was unfortunately hamstrung in promoting the release due to a series of show cancellations.

Despite the setbacks, Necronomicon is still working its dark magic on the metal masses, garnering strong reviews for the new release. Find out more about "Rise of the Elder Ones" together in our recent interview with vocalist/guitarist Rob "The Witch" Tremblay below. In the interview, Rob explains the role that Jean-Francois Dagenais of Kataklysm played in the creation of the album and its release through a new label, the Montreal metal scene, and more.

xFiruath: For our fans who aren't yet familiar with Necronomicon, can you tell me a bit about when the band got together and what you've released so far?

Rob: Started at the end of the 80s, first release in 91/92 called “Morbid Ritual,” after that we started to hit the road. Second release “The Silver Key” opens the door for the first shows outside in other provinces and invitations to play in US plus first distribution through labels Repulse and Pulveriser. The 3rd release, “Pharaoh of Gods,” changed alot of things, first time dealing with real international distribution, Hypnotic, Connected, IronD, and Unique Leader and first time major touring. The next CD, “The Sacred Medicines” passed a little bit under the radar, internet downloads was starting to be really the trend and labels were going down so it came out on Skycraper music and some have been in U.S. through Unique Leader again. That album is really hard to find actually. With that album we were touring a lot again. Next is “Return of the Witch” on Napalm, not our best album production-wise but still brought us in Europe for the first and of course touring here and the U.S. as usual. Relationships with labels aren’t easy, and sometime you need to see what’s the best for the band, staying with Napalm was not acceptable for many reasons, so we moved on with Season of Mist that released “Rise of The Elder Ones” last week.

xFiruath: How did you end up landing with Season of Mist?

Rob: In fact it wasn’t planned, we were about to go with another label but a friend, JF Dagenais from Kataklysm, who was mixing the album at the time, was insisting that we should move to Season. So I simply got introduced to Micheal Berberian, since I didn’t know anyone there, and started to talk from there. Everything went one step at the time and we reached an agreement, that’s it. I really do hope for a long relationship with these guys, they are decent and changing labels is exhausting and stressfull when you don’t have a manager, you know.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the process of putting this new album "Rise of the Elder Ones" together. When did you write these songs and how does that process work for you?

Rob: I just work alone at home on my computer, well for that one. I build all the songs with bass, drums tracks, etc. and the guys learn the song after, they add their touches also, but most of the songs are ready when they receive it. I had some of the songs in my head already years ago, I always have 1 or 2 tracks ready way before the album even starts to be in process, like now I have ideas for the next one. The problem is that I manage the band so it takes a lot of time and energy, so when I’m at the point of working on the album I’m exhausted. Hopefully things will go easier so I can just concentrate on the music, it would be cool to have some who take care of the business for us.

xFiruath: How does the sound on this album differ from your previous releases?

Rob: Well its really easy. This last one is really organic, no plug-ins or stuff like that. We put good mics in front of the instruments and recorded the best we could, no sound replacement and no major editing. We had a really bad experience with the previous album and we didn’t want that to happen anymore. So since the guy behind the board is a big part of it, I decided to take that in charge too, we hired a competent engineer that would plug and run the machines fast and easy and I did the rest production-wise. After that I worked with JF Daganais from Kataklysm for the mix, and he knows the band for a very long time, so telling him how I wanted that was a easy like never before.

xFiruath: Where did the album recordings take place?

Rob: It’s a not really known studio called Emery Street studio, they never did metal before, its more working with other kind of music . We worked with the owner there Seb Black, who was really excited about the project since he never worked with metal bands. I hope we will be working there again for the next one, that would be a blast.

xFiruath: Fill me in on the lyrical themes of the album and how they tie into the album's artwork and song titles.

Rob: The lyrics, to make a long story short, are related to the self realisation of the human being has a part of the great all and the awakening of the human god inside the physical body. That power was being called in the previous album The Return of the Witch, the consciousness of what we are in reality and that no outside god is needed since we are gods. This is the awakening of the power that goes beyond that realm of the flesh but at the same time when you realise your divine self in the flesh you fulfill your destiny as the prophet of your own existence and the destiny of all mankind. That’s a bit of the idea.

xFiruath: You recently had a Mexican show postponed - what happened there and is there a rescheduled date?

Rob: Yes the date is already rescheduled even if i don’t know all the details yet. To be honest I’m not sure what really happened and rumors have been around concerning the other band but I don’t want to go there since I’m not interested into that kind of talk. What other people do or don’t do is not my business. The only thing I know is that it didn’t made us really happy for many reasons. First its been a long time fans ask to see us down there, so just because of that for us wasn’t cool at all. Like I said our return there is already in planning and luckily we will be announcing the date really soon.

xFiruath: How did your release party for the album go?

Rob: Really good honestly. It wasn’t a show, it was more a meeting and party where people could sit down relax and have bite, since we had a BBQ there, and drinks plus watching some studio outtakes, tour stuff, and the new video clip making of on giant screen. After a while we played the entire new album and after that had some prizes, provided by PEARL drums, that people could win if they bought the new album that was at a special price only that night. People there were extremely happy as we were too.

xFiruath: What's happening in your local metal scene and are there any particular venues that are really supportive of metal?

Rob: The scene in Montreal is really active. We have the Heavy Montreal fest of course that attracted last year 40K. Beside that there’s local shows every week and I think there’s around a 100 bands of different kind of metal style. The Coop Katakombs bar is pretty much the best place for metal hangout, but there’s the world while Famous Foufounes that has some concerts and metal night sometimes, Cafe Chaos. The big issue here is there are totally no major metal industry, no real big labels or anything like that, and the jealousy when one band starts to get somewhere is not helping the scene at all. Even if the scene is big, I think it would be much more bigger if everyone was backing up their band from here when they get somewhere. It’s really sad.

xFiruath: Do you have any more tour dates or festival appearances coming up?

Rob: Beside the Mexican show that was reported the next tour was cancelled too. So for now or agent is working on it as we speak, hopefully we will be able to announce some tour dates soon. Trust me it’s not funny to have an album out and the tour cancelled because the other band doesn’t have their visa ready or stupid stuff like that.

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xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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