Guitarist Samoth Brings About The Wretched End
Band Photo: Emperor (?)
When the mighty Emperor finally hung up its crown, guitarist Samoth went on to join Zyklon, which in turn also saw its demise after the release of three full-length albums. The Norwegian guitar prodigy is now back with The Wretched End's first release "Ominous." Samoth took out some time to talk about the changing sound between the three bands, from black metal to death metal and now to thrash influenced extreme metal. He also discussed the fitting apocalyptic themes of The Wretched End, and revealed the band is already working on a second album.
xFiruath: Before we get into The Wretched End, can you explain the end of Zyklon and the new box set released through Candlelight?
Samoth: Basically in the end of 2007 after our tour in Japan we decided to take an official break with the band. We kind of needed a little break from it to light a creative fire. As time went along it kind of become more clear to me that I was ready to go in a different direction. I had been thinking about it for awhile and I had the idea to start up something different. It was time to work with some different people and it was basically to keep my motivation going. So there in 2008 it became clear that Zyklon had split up. There were a lot of factors, a lot of practical bullshit that lead to this. The time had just come to try something different. And then The Wretched End was born. The set came out this fall and that’s like a three CD box set including all the albums from our catalogue and it’s got bonus material.
xFiruath: For fans of Zyklon or Emperor, what can they expect to hear in The Wretched End?
Samoth: I consider Emperor, Zkylon, and The Wretched End to all be within the realm of extreme metal. I think my inspiration for writing music isn’t so different from these bands. The final expression is a little bit different. You have Emperor, which is leaning more towards black metal, and Zykon being more death metal oriented, and The Wretched End has a little bit more of a thrash metal vibe. Although I still think there’s a lot of death metal influences in The Wretched End and even some black metal influences. All in all I think The Wretched End is a lot more groove oriented and production-wise it has a little bit more of a live production, it has more life to it, as opposed to Zyklon, which was more cold and clinical.
xFiruath: Let’s delve into the new album “Ominous.” What’s going on with the album and where did you record?
Samoth: We started writing material in 2008 around Easter and it took us about a year to do all the songs. We did pre-production and started to look for a drummer. We landed with a Swede called Nils Fjellström who has played in Dark Funeral, and Aeon, and death metal bands over in Sweden. We did an audition with him and we hired him for a studio recording. We flew him up to Norway in 2009 and went straight into the studio and then recorded the drums. Then we had on and off sessions with guitars and vocals and the mix. It was recorded in a small Oslo studio called Strand Studios. That worked really well. We had a good and relaxed recording situation, and we all got along really well, which I think is really important when you are recording and making music.
xFiruath: Did you write the lyrics and what are the lyrics about on “Ominous?”
Samoth: I wrote a lot of the lyrics, and my wife contributed some of the lyrics, and my old friend Faust from Emperor also wrote a few lyrics. I guess you could say it’s a very dark, apocalyptic concept. There’s themes of social decay and this end of days atmosphere for a dark and gloomy feel and it’s sort of critical of the ways of modern man.
xFiruath: Will The Wretched End be performing live or is it primarily a studio band?
Samoth: It started as a studio thing and for the moment it is, but we’re not going to rule out the possibility of playing live. Our more immediate plan is to go make another album. We’ve already started pre-production for that, so we’re basically going to see where we stand after our second album.
xFiruath: Do you have a name or any song titles yet for the second album?
Samoth: Nothing to reveal yet, no, but we’re working on three or four songs at the moment and we have some lyrics ready. We’ve definitely got a good creative flow at the moment and we’ll keep on working on that.
xFiruath: Are you working with any other projects outside The Wretched End right now?
Samoth: Musically, this is my only project. This has basically been my full time music project since we started it in 2008. We’ve been working on a regular basis, meeting up in the studio once or twice a week, trying out arrangements. It’s been really good to focus on the process of song writing and being creative.
xFiruath: What bands are you listening to lately and what acts have been influencing your sound?
Samoth: I wouldn’t really say there have been too many new bands that have been a direct influence on our sound. I mainly look back at time when I look at my favorite artists. I grew up in classic heavy metal artists, all the classic thrash and death metal stuff. That’s just my foundation and for me that will always be some sort of influence.
xFiruath: Any parting words on the new album?
Samoth: Hopefully all the fans will support us and take the time to check it out. Not only rip it off the Net but also take the time to buy the album and give it a few spins. It’s definitely worth a listen.
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