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KAT’S BAND OF THE WEEK: THE OBSCENE
I am delving into my local underground scene once again for this week’s pick. From the darkest depths of the North East I present The Obscene, a band that has their sound and origins firmly rooted in the old school of death metal, drawing in strong influences from both the USA and European scenes. Members of this band are also veterans of the UK metal scene and have been active in the the UK underground since the early 1990s, having served time in the doom and death metal bands Morstice and Blessed Realm respectively.
The band began life in 2002/3 as Salutetothesun, but changed their name after a few demos, and I personally think it was a wise idea as the current moniker is much more fitting to accompany their brutal, no-frills death metal.
The first release under the name The Obscene is the ‘The Torment Of Sinners’ EP which has been unleashed by Eastern European underground label Pest Records. This EP features six tracks (with bonus tracks tagged on from a previous recording under the old name) of blistering, no-nonsense brutality, with a mix of guttural deep growls and higher demonical screams leading the aural assault which I think always makes for a great contrast and an overall more effective vocal attack when it comes to such music. There is a definite American Tri-state death metal influence going on in their music, mixed with the melodic sensibilities of European-Scandinavian death metal. There is also a nice mix of tempos going on as well, from all-out blasting fast parts to more crunching, mid-paced slower sections which remind me of ‘False’-era Gorefest. There is also a great use of samples in-between songs.
I sent some questions to drummer and one of the founding members Chris Newby to delve deeper into their obscene world, and here is what he had to say..
Hails. Please give us some background info – who does what?
“We’re basically old school death metal fans who decided to form a band after previous ventures disbanded and we were all at a loose end. Three of us had played in bands together before and it was a love of the old school approach to death metal that brought us back together. So we (Chris – rancid blasturbations, Garry – vomiting and hellish rumblings and Jonny – bestial hellstrings) formed the band and began jamming together again. Knowing each other outside music really helped, and made forming the band that much easier. The horde was completed by Tom (blasphemous puked obscenities) some years later.”
You started in 2002/3, released a few demos under the name Salutetothesun then changed name. Why the name change?
“We had changed as a band, we had developed and ‘found our sound and style’. The old name suited what we were doing at the time, and the demos under the old name were a progression and development of our style, but the name really didn’t suit what we had become and where we wanted to be. We wanted a new band name that was easy to remember, straight to the point and represented the music and lyrics, and we believe The Obscene ticks all the boxes we wanted it to.”
you recently released an EP on Pest Records, how did that deal come about?.
“We had music recorded that we wanted released by a label, so we pitched it to a few indie labels and Adrian at Pest Records loved what we were doing and offered us the deal to release THE TORMENT OF SINNERS e.p. so to get it released by a label made all the hard work spent recording it worth-while. The e.p. was originally meant to be a split e.p, but the label had some problems with the other band due to be featured on it. It was at that time I mentioned to the label that we had another e.p (recorded when we were SALUTETOTHESUN) ‘Destroying The Heavens’ also available which was ideal to add as bonus material. So we basically sent the label that e.p. and they loved it, so the decision was taken to release the e.p with bonus material rather than as a split with another band, to have our own dedicated release was even better!”
what has overall response to EP been like? are you happy with how it turned out?
“Overall response to THE TORMENT OF SINNERS has been amazing, we have had reviews coming in from all over the world which on the whole, have been very positive, so we’re more than pleased with reaction to it. It has been selling very well, the first pressing sold out within one month of its release and a second pressing is due anytime now (with limited edition artwork and improved quality booklet.”
You have personally been involved in UK Underground since early 90s, what differences have you seen happen in the scene since then, what do you think of the current UK extreme underground scene. Fave bands of the current UK scene?
“The ‘scene’ is massively different now from when I (chris) first became involved (drumming in Morstice circa 1992). Back then things were new, the scene was developing, bands were beginning to find their feet and everything was fresh. It was exciting times to be involved in the scene back then, tape trading, reading ‘zines, meeting new bands and metal fans. It was more of a community back then as there weren’t that many bands or people into extreme metal. I’m proud to have been a part of developing the underground scene here in the UK through playing in Morstice.The scene is very healthy at the moment and I see it going from strength to strength. I run the UNITED KINGDOM EXTREME METAL facebook page and blog, so I see how healthy the scene is on a daily basis, especially the gig scene. current highlights for me are: BASEMENT TORTURE KILLINGS, GRAN TOUCHER, REVOKATION, ENGORGEMENT, THE ROTTED and OBLIVIONIZED.”
What bands fuel and shape your sound?
“Hard to name any specific bands really, our sound is definitely buried in the old school death metal pit, mixed with some black metal. We have had comparisons to INCANTATION, DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, AUTOPSY to name a few, all are bands we have listened to (and still do) so I guess their influence has probably rubbed off on us at some point. We’re creating music in the style that we like listening to, so I guess that we’ve had comparisons to those bands means we’re doing something right!”
Got much new material written? in the same vein as EP material?. what will your next release be?
“Our next release will be our debut full length cd. We have extended our deal with PEST RECORDS to release this, which is great, so we’re busy planning things now. It is entitled ‘Architects Of Deliverance’ and we’re hoping to have around nine tracks on this release. Those who like the e.p are definitely going to enjoy the new material, there is a lot of variation in the new songs, but as with the e.p, they are all going to be ‘raw, ugly, uncompromising, old school and blasphemous’ creations! We plan to release the new cd around the middle of 2012. We have bought some awesome artwork form a well-respected horror / occult artist which fits the title perfectly and we have plans for a 12 page booklet inlay.”
Any plans to start gigging?
“We are hoping to start gigging soon! It took us a very long time to find the right vocalist (which we have definitely done finding tom – well, tom found us!). We want to be as fully prepared as possible before we unleash our live obscenities…we’re just about there now so hopefully it won’t be too much longer.”
Whats your opinion on the current worldwide death metal scene?
“It’s impossible to keep up with everything that’s happening worldwide. There is a lot of utter fucking shit out there which gives the genre a bad reputation. We (as a band) tend not to take notice of what’s happening around us musically, we do our thing and if people like it, that’s great. There’s a lot of shit that tries to pass itself off as death metal, but most people can see through their falseness. Death metal has become ‘pretty’, a lot of it just isn’t ‘dangerous’ anymore, it’s almost becoming radio friendly with kids that look like they should be modelling in a catalogue. It’s all too safe!”
What do your lyrics deal with?
“War, death, violence, sex, blasphemy, murder – We write about man’s failings as a species, his self destructive nature, his sordid lust for power, his cruel actions against his fellow man. I personally hate people.We also despise humans and their passion for idolising false religions and gods, it sickens us to our stomachs!”
What merch do you currently have available? where can people hear and buy your stuff ??
“We have shirts and girlies available, £7 each (free UK delivery). The shirts feature the artwork from the Inside of the cd booklet of the e.p. They are currently selling really well. We don’t have any cd’s (at the time of writing) but when this interview is published we will have our stock of the second pressing. We are currently planning hoodies, which will be available nearer the end of the year. Horns high to those that adorn themselves with our shirt!”