Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Altar Of Betelgueze Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

The album was pretty much mastered and finished in September 2013. All of the recording and mixing had taken place during the summer. The artwork and layout was completed around November though. So, it has been about half a year since the band last contributed to the album making in practise, aside from giving some valuable opinions to the label and graphic artist, of course.

We have had few rehearsals, but it has been rather quiet other than that. We all have other bands and projects to deal with. I have composed loads of new stuff for Decaying, Otu has his new stoner band Kaiser working on debut EP and Aleksi has been busy recording his black metal project.

2.Recently you put out your first full length, can you tell us a little bit about the musical direction it has taken and also how does it differ from the ep that you had released in the year of 2012?

We've actually re-recorded two thirds of the previous EP. Tracks "Smoldering Clouds Above Orion" and "The Approaching Storm" appeared on the EP earlier. We just made them sound better, heavier and more focused. So, on that behalf you can say we have definitely continued on the same path, haha.... But to be honest, all these six new songs offer many new aspects to our overall sound. It definitely feels like an varied album. Everything stays together even though we combine tracks from a time perioid of two to three years. This merge of stoner and death doom is a very tricky one though. And because of that, we're still searching for the best possible musical direction. All in all, we're very statisfied on the outcome, both song and sound-wise!

3.Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics that you have covered with the new album and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?

There is no universal subject for all of the songs together. The title track "Darkness Sustains The Silence" is about end of the world (who would've guessed), a sudden new ice age. The older tracks from our EP are both telling about "Betelgeuse blows up and everything on earth is destroyed" - type of thing. The first two tracks, "Epitaph" and "A World Without End" are a statement toward religion and focus on the activities of the inquisition in the past, back when they used to burn people alive, whether they were witches or heretics to the church. All of the rest are pretty much centered around the basic doom subjects, though "Steamroller" is more of a getting-drunk type of song, hehe.

As song writers we have definitely progressed over the years. Anyway, writing this "Altar Of Betelgeuze" material is not an easy task - and really requires one to go out of his comfort zone. Everything has to stay together regardless of all the countless influences and uses of varying sub-genres.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Altar Of Betelgeuze'?

First of all - it's an unique title. I think we can all honestly say nobody has used that name before. Secondly, it looks cool. But the main inspiration came from that red giant in the constellation of Orion. Betelgeuse is actually an huge star, thousand times bigger than our Sun. Many people say it's going to explode at any moment. You can imagine what will happen after! And a clarification to all of you reading - we're not basing this name on any science fiction book or movie.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We haven't had a chance to play any shows yet. Aleksi joined the band as the first official drummer in early summer last year. After that we have recorded this album. Now we're rehearsing the material carefully before getting onto stages. When the right moment comes, I can promise you'll witness a pretty crushing dose of stoner/death doom, a wall of sound.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album and 2014?

Yes, we are definitely aiming to hit the stages this year. Quality over quantity though... Unfortunately doom metal isn't the most popular thing around, and we have some time problems due to all of our other bands & projects... But we will get there!

7.The new album came out on Memento Mori, do you feel they have done a lot for the band as  far as getting  the music heard?

They have done everything important, with good results. After all this band has been very, very underground before the last two months. There is a really steady growth of new listeners, and at least I'm happy with the situation!

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to the newer album by fans of doom and death metal?

The feedback so far has been very positive. There are lots of new reviews coming up, so it's hard to say what the final reaction will be. Some people might not like the direction and that's understandable. In my opinion there aren't many bands around with this kind of musical approach. It offers us a chance for some originality and possibilities to go forward with all kinds of cool ideas and still sounding convincing.

9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

We have had some ideas of incorporating more drone doom elements. At one point we were talking of perhaps using more clean vocals, and possibly even I would be doing some lower clean vocals and not only doing spoken-word passages along the growling.. who knows... If that happens - you'll see some more traditional doom ideas. Anyway, all of the basic elements are already put on use on this debut. We just have to refine it further. I've been thinking of doing even more bass leads in the future, too! "Everything is possible in the world of doom metal"

10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I can't speak on the other guys behalf that much, but I can name a couple of bands which have been a great influence to us as a whole. I think the three most important bands for AOB's music are Sleep, Candlemass and Black Sabbath. Sleep was actually the main reason we got together in the first place. Holy Mountain isn't bad, but Dopesmoker is THE thing. Then, I personally enjoy listening to all eras of Black Sabbath (except "13", sorry). Lately the main focus for me has been on 80's and 90's BS. Obviously there are countless of other bands, stoner/death/black/heavy/drone/doom... metal, even hard rock like Deep Purple and early Whitesnake. We all enjoy old school stuff, we're not into modern or technical stuff much.

11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?

There's not much other than music for me as interest/hobby. I'm a big war history freak myself though. I enjoy reading books, watching movies and documentaries and searching stuff over the net regarding history.

12.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Just make sure to check the album out & spread the word. This goes to all of you doom metal fans over there!
Cheers & thank you for the interview,
- Matias

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