Germany’s Nailed To Obscurity released a brand new album called Black Frost, a dark, atmospheric and doomish album. Below you can read an interview I had with NTO Raimund Ennenga (vocals) and Ole Lamberti (guitar player), about the tour along Amorphis and Soilwork, the story and the sound behind the new album and other stuffs.
Nice having you here guys. Too bad I’ve missed your show to Bucharest (well next time), but it was nice to meet you at the merch stand instead!
Raimund: Yes, it’s really a pity that you weren’t able to make it to our show. The venue was awesome and it was great to play for our Romanian fans again after five long years. But it was very cool that you showed up at the merch booth.
The tour along Amorphis and Soilwork is over, how was this tour?
Raimund: The tour was nothing but awesome. Five weeks became the longest tour we played so far and the package was the perfect fit. It was quite an experience to share stages with Amorphis who are also a part of Nailed To Obscurity’s DNA as well as the Gothenburg-masters Soilwork and the road-dogs Jinjer. We all get along very well. Each and every night, it was a lot of fun to play in front of all these different audiences. It was great to see that the new material from Black Frost as so well received by the fans.
Black Frost is your brand new album which was released last month, first of all, how is the public responding to the new songs during the gigs?
Raimund: Yes, it’s our newest effort and we are still very proud of it. The tour was like the maiden trip for the new material and it was great to see the reactions from the audiences. We tried to bring the mood and the atmosphere of the songs to the stages and create a special experience. After the shows we showed up in full at the merch-booth. Through this, we were able to get the direct response from the fans and it was amazing to see that we managed to reach out to so many different people.
Let’s talk about the new album further, what is the story behind it, is it a concept album?
Raimund: There is no closed concept behind the album but there is a general subject that is featured within all its lyrics. The best way to describe it is to explain the concept behind the title and the title-track. The title Black Frost refers to the term in shipping. When an undercooled ship moves through a fog or rain, Black Frost is able to arise on its superstructures like the masts and the ropes. The resulting ice is able to cause the ship to capsize. It is very similar to people that aren’t channeling their negative emotions. Pain, fear and frustration are growing bigger and turn into a burden. This burden is like Black Frost for the soul and is able to cause the mind to capsize. All lyrics are about inner struggles and how to manage these. I try to use strong metaphors to open the lyrics for interpretation. It allows the listener to find his/ her own key to the lyrics. This makes it easier for me to present these very personal topics on stage but it also makes them more accessible for the listener and maybe open the lyrics for his/ her own story.
I noticed that there are some ambient and doom elements on this record, do you agree with it? I mean, are there some changes of the sound, comparing with the previous album King Delusion? Yeah, definitely even Volker’s playing more atmospheric. Then, the drums are blasted to death metal. What was actually the main direction you wanted to go through Black Frost, instrumentally speaking?
Ole: Our goal was to keep following the evolution that we’ve gone through over the years and to take it up where we stopped with King Delusion. Our idea was to create an album that’s a bit darker and even more atmospheric than the previous album which also led to the use of more experimental and ambient sounds like the ones you are referring to. I think the biggest difference compared to King Delusion is that we tried to focus on the strongest lead melodies that we had and where we would have played melodies before, we chose to experiment more with that kind of atmospheric sounds instead.
Raimund, how can you manage your vocal transitions from growls to clean?
Raimund: It is not an easy task and I am still working on it, to be honest. I always sang with my clean voice for myself but using it for our music is new territory for me. Already when I wrote the lyrics for “Opaque” and finalized them with Carsten and Ole, we talked about using clean vocals to make the songs even more dynamic. During the King Delusion sessions we experimented even more with different voices like in “Protean” or “Deadening”. But these new songs with all their atmospheres and moody parts really demanded different singing-styles. While we wrote and recorded the songs, I just tried different things to see what fit the songs best. The songs were always the most important thing. Now, I have to deliver these styles on stage which is a different thing, but like I already said: I am working hard on managing all the different styles as accurate as possible!
After this long European tour along Amorphis, what are the next touring plans?
Ole: We will play some bigger festivals in summer, like Summer Breeze, Rockharz and more that will be announced soon. Of course we are also working on further tours but that’s yet to be announced.
Maybe it sounds silly, but are there any bands that you can compare with?
Raimund: There are no silly questions but silly answers :D. But it is indeed very hard to answer that. When you write and record music and try to develop your own style you know about your early influences but forget about the rest. That also makes it harder to compare our music to the music of other artists. But when I try to describe our music to people who haven’t heard one single note, I would mention names like Katatonia, (early) Opeth, Paradise Lost and Dark Tranquillity.
Thanks a lot for your time. Hope to see you live next time!
Raimund: Thank you for having us. I hope, it won’t take us very long to play in your area again!