Interview: Samoth from Emperor/The Wretched End

Interview: Samoth from Emperor/The Wretched End

- in Written interviews

samothCould you give us a brief history of The Wretched End?

The band was formed in 2008 and has since released 3 albums.

How would you describe the bands music to someone who hadn’t heard The Wretched End before?

Extreme metal with an eerie undertone.

Your new album is entitled In These Woods, From These Mountains. Is the albums title your way of saluting your Norwegian heritage?

Saluting wouldn’t really be my first choice of words, but the title obviously reflects on Norwegian nature and my connection to it, both as an inspiration but also as a part of my surroundings.

And is that the same for the cover artwork for the album?

The front cover is linked to the title, and if you look at the rest of the booklet, most of the photography is of old Norwegian traditional buildings which I find very soulful and visually appealing, and yes, also a part of my heritage.

What subject matters do you touch upon in your lyrics in the album?

The concept is quite dark and dystopian, and relates to topics such as society, religion and personal thoughts. The nature aspect is also strong in some of the lyrics.

How does the album differ from its predecessor Inroads?

In my opinion it’s a more varied album that is overall darker, and the production is a bit more raw and spontaneous.

It has been four years between Inroads and the new album. What were the band up to in the time between the two releases?

It took a little bit of time with this one I guess, since it was 4 years between the previous album and this one. In this time period I was also busy with the Emperor In the Nightside Eclipse 20th anniversary shows which obviously was a big priority for me. The fact that we also recorded this album ourselves in a more DIY setup prolonged the recording itself a little bit. Nevertheless, itwasn’t really a big deal, we didn’t put any major pressure on ourselves and allowed ourselves to take the time it took to get it done properly.

Can you tell us a bit about the video you have done for Primordial Freedom and the concept behind it?

The video was done in cooperation with Vexedart, who is a great contemporary artist from Canada. He also did our “Death by Nature” video. It features both some clips of the band, but mainly it is based around more dark, abstract, and obscure imagery, which also have strong elements of nature.

You have Attila Csihar guesting on album, what did he bring to the haunting song Old Norwegian Soul?

Well, he added a lot of that haunting feeling to the song I think. He has a very obscure way of executing his vocals and it was a perfect match for this song.

Einar Solberg from Leprous and Red Harvests LRZ also feature on the albums epic conclusion Dewy Fields. Can you tell us about their contributions to the song?

LRZ contributed with the industrial programming, which is his speciality. Einar was a perfect match with his amazing vocal skills. I think this song was taken to another level with the inclusion of these two very talented individuals.

Dewy Fields is a sprawling and fitting conclusion to the album. Can you tell us about that song?

Yeah, it’s a cover song of an electronic pop band from Norway called Bel Canto which is now defunct. The song is from an album from 1990. I particularly like their two first albums and I actually listened to this a lot in the early 90’s. A few years ago I was walking in the woods and checking out this album again and this particular song immediately got my attention as an idea for a cover song. I could hear immediately that it would be an interesting choice of cover if done right. I also wanted to do something sligthy different as far as a cover song, and not just do a typical metal cover.

What is the heavy musical climate like in Norway in 2016?

I’m not really a part of any social metal scene so I’m maybe not the best person to ask really. As always I’m just doing my own thing.

What is up next for The Wretched End, have you any plans for any live dates?

Computer says NO! Basically, The Wretched End has been an outlet for us as a creative unit, rather than a touring unit. We are not ruling out live shows for the future, but I think our main focus will be to start on a new album.

With two members in The Wretched End, would there ever be any chance of another Scum album?

No, I hardly think so. Scum was a one-off project spawned from Casey Chaos and not really something we started.

Will there be any further activity from Emperor in the future?

I have learned over the years to never say never, who knows really what the future will bring.

What have been some of the highlights in your career so far?

It’s hard to say, I’ve been doing this for 25 years now, but obviously what we have accomplished with Emperor over the years is a highlight. I also have many good memories from the touring days with Zyklon and from cooperating with Cosmo making The Wretched End albums.

Looking back, how do you feel about the black metal scene in Norway and the media hysteria that followed it at the time?

It was a certain part of my life, but it’s so many years ago now, I’m sort of removed from it. The media hype was obviously highly sensationalized and in some ways killed black metal, at the same time that it gave it a name internationally, which has obviously led to many possibilities for us later on as artists. Of course, the strength of the music is the main reason for this.

Which bands and albums did you rate from that period?

All the bands that came out of the early black metal movement in Norway were very strong and unique. It was definitely a special era and atmosphere at the time, which is hard to recapture.

What are your favourite metal albums ever?

That’s a tough one as there are so many classic metal albums. I can list bands as Slayer, Maiden, Metallica, Testament, Darkthrone, Thorns, Morbid Angel, Kind Diamond, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Master’s Hammer, Dissection, Sepultura, and the list goes on.

Thanks for the interview.

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About the author

Metal loving music journalist, loves going to see gigs, listening to and reviewing albums and interviewing bands.

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