Interview with Serpents Oath

Interview with Serpents Oath

- in Written interviews

Photo by Mothmeister.

Hi! You’ve chosen to sign with Odium Records for the third album. How does this collaboration align with the band’s artistic vision?
Since the release of our first album we were in contact with Shadow of Odium Records. From the beginning it was obvious that we shared the same vision on what Black Metal should be, so when it became time to look for the right label for our third release, it was clear to us to switch to Odium. We are honored to team up with an elite underground label that has released material from bands like Ofermod, Beastcraft, Acherontas, Varathron or Black Altar.
The most important aspect was that they put quality before everything else. This attitude is carried forward in the products themselves and this for example has led to the release of the limited edition wooden box set.

How did you manage to capture the energy of your live performances during the recording process at Project Zero Studio, and what were the key challenges faced?
When working on these songs in particular, we had a live environment in mind. That was also a result of being able to play it “live” with 5 members in the rehearsal room. We could test out what worked for us and what didn’t. This was a great filtering process and actually meant we cut down on some material as well and were left with the essence. We meet up several times per week and spending that much time together not only means that you get attuned to each other but also that you keep pushing each other to constantly improve. Our vision of transformation also applies to that: tomorrow you should be a better version of yourself than today. Just like the Serpent that sheds its skin, and a new version emerges, so have we evolved and that evolution you can hear on the new album “Revelation”.

How did Yarne’s role in recording, mixing, and mastering at Project Zero Studio impact the band’s dynamics and contribute to the final result?
It already started before recording where we explained what we were looking for and he shared his vision of what he would do differently compared to our previous albums. It became clear that our visions nearly matched 100%. With the recording process itself, a lot of attention was put towards making sure that the right intensity was put in the performance. He really took his time with each of us individually during the recording process and did shorter session, so we could give full intensity every day.
For me personally that meant that I used a hand held mic to allow me more of a live feeling whilst laying down my vocal tracks. Normally you sing into a fixed mic and that always has a more artificial feel to it. This time round I was able not to only move but basically shove the mic down my throat, so the more guttural sounds get picked up as well.
The next stage is then looking for the right sound. Yarne has seen us play live several times, and especially for the guitars he understood that we needed a sound that transports that intensity when playing. Just like in a live setting, it still needs to have a rough edge to it.
In the end, it was clear that we were on the same wave length, as his first mix is basically what you hear on the record.

With influences from 90’s Black Metal, how does the new album reflect those inspirations, and in what ways do you aim to push that spirit to the next level?
Right from the start we just played the music that we wanted to play and have a strong connection to. We needed it to be primal and bursting with intent. The source of that is probably situated in 90’s Black Metal since we experienced it first hand in that period. So although we aren’t directly influenced by any particular bands, the fact that we create music that harks back to that same era, probably means that it is bound to have a similar energy. It isn’t just about speed however, we always look for intensity in the song, even if the tempo is slower. In the end it needs to be pure and deliver a punch in the face.
When the 3 of us started creating this infernal music together, there was no set direction it would have to take, apart from it being Black Metal. The songs we felt that pushed us as individuals and as a unit were allowed to make the cut. That is how we ended up with our own relentless and unforgiving version of nihilistic black metal on the debut album. Reactions were extremely positive, and it shows that listeners pick up, on a conscious or subconscious level, the true intent that one puts into the music.
Apart from 90’s Black Metal, we are also inspired by classic releases like “Sentence of Death” by Destruction, “In the Sign of Evil” by Sodom and “Flag of Hate” by Kreator. If you listen to those early releases you can hear a similar fire than later ignited Black Metal.

Building upon “Nihil” and “Ascension,” how does the Revelation continue or deviate from the themes explored in the earlier releases?
Visually there is a clear link between the albums, as the artwork shows the next chapter of the rebellion of Lucifer which was depicted on the first 2 albums.
On the first album, the vision of rebellion was represented in the cover art. It showed the first rebellion, Lucifer that leads the War in Heaven. Only this time the outcome is different, and the rebellion succeeds, visualized by Lucifer casting out the Arch Angel Michael and therefore a perfect representation of the ultimate victory of free will.
The second album showed the next chapter of that rebellion. Lucifer has now stormed the Throne of God only to find it empty and thus ascends to become his own God. This third piece portrays him claiming that Throne for him to reign from. All of these concepts were turned into Flesh by Néstor Avalos.

How has the fanbase responded to the evolution in sound, and what do you hope they have taken away from the new album?
The reactions have been extremely good, with the overall verdict being that is the strongest of the 3 albums. Strongest in that it has the most powerful individual songs, works best as a complete album and now comes with the crushing sound that we have been striving to capture from the beginning.

In what ways does Serpents Oath contribute to the evolution of black metal, and what unique elements define the band’s sound?
We have no plans to bring evolution to Black Metal. Black Metal isn’t just about tremolo picking, blast beats and high pitched screams. It is all about the intent that is put behind it. It is not meant to be safe or easy digestible, rather the contrary, it was always intended to go against the stream. It is that primal intensity that we are striving for. The one thing that you can expect is that we will remain dedicated to bringing inspiring Black Metal with true intent that will leave its mark, both on record and in our live performances.

Can you share specific lyrical or thematic elements in the Revelation that listeners can anticipate, given the genre’s focus on darkness and introspection?
The album describes the journey from initiate to adept divided into 3 chapters, split by the 3 intros “Invocatio Genesis” “Invocatio Apocalypsis” and “Invocatio Resurrectio”.

It all starts with the first step on your own path, symbolized by the Genesis chapter. In order to progress however, one has to break down the taught barriers and go through a process of de-identification, symbolized by the Apocalypse chapter. Only then can one be reborn, symbolized by the Resurrection chapter.

The three chapters thus look at a similar subject from different angles. If we look at fire, from a genesis perspective, we see it as the spark of life or the spark of an idea. From an apocalypse perspective, it is the all consuming fire devouring everything in its path. From a resurrection perspective, it is the inner flame, the Black Flame of spiritual enlightenment when one finds the Source within oneself. In summary it shows the transition of first nurturing your Inner Flame to eventually deploy it in order to devour everything that stands in your way with an all consuming inferno.

The title “Revelation” on the one hand refers to us revealing a new and improved version of ourselves. As the word itself comes from the Greek “apokalypsis”, which means unveiling or revealing. Hence in this context it speaks about some of the lyrical content as the revealing of divine mysteries.

With three albums, how has Serpents Oath’s musical and lyrical evolution unfolded, and what themes consistently resonate in your discography?
The vision behind the band is one of transformation. This shines through first and foremost in the lyrics and is carried through in the cover art and other visuals. The transformation is that of an individual striving to become transhuman with the ultimate goal of beating even Death. This is the ultimate rebellion as even Death is not accepted as a given.

As you can imagine, striving for basically Immortality doesn’t happen over night and is approached from 2 sides: the Night- and the Dayside.
From a Dayside perspective the aim is to not physically die. This is very much rooted in the advancement of science prolonging life to the point where we live long enough to witness the day were dying of old age is no more. The first successful clinical tests of reversing the decay of cells have already happened.
From a Nightside perspective the aim is to not need a physical body. This is rooted on the astral plane where you train in order to be first aware and later control your astral body.
Both aspects are cemented in doing, not in believing, so it is a very practical approach.
That theme of transformation is continuously explored over the 3 releases, with a returning message being: Test everything, believe nothing!

How does the band balance maintaining an underground ethos while gaining recognition in the metal scene?
We are not looking for any balance in that aspect. We deliver what we are passionate about and then share it with the world and let them decide what they think of it. This doesn’t mean we don’t work hard to achieve something, we are just not trying to cater to a particular audience. As long as you deliver something that makes a difference, people will pick it up. That has always been our starting point anyway, a band has to deliver music that leaves a mark. That is the essence which will capture the attention of the listener!

Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future? Thank you for your time!
First is the physical launch of our new record “Revelation” which we then obviously want to support live as much as we can. We have been confirmed for several festivals (watch our socials for updates) but still are open for more, as bringing our vision to life on stage has always been our aim. It is what keeps you pushing for more and as such becomes part of that transformative process. In the end that is what the aim of extreme music is, to be played live with an audience that loses themselves, as that is what lifts you to another plane. Nothing compares to that. Take all the live streams that you want, they cannot capture that energy on film. You have to be present in order to experience it. How else can you smell the incense, taste the blood in the air and feel the warmth of the flame on your skin? Only in a live environment does this music truly come alive.

Come and join us!

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