Dark Oath is a female-fronted Portuguese band that have just released their debut album “When Fire Engulfs the Earth” via WormHoleDeath Records and announced their performance in one of Portugal’s biggest metal festivals. Pest Webzine thought it was a great idea to interview this outfit that is about to take the metal world by storm.
Sara, please tell us about Dark Oath. When did you start? Why?
First of all, thanks a lot for this interview. Well, I joined Dark Oath a year after its creation, in 2010. I really never thought about joining a band or having some kind of hobby related to music. I was friends with Dark Oath’s members for a long time and it happened naturally. They were searching for a vocalist and somehow I had discovered I could do guttural vocals. And that was that.
Your debut “When Fire engulfs the Earth” was released on the 15th April. The reviews have been quite good. Were you expecting it? How did you feel when you read the first great review?
Yes, so far so good! Everything is going really well, the reviews have been good, everyone seems to like it. It felt so great, because it took us so long, preparing the album and the release, and knowing that people are enjoying our music is rewarding.
How would you describe Dark Oath’s sound?
Well, it’s essentially melodic death metal with orchestrations, or if you like, symphonic death metal. A good ear might notice our main influences such as Amon Amarth, Insomnium, Wintersun, etc., but we’re not trying to recreate a specific song formula from another band, we’re trying to take what we love about those bands and write music around that, influenced by that, a tribute song formula if you will.
Who writes the lyrics? What are the topics you write about?
The lyrics were written mostly by Joël our guitarist/composer, myself and our ex-drummer Pedro. We wrote these lyrics about norse mythology, specifically the Ragnarök, but this is not to be the main theme for our band. We want to approach all kinds of mythologies, legends, stories about multiple civilization, as if we are storytellers telling stories about great civiliziations of yore. We chose norse mythology first because we had some background from our previous songs, but our next record is going to be different for sure.
The band signed a deal with Italian label WormHoleDeath. How’s the experience going so far?
Everything is going great, Carlo Bellotti, the person who has been working with us is really cool, he wants the best for us and really respects our ideas and concepts. We coordinate our ideas amazingly with him and we are on the same page, so we have everything to make this work!
Considering that the band has been waiting for a label for so long… have you got any extra material that wasn’t included in this album and is ready to be released?
We have some things yes, there are some songs that were not included in the album because they weren’t so good or they didn’t fit so well… We are going to use them, bits and pieces, nothing is going to waste.
Dark Oath will be playing at VOA in Portugal this year. Considering this festival includes international bands, how excited are you? Is this a good opportunity for Dark Oath?
We are really, really excited! It is a great opportunity for us, the exposure for the band is going to be huge and we are talking about a great festival, which has a great production behind it. I think we have all of the conditions to perform a great show. And I mean, we’re going to share the stage with such great bands, it’s really a great opportunity that presented itself to us.
Are you planning a tour to promote the album or just gigs/festivals?
For now we’re aiming only for gigs and festivals, but if a tour would present itself, we’re not the ones to decline such an opportunity.
All bands have a tour bill that they’d like to be in… which would be the perfect tour for Dark Oath?
I’d say Amon Amarth, Insomnium, Fleshgod Apocalypse. That way you have your classical melodic death metal (Amon Amarth), modern melodic death metal (Insomnium), symphonic and epic brutal death (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and us to open that monster of a bill, symphonic and epic traditional melodic death.
What is in store for Dark Oath in 2016? What is the band’s biggest goal?
We’re just aiming to reach as many listeners/fans as possible. Maybe break the international barrier and play a few gigs outside Portugal, but mainly reaching out to possible new fans.
What’s the best thing that ever happened to Dark Oath so far?
Definitely the record deal with WormHoleDeath Records.
Being a female vocalist, did you ever feel prejudice as a musician? When did you decide you wanted to be a singer? Who inspired you?
I never felt that, no. Like I said earlier I didn’t really thought of it, it happened naturally and just like that, I was in a band! Ahah I have a lot of people who influenced me as a vocalist, Angela Gossow had a part in it. Then, time passed by and I discovered other bands and genres and my inspiration is a miscellany of influences from Mikael Stanne, Joe Duplantier, Spiros from Septic Flesh, Keith Buckley…
Do you have any special caution/diet with your voice?
I try to be careful with cold beverages and stuff or spicy food. As time passes, I try to be more careful. I like to drink some warm lemon tea with honey before rehearsals and shows if it’s possible and to drink a lot of water during the performance.
Do you think female metalheads are taken as seriously as male metalheads?
I think there’s no difference. It is quite normal to see female metalheads these days. And we are glad, I mean, womanhood gives everything a brighter look! ahah
Being the only woman of the band, gives you any kind of advantage?
I think it doesn’t. We have all the same opportunities and advantages right now.
Even in our shows I don’t see any difference.
Would you quit your job for music?
I would. But I really like my job as well. So, it doesn’t bother me that much to have to keep a job because the band’s income is not sufficient yet to pay our bills. It would be a dream come true of course to live just from music, and I would grab that opportunity with all my strengths. Someday, who knows?
What’s your opinion about the underground metal scene in your country? Do bands get along and help each other?
The metal scene is alive and we have lots of great bands out there, as well as listeners and fans of the genre. We try our best to help each other and to make things work! There’s always room for improvement of course, but I think the Portuguese metal scene is quite good.
Apart from the album, does the band have any merchandise available. If so, where can it be purchased?
Yes, we do! We have a t-shirt available for sale, and another design in the making (but this one is still going to take some time to be done). It can be purchased, as well as the album (cd+download) a pack with both (cd+download+t-shirt) directly from us through our bandcamp page. Just google it, you’ll find it!
Please share a message with Pest’s readers.
Dark Oath and I thank our existing fans for enjoying our music and supporting us, and we hope we can keep you interested with the album! As for people who might not know about us, we hope you can give our music a try, it would mean a lot to us!
Interview by Sonia Fonseca