Hi there guys, how are you? You have just released your new album, what's the general atmosphere within the band?
Exo: Yeah! Oblivion was released through Rising records the 13th of june and the feedback is being really great, metalheads and the international metal press is receiving this record with a brutal answer.
Noctem was formed in 2001, but the first years were a bit poor on releases and you've mentioned line-up changes as being the cause for that. What's the actual line-up of the band, for how long have you been together and how do you guy get along with each other?
Beleth: The situation in the early years was based in a constant instability. The other former members always had problems with new musicians that were coming to the band. We had a small good recognition in the scene, but not a constant activity. Exo and me are the oldest members of the band; in recent years we had some changes in 2007, Darko on drums, in 2008 Ul on the bass and in 2009 Helion on rythm guitars. Today I can assure that this is the best formation that we ever had.
The actual line-up is:
-Exo: lead guitars
-Helion: rythmn guitars
What age did you have whenn you started the band and which were the goals back then? Did the goals changed in the meantime? What do you aim now for?
Beleth: We were very young. I was the youngest member of the band in that moment, just sixteen. The objectives were not very clear, we knew the music that we liked but we did not define well our way. The objectives change with the pass of time and new formations. The aim of the band in this moment is to present Oblivion, that is our objective and our duty.
Your debut album, "Divinity", was a blast, I liked it a lot, but how do you see it now, after 2 years? How was the response from fans and metal media regarding that album? Did it open new doors for you as a band?
Exo: Of course, now we can see the mistakes that we made in the past, but I consider and understand that we didn't have the experience that we have now, is just something natural. With "Divinity” we started working in a professional and serious way, that album opened a lot of doors for us, we toured Europe three times sharing stage with amazing bands, recording the videos that we wanted for it. We worked really hard presenting our previos record, but now we learned from the mistakes of the past and "Oblivion” is the next step in our career.
You've shared the stage with many well-known bands so far, please name a few and tell us which well-known band was the best to play/tour with. Also please tell us some less known bands you think we should check out.
Exo: Yeah! We shared stage with bands like Incantation, Hate, Ragnarok, Gorgoroth, Fintroll, Napalm Death... I think we had the best moments in the Gorgoroth tour, where we also were sharing stage with a band from Finland called "Cavus”, amazing guys.
Less-known bands like "Carach Angren” from the Netherlands, "Cavus” from Finland, "Dawn of tears” from Spain... and a long etcetera.
How's a live-gig for Noctem? What's to expect from you on stage, any special effects?
Beleth:We try to do the shows in the most violent and spectacular way. Normally we do not like to describe what happens in our shows, but our shows are based in black metal. We still use pig blood, animal heads or another pieces of them. It's something that we always use. In general our shows are frantic, we destroy everything... including ourselves.
You've signed with Rising Records in March, how did the deal come your way? They have a ton of bands and keep signing new acts every month. Do you think, having so many bands under contract, they will be able to promote you properly? And after all, do you think Rising Records was the best choice for Noctem at this stage?
Exo: Yes, I know Rising records is signing various bands every month, but to be honest, they are doing a great job with us, they are promoting quite good this new album and giving us very good oportunities. We were dealing with different labels, and considering our career Rising records was the best option for us.
"Divinity" was supported by three clips, one of them, the title track, looking like a high budget one. What do you think of the comparison of the "Divinity" clip with Kamelot's "March of Mephisto"? Is it true you spent a ton of money on it? Also how important do you think clips are for bands nowadays?
Beleth: I can't compare these videos right now. Divinity and March of Mephisto are very different for me, even knowing that we have been already compared to all. No, the truth is that it wasn't that expensive to work with a large group of professionals, most of them were collaborators and extras; I guess this was the reason to be preparing this project eleven months. It's another way to express the music, you can also demonstrate the potential of your band in another side, and for sure you can acces to bigger number of metalheads.
How was the collaboration with Noisehead Records and why it ended after only 1 release? And also what about the deal with Relapse? Was it a distribution deal only?
Beleth: We were only signed with Noisehead records for one album. After that they wanted to extend the contract but other labels offered better conditions. Relapse records was only doing distribution for us in the States.
Now let's get to the new, just released, album, "Oblivion". How come it was recorded in Portugal? How was it to work with Daniel Cardoso (Angelus Apatrida, Ava Inferi, Anneke Van Giersbergen) as producer and how come you chose him?
Exo: We were discussing for a long time the option to record the album in one or another studio, we were talking with the guys of Angelus Apatrida and their experience with Daniel Cardoso was very good, so we started exploring their produced records and finally we decided to do it with him.
He's a very experienced professional, Daniel knows how to play every instrument and he's constantly focussing all his energy in giving the best sound for the band that he's producing.
Could you please tell us a few words on each of the tracks presented on this album?
Exo: Popol Vuh: First song of the album. Percussion, thunderous lows and a growing climax that introduce you to the start of Oblivion.
The arrival of the false gods: Harder and faster that anything we did in the past.
Universal disorder: Heavy, melodic and psychedelic when the atmosphere changes.
Abnegation and brutality: Arabic sounds mixed with classic death metal structure.
Invictus: Energy, melody, power, the song that better resumes the sound of Noctem.
Sons of Hun-Vucub: Our most thrash influenced track.
Seeking the ruin of souls: Heavy, classic and insistent.
Unredemption: The more melodic song of the album. Epic and melodic.
Q'uma'rka'aa'j: The acoustic prelude that means the start of the end of the album. The calm before the storm.
A borning winged snake: The song that better expresses what the cover of the album transmits. A deity condemned to the Oblivion.
Oblivion: Slow-tempo, atmosphere and the best song that expresses the end of the story.
As I said in my review, I think the new album has a more modern sound than "Divinity", is it something you aimed for? What's different and/or new on this album? How are you satisfied with the final result?
Exo: To be honest, we composed this album with the purpose of creating a more classic sound for the band. I really think that this album sounds way more classic than Divinity, but you know, that also depends on the experience you have as listener or the entire collection of records you listened before, can be something subjective and objective in the same time.
I'm quite satisfied with the final result, we created amore mature album with a more solid structure and tracklist. Oblivion is harder, darker, faster, offers a new dimension to the listener that had the first experience with "Divinity”.
What's going to be the new video? I know you'll start shooting it in July and it should be out in September, is it going to be as explicit as the previous ones?
Beleth: Because of the scheduling problems we had some delays and it won't be possible to show the new video in September, so the thing will start after the european presentation of Oblivion. It will be very explicit and perhaps more than the other videos that we did before. We're used to be censored.
Is the image important for the band? What are the ideas behind your masks/corpse paint and why choosing to have different images each of you?
Exo: The image is one of the three elements that we use: sound, image and show. Of course the sound is the most important and main element, but the aesthetic and sound help to build a solid structure. The music is better expressed through a strong image in an energic show. Our music is not classic and purist, so our image won't be, we're different between us but we have various elements in common, in the same way that we play different instruments in the same band. Our aesthetic is a cult to the former civilizations that helped to build our actual one, based in violence and a not natural order.
I know the lyrics on "Divinity" were about the Atlantis civilisation, what about "Oblivion", what's the main concept behind it? Do you keep lyrics as important for the band as a message carrier or more as a support for the band's image?
Beleth: The lyrics are very important for us, transmit the concept of the album and the message. The main concept of Oblivion are the mesoamerican cultures, specially the mayan one. Oblivion treats about their rituals, culture under a critical point of view of the spanish arrival and destruction of their culture to establish Catholicism.
Any new tours in plan? Thinking of touring USA soon, too?
Exo: First we are going to focuss the presentation of this album through the different european countries. Our main goal for the next year is to tour the States.
Is the band the main "job" for you all or you still have to take care of your monthly bills by working daily jobs? How much time does the band take every day?
Exo: Well, the band occupies most of our time, anyway we still have time to take care of personal activities, everyone is responsible of other activities also. With constant touring is impossible to do another activities in a daily way.
OK, I think I've asked almost all questions I had, I'll keep the other ones for a next chat with you guys. Thanks a lot for your time and good luck with the new release!
Beleth: Thank you for take time to make this interview. Horns up to all the metalheads, brothers and readers of Pest Webzine.
Exo: Hope to see you soon on tour, live your life in the hardest way you can and enjoy metal motherfuckers!!!
Interview by Adrian
Answers by Beleth (vocals) & Exo (lead guitars)