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Recenze/review - SULPHUR - Omens of Doom (2016)
Ave SULPHUR! Recently you have published a fresh new album “Omens of Doom”. I just love it. How are the reviews on this album, how fans react and how about music critics?
Thomas: Thank you! We are very pleased at the moment, with our new album out and about. The reviews of “Omens of Doom” have been great! We have got a couple of top ratings, but mostly right beneath the top and a few, as expected, not so good ones down in the middle. The reactions from our fans have also been great. Most of the people that likes Sulphur knows that our music is not easy listening and that it might be challenging to grasp at first, but thankfully most of them give the album time and lets it grow to reveal its structure and magic;)
I like the darkness which you can feel from your work. I feel like going through a forest in the night somewhere in the North in Norway. Are you guys influenced by the environment which you came from? Does it influence your music?
Øyvind: Im not sure, maybe the environment inspires me when I write music deep back in my mind but I really don´t know. I would say that I get most of my influences from listen to other bands and music. I can get very inspirated when I go to a really good consert or listening to new music. I try to keep myself updated as much as possible on whats going on with new music and I listen to all kinds of music to get my inspiration, everything from metal, rock and even pop music. I think it´s important to not only listen to one type of music to get inspiration, and then we would probably just end up sounding boring and predictable.
How SULPHUR compose new songs? How this process works? Who is the author of your music?
Øyvind: I compose all the music and Thomas writes all lyrics in the band. I write the music in my home studio before I present it to the other guys in the band. They learn their parts at home and we meet up at our rehearsal place and start processing the material. Everybody has a saying in how the song would turn out, but mostly the songs are pretty much done structure wise when we start reherarsing them. Our new guitar player Martin has contributed with some really nice guitarsolos, which I think, gave many of the songs that little extra touch.
What is amazing is the sound of your album. It is dark, cold and sharped at the same time. You recorded in the Conclave & Earshot studios. Why there? Did you talked about the final sound?
Øyvind: We have worked whith Conclave & Earshot studios since our second demo tape back in 2005 so for us it was the natural choice when we started the recording process for Omens of Doom. We are also personal friends with the guys at the studio and I also play together with Bjørnar in Vulture Industries. Since we have been working with Bjørnar all these years he knows our sound and it makes it easier for us when we try to find that final good sound that we are after. We had a vision about how it shold sound this time and I really think Bjørnar hit it spot on, I think it sounds amazing and we are very pleased with the final product. Herbrand Larsen also did a very good job with the mastering of the album and I think he did that little extra to lift the sound were it shold be as well.
What is very interesting and abnormal is the cover of the album. Correct me if I am wrong, but the author of the cover is Eivind Huse from VULTURE INDUSTRIES. Why did you asked him and how did you choose the cover? I know he played with you on guitar. Why does the cover mean? I have to look at it all the time and it makes me think. However, I have no idea what or who it is on the picture. The mythical Pegasus?
Thomas: The cover artwork is made by the Romanan artist, Costin Chioreanu, who also have made cover artworks for Vulture Industries amongst many others. We contacted him when the album was finished recorded and we were able to send him a raw mix of the material. We also sent him all the lyrics from the album with the focus on “The Devils Pyre”, but no more instructions than that. We wanted him to make an artwork out of his impression of the music and the lyrics. We knew that he was more than capable because we have seen many of his artworks. When the cover art was finished though, we were awestruck. Maybe we expected a darker or more black colored artwork, but when we saw the crimson colored and psychedelic work we were pretty damned pleased. Everybody liked it at once. The artwork is also, as we speak, on the first place for the title "The best cover art of 2016 so far” in And Justice For Art’s contest, so we are not the only ones that like the cover.
I think there has been a misunderstanding as Eivind Huse took the pictures of the band for the cover. He has also contributed on a guitar solo on “Rise of the Mushroom Clouds”. Eivind quit Sulphur some years ago because of time issues, but we were happy that he could get a small touch on the new album. He is now replaced by our new guitarist, Martin Ytrøy.
Your album was published by Norwegian Dark Essence Records, just like the previous one. The first record was published by Osmose Production. Why the change? How is the Dark Essence Records? Are you satisfied?
Øyvind: It´s quite simple, Osmose did not like the way our music developed after the first album and did not want to release our second album, so we had to find a new label and ended up at Dark Esence Records. For us the change of labels was a good thing and I think we are much better of now at Dark Essence. It´s nice to be on a record label that is based in the same city as us and we are also friends with many of the guys at the label so we are very happy to be were we are now.
In your lyrics you are talking about anti-Christianity, Satanism, darkness, apocalypse. Why these topics? Do you want to say something by this? To share some kind of message? In the Czech Republic we are very tolerating with those topics. How about in Norway? Have you ever had problems with the Church, did someone ever turn down your concert?
Thomas: On the new album I have tried to focus less on anti-religious themes then I did on the previous ones. I have focused more on apocalypse and the madness in humanity and how we slowly are carving our way towards our own doom. It is of course easy to find inspiration in religions as they are the most condemning and doom speaking peoples. I also mean that many religions are the main cause that the world is on a dark path towards its doom. Just watching the news and seeing “Gods” people claiming their right to kill others because of their different view of life. The madness of following outdated writings in a modern world is truly amazing.
The lyrics on “Omens of Doom” are about natural disasters, where mother earth herself tries to get rid of us. I also write about man-made disasters such as nuclear wars, famine, plagues and a world after those devastating disasters. Disasters I feel is pretty plausible to come to happen in the future. Every lyric on the album is one omen of doom.
In Norway we are very liberal and we have the freedom of speech so there is manly no problem to have strong opinions about different things. I have never heard of any concerts that has been turned down in Norway.
In 2010 I saw you in Pilsen on the Phantoms of Pilsen festival. This year you are supposed to come back. How did you liked the Czech Republic? What do you think about the Czech fans? Are they different from the ones in Norway?
Thomas: Playing at Phantoms of Pilsen was very satisfying when we did it in 2010 and hopefully it will be just as fun this year. The Czech fans are a great to perform in front of! The Norwegian audience are probably a bit more calm then many of the European fans, but it is still enjoyable to play in Norway as well. I have been to Prague once, on holyday, before I went to Pilsen so I already knew about the cheap and very good beers. We also got a very good home-made goulash when we played at Phantoms of Pilsen in 2010 so we know that you are good with food as well. I like Czech Republic very much so I am defently going back on another holyday there in the future.
Are there any good albums which you want to share with us from the past few months?
Thomas: I have been listening to Mistur with “In Memorian” and Panychida with “Haereticalia”.
Øyvind: Right now im listening to the new El Caco album "7" and I also recently descoverd a new norwegian band called Jadudah with the album "Strangers" which I think is very promising.
Do you know of listen any Czech bands?
Thomas: Honza from Panychida was helping out on the tour we did at the time we played on Phantoms of Pilsen in 2010 so I first heard of that band then. I am currently listening to their new release, Haereticalia, and I like it a lot. Other than that I can’t recall anyone else right now.
What does SULPHUR plan for the next few months?
Øyvind: We try to fix some gigs here and there and we just have to see what happens, so far there is nothing confirmed. We have also started making new music for our next album and so far we have two new songs composed. Other than that we are of course preparing for the gig at Phantoms of Pilsen, which is going to be a great experience.
Thank you so much for the interview and I wish you a lot sold albums, hundreds of crazy fans and tons of good ideas.
Thomas and Øyvind: Thank you very much, Deadly Storm, for an awesome review and all the kind words! Hope to see you all at Phantoms of Pilsen!