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Agalaz (Obscurity)

Interview with Agalaz from Obscurity
by Matt Johnson at 16 January 2015, 3:40 PM

German, Pagan Metal extraordinaires OBSCURITY have long stood as a criminally-underrated band, the first album having been released back in 2000. 2014 sees the release of "Vintar", a monumental hunk of 'Battle Metal', through which the band draws on their heritage and roots, dating back to the Germanic tribe of the Tenkterer. Our Matt Johnson shared a hearty interview with vocalist Agalaz regarding the band's roots, the importance of separating the 'Viking' from the 'Pagan', and how Odinist values are incorporated into the music.

How do the views and traditions of Odinist beliefs influence the lyric writing in "Vintar"?

Thank you very much for this interview and Berge Romerijke to all Metalheads out there! The traditions and the nordic mythology have more and less slightly influenced the writing of Vintar, but unlike and more less than at our further productions, for example Obscurity or Várar. The reason therefor is, that the story on Vintar is to 99%  fictional. Only the first three songs based on the Nordic mythology but the other songs told a fictional tale after the Ragnarök, from my point of view. I had this idea a few years ago and now it was time to turn the lyrical concept to into a proper musical composition!

What other influences went into the writing of the album, especially in the progression of the instrumental parts?

We all grown up with Metal music, that´s a fact, but we don´t want to copie other bands and styles of music. Other Bands maybe influences Obscurity in a slightly way, but I can´t hardly named any bands which directly influenced us because we don´t work that way. In fact we could learn everyday from bands, but on the other hand, we found our own way, the Battle Metal way, hehe. When we create our music, we are sitting in our rehearsal room, drinking beer and play and play. If there manifests a good song and we like it, we keep it. Every band member of Obscurity brought his own ideas and that´s what make Obscurity so independent. We don´t have strict a plan how the next song or album have to sound, that´s the reason why Obscurity is a original stand alone. We will still have a look to the left and right in future of course but I can promise, Obscurity will ever be Obscurity.

Is there any kind of conscious decision being made when each song takes on the characteristic of a different Metal genre?

Mmh, we don´t work so. For sure, we have a clear idea how the sound of Obscurity have to be, but we never say, the next song has to be a Death- or Black Metal song. We have not strict a plan which we work. Every Bandmember brought his ideas and I think that is the reason why we have a lot of different characteristic elements of Metal genres in our songs/music. I for myself love bands like Bathory, Primordial, Immortal, Naglfar and so on, one other of Obscurity loves Dismember and Unleashed and the next one Anthrax and Maiden… and so we got all these difference sounds and riffs in our music.

Can fans of Obscurity expect a tour in support of this album?

Yes! We are very proud to announce that we go on the Paganfest Tour 2015 with Wintersun, Turisas and Heidevolk next march. There we´ll bring "Vintar“ over Europe! Furthermore we will play some festivals like Ragnarök for example. Have a look at our Homepage (www.obscurity-online.de) or Facebook site, there are more informations about our live battles for 2015. The raid begins, Vintar is coming!

Are the members of Obscurity secretly Vikings?

Haha! Nooooo, we are obviously TENKTERER! This was the germanic tribe that lived next to our landscape, the Bergisch Land, here in Germany. The Tenkterer were a proud and stubborn germanic tribe and we shout it out loud, that we are the legacy of our ancestors in the song: "Tenkterer“ at our concept album, Tenkterra. But hey, the vikings are cool too, haha.

Where did the idea to coincide high and low growls on this album come from? It's awesome!

That´s my kind of style to sing, better to scream, haha. You can´t put the music of Obscurity in a musical drawer and so it is the same with my voice. We have Black/Death and Viking points of contact in our music and so it is a logical step that I placed my voice into this frame, too. I want to transport my emotions and impressions I had when I listen to our music in a authentic way. When I hear for example a guitar melody or a bass line, then there is in front of my inner eye, in my mind a picture of a situation that manifested itself, like a battlefield or a mighty landscape. These impressions I wrap into growls or screams. From my point it is a little bit boring and not so effective to use only one kind of singing and I think if a singer use different kinds of growls or singing styles, it´s easier to transport the emotions to the fans and the audience, it´s more true! Thank you very much for you complimentary about my growls, cool you like it!

Where is your biggest market in terms of fanbase?

In Germany for sure. We have a big fanbase here in Germany and the force is growing and growing. That makes us very proud and we feel vindicated we do the right thing with our music. But also in foreign countries Obscurity takes place. We were on European tour 2012 with Kampfar and Helrunar and played Inter Alia in France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Slovenia, the resonance was overwhelming. Over our Obscurity-shop we got orders from Australia, Chile, Ukraine and Russia for example. It is good to know that we have fans all over the world but Germany is definitely the headquarters! As I said, we will grow up, that´s a promise!

Where do the majority of your sales from from, merch, physical album sales, or digital media and other online revenue?

This is Germany, too. We got also here orders from all over the world, but Germany is the largest part. It´s great to see that we sold items to countries all over the world but it´s one of our goals to expand much more in foreign countries, to bring the name Obscurity closer to our brothers and sisters outside from Germany. We are still at work on this. The next step to the world domination is the Paganfest Tour 2015, haha. I want to say: Thank you to all fans who supported us! Without these fans any musical act wouldn't there where they are today!

What contributes the most to the success and domination of Obscurity?

I think that´s our authentic music. The people who listen to Obscurity could hear that we do our job with fun and conviction! We never followed a musical trend, this is not our way. That´s at the same time the most important thing for us! Obscurity is Obscurity and will be 100% Obscurity. We have a clear idea how the music of Obscurity has to sound and we will never to bow (in musical-way) to nobody.

On the other hand, I think a big argument is that we are very close to our fans. After every gig, we gone to our merchstand and talked with our fans. It´s a constant exchange with the fans. It´s very important to stay in touch with the fans!

In my opinion everybody can believe in us and trust in the way we do our music! I can imagine that is very important for the fans and so they indentifies with us… We are only five metalheads who love it to do true metal music.

What bands can Obscurity list as influential to the different styles of Metal music which are heard over the course of the band's history?

As I said, there is not really a influence to our music from other bands side, Obscurity is a stand alone band and will ever be. But I think bands like Unleashed, Bathory, Hypocrisy, Dismember, Immortal, Primordial and even bands like Slayer and Maiden characterized and touched Obscurity in a slightly way. We all grow up with these bands and so their music burned into our brains and maybe a little bit is found in our music, haha. Thank you very much for the interesting interview and I hope nobody felt asleep during read this lines. I did my best, haha… A big Hail to the Greek people! Skoll and Jamas!!! Stay tuned, Vintar will raise!



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