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Opprobrium’s Francis Howard: “I guess all the struggles gave us the eye of the tiger type of feeling, it gave us that hunger musically to go the extra mile and succeed. I see “The Fallen Entities” as an better version of “Beyond The Unknown”

Interview with Francis M. Howard from Opprobrium
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 March 2019, 2:28 PM

Back in the day, when stuff started to get heavier, there was a Death / Thrash Metal band named Incubus, which became cult. Years forward, and the former mutated into the Opprobrium, same style, same image, even same main men. After letting the worldwide scene know that they are back, the band released their new album “The Fallen Entities”, aiming high. Steinmetal sat down for a chat with Francis M. Howard regarding the new album, what keeps them going and the future

Hi Francis, good to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online magazine. Quite a treat having an old schooler in for a small chat. How have you been sir?

I feel a 100%, Thank you. Still going strong

In the past several years we have been showered by anniversary and reissue celebrations of two of your earlier Incubus classics. I guess that in the meantime, you have been working on your new album, “The Fallen Entities”. I wonder, why did it take a decade to come up with this release?

We've had many setbacks, from Hurricanes to Floods, plus personal problems as well. But even with all this, we kept going. During this time, we did the “Serpent Temptation” (the original, 1988) reissue with Relapse Records, our first album, and I also did release a solo album during this time called “Let Your Light Shine” in the style of Rock Instrumental, the name of the band for the solo album is called; And It Echoed In Every Part. It's not Death Trash Style, is more into the Rock style genre. And even in all these struggles as explained, Moyses and I were refining our 5th Studio album called “The Fallen Entities”. “The Fallen Entities” was the most difficult album to release, we went through a lot of difficulties in our personal lives, but we just kept going and the end results came out 100% in our favor, in other words, we are very happy how the album came out.

I noticed that now you are a duo, is this band status to remain permanent, relaying on live members to fill in the vacant spots?

As far as studio recording goes, it will be Moyses and I always, but who knows, that might change in the future. As far as live shows, yes, we definitely will need a bass player for live shows and I'm also thinking of getting a rhythm guitar player this time for live shows. I do not like to make plans, but will see what 2019 has in store for Opprobrium.

Listening to “The Fallen Entities”, it doesn’t sound typical old school Opprobrium / Incubus kind of release, quite advanced a darkened. Nonetheless, it still breathes and pukes early 90s Death Metal with enough Thrash shrapnels to keep one company. Do you believe that a progress has been made musically?

So that our newer fans might know, we used to be called Incubus, but changed our band name to Opprobrium in 1999. We have been using the name Opprobrium for 20 yrs now. Concerning the question if there was progress made musically, I have to say yes, 100%, the reason I say this is because this time Moyses and I wanted to make an album better than anything that we've released before. I guess all the struggles gave us the eye of the tiger type of feeling, it gave us that hunger musically to go the extra mile and succeed. I see “The Fallen Entities” as a better version of “Beyond The Unknown”. It's that kind of album that the more you listen to it, the more you want to listen to it. It's just amazing. This is a serious epic record; I think that we've created a monster of an album.

Were there any intents to be in line with nowadays contemporary musical measures in extreme Metal music on “The Fallen Entities"?

When Moyses and I start to write an album, all we think about its use all our musical abilities to create the best possible song that we can master at that time. We go 100% in all we do. We stay focus, it's like when I write a song, I want people to enjoy our songs, from the drum techniques that is in a song, to the guitar solos to the vocals, i want fans to enjoy these details in a song also. Moyses and I always do our best to deliver the best album we can do. We just want our fans to be happy when listening to our songs. As a band we just keep going and do the best we can.

What can you tell about the theme of the songs within the new album? Is there a joint theme that drove you writing songs about?

If I understood your question correctly, well, Opprobrium just want to write themes that fits our direction that we want to take for a certain album that we've released. We just go with the flow.

Which of the album’s tracks had an impact on you? Please elaborate on your pick

Songs like “Wicked Mysterious Events” and “The Fallen Entities” and “Dark Days, Dark Times” are some of my favorites, but please keep in mind that is very difficult to say that because I love the whole album 100%. I feel that the songs I've mentioned, will sound great in a live stage, can you imagine a powerful sound live with a song like that? People will have lots of fun, that's for sure. These songs have power. But it's very hard for us to pick a favorite song of the album, there are no filler songs on “The Fallen Entities”, each song can be a single or have its own music video, that's for sure. To give you an idea, it took us weeks to choose which song became the first single to put out on YouTube to promote the album, and the same thing happened for us to pick the second single, and the third final single from the album LOL! Because for us the whole album is awesome.

A little while ago you were in contact with Relapse Records for the reissue of two of your earlier classics. Now the new album is released via the German High Roller Records. What happened with Relapse?

The re issue of “Serpent Temptation” with Relapse Records is still going strong. They are a great label and very professional. But If I remember correctly, I believe that Relapse was already booked for the whole year with other releases. So because of that, Moyses and I decided to shop for a new label in order to release our new album “The Fallen Entities” as quick as possible for the fans. So Moyses contacted High Roller Records and Steffen being a fan of “Discerning Forces”, we felt at home with them right away. We are very happy with High Roller Records, they are a great label and very professional. They produce very high quality material from CDs to LPs.

I agree that this label fits you well, but I would like your input on the matter

Yes, you are correct. HRR is the perfect label for “The Fallen Entities”. The reason for this is that we felt at home with High Roller Records and also we wanted a label that understood the direction that we wanted to take with this album in order to give our fans the very best album possible, from the music to the album cover. We just felt at home with HRR. Everything just flowed naturally. They are doing a great job in promoting our album.

As a veteran in the Metal business, which has seen a lot of the old days, what is your intake of today’s Metal scene and how do you see Opprobrium develop in today’s demanding market

I see the metal scene much more organized now then it was back in the 80's. Everything is much more professional. The metal scene is worldwide, so I do see a great market for Opprobrium, it's a big world out there. Back in the 80's, things were a lot more difficult back then, but things changed for the better for underground metal music.

Are there plans to support the new album? Maybe coming in Europe sometime soon?

I do not like to make plans; we will see what happens. But it's not a matter of if, but it's a matter of when. But rest assured, we will play our greatest hits live so that all our fans can enjoy the live show

Francis, I would like to extend my thanks for this interview. Your new album sounds like a great reminder of how this fine mixture of Death and Thrash Metal should sound, yet with an outlook forward. All the best man, keep it strong!

Thanks for the great compliment! And rest assured this is just the beginning for Opprobrium. Thanks for the great interview! We wish great success to Metal Temple Online Magazine, and also I would like to thank all our fans worldwide for enjoying our music. Thank you very much for your support!


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