One of our favourite new bands (well, they formed in 2006), Black Oath perfectly meet at the cursed crossroads of misanthropic Peaceville death/doom, ancient NWOBHM and, of course, their Italian homeland’s rich history of occult rock. Obsessed with their latest album, ‘To Below And Beyond’ (just released on cassette by Equinox Discos), we sent Kat Gillham to get the skinny on why and how it’s so fucking perfect from frontman A.th.
Hails! Your excellent third album ‘To Below And Beyond’ was unleashed upon mankind recently, how would you describe it for those who perhaps haven’t heard of you… yet…
Thank you for appreciation! I would recommend the album for those into old heavy/rock with a strong passion for occultism and a touch of black metal atmosphere. Most describe us as a typical doom band (due to lack of knowledge about music) but we call it Cursed Rock Musick! We are extremely glad how the album turned out as it represents 100 percent of the band and our feelings.
What formats is it currently available on?
As of now it is out on CD but soon we will have both LP and tape. We like all kinds of formats and take care of every detail, from music quality to the artwork. All these versions will be different from each other and will be released by Doomentia on CD, Elektroplasma on LP, and Equinox Discos on tape (a very special edition).
What subjects inspired you to put pen to paper?
I was reading books about alchemy and I wanted to make a concept album. The first part is about the so called Donum Dei (gift of gods), a spiritual research which is the goal for all alchemists. Then the album goes on with falling of men into temptation and lust till everything is turned into depravation and soul corruption. I think the title fits perfectly with the concept, we all are led below and beyond.
What initially made you so interested in such esoteric subjects?
To be honest I don’t know how I started with this kind of stuff, as for music and movies I have always been interested in the dark side of the things, so I guess a “love book” wouldn’t satisfy me that much, maybe I’ve got a weird brain but it helps a lot to create good music at least.
Where was the new album recorded/mixed? The production is very powerful with a lot of clarity whilst remaining organic and not overproduced. What kind of things do you look for in engineers/producers, what are the essential qualities they must have to work with your music?
We recorded/mixed at Brainstorm Studios near Milan. I knew the sound engineer from many, many times before and I was sure he would have understood our needs. He knows his job very well and gave us a great production without “plastic” sounds. I am not an expert with instrumentations/amplifiers so we trusted him 100 percent. We recorded in a completely relaxed way and he did the rest, also suggesting us different solutions during our residence there. The album is perfect, exactly as I wanted it to sound, clear but with an old school touch.
You played Hammer of Doom in Germany, how was that experience for you? When can we expect you on these shores (UK)?
The HOD fest has been a great experience! Since the beginning till the last minute there we felt like we were at home, with a great treatment and good bands to share stage with. For the first time I witnessed the great My Dying Bride, one of my all time favourite doom bands and we performed a killer show! About the UK, we would love to come there… summon us!
What can people generally expect from a Black Oath live show?
Not a classic “doom” show! There’s not a “sleepy doom mood” on stage. It is outrageous darkness performed with passion, blood and madness.
Italy has a rich history of dark and occult doom, why do you think that is?
Italy has a lot of superstitions and haunted places, great monumental cemeteries and ancient witchcraft stories! There’s a real dark feeling and it is an endless font of inspiration for musicians, painters and movie directors. It seems we all are captured by this kind of stuff, it is in our hearts and veins, we just have to find the way to release it.
What were some of the bands that made you decide to create a musical pact and play this style of music?
I grew listening to Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Celtic Frost, Venom, Death SS and many others, of course, so I felt the need to start a band on my own without trying to copy a particular band or style. The goal was and still is the same, to play honest music which represents my deep feelings without care for the actual trends.
What is next for the band?
This year will be the tenth one for Black Oath. We will celebrate it with something “new” but it is too early to talk about it. Surely we will perform as many live shows as we can, the new album is still fresh and we will bring it on stage everywhere needed.
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