Keep of Kalessin – New Black Order

Thursday, 28th March 2013

Blistering.com: I think Kolossus is more varied than Armada. Was that your main approach going into songwriting?

Obsidian: The only approach was that we wanted to make an album that was bigger and more epic than Armada and we wanted to take the kind of melodies to the next level. Kolossus is more melodic than Armada, but it also has a lot more diversity and variation. That’s where the thrash metal element comes naturally to me. I grew up listening to it and I’ve been playing thrash, so mixing that with black metal in Keep of Kalessin has been natural for me. I don’t think too much about – I just take the riffs that sound good and shape them into individual songs. Kolossus is more of an album you should listen to from start to finish, more so than Armada. It’s an album-album, instead of many different songs.

In the beginning, it starts out almost positive – not happy – but victorious. The first song is the victory song about war and then we are taking it a bit down and getting darker throughout the album and with the “Kolossus” track it hits the darkest part of the album and we finish off the album in the same way we started. I just wanted to do this musical landscape introducing a lot of diversity into the album.

Blistering.com: I can think three or four songs that instantly stand out: “A New Empire’s Birth,” “Warmonger,” “The Mark of Power” and “Kolossus.” Out of those or even the album in general, which songs stick out the most?

Obsidian: When I listen to the album I always change my mind. But I agree about “A New Empire’s Birth” and I think “Ascendant” is a great track, as is the title track. I think the real hidden song on the album is “Escape the Union.” It takes a long time to get into that song and it’s hidden in between “Warmonger” and “The Mark of Power.” It’s the middle song on the album. The middle of the album is always the hard part because that’s where the listener will have the most trouble listening to the album. You remember the beginning and you remember the end, but the middle just fills up with different stuff. I truly suggest to people to listen to “Escape the Union” because it’s one of those tracks that really grows on you.

Blistering.com: Switching gears, what, if anything did you learn from touring with Satyricon?

Obsidian: I learned a lot and I got a lot of contacts by touring that much. Musically, we are different and have a different approach to writing songs. I didn’t take much from a musical standpoint, but touring, and the whole business of touring and business of bands and the fact that I got of lot of live experience – that was worthwhile.

Blistering.com: This band is your baby – how have you developed as a bandleader?

Obsidian: I started Keep of Kalessin 13 years ago and we have done a few albums, but it wasn’t until my mind changed when I joined Satyricon. I didn’t change that much as a songwriter – I have always written this way and knew we had potential, but what changed was that my focus went from doing a hobby band to taking the band seriously as a job. Right now, we have built our own studio and we are recording other bands and producing albums. Having this whole business idea behind it isn’t that bad. You have to think like that if you’re going to survive in the business, but that stuff doesn’t mean you have to change the music. If everything around the band is professional, I also think it’s much easier to do whatever you want on your albums. Labels see serious bands like that. They take them seriously instead of a bunch of kids drinking their assess off on tour and being total idiots.

Blistering.com: What’s on tap for the rest of 2008?

Obsidian: We’re doing a few festivals in Norway and Germany, then we are doing a UK headlining tour in November. Then, we are hopefully back into the US in October/November, then we are doing a Scandinavian tour, then a European tour, then suddenly it’s Christmas. Hopefully then, a European tour next February, so we’re going to be busy.

www.myspace.com/keepofkalessin

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