Season of darkness does not require cold snowy mountains, lightless days or frozen lakes to come. Its steps shall be heard through the art created by the frozen hearts, darkened visions, melancholic breathes towards the life.
As a melodic black metal band with dark/gothic influences from Turkey, Black Omen has been following its own dark path despite of the trends in the scene.
New EP called “Darkness Is My Essence” is for the ones who endlessly delve into dark arts and feel the abyss deep inside.
Here you have Black Omen interview!
"There is more dark rage and nothingness in here. There's an extinction. Of course, melancholy, together with darkness and hatred, is one of the most important influences in Black Metal."
After 7 years of silence, you came up with an EP instead of an album, what was the reason?
Black Omen: We wanted to compose limited but special songs. We thought that we should make a few songs that are not repetitive of our past works but will not come out of a certain musical circle. There was no need for filler songs. Besides, we are not a band that is in the music industry and labels/listeners do not expect us to make an album biyearly. Everything depends on us.
Black Omen has 3 albums but this EP has improved in production, mastering, and mixing. Could you please give more details on the production process?
B.O.: In fact, we recorded this EP in the studio where we made the 3rd album, and the same people did the recording-mixing and mastering. As we move forward, we become more aware of what we want and, of course, advances in technology may have affected this. This EP has the longest mixing-mastering period among our all products. As far as we remember 11 revisions were performed. We thought over every millisecond, and this result came out.
Gate of Darkness is rearranged for this album? Did you have a particular reason to choose this song?
B.O.: It is our first composition and we usually make it a closing song at shows. All band members love that song. In time, as we played in the stages, we changed the song a little bit from the original version in our debut album. We wanted to re-record this ultimate version.
EP includes the orchestral version of “Damned Renaissance” from Sinphony album. Who did the arrangement? Why Damned Renaissance? Do you have classical influences on composition also?
B.O.: We received assistance from Ozan Tunç and Özgür Yamandemir in the orchestral arrangement. All songs in the “Sinphony” album are already suitable for adapting to the orchestral version. We tried symphonic compositions on that album. When you take out the guitars and drums from songs, the music is pretty orchestral. Of course, Ozan and Özgür made new arrangements on the simple form of that song. Damned Renaissance is one of our most popular songs, and it seemed to suit the orchestral arrangement. We are pleased with the result.
Could you please talk about the composition process and the emotional reflections of “Darkness Is My Essence” on you afterward as it shines out in an ambivalent mood from angst to dark ecstasy and sounds fully different than the other songs on the EP?
B.O.: Thanks for your impressive words. We started with the idea that a variable transitive song which has a lot of riffs and melodies were more intense on the guitar. This song actually shows the musical development of us. This song is again the product of an era of internal conflicts and depression where we are trapped in moments. Darkness is the biggest theme in black metal. We looked at the essence, deep wells in our souls and caught the reflections coming from there.
Khufu Records also released the cassette version of the EP which I think sort of keeps on the nostalgic vein of black metal. What do you want to say about this?
B.O.: Actually, we were going to release it only in CD format physically but through a friend, we reached Khufu Records and decided on releasing MC format also. Yes, we aimed to maintain a nostalgic spirit and it was a purely monumental and archival movement, far from commercial expectation.
Have you defined a concept for the EP? What are the lyrics about? Can you write your favorite verse from the EP?
B.O.: There is no specific concept, but you can find themes like darkness, loneliness, violence, and extinction. The first song is about the different transformations of love under difficult conditions and their reflections on the axis of primitive desires. In other songs, extinction, nihilism, darkness, and melancholy are common themes. As a favorite, we can select the first verses from Darkness is My Essence:
“I arose from nothingness to archaic firmaments
In gloomy aeterna I flew, I’d lost in moments”
Throughout Black Omen history, you have had changes on vocals. Recently on EP, Karahan is on the vox combining all sinister routes by using various styles while brutals come into prominence unlike high-pitched scream vox at the previous albums. What was the reason for the changes on vocals? For me, I'd prefer Karahan’s vocals which are more into the brutal direction that present a powerful vibe to Black Omen’s ravishing darkness. What are your comments on this? Do you think each album has its own tone and mood by this variation on the vocals?
B.O.: We tried to make changes and innovations not only in vocals but also in other instruments in terms of tone and style. In fact, we always used scream-brutal together and we even tried speech vocals from time to time. Brutal vocals may be a bit more in the EP but scream vocals are always the heart of our music. Rather than each album, each song is toned according to its own structure. We decide whether brutal, scream or speech vocals are more appropriate for riffs and emotions to be given. Of course, there is a different voice tone color of each vocalist. There may be such a difference between scream and brutal tones.
"Melancholy is an inevitable necessity, not to be knowingly and willingly sad; and it is the paramount resource that nourishes art-creativity."
Who did the artwork and what kind of impression did you want to give with it?
B.O.: The cover design was made by our close friend Selvin Flames. We gave her ideas about what we wanted. We wanted a cover that could reflect darkness, death, loneliness, and nothingness. Many changes were made until the end and the ultimate version of the cover satisfied us all.
While listening to the EP, I found myself looking in the eyes of melancholia, deep, dark and obscure embedded in melodies. What does melancholia mean for you and your art?
B.O.: Thank you. In fact, we don't think EP is very melancholic and depressive, except “Dark Is My Essence” song. We've made more of that kind of songs in the past. There is more dark rage and nothingness in here. There's an extinction. Of course, melancholy, together with darkness and hatred, is one of the most important influences in Black Metal. Melancholy is a non-seasonal window in which you look at reality from the inside. It is a normal anomaly in this chaotic world because everything we are right next to is far from us. Melancholy is an inevitable necessity, not to be knowingly and willingly sad; and it is the paramount resource that nourishes art-creativity.
Do you think art is born of suffering? What are the essential constituents of your music?
B.O.: Absolutely. “Ars artis gratia” and art should be free from populist expectations. Therefore, it is a reflection of the artist's inner panorama, and painful art arises from pain. You bring out the flames in your soul and ignite those who discover your art. In our music, there has always been inner darkness, hatred, and melancholy. These are the components of our music.
"'Psychoanalysis' and 'Satan'. Like the analysis of an evil spirit."
I’d like to ask questions regarding crossroads of the arts; hence what about literature? Do you have literary influences or authors that you follow while creating your music? Or what kind of literary opus are you interested in?
B.O.: Definitely. Although we do not quote directly from any author, gothic-fantastic literature has a great influence, especially on our story-like/concept lyrics. We made an instrumental song about a war from Tolkien's universe (Nirnaeth Arnoediad). Poe, Lovecraft, and Bram Stoker can be listed as our other influences. Of course, there is much more. We can add psychoanalysts like Freud and psychology as well. We also had quotes from mythologies.
Black Omen seems to be into word games. Sinphony, Psytanalysis… could you please tell about the stories behind them?
B.O.: "Sinphony" is a word derived from the combination of “Sin” and “Symphony”. Like sin’s symphony. Similarly, “Psytanalysis” was also derived from the words “Psychoanalysis” and “Satan”. Like the analysis of an evil spirit. Generating such new words is very effective and makes you the only one who has them in the world. So wherever you write Psytanalysis, you'll find Black Omen's 3rd Album.
Black Metal has been improving by incorporating various genres so far. After the 2nd wave of black metal, the melodic era has had a climax, suicidal with avant-garde embellishments came after and lately, we have had many post-black metal bands. Despite the tendency, Black Omen has been in the borders of melodic black metal? What do you want to say about this; consistency, desire? What are the pros and cons of being a melodic black metal band?
B.O.: We didn't want to go far beyond the style we started. Of course, it is important to extend the boundaries of the circle and not repeat ourselves, but there is a need for consistency. If we want to make a different style, for example, Raw Black Metal, it doesn't seem appropriate to call it Black Omen. This must be the subject of a new name or another project. When people listen to one of your new songs if they can say “Hey, isn’t that Black Omen?” it means that you have come a long way in creating your originality and you have been able to root your sound. In our sound, there are influences of Black, Dark, Doom, and Gothic metal. We think we're more gothic than black and more black than gothic. There are these aspects of being a Melodic Black Metal band. Soft for Black Metal, strong for Doom-Gothic Metal, you stay in the middle. This style was more popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but the trends do not interest us. We have received a lot of criticism about the keyboard for nearly 20 years in our music life, but we did not remove it from our music. It is part of our soul. Strings, choir, and piano tones are very useful in creating atmosphere.
How do you define black metal in your own words?
B.O.: Art of darkness… The struggle for existence… An abyss that looks inside us… Mirror held in hate and melancholy… Unholy Water for unbelievers…
What kind of music influences Black Omen?
B.O.: Black, Dark, Gothic and Doom Metal… Dark classical music artists like Carl Orff should also be mentioned.
What are the best opuses from 2019 so far according to you?
B.O.: New albums of Vargrav, Mephorash, Deus Mortem, Bethlehem, Deathspell Omega. Misþyrming, Kampfar, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Possessed, Nordjevel, Enthroned and guitarist’s Batushka.
How are your live shows? How do you catch the atmosphere? Are there any upcoming ones lately? You will have a show in Istanbul this year. Could you please give more details about it?
B.O.: We're a band that rarely goes on stage. Mostly bar concerts. In fact, we do not do anything extra than try to perform our music well. Maybe a little make-up and we used candles in a few concerts. Yes, we will play in İstanbul with Opera IX and Sabhankra in November. We don't have another concert plan until that event.
How has been black metal scene in terms of bands, concerts, audiences, fans, magazines, etc. in Turkey? Can you give names of the bands who were able to leave a mark in Black Metal scene in Turkey?
B.O.: Unfortunately, our situation in the world Black Metal arena is not heartwarming. Black metal is underground of underground around here. Despite this, we think there are some successful bands such as Episode 13, Zifir, Thorncraft and Persecutory.
Are there any plans for Black Omen? Are we going to listen to a new album after the EP?
B.O.: Frankly, we don't have a new album plan but we'll look at what time will tell. Eps are usually released before an album, but we released an EP instead of an album.
Are the members of Black Omen involved in any other side or solo projects?
B.O.: Onur, the drummer plays at Death Metal band Carnophage and the vocalist Karahan also sings at Stoner Metal band Truck.
Please share your last words and wishes for Black Metal Chronicles.
B.O.: Thank you for your support and this interview. We wish Black Metal Chronicles success in broadcasting. Those who want to contact us can use our accounts below:
"Art of darkness… The struggle for existence… An abyss that looks inside us… Mirror held in hate and melancholy… Unholy Water for unbelievers…"