Art: Skaðvaldur

Bio: Conjured in 2016, Obscene is a death metal quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana. Following their Sermon to the Snake demo in late 2017, they quickly caught the attention of Sweden’s Blood Harvest, who reissued the demo on cassette and digital formats in early 2018. 2020 saw the release of Obscene’s debut LP, The Inhabitable Dark. The record, earning year-end accolades from the likes of Zero Tolerance, Invisible Oranges, Grizzly Butts, Last Rites, etc., continues to garner the praise of fans and critics internationally. Now 2022 sees the release of that highly anticipated second album, ‘….From Dead Horizon to Dead Horizon’. Recorded by engineer Noah Buchanan (Midnight, Nunslaughter) at Mercenary Studios and mastered by Dan Swano (Bloodbath, Hail of Bullets) at Unisound AB, the follow-up to the band’s critically acclaimed The Inhabitable Dark full-length is as bulldozing devastating as it is infectious and memorable. Far and away their most surgical performance to date, ‘…From Dead Horizon to Dead Horizon’ bursts at the seams with world-eating rhythms, barbaric riffs, and pained howls at the moon. Obscene doesn’t care about reinventing the wheel; instead, they keep the faithful wheel turning. The album is suitably adorned with the cover art of Skadvaldur (Coffin Rot, Ripped to Shreds).

Rituals? Nothing that cool or wild. I sometimes jot down some ideas after reading or watching something interesting and inspiring. Generally, when I decide to sit down and write four songs, I listen to some favourite records and have a beer or two. Four records are always in the rotation when I write. It’s Paradise Lost’ Lost Paradise’, God Macabre ‘The Winterlong’, Demigod’s ‘Slumber of Sullen Eyes’, and Amorphis’ Privilege of Evil’.

Any philosophies? I think it varies depending on who you speak with and what their goals are in music. We’re pretty ‘meat and potatoes’ in our approach, so I’d say somewhere between fantasy and material, as your examples listed. Performing death metal makes us happy, and we want others to enjoy with us while remaining professional and not treating this as a joke.

Suppose you can perceive metal as ‘cult worship’. The older I get, the more I notice that there isn’t much that separates something like the metal scene from independent filmmaking or professional wrestling, for example. All are fringe, and niche creative outlets are generally frowned upon by outsiders. All have fiercely loyal fanbases that are every bit as communal as they can be overly pedantic and toxic. You have got to take the good with the bad. I got into underground metal by reading Metal Maniacs in the late 90s. I was into a lot of cringe nu-metal at the time, and discovering bands beyond the Slayers and Cannibal Corpses of the world was wildly exciting for me as a young teen. I tend to stray away from idolatry, but some influences are Martin van Drunen, John Tardy, Tomas Lindberg, Lemmy, and Killjoy.

I somewhat eluded to this previously, but I always listen to the 4 LPs from Amorphis, Demigod, God Macabre, and Paradise Lost. I used to get hammered drunk before writing, but I’m too old for that shit, and it’s not as productive as the lore from Bukowski and Poe would lead you to believe.

I take a lot of inspiration from authors and directors. My favourite authors are Clive Barker, Stephen King, Grady Hendrix, Jack Ketchum, and Robert McCammon. Directors would have to be David Lynch, David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, Coen Bros, and Robert Eggers.

I think music certainly can be a spiritual experience. The word I return to the most is cathartic, especially when performing and putting the finishing touches on a song. I’d say music is important to me because it’s one of the few constants I enjoy. There are headaches and frustrations along the way, but if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

I like a lot of synthpop a bit. Nuovo Testamento’s ‘New Earth’ that came out last year constantly rotates. I haven’t been on top of new releases as I have in the past, but that’s more of my problem and not a shortage of quality music. I’d recommend new records from Molder, Jesus Wept, Cadaverous, Phobophilic, Maul and Sedimentum.

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