– Hi, first off let me thank you for taking the time. What are you into right now?
Samoth: Keeping busy as always. These days I’m doing lots of press for The Wretched End. It’s great to have a new album out and the feedback has been awesome!

– You formed THE WRETCHED END with Cosmo (whom you played with in SCUM and ZYKLON as well) in 2008. How did the idea of forming the band arise? And what does the band’s name mean?
Samoth: Cosmo and I go way back and had for a while talked about doing a project together. In 2008 we took action and The Wretched End was formed. Drummer Nils joined forces with us in 2009. I had seen Nils play with Dark Funeral and heard him with various other bands, and I was keen to give him a try, and it worked out perfectly. As for the band name, I wanted a name with a dark and apocalyptical feel, and something a bit different from my previous bands, and we landed on The Wretched End.

– The other member that completes the line-up, though he joined you later, is drummer Nils Fjellström; how did this “collaboration” born?
Cosmo: Samoth had his eyes on Nils’ talent for a while. When we were concidering drummers his name came up and we checked out more of his work and decided to approach him and ask if he was interested in doing an audition. He sent us a video with him doing three of our songs and we were toally convinced.

– You will soon release your debut album “Ominous”, and I guess comparisons with EMPEROR or ZYKLON are inevitable. How do you feel about it? Since I think the music we can find here is quite different from both bands.
Samoth: Yeah, the album came out end of October. I’m very excited about the album. I think we did a good job. Musically it’s a bit more thrash and groove orientated than Emperor and Zyklon, but you’ll find a lot of death metal influences, sort of similar to Zyklon, and even some black metal influences. All in all it’s a great extreme metal album in my opinion.

– How could you describe the sound in “Ominous”?
Cosmo: It’s a quite modern production, still with an organic touch. We got a huge guitarsound and the total impression is quite grandiose even though it’s pretty tight. As you can tell we are pretty satisfied with the outcome.

– The album will be released by your own label, Samoth, Nocturnal Art Productions, does this give you more freedom and less pressure?
Samoth: As Nocturnal Art Productions now is an imprint with Candlelight Records worldwide, it is released through their network. Anyway, Candlelight has always given us total artistic freedom over the years, so that has never been an issue.

– Anyway, it will be distributed worldwide through Candlelight Records, such an important label into the scene. How did you hook up with them? If I’m not wrong, some of the current artists in NAP are distributed by Candlelight too.
Samoth: You know, soon it’s going to be 20 years since I first signed with Candlelight Records. I signed my first contract with them for the Emperor mini album in 1992. We’re almost like family now. As I said earlier, with Nocturnal Art now being an imprint with Candlelight, all Nocturnal Art released are distributed and manufactured by Candlelight Records worldwide.

– How was the recording process? I read you, Cosmo, are the responsible for vocals, bass and guitar.
Cosmo: Yes, in the end that was what we did. Me handeling both bass and one of the guitars was the plan all the way, but we were actually checking out other options for the vocals. In the end we decided to go for me doing the vocals as well as I’m already quite familiar with the territory so to speak. This wasn’t really the plan, but when the decision was made it was effective and we are happy with the outcome.

– And the production one? One of the highlights of the album is the superb production as well, specially the drum sound is great and its nice combination with the guitar riffs.
Cosmo: The drums sounded awesome when we tracked them, I remember Nils was really inspired by that, might have put some extra guts in his perfomance. As mentioned we got a great guitar sound and that really set of the notion that this had all that it would take to turn it into a decent production. Marius at Strand Studio really knows his stuff, that’s for sure.

– Though THE WRETCHED END has, definitely, it’s very own sound, somehow I could say it reminded me to the latest ZYKLON albums because of its melody, heaviness and intensity but with a totally different approach…
Samoth: Yes, there are similarities, and that is only natural as both bands are extreme metal, and I wrote a lot of the material for both bands. But I think The Wretched End has more depth to it and are more groove orientated with a more natural feel.

– I could say “Ominous” is an album full of details and a record you have to pay attention to. Behind the overall aggression and brutality there are plenty of melodies and grooves, something that makes your music much interesting. Being briefly, is much more complex than it seems first. Is this, somehow, a recipe for success or just how things came naturally?
Cosmo: Thanks, we feel the same! It’s all in the details i guess, and working things through. We have done a decent job when it comes to working out arrangements and such. And also when you sit down and rehearse the songs certain riffs might get a twist or two that we incorporated into the songs to get those variations and details that give a song that feeling of presenting something new from time to time. I think the subtle synth arrangements will pull in that direction to.

– Being this said, could you say is THE WRETCHED END a natural progression of ZYKLON? I don’t mean of the style, but in improving and sounding more mature, or maybe founding a style you feel totally comfortable with or that really fulfils you.
Samoth: That could be one way to see it. I try not to over analyse these things really. For me The Wretched End is a part of my musical evolution and a step forward.

– As I said, is an album that needs to be listened with attention and it improves with repeated listens, and nowadays maybe a lot people can’t or don’t actually want to do it; do you see this as a handicap?
Samoth: Yes, it could be. I agree that this is an album that probably will grow on you, as it goes in different directions and is not really just straight forward. Today fans have so much information and input through the digital network, and an album release has unfortunately a very shot life span. Sometimes good releases don’t get the attention or recognition they might deserve.

– The album isn’t out yet, but I guess you have already read some comments or reviews so; how has been its feedback so far?
Cosmo: It looks like people like it, the feedback has been really good. I guess one cannot please everybody at the same time. We know it’s good, but we also know that there are a lot of other good bands out there. We do our thing and that’s what people get. That being said we of course find generous feedback inspiring.

– What are the main influences for the band? Since we can find and old-school feeling but some more modern Death/Thrash elements as well.
Cosmo: We both relate to classic thrash and death metal I g
uess. Bands like Morbid Angel, Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, AC/DC, Carcass, Kreator, Celtic Frost, SYL, Slayer, Testament and Megadeth have been of great inspiration to me presonally. Guess I could go on further with that list, hehe. There are some good newer bands aswell, Chimaira being one of them, but I find my self looking back in time to find “my bands”.

– And the main inspirations when it comes to compose? Please, explain us what are the band’s main concepts.
Samoth: Conceptually it’s a pretty dark and apocalyptical album, with a lot of themes of social decay. Musically our
influences are as always the classic stuff we grew up on, be it heavy metal, death, thrash or black.

– I’ve been thinking which bands I could compare you guys with since are a difficult thing to do, and the only current band came to my mind was, curiously, BLOOD TSUNAMI…
Samoth: Blood Tsunami is a good band for sure, but I think they are a bit more direct old school compared to The Wretched End. We have a bit more modern approach I think, especially in the production.

– Anyway, this seems to be a positive thing nowadays, there are many bands that try to “remake” the style but not with the good result you achieved, and many others seem to follow one same pattern. Do you care about being original or do you just mind about playing what you want?
Samoth: I basically play the music I love, and I’m not so concerned about being extremely original. Of course, you have to do things with a personal feel. That is important.

– Samoth, though you’re latest projects have not had really something to do with Black Metal you have always been considered a figure into that scene. What are your feelings about it?
Samoth: I like the music, but I’m not involved with any Black metal movement really, and am frankly not all that concerned about it. I live my life up on the mountain and am not really part of any scene in that sense. When I think of Black metal, I think of the early 90’ies and the movement that I was a part of back then. It was something unique and I think that feeling is long gone. Black metal today is different, even there still are good bands out there.

– I guess some people may be wondering if THE WRETCHED END is an established band or a project…
Samoth: The Wretched End has been my main musical project for a couple of years now, and I plan to keep working on it. So it’s not just a one off or a side project kind of thing. It’s however at this point a studio project, as we don’t have a full live line-up. We’ll see what the future brings.

– Samoth, you have been into the music business for several years now; how do you see the current scene and what has changed on it since the early 90’s?
Samoth: A lot has changed. Biggest factor is of course the how everything now has turned digital so to say, and the effect of the internet revolution. This makes me sound old I guess, but I remember the scene before email and internet. Back then you really had to be dedicated I think, as it was a lot more struggle involved to network and discover new bands. Today everything is served to you ready-made on a plate, right in front of you through your digital network, and there’s an overload of information and people doing the same thing. Anyway, I take great use of today’s digital tools and am in no was opposed to the rise and popularity of metal. There are positive and negative sides to everything, that’s life.

– And, finally, what are your near-future plans? Is there going to be a tour to support the album live?
Cosmo: Not at the moment, we are working on new material and focus on that. Might be we do some livework in the future, we’ll just wait and see. We are good for it and the material sure does deserve to be taken all the way to the stage, but for now we have another focus, and that’s to work on a new album.

– That’s all. Thank you again for your time and our best wishes. Now if you want to add any final words to the interview, take the last lines.
Samoth: Thanks for the interview Queens of Steel! To all fans and supporters out there, make sure to check out “Ominous”. It’s available on CD from Cdon, Amazon, Plastichead, etc. Of course, if you prefer digital, purchase from Itunes, Amazon, etc. Also check out our official webstore for merchandise:

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