Interview with OBLIVION DENIED
The Band: Oblivion Denied
Answers by: Eske Meldgaard (all instruments), Thomas Wagner (vocals)
When you think about Danish Metal you most surely will have some names coming to your brain, such as King Diamond, Iron Fire, Royal Hunt… But, as ever, Metal is much more than what you can see in the surface, as we try to transmit everyday in Metalbrother.es. Oblivion Denied is a proof of this, a talented band that has delivered his first album and still with so many things to say in the future. Moreover, these guys are a little crazy hahaha, fortunately, as you can see from their pics and read from their words. Sometimes, you need to be a little crazy in this world to survive, or at least to feel better, and they do it right. Don’t miss a word of this document, if you don’t get a smile on your face, well…
Hello guys, according to the information in Internet, Oblivion Denied was formed in 1991, but until this year you didn’t released any album. Is it right?
Thomas: Well, let us clear this one up: Oblivion Denied did not form until 2014. However, the friendship and shared musical inspiration that is the foundation of Oblivion Denied was conceived in the summer of 1991.
Eske: Essentially, Thomas was the only person in the gang who could sit through my favourite album at the time, Black Sabbath Volume IV, without shaking his head…
Thomas: and Eske, in turn, was the only guy in the gang, that truly GOT my favourite album at the time, Cowboys from Hell… That shared musical bond is what would eventually lead to Oblivion Denied.
Eske: After that drunken summer of ’91, I really got into playing music actively – starting on bass and eventually moving to guitar. I played in more bands than I care to remember, often with great guys and great musicians… For a variety of reasons, none of those bands ended up in the studio…
Thomas: So to answer your question: yes, this is both Eske’s and my recording debut – it’s been a long time coming!
You were destined to be together then. Currently, apart of Thomas Wagner on vocals you Eske do all tasks inside the band, playing all instruments?
Eske: Yes, I did the playing… But Oblivion Denied is ABSOLUTELY a band and not a solo project with a singer. All songs were written, recorded and produced by Thomas and me… I just happen to be the guy that plays the instruments in Oblivion Denied.
The band has always included two people or there was a time with more guys involved?
Thomas: Oblivion Denied was always Eske’s and my baby…
Eske: To be fair, it is also a lot more easy to get your musical ideas through, when sitting across from your musical twin.
Thomas: With that said, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to many of our friends inside the metal community for lending an ear and giving constructive criticism…
Eske: …that we usually chose to ignore completely…
Hahaha Let’s talk about your debut album “Truth”. How was the composition process, all the songs are new made or there is some old stuff in it?
Thomas: All songs on “Truth” were written and recorded between 2014 and 2016… All new stuff!
Eske: Still, a grand total of two old riffs snuck their way on to the album: the eastern sounding theme in ”Tightrope” and the jazzy solo section in ”Feed the Pyre”. Apart from that, as Thomas said, everything is fresh off the presses.
Thomas: As far as the writing goes, every track on ”Truth” was written by Eske and me in Eske’s home studio.
We can say that you have been working in this album for more than 20 years in some way, I mean, It can collect all your musical evolution along 20 years or is something truly recent?
Eske: In many ways, every band I’ve played in and every song I’ve written has led up to my work on ”Truth”, but it took a like-minded brother to help me finally nail what was lurking right beneath the surface.
Thomas: To be honest, we could never have made this album 15, 10 or even 5 years ago. As you wrote in your excellent review of ”Truth”, the album is very much a collage of metal, consisting of inspiration that we have collected over the years – “Truth” is where we are RIGHT NOW.
How would you define your sound?
Eske: Honestly, we’re a product of our main inspirations… We’re heavy, groovy and aggressive.
Thomas: Agreed! We work with aggressive death vocals but we’re not afraid of melody – we just aim for crushing, powerful melodies, not sobby ones…
Eske: I did add a few cleanish sissy vocals in the background here and there though…
Thomas: Not that anyone would ever notice.
Awesome guys… Tightrope is one of my favorite tracks, a very powerful song with some riffing ala Schuldiner’s Death
Eske: Thank you very much man, ”Tightrope” is absolutely one of our favourite tracks as well! As I see it, it is pretty much a distillation of what we’re about: aggression paired with dynamics, groove and melody – with a few surprises sprinkled on top. There are definite nods to Chuck’s work with both Death and Control Denied on our album and ”Tightrope” certainly has its share.
Thomas: Agreed – it actually took a lot of work to get the aggression of the verse just right, but when we finally did, ”Tightrope” ended up being one of the standout tracks on the album to me.
Truth is an album with a great variety of sounds on it, which makes it very interesting and amusing…
Eske: Thank you very much – that was essentially, what we were shooting for… The last thing we want to be is boring…
Thomas: Exactly, that’s what we’re about – variation and dynamics…
Eske: As we talked about earlier, we’re a product of our inspirations and I think that’s exactly what you’re hearing: we wear our combined inspirations on our sleeve, but we do our best to take those classic inspirations and shake them, twist them, bend them and shape them into something slightly different and, dare I say, unique.
Feed the Pyre gives us another vision that goes in the direction I pointed before, more melodic and commercial sound, with southern rock feeling and awesome chorus
Eske: There is no doubt that we draw upon our heroes more times than we even notice ourselves… We both grew up in the ´80´s, where melody and huge productions were all the rage.
Thomas: On ”Feed the Pyre” we tried to play with the idea of extreme minimalism against the backdrop of extreme grandeur… a poor man’s ”Stairway to Heaven”, if you will…
Eske: That would be if Zeppelin were metal… and came from Louisiana 😉
Hahaha I cannot avoid talking about Mine Again, a fantastic song with a crazy tempo ala Annihilator meets Pantera…
Thomas: What we wanted, was to do a downright dirty fusion of Brooklyn hardcore, Pantera and ”Deliverance”-era Corrosion of Conformity.
Eske: Yep, originally all verses were call/response… but, to us, that ended up taking away from the dynamics of the song.
Thomas: So, in true idiot fashion, we simply deleted the responses in the first two verses, for maximum impact in the third verse…
A great formula, indeed. What are the lyrics about?
Eske: Both the title and the theme of the album is ”Truth” – usually of the inconvenient, brutal and sad variety… Lyrically, we are not afraid of any theme. Hence, our lyrics are both personal, political, social and emotional.
Thomas: Though ”Truth” is the theme, our songs all come from different places. ”Save Me” was written right after the Paris terrorist attacks, ”To Raise a God” was written after yet another American shooting and ”Mine Again” is about the little acts of evil we all do to the people we care about the most.
All in all we get a great load of Death, Groove, Slamming, Death and roll, Heavy metal, Thrash…, with awesome technique and great composition. It seems as if you has so many things to offer after 20 years… That means we will get soon more albums from Oblivon Denied?
Eske: First of all, thank you very much for the kind words… and secondly: ABSOLUTELY, this is just the beginning – and yes, the variety will stay, it is what we are!
Thomas: We already have a few ideas for our next album, so it would be silly to stop now 😉 We’ll hopefully be productive for many years to come.
What are your main influences?
Eske: The first album I ever put on in my room was my dad’s copy of ”We Sold our Souls for Rock’n’roll” – Sabbath’s compilation from ’75… That inspiration is still there. As is Dio-era Rainbow. Blackmore is probably my greatest influence as far as lead guitar playing goes, the ethos of improvised solos is a definite nod to Blackmore.
Thomas: The Pantera and Down influence is huge and fairly obvious as well – Cowboys from Hell and NOLA were massive albums for both of us.
Eske: Most certainly! Also, when Dream Theater hit the big time in ´92, I took the bait – line, hook and sinker. Don’t get me wrong, we’re absolutely no technical progressive metal band, but the odd meter passages in tracks like ”Tightrope” and ”The New King” can be traced back to bands like Dream Theater and Cynic.
Influences that clearly explain why you do what you do in “Truth”. Do you have the intention to tour around to present this “Truth”?
Thomas: There are currently no plans to tour behind ”Truth”. However, response to the album has been extremely positive…
Eske: … I would have to grow a couple of extra limbs for this to happen though 😉
Thomas: All jokes aside, if the opportunity arises, we do have a couple of great guys ready to step up to the plate.
That would be fantastic, we don’t want Eske to go through the pain of some extra limbs. Oblivon Denied is a band from Denmark, aparently not the country with the biggest tradition in Metal in the old continent, how do you see the Danish Metal scene?
Eske: You’re right, as far as metal goes, Denmark does not compare to countries like Sweden or Germany. Still, in my opinion, the Danish metal scene is absolutely alive and kicking. We’re not just talking underground and grassroots level either: Thomas and I just came back from Copenhell, a Danish metal festival, where we shared three days of metal with 20.000 like-minded metal souls.
Thomas: Absolutely, my neck is still sore from the headbanging! As far as Danish metal bands go, it is hard not to mention bands like King Diamond and Artillery.
Eske: These days, Volbeat (though not exactly by bag) are also doing pretty well… Being from Aarhus, a local band like Illdisposed has ruled the scene and accounted for many a sore neck since the early ’90’s… In all, the Danish metal scene is pretty diverse and as I said, alive and kicking!
Thomas: We almost forgot about Lars Ulrich… I’ve heard he’s pretty big as well 😉
And do not forget that band called Oblivion Denied, that everyone is talking about. What are your plans for the future?
Eske: Oblivion Denied is all about the music. Thomas and I think that we’re on to a good thing and we are going to do whatever we can to grow and improve as a band.
Thomas: As we said earlier, in our minds, this is just the beginning – the friendship and musical kinship behind Oblivion Denied has lasted 25 years, we’re definitely not going away!
Thank you guys, it was a cool surprise to listen to your work and a pleasure to talk to you, don’t ever give up your project neither your great sense of humor!
Eske: You are more than welcome – it was absolutely our pleasure!
Moreover, we thank you for helping us share our slice of metal ”Truth” with the community.
At a time when everyone is talking about the death of music, metalbrothers.es and the huge amount of work you guys do, is proof positive that whilst the industry may be ailing, the metal community is alive and well.
Keep up the great work!