At the time of writing this, the new album has just been released, so it's early days yet, but we're pretty stoked to finally be unleashing it upon the world! We had actually finished the recording back in June/July of 2019. Since then we've been working with Carlos of Gore House Productions steadily building up promotion for the album release and getting our name out there. We've also been busy rehearsing and gearing up for live shows again as we've been away from the stage for a while now. Our first show coming up is the official album launch here in our home town of Adelaide March 21st. While things are still relatively quiet on the live show front we're already getting stuck into writing new material for the next album. This time it won't take six freaking years, haha!
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Whereas our first album, 'The Descent' was a much more black metal album atmospherically, 'Fury and Malevolence' still carries that through, but with a much more brutal edge to it. There's certainly more death metal sounding elements this time around, as well as an emphasis on more technical aspects. Overall it's taken what we established with 'The Descent', I feel, to the next level. The songs are stronger, the recording itself is night and day compared to the first album, being a lot clearer and more powerful sounding compared to the first one.
3.This is also your first release since since 2014, can you tell us a little bit more about what has been going on during that time frame?
It wasn't too long after the release of our first album 'The Descent' that we had to go through a line up change. Our previous vocalist/keyboardist, Formosus decided to call it a day, and we parted ways on friendly terms. He and I still play together in a couple of different projects, actually. We sort of floated in a bit of a limbo for a while really until we made the decision that I take on the vocal duties as well as continuing on bass. That just left us with searching for a keyboard player, and eventually Haemorrh joined to fill the role. With the line up once again secure, we set to work rehearsing the set, writing material for the new album and getting back out there playing shows again. Constantinos, Necromancer and myself also play in another band called Shadow Realm, which during a lot of that time took more of a priority over Oath of Damnation as we were writing and recording an album with that band plus playing quite frequently.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the new album and also how would you describe your progress as songwriters over the years?
Something I like to do with lyrics is take a theme from either a personal or objective point of view and add a great deal of artistic license, ranging from concepts of ancient mythologies, horror themes, history, religion and the occult. Imhullu for instance comes from ancient Sumerian/Babylonian text. 'Imhullu' is the name of a wind weapon that Marduk used to help slay Tiamat as described in the classic tale. 'To Crack the Earth, and Bring Down the Sky' is based on a black magic spell designed to give one control over extreme weather. 'I Curse Thee, 'O Lord!' is a twist on the classic biblical tale of Abraham being commanded by his god to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In the original tale of course, an angel comes down to stay his hand at the last minute, but in our own horrific tale, the deed is carried through in grim fashion. One thing I would avoid though is injecting personal opinions or beliefs into the lyrics. Where we may tackle some subjects related to, say, the occult, or satanic themes as we have done and may continue to do is purely from an outside perspective as an actor in film or theatre would play a demon or sorcerer. With these new batch of songs, compared to those of the last album, I feel we've managed to work a more natural flow and balance between the different genres you can hear in our music compared to that of the last album. Obviously the dominant sounds you can hear are death and black metal in nature, but the shred guitar and progressive elements are there also, and we've been very mindful that none of it feels forced in any way.
5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Oath Of Damnation'?
It's pretty much meant to be a curse. The idea for the name came from the earliest foundation of the band, which was a concept thought up by our previous singer about the vengeful spirit of Pope Formosus, (who was Pope of the catholic church from 891 to his death in 896 ad) turned dark and wrathful against his former religion. “Curse and damnation be upon ye, who wear the cloth and cross of those that defiled my corpse!” In 897, by the order of his second successor Pope Stephen VI (his immediate successor Pope Boniface VI lasted only fifteen days!), Formosus' body was exhumed and put on trial, sentenced and stripped of his papal title and decrees, buried in a commoner's grave, but then dug up again and thrown in the Tiber river. Ninth Century Papal politics at its finest! With this whole concept, we were thinking very much along the lines of something like out of a horror movie (King Diamond is also a big influence on us when it comes to concepts). An earlier moniker that we were going under was Popecorpse, but we were never really a hundred percent settled with that name, and through the evolution of lyrical and conceptual imaginings, the wrathful spirit Formosus' 'Oath of Damnation' was born, and has since remained.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The art was done by the mighty Jenglot Hitam, who's done a huge amount of work for a lot of bands out there now, and is an absolute master at his craft! This particular piece I came across on my social media news feed one day. Its image depicting demons and angels engaged in battle with one another instantly jumped out at me and just fit the album title and the song 'With Fire and Malevolence' perfectly, which lyrically, is a war in the heavens type of song. Luckily it was available for purchase, so I snapped it up straight away. We've since commissioned him to produce the artwork that you can find on the lyric video of 'I Curse Thee, 'O Lord!', which turned out a goddamned masterpiece.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Two shows I can recall that I really enjoyed playing was with Dead Congregation in Brisbane back in 2016, and opening for Psycroptic and Archspire here in Adelaide. Also the first show we played as Oath of Damnation back in 2012 with Impiety and fellow locals Tzun Tzu and Cauldron Black Ram. Our live show, in line with our earlier concept I mentioned earlier was more theatrical, garbed as dark priests and monks and complete with a lecturn that our previous vocalist used to stand behind and scream forth his sermons. We've toned it down quite a lot visually since then, but stepped it up quite a bit in musical brutality, engaging more with the crowd and bludgeoning their senses like a hammer.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
At the time of writing, our home town album launch is now only a week away, March 21st at Jive bar on Hindley St. The next is April 18th, also in Adelaide and is part of an all day festival called Heavy S.A. Fest, which is a showcase of a variety of metal acts that our state of South Australia has to offer. We're just starting to secure dates for elsewhere around the country. Early days there, but plans are forming. We'd love to get out of Australia and tour anywhere that'll have us, but as we're still relatively unknown, the gameplan is to build up a name for ourselves with this album which I'm confident will help put us more within the global metal community's radar.
9.The new album was released on 'Gore House Productions', how did you get in contact with this label?
Purely by chance. We were still in the process of finalizing the recording, when Constantinos sent a track to a friend of his, Walter Greggs, who is a DJ for Cranium Radio based in the U.S. Walter is also a friend of Carlos, who runs Gore House Productions, and he sent him the track. Carlos got in touch with us almost straight away. We got to talking and could see right off that working together would be mutually beneficial, so here we are! It's obvious to us he works hard for the bands on his label and already he's done a lot to help increase our exposure to new fans out there in the metal world, so much more than we could ever do ourselves.
10.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and death metal?
So far, particularly with Fury and Malevolence, the feedback has been great. Like I said, it's early days still, but reviews are starting to trickle in, and they've been really positive. We're starting to get a lot of listener feedback from fans of both style also, which has also been so far very positive.
11.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Myself, Constantinos and Necromancer also have a band called Shadow Realm, which is more of a fusion of classic heavy metal with thrash/bkack/progressive elements. We've been busy playing a fair amount of shows and have just about finished recording a new EP. On top of that, I play guitar/vocals in a death metal band I've had going for many years now called Beyond Mortal Dreams, and am working towards having a new album out later this year. Haemorrh plays keys in another band called In The Burial, which has recently put out a new album and has also been quite active on the live scene of late. Between us all we keep ourselves quite active musically.
12.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
For now, I see us continuing down the path that Fury and Malevolence has put us on. I feel like we've hit our stride musically, so I'd love to carry on and build on that. Some of the new material that's beginning to emerge is already taking a bit more of a brutal turn, but that's not to say we'll be moving away from our more atmospheric side.
13.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
For as long as I've been playing in bands, I've always been inspired by death metal styles. With what we produce in Oath of Damnation, we're obviously we're quite driven by both the death and black metal genres, and we do listen to a lot of music that fall in those realms. Of course, other music you really enjoy are gonna influence and rub off you in a sub-conscious way naturally, so I guess you're always gonna hear similarities with other things out there. Collectively we listen to a wide variety of music, from classic metal, to thrash, death, black, prog, even rock, jazz, funk and orchestral music.
14.Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in your music?
Only as I mentioned earlier on, portraying these themes as an actor would play the role of a demon or sorcerer, or any other dark type of role. These concepts are not reflective of any personal spiritual beliefs held by anyone in the band, but are held as a point of interest in a fictional sense.
15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Just to say thanks for the interview and the opportunity to further spread Oath of Damnation's name and music out amongst the metal hordes at large. To everyone who knows us, or just discovered us, a huge thanks to you all! We really appreciate all your support and we hope to see you on the road one day soon. Until then, play loud and destroy!