Thanks entirely to a strong recommendation from Vintyr, OUBLIETTE was introduced to Todestrieb. This largely hidden project from England immediately strikes you with amazing melancholic guitars full of genuine heightened expression. The material from this first demo has been circulated to contacts on CDr but is now more widely available on tape (a preferred format) for the first time.
The sound is clear with a French sense of melody, vocals shrieking tales behind guitars, at times blistering through. A really Great demo that deserves the praise it should, and likely will, receive.
Thanks to Caertherin for taking time to introduce OUBLIETTE…
Interview with Caertherin
19 August 2005
How long have you been recording?
I started recording about five years ago, or so. At first, I mostly wrote music just for the guitar, but after a time I wanted to add more to them and began using my voice, incorporating bass lines and thinking about more detailed rhythmic patterns. When it comes to music, I generally just play whatever I feel when I pick up an instrument. Some material becomes Oubliette songs. Some doesn’t.
Are there other recordings prior to the self-titled?
There is a five track collection of material that I did, a few months before recording these songs. Unfortunately, the kick drums came out too soft in the mix and the recording sounded a bit too “haphazard” for my liking. At some point, I would like to re-arrange and re-record this as it has some good moments in it and some (for me) interesting concepts.
Are you using just two guitar tracks, drum(machine?) and vocals in this demo?
At most points there is the left and right guitars, and the bass, drum machine and vocals down the middle. There are a few occasions (twice in the first song and once in the second) where there is a guitar in the middle, but only on the second can all three guitars be heard at once. The bass actually plays a very important part in the instrumentation (although it blends in a little too well on this recording so unless you were listening for it, you might not immediately hear it). I try to make the drum machine sound as “natural” as possible too.
What “set-up” do you use, do you build the tracks around the guitar melodies?
Yes, the guitar parts are almost always conceived first. One or two things have come from the bass and a couple of vocal ideas but the writing is largely guitar-orientated as that’s my first instrument.
I have a portable recording machine, and I plug all instruments (including microphone and drum machine) into amplifiers to be able to adjust the ambience. From there, the amplifiers are direct-inputted into the recorder.
The name OUBLIETTE itself is derived from French — “dungeon with an opening only at the top” would this be a good symbolic representation of the aesthetic and emotion within the music? Can you explain any more behind the choice of this name?
I had the name long before I started the project. To me it is very evocative of the depressive feeling. Knowing there is a way out above, but being seemingly unable to climb up and out to re-join the living. The music in Oubliette often takes on a “desperate” nature and I feel the concept of being imprisoned with freedom so close but still so out of reach, ties in with that well. The notion of captivity in a perpetually dark subterranean chamber made sense to me too.
I found the term while browsing through pictures and plans of old castles and the name stuck in my head.
Will you make the lyrics available?
I only didn’t print the lyrics for this demo because there wasn’t enough space to include them without resorting to a miniscule type face. If people want the lyrics, they can contact me and I will email the texts to them. [e-contact: CursedOubliette@aol.com]
With each Oubliette song, I adopt a “role” and the lyrics I write and the vocals I do are the acting out of the emotions of that character. The vocals are the factor I have the least control over as I tend to get very emotional myself when doing them. However, usually one or two takes is enough, so it is often the simplest part of the process.
I do put a lot of thought into the lyrics I use and the style of texts I write is somewhat different to most Black Metal bands. Of course, I find Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc. just as repulsive as everybody else who sees them for what they so obviously are, but I chose to write about topics where the “world” doesn’t matter any more, in a sense. Worldly concerns have ceased to have any bearing on the minds of the characters in each song.
All of the characters are oppressed by malignant feelings, ravaging them from within. Some of the horrors that the mind is capable of inflicting upon its bearer are tenfold more terrifying than any physical pain or manner of death. I focused on that very strongly in the previous recording.
I am fascinated by moments in life where hopelessness is absolute. Also the common concept of everything that begins and therefore exists, having an ending is a very interesting one to me too. Blood and tears often seem to crop up in my lyrics a lot as the shedding of both are powerful concepts to my mind.
Can you give some insight into the lyrical side of:
„ A Void of Sentiment “
This song was the first I wrote for Oubliette. The lyrics came in a kind of stream of thoughts to which I had to make very few adjustments. To generalize the topic behind this song, it deals with the aftermath of a death and its effect upon the character. There are a few other peripheral meanings too, such as the character seeing his reflection as a ghost and failing to recognize himself.
„ The Blooding “
“Blooding” is an old practice used to punish witches. Of course, like all other punishments for such people, an unfortunate by-product of this was often their death. Blooding involves draining the blood and then burning it. Witches were “scored above the breath”, namely cut over the nose and mouth and the resulting blood immolated. The character in this text is, for want of a better term, a vampire, but more importantly, someone who is immortal and whose life has no constraints of time. He feels he is poisoned and condemned by his irrevocably altered blood and cannot bear to live on, and thus destroys himself in a similar manner to the one described above.
„ Creature of Despair “
The title of this song is fairly self-explanatory. Most of the lyrics are metaphors for depression. This is easily the most “direct” text on the demo.
The French influence is clear in your music, what were some of the first French Black Metal records which made the biggest impact on you?
Yes, a lot of my favourite bands to listen to are French. Probably my favourite album of all would be Mütiilation’s “Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed, Soul”. That one made the most lasting impression on me when I first heard that. I’m a huge fan of all Mütiilation’s early work and some of the later stuff too.
I really like Celestia, particularly the “Apparitia – Sumptuous Spectre” album, the “Dead Insecta Sequestration” demo and the “Evoking Grace and Splendour” EP.
Mortifera is another of my very favourites, the “Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera” album is, for me, brilliant as is the “Complainte..” MCD.
I listen to many other French bands but those are the main three.
Oubliette has remained very hidden until recently, was this a conscious decision?
Yes, because there is no point talking about or promoting something that has nothing (or nothing of satisfactory quality) to show for itself.
It makes sense to speak about Oubliette now as there is an available release.
What are your plans after releasing this first demo?
I have the music written and recorded for four new songs and ideas for another two or three songs and a couple of “atmosphere” pieces so I will try to forge on and complete a full-length. I will most likely write and record the lyrics and vocals at some point through the autumn/winter.
As I said, I aim to re-record the first Oubliette stuff, but I don’t have any concrete plans as to when that will happen as yet.
As for the foreseeable future, I will worry about what to do with the new material when it is “put to bed”, so to speak.