The Wretched End is a new project that brings the signature of Samoth and Cosmo. In a recent interview that Metalpaths had with Samoth who used to be a member of Emperor and Zyklon, he comments on the new project and the debut album revealing that; “Wretched End is actually a new beginning, it’s something I am really excited about now and something I plan to bring further than just this album”. In addition Zyklon’s disband and the possibility of a future Emperor touring couldn’t be out of our conversation.
The interview is also available in audio format here.
I would like to welcome you back to action, this time with a new project called The Wretched End. Can you tell us a few words about what we can expect from it?
Yeah! Thank you, and basically The Wretched End was formed by myself and Cosmo (Mindgrinder) in 2008. It has occurred short of like a creative collaboration and it came when we were kinda looking to start a new project and we were working on and off on this project in 2008, and in 2009 we started recording the debut album, which is coming out this Monday (i.e 25.10.10), and is called “Ominous”, and basically at the moment this is my main musical project. So that’s where we stand today, really.
Can you tell us a few words about this first album of the new project? What are your personal thoughts about it?
Well, in a way the reason why I decided to form this band was that I felt in a way that with Zyklon in the end the things were stagnating a little bit and I was kinda missing a little bit of inspiration. So, it came to a point with Zyklon where we decided to take a break in October 2007, after we did that show in Japan. Then we took an official break. I basically needed some time to think what my next step would be musically. At that point I already had made some talks about maybe forming a new project, and me and Cosmo had been talking about it for a while because we go way back as friends, and we also have collaborated before. Back in 2001 he actually played base with Zyklon on our first European tour. I’ve been recording a lot of productions for Zyklon in his studio, so we always had an idea to do a project together. At the same time we are living very close by and it was very easy for us to organise things; while with Zyklon in the end every band member lived in very different places and basically it became my job to keep that band going. There were just too long in between those good creative periods and I was really missing that as far as working with music is concerned; more active, creative periods in the studio. This is where The Wretched End came to be, the plan was to work very creatively in the studio and actually really enjoy that process of song writing.
Bearing in mind that both you and Cosmo had black metal bands, didn’t you want to try something new with this new project? Tell us about your decision to stick to the genre of black metal.
Well, basically extreme metal is what I do, so for me it’s all very natural to keep on in the same path. I have no intention really to try something completely different. I have been playing this type of music for 20 years now and this is the music that inspires me as far as the music I wanna play. So, obviously we didn’t wanna do exactly the same as Zyklon or as Cosmos’ band Mindgrinder, but the blue print was thrash orientated metal; basically, extreme metal. I am not really so focused on how people categorise it, I just basically play the music that I like. My main focus is to enjoy the music I play and played, and to make a good creative process.
Is there a story behind the band’s name? Why The Wretched End? I hope it’s not some hint to an ending to your musical career!
(Laughing) Well, some people have been asking that: “Since this is a new project, why the gloomy name?” But the name is more reflective of something conceptual, rather than something personal. It’s not just supposed to symbolise an ending of my music career at all, by far, The Wretched End for me is actually a new beginning, it’s something I am really excited about now and something I plan to bring further than just this album. As for the name itself it’s more reflective on creating some short of doom state atmosphere, it is something dark, gloomy and ominous, and it fits the music and the concept.
Do you have any plans after “Ominous” is released? Is there going to be some touring supporting the album?
There’s no plan for any touring at the moment. Basically The Wretched End is me and Cosmo, we are the core of the band and we have Nils Fjellström as our drummer and he is in Australia at the moment, I believe. So, basically we’re not a full band for today, so we have no live plans just now, but I’m not gonna rule it out for the future, I would say the songs are very much playable live, and it would be beneficial to take some to the stage as well. At the moment we are already in preproduction for the next album and that’s really our focus now. That’s also what I was missing a little bit. I felt in a way that with Zyklon we spent too much time on just grinding on the old material to keep going to do the live shows, while there was too little time spent on enjoying the creative process of making music. With The Wretched End we have spend much more time on song writing and spending time in the studio and really enjoying that process, and this is what we’re doing now as well. So, for today The Wretched End is a studio project, but I am not going to rule anything out.
In a 20 year long career you have released lots of albums, been involved in many big bands, and even reached a legendary status with Emperor; some would say that that’s a more than accomplished career, but you are still here making music, what force drives you forward?
Well, as I said, I’ve been in the scene now for 20 years at least, and music is such an essential part of my life and who I am as a human being, so, to me to just stop making music would create such a void in my life. It just basically feels very natural to me to keep on making music, and as long as I have something to offer, and I can enjoy the process of being an artist, then I see no reason why I should stop.
What are your thoughts on the scene as it has developed today? Do you approve of the choices that some big bands have made towards a completely different direction than they were in the past?
You know I spend very little time thinking about this kind of things, because again I’ve been in the scene so long. Things were very different in the beginning, in the early 90s, when we first started Emperor and it was just totally underground. We didn’t even have internet; there were not emails when we first started, so the scene is so different. So, obviously there would be some changes along the way, but I don’t really go too much into what other bands do or not like that, that’s up to them. I mainly focus on my own life and what I’m spending my own time on, really.
Moving to Zyklon that you were talking about previously; what made Zyklon disband? Are there any plans for something to happen in the future?
There are no plans right now, as I said earlier we decided to take a break because we were kinda lacking a fire in the band, I felt. Then Destructhor got the opportunity to start playing with the Morbid Angel, he went to America quite a bit, then I of course had this idea for a new project, The Wretched End, then kinda time went on and I basically made a decision, that I think it’s best to leave that behind, and I wanted to start something new. Again I am not gonna rule anything out; maybe we do some stuff with Zyklon in the future; at the moment there’s no such plan. Look at all the things that have happened with Zyklon this year, there has been released a box set called “The Storm Manifesto”, which includes all three albums and came out this fall.
Before ending this interview, of course I couldn’t leave your legendary band out of the questions; I think it’s on every fan’s mind: Will Emperor play live again?
Oh! (Laughing) This is kind of the million dollar question, the question that every journalist asks, and they all get the same answer: There are no such plans! So, what can I say!? We had a really great two years in 2006 and 2007 when we did those reunion shows, when we had the live at Wacken. We did some really amazing shows and played in front of a lot of fans who had the opportunity to see Emperor when we first disbanded in 2001, but I think that was it. Those of you who didn’t catch us on the reunion route could check out the Live at Wacken DVD.
Yes that’s great! I have already checked it out!
So is there anything else that you would like to add? Something that maybe I haven’t asked you so far?
Only that the Wretched album “Ominous” is out on the 25th, November. I definitely think people should check it out because it is definitely a strong album that worths having a listen.
Interviewed by: Karagiannidis Panagiotis.
Contributed by: Thanasis Gatziouras.
Tanscribed by: Elpida Petraki.