Monday, May 5, 2014

Interview with Oz Bloodcurse: "I hate any religion that has that grip on a person's thinking and free will."

It's been ten years since Oz Bloodcurse formed Pennsylvania's black/death metal machine, Neldoreth.   And it's no secret that in those ten years Oz has been very opinionated on his view on the music scene, and religion.  The band went through a few line-up changes, one very significant change in 2007 when guitarist Darrell Creel joined the band.  From then on the band has always persisted forward, holding nothing back and having no regrets.  Still, with an ever changing roster, one thing remains:  Oz will not be stopped!  I had the honor to talk with Oz a few months back about the history of the band, his future with the band and some of the members both past and present.

It's been ten years since Neldoreth started.  Overall, how do you describe fronting one of the most evil bands to ever come out of PA?
Well, it's been a long ride! Sometimes it's very hard to imagine that it's been ten years since I made this pact! 

Take us back to the beginning.  Where did the idea for Neldoreth come from?  
Neldöreth was formed in November of 2004 by myself and original drummer Brad Feist. We had been together in a symphonic black metal band called Dark Symphony. We decided to quit that and form something more to our suiting to our Satanic beliefs and thus Neldöreth was spawned. The first line up was myself (vocals), Andy Check (guitars), Nathan Bailey (guitars), Jay Smith (bass), and Brad (drums). 

As far as the name, it's taken from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Silmarillion". It's a forest that was part of the kingdom of Doriath. However, I think it's taken on a whole new meaning and when people hear the word Neldöreth, they think something totally different than a forest in a book.

Musically you've come a long way.  How do you feel about some of the eariler Neldoreth demos?  
To be very honest with you, I haven't even thought about the demos and early albums in some time. I don't even own the first two full lengths. I would have to agree with you though, the band has changed very much since 2004. As for how I feel about the old material, I really don't have an answer to that, as it's been so long. 

Somewhere in '07 you completely rebuilt the band.  Was it an easy choice separating from the original members?  Are you still in contact with any of them?
No, it wasn't. The line up at that time was not getting along, especially with Bryan (Anderson, drummer). The recording sessions for 'Under Azazel's Dark Wings' was a nightmare! There was a lot of negativity during rehearsals and live rituals that was unneeded and it was beginning to effect the energies, so I had to make a change. Then I met Darrell (Creel) and that all changed. The approach to writing changed, the atmosphere changed, everything changed except the original pact and goal I had made in 2004. As far as communication with the 2006-2007 line up, the only one I still speak with on occasion is Jay (Smith, bass).

When Darrell joined the band, Neldoreth really came out with a vengeance.  How was it to work with him and will there be a reunion with the two of you?
Working with Darrell was a good experience. It was different than the other guys because him and I never argued about shit. We were pretty much on the same page on most things...even at the end we never fought. But at the end of the day he just decided that Neldöreth wasn't for him anymore, which is a shame. As far as a reunion, I don't see that happening for various reasons. 

With all the tours and countless rituals, who is the best band you've shared the stage with?
I've played with Hubris a great deal, and they are great...the future of USBM for sure! But I'd say my favorite had to be touring with Vulkodlak back in 2012. They had to do the tour without their bass player, and for just two guys they were so tight! 

For the new fan, where should they start when listening to Neldoreth?  
I'd say the latest album, "The Saints of Blasphemy - I: Baptized in Blasphemy". It has that classic Darrell Creel writing style but I went back to my black metal vocal style so I think it was a good combination. It was also the best written and best production wise. 

What is the best song you've written as a band? 
"Ritual Suicide" hands down! It was also up to that point the most personal one for me, although on the next album there is two that go along with that one that are even more personal to me. 

You don't have to be  a rocket scientist to figure out that Neldoreth and Christianity are enemies. When did your hatred for Christianity begin?
I hate any religion that has that grip on a person's thinking and free will. I always knew I was a Satanist from a very young age, even before I knew what that was, and it wasn't until I made a pact with the Devil that I truly embraced it and understood my reason for being on this planet. 

What are your thoughts on the current metal scene?  Specifically in your area.
To be completely honest, and don't take this as having an ego or anything like that, but I do not consider Neldöreth part of the local scene. Neldöreth is not your typical metal or black metal band. It is a temple...a temple to worship of worship . Those who understand this, come to our shows, which we call rituals, not for just entertainment, but to worship and feel the energies that come forth through our music. This does not mean that there are not great metal bands in the area, but I feel what they do and what Neldöreth does is two completely different things. That may sound like an elitist statement, but it's really not meant in that way.

What vocalist/musician would you love to collaborate with on a future Neldoreth album?
Pete Helmkamp.

Will you be taking the band outside the US for any international tours?
Been working on that. There has been some offers but we just have to work out the small print details first to make everything worth it. 

What is your favorite album of all time?
Watain's Sworn to the Dark

What are your religious views?
I usually do not like to discuss my spirituality in interviews because many readers do not understand such things. Something so powerful cannot be explained to it's full potential in a paragraph or two. And it goes so much deeper than words. One must sacrifice the ego and give up such mundane pleasures to fully understand it. Satan is not just a name to use as shock value, as so many groups do, but is something that deserves the utmost respect and worship.

What vocalist has been the most influential to you in your career?
Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection)

Tell me about the upcoming album!
"The Saints of Blasphemy - II: Communion of the Abhorrent" is the second part of the Saints of Blasphemy trilogy. It begins with the Saints of Blasphemy receiving their first unholy communion. On earth, a disciple of Satan begins his walk towards becoming a Saint himself. The album will be recorded at Ahhie/Little Room Studios, Inc in Pittston, PA under the work of Val Valenti. Then it will be sent to Josh Freemon (Hellgoat) to mix and master. Originally I had planned to go back to Billy Slusser again, but with his busy work load I felt it better to go this route. Although I had a great time working with him on it, and the album is the best produced album we've done.

As far as players, Loki Syx is doing the guitar work with some help from Ricktor Ravensbrück (Electric Hellfire Club / Wolfpack 44). Bass will be recorded by my long time friend, Ixitichitl (Manticore) and drums by Vehemence (Vulkodlak). Jason Burnett will also return to do some spoken rituals. There will also be four guest vocalists in the one song. Vincent Crowley (Acheron), Steve Tucker (Warfather / ex-Morbid Angel), Dana Duffey (Demonic Christ), and Xaphan (Kult ov Azazel). 

What are your thoughts when the CD is complete and the artwork is finished?  As an artist that has to be the best moment to finally hold it in your hands then release it to the world.
By that point I am usually in the middle of booking the tours to promote it, or doing interviews, so at that point it's hard to focus on much at that time. But once I get a chance to sit down then yes it's a great feeling of course.

Tell me a little about the current Neldoreth lineup.
Well I mentioned above who will be on the album. As for live rituals I am talking with a few people at the moment, none of which I can really mention yet. I can say that Vehemence has agreed to do drums for the fest dates and the touring in 2015 for the next album.

Where do you see Neldoreth in the next ten years?
To be very honest, I am not sure Neldöreth will still be active in ten years. Once I feel that Neldöreth has done everything it was meant to do, then that's it. And when that time comes there will be no reunions down the road! And then I will possibly have one final choice to make. And all this may take another ten years and it may not, so I am not sure.

What do you mean by one final choice?
When it's my time to leave, I will do so knowing that I accomplished everything I was meant to and I will not linger.

What is your favorite horror film?
Exorcist III

If you could dig up one musician from the grave and share the stage with him, who would it be?
Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection)

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