A hiatus of thirteen years and a new album loaded with brutal death metal. Ogre from Ireland haunt the world once more. It seems appropriate to ask some questions and attempt to clear up the mist that surrounds the band a bit.
Where are you from?
Formed from the nascent mists of a pre-galactic universe, Forthron The Evil emerged from the Universal Chaos aeons ago, during the Darkest Dynasty of the Cosmos. Until early Christianity, he remained an unknown entity on this planet, but his power grew mightily through the Dark Ages. It was in 1983 that Forthron first channelled his spirituality to creating music in the electronic form. (He had been making music with his band of minstrels for many centuries, but had until the 1980s ignored modern advances in music). He quickly became renowned as the most twisted guitarist this world has ever known. His lyrics go far beyond the imagination, and forge a new beauty in realms of truth. They are, in their simplicity, reminiscences of past exploits.
At 4 years of age, Chewed Giblet witnessed the brutal slaughtering of his parents by the feared Forthron the Evil, and under these most unlikely of circumstances, became Forthron’s adopted son and apprentice. He grew in magnificence and stature under the tutorship of Forthron. He gained his title at the age of 12, when he displayed a penchant for eating his victim’s giblets on the battlefield, a talent which was nurtured by Forthron into a trademark of his killing. For many years, Chewed Giblet experimented with derivations of medieval plainchant and polyphonic religious music, and in 1991 joined Forthron in his quest to create the ultimate squidgy sound of symphonic cacophonies.
John De Baptiste, the youngest member of OGRE, was born in Jerusalem in 545 BC during the Babylonian Exile. His father was a prophet and he inherited this talent. His mother was a common whore, she had no legs, and only one eye. John’s childhood was a troubled one, and the accumulative tauntings and references to his mother as “The Cyclops Whore of Babylon” drove him to the cataclysmic killing spree of 534 BC, known as “The Massacre of Cripples”. This single-handed act of genocide brought John De Baptiste to the attention of Forthron the Evil, who was recruiting apostles to his flock. Forthron trained John in the craft of percussion and taught him to harness his rage and transform it into a spiritual meditation during his drum playing.
Why do you make music?
Making music is a form of spiritual meditation for OGRE. All this slaughtering can become a bit tedious at times, and so making music is a nice release from it, albeit music about slaughtering.
What is music (to you, in general … )?
Music is a form of information communication, wherein we summarize our learnings from our meditations.
What has music been and what is music now?
In the past, and for thousands of years, music was a way of passing folk stories and histories down through the generations. Today, music is no longer sacred, it is just another disposable product sold to disposable idiots.
Why did you pick this band name?
Ogre’s in folklore tend to be large, loud, vicious and simple/stupid. Listen to our music and you’ll hear the comparisons.
Ogre appears to fall a bit through the cracks of the metal scene. After a hiatus of 13 years the band is back for more and with a new full-length album. Can you write a bit about the early days of your “career” and what has happened since? Why this long break?
Though our three minds are always one, physically we have embarked on individual journeys of cosmic discovery, where the disembodied minds travelled to separate physical locations in the Cosmos, and we triangulated our mind energies to increase our power across the universe.
How has the Irish metal scene changed?
Not sure, as we haven’t been present in this time void for the past 13 years.
What are the core essences of your music and how would you compare to what you present today with what you have done on your debut album?
When we recorded “Dark Filth” we recorded the instruments and drums all live to 4-track tape. So everything was done in one live take. Later we would add vocals and other overdubs, intro’s and other effects. The whole process for Dark Filth took only a month or two from start to finish, on a 4-track analog cassette recorder.
For “Bastards Of Death” we recorded digitally, which gave us unlimited tracks to work with, and much higher sound resolution, It also meant we didn’t have to do everything in one live take. We edited and judicially overdubbed the music after the initial recording, which we weren’t able to do on our earlier recordings. We think Bastards has much better sound quality, and from the first recording sessions to mastering the final mix, it took nearly 2 years.
Bastards of Death is a curious release, because of the large amount of samples it contains. This intentional disruption of the overall flow of the music is something that can be criticized with little effort. Can you elaborate on this topic?
The album is based on our visions and journeys over the past decade. The samples tracks or “Interludes” are media reports from the near-future. Most of the “samples” are not in fact samples, but scripted radio voice-over artists. The purpose of the interludes is to tell the story of the Machine Apocalypse and the worsening situation for mankind as the album progresses, so they have a progression to them, documenting the carnage from the first breaking news broadcasts at the beginning, through to the last hopeless broadcasts and dead air at the end. It is true that the interludes regularly interrupt the music, but it is intentional as you have noted. We hope that this helps convey the sense of chaos of the Apocalypse, as well as providing a break from the intensity of the music and a chance for reflection. This is a concept album with a linear narrative, and is best listened to from start to finish, accompanied with a large joint, not on shuffle.
Following up to the previous question, extreme metal is not that uncommon samples of such a scale, but why do you play such brutal death metal anyway? What makes it fascinating from your perspective? And can you name some influences?
Because we write about brutal events it requires a brutal death metal style. They go hand-in-hand. We love the energy from this style of music. Forthron’s guitar-sound is the sound of solar winds, Giblet’s bass echoes the background radiation of the universe, and De Baptiste’s drums are the heart-beat of the Star Maker.
We are not sure if there have been any influences upon us, but we have been influential to many, such as Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, Rasputin and Pope Benedict XVI to name but a few.
What type of music do you listen to on a daily basis? Are you able to enjoy more modern interpretations of death metal?
Everything except post-80’s pop music. Yes the production and quality of modern death metal is quite amazing. Although an old band, Master released “The Human Machine” a few years ago which is an incredible album.
Can you write a bit about the process of getting Bastards of Death done. How long did it take you to finish it? Has it been recorded professionally? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
To begin with we left this time void on Earth in December 1998 and travelled into the future to study the Universal Chaos. Towards the end of our travels, in another dimension, we witnessed the demise of mankind. On returning to this time dimension we succeeded in converting these horrific dream-visions and apocalyptic experiences into the music that forms the new album. This took around 2 years to complete. The album was recorded in studios in Dublin and Sydney, and was mastered in New York.
How have you been able to keep the initial line-up over all these years and even beyond the 13-year hiatus? Is this kind of continuity important to the members of your band?
In the time of OGRE’s forging, the Holiest Three were bound across dimensions never to be parted. Our absence from this dimension only means we three are present in some other dimension invisible to this one. The Trinity is always One, and the One is always Three.
There are many prophecies untold, and many minds in torture echo through the universe. OGRE’s ideas are formed from an infinity of visions, a bottomless lake of misery.
It is a fucked up world, isn’t it? Your opinion on the messiness of our days? Should art play a larger role in dealing with these matters?
Endless wars and misery are the legacy of this generation of humans. Art has been compromised by business and politics. 99% of artists are shills for the status quo. There are real voices out there in the world, but they are usually ignored or censored. Art should play a part in the education of humanity, but it doesn’t. The Truth of all things must be arrived at the by the individual, it cannot be taught by soldiers, politicians, or artists.