By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY — Edmonton-based metal entity Dire Omen has spent their six years of existence wisely. Guitarist and vocalist R. Rodas formed the band in 2008, and was joined a year later by drummer K. Trueblood and bassist C. in 2010. In the four years following, they fine-tuned their dense, howling onslaught, releasing two demos and an EP before being picked up by Colorado tastemakers Dark Descent Records. On their debut full length Wresting the Revelation of Futility, they contribute to the burgeoning legacy of Canadian underground blackened death bands like Adversarial, Nuclearhammer, and Mitochondrion. To learn more, we had a discussion with R. and C., which is edited for length below.
BeatRoute: Your first full length, Wresting the Revelation of Futility, is finally out. In terms of conceptualization, the band has thus far lyrically and visually seemed extremely immersed in transcendental themes and concepts surrounding death.
C: Several songs on the album explore ideas about dying nearly exclusively, but not exclusively in the “mortal” sense. It is death through stagnation that I’m talking about more often than not on the album. The hesitation to expand yourself, to continue pursuing higher and higher realms of knowledge, the inertia of either satisfaction or the acceptance of dissatisfaction – this is more what the lyrics on the album deal with. Such a wide variety of themes are drawn on for this reason: useful knowledge and truly passionate expression is never naked, but dons the vesture of every culture and period. The transcendence of mortal death is impossible. Overleaping a life of inertia and stagnation is a ubiquitous opportunity in human experience: how many succeed in doing this? I would submit that very, very few do so.
BR: Continuing in this vein, the band has addressed Crowley’s beliefs such as the Thelemic deity Ra-Hoor-Khuit, and Catholic beliefs like “Servus Sevorum Dei.” Both of these are rooted in deeply opposing religious philosophies.
C: The Thelemic themes tended to be more of an undercurrent during the writing of our lyrics, but I’d say are quite pronounced nonetheless. The “deeply opposed philosophies” you’re talking about are a case here of appropriation, much as Crowley and the larger body of Thelemism, of course, has always done. In the case of the album, the theme is twofold: the constant pursuit of Nirvikalpa-samadhi (to put it one of many ways I could articulate it) and a strong decry against the pseudo-intellectual, against the affectation of knowledge. There are many paths and many conceptions of a final Enlightenment. In this case, the majority of the album is dedicated to an attack on the pseudo-intellectual, as the album title combined with the majority of the album’s lyrics will make clear.
BR: Musically, you guys are absolutely crushing, particularly for a three piece. C., when you are writing your bass parts, do you write in tandem with K., and are you two aiming to form a clean and meaty rhythm to juxtapose against R.’s frenzied, thick tone?
R: I have an Engl Tube amp and I do like immensely the tone that I can get out of it. I wanted the guitars to be the primary element on the album in charge of the atmosphere, so I naturally aimed for a tone that was warm and organic-sounding with good response on the mids and the low end. For tracking, we used my amp for one of the channels, and other in-house tube amps available at the studio for the second channel and the leads. I felt like these three choices complimented each other very well and I am really happy with the final result.
C: I would say roughly half the bass lines are written with greater consideration given to acting as a rhythm instrument rather than as a substrate to the guitars. I think this method of writing bass is underappreciated in metal music, and can give a brutal feel to even the most chaotic black/death. I tend to try to let Roldy’s guitar do the work of the riff and the atmospherics, and form a powerful rhythm with the drums, though of course there are times when the bass best serves the song by supporting the guitar!
See Dire Omen at the Nite Owl on Friday, December 12 with Numenorean, Wroth, Chieftain, and AfterEarth.AB, Alberta, Dire Omen, Nite Owl