By Kelley Simms
For whatever reason, a lot of quality death metal flows out of Quebec, and Montréal-based blackened death metal horde NECRONOMICON is no exception. The triumvirate group of strong individuals have paid their dues, and with their fourth full-length release, Rise Of The Elder Ones, the band is on its way to becoming a major contender within the region’s DM scene. As guitarist/vocalist Rob “The Witch” Tremblay explains, this sub-genre of metal has a rich history in the city and the local scene is growing rapidly.
“In the ’80s, Quebec City was more of the metal city where Montréal was the punk one,” Tremblay said. “Things have changed a lot and I can say that Montréal is really well known for its really loud metal scene now. The local scene is totally huge. I think just in Montreal there’s probably 100 bands playing a variety of different kinds of metal, so bands from here have to work three or five time harder to get noticed outside the country. And even so, the game is not won after that.”
Within Necronomicon’s brutal and precision-like sound, there’s some similarities to MORBID ANGEL, KATAKLYSM, DIMMU BORGIR and BEHEMOTH. But Tremblay’s vision for Necronomicon was heavily influenced by CELTIC FROST and early BATHORY, especially when it comes to the orchestrated elements on Rise of the Elder Ones.
“When the band really started to be serious, our influences were mainly early BOLT THROWER and NAPALM DEATH. Both bands influenced us in the way of having really heavy grooves with a lot of bass drums, and the other with the blast beats and faster riffs. And this is the way we wanted to do it; fast, groovy and a shit load of bass drums with a dark look and occult and mystic concept. The orchestral and other elements mainly come from when I heard Celtic Frost’s ‘Necromantical Screams,’ ‘Tears In A Prophet’s Dream’ and ‘Innocence And Wrath.’ That was it for me, I wanted to do it like that. I didn’t know how at the time, but I had to find the way to do it.”
Necronomicon’s image is dark and evil and their lyrics deal with occultism, magik and mythology. Although you might associate a band of this stature as being Satanic, but Tremblay squelches that assumption.
“Dark, maybe. Satanic? Not at all. First, to be a Satanist (textually speaking) you need to believe in Satan. So from that point, if you do ... you are a Christian, because Satan is one of their creations to scare people and control them with fear. If you need religion and if it’s good for you, fine, do what you feel. But don’t bug me or others with that. I don’t bug you with my stuff, and I never will anyway. The problem I have is when some people force their beliefs and try to indoctrinate others. Now that is evil, real evil. Im not forcing anyone to believe what I’m saying or pretending to know better than anyone. Anyone can interpret my lyrics the way they think it fits them based on their own life experiences and own spiritual evolution. I’m not here to spread hatred, on the contrary. But I am anti-Christian, if that’s what you want to know.”?
?The band’s name obviously was inspired by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft’s fictional book, which translates to Book Of The Dead.
“He was a big Influence at the start, but not really anymore. The name has been chosen to fit the right and real meaning of the word and not the ‘roughly translated as Book of the Dead’ name, even if it pretty much fits with what we are about in a way. The real meaning of why we decided to be called that name is ‘Things related to death practices, customs and laws,’ life, death, re-birth, reincarnation, other dimensions, astral beings, ancient races, forgotten knowledge, etc . Pretty much the same things explained in the real book of the dead, like the Egyptian one and the (Tibetan) Bardo Thodol, among others. The Lovecraft era, if I can call it like that, was really more like, ‘Hey, it’s cool doing metal with that.’ After a while, we moved away from that and started to talk about things that has actual meaning.”??There’s a worldly and ancient theme that runs through every Necronomicon release; an Egyptian motif permeated their debut, Pharaoh Of Gods, and a tribal/Native American vibe was present on The Sacred Medicines. With Rise of the Elder Ones, the band takes that concept even further.
“Every album has a different concept, and it’s something we like and are happy to do. Everything is part of the same concept, but its like each album is a different chapter. Return of The Witch was an album about the power of Femininity, the Omega, the receptivity and creation. So from there, where Return of the Witch was the calling, Rise of the Elder Ones is the answer. The result is the birth or arrival of the supreme energy, the real beginning.”
?The musicianship on Rise Of The Elder Ones is outstanding. Although the band has gone through a number of member changes, Tremblay’s brother Jay was even the bassist at one point, its current incarnation, consisting of drummer Rick and bassist Armaros, is a solid, cohesive unit.
“Rick has been in the band for a while now, so we have our way, you know? He has been with me since the Pharaoh Of Gods Tour. I think it’s pretty much between me and him to be honest. We work together really easily most of the time. Armaros, for his part, keeps the band’s spirit true to the core. I think it’s a good quality.”
At the time of this interview, Necromomicon was gearing up for a one-off show in Mexico with MELECHESH. The band’s touring plans are up in the air after that, but they want to hit the road as much as possible.
“Hitting the road is our main concern right now,” Tremblay concludes. “We really hope to go back touring Europe also, as soon as possible. After that, another album of course, but we need to see how to re-release Sacred Medicine worldwide, that is something we really want because that one has not been distributed much outside Canada and a little bit in the US. But that’s another story.”
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