Crawling out of the frozen woods of Norway, Reptilian bring caustic death metal that is reminiscent of it’s peers from the region. Balancing elements of doom, thrash, a bit of black and classic death metal, the band’s debut ‘Perennial Void Traverse’ is over 40 minutes of death metal ecstasy. Gearing up for the album release on Norway based label Edged Circle Productions, the band’s drummer Daniel Tveit talked to us about the beginnings of Reptilian and the creation of the record.
Plus, we present to you, an exclusive full album stream of ‘Perennial Void Traverse’. So sink your teeth into this slab of death metal and read our conversation below.
Transcending Obscurity (Shrivatsan R) : Tell us a bit about the band. How did you come up with the name Reptilian? Does the term have significance with the music you guys play?
Reptilian (Daniel Tveit): Well the name didn’t really have much meaning initially, it was just a name we thought wasn’t already taken, and we didn’t plan to keep it at first. But as the music evolved, the name grew more fitting, not in the conspiracy/alien sense of the word but more like reptiles sneaking up on you from behind and taking your baby to the demon alligator to be sacrificed.
TO: All the members initially started out in Cockroach Agenda. What is the reason behind forming Reptilian? What inspired the stylistic shift?
Reptilian: After trying out the thrash thing there became a pull towards slower doomy stuff and experimenting with blastbeats, shit that didn’t go too well with what we were doing in Cockroach. Cato started making death metal riffs and eventually he had a full song, which led to forming Reptilian. Fusa is a small community and since we already played well together and had a pretty similar taste in music it only made sense to play together in Reptilian as well.
TO (Chris Dahlberg): ‘Perennial Void Traverse’ comes nearly three years after your debut split with Inculter. Tell us about the writing and recording process, as it seems like this is a fairly lengthy gap between releases. What challenges did you face while putting this album together?
Reptilian: It’s been a long trip for sure. Most of the material were ready pretty soon after the split release. Cato writes almost everything, and we do the eventual changes, arrangements or extra riffs together at rehearsals. Though what has been really time consuming is all the crap that comes along with the DIY studio. Things go wrong, recorders crash, we get drunk and so on. Our previous hard disk recorder got completely fucked up while recording Slumber Lord’s way too insane guitar rumble. So for Reptilian we had gotten a super expensive new Tascam 48 channel recorder which crashed while showing the raw tracks to Stian who runs the label. A local guy then managed to save the files and do the mixing digitally.
That along with various unforeseen problems and delays have made the release come a year after the recording was finished. Hopefully we have learned from our fuckups and next time things run more smoothly.
TO: The vocal style used on the record is atypical for a death metal album. How did you come up with this style and how have the fans received it?
Reptilian: The vocals is kinda unique from most death metal, yeah, though some people would say it’s kind of a Sindre Solem vocal-style, and I have heard people compare it to the Pestilence dude. I am not the vocalist so I don’t know how it turned out this way, but I guess Cato is looking for a way to add to the atmosphere of the music in the most twisted way while keeping his vocal chords intact for another album.
TO: While the Norwegian black metal scene has had enough light shed on it over the years, the death metal scene is relatively unknown to many people. From what I’ve read in other interviews, it seems to be tight knit scene. How is the death metal scene in Norway?
Reptilian: There are some insanely amazing bands in the scene at the moment. Diskord, Execration, Obliteration, Gouge and Mion’s Hill comes to mind. Those bands are from the Oslo area, the other side of the country, so I think we stand alone on this side of the mountains. Though we play some of the same gigs and festivals and all those guys are really badass and chill.
TO: How did Reptilian sign on to Edged Circle Productions? Did you take cues from Inculter’s signing to the same label?
Reptilian: The two bands were initiated into the thing at the same time I think. It’s just that ECP is the geographically closest as well as the label that cares the most about what the artist wants that I know of. We can just walk over to Stian’s house for a beer and he will have some cool idea for us.
TO: What are some of the themes covered in ‘Perennial Void Traverse?
Reptilian: One or two songs are inspired by aztec mythology and history, which is very fascinating and brutal, and other lyrics are just written in the moment listening to the song and feeling the mood in the music. Delirium, death and some kind of spirituality are themes that are touched on here I guess.
TO (Chris Dahlberg) : Tying in to the previous question, last month Edged Circle released a teaser for the album that’s more akin to a movie trailer. How did this idea come up and how does the movie clips used in the trailer tie into your material?
Reptilian: This is all Stian’s (ECP) idea and work. I don’t really know the connections here haha, but it’s probably just some cool clips.
TO (Chris Dahlberg) : The cover artwork was created by Timo Ketola, who has done a lot of fantastic work for a wide range of metal bands. How did this collaboration come about, and did you have a particular idea in mind or did you give him free reign?
Reptilian: Yeah, he is great. We just sent him an email along with some music and he was in. We gave him a sense of what we had envisioned, and we also met him in Bergen to talk further about our vision and art in general. But ultimately he was free to do whatever he wanted. The cover represents a coming together of the band’s and his interpretation of the feel in the music. I love the album art as it is very atmospheric and looks kinda timeless.
TO: The debut album is seeing a limited Vinyl run on Edged Circle Productions. In today’s age, are vinyl’s still a viable medium for output? Or has it become more of a collector’s item?
Reptilian: The way I see it is that if you want the physical thing, vinyl is what you would want. CDs have been on the way out for some time, though there are still people preferring that format. Also the metal people are generally into vinyls, and that’s the way we like our records personally to.
TO: You recently played at Blastfest, in Bergen. Are there more shows lined up to promote the release? Any shows outside of Norway?
Reptilian: At the moment, there are nothing that I’m aware of, unfortunately. At least nothing official.
TO (Chris Dahlberg) : For those who have yet to experience Reptilian live, how would you describe one of your live performances?
Reptilian: For those unfortunate groups of people wandering the earth in total unawareness of which soul-consuming, time-dissolving, nipple-twisting states of consciousness could be achieved if they came to our shows, I would say that we do our thing best on stage. It always feels better to play together as a band and to feed of the audience and each others energy and fuckups.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Perennial Void Traverse’ or Reptilian in general?
Yeah, the record is worth all your money, so is a live ticket if that becomes an option again. Never fucking relax!