Blurring the boundaries between old school and modern death metal, Slave One from France add an intriguing twist to progressive death on their debut album ‘Disclosed Dioptric Principles’. Dealing with topics related to the cosmos while tying in mythological elements, the music of Slave One is technical à la Death. The music also exhibits influences from more modern sources like Obscura, a combination that works well in adding a breath of fresh air to this style.
After listening to the band’s debut on Dolorem Records, we had a chat with the band’s guitarists Seb and Nicolas S, and this is what resulted..
Transcending Obscurity (Shrivatsan R): Hey guys. How’s it going ? Tell us about the history of Slave One ? How did the band get together ?
Slave One (Nicolas S): Hey, we’re fine. Slave One was born in 2009. Seb and I have been playing together for decades in different bands. When Seb started working on Slave One, he asked me to join him, so as to play the guitar. We recorded a demo called Vermin. We needed musicians to play live so we looked for people we could get along with. And that’s how Nico P (vocals), Will (bass) and Ben (rhythm guitar) joined the band.
Seb: The band actually started as a one-man band. When writing Vermin’s songs, it appeared obvious that my knowledge of guitar scales were too limited to record these titles by myself. I got in touch with Nico (who is my brother) to get some help. After the first EP was released, we recruited our third brother, Williams on bass, an old friend of ours, Ben on guitars and Nico (Nicolas’ cousin in law) as the vocalist. We are actually a family band.
TO: Slave One’s music seems to carry influences from across the spectrum. What are some of the band that helped shape the sound of the band ? Death metal aside, what other styles of music inspires the songs of Slave One ?
Slave One (Nicolas S.) : I would say that we grew up fed on old school and classic death metal band such as Death, Morbid Angel. Seb was more into that style of music than me and he still is. Obscura, Necrophagist for example are also some of the other bands we listen to. As far as I’m concerned I listen to any style of music as long as it provides me emotions. As weird as it can be, I can listen to Erik Mongrain and then move onto Amogh Symphony. Seb and I often disagree about music but that’s what makes Slave One sound this way.
Seb: Nico really listens to some weird and shitty stuff. We truly often disagree about our musical taste. As far as I’m concerned, I’m a huge Death and SepticFlesh fan. Bands like Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence and Obscura really get me high. On the other hand, I’m also found of European black metal: Emperor, Arcturus, Samael, Dimmu Borgir etc. I’m also into stuff like Ulver and Blut Aus Nord who I appreciate for their atmospheric and boundless work.
TO: ‘Disclosed Dioptric Principles’ comes out in a couple of weeks. How was This album conceived ? What was the recording process like ?
Slave One (Nicolas S): We recorded everything at our own home studio. Of course, drums were recorded first and then we worked on rhythm guitars, bass, leads and fill-ins. Vocals and arrangements were the last things that were recorded.
Seb: I wrote most of the guitars riffs, rearranged them with Nico and Ben. I structured the songs with a rhythmical skeleton, following which I wrote guitar parts. Nico had free rein to write melodies and solos.
TO: The tracks on the album are based around different mythologies. Where does the inspiration for the lyrics come from ? Is there a common narrative that ties the tracks on the album together ?
Slave One (Seb): There is actually a common narrative tying tracks together. Lyrics deal with man’s relationship with the stars. This allows me to organize and present the texts in a manner of linking them together by different levels of chronological and thematic interpretation.
On one hand, there is a metaphysical and mythological approach of that relationship. On the other, the approach is colder and detached from any feeling. It seems to be a scientific analysis. This creates some kind of duality within the lyrics: faith against science, flesh against mind. But you’re right, mythology is the basic framework of most of the lyrics.
TO: Will Slave One be touring in support of the upcoming album ?
Slave One (Nicolas S) : I feel that music is meant to be played live. You have to face the audience to know whether people like your music or not.
TO: How is the song writing process for Slave One ? Walk through how a song is generally conceived.
Slave One (Nicolas S ): Song writing process is a dictatorship!!! No, seriously. Most of the time Seb brings guitar riffs and I work on them and try to enrich them with melodies or harmonies. Seb is in charge of the rhythm parts whereas I’m on melodic parts.
Seb: As said before, I usually come with a song structure and most of the riffs written. We rearrange them with Nico and Ben. I can’t write songs in the rehearsal room. I have to be in a quiet place with my guitar and some paper sheets. Maybe I should to work on some ideas in rehearsal room but I don’t feel comfortable working this way.
TO: How was the experience on working with Dolorem Records ? How did Slave One end up on their roster ?
Slave One (Nicolas S) : Jeremy and Alex are pretty cool guys and working with them was quite easy as they’re broad-minded guys.
Seb: I’ve been touch in touch with them for a few years now. They knew we were recording songs for an album. They closely followed the recording process and offered us a chance to be part of their roster. An honor, as they are truly dedicated to the label and their roster
TO: Regarding the track’ For Shiva Whispered the Universe’ , does Indian mythology interest the band?
Slave One (Nicolas S) : I’m not only interested in Indian mythology. Any mythology is a source of interest. Every founding myth enlightens as to how people regard the world they lived in and it’s really surprising to point out how alike most myths are.
Seb: Indian mythology is the underlying thematic linking most of the lyrical concepts.
Deus Otiosus is a latin expression meaning the absent god, expression used to described Brahma.
For Shiva… deals with Universe’s perpetual death and rebirth.
Aeon Dissonance and Liquid Transcendental Echoes also deal with this universal maelstrom occurring before the world collapses and comes to life again.
As I explained, the mythological theme entwines with scientific concerns.
But The Antikythera Mechanism and Obsidian Protocol Achievement do not refer to Indian mythology but are thematically linked with the stars.
I don’t aim to give any lesson, just to expose my own reflections. I’d like the listener (and the reader) to create their own reflection about my lyrics even though I’ve given some clues here.
TO: Who created the artwork for ‘Disclosed Dioptric Principles’ and does it tie into the mythos of the album itself ?
Slave One (Nicolas S): A french artist created it. His name is 3MMI and believe me, his work is astonishing and brilliant.
Seb: The artwork was chosen for his stellar aspect. It perfectly fits with the lyrical themes. Constellations are engulfing the iconic creature embodying the tie between men and stars. This woman has multiple arms which is obviously a reference to Indian mythology. She is enlightened by light coming from above. In fact, this is a very symbolic artwork. I’ve been seduced by its original aspect which avoids the genre’s clichés. Watch it closely , some details are hidden.
TO: Thank you for taking the time. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Slave One (Seb): Thanks for these qustions. I hope we have been clear enough. Thanks for supporting us.
Keep listening to metal, keep asking your questions and open yourself to the cosmic transcendence.