After their triumphant set at Bloodstock 2015, Ghost Cult grabbed Ageless Oblivion’s David Porter and Gareth Nash for a few words about the show itself, the festival, plans for the near future and the new sound in death metal. Oh, and why camping is shit.
The significance of Bloodstock Festival as the biggest genuine metal festival in the UK by some margin, cannot be understated, but despite it’s growth it has never lost track of those in the underground and the cutting edge, truly giving a bit of everything for everyone.
With their festival debut early Saturday afternoon on the Sophie Stage, London based Ageless Oblivion are representative of this notion as they bludgeon the packed tent with their brand of death metal which is thought provoking, and even quite prog, but is still as vicious as the swarms of wasps on site (well, almost). Catching up with the band afterwards and guitarists David Porter and Gareth Nash both seem very happy.
With Bloodstock in its 10th year, many of the UK’s younger metal bands have more than likely been a part of the festivals audience at some stage, and Ageless Oblivion are no different with Gareth stating he has been coming since 2008.
“It’s awesome to be able to play here,” Nash opines, “especially on the Sophie Stage. I just like the atmosphere here, good bands, just a lot of good times to be had.”
David Porter continues: “Bast were amazing. They are good friends of ours and live, everytime we see them, like when we toured with them back in November they were kick ass then, and they are fucking amazing now.”
Nash: “I checked out Enslaved, we watched Hang The Bastard, Conan…”
Porter: “I think one highlight for me was Raging Speedhorn. When I was 14 they were my band, they were the ones that introduced me to the heavier stuff. Through them I discovered the likes of Iron Monkey, Charger, Will Haven, and then I ended up getting in to death metal, so to see them live again after so long was, for me, quite a lot of fun.”
Not that festival life is all sunshine and roses for Porter… “I will say this, I think camping is one of the most overrated things in life. I don’t know, if you enjoy going to bed in a fridge and waking up in a fucking oven, being dirty and dehydrated for four days then that’s fine, everyone’s entitled to what they like.”
With the lineup changes that saw drummer Rich Wilshire out and Noah See join the fold, and now Bloodstock under their belt, it seems things are once again settled. Having the salivating prospect of touring with New Zealand’s underground heroes Ulcerate (alongside Bell Witch) on the horizon clearly excites both of them.
Porter explains how it came about, with a huge grin. “That was a surprise actually. I opened up the band inbox one day and there was an email from Jamie Saint Merat (drummer and founding member of Ulcerate) just saying “We are touring the UK in November, do you fancy joining it?”
And we were like “What?! OK!” Ulcerate for me are a big influence, and Bell Witch as well are just filth, so looking forward to seeing them as well.”
With one of the most tantalizing tour lineups of the tail end of the year, it also highlights a seemingly growing trend in death metal; bands that focus on creating haunting, nauseating atmospherics along with sheer heaviness. Ageless Oblivion are definitely a part of, and share aesthetics with, that group. “I think there is a bit of a movement going on now. There are a lot of death metal bands that create that absolute dread, that complete oppressive, super dark sound. It’s amazing we get put in the same bracket as the likes of Gorguts and Ulcerate,” Porter enthues “but I think the trick is that we just want to create an atmosphere. We play death metal but we are influenced by the likes of Cult Of Luna, Neurosis and on the death metal side Decapitated and Nile.
“We want to create that feeling like when you watch Neurosis live and they are all encompassing. You cannot ignore them, they have that atmosphere and that’s what we are trying to achieve but through a death metal format.”
The upcoming Ulcerate tour also represents a new thing for Ageless Oblivion; a tour where they don’t stick out like a sore thumb, unlike in the past. “This is our problem – we don’t fit in. We can tour with a bunch of fucking, full on death metal bands and some nights you play a show and people love it, other nights they are waiting for that traditional death metal sound which just doesn’t happen with us.
“On the reverse when we tour with Bast we are playing to a lot of doom fans, so when we do the death metal bits it gets lost on people. But again I think that’s one of our strengths, we don’t fit in; it means we are doing something a bit different.”
In fact it is pretty clear how unique a place Ageless Oblivion take on the UK extreme metal scene that they can take such tours with the likes of Bast to straight up death metal bands like Dyscarnate, Hate Eternal and Aeon in their time. Penthos is a prime example of where they take death metal to different, hypnotic and terrifying realms, and is a groundwork that Nash states they are working on further on the under progress third album. “I think by the time this will come out, Penthos would have been out a couple of years so people would have been able to digest that enough to expect something a little but different, and just from the ideas we’ve got. It will be a lot heavier and more diverse and vile.”
WORDS BY CHRIS TIPPELL