Interview: Benighted (Death/Grind, Season Of Mist)

Interview by Zax

My second interview here is one I never expected to get, but it’s an amazing opportunity. Today I’ll be talking with French deathgrind legends Benighted about their 9th studio album titled Obscene Repressed, a concept record that is quite frankly amazing, check out my full review of the album here.

Benighted: Bandcamp / Spotify / Facebook / Season Of Mist

Hey guys, thanks a ton for your time today! I want to talk about the new record, first off, what do you guys think separates Obscene Repressed from the other records in your discography?

Thank you, it’s still in the perfect Benighted way of playing extreme metal! “Obscene Repressed” is the most intense act we ever made, with very catchy choruses, neck-breaking parts and this delicious brutality that made our reputation towards the years! It has also his bunch of surprising parts, also very dark atmospheres according to the creepy concept of this new opus. I would say that it’s our usual recipe that we always try to improve! That’s brutality mixed with groovy parts and more creepy ones to make it always efficient and some unexpected parts which make the listener wondering what’s going on! Ah ah! We also work a lot on the choruses to be easily remindable so you already know which one is your favorite song after one listening! Also, we brought back more of this hardcore influence that we missed a bit on “Necrobreed”. “Obscene Repressed” is definitely the most intense album we released ever!

What was the recording process like for this album? It seems like a lot of time went into it.

We went back to the Kohlekeller Studio in Germany where we recorded all our albums since “Insane Cephalic Production” in 2003. Kohle, our producer, is clearly the 6th member of the band and he always shows a lot of motivation and implication in recording a new Benighted album! We sent him early pre-productions to discuss how the new album should sound and what we would work differently this time for this album to have its own sound identity like every Benighted album. This time, as the riffs are more complicated than on our previous albums, with a lot of details, we needed a more precise and massive sound to put every instrument in perspective and sound a bit more modern than “Necrobreed” which was crunchier and more aggressive. We didn’t spend more time than on the previous albums. Kohle and us know each other very well with the years and it’s so easy to work together because we know how the other thinks things. 

The story behind this record is interesting and pretty messed up as well. Can you explain it to our readers who aren’t familiar yet? What was the inspiration behind the lyrics?

Sure, it’s inspired by a patient I took care of about 10 years ago… I work as nurse in a psychiatric hospital for almost 20 years now. For the story of the album, I mixed the symptoms of schizophrenia with oedipal issues of a boy with very deformed cleft-palate. Michael is an 8-year-old boy and his parents refused to show to a surgeon about his facial deformity… At home he constantly wears bandages on the face to hide it from his mother who finds it disgusting. He starts to show some psychotic symptoms. He develops a paranoid delirium on account of unresolved oedipal issues with his mother that he sexually desires. He is convinced that his father made him with this facial anomaly because he wanted to be sure that he could never steal her from him. This is reinforced by the mother’s discordant behavior. She refuses Michael’s kisses because of his incomplete lips but shows herself very protective and careful about his well-being. Growing as an adult and still living with his parents, he gives his special participation to the dinner. He steals his dad’s razor and cuts his own lips off, adds them in the meal and blends everything together before putting his bandages back on his face. He serves it to his mom and watches her eat it all without knowing what’s in her plate, until he takes his bandages off at the end of the dinner. He was somehow partially inside his mother again as he desired… See? Just a beautiful love story! Ah ah!

When I saw that “Implore The Negative” would feature Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed I thought it was an odd combination, but it works so well! How did that collaboration come to be, and how was working with him?

Every Benighted album has its own surprises and the big one on “Obscene Repressed” is for sure the featuring of Jamey from Hatebreed! I am a huge Hatebreed fan since early years of this band and last year, some friend of mine told me that he spoke in very good terms about Benighted in one of his podcasts and talked about our music video for “Leatherface” (Necrobreed)! I assumed he kinda liked us so I took the shot! I sent an email to Markus from Nuclear Blast to ask him if he could forward my demand for guest-vocals to Jamey and Markus told me he would be very happy to see sich an original collaboration happen, but that Jamey was such a busy man that there was only few chances he would even answer… Then 2 weeks later, i received an email from Markus with Jamey in copy saying he was up for it and excited! It was such an honour for me! And what he did on the song is so fantastic! “Implore The Negative” turned into a hymn to brutality with the combination of our vocals, and it’s such an original track in the Benighted career! I was also surprised that Jamey didn’t ask for anything in return, he really is a true passionate and dedicated musician, and I have huge respect for him to have this spirit!

During times like this, I’ve been missing live music, as I’m sure you guys are too. I have never seen you guys live, but Brutalive The Sick is easily one of my favorite live records. What is your favorite song to play live as a band?

We really miss a lot indeed, as musicians and also as band’s fans also! Thank you for the compliment! We are very proud about this live record which was the perfect way to celebrate our 15th anniversary! For now, the song I really enjoy to play on stage is still “Let The Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth” because this song is our hymn and it’s always a huge moment of sharing when the crowd screams the title with me and then starts firing the moshpit! I always love this moment!

Last year you guys toured with Aborted in the United States. If I’m not mistaken, that was the band’s first time touring the states, how was it?

Exactly, this was our very first big tour in the USA and I will never forget it! I was so amazed to see how popular is Benighted there and how fans told us every night how many years they were waiting to see us live! This tour was a huge success for us and we can’t wait to be back there! And touring with our brothers Aborted is always a pure pleasure! Plus we took time to visit a bit every city or beautiful places around during the tour, it couldn’t have been more perfect!

I recently learned that you guys actually started out as more of a black metal band, what inspired that drastic shift from black metal to deathgrind?

Actually, black metal is still an influence in our music but that’s true that in our beginning it was way more present. It took a bit of time before we really found the true musical identity of Benighted and us growing as musicians, we went pretty naturally to play death metal with many other influences in it like black metal, grindcore or hardcore!

Switching back to the new record, who did the album artwork? Its very eye catching!

It’s one of the greatest tattoo artists I know, he is from Hungary and is called Robert (Grindesign). I really admire his work for years and we finally got the opportunity to work together! He did such an amazing job of drawing the boy of the story with his delusional twisted way to see himself and this huge demon behind him as the symbol of his oedipal sexual attraction for his mother! I really love this cover!

The drums on Obscene Oppressed sound top notch, what drum setup did you guys use?

The album was recorded with a Pearl Reference Pure in Matte Walnut finish, 20X14 bass drum, 8X8, 10X8, 12X8 rack toms, and 14X12 floor tom, using T-Cymbals.

I want to again thank you for your time and for answering these questions today! Lastly, how would you describe Obscene Oppressed to someone who’s never heard of Benighted before? How would you describe it to long-time fans?

Ah ah! That’s a funny question! I would say: did you ever experienced listening to an accident between 2 trucks full of pigs crashing at high speed one against the other? Well, this is the new Benighted! And to someone who knows us already, I would say that this new album is exactly what we do the best in a higher intensity and with a creepy concept who makes you live this album in a different way, because you can clearly have some scenes in the head about this horrible story when you listen to some specific parts of the album! It’s like a horror movie for your ears, and simply the best album we ever made! Thank you, a lot, for this interview and thanks to all our fans who support us so much along the years! Stay sick! 

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