Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview: Ophidian I

This week is brought to you by the letter "P" for Procrastination. I got in touch with Icelandic technical death metal band Ophidian I to see if they would be interested in shooting the shit with me. Luckily for them, they obliged… otherwise I would of had to send my flock of rabid gryphons over seas to intimidate them. Halldór Símon Þórólfsson (guitarist) took to answering the questions, with a nod from the rest of the band on the questions dedicated to the band as a whole.

•  •  •

1) What's it like being a technical death metal band in remote Iceland?

Fantastic! The fans are cool and supportive, and we don't have many other tech bands going on so most of our show's are mixed with different metal genres, which is great.

2) I noticed the opening riff in the song Mark of an Obsidian is repeated in the end of the song The Discontinuity of a Fundamental Element, which I like because it gives the album that cohesion of a story… tying everything together. Was this the intended effect, or was there another reason for this?

You nailed it. Glad to hear you noticed!

3) Given the choice: Would you go back in time to a certain era/historical event or would you rather go into the future?

I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings us, so probably the future!

4) When I visited Iceland a year ago I ate about 30 hotdogs at the "Bæjarins beztu pylsur" vendor, I even thought about getting the hotdog logo tattooed in the palm of my hand… so anyway who eats the most hotdogs in Ophidian I?

BB is the best place to eat when you are drunk in downtown Reykjavík haha, but I would say... our drummer Tumi!

5) I was initially going to ask you guys what you thought about Icelandic's own brutal death metal band Beneath and then realized Unnar Sigurðsson is the guitarist for both Beneath and Ophidian I. So I'll ask anyways, what do you guys think about Beneath? Do you feel you guys share any similarities? (On a side-note: I'm very much looking forward to their upcoming release Enslaved By Fear!)

Oh we love Beneath! They are really good friends of ours and we share the same practice space as they do. I dont think we share many similarities musically though… Beneath are more of a straight forward FAST extreme band, and we like to mix things up a bit. Our song structures are completely different.

6) Does being a metal band in Reykjavík mean you are pretty much well acquainted with all the other metal bands in the area?

Pretty much yes, we probably know all the metal bands in the country.

7) The cover art on Solvet Saeclum is beautifully done, can you shed some light on the meaning and connection of the artwork with the album?

The lyrical themes include eschatology (the study of ideas that are believed to be the final events in history, commonly referred to as the end of the world), the past and future of human history and the fate of the universe. We gave the mighty Marco Hasmann a rough idea of how the cover could look like so it would fit that lyrical theme and this was the result!

8) If the year 2012 were to end tomorrow, which 5 metal albums would be at the top of list for "best album"?

I definitely need to check out more 2012 albums but as of now i would say:

Spawn of Possession - Incurso
Psycroptic - The Inherited Repression
Dying Fetus - Reign Supreme
Meshuggah - Koloss
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage

9) The production on Solvet Saeclum is quite polished and "clean" sounding as it normally is within technical death metal. Did you guys ever consider taking a more raw and murky route for the production or is this cleaner, polished sound the only choice for the type of sound you were going for?

Ever since we started, we all agreed that we wanted to have that clean sound like most of the bands that influenced us have. So when it was time to record our album, there was no question about it.

10) I just bought the new Sigur Rós album Valtari on vinyl, is that disappointing?

No not at all, they are good at what they are doing.

11) The last band I interviewed for Severed Heads Open Minds was "The Great Old Ones" of France. Have any of you guys heard of them before? They just released their debut album Al Azif not too long ago and it's phenomenal. I command thee to check it out. 

Never heard of them, guess I'll have to check them out now :)

12) Now that Solvet Saeclum has been unleashed onto the world, how has the reaction been thus far?

As far as we know it has been pretty good! But it came out about 2 weeks ago and we haven't even recieved our copies for the Icelandic market yet and the people that ordered it online have not either I think. But we have read a few good comments here and there.

13) Lets get serious (and honest) here for a moment: I know there are 5 members in Ophidian I and individual opinions may differ, but as a whole, as a band, what is the stance on "internet piracy"? How do you guys view/deal with with it?

We don't care at all, as long as the people enjoy our music or support us in any way. But of course we would love it if everyone could buy the album, it would help us and our label out alot.

14) This is an overly asked question, but a fair one: What were the inspirations for making this album (both personally and musically)?

Just our passion for making music and to show people that even bands from small islands like ours can be professional and hopefully grow a lot bigger one day. Musically it was mostly our favourite bands, like Obscura, Necrophagist, Psycroptic and more and more.

15) I'm trying really hard to visit Iceland again this September or October, where would I most likely find members of Ophidian I hanging out on a Friday or Saturday? Who is likely to be the most drunk? Who is most likely to come stumbling to the hotdog vendor with me?

First of all, if you like metal and want to visit Iceland, you should come here in July to attend the annual Eistnaflug festival.
You would probably find us in some of the rock bars. Dillon, 11an ("the eleven") etc.  We all like to drink and have fun and it just depends on each and every weekend who is the most drunk I guess. 

We would all go grab a hotdog with you together!

16) Top 5 bands that came out of Iceland? (Excluding Ophidian I ;)

In my opinion: Beneath, Severed Crotch, Atrum, Gone Postal and Gruesome Glory.

17) Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath?

I have always been a huge Maiden fan, so Iron Maiden for me!

18) If you were to journey off alone on a 2 day hike somewhere in the great unique landscapes of Iceland, and you could only have 1 album on your iPod, which album would it be?

Probably Catch33 by Meshuggah or The Destroyers of All by Ulcerate. The atmosphere on the albums would fit the landscape I think.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

No problem man, thanks for hitting me up! - Halldór Símon Þórólfsson



  1. This interview was brought to you by the letter "A" for "Awesome"

    I'm looking into the pre-order

  2. I got excited when I heard you were doing this, thank you for not disappointing me

    Question for Ophidian I: Will i be able to buy this on vinyl at any point?

    1. Sorry for the late answer, but as of now, making vinyl is not in the picture :/


    2. Aww man, ok i'll grab a cd this week. thannks!

  3. Thank you sirs!

    Wership: I'll try to ask the band if this is happening, as far as I know it isn't.