This week’s featured Meet The Band artist is the North Carolina black metal group Oculum Dei. Their debut album is Dreams Of Desire And Torment. Vocalist Zebulv, guitarist Camalus, guitarist Tenebris and bassist Mictlan introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Oculum Dei.
We started out as a studio project but the desire to perform live and tour couldn’t be contained and after some member changes we were able to lock down our unique style and have started hitting the local scene as hard as we can. We just added Mictlan to bass and Tenebris took over rhythm guitar so Zebulv could be free of guitar on stage.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Dreams Of Desire And Torment.
Long. (laughs) We were working on establishing our sound and were having some member changes through the process and during that Zebulv’s father was passing away and he was away for a bit so the process went a bit slower than we all had projected because simply of just life battles. But once the smoke cleared we purchased our own recording software, gear, and a drum program and jumped right in the recording in our band room and then we sent the tracks to Giant Spoon Productions to have them cleaned and mastered.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
The album as a whole is an eclectic mix of slow dark black metal jumping into extreme black riffs and sometimes slowed down with a death metal riff and into acoustic guitars accompanied by vocals of horror and anger. There is no set template for this one, just a groove and feel that each of us has brought to the table.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
It ranges. The main focus of our lyrical content is to express the struggles with oneself, whether it be from a religious standpoint of growing up in the bible belt as we all have had to do. And we dig to a darker deeper battle with life in a whole basically battling demons of our own and we tried to pay tribute to some of the legends of black metal giving lyrical content towards the Norse.
What led you to go the independent route for the album release?
We had put so much time into getting it out as explained previously we just didn’t want to wait any longer to find someone to bite on it and we had already released our demo on our own and was receiving amazing feedback and fans from all over were wanting more. So we just decided to release it all on our own and see what the universe had to offer us later.
What has been your most memorable Oculum Dei live show?
Hands down the best so far was having the ability to open up for Carach Angren, Wolfheart and Mors Principle Est. It was very close to being a sold out show and the front of the stage was packed during our set. We slapped on our corpse paint and stage props and received an overwhelming cheer of joy from the audience along with a big movement of merch sales.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We were just able to announce another huge show. We get to share the stage with Aborted, Cryptopsy and Hideous Divinity on April 11th at Ground Zero in Spartanburg, SC. Also at that venue on Feb 23rd we’re hosting our album release show with other well known local black and death metal bands. March 2nd we will be in Lynchburg, VA at the Stoney Badger and there are many other dates booked this year in and out of state along with a mini-tour leading up to Brooklyn, NY.
How did you get started in music?
Zebulv: I was a teenager in the ’90s and seeing music videos back when MTV was good they made rock stars look epic and it looked fun and soon found my way to hold a guitar. I had a father who was a musician so it was one thing that I actually wanted to do that he supported .
Camalus: I started singing very young and progressed to playing guitar, drums then bass. All were encouraged mainly by my dad, but there are a lot of musicians in my family.
Tenebris: At a young age my uncle introduced me to Johnny Cash as he would dress like him and play his 69 SG and that was intriguing and soon after my dad got me an Honor acoustic guitar and it all began
Mictlan: I enjoyed listening to classic rock in my youth.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Zebulv: Started with Alice Cooper then found my way to Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral and Immortal.
Camalus: Randy Rhoads, Dave Mustaine, Marty Freeman, Kirk Hammett, Dimebag.
Tenebris: AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Judas Priest Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Kiss, the Misfits , Black Flag, Johnny Cash.
Mictlan: Iron Maiden.
What drew you to black metal?
Zebulv: I was your total goth kid in the ’90s that all parents dreaded having. So discovering music outside of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie that showed an extreme interest in all things dark and was very vocal about their own beliefs and ancestors, it was only fitting for me to find myself with black metal and digging into its culture at that young of an age.
Camulus: Really, it was one song for me: “Veneratio Diaboli” by Belphegor, and it just grew from there for me to explore more of it. I love the dynamics of it, it’s a symphony of sound.
Tenebris: I guess I just evolved with it as the years went on and rock got heavier, punk turned into thrash and black and death metal was born. Can’t really say it was a single event, just more of a gradual evolution as it was beginning.
What does your family think of your musical career?
All of our immediate families are very supportive.
Is there much of a black metal scene in the Charlotte area?
Not much at all in this southern bible belt, but there are a few names that have been around for quite some time and we are fortunate that we get to share the stage with them this year.
Seen any good movies/DVDs lately?
Zebulv: I’m obsessed with the Marvel universe so the most recent for me would be Venom, and The Punisher season 2 on Netflix is pretty damn epic.
Camulus: Solo, Nun and Venom.
Tenebris: Solo. I hvae not had much time to get caught up on movies as of late.
Mictlan: Bohemian Rhapsody and Hostiles.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Zebulv: Swallow the Sun, Advent Sorrow, Immortal, Aborted, Woods of Ypres.
Camulus: Belphegor, Behemoth, Carach Angren.
Tenebris: Behemoth, Rotting Christ.
Mictlan: Soen, Black Crown Initiate, Ne Obliviscaris.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
First off we would like to thank you for taking this time with us! Our album will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Iheartradio, YouTube and about any other streaming platform. We will be looking forward to touring more states and meeting new fans soon.
Watch Oculum Dei – “Dreams Of Desire And Torment”