Deus Otiosus have recently unleashed the monster that is Rise on the world. After getting my fill of this very enjoyable album I asked Jesper Holst, bassist of the band, some pertinent questions to find out a bit more about it…
Give us a bit of history to Deus Otiosus
The band started off as a studio project by Henrik Engkjær (guitars) and Anders Bo Rasmussen (vocals) back in 2005. They recorded a demo called Death Lives Again in 2007 and 2009 saw them gathering a full line-up with Peter Engkjær (guitars), Søren Bentsen (drums) and Jens Nepper (bass guitars) and start performing live. Shortly before I replaced Nepper on bass in 2010 the first album Murderer was released in South America and later world wide. Then, for the recording of the second album we brought in a dedicated drummer in Jesper Olsen as our ambitions grew and the band became a more serious and time-consuming project for all involved. As an old friend of some of us, Jesper was quickly integrated and we recorded and released our second album Godless in 2012. With the same constellation we recorded the third album Rise in January 2014 and released it world wide just last month.
What are your influences?
We are influenced by classic metal acts such as Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Pestilence and so on. However, while maintaining an old school approach to song writing, we are not just copying what the forerunners of the genre created. We use the elements and the creativity of classic death metal song writing and produce our own, original and potent songs.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Right now, my playlist is varied. I have got Unleashed, Dark Funeral and Iced Earth on at the moment. I especially enjoy and recommend Unleashed.
What did you want to achieve with your new album?
Every time we release an album we strive to take a step forward and upward. Up the quality since the last album so to speak. And this pertains to all aspects of the album; the song writing, the riffs, the drum patterns and fills, solos etc. The overall goal is to create a coherent album packed with memorable songs that make up a whole yet retain their own identity. I believe this goal is achieved with Rise and it stands out clearly in our discography. This is the best Deus Otiosus to date and truthfully will be hard to top in the future.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
I grow increasingly fond of this album by the day – even now, several months after I first heard the mastered version. From the drum recordings that were perfected by Rasmus Toftlund at Fast Beat Studio to the mastering by Tore Stjerna at Necromorbus Studio, this album has surpassed all of our expectations. I also gather from the reviews that I have read so far that Rise seems to grow on people from a good first impression to something that they really appreciate. Moreover, it seems that people really grasp what we want to achieve with this album and it feels great to not just reach out to your audience, but to actually reach them. So yes, the entire band is more than thrilled by the outcome.
What can you tell us about the lyrics?
The lyrics, like the songs play in to a greater whole that binds the album together. We cover sinister and dark concepts using philosophy, mythology, history and prose (e.g. Poe, Lovecraft) and put them on edge do describe a guide-less, godforsaken world, as the band name also implies.
Tell us about the album cover
The cover artwork was created by artist Claude Witt who is a friend of Anders. He created the entirety of it over a few weeks and we were completely thrown aback by it. The level of detail is really jaw dropping. Our idea was to show a monster rising from the abyss as an analogy for the band and the album title. Claude did an awesome job depicting just that.
Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.
The main composer is Henrik Engkjær who co-founded the band with Anders Bo Rasmussen. The way we go about song writing is that Henrik writes the main framework for each song, the riffs, the drum patters and the lyrics. Then we arrange the songs in rehearsal and the drums are refined. I will add bass to the riffs at this stage. We keep adding improving details to the songs, even at the studio stage when we are recording. Other than that, on Rise, I have partly written the lyrics for the song Vultures.
How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?
We are still rising and we are already now working full steam with new material. As said, we always strive to top our last release and this will not change. We use the descriptor outlaw death metal because we refute genre-talk and we stick to this. So people can expect original, boundless yet coherent death metal.
What’s next for Deus Otiosus?
As of now, in conjunction with the release of Rise, we have already been on a Danish tour and played at a Copenhell Festival Warm Up event as well as at Metal Magic Festival, all in Denmark. We aim to take our presence abroad as we have done in the past. In particular, Germany and Scandinavia should look out for Deus Otiosus, but our ambitions go beyond as well. Meanwhile, we are hard at work with new material and we promise great deeds in the future!