“Those born into the sign of war
Shall never lower their guard.
Eager to leap into the fray to sacrifice their lives,
They shall feel no pain at all.
On the verge of death, aware not of awe,
With iron hands on their bleeding hearts,
They meet their ancestors on the highest hill
To drink with them while singing a song.

No battle without flames, no freedom without conflict,
As no blood without wound…
No earth without death, no crusade without hope,
As no light without lore…
No path without anguish, no end without rise,
As no lie without truth…
No lightning without fire, no word without honour,
Revenge surges from th heart…”

Labas diena legion Obtest! Sveikas?

Buk pasveikintas!

By now, most of the international metal scene is at least familiar with the name Obtest. But for those unfamiliar, and for those seeking additional information, summarize the history of the band for us.

OBTEST history starts in late winter of 1992. After long rehearsings and searchings of sound we found out the black metal in the autumn of 1993, so the first songs were composed. In summer of 1994 we recorded 3 songs rehearsal tape and made our first live show in autumn of the same year. In 1995 OBTEST worked a lot on the new songs and recorded two demo tapes "Oldness comming" and "Pries audra". The first full length album we recorded in 1996-1997, and it was known as "Tukstantmetis". MC version of the album came out in spring of 1997, it was released thru Lithuanian label Vetso Menesio Vaizbuva. Next year in 1998, the first 7"EP “997" was put out on German's Miriquidi Productions, and in 1999 "Tukstantmetis" was re-released on CD format. So in September of 2000 OBTEST raided in Germany with EMINENZ, it was the first tour abroad. Second album "Auka Seniems Dievams" CD/LP was released in the end of 2001 on Ledo Takas Records (Lithuania). In 2003 Ledo Takas Records released an exclusive picture 7"EP "Dvylika JuodVarniu". Our new album "Is kartos i karta" was released on September 1st of this year on Ledo Takas Records.

What does the name Obtest mean? Why was this chosen as the name of the band?

OBTEST means resistance. We have chosen this name, cause it seemed odd enough for the starting band, but the meaning is going through the years and fits well to what we are doing.

Your newest release, a CD entitled "IŠ KARTOS I KARTA", could you tell us about this release in your own words. How does it differ from your previous CD? What does the title mean for you?

“From generation to generation” is album about the past and nowadays dimensions, about the point, where everything turns to one. That's the essence of the heritage we posses - to go thru the symbols and to give it further. Lyrics of the new album are based mostly on Baltic mythology. Talking about difference there you can find some changes or maturity both in music and lyrics. Structures of the tunes are deeper and more archaic than before; melodies are more archaic and more primitive in the sense of basics of the music, as a ritual itself. The songs are strongly bound up with the lyrics in the sense of "flow".

Could you tell us about the topics of your lyrics? What sort of topics do you deal with? What sort of things are important to the band, what things would you say you represent and what feelings/ideas do you wish to spread through it?

Our lyrics are about the sense of myth in our worldview. Topics about the Path in wide and individual meaning. Everything we represent is under "pagan" name, but actually it's not enough in one word to describe the matter. It's our view of the world, and everyone understands it in own intellectual degree.

There are a lot of anti-religious sentiments in the music scene today. Where do you stand on this topic?

We are neither religious nor anti-religious band. In our first songs and first album we deny cristianity as a religion. All topics on war themes are about conflict between not just conquerors and defenders, but also between cultures and beliefs. Later lyrics are much deeper and philosophical.

Could you enlighten us on the ancient Gods/Goddesses of ancient Lithuania? How do you feel about them?

The world, for the ancient Balts, was divided into three parts, the upper part, the sky world is controlled by Perkunas, the Thundergod, the middle part, the world, is controlled by Zemyna and Medeina, the nature goddesses, the first one is responsible of agricultural nature, the second one, Medeina, have the power on all the wilderness. The underground is controlled by Velinas, or Pikuolis. He is the one eyed old man, very wise and powerful. He is responsible of the world of spirits. Such model of the earth is left in our traditional songs and folklore.

Lithuanian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages still in everyday use. It belongs to the Baltic language group along with Latvian and some extinct languages such as Yatvangian and Old Prussian. Its rules of grammar are similar to those of Sanskrit and Homeric Greek. What do you think about this topic?

You are perfectly right about that. All I can add is that our language is a jewel for linguists, and is very difficult to learn for it’s grammar, but if you are patient, give yourself a chance! The similarity with Sanskrit is being explained by the fact that the ancient Balts separated from the rest of Indo-Europeans about 2000 B.C. So when they reached the territory they are living to present day, language changed very lightly from that of 4000 years old. That's the phenomenon.

One characteristic of the Lithuanian folk music is the repetition of text lines with small variations in melody, which is very common in Obtest songs. Is this a chance or conscious structuring of your music?

In our music you can find some elements and structures from Baltic folk heritage. It is composed in that way, primitive and raw, as it was hundreds of years ago. Most of our folk songs are soaked with melancholy.

Tell me something about the Lithuanian gastronomy. My friends from Baltikum told me lots of strange things about Lithuanian foods. What the hell is the cepelinai & vedarai?

Cepelinai and vedarai are the most delicious dishes from our wastes! Cepelinai are the fattest dish in the world, it's made of meat and potatoes, and spiced with grease and fat cream.

Do Lithuanians have a traditional alcoholic drink? If yes, what is it? Is that what you drink, or you have other favourites?

We have home made barley vodka, beer, mead. I'm not much in to alcohol, so I can't tell much here, sorry.

On the first 2 demos you sang in English & Lithuanian, after you turning in Lithuanian, why?

We started a new chapter. It was time for changes both in music and in lyrics. In the beginning it was strange to listen to the new songs sung in native tongue, it was rather experimental for us.

Not many people in my country are very familiar with the Lithuanian metal scene. So what other bands could you recommend from Lithuania these days? Is the scene very strong there?

We have silly scene these days, it looks like that. But still there are some active bands: DISSIMULATION, SHADOWDANCES, NAHASH, RUINATION, ANDAJA.

What do you wish your listeners to feel when they hear your music? Is there certain feelings you try to invoke?

To feel the "flow", to think about the Path they are going.

If there is one thing you would miss, hypothetically, once you are dead-regarding being alive, what would it be? And the opposite, what would be an aspect of life you'd be glad was over?

I'm not sure I get it, but anyway I won't miss anything when I'm dead. And I don't want anything over in my life, that’s the point of living.

Lithuania has been part of the European Union since May 2004. Did you vote for the Union or against it? What do you think about the whole EU?

I voted for the EU personally. I'm not afraid for my identity. I think Europe is huge and different, and EU helps for easier relations among different people.

What do you think about mixing politics with art? What about the facts that Baltic bands use a lot of National Socialist ideas in their lyrics?

Politics sucks in art; I don't think that Baltic bands use a lot of ns in their lyrics. As I see most ns bands are concentrated in Poland, Russia and Germany. I can't mention any Baltic band which is in to ns.

I saw on pictures that you wore different traditional costumes on bands photos. Do you wear those on concerts, too?

We have costumes based on some details from the traditional clothes, some outfits, accessories. Our point is not to wear exact costumes and reconstructions of old, because it makes no sense to do so on a rock scene, I think. Our attitude is to mix it with modern rock - metal dress on scene.

When you contemplate death, what do you envision... do you see a possibility of a part of us living on, or is this just a human hope derived from a fear of death?

I see passing, fearless passing and going away to the unknown, to your self... All talks about death are just philosophy. No one knows what is outside, so everyone has some view on it similar to all human beings. And in the end, the death is very personal, and you perceive it depending on life you are living or you have lived.

What would you say the old world possessed that this modern world lacks?

Something we'd never understand. Relations between people are different, but on the other hand, people who lived in ancient cities of Mesopotamia faced the same problems as people have in today's megapolis. We lack a lot, wild life, wild nature, great families, clear air, romance, etc, but we have to adopt to our times. We have to learn to live here and now.

Is there a particular age you would have rather been born? If so, could you explain why?

I think not. I was born at the right time at the right place. When I was younger, I was dreaming about assassin job in the XII century, about the barbarian lifestyle in the wild. And it depends on level of your perception of reality and romance.

Is there a goal and a purpose behind Obtest besides just music?

It's the idea of all what we are thinking about, what we are singing about, how we are living.

Are you or any of the other band members involved in any musical side projects?

Our bass player plays in brutal death metal band BURYING PLACE, I had some side projects time to time, but at the moment I have no time for it.

Is there a particular song you've written, old or new, that you are most proud of? If so, why? In contrast, what about a song you dislike the most, and why?

The best song for me is the latest "Pirmyn!" because it's not bored yet. And the best ever is "Anapus Nemuno". The worst song is ..... I don't know, I like them all.

Is there a person of the past who you derive inspiration from? Explain to us why?

I don't get what do you mean here, but anyway during the creation of our first album "TUKSTANTMETIS" I had a close friend, he wrote most of lyrics on that album, and I composed all the music, so this album was strongly inspired by this person Aras Vilkvedys.

Thanks for the interview. If you have anything else to say, please do it here! And if possible, please say hello to our readers in Lithuanian!

Thanx for the interview, and hope to see you some day on a concert in Romania!

Contact: www.obtest.lt

by Mirgilus