Striking Out Down the Defiant Path
CoC talks to Galder of Old Man's Child
by: Aaron McKay
Anyone will tell you, life is a cruel teacher. Why? For starters, it ultimately kills all its pupils. On the other hand, with experience comes wisdom and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "the wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool." Too much of any one thing may be bad, but Old Man's Child seems to have struck the perfect balance.

_In Defiance of Existence_ is the sixth effort by founder, vocalist, guitarist, producer and all-around creative influence behind Old Man's Child, Galder. Pulling from extensive understanding of the metal scene, Galder fashions a powerfully dynamic experiment in extreme metal with this album. Furthermore, drawing from his unique insight and talent, _In Defiance of Existence_ caters to even the most discerning black/death metal fan. It is enough to say that there is something to be found on this release for everyone.

Now, with a ferocious independence, Old Man's Child again walks a path few dare to venture. First things first, let's take a look at the past that made this band what they are today.

"When I was making _The Pagan Prosperity_", Galder begins, "I knew that this form of black metal was completely new and I was a bit concerned how people would react to it just because of that. People certainly had mixed feelings about it; [the album] seemed to be more appreciated in the states, for instance, than in Europe since, at that time, most people were still hanging on to that old school black metal thing. These days everybody seems to be mixing different styles into the music -- heavy, thrash, death, etc. That was exactly what OMC was all about since the beginning."

Presently, _In Defiance of Existence_ picks up on the band's whole technique by starting off with such ferocious potency ("Felonies of the Christian Art"). Why did Galder select that song as the opener to the new release?

"This is the album where I had the most problems when deciding which songs to put where", comes the metal veteran's reply. "So I suppose that it was more of a coincidence than on purpose, but I also like to start off the albums of with a heavy song."

Is there a connection between _In Defiance of Existence_ and _The Pagan Prosperity_, whereas _Ill Natured Spiritual Invasion_ and _Revelation 666 - The Curse of Damnation_ seem to be more intimately related? Galder replies, "Actually, I think that all my albums can be connected in one way or another, but you're right about one thing -- there are many ideas on this album dating back to _The Pagan Prosperity_ days, especially with the acoustic guitars."

"The Underworld Domains", track eight from _In Defiance of Existence_, very well could have been taken from _The Pagan Prosperity_. But is that kind of correlation intentional? "Yeah! You're right", Galder jumps in. "That song might as well be on _TPP_, but mainly because it's one of the least black metal songs on the album and has the same direction as many of the songs on _TPP_. I don't think it's done intentionally, though."

When it comes to the band, is it totally a group effort? "Everything in OMC goes through me in one way or another", confesses Galder. "I'm very open-minded, so if the other guys have some cool ideas, then, of course, I'm always willing to listen to them. 99% of everything involving the band is done by me, however. This is not something I want it to be like, it's just the way it's been over the years."

"Black Seeds on Virgin Soil" uses some rather provocative vocal effects as well as some refreshing, straightforward black metal beats and riffs. ""Black Seeds..." is a song that I would describe personally as 'musically correct'", Galder explains. "With that I mean every riff floats together and there's no misplaced riffs anywhere. That doesn't always mean that it is a good song, but it is something that I try to do in my music."

Have the line-up changes strengthened OMC as a whole? "I don't think they have hurt the music in any way, since I'm always looking for the right musicians for each album", he offers, "but, of course, having line-up changes also has its downsides sometimes. Generally it is a good thing for us since it gives the music a fresh input."

"Sacrifice of Vengeance" opens in a way unique to an OMC song. It has restrained emphasis in the beginning then opens up into a full-on guitar assault. But is it an entirely fresh approach for OMC? "Hmm, hard to say", Galder reflects. "I wouldn't say so, I guess. If I start a song slow, I feel it is necessary to blast it up a bit so it doesn't lose its aggression -- which is of course the whole idea with this type of music."

It seems a certain amount of intrigue lies in Old Man's Child's ability to combine the harsh style of black metal with keyboards and atmospheric nuances, yielding a singular darkness to the band's sound. "I agree", consents OMC's frontman. "I just think it's a combination of the different styles I grew up listening to when I was younger. I have never really stuck in one direction and that is very easy to hear in OMC."

Other than the vocals, the drumming seems to be a vital aspect to the band. I ask Galder to elaborate on that, paying particular attention to the involvement of Gene Hoglan, Grimar, Tjodalv and Nick Barker.

Galder rings in, "OMC would never work without a high class drummer. I have tried out many different, very good drummers, but not with a very good result. I really don't know why that is, but there must be something in the music that, for some reason, many drummers find hard to play or something... Being a good metal drummer is more than just the ability to play fast on bass drums -- you also need the 'grove', which many drummers lack. And that is definitely a quality that Gene [Hoglan] and Nick [Barker] possess."

"In Quest of Enigmatic Dreams" invokes images of Morbid Angel ("Desolate Ways"). What was the idea behind this track? "That was just some ideas I've had in my head for ages, since I was seventeen or something", Galder clarifies. "We have never had the guts to record it since it wasn't "dark" enough, really, so [now] we just decided to record it and see how it sounded. Also we needed one more song to make the album a bit longer, so there you go..."

Galder is going into the studio with Dimmu Borgir again soon. What exactly is Galder's participation in that band? How did it come about and what is his unique view of that unmistakable outfit? It might appear that the two bands have enjoyed quite a history together (_Devil's Path_ / _In the Shades of Life_).

"Yeah", comes the reply. "We will soon be finished with the album, actually. I have done a lot on the album, but that's the good thing with Dimmu -- everyone has ideas, so making music in this band is far easier than anything I have done in the past." Galder continues, "We did have a strong bond even before I joined the band, growing up together and listening to the same music, etc."

Going back a bit, what are Galder's thoughts on Hot Records, around 1994, picking up on and running with the sound that became known as Old Man's Child?

"I really don't have much to say about Hot Records", the founder of Old Man's Child explains, "other than that the 'label' was nothing more than a joke! We released two CDs there and even to this point in time, we have not yet seen one penny from those releases. The owner is nowhere to be found, which is probably the best thing for him right now."

_In Defiance of Existence_ ends with a great cut, "Life Deprived". Why did the new effort close with that song in particular?

"I wanted the album to open hard and close really hard", Galder confesses. "That's the main reason for that choice. I also think that song was the one that separated itself the most from the other songs on _In Defiance of Existence_. I really didn't know where to put it. Those songs always end up last for some reason."

Galder's final words for the interview: "Well, first of all thanks for the interview; we hope to come over there in the near future to torment your country for a few weeks."

(article submitted 2/8/2003)


ALBUMS
10/4/2005 A McKay 6 Old Man's Child - Vermin
5/25/2000 P Schwarz 7.5 Old Man's Child - Revelation 666: The Curse of Damnation
7/8/1998 P Schwarz 7 Old Man's Child - Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion
1/1/1998 P Schwarz 6 Old Man's Child - The Pagan Prosperity
10/11/1996 B Meloon 7 Old Man's Child - Born of the Flickering
GIGS
10/1/1998 M Noll Einherjer / Old Man's Child / Gorgoroth / Cradle of Filth Doom Descends Upon Deutschland
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