French extreme metallers Benighted are back with a brand new record! Obscene Repressed is a brutal, grinding album, and there’s little that is actually, well, repressed on it. We discussed this record and its rather shocking themes with Benighted’s mainman Julien Truchan.
Can you tell us about the lyrical content and themes for this record? You deal with some really intense material here. What was the impetus for that?
Sure, it’s inspired by a patient I took care of about 10 years ago… I work as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital for almost 20 years now. For the story of the album, I mixed the symptoms of schizophrenia with oedipal issues of a boy with very deformed cleft-palate. Michael is an 8-year-old boy and his parents refused to show to a surgeon about his facial deformity… At home he constantly wears bandages on the face to hide it from his mother who finds it disgusting. He starts to show some psychotic symptoms. He develops a paranoid delirium on account of unresolved oedipal issues with his mother that he sexually desires. He is convinced that his father made him with this facial anomaly because he wanted to be sure that he could never steal her from him. This is reinforced by the mother’s discordant behavior. She refuses Michael’s kisses because of his incomplete lips but shows herself very protective and careful about his well-being. Growing as an adult and still living with his parents, he gives his special participation to the dinner. He steals his dad’s razor and cuts his own lips off, adds them in the meal and blends everything together before putting his bandages back on his face. He serves it to his mom and watches her eat it all without knowing what’s in her plate, until he takes his bandages off at the end of the dinner. He was somehow partially inside his mother again as he desired… See? Just another beautiful love story! Ah ah!
Do you think some fans will misinterpret the lyrics and themes? Perhaps some politicians as well?
There is always a risk of interpretation when you write something, but we never had issues with anyone so far, except some stupid person who wanted us dead because she was thinking that we actually tortured and killed the stuffed animals in our “Reptilian” music video. Most of the fans know that I work in psychiatry and that no matter how creepy the stories are in our albums, I take care of sick people and I still claim that they are the most vulnerable in the world, not dangerous for others like medias or bad horror movies try to tell.
You just released a rather intense and disturbing video for the song “Nails.” Can you tell us a little about how you created such a horrific video?
We had another collaboration with the company “Kick Your Eyes” from France who already released our previous music videos. I sent them the story I wanted in it and what kind of scenes shall appear and they took care of everything! I have to tell that the casting is absolutely amazing and that all the actors did an amazing job! This video is just exactly what I had in mind when I wrote the concept of “Obscene Repressed!” When I do that, I write it exactly like the scenario of a movie and I have lots of faces and scenes in my head! This video is beyond all my expectations!
You have Jamey Jasta and Karsten Jager on this record. How did those collaborations come about? And who would be your “dream” guest on a new record?
About Jagger, we already had a collaboration together for our “Icon” album and it was a very last-minute decision! I surprised myself rehearsing the chorus of this very poetical song called “Mom, I Love you the Wrong Way” trying to force my voicing this Disbelief/Obituaristic style so I thought: “Hey, Jagger would do it way better than ma! Let’s call him” and here is the result! The funny thing is that he wrote me that it was cool coincidence I wrote cause he wanted me to make guest-vocals on the new Disbelief too!
And for Jamey, it was really a challenge! I never met him but I heard he talked about us in one of his podcasts so I assumed he maybe likes us! And we had this song “Implore The Negative” with a strong hardcore spirit where his voice would fit perfectly! I took the option to contact Nuclear Blast and Markus Jakob was really adorable and forwarded him my mail, with few hopes he would even answer considering his crazy schedule! But 2 weeks later, I received a mail from Markus with Jamey in copy saying he was up to it and here we are! With the combination of our vocals, this track really became a hymn for me! I hope we will have the occasion to perform it live together someday!
What have you been keeping busy with during this global pandemic?
Well, I went to work in Covid department as they really needed help in the beginning of March and I unfortunately caught the virus after 3 weeks and had to stay home for 2 weeks with high fever, lung infection, headache, loss of sense of taste and smell… But I am back to work for 2 weeks now and I am ok! We released our new album on April 10 and instead of partying for the release and playing Inferno festival this same day before an amazing, I was in bed with 40° (celsius – 104 Fahrenheit) fever! Ah ah! Can’t wait for this situation to be over and start touring again!
Obscene Repressed is out now! You can get it here.