Not so long ago I reviewed 'Come Taste The Doom' by Australia, NSW based 'Rituals Of The Oak'. I was put on to this kick ass Doom outfit thanks to an old friend from the print days of Subcide Zine, Jodi Jarrett formally of 'Season Decay Zine'. Jodi also put me in touch with the lead vocalist Sabine Hamad-Linfoot, who kindly agreed to answer the following questions.
1)You were born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to Australia around 2004. My childhood memories of Beirut on the TV news was that it was war zone. In recent years my perception has been of the Israeli invasion of Beirut/1982 Lebanon War as featured on the movie “waltz with bashir”. How accurate is this impression? Does any of this inspire the music and lyrics of Rituals of the Oak? If so how? Are there any tour dates of Lebanon on the cards?
My memories of the civil war will haunt me till the day I kick the bucket. My family went through hell and back. We had several deaths among family and friends. I remember the bombs flying off and landing in front of our building (several times), the underground shelters where we couldn’t even light candles because that’s where we happened to store gas for the whole building, the days we couldn’t leave to buy food or water. Shit was pretty fucked up! And I believe all those crazy memories do pop up in my lyrics at times. They’re a big part of who I am!
Sabra and Chatila was one of the biggest massacres in the country around that time. It is said to be an act of retaliation for other massacres committed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) against Lebanese people as well as a consequence of the murder of Lebanon’s president at the time. I wasn’t born then (I was born in 1983) but I heard some accounts from people who were in the camps during the massacres and the stories I heard were absolutely horrific.
Waltz with Bashir depicts the events pretty accurately. There are no excuses for such acts and those events constitute a stain on the conscience of every Lebanese humanist. It is just shameful what we all did to each other, fighting for Gods who never bother showing up!
2) Please give us a brief rundown of the History and formation of the band. What were your original intentions for it and how have they played out in reality?
The band was formed in 2008 by Shane and Matt. Our former Bass player Nathaniel happened to be playing with both of them in another band and joined Rituals, followed by yours truly! We initially really just wanted to play doom metal. More on the traditional side of the spectrum. We recorded a 2 song demo which scored us a deal with Eyes Like Snow; and so far we have released 2 albums and a split with ELS.
Today we are opening our minds to all sorts of creative ideas. We are hoping to break a few barriers between genres and write what comes naturally to us. So while we might no longer be strictly a trad doom band, doom is still very essential to all of us. We just fucking love the slow heaviness!
3) Palestine or Israel? Why?
We all acknowledge the horrors the Jewish people experienced over the last couple of millennia, but Israel is now doing to the Palestinians what was done to them by the Nazis. But the bottom line is: At this day and age, why do we need nationalism? We now know better.
So. Why not have both cultures under one secular roof?
But I guess my thoughts on this issue are too utopic considering the reality of things in the Middle East.
4) You have recently toured the US on the back of your “Come taste the Doom” album (which we’ll talk about next). How did this come about and how was it? How has it benefited the band? Name a few highlights from your experiences there?.
The US was fucking fun! We were initially meant to play Days of the Doomed in Wisconsin and decided to hit up our contacts over there to organise a few gigs around America and make a mini tour out of the trip over there – which was partly a long awaited holiday for most of us. But unfortunately the festival had to change dates and venues and we were unable to change our flights. So with the help of a few people we know through networking, we organised 8 gigs; we toured for 2 weeks and gallivanted around the country, holidaying, for two more weeks! We met so many mad people on the way and played alongside amazing bands! We had killer fish tacos and smoked legal ganja in San Diego! (Damn I miss those $3 beers!!!!) We met Ron Holzner (former trouble), now in Earthern Grave when we played with them in Aurora, Illinois, home of Wayne’s World! We played a BASEMENT in Appleton, Wisconsin where Tragedy apparently played the year before!
My memories of the tour are pretty hazy. Chunks of blurred amazing times! Thank technologies for bloody cameras!
5) Your latest album “Come Taste the Doom” is fairly solid piece of music. How has it been received in the wide world of critics, music buyers, fans and downloaders? How do you view it now that it is nearly a year old?
We have had some solid reviews come back, some favouring the album, a few not so much. But that’s like all other music. It’s all very relative! But personally, I like what we did on that record. So do the boys. And that’s the bottom line!
6) I note from your facebook posts that your political views seem to be fairly left leaning. As opposed to the more right wing/ conservative views that seems to be common among the Metal fraternity. Could please tell us why you view the world in this way? Why do you think that a majority of people involved with Metal seem to lean to the Right?
The whole left/right stuff makes me cringe. I’m above all a humanist. This means I pro-actively defend human rights. Growing up docking shrapnel might have had something to do with it! But honestly, I think the metal scene is evolving from that image you painted, I mean, check out Halford! Gay and more metal than anyone I know! And as far as Australia goes, no one I know would want Abbott for PM. So. Evolution. It’s where it’s at!
7) You are married to ‘Rituals’ guitarist Shane Linfoot - which came first, your marrage or the band? How did the first lead to the second? Who wins most of the arguments? How does the dynamic of your marriage work with the music of Rituals of the Oak?
Shane and I were married when I joined Rituals. He knew my voice and recognised the potential in joining forces with me, even though at first we hesitated a bit. But everything seems to work out just fine! I honestly really love his songs and can’t wait to see where we end up musically.
8) You have quite a strong singing voice. Have you had any training? If so what? Who are your vocal influences?
Nope. No professional training. I just figured out some techniques with the help of Rob Halford, John Arch, Coverdale, Dio and many others!
9) What’s Next for Rituals of the Oak? Also what direction will your future music be taking?
We are now finalising the songs for our next album. We’ll hopefully start recording in a few months. For now, all we know is that this album is shaping up to be different with the possibility of a cover. And I might just leave it at that!
10) Any Last comments? (You may wish to mention how people can get hold of your releases and merch)
Thank you for these very interesting questions! I quite enjoy political ranting!
For anyone interested in our music, visit our page on Blogspot: http://ritualsoftheoak.blogspot.com.au/