New York / New Jersey metal band Black Table made waves with their 2012 genre-blurring EP, “Sentinel,” but after an exhaustive tour cycle in support of the release, things were quiet on the homefront for a while as the band took a break before busying itself in the creative process once again.
Four years later, Black Table’s first full length, Obelisk, generated a strong buzz among metal circles long before its release on October 14, and with its bleak, expansive atmospheres, provocative lyrics inspired by ancient civilizations and mythology, and guitarist/frontwoman Mers Sumida’s tortured vocals, it surpassed expectations of many fans and critics alike.
Recorded at New Jersey’s Backroom Studio with legendary producer Billy Anderson (Acid King, Swans, Melvins), Obelisk showcases Black Table’s relentless, raw energy, and ambitious songwriting that intricately weaves together elements of black metal, post-metal, and sludge (among other heavy sounds) into an emotive mass. The band’s time in the studio only magnified the power and intensity of the music, and according to Sumida, showing up prepared and ready to work, and checking egos at the door helped ensure their recording success.
Check out more of Sumida’s tips for before and during your recording sessions below. Obelisk is available for purchase now through Silent Pendulum Records (US) and Moment of Collapse Records (Europe).
5 Tips to Prepare Before Heading Into the Studio:
- Get your guitar set-up, bring picks, strings, fret ease, etc.
- Rehearse as a group and refine as much as you can beforehand. Unless you’re writing in the studio, being well prepared is going to make it so you can focus on performing well and give you extra time to experiment and potentially save money using less studio time.
- Discuss what your game plan is before going in. Who’s laying down tracks first? Which tracks are being doubled? What gear are you using?
- Remember you’re a turd. I find I work best when I keep shit in perspective. I get to do this thing: make music, record in studios, play live shows, tour different countries. I don’t know if I deserve it, but I do know that doing this gives my life a lot of meaning and in the grand scheme of things, I’m no one and that’s humbling.
Remind yourself that this is an incredible moment and you better make it count.
Mers Sumida by Claire Donner
5 Tips for Getting Through a Studio Session with Flying Colors:
- Be patient, and be open to ideas and suggestions. You can choose not to use everything you record.
- If something isn’t right, ask to do it again. If you can’t get it after a few attempts, ask to have a break and let something else get their part done while you work on it.
- Sometimes you realize a part or riff you wrote could be better, or that it sounds like shit in the studio. If you have the time, let that gun rest on your temple and see what comes out. You’ll never regret taking the time to do it, but you’ll regret not fixing it forever. Especially when it’s mixed, mastered, and pressed for all eternity just for your (expensive) displeasure.
- If possible, the whole band should be in the studio together. The support is a vital pool of energy.
- Always be respectful to the engineer, producer, and your studio. There will always be a time when it gets hard and frustrating, but the goal is the music. Stay focused. Your emotions will fade but the music will be around (hopefully) forever.