Hi! Can you introduce your band for those who still don’t know about you ? How did you meet each other and what were the first days of the band?
Hail!!! Bernardo here, rhythm guitar, for answering your questions and making Scent of Death’s name a little bit more well known in your country. For us it’s a pleasure to be in the Total Death Zine, and hope this interview will asleep the interest of of the Fobia readers for listening our new album.
As introduction I’d say that Scent of Death is a spanish five members band, that plays fast, dark, raw and Brutal Death Metal in the vein of Morbid Angel, Deicide, Immolation, Hate Eternal, Behemoth, to name some. As a resume, I could say its technical Death Metal in the brutal way, with feeling, devastating drums, and riffs that make your brain explode.
The core of the band is Carlos , Jorge and myself. We are together from the begginning in late 1998 till now, fifteen years supporting Scent Of Death and ones to anothers, hahaha…. Scent Of Death was created by Jorge and Carlos in September 1998, and two months later I joined the band as a rhythm guitarist. Our first drummer was Nuno and the first vocalist was David, and with this line up we compose the songs for our first release in 2002, a demo called „Entangled in Hate“ in which I recorded the vocals because David had left the band. All of us were good friends and love Death Metal in all his ways, so we fomed a Death Metal band to express our vision.
Many things happens since 2002 and several people passed in Scent Of Death. For this album we have two new members from Lisbon, Portugal, Rolando Barros on drums an Sergio on vocals. We know them because we like their respective bands in Portugal and we thought they are both great musicians, so we called them for the new album, and as they were absolutely atonished with the new songs they proudly accepted to be part of our band and record the album. And you can see the final result on it, and judge by yourself if we succeed or not, hehehe….That’s the resume of our personal story.
The band was found in 1998,released its first demo in 2002 and the debut full-length album “Woven In The Book Of Hate” came in 2005.Your new album “Of Martyr’s Agony And Hate” came in 2012.What happened in the years between the first and the second album?
That’s because we are a fucking lazy guys, hahahaha…… No, now seriously, a lot of things had passed since we released “Woven in the Book of Hate”. I’ll try to explain in the best way I can… After the releasing “Woven…”, we made a good number of concerts to present the album on stage, working with drum programming because Alfred Berengena, our session drummer, cannot play with us live because of his own compromises and that he was 1000 km far away from our city. So it was very difficult for us to combine dates. But after some gigs, we were very bored of this situation. We’ve found a local drummer, Jorge, and began the rehearsals with this new member. We spend a lot of time practicing with him. He never played death metal before (but he likes this music a lot, obviously), so the work was very hard in the beginning. After some months, we were ready to make the first live show with the new line up… The songs of the CD were played in a slower tempo on these gigs, but the performance was great, we thought that we’re building a good way to work faster in the future. Later, we made a short tour with Dementor and Killchain, but the speed of the songs was the same, we were completely blocked in this aspect. We didn´t find a solution for all these speed problems, so we decided to part ways; that was a completely friendly separation, you know… He is now in a nu-metal band and I only have the best wishes for him.
We began the search for a new drummer for the new album. The first option was again Alfred, who recorded the first album, but he was very busy with other bands, recordings, clinics, masterclasses… Finally we didn´t find a way to combine our agendas. A couple of months later we’ve found our actual drummer, Rolando “demolition man” Barros, a legendary musician in the Portuguese scene. We spoke with him and he accepted the offer to play with us. Rolando is a fucking grinding blastmachine; you can hear his work in the entire album, it´s completely amazing!!!
During this time we had finished the composition of all the tracks of the new record…time to search a studio. We were in contact with a local producer, but this man was a fucking incompetent, he works with delays and an evident lack of professionalism in all the aspects. At the same time, our singer disappeared, we lost completely the contact, no phone calls, no answer to the mails… Fuck, he only told us a couple of months later that he was very busy and another shitty explanations (we still don´t know the real reasons today!!!), after eight years of friendship and musical affinity he left the band in the worst moment, in the middle of a new recording… fucking situation, man!!! We began the search of a new vocalist. Rolando suggested us one of his friends, Sergio (he is the singer in another brutal band from Portugal called Bleeding Display (check this band!!!)).He learned all the tracks of the album in a month, so he was ready to enter the studio in a record time!!! He recorded the vocal lines in three days and all was great (finally!!!…). The incompetence of our sound engineer was growing and growing and we decided that we will either change the studio or we could kill this “professional”. Once again, Rolando gave us the solution. We spoke with the man who recorded the last CD of Grog (one of the bands where Rolando is playing), a fucking genius called André Tavares. This man saved us from all the incompetence we suffered in the past. He works fast and with an incredible precision and patience. In two months the mixing and mastering of the songs was made… Finally all comes to the end and “Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate” see the light in January 2013.
All the changes in our line-up made us stronger; our actual formation is the best of all our years in our musical life… We have the problem of the distance, but Rolando and Sergio are very talented musicians, and only with a rehearsal we can be ready for a concert.
TheReviews for the debut album were really good as far as I can see. Tell us a little more about the debut album – where did you record it and what was the fans’ response?
With debut album, do you understand our first demo or the first full length album? Hehehe…. Anyway I’ll tell you both… “Entangled in Hate” demo was recorded in 2002, eleven years ago, and since that time we have acquired new musical skills, influences and so on, but I think it’s a great debut as a demo and we are very proud of it. Notice that the song “Feeling the fear” was originally released in this demo and we have recorded it again for the new album “Of martyrs’s agony and hate”. This fact means that after fifteen years after composed it, we think it has enough quality for being included in the new album, so means we are proud of it. Concretely, this song was the first song composed in the Scent Of Death’s history, back in 1998. “Entangled in Hate” was recorded in a free studio provided by the Council of Ourense, in analogic format in a total of 30 hours including mixes and mastering. It was recorded practically in one take each instrument, but I think that final result is great, and sound was powerful in the vein of old school Death Metal for that date, but playing Brutal Death…
But things in “Woven in the book of Hate” were very different, because it was recorded in a professional studio with a technician with a great experience recording Death Metal bands (in fact he played Death Metal in the past). He known perfectly how a Death Metal band should sound and I think this fact can be appreciated in the final sound. In this album we got a very dark and raw sound, that was exactly we wanted. For this album we recorded once again the song “Entangled in Hate” which entitled our demo. Once again it means that we are proud of those old songs, hehehe… I think they are a bunch of really good songs, very technical and fast, and dark mainly in the Immolation’s vein. That’s the main influence that the underground press see in that album….
Both releases were well received among fans in the respective dates. Perhaps the distribution was not enough because we were not in a big label, but people who listen it liked a lot, and Scent Of Death begin to be known in the underground scene. “Entangled in Hate” was self-released, but “Woven in the book of Hate” was released by Bloody Productions, small but serious label, and made a great job in distribution and promotion, I think.
The sound of your latest album reminds me a lot of MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION, BEHEMOTH… You describe your music as fast dark brutal death metal. Can you tell us what inspires you to write your music and lyrics?
Yes, in the promotion flyers and websites we describe our music as you say. This is only a way to say what you’ll find in the album, and perhaps I would add that Scent Of Death is technical Death Metal band, but I think this a relative and particular appreciation of each person. I think Scent Of Death is a technical Death Metal band, because we play fast, precise and intense Death Metal. But we are not so technical in the vein of Obscura, Necrophagist, Viraemia, Beneath the Massacre, Archspire and bands like that, wich plays hyper technical Death Metal, you know what I mean. But our music is difficult to play it well and I think our technique is based on the welldone composition with a lot of breaks, changing tempos and mainly in the feeling of the song by itself. That’s why I say that technique is relative for each person depending of what they consider technical Death Metal.
We try that new songs be different from the previous ones, and not to repeat the same patterns and riffs again and again. We like variety in the albums, and I think we get it in “Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate”. But this is hard to achieve and means a hard work, so we could say that inspiration comes from a hard work of composition: looking the proper riff for doing the tempo change, or the correct note to continue the song in a fluid manner, refusing those riffs which sound like another in other song… And sometime, it’s better to let the song mature with time, and then you’ll find the continuation easier. We do not want a song to be a collection of meaningless rhythms one after another. A riff must guide you to the next, and that’s the way a song becomes in a really good song. And to achieve this, in a precise way, technical skills are completely necessary, I think. We do not want to masturbate the freetboard of the guitar for free, hehehe… Just enough to scum in your face a few Brutal Death Metal songs and remove the brain from your head, hahaha…
And about the lyrics, we can say that they are antireligious, in general terms, not only against Catholicism .We hate all those doctrines which impose what you have to do, and the maximum exponent in this sense, are religions and sects. And we see its influence in our ordinary life in the behavior of the people around us, in fathers which are an old people educated in the classic Catholicism, in the news. You can see in believers that they think that all that happens in their lives, has a divine origin, I mean, if something good happens it’s a premium for their good behavior, or in the other hand, if something wrong happens, it’s a punishment for their bad behavior in life. All their life are torturing and martyring themselves because of their baseless beliefs.
Who produced “Of Martyr’s Agony And Hate” and in which studio did you record it? Any funny stories happening during the recording process? Are you completely satisfied by the final result?
The album was recorded by parts in several studios. For example drums were recorded in Lisbon, Portugal at Brugosound Studios, bass sessions at Bird Of Hermes Studios in our city, and vocals and guitars in another studio I do not want to mention because the reasons I told you in a question above. But the most important fact is that it was mixed and mastered by André Tavares in Lisbon again. And that’s the reason why the album sounds as brutal as you can hear. It was produced by André and Scent of Death The kind of sound is purely Scent Of Death conception. André is a great engineer and very patient man, so we explain him how it should sounds like, and he did it. It was a hard work, because we were 700km far away, but he puts all his technical knowledge and we put our ears, hahaha… And between the two, we got the sound.
We had a clear conception about the sound we wanted for the album, and this conception is about the sound you can hear on the album. I think we got it. Of course musicians always want for their album the most powerful sound in the world, so we are not an exception, hahaha… Perhaps we could get more output, but perhaps the album begins to sound more distorted and dirty. But we wanted all the instruments to be heard clearly in the album, with a sound in your face and each instrument on its frequency, separately one from another, but at the same time a brutal, dense and dark sound. We sacrifice a bit the output power for getting the sound you can listen, but on the other hand you can set your hi-fi equipment to the maximum volume, and you’ll continue to hear the music with no distortion, and even more powerful and mixed. I think we got a really good sound for Scent Of Death’s musical concept and we are plenty satisfied.
Funny stories? No, no… This recording process was even a little bit oppressive because as I told you in the second question, our vocalist Lois disappeared in the middle of the process and had to look for Sergio and let him to learn the lyrics, and we had to suffer the incompetence of the sound engineer, and all of this delayed the recording about two years. Notice that drums were recorded in late 2010, finish al the mastering in May 2012, all the cover design in August 2012, and the album was printed in the last days of December 2012. So it passed two years since the beginning, and was because of things external of musical reasons. The must “funny” story was that, one day of the vocal recording, there was an orchestra playing in the small village where the studio was located, because it was a feast day, so the microphones received all the sound from the outside, so we have to stop the vocals recording, joined the party, and go to the bar to take some beers, hahaha….
I think the artwork of your latest album is amazing. I read that the author is Jumali Katani – can you give us more info about this artist and about the cover – what does it symbolize?
Yes, you are right… thanks a lot for your words. Nice you like it… We discovered Jumali on the net and see his blog with all his artwork, and we were really impressed. He has a lot of covers for all styles of extreme metal, thrash, black, death, gore,… The most of them were already sold, but we find one that we like a lot. I think it was conceived for a Black Metal band because it had a lot of satanic elements, but we like the main figure of it for the concept of our album, exactly the same you see on our cover, because it expressed the idea we wanted. So we got in touch with him and tell to modify all the rest of the image to compose the scene we wanted, not as explicitly satanic. So we put off the satanic elements and introduce the chained angels, the crying Mary and the angels on their knees in a submission way, as fallen martyrs for their dethroned god.
I think the image of the cover is the perfect one to express all the lyrical concepts in the most of the songs, which talks about the lies, the excesses and the abuse against mankind in the name of religions (all of them). People live all their lives as a slaves and martyrs because their faith, following the rules of the men who represent god on Earth, and when notice that they have been abused and corrupted, their faith becomes in hate for dethroning their gods. That’s the idea of the cover, according with the lyrics.
Of course, the idea of what is represented in the cover, is completed with the artwork included in the booklet. The entire layout was a Scent of Death idea, and was done by Carlos. Personally I think we obtain a great result, with a page for each song (even the instrumental one), and with images in relationship with the lyrics. It would be easier to put a small part of the cover under the text, as a lot of bands do, but we like to work hard for a good final result, hahaha….
Do you play live often? Where and with who did you play for the last time and do you have plans for upcoming tours?
We still have played live this past weekend on August 10th in the Kanekas Metalfest with another four bands, in our area. The bands were Universal Mind, Vectors, Evadne and Unreal Overflows, and we played as a headliners because we were the most brutal band in the festival, hahaha…. Before that, we organize a festival in our town called “United in Brutality” on May 4th ,to present live our new album “Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate” and we brought another three bands to complete festival and it was great!! We presented live the album four months after the release,hahaha….
So as you can see we are not a prolific live band but for us is very difficult to play live because we have two members from other country which live in Lisbon and besides that, we live in a small city in the most western corner of Europe, from which our ancestors said that was the end of the world, before discovering America, hahaha… We are too far from everywhere, even for playing inside Spain we have to travel a lot of kilometers. For example for playing in Barcelona, it’s about 1200 kilometers far away, and yes, we could take an airplane, but promoters usually don’t pay the necessary money for covering it. And for reaching France, the nearest country, there are more than 1000 kilometers… We are lucky to live near Portugal, so for us is easy to play there, but the rest of Europe is very difficult.
But in the past we played a lot of good gigs. To name some, till date, we were touring with Dementor and Killchain for Spain and Portugal, with Vermis Antecessor and Sorgerth in the Basque Country, we were openers for Dismember in Vigo, Galicia, and we played in some great festival as “Move your fucking brain” in Barcelona, “Steel Warriors Rebellion” in Portugal with bands like Enthroned and Internal Suffering, “Caos Emergente” in Portugal too with Cock and Ball Torture and more, “Butchery at Christmas Time Fest”, in two editions of the “Brutal as Hell Fest”, in a four days festival called “Brutality in your face” with 20 bands, in the “Brutologos Fest” in Valladolid, plus al the gigs we organize in pubs and so on… Also we are preparing some live shows, trying to book new dates. We started in our city Ourense to present live the new album in the past May, and we are confirmed for the fourth edition of the Spain Death Metal Fest on March next year in southern Spain, and trying to close definitely another 3-4 dates more in Madrid and Portugal… Lets see what happens!
Your album was released via Pathologically Explicit Records and distributed by Sevared Records. This is quite good achievement…Is there a good interest in your album by the fans all around the world and are you happy by your mutual work with those two labels?
Yes we are plenty satisfied with his work, becasuse Pathologically Explicit Recordings is one of the most wellknown spanish underground label here in Spain and out of Spain. Fernando cooperate with a lot of underground labels all around the world in order to distribute his relases, and that’s good for us. One of them is Sevared Records from USA, but in this case Sevared is an official distributor, and this was a plus for signed with Pathologically for this record For now, our cd is distributed in a lot of countries of Europe, Canada, USA, Japan and more. Pathologically has almost 50 releases on his back and thas the proof that he works hard for distributing his releases and for selling all of them. Otherwise, he could not be able to release such a quantity of albums and bands if hi does not sell previous releases, isn’t?. We know that, so we decided to release the album with him, between other deals we got. But now, I could not ask exactly about the number od copies sold so far. As I told you before, it’s only three months old, and it’s soon to do balance.
And don’t forget to mention that „Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate“ is released in 12“LP format by our old label, Bloody Productions in a limited edition of 500 copies. And recently Bloody Productions has released a very special limited edition (only 40 copies!!!!!!) of the 12“LP in wooden case. So finally we are supported by three labels. Also we have signed with a promoter in Portugal called Viral Propaganda, and they are doing a great job with the album!!
And about the fans who bought our cd, the coments are really great, and the most of them are impressed with the new songs, for the variety of the composition of the songs, for the arragements, for the powerfull and dark sound. All of them says that Of martyrs’s…“ is better, faster and more powerfull than „Woven in the book of hate“. And that is a great for us, because that’s the proof that our closer fans, were waitng for our new stuff after seven long years of silence. They don’t forget us!
I saw that you guys come from Galicia in Spain…I know Spanish bands like Marthyrium, your latest album title has martyrs in it so can you tell me what’s so fascinating in this martyr topic? What’s so interesting about it?
Well, to start this question I have to say that, as you can see in our lyrics, we are against all religions. Spain is a catholic country, but we see year after year how the cult is getting weaker and weaker. If you go to a church on Sunday, you will see that the ages of the congregation are between 55-65 years. The Catholic Church doesn’t have a young generation to continue the worship. I think that this religion is condemned to oblivion. The other side of the coin is the Islamic fundamentalism… They are fucking crazy, but their power and influence is growing every day. They represent the real problem nowadays, because they are acting like Christianity did in de Middle Ages with the inquisition, the crusades and so on. Basically along the history, the only valid doctrine for fanatics was: “If you are not whit me, you are aginst me… And I’ll kill you!”
They are the ones who act like real martyrs nowadays because of their faith, immolating themselves and attacking to those who do not think like them. And the reason is their religion… do they really think it’s worthy to die for that reason, for a two thousand years dead old god? I don’t think so… They should see that their leaders are using the words written in an old book (the Book of Hate, as we say…) to infect their subject’s mind, to fight and die for their earthly, political and economic interests. Why not they immolate themselves, instead of their poor subjects? Of course because they are strongly tied to wealth and earthly pleasures, well accommodated, and they do not want to lose it….
So I think the charm of the word “Martyr” is what this word carries implicit on its own meaning: faith, pain, devotion, hate, violence, blood, death, and what’s even worst, money, richness, opulence, politic power….. And all achieved with the blood of others!!
How do you see the Spanish extreme metal scene? Are there good young bands that you wish to recommend?
I think the bands here in Spain are not really united. I think the most of them look only for her ass and not for the underground and the extreme metal scene Some of them act like if they were rock stars, and do not participate more than in their own concerts, and think that all the rest of the bands are a piece of shit. There are members of some bands that you will never see in other concerts that not are their cocksucker’s friends. And then match that this ones are who the most speak about being “true” in the underground… They do not deserve this lines I’m writing now…
But fortunately they are the less, and still there are bands that are constantly moving their ass for doing something, a new festival and bring foreign bands, wasting their money on it, doing cd trades with other bands… And these are the bands that really are worth to support. I think we have a good relationship with the bands we know. And those who don’t know is because they don’t let us know them. Do they belong to the first group perhaps?
Of course I’ll tell you some young band names, and other not so young, hehehe… I think the most famous spanish bands outside Spain are perhaps Avulsed, Machetazo, Wormed, Human Mincer, Impure, Cerebral Efussion, Numen,… But there is a new batch of brutal bands nowadays that are really good. To mention some of them: Legacy of Brutality, Nebulah, Carrioned, Caustic, The Murder Industry, Human Ashtray…. And only in our area, Galicia, there are a few real good bands like Unreal Overflows, Vermis Antecessor, Upcoming of Devastation, Ephemeral, Barbarian Prophecies, Strangled with Guts, Hellgate, Brainwash (RIP??), Dantalion, Destilling Pain, The Last Twilight… Please, check them out.
But a lot of good bands have dissapear after releasing one or two albums only like Imbrue, Dyspraxia, Baalphegor (they will come back soon and that’s a good new, bacause they are really technical and brutal band), Uncreation, Chanber of Shred, Eczema, Unnatural, Absorbed, Dismal….
How do you feel the economic crisis in Spain? Is it hard for the underground bands to survive in this situation?
This is a fucking situation for people. There are a lot of families with no economic incomes of any member of the family because all of them lost their jobs. They only survive with the economic help of the government, a government which on the other hand is going down more and more the salaries of people through new taxes, and charging more and more companies with more taxes, which make it difficult the hiring of new employees… We have now more than five millions of unemployed people, and a lot of them have finished yet the two years help of the government, so what they’ll eat today?
And this situation seems not to have an end, while politicians are completely corrupted, stolen money on each operation they do, sending money to their Swiss acounts…And what’s even worse, when they are discovered, nothing happens, it’s very difficult to make them pay for their faults…Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!
For the bands, of course is difficult too, because musicians are Spanish citizens as well. If you don’t have your salary each month, because you have not a job, you cannot support your underground band for a long time. Underground bands like us, does not live with music and all the members have their own job outside the band. So they will not be able to pay the recording of an album, or invest money on promotion… As simple as this, for example.
And the second part is the fan part. The lack of money means not buying cd’s and merchandise, mp3 downloading, not going to concerts… People have to choose very well how they spend their money, and of course I understand they cannot support underground as they usually did before, and everyone can be in the same situation someday. Hope this crisis will pass soon, but with the politicians we have here in Spain, I think it’s going to be very hard.
Your final words for our readers?
First of all thanks a lot for this great interview, and to all readers of Extreminal Zine and all the crazy Death Metal fans, hope you enjoy this interview..