SCENT OF DEATH – We all love to play Death Metal
The Spanish metal scene is not among the most famous and definitely not the Spanish extreme metal scene. The country, which is mostly known for football, bullfights and Baccara, have had little to offer for metal fans. Still, now and then it pops up bands that you notice and when the album "Of Martyr’s Agony and Hate" from Scent of Death appeared in the mail box, Eternal Terror writer Rune Grande woke up and an interview was sent to the band through the Portuguese company Viral Propaganda PR.
First of all, we need some background information on the band and band members. When, where, who and why did Scent of Death become a reality?
Ok, let’s start the interview…. I am Bernardo, rhythm guitar of Scent Of Death. But first of all I’d like to thank Eternal Terror Zine for the opportunity to appear on your pages, and of course for the great review of our new album. I’m glad you liked it. And secondly I’d like to send a big brutal Hell-o to all the Norwegian readers and fans. Thank you very much to all for your support with Scent Of Death. For us it’s a pleasure to be in the Eternal Terror Zine, and hope this interview will asleep the interest of of the readers for listening our new album.
Well, Scent of Death’s history begins in September 1998 in Ourense, a small city of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain. The band’s former members were Jorge on guitar and Carlos on bass, and three months later I joined the band on guitars, and Nuno on drums. With this four piece formation, we recorded in September 2001 our first demo-MCD called "Entangled in Hate", in which I performed the vocals. But we needed a soloist vocalist for live performances, so Lois joined the band in November 2002, and the band performed a lot of gigs for three more years in Spain and Portugal, till 2004 when Nuno leaves the band and we replaced him for Alfred Berengena as a session drummer for the recording of our first album called "Woven in the Book of Hate", which see the light in June 2005.
From 2005 to 2012 we played a short number of gigs with another drummer, Lois left the band in 2010 and finally we replaced both of them for the recording of our second full length CD with Sergio on vocals and Rolando Barros on drums. So the actual and stable lineup is with the three former members, Carlos, Jorge and Bernardo, and the two new ones Sergio and Rolando.
About why we formed Scent Of Death… Well, we all love to play Death Metal!!!! That’s the simple reason. We wanted to create a band and have a good time with rehearsal, playing live and being in touch with people all around the world. We wanted to express our hate playing as brutal, as fast and as dark as the same Hell. For all of this, Scent Of Death exists.
Did any of the members have any history in other band before they joined Scent of Death?
Yes, of course. For me Scent of Death is my first serious band, but Nuno and Carlos come from a local band called Osmosis, Jorge from another local band called Suffer Age. And the other members involved in Scent of Death all along the years had other bands too. Lois played in two black metal bands, Inmacula Mortem and later in Balmog. Alfred Berengena is the former drummer of the great Catalonian Death Metal band called Baalphegor, and as a session drummer he played and recorded albums for band as Nebulah, Vidres a la Sang, Produndis Tenebrarum and many others. About the new members; Sergio is the vocalist in the Portuguese band Bleeding Display, and although Rolando plays in a lot of bands as a session drummer, his main band is Grog. But he also plays in The Firstborn, Neoplasmah, Ava Inferi and perhaps in some other bands, all from Portugal.
What can you tell us about your debut album "Woven in the Book of Hate" and the "Entangled in Hate" EP?
I think both are great releases, although they are becoming old, hehehe… But we are very proud of those two albums even nowadays.
Of course "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 on 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 great experience from recording Death Metal bands (in fact he played Death Metal in the past). He knew 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…
What is the biggest difference between those two and your new album "Of Martyr’s Agony and Hate"?
I think there are big differences between all the albums. All the albums have been published widely spaced in time, so our progression as musicians is huge between our three releases. In terms of sound and production "Of Martyrs’s Agony and hate" is bigger and powerful than the previous ones. It is more brutal, faster and technical in all the aspects of the recording. I think it’s a fucking missile in your face!!
Another big difference between all the albums is the fact that each of them was recorded by different drummers and different vocalist. And none of them repeated in the next album, so that gives a unique personality to each album, the most important perhaps in the drums, but also in the vocals. That’s the reason why we recorded again two of the songs of our demo, as I told you in the question above. We knew that those songs were going to sound different than the originals in the demo with the each contribution of the new members of the band.
But the main difference for me is in terms of composition. The new songs are more mature with a more elaborate composition, more technical and faster. They are not a collection of riffs one after another with no sense. We studied a lot how the songs must continue for being a varied song, such that this collection of riffs became in a "song"….
The word "Hate" is included in all three titles. Why? Is it a coincidence or have you decided that the word "Hate" must be included in the title of all of your releases?
It’s not a coincidence, of course. It’s fully loaded. We think that the word "Hate" is the perfect word to describe the Scent Of Death’s concept of the music and the antireligious lyrics. In the demo "Entangled in Hate" this word was used because it was according with the cover with the iron tank and the carbonized man in the ground that happened on the first Iraq’s War, and with the lyrics of the song of the same tittle. This war was initiated as a political and economic war and became and finished as a religious war with a senseless hatred between opponents, against the infidels…
Then this idea was consolidated with the recording of "Woven in the book of Hate". At that point, we decided to use that word in all our future album’s titles. It happened talking in the rehearsal room about Morbid Angel and the fact that that each record starts with a letter of the alphabet, in an orderly manner, hahaha.. So "Of Martyrs’s…" got it, and of course our new album will content the word "Hate" too.
Your new album "Of Martyr’s Agony and Hate" is an awesome death metal album. It’s a true masterpiece. How did you do it? Please take us all the way from the first riffs and idea to the finished product.
Thanks a lot for your great words about the album. There is not much to say about the composition and creations of the songs. I suppose the process is the same for each metal band everywhere: work at home and in the rehearsal room to create the songs and then practice and more practice till the execution is correct for entering the studio to record the songs. The final result can be better or worse, but I think recipe is the same for every band. The secret is to not settle for the first thing that comes to mind, but try to do things to improve yourself. That’s how you’ll get a good quality final product.
Once we composed the songs, we entered the studio and that was another great adventure for the edition of this album. We use three different studios: one in Lisbon for the drum parts, another in our home city for the guitars, bass and vocals, and finally another in Lisbon again for the mixes and final mastering. The original idea was to mix and master all in the same studio as we recorded guitars, but we had some problems with the "sound engineer" and decided to take our tracks and go to another studio in Lisbon with a professional engineer. He did a good job, as you can hear in the album…
In addition to the composition and recording of the songs, there still remained a great job to the final product: the artwork!! First we contacted Jumali Katani for the cover, told him the idea and he design a spectacular cover. I think the idea of the cover is the perfect one to express all the lyrical concepts in most of the songs on the album. Also we did the session photos with a professional photographer to include in the booklet. All the layout of the album was done by our bassist Carlos and it took us a lot of time because we wanted a huge booklet with one page per song to accompany the concept of the album.
And notice that we had to do two different designs, one for the CD edition through Pathologically Explicit Recordings, and the other for the 12"LP vinyl edition through Bloody Productions. It was double work, hahaha…. And of course all was paid for with our own money and spending our own time!!
How do you feel you evolve as a band during the entire process of songwriting and recording of the album?
Well, it has been a long period of time between the two albums, about seven years. That’s time enough for evolving, for thinking and considers which direction we must take, although we never disappear from the scene. It was a long time for writing the new songs carefully, for giving the best of us and I think our efforts have been rewarded, because humbly I think we have released nine brutal death metal songs, compiled in an awesome album. It was hard work in the rehearsal room and at home, but I think it was worthy.
Now we have new members in the band, who have added new blood to the band and make us stronger as a band for the live shows because we have a complete steady line-up. It’s nice to see that Rolando and Sergio are real metal maniacs and are completely involved in the band. They gave us new emotional impulse to continue working.
Looking back we are very satisfied with our path along all these years, but our evolution is shown in the album. There was good and bad moments, but we learned from both of them and got to release an album better than "Woven in the book of Hate". I almost had an orgasm when I got the album in my hands for the first time, hahaha… So I consider that Scent Of Death evolved in the right direction.
How has the metal press and fans received the album? How has the feedback been in Spain and the rest of the world?
The response of the press in this short period of time is fantastic. We have received about 50-60 reviews and the overall rate is 8-8,5/10. You rated our album 6/6 points, or what is the same: 10/10, hahaha… Only one zine rated it with 6/10. So we think it’s a great result in only 6 months of the album’s life for an underground band like Scent Of Death. And consider the fact that the CD and LP was released by two small labels from Spain, that works correctly but they don’t have the power of a big company in terms of promotion.
These reviews comes from all over the world, half of them from Spanish fanzines and webzines, and the rest of them from different foreign countries, and all the reviews are great. We are also receiving a lot of interviews after the review, and that’s the proof of fire that means that the reviewers liked our album so much that think we deserve to be interviewed on their pages. And that is a great pleasure for us, and of course, great promotion for the band!!
About the fans who bought our CD; the comments are really great, and most of them are impressed with the new songs, for the variety of the composition of the songs, for the arrangements and for the powerful and dark sound. All of them says that Of martyrs’s…" is better, faster and more powerful than „Woven in the book of hate". And that is a great for us, because that’s the proof that our fans were waiting for our new stuff after seven long years of silence. They didn’t forget us!
Inspirations; where do you get most of them from when writing new songs? Which bands inspire you the most?
All music we hear at home inspires us, of course. But we try not copying the patterns of the other bands. We impregnate our music in our personal style, for creating something different when composing a song. 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 hard work, so we could say that inspiration comes from hard work of composition: looking for the proper riffs 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 sometimes, it’s better to let the song mature with time, and then you’ll find the continuation easier.
Most of the reviews we received till date, says that Scent Of Death’s music is in the vein of the old Death Metal masters like Immolation, Deicide or Morbid Angel because of its darkness, but also has the furious of bands like Hate Eternal, Behemoth and some of Origin because of its technique. 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 a really good song. And to achieve this, in a precise way, technical skills are completely necessary, 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, which plays hyper technical Death Metal, you know what I mean. But our music is difficult to play well and I think our technique is based on the well done composition with a lot of breaks, changing tempos and mainly in the feeling of the song by itself. 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…
Do you pick up inspirations from other things like the ordinary life, movies, books etc.?
If you mean for music composition and guitar riffs; no, we don’t! Sometimes I read interviews from bands that answer that they are only able to compose music in a concrete season of the year, or in a certain place of their location (almost all of them answer in the deep forest!! What a coincidence! Hahaha…). No, Scent Of Death creates songs at home and in the rehearsal room, playing along our instruments, with our musical knowledge, and a good ear in how it sounds like. I think that those things you mention in the question are more useful for writing lyrics than for writing music and guitar riffs. Although… I am thinking that the sound of a submachine gun in a war movie could inspire the most furious Rolando’s blast beat, hahaha….
What about the lyrics? Where do they come from?
You asked in one question above about the word "Hate" in our titles… Well, there is where our lyrics come from. 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 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.
We are against all religions, my friend. 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 the 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 with me, you are against me… And I’ll kill you!"
Is there a creative mastermind in Scent of Death or do you work best as a united band?
The compositor in Scent Of Death is Jorge. He is a professional musician with a long career of 13 years studying music. He works as a teacher at the conservatory in our home city and he plays and teaches piano. The rest of the members of the band are self-taught, so Jorge is the most capable member to compose the songs. Anyway, all members of the band most like all the music, if not this part will be refused… Rolando is the one who can adapt the drum parts according with his likeness, but the main base is yet composed by Jorge when he listen to the new song for the first time.
Spain; how is the metal scene there? Are there any other good extreme metal bands worth checking up?
I think the bands here in Spain are not really united. I think the most of them look only for their own ass and not for the underground.
Some of them act like if they were rock stars and do not participate in anything else than in their own concerts and 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. These are also the ones who talk most about being "true" to the underground… They do not deserve this lines I’m writing now…
But fortunately they are the less Still there are bands that are constantly moving their ass for doing something, like a new festival and bring foreign bands, wasting their money on it, doing CD trades with other bands etc etc. And these are the bands that really are worth supporting. 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?
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…
But a lot of good bands have disappeared after releasing one or two albums. Bands like Imbrue, Dyspraxia, Baalphegor (they will come back soon and that’s a good new, because they are a really technical and brutal band), Uncreation, Chamber of Shred, Eczema, Unnatural, Absorbed, Dismal….
What’s it like for a metal band in Spain? Is it easy to get recognition outside your border?
I think Spain is not a good country for extreme music, because I think here is a lack of extreme metalheads. People here like mostly heavy and power metal, or rock and roll. There are another people who consider themselves "extreme" because they listen to famous alternative and modern metal. And also you can see that they only know and support the famous foreign bands but not the national bands near them that play the modern metal they like. And when you name even the most classical death, black or thrash metal bands, they don’t know anything about them. So I’m disgusted with the Spanish underground scene, because I think there isn’t musical awareness and people unknown the metal history. They lose it!!
But talking about us, I think Scent Of Death isn’t too much known in Scandinavia (if you don’t think so, please, let me know, hehehe…). But I consider we are beginning to be recognized in certain European countries. The same happens in South America, USA and Canada, and I think it’s great for an underground band like us; we are not signed on a big international label for supporting and promoting us, neither a big management agency for booking live gigs and tours. So we do it by ourselves as far of our possibilities. Of course I think in Spain we have a great recognition, even since the release of our demo and was confirmed with the release of the first album. We are not the most famous, but a well-known band.
What about live gigs? (In Spain and other countries). I would like to see you up here sometime.
Well, 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 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.
I can assure you that it would be a dream for us to be touring in Norway!!!!But I think it would be most likely that we met as tourists visiting your country, hahaha… I have much desire to taste some beers in your country… hahaha… Of course we are willing to go if the promoters and managers call us. I hope this interview help to reach that success, hahaha…
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 Cristmas 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 all 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 past May and we are confirmed now for a festival in August in our area with another four bands, also 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…
What’s the future like for Scent of Death? Is it bright and glorious or are you just an ordinary hardworking metalband?
Yes, we are a hardworking metal band. I don’t know if ordinary or not, but hardworking band for sure, hehehe… I trust that our future is glorious and bright but this is Extreme Metal and we know it’s very difficult to reach a high level of recognition because there are worldwide a lot of great bands which deserve to be more popular than they are actually because of their quality, and perhaps they never get it. So we are not going to dream, only work harder to promote our music to reach more listeners.