Bonin’ the Interhole: Portugal’s Malevolence

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, September 21st, 2012

malevolence

Bands like Gojira and Godflesh might be major brand names ‘round these parts, but mention them to your average Metallica-loving broseph and you’re likely to get a squinty-eyed, the-fuck-you-say? half-nod.  But Decibel just won’t quit.  We dig deeper, danker, darker and dirtier (though rarely fitter or happier) to turn up a few otherwise overlooked gems.  While Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone lays it out all hard-copy-like, every Friday the Deciblog brings you the stealthiest bandcampiest demos, EPs, singles, one-offs, full-lengths, and start-up acts that catch our attention with Frickin’ Bone 2.0:  Bonin’ the Interhole.

So I’m a big ol’ asswad douchemonkey prickface (or any similar rearranging of insulting compound words).  Proof is unnecessary, but a quick read of this week’s Bonin’ will make it indisputable fact.  Today we highlight the new recording by Portuguese metallers Malevolence and, as always, we’re including a full interview as well as a stream of their first song from the record that they’ve released to the public.  Cool, right?  And guitarist/vocalist Carlos Cariano has poured a substantial amount of time and energy into communicating with us about the band’s past and present accomplishments and attitudes.  (Not douchey enough for you yet?  Wait for it…)  This week, Decibel will provide an additional service:  streamlined (approximate) translation.  Not sure about you (and you’ll get your chance), but I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around Mr. Cariano’s responses.  So I have included here two versions of the interview:  1) My attempt to simplify the ideas as I imagine they might have been intended, and 2) the full interview as submitted to Decibel earlier in the week.  ’Cuz hey, maybe you can understand it.

Okay, no more waiting.  Here’s your melodic brutal tech death fix for the week.  And a novella written in Portglish.  Dig it.

It looks like Malevolence hasn’t been in the studio for a while.  What caused your long pauses (between Martyrialized and Celebration of Dysfunctional Becoming, and then between Celebration and this new recording)?

[Actually, Malevolence has been active throughout that time, though we’ve had to balance our music pursuits with our daily work routines.  With some portable recording technology, we’ve been able to work on the new album even when we’re not in a physical studio.  I finally focused the necessary energy into finishing writing the music during the fall of last year and we recorded during the winter and spring of this year.]

What is the driving musical/philosophical force behind Malevolence?

[Malevolence rebels against the unthinking, meaningless status quo with its complete opposite:  fiery, passionate inquiry into the unseen depths of reality.  “Antithetical” comes from the Greek for “placed in opposition.”  This is our artistic effort to challenge the flaccid relativism that most people accept as “truth.”]

How have membership changes affected the sound of the band?

[Not a whole lot.  We have been lucky to work with like-minded musicians, even those who are no longer part of the band.  All the members have contributed to the direction of Antithetical, and each of us helps strengthen the resolve of the others.]

How would you describe the character of your new recording?  How does it compare with older recordings?

[Antithetical is an extension of our previous work on Dominium and Martyrialized.  Being such a long-running Portuguese act puts some pressure on the quality of our work, but we are proud of the ambitious, sophisticated heaviness we developed on Antithetical, and we feel it is more complex and innovative than anything else we’ve done so far.]

How have you grown as musicians and songwriters over the past 15 years or so?

[On Antithetical, we targeted the precise improvements we wanted to make, which made specific technical and artistic breakthroughs possible.  After being a band for 18 years, we are still progressing without compromising the brutality of our music.  We are not interested in proving our superiority over other bands, but we continue to strive to best our own efforts.  We seek personal excellence, and we will allow our own intuition to guide us in this pursuit.]

What music do you find exciting right now?

[Much of the music I’ve heard recently has sounded pretty unimpressive, though maybe that’s just the jaded perspective of a long-time music listener.  Porcupine Tree, Katatonia, and Celtic Frost / Triptykon have consistently produced quality music, and I’ve also really enjoyed work by Tool, Cephalic Carnage, Mastodon, Immolation, Hail of Bullets, Nevermore, Devin Townsend, Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Leprous, and Decapitated.  This year has produced some incredible music from Meshuggah, Ihsahn, Cattle Decapitation, OSI, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Rush, Deathspell Omega, Cryptopsy, Kreator, Testament, and Dodecahedron.  Dead Can Dance is cool, and now I’m looking forward to the new Neurosis record.]

Has the band been playing live?  If so, what are the shows like?

[We love playing live.  Last year we played a festival in Portugal alongside Morbid Angel, the Devin Townsend Project and Ihsahn.  Afterward we got several offers to play other shows, but we chose to focus on finishing the album.  We will definitely play shows after the album’s release, though we prefer to play festivals and one-off events rather than tour exhaustively, since we really don’t think we could do justice to the music in certain settings.]

What’s your favorite part of the new record?  What can your audience look forward to when they listen to your album?

[That’s too hard! Antithetical is most effective when heard as a single piece, so anyone’s favorite part of the album should be that the album exists, and can move you, as a whole.  The music covers a broad spectrum, and evokes a cinematic feel that transcends all our previous work.  LISTEN AND BOW DOWN!]

[Okay, I ad libbed that last part.  Got carried away.  Sorry.]

And now, for those of you who enjoy unfiltered primary sources… Enjoy!

It looks like Malevolence hasn’t been in the studio for a while.  What caused your long pauses (between Martyrialized and Celebration of Dysfunctional Becoming, and then between Celebration and this new recording)?

In the factual sense of what comes available at the surface we have for some reason been doing colossal silence in between each release. But on the accurate level of events this is not fully precise. One thing is what the public obtains and acknowledges. The other thing is what really matters and happens at the backstage: what we celebrate within our restricted circle. The long pauses between releases do not particularly mean we have been away from studios. These days we all possess a portable studio commodity thus we can record almost anywhere and when we feel comfortable about it.  Thirteen (13) years away from the public perspective without a new full length release sounds exasperating, indeed, but time flies. All these years we have been developing consistently our sound and pushing it to the level we are now. On that capacity of working we have always been persistent, spreading the imagination whilst expanding the sphere of our musical scope. Afterwards we are not making a living from this type of music thus we are all proliferating and unfolding in assorted activities. Speaking on my behalf the last six (6) years absorbed my daily time rather intensively. I have been travelling all around, working in and out of Portugal making it roughly impossible to concentrate specifically on developing ANTITHETICAL just before. Mental work does not kill, but mental work allied with the daily routine including constant traveling around Europe and the Rest of the World can affect in a long period the brain and the vitality of the body. Since this type of music demands introspection and massive amounts of energy I really did not want to engage in the productive procedure before I perfectly had the notion I could conclude it. I produced ANTITHETICAL entirely between September and December 2011 and the recording started at the end of January 2012 at 20M2SEA STUDIO. We did everything in a very relaxed manner and then around April 2012 we packed our suitcases and flew to Germany to meet V. Santura at WOODSHED STUDIO where we accomplished the final mixing and the mastering process.

What is the driving musical/philosophical force behind Malevolence?

The main driving force comes from our intoxicating pure state of rebellion. As a product of our environment we as a pure nonconformist extension react towards the current situation of the globe. MALEVOLENCE represents upheaval towards the current language that has no force of expression and no meaning due to the predictability of words and counterfeit actions that have become commonplace worldwide. Inner strength and living values nowadays are negatively based underneath relative truths and we are just philosophically expressing ourselves precisely antithetically.  For everything there must be an exorcism and we think the time is now, the time to react with inner fire and extreme passion to epitomize the universal purification (in need) as an unstopping and unrelenting way of forward vital thinking. ANTITHETICAL is our diametrical opposition to a given number of obsolete propositions. By propelling the new album with a razor sharp inspiration from Ancient Greek Etymology (1580s, from Gk. Antithetikos) we generated an audiovisual work based in the art of conflict contrasting between the positive and negative extremes. Nowadays people seem to accept everything without trying to understand the pure meaning of things. There is an urgent need to transcend the opposites by mode of individual reflection (summon insurgence). The planet must erect with a different perspective in the stagnating social context trivialization. Life is impermanence and everything must be under question! In straight comparison with a syndrome that needs more than one germ to multiply into an unhealthy superior condition, human race needs a favorable environment to expand and to multiply erasing the relativity advertised as the true foundation of the earth.

How have membership changes affected the sound of the band?

Given that MALEVOLENCE nowadays is structured & completed with exceptional relationships between all the members, we can definitively state that no modifications have affected the sound recently. Amid the periods 1998-2012 I think we all kept the core of the band healthy and sound contrary to the periods compressed around 1994-1997 that were extremely frustrating and devastating! Nowadays we are operating as a four (4) piece and even if Micael & Joel (ex-guitarist & ex-drummer) are not still with us in a very common level, we are all very grateful to have had the chance to work all together in the past with massive levels of understanding. That’s a fact that I produced the entire thing this time, but it’s also a fact that every single member participating in one way or another became a part of what ANTITHETICAL is all about. The album speaks volumes in every musical sense and the broadening concept would not become the mammoth it is in scope if the sound was not propelled among all of us the way it did. Every detail depicted within is a product from the direct influence of all the challenges and experiences we have all been sharing and facing in life. Round circle is that after so many years we have a core familiarity that stays healthy to amplify the perspectives of our own personalities.

How would you describe the character of your new recording?  How does it compare with older recordings?

On ANTITHETICAL we have explored all the fundamental elements of our core sound by including the sonic reverberation from our previous albums, DOMINIUM and MARTYRIALIZED in order to expand enriching everything further and colossally better. The heaviness, the corrosiveness, the very ambitious concept and the overall sound amalgamation have never been of this quality and superior intensity. We are one of the most long running (1994-2012) and iconic metal exportations from the Portuguese soil thus we know in advance there is a lot of expectation towards this new release. Even so we are absolutely confident about the sophisticated extreme metal work we achieved as we pushed constantly our brand of extreme music to make the sound climb to new heights in terms of complexity and innovation. Those are things we could only dream about some years ago and that are definitively not available in the two previous efforts!

How have you grown as musicians and songwriters over the past 15 years or so?

ANTITHETICAL illustrates in reality the maximum improvement of our individual capacities as we speak. We work methodically always pushing the reason of our musical existence. Thus when we envision a problem or what’s left of it, we can easily outline and vanquish the obstacle. Through conscious efforts and the appropriate management of our capabilities, over the past years, all the obstacles have been exceeded. By working in mutual support and having the capability to listen, discuss and reach an unwavering synchronization, we have grown as persons and subsequently as musicians. This results in the event that we are celebrating the eighteenth year of existence of MALEVOLENCE, while still propelling ahead with the same consistency of thoughts and inner vital energy. To grow as songwriters we have been progressing morally, musically and intellectually without affecting the free forms of the art of expression. Many bands are acting petty and just with the ambition to attain the exterior success. We do not aspire to be superior in that sense. We just want to be able to understand the vital sense of trying to attain the superiority of our own capacities. I see us evolving as musicians and songwriters directly connected with following and letting flow our own instinct. We push systematically to excel our individual capacities, but by overcoming this as a result do not mean we are way higher or superior to the rest. On that level I guess we are all in reality at the superior capacity of our own individual firepower under the collective creature we transpire. To where we will progress from here remains to be seen…

What music do you find exciting right now?

On the past years I can objectively say I had quite a lot of unsatisfactory experiences in terms of being excited with a broad spectrum of music. Maybe this is directly linked with the possession of a music collection ascending to more than 3000 original albums. Nowadays and after twenty six (26) years following the scene the majority of the music that comes out since 2006 does not impress me at all. During 2006 only CELTIC FROST (MONOTHEIST) and TOOL (10.000 DAYS) made up my day. On 2007 PORCUPINE TREE (FEAR OF A BLANK PLANET) and CEPHALIC CARNAGE (XENOSAPIEN) saved the year. 2008 was terrible as I only got excited thought STEVEN WILSON (INSURGENTES). 2009 developed way better and KATATONIA (NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY), PORCUPINE TREE (THE INCIDENT) and MASTODON (CRACK THE SKYE) made it particularly awesome. Back in 2010 TRIPTYKON (EPARISTERA DAIMONES) propelled ahead and IMMOLATION, HAIL OF BULLETS and NEVERMORE adding up hoard the year. Last year THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT (DECONSTRUCTION) pushed the envelope and the reappearance of MORBID ANGEL and AUTOPSY were really outstanding no matter how much controversy got involved. LEPROUS (BILATERAL) and DECAPITATED (CARNIVAL IS FOREVER) closed 2011 on a higher note. Now as we are in 2012, against all odds, we have one of the most fertile metal years as the newest releases from MESHUGGAH, IHSAHN, CATTLE DECAPITATION, OSI, DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA, RUSH, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, CRYPTOPSY and DODECAHEDRON do not leave my stereo. It was refreshing to listen to KREATOR and TESTAMENT coming along with re-energized works full on total dedication and metal commitment. KATATONIA more recently did not impress that much, but they still did a very solid album.  DEAD CAN DANCE (ANASTASIS), poles apart from the metal perspective also affected my senses. Now I am looking forward for the upcoming and eleventh release from NEUROSIS to complete the year with overall amusement.

Has the band been playing live?  If so, what are the shows like?

We are committed to many additional endeavors besides music these days. Thus to play live has to be interesting and challenging in a way that compensates shutting down other activities to commit 100% to the live environment. It’s always huge when we have the chance to share the music we create with the audience and it turns even more interesting depending from the challenge the band receives. By personal option we made a one off live stage appearance during 2011 at the biggest summer festival in Portugal. We found this challenge interesting and we had the chance to share the stage with MORBID ANGEL, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT and IHSAHN. The show was amazing on all levels and we got a massive response from all the rabid fans that witnessed the occasion. By personal option and after this show, we have received quite a lot of proposals, but we have decided not to distract ourselves from finishing the album. After the release of the album we will consider the chance to return to the stages but we always prefer to propel and concentrate in playing at festivals or some selected live events than doing extreme exhausting tours playing in every corner. It’s not that we do not want to do it or do not want to commit to this kind of procedure. We can do it and we have an immense drive for such thing. But we as musicians want to be the most professional we can thus we need specific technical conditions to be able to reproduce our sound live for all our fans. There are many promoters interested in bringing MALEVOLENCE live around Portugal but most of the times they lack the means to an end.

What’s your favorite part of the new record?  What can your audience look forward to when they listen to your album?

ANTITHETICAL comes out as our most accurate conceptual album! Thus it’s just impossible to praise one particular fraction in detriment of another meaning the soundtrack functions as the sum of all parts. The character of our new recording resides on the overall sound amalgamation showcasing extremely mature, yet cutting songwriting skills performed by very talented musicians. We are all non-conformists thus ANTITHETICAL compared with the previous albums excels as one of the most volatile, ambitious and impossible to aptly categorize albums people will listen from us. The sonic proliferation constantly elevates on this innovative work making parallels to the extreme cinematic visual sensitivity. ANTITHETICAL will undoubtedly immerse the listener into experiences covering tremendous amounts of musical terrain.

For more Malevolence, check out their website at http://www.imalevolence.com/.