Think kismet always arrives with a stock soundtrack of orchestral strings or angelic choirs swelling in the background?
Case in point: One night, not so long ago, Iggor Cavalera laid down an old school black metal blast beat in his practice space. He brought it home on a sampler, and then, along with his power electronics partner in crime/Petbrick bandmate Wayne Adams, slowly began to add layers of synth noise and glitchy, chopped melodies. The resulting semi-controlled sonic chaos was killer as it stood, sure, but also clearly missing that transcendent element — that X-factor — to fully actualize the song.
Then came the epiphany: Call in fellow metal legend and longtime friend LG Petrov, the iconic voice of Entombed/Entombed A.D.
“LG was stoked on the idea for the same reason I was — no one would see it coming,” Cavalera tells Decibel. “Like me, he’s into experimental stuff and, more generally, just enjoys anything weird and not so commercial that pushes boundaries — I mean, Entombed has been proving that forever, from the death metal days to Wolverine Blues and beyond — but, while LG is someone I’ve always admired as both a great person and a forward-thinking artist, he’s not known for doing stuff in the breakcore or electronic scene. So, to me, that made it even more exciting and interesting to bring him in on something like this.”
Petrov, predictably, set the whole damn song on fire, raising the track — “Lonely Souls,” which you can check out below — to those empyrean extreme music heights.
It was only a few weeks later that Cavalera saw the news that Petrov had been diagnosed with incurable bile duct cancer — and quickly realized his friend already deep in the battle against the illness as he laid down the vocals for “Lonely Souls.”
“He’s such a warrior, man,” Cavalera marvels. “A true artist — not letting anything stop him from moving forward and expressing himself. It’s inspiring. And I started to think a lot about how if you love someone or love their art, it’s important to let them know and do things for them now. Because you never know. This life of ours, it’s short and it’s crazy. No tomorrow is guaranteed. You have to act now — in friendship, in art, in life, in everything.”
In that spirit — and summoning that aforementioned kismet — “Lonely Souls” arrives today as part of Petbrick’s Pet Sounds Vol.1 EP, with all profits from the EP and related merch bundles going directly to the GoFundMe set up to support Petrov during his treatment.
“I feel very fortunate to be in a position where I can do something to help a friend,” Cavalera says. “LG is going to bring a lot of strength to this fight. He’s in good spirits and has a great mindset. Very positive. But there are special challenges right now, obviously. It is important to support someone that has been in the scene for such a long time always, of course, but especially during this crazy moment where, like most musicians in the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to earn a living in the usual way for a long time. Luckily, this isn’t a situation where we’re doing a tribute thing when it’s already too late. As I said, we can help LG right now. Make a difference right now. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The record itself will also likely serve as something of a revelation for those on familiar with the Sepultura side of Cavalera’s art. But the divide, he points out, is not so great as some may presume.
“I totally think that energy-wise, power electronics and metal walk side by side, you know?” he says, citing his early experience with sampling and drum machines on the 1994 Nailbomb classic Point Blank as a watershed moment for him. “Some of this breakcore stuff, it’s as extreme as a grindcore band. So for me, it’s just different kinds of sonic aggression. Sometime I achieve that with a live band and sometimes by distorting and chopping and manipulating sounds into this whole other animal, which can be fun and very weird to people who never heard that kind of thing before. I mean, I’ve played this project for some friends who were like, ‘What the fuck is this? It sounds like the end of the world!’ And I have to say it’s quite a good feeling when I hear things like this.”
Speaking of “whole other animals,” the cover artwork of the EP is quite clever as well.
“It was funny because the name of the project is Petbrick I had a folder on my computer called ‘Pet Sounds’ and one day it hit me: ‘Holy shit, that’s one of the most famous records ever!'” Cavalera says. “So we decided to do a bit of a homage, dragging the Beach Boys into the dark world of heavy music with the goat and everything. Part of Petbrick is not taking ourselves too seriously. It’s something that we love, but also we have fun with it.”*
As excited as he is for people to hear the Petbrick material, however, Cavalera is eager throughout our conversation to circle back around to the friend he’s bonded with over riffs, beats, and innumerable football watching sessions.
“If you’ve ever seen an interview with LG, you know how much of a cool and thoughtful guy he is,” Cavalera says. “That’s him. He’s not playing a character. He’s just a very passionate and transparent guy who loves his music, loves metal, and is exactly the kind of person you want to have around when you’re creating or touring or even just watching a football game. I’m glad he’s in my life and I want him to stay there.”
* The band’s name, in fact, is a nod to an actual pet brick from a British television series…