VULCANO is one of the most important and representative bands from the mighty and prolific Brazilian scene. They have been unleashing aggressive metal since 1981. They have just released their 10th full-length “Wholly Wicked” and two more releases will follow soon! Founding member, guitarist Zhema kindly answered a few questions about the band´s past and recent activities. "Os portais do inferno se abrem, para vocês…"
Hi Zema, how are you? You have been playing gigs and working on the new album, celebrating 30 years of Vulcano, am I right?
We are finish a short tour through South América and preparing for the fourth European tour that starts in October 03 in Sweden. By the other hand, the newest album "Wholly Wicked" just released and we have more two releasing for next months, a live album recorded in Stockholm and an EP titled "The Awakening of an Ancient and Wicked Soul"
Please tell me about the new album “Wholly Wicked”, the concept, the artwork and lyrical meaning.
“Wholly Wicked”, is a intense album and its themes is about all the evil that is behind the revealed religions. The god of those religions is very, very evil, he's always asking for your submission and launching curses, plagues and sponsoring coward wars, etc. The lyrics and the cover concept speak for themselves. Pay attention in evil eyes of the priest.
The jews, speaks of three “books” that are opened on Rosh Hashanah: “one for the wholly righteous, one for the wholly wicked, and for the beynonim, the ‘in-between. The wholly righteous are at once inscribed and sealed in the book of life; the "Wholly Wicked" are at once inscribed and sealed in the book of death; and the beynonim, the ‘in-between,’ are held suspended from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur.
In this context, our album puts everyone in the same book, 'cause god hate us all.
What is your favourite song of the album and why?
It's hard to choose 'cause each song in that album has its own properties mixed between music and lyrics, but like I need answer you I'll choose two, "Malevolent Mind" by its lyric and "Wholly Wicked" by both, music and lyric.
Would you say that “Wholly Wicked” keeps the style and sound of your previous album “The Man The Key The Beast?
I think so, 'cause between Those two albums does hasn't 12 months. In some ways "Wholly Wicked" is a sequel of "The Man ...". It has the same path in the elementary, but the final result is different.
Regarding that album, please tell me about the song “Blood and Champagne”…
This song talks about how idiots and ignorants are the manipulated. Deals with the great wars and bloody battles are decided in the halls of the most luxurious hotels under toasts with champagne and Cuban cigars.
While radical, religious idiots and losers soldiers fight in the war ensemble, the powerful owner of the money toasting with champagne.
Is it important to Vulcano to keep away from “modern” sounds and keep the roots and spirit of your early days? Vulcano = Old-school metal?
VULCANO always will be old school metal, 'cause we are older guys and totally into the 80's. I have this kind of metal music running in my vein, so it's impossible for me to write a song different of that!
One of your next releases will be a live album, “Vulcano live II”, please tell me which songs will include and why did you decide to recorded it in Stockholm.
"Live II" will featuring with 15 songs. We didn't plan this album, it happened!
The promoter of the gig in Stockholm Fredrik Svensson recorded the entire show and some months after he sent me those stuff. When I listened, wow! It's great!!!
So, I decided to do an official album, believe me, you all will enjoy the gig like you were there! The track list are: Side one "The Man, the Key, the Beast"-"Church at a Crossroads"-"Dominions of Death"-"Ready to Explode"-"The Signals"-"Awash in Blood"-"Devil’s Forces"-"Death Metal", Side two "Witches’ Sabbath"-"Bloody Vengeance"-"Gates of Iron"-"The evil Always Returns"-"Total Destruição"-"Guerreiros de Satã"-"Legiões Satánicas". It’ll be released just in vinyl format limited 500 copies.
Almost 30 years difference between “Live II” and your live album debut, what are your memories concerning that show? How were the reactions back then? as it is quite unusual that a band release a live album as a first official recording.
I can remember clearly about that day in August of 1985.
In the Americana city, a town two hours from São Paulo the night was perfect. Around 1.000 people waiting for show. The band invited to open act called "Agnes" played "Black Sabbath" covers and when VULCANO appeared on stage, the fans screaming Vulcano, Vulcano... Angel improvised the most famous frase of VULCANO... "Os portais do inferno se abrem, para vocês, agora, Vulcano" from that moment on only crazy metalheads banging !!!
I resolved to do a live album 'cause Vulcano never get to play in the main scene in São Paulo, so it was necessary to show for São Paulo like Vulcano sounds live.
What were the bands that inspired your style back then?
Black Sabbath and Motorhead were the bands that inspired our songs.
In the beginning we try to mix the occult and heavy atmosphere of Black Sabbath with the "rock"of Motorhead. Maybe we didn't get, but we tried!
What did you feel to share scene with bands like Sarcófago Sepultura Dorsal Atlantica, Mutilator, Mystifier Sexthrash…what were your feelings about the quality energy and darkness that all those bands showed to the world?
Those bands and others too, in its time formed the front line of the Brazilian Metal Scene. All had potential to be representing our country as equals in Europe and the rest of the world, but we were trapped inside our own country for some incomprehensible reason. Only many years later we get to out to do gigs outside of our country, and some bands broken without getting it! Shame! Just Sepultura, incomprehensible!
Bloody vengeance is seen by many as a cult album and a source of inspiration, what are your feelings towards the album nowadays?
I like very much of this album. It showed me like the simple songs with poor production can be strong and powerful, since you put your heart, fist, will, sweat and honesty.
I think like the fans, great album!
What are your memories from the rehearsal, did you have a special vibe while you were playing and rehearsing those songs?
Our rehearsal were a special party, we spent many hours rehearsing and talking about metal. We did it in my garage every night. The walls were covered with large sheets of white paper where we wrote the lyrics of the songs to do not forget them and the temperature inside the garage threshold of 40°C.
On the albums “anthropophagy” “Who are the true? and “Ratrace” you decided to change your style, why did you follow that direction and why did the band split after Ratrace?
In fact, the band broke into "Who Are the True?"
Late 80s everything was very confused here and we decided to do this album to mock this scene. We did a few gigs in 1988 and so we stopped. In 1990 at the request of Metalcore we did the "Ratrace" but without any pretension.
About "Anthropophagy" the different style comes from the changing the line up.
What did you do in the meantime since VULCANO's Split?
We went to university and we take care of our families. Arthur "Von Barbarian" created his music school, Angel his tattoo studio, Fernando Levine graduated teacher and about me, engineer.
On the other hand we also continued in music, for example I was part of a band called "Talavera" which was a Heavy Metal in the style of "Black Sabbath"
Tales From The Black Book was the comeback album in 2004, was it difficult to be back on the “business” more than a decade later?
I do not think so, because VULCANO always ran parallel to the "staus quo" prevailing.
I decided to do a new and inedit album, I wrote the songs, went into the studio and recorded it. Months later released the album and we re-present us to the fans.
Why did Angel left the band?, are you still in touch with him?
He had other priorities in his life at that time and he could not stay with us, touring, doing gigs, etc. So he asked to leave. Certainly, we have close contact with him. He lives near from me and we always talk and I always see him in metal shows in our area.
In retrospect, how do you see your career being the only original member and keeping the band alive for so long?
I must to say that I'm not only member since the beginning 'cause Arthur "von barbarian" is with me since 1987 and recorded eight albums, so we are two original members.
I'm feel comfortable nowadays 'cause I'm able to do exactly what I want to do.
How is the current scene in Brazil?
Good scene, but a enormous range of style of metal music, thus I remain into the old style metal bands and this scene is running very well, great bands, many gigs!
What do you thing about the music of nowadays Sepultura and Cavalera Conspiracy?
I do not like this kind of music, in fact I never enjoyed since the days of Metallica and Testament. Sepultura and the Cavalera brothers are great people and musicians, but I don't like the style of their music.
Is there a special gig among all throughout your career, that you remember in a different way for one or other reason?
None special! I remember the good shows, whatever it is, and always the most recent shows are the best for me, for example I have just returned from Chile and were great gigs!
You will release an EP soon, can you unveil details about it?
"The Awakening of an Ancient and Wicked Soul" is something like a soundtrack to a book. Actually three interconnected texts by the same subject which were set to music according to their proposals. This EP has different arrangements exploring tritone intervals both chords as the voices of the instruments and keeping in the same vein as "Wholly Wicked" mixed with sounds that influenced me as a guitarist.
What´s the strangest place and the most shocking place you have been?
In Italy we played in a student center that is built in the middle of two roads and looks more like a watchtower than anything else and the gig needs to happen in two parts 'cause the place is just for 30 people in maximum. Strange!
Thanks for your time, please end this interview in a way you want…
Thanks for the opportunity to present VULCANO speaking about old topics and new ones, also grateful to readers for taking the time to read this interview!
Keep Banging !!!!
Stream "Wholy Wicked" in its entirety at VULCANO´s official homepage!!!
Stream "Wholy Wicked" in its entirety at VULCANO´s official homepage!!!