A nightmare conceived of the darkest cosmos, Bloodsoaked Necrovoid’s debut full-length, ‘Expelled Into The Unknown Depths Of The Unfathomable’, is a sick and twisted offering of eerie, lumbering Death / Doom, paying homage to the old school but imbued with a unique identity all of its own. As the album’s impending arrival looms ever more ominously on the horizon, I spoke to guitarist / vocalist Federico about the perpetual quest for meaning, being consumed by the unfolding unknown, those impossibly labyrinthine song titles, working with Iron Bonehead Productions and coping with the coronavirus crisis in Costa Rica.
A terrifying sense of cosmic dread and horror permeates Bloodsoaked Necrovoid’s music. Who knows what nightmares skulk within the unimaginable vastness of interstellar space? Although, to be fair, anything that exists out there in the unknown universe, beyond our comfort zone, is unlikely to be more insidious, corrupt or destructive than what we have here on Earth?
“First off, thanks for dedicating a space on your site to support our band. If you follow the concepts that everything has a counterpart in nature, meaning that which is above corresponds to that which is below, one can think that whatever we encounter in this landscape, whatever barbarism or beauty, has its equal in the deep beyond. The difference might lie in new ways to experience it, which are unknown to our perception, and that in itself is haunting enough.”
An inexorable, nightmare plunge towards nothingness, your debut full-length, ‘Expelled Into The Unknown Depths Of The Unfathomable’ emits monumental anxiety, terror and suffering, with no light or hope in sight. It’s an exercise in utter darkness where the transcendental path brings the listener towards the bleakest destination: death and emptiness. Does your music reflect a singularly negative and nihilistic personal outlook? Is there any hope for humanity?
“We started the band to sort of pay tribute to our old school influences, creating crushing and slow music and trying to give a fresh perspective to it. Truth is, we really didn’t set ourselves a goal or target to make our music the way people refer to its style of claustrophobic and anxious, it just spontaneously developed like that when we got together and started playing around. Now we have just embraced that and continue down this path. I’m positive too that we use this band as an escape or cathartic way of offloading what we go through every day as human beings and it probably is an extension of that – the suffering of being trapped in flesh, the agony to have to be subjected to a consciousness and the bleakness and empty purpose that being alive represents – so if it comes across as nihilistic or negative or if it emanates or creates anxiety, it’s probably because of that, which also means it’s serving the right purpose.”
While there is certainly variety and dynamism injected into the songs, for the most part, they are slow-ish and crushing, harrowingly abyssal, the restrained, lumbering pace emphasising the immense weight of a warped monolithic, claustrophobic (sur)reality. When the tempo increases – such as in the middle section of ‘Viciously Consumed By The Unfolding Unknown’ and again on ‘Inescapable Transference Of Profane Malignity’ – things become chaotic and scornful (the drumming being particularly schizophrenic), with madness never far from the surface. Are the songs as spontaneous as they appear to be or has a lot of planning gone into structuring each one?
“Thanks for those comments! We do utilise a process of crafting and structuring. We try to compose in phases, first guitars and riffs and then curate them and make them stand on their own. Once that’s done, the drums come in to try and form a solid amalgam between both, this is where it takes more time since we try to put songs together well in terms of tempo, rounds and structure and whether we need to get a riff off or change the beat on the drums. It helps to have Jose (drums) write riffs too, so there’s a collaboration on that part as well between both, so that allows him to picture a better structure rhythmically speaking and he always tries to give a special approach to how drums work in this genre. I think that’s what you feel about it being ‘schizophrenic’, perhaps? Then, at the end, lyrics come in and we try to fit them as best they can, leaving space also to just feel a riff or add a texture in a specific section. A couple of songs on the album did occur spontaneously, though, listening to some records and singling out sick and crushing sections prior to jamming together. It’s a different approach but ultimately gets dissected as well and calcinated into a definite shape. But also I think that what’s been a key tenet for us is to try and keep things minimalistic and simple as much as we can in all aspects so we can have this pure, brutal, uncompromising, more loose and organic music come out, or at least we like to think it does…”
Mankind is a curious species and has spent millennia unsuccessfully trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe. The reality is that we haven’t even got close to achieving any greater understanding of anything. In fact, I would suggest that most of us don’t even understand what is happening within our own households – or our own minds! – let alone have the capacity to comprehend the cosmos… The answer appears to be that there are no answers. Should we therefore stop seeking answers that we are unlikely to find and focus on just living through this nightmare as best we can?
“Everything ends in death. Finding meaning beyond that fact, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, human beings have been constantly at it since forever, but it’s unlikely you’ll find any answers; obviously, there is a collective agony at the frightening mystery or unstoppable certainty that there is nothing out there, that this might be it or that, maybe, what’s after death or deep in the dark cosmos is actually a more horrible nightmare than what we live through during our time in this plane … it might even be all just a vicious hallucination. With all the suffering, pain and emotional agony we’ve to endure on the journey, it’s better to find something that brings you joy and just do that over and over again to the best of your abilities until you’re gone, in every aspect of your life and interactions. And, simultaneously, certainly, it’s more productive (and will nourish your mind and soul) to find meaning inside and get to know yourself than overthinking and dwelling in existential thoughts that will leave you bereft of answers.”
To my ears, Bloodsoaked Necrovoid is Death Metal first and foremost (Coffins, Anatomia, Spectral Voice and Encoffination are some possible influences that come to mind), born in cosmic catacombs, cavernous and reverberating. But I also detect some Black Metal and Doom influences in there. Do you draw inspiration from all three subgenres, and perhaps even others? Or do you compose music organically, with complete artistic freedom and unmindful of outside influences?
“At this point, everything has already been invented or done, there is no originality anymore … we have passed that era. When we write our music we go straight to ‘90s old school Death / Doom bands that we worship such as Eternal Darkness, diSEMBOWELMENT, Incantation, Autopsy, Cianide, Winter, Rippikoulu, Morgion among other classic recordings, for inspiration and try to pay tribute as best as we can; we’re happy living there. As for providing a new angle to what has already been established, we obviously try (so that we don’t end up as complete rip offs) but we know how difficult and pointless this task is. We commit, still, to roll the rock up the mountain. Taking influences outside Death Metal? We do, we try as much as we can to blend and not compromise the style of music we’re going for so that a new fresh perspective to the already-established blueprint of the genre can be materialized. We have in past projects or bands dwelled in progressive music, Black Metal / avant garde, noise and atmospheric music (dark ambient, soundscapes, minimalistic stuff) so those styles may cross over at some point in the music and instrumental approach and leave little hints of it coming out. It’s inevitable to carry those influences over in your mind and style, but again, our focus and inspiration comes predominantly from ‘90s OSDM bands.”
You have a predilection for long, complex, labyrinthine song titles, somewhat reminiscent of artists like Carcass or Inquisition, where the names of the songs are works of impressive verbose gymnastics and wacky wordsmithery. Each painting a vivid picture, ‘Perverted Astral Intoxication For A Death Incarnation’ and ‘Existential Dismemberment By A Transcendental Nothingness’ are two of my personal favourites from the equally-loquacious debut album, although I must confess I can’t actually remember any of them without having to look them up! I imagine it’s quite challenging coming up with these song titles – what is it about this approach that appeals to you?
“I think that these long song titles or album titles add a texture to the whole picture we’re trying to paint. Everything must count when creating music – from the instruments to the lyrics and the titles – in trying to get your purpose out, which in our case is to depict very brutal uneasy images and things that you can’t really grasp or fathom or escape. So, we use it to set a mood and to try and sink the listener into that spectrum or scenery that combined with the music can shock you into whatever emotion, that’s the main purpose of listening to music and we want to make that experience as extreme as we are able to.”
I noticed that Bloodsoaked Necrovoid has no social media presence. While it can be a useful promotional tool, there is something intrinsically hideous about the follow-me, like-me, fuck-you social media culture. Is this something you intend to avoid or could you see a time coming when you embrace Facebook or Instagram – with all their sickening attributes – as a means of getting information out to those who might be interested? And perhaps selling a few more records?
“No, we don’t have any social media accounts, although we’ve been aware of this fan page on Facebook, which is kinda crazy that someone would go on and build a fan page for the band. Anyways, our perspective is that it’s a distraction from our work; you’re supposed to spend time practising / rehearsing and coming up with riffs or melodies or drum sections or what have you, and worrying about that and that alone, as opposed to stressing about whether you need to upload a picture or see how many people like you or follow you and that ultimately may wind up taking your focus away from what’s important … we don’t need that noise. We have our own personal accounts and if any of us want to post something about the band, we do and that’s that but there’s no obligation or urgency to reach anybody or to let people know our every move. In terms of promotion, we work with a label and they have their promoting tools. If we’re going off on tour in a different country, we’ll work with a booking agent or promoter and they’ll have their own tools to do so. So, really, there is no need for us to have any account for the band. This is our point of view – of course, some other bands may find it useful and that’s okay, I can understand the pros, but we try to do this differently.”
Speaking of records, Iron Bonehead Productions is releasing the full-length and also handled the very satisfying vinyl edition of ‘The Apocryphal Paths Of The Ancient 8th Vitriolic Transcendence’, which collated your two demos onto opposite sides of a rather magnificent record, with mastering from none other than renowned sound engineer Phil Kusabs of Vassafor. How did your relationship with Iron Bonehead begin and how much of an honour is it to be working with such a prestigious, experienced and high-quality label?
“Patrick reached out after the two demos came out late 2018 through Caligari Records and offered to put out a compilation on 12” and we immediately agreed. It’s great and surreal for a band like us from a place like Costa Rica to be working and collaborating with IBP – a label that personally for us is immensely respected in the extreme metal underground and that we have followed and supported for a long time. Patrick is a solid and supportive guy, does not compromise on anything and we appreciate that. We hope to continue that collaboration between band and label.”
This virus has totally fucked things up for everyone. At the height of the first wave, Costa Rica completely shut down its air, sea and land borders. I bet you never thought you’d live through such strange times! What’s the situation like there now? Has the virus been suppressed in the community? I believe you are allowing tourists in from the United States again and may reopen your land borders again soon. Do you support these policies? Everything seems to carry an element of risk now and it’s difficult to find the balance between protecting economies and preserving health…
“It’s has been quite a shock, it really has. I think no one was prepared for this and the world’s governments, aside from New Zealand, have let their people down managing the crisis. We haven’t suppressed it at the minute, new records are set every day for infected people and deaths due to corona. We managed to contain it in the first couple of months but then our government gave in to the bullying and lobbying of big businesses that have our country sequestered for their financial gain and loosened up the sanitary restrictions; and because we have been forced for decades by our own elite neoliberal rich and political class to succumb and base our economy on tourism and services, we’re now letting folks in to boost tourism and get some cash or else we’ll crash as a country. Thing is, letting people in from other countries, where the outbreak has hit worst, it’s irresponsible … but capitalism and economy worship must prevail, even at the expense of our own vulnerable people. For me, saving lives and providing medical assistance and safety to the population is more important than saving this dying rotting economy, but we need to adjust and try to take care of each other as much as we can … private companies and billionaires aren’t going to come and save us.”
Live gigs are out the window for the foreseeable. Does it concern you that life as we knew it might never return and concerts could be a thing of the past? I’m assuming it’s a massive disappointment that you can’t play any gigs to coincide with the release of ‘Expelled Into The Unknown Depths Of The Unfathomable’? You did a livestream online in July (Sonic Unrest Volume 2), which is available to view on YouTube. It’s really fantastic, actually. What can you tell me about that? Obviously no substitute for the real thing but still a worthwhile experience, I’m sure?
“Yes and no, the thing is we don’t have that many shows in Costa Rica … we’re such a small country that having a show every week (or every month) is super redundant since only in the main area of the country you get to do shows and there’s like two or three venues that allow that. You end up playing every time in the same bar or venue to the same people over and over, so it’s pointless. We try to have one or two solid shows a year; so you can understand that not having any shows in 2020 is not that big a deal for us. However, rehearsing and recording not happening or being intermittent … that has been a blow because it has slowed us down with any plans we had for the future since here rehearsing spaces are shared and billed by the hour and because of sanitary measures they have to remain closed. Same goes for recording studios, it’s been hard. Anyhow, it’s been exhausting and frustrating but we’re trying to stay positive and adapt. Then, on the other hand, we had probably the most busy and exciting year of our lives in 2020: we were supposed to play Total Death Over Mexico (Mexico City) in March with Astriferous and then in May we was going to do a ten-show tour in the US East Coast with both Bloodsoaked Necrovoid and Astriferous, which none of us had ever done and only dreamt about, and finally, in September, we were due to fly over to Denmark and play again with both bands on the mighty Killtown Deathfest, all while both bands released new stuff ……but then corona happened. We got lucky to do the fest in Mexico City with Astriferous but everything else was postponed or cancelled. To have that so violently taken away from us was really disappointing and underwhelming, especially when you don’t know when shows are going to be allowed again in the world, let alone have a space again to set up a tour in the US or Europe, but we try to shake that feeling off, be patient, be positive, focus on our projects and wait for the next opportunity. The Cvlt Nation Live thing was awesome and fun to do but also hard as well since we needed to record three sets for the three bands from Harmful Existence Productions’ showcase and we had an early curfew to abide by so there was a lot of hustling and running, but we managed and it turned out really sick. It was weird to have all that gear set up to play in front of no one, but it was fun. I think it’s a great way to still get live performances from bands and it’s obviously not the same as the real thing, but at least it’s a well-deserved distraction or escape from what’s going on out there and all its intoxicating negativity.”