We all love metal music, and if you don’t and you’re reading this please let me know why in the comments below. It comes from every corner of the world and every genre has its own unique brand of heavy, each attracting its own legion of rabid fans and dissenters. Blending a couple genres together to come up with something fresh has been and always will be a hallmark of young bands trying to make a name for themselves. More often than not, though, that approach leads to albums that feel disjointed and meandering.
Lendas Baixo o Luar, the debut LP from Lóstregos, is not one of those albums. Every now and then a band comes along and does something truly unique and cohesive - that’s what we have here. There is no metal genre that isn’t touched upon in this album to some extent. And the way the band put it all together makes for one of the most interesting and engaging albums I have heard in a long time. It’s not very often that a black metal album has me throwing a foot up on my table for the best possible air guitar stance, but this album had me doing it unconsciously and constantly. Now I know some of you may think you’re too cool to get your air guitar on, and that’s fine - there’s also plenty of nasty black metal and brain smashing extremity to Lendas Baixo o Luar.
I had the chance to chat with the band about how they got into metal, cultural identity, and putting out physical music in a digital world.
Indy Metal Vault: There is a pretty significant change in the sound from the Alzamento no Norte EP, to your debut LP, Lendas Baixo o Luar. What do you attribute that to? Was it the addition of new members? Was that the sound the band had always been shooting for or was it something that you decided to do post-Norte?
Lóstregos: Cheers from Galiza!
Alzamento no Norte was recorded in our practice room with little recording gear and only I.V. on vocals and guitars and Lb. on bass, drums, and vocals. With Lendas Baixo o Luar, the band is complete and the recording sessions were in a professional studio (Treboada Studio in A Coruña, Galiza). Obviously the addition of Y.I.V. and K. on lead guitars and drums respectively gave to the band the sound and personality that it needed. More guitar solos, melodies, guitar harmonies, and drums arrangements. We are really happy with the final result.
IMV: The musical influences on this record seem to be endless. Going back in a time a bit, how old were you and how did you discover heavy music? What were some of the first metal bands you really got into?
Lóstregos: We discovered Heavy Metal music at around 14-15 years old, I guess. The first bands we heard and that were really special for us I think would be Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Guns ‘N Roses, Pink Floyd, Metallica (first three albums), Running Wild, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Manowar, old Blind Guardian stuff, old Helloween stuff. And at the same time we discovered some “mainstream” Pagan Metal bands like Heidevolk, Månegarm, Ensiferum, Eluveitie. If you add the passage of years then you would be adding all the early and mid 90’s Black/Pagan Metal scene of Bathory, Darkthrone, Ulver, Burzum, Dissection, Windir, Falkenbach, Emperor, old Satyricon, Mayhem… there you have what we are nowadays.
Fifteen years later we’re still the same idiots that bang our heads with these bands. Old shit always will be the best shit!
IMV: Lendas is a killer guitar album in a genre not necessarily known for guitar albums. Was it a conscious decision during the songwriting process to push against that and include so many wonderful solos in the songs, or was that something that arose organically based on your personalities as musicians?
Lóstregos: We never put limits on ourselves, we are a really open-minded band beyond the black metal musical standards but always with musical coherence. We let the music and the ideas flow and we try to put it together, as I said, with coherence and always knowing that we are a black metal band.
IMV: Black metal has a history of reflecting the culture and environment its members originate from. From your point of view, what makes Spanish black metal uniquely Spanish? What differentiates it from other black metal coming out of Europe?
Lóstregos: Well, to be honest we do not identify with the label “Spanish.” We identify with the personal label “Gallaecian.” We are from Galiza, the land we were born and the land on which we live (Northwestern part of Iberian Peninsula), which has our own ancestral culture, language, and recognized geographical area. We sing our songs in Galician and we talk in our lyrics about stories, tales and mythologies of Galiza. I don’t know what’s the thing that make Spanish Black Metal “exclusive,” but Galiza is a land which has really good bands of that music style like Balmog, Marthyrium, Sartegos, Xerión, Dioivo. I think that our own personality, the weather we have (the rain, gray skies) and traditions make this special.
IMV: I love the use of classical instruments and the operatic vocals. What is your relationship to classical music and opera?
Lóstregos: We love a lot musical styles, of course. We like classical music. Everything comes from it, and it’s always a pleasure to listen to and learn it. Although we love classical instruments and other styles, personally we really love folk music. We are really lucky because in Galiza we have one of the most important festivals in this genre, the International Celtic World Festival in Ortigueira, a small village in the North of our land, and always it’s a must go for us.
Also, two of our members are jazz students, and they are fuckin’ freaks indeed for that music, and 70’s Progressive and Psychedelic Rock. As you can see, we don’t just feed our musical appetite with metal music.
IMV: Maybe it’s just my radar changing but it seems like I have been seeing a lot of top notch bands coming out of Spain recently. What is the black metal and overall extreme metal scene like there?
Lóstregos: There are cool bands in Iberian Península we like. Bands I could name… Nakkiga, Helde, Womb, Looking For An Answer, Atrexial, Graveyard, Convulsions, Lux Divina, Nashgul, Ataraxy, Pestkraft, Körgull (The Exterminator), La Hija del Carroñero…
IMV: Darkwoods, a Spanish label, is going to be putting out out the CD version of the album and Fólkvangr Records the cassette version. How did you end up working with Fólkvangr over here in the US?
Lóstregos: Correction, the CD will be release through two Spanish labels, Darkwoods and Damnatio Ad Bestias.
We saw some releases on Fólkvangr Records through internet media, and to be honest, we really liked some of them. We contacted Mark, and when we showed him the album he did not hesitate in making the cassette release. We can say that the Lóstregos/Fólkvangr relationship works and fits perfectly.
IMV: What is that like working with two different labels for different physical versions?
Lóstregos: We understand each other perfecty. We worked in the past with Damnatio Ad Bestias. who released our first EP Alzamento no Norte and the results and their professionalism couldn’t be better. We are pretty sure that with the new brothers in blood Darkwoods and Fólkvangr, Lendas Baixo o Luar will kick some asses!
Lendas Baixo o Luar will be available on November 1 via Fólkvangr Records.