SEMBLANT is something different at the Frontiers label as the Brazilians are giving us a shock to the system. Sergio 'Cookie Monster' Mazul came through my loud speakers with powerful growls, and the clean female vocalist Mizuho Lin provide the opposite side and end up at the very centre of attention. Their third album, Obscura, takes catchy riffage of Neo-classical and symphonic acts and sets it aside a stylistic range that combines a meaningful grasp of female fronted 'Goth' and atmospheric horror and excellent growls. Sure. Something like "Wallachia" might just include too many growls for the average melodic fan. However. It's all very nicely done and I'd like to think of it as watching the great horror flick. It fits the concept as well as the story of the lord of the shadows. They are one of the most exciting acts out of Brazil as of lately. Find out more about the album and band. Here's their main songwriter and guitarist: JULIANO RIBEIRO...
First question. What's the story behind the moniker of Semblant?
Juliano Ribeiro: “Semblant”, in its definition, means the look on someone’s face. With a simple look, we are able to understand so much of what a person is going through, their feelings, from sadness to anger, joy or pain. Basically with the band our main goal is to be able to capture all of those feeling as well. This is the concept behind the band’s name.
Your album is entitled 'Obscura' can you explain the meaning and concept?
Juliano: There’s not really a concept behind the title. It just represents perfectly the dark and obscure times we were going through during the making of the album. “Obscura” was created while the band was facing a number of situations that did not contribute for a good atmosphere, from band members personal issues to problems with our former label and cancelled tours. All of those things had an effect on our music and the album is a result of it all.
Kindly tell us something about the writing process and what you're trying to capture on the record.
Juliano: As I mentioned before, this album was created during troubled times for the band, so most of the songs are a reflection of everything that was going on with the band in the last couple years. Those songs were really important for us to get rid of the things we were feeling during that time. The writing process was complicated at first, because it was hard to get everybody on the same page to write a new record, but after it happened, it was great to see how involved each band member was. Some of the songs from the new album, like “Dethrone the Gods, Control the Masters”, were created during jam sessions and that was something new for us.
What inspired you to compose 'Murder Of Crows'? It's a rather bleak and dark story?
Juliano: “Murder of Crows” is a metaphor for envy and how sometimes people try to bring down those who are able to achieve the things they want. When our band started getting some attention after our previous album, it was clear to see that people, especially those closer to us, were paying close attention to our every move, waiting for the moment we would crumble and fall. It was loosely inspired by an old English tale of three crows and a dead knight, where the crows are making their plans on how to devour the corpse.
What kind of input did record company/friends/family have during the process?
Juliano: No input at all. No disrespect to any of those inputs, but as a band the opinions that matter most are those of each band member. We signed our deal with Frontiers after the album was finished so they had no input during the process.
Have you always been intrigued by the idea of female vs. male vocals?
Juliano: It was always part of the band’s concept. Semblant is supposed to be a band where the female and male vocals are combined and, as a songwriter, it definitely gives me a wider spectrum of possibilities for our music.
How important is album artcover? Are you pleased with the artwork?
Juliano: The album artwork is extremely important for us. The artwork for “Obscura” was created by Carlos Fides, the same artist that worked on our previous album “Lunar Manifesto”. We actually had the album artcover done before finishing the record, so it really helped us in finding the tone and atmosphere we wanted for the album.
Are you really the "Melodic death metal" band or simply just melodic/symphonic metal with a growler?
Juliano: Neither of those options really define the band. We definitely have elements from Melodic Death Metal and many other music genres, but it is hard to put a proper definition to our sound in only one of the options. Every song goes in a different direction.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Juliano: There are too many to mention, but when it comes to Metal, Alexi Laiho, Michael Amott and Peter Tagtgren are really big heroes of mine. Their music helped shaping what I am today. But I’m also really influenced by musicians outside Metal like Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams, Paul McCartney and many others.
I would like to say thanks to everyone that has been following Semblant during the last few years. It means a lot to us and I hope we are able to play for you all really soon. Cheers! Juliano Ribeiro
Interview by: Urban Wally Wallstrom /RockUnited.com
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