Interview with Raphael Olmos and Isabela Moraes of Kamala

Interview with Raphael Olmos and Isabela Moraes of Kamala
By Victor Augusto

Hi everyone, it’s Rick,

Our man in Brazil, Victor, recently got the chance to interview Brazilian Thrash Metallers Kamala! It’s about time that some of these hardworking and very professional bands got a chance to shine outside of their homeland, and in Kamala’s case, Mainland Europe is starting to take notice. I shall now hand you over to Victor and would like to thank, not only him, but Raphael and Isabela for this interview

Keeping a Heavy Metal band alive demands a lot of work and struggle, especially in countries where this genre is not a popular one, and this work in very honorable. Against all the odds, Brazilian Thrash Metal band Kamala, after 17 years on road, has been growing fast in the last few years, especially in Europe. Their singer/guitarist Raphael Olmos, along with drummer Isabela Moraes, explain how they conquered it and the next step for their upcoming album.

Victor: Please. Introduce yourself and tell us when you started to play your instruments and what made you want to create Kamala.

Isabela: Hi, I am Isabela Moraes, drummer for almost 14 years. I have loved this instrument since childhood, because I have a cousin that plays drums too, but I started to learn properly at 15 years old, when my older sister gave me my first drumsticks.

Raphael: Hey, I am Raphael Olmos, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Kamala.

I started to play when I was 13 years old, after watch the VHS “…a year and a half” by Metallica, I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician when I was 15/16 years old.

And I created Kamala when I was 18 years old…to make the music and the band that I wanted to listen to as a metalhead.

Victor: Since the early days, Kamala showed a different concept, when playing Thrash Metal. The Oriental visuals and sounds have been present in your music since that time. Why did you create this concept for the band?

Raphael: Kamala was born in 2003, and when I created, I wanted to make a band that mixed the heaviness and the energy of metal, with beautiful oriental visuals and melodies…and positive lyrics.

The world is already too negative, and as an artist, when we release a song or an album, we have the responsibility for each person that is connected with the band… I am not talking about religion but, for me, the oriental culture influence is more about the energy stuff, and it is really something that I admire.

Victor: In 2012, Kamala released the third, and the bands last album, with two guitar players in the line-up, “The Seven Deadly Chakras”, and since “Mantra” album (2015); you are in a trio formation. What has been the biggest change in Kamala’s sonority?

Raphael: The biggest change for me, is the way we turned more thrash metal, and more organic. The string tuning turned from drop B to drop D, and the riffs was more ‘IN YOUR FACE! As a trio, we wanted to create something that we can play live, so we need to be better musicians and explore within ourselves the most intricate (that is possible to us) playing, whilst maintaining a strong presence on stage.

Victor: It is rare to find underground bands really fighting to be professional or that want to have a life on road. It demands that the members give up their regular jobs, and live far from family and friends, and you have been on this path since 2014, when the line-up changed to a power trio. How hard was it to find people like Allan Malavasi and Isabela Moraes that had the same desire to make Kamala a famous band?

Raphael: We still have side jobs, but the main point is the band, because the band is getting bigger and bigger, and we need to make more international tours, for example, to spend more time on the road…and a band like us, needs to have all the members with the same objective, to make that happen. Many people wish to live by playing music, but they don’t live for the music, you know. Playing well, is the minimum thing to have as a professional band, but there are many others points to look out for when you share your time and energy with other musicians.

Victor: Kamala has been touring a lot in Europe since the “Mantra” album. Nowadays, you often have more concerts scheduled in Europe than in Brazil. How did the band conquer this space in Europe?

Isabela: I think this happens because we have frequent release of new material, so this creates some expectations to watch the band in action and this opens some doors to showcase our work. We always try to be the most professional that we can in all stages of our jobs within the band. For example, on every tour, we make a specific set-list presentation for every single gig, all the things that we need to speak and songs that we will play in a 40 min, 60 min or 90 min set. We try to be always prepared for any situation on stage…

Victor: From all the countries you play in Europe, France is the one that has showed a true passion for the band. I remember in 2018, when you released your last studio album “Eyes of Creation”, some journalists, who were working at Hellfest, said that they lost the count of how many people they saw wearing Kamala t-shirts in the crowd. Do you know why Kamala became so huge in France?

Raphael: Yeahhh, this is fucking amazing! No, we never expected to be so big in France, and on our first European tour, in 2013, the crowd was a little “cold”…but we returned in 2015 and, since then, we fell in love with France and the French people with our art! Every European tour, we play in France, and in 2016 we made a full French tour…playing every type of gig that you can imagine, and the energy is always AWESOME!

Victor: Recently, some endorsements have appeared and you, Raphael, have become part of the Solar guitars (Sweden) and Evertune (USA) family. How did it happen, and do you think the fact that the band has been playing a lot outside of Brazil helped with the endorsement deals?

Raphael: For sure, being in a Brazilian band, that is constantly touring outside Brazil, helped to open the “eyes and ears” of both brands.

So, besides really good visual stuff, a band with a lot of shows per year and good social media numbers is important and all those points I think were important to brands that I dreamed of and loved. It turns out that these are the brands that trust and believe in my art and work. It is something that I’m really proud of it!

Victor: Kamala has recently released its first live album called “Live in France”. You recorded this during the last Kamala’s show of the sixth European tour, in October of last year and released it in December, just 2 months after the show. How did you decide on that and how was the process to record it?

Isabela: Actually, we didn’t know that we would be recorded, we just knew that the owner of the venue planned to make a live broadcast of our concert on Facebook.

And we were really tight because it was our last gig on this tour. We played and when we were done, he told us that he had recorded our performance in multitrack…It was a big surprise for all of us when we listened. The sound was amazing and in that same moment, we decided to use this material!

Victor: The band has already started the process of recording the new album. What could we expect from the music on this album and when will you release it?

Isabela: The new album is done and ready. Now, with this pandemic situation, we are waiting for a better moment to release, but the album is really beautiful, and the songs are powerful, with intense lyrics, heavy riffs and too much groove. We loved the result and we are extremely excited to show it to all of you.

Victor: I have to say, it is so impressive how Kamala have become so huge in Brazil and in Europe without any label support. Everything you do is independent. Pure work! Do you feel that now is the right time to have one big label help you reach the next level, for example playing European festivals?

Raphael: Yes…a loooooooot of work! And for sure, we feel that we are ready for this next level, to sign with a good international label, play in summer European festivals and make full tours supporting bigger bands. We have lived all the tests through these years, and we know that with a label, the KAMALA name will become bigger and bigger, because a label searches for a band that can be on the road many days/months per year, to promote the releases, and we work a lot for this too!

Victor: Thanks a lot, and please use this space to leave a message.

Isabela: Thanks, one more time, for all the support and opportunity. It is always a pleasure to be part of this. Thanks to all the fans around the world, who have followed us all these years. Stay at home, be safe and healthy. Soon we will be together to bang our heads!!

LINE-UP:
Raphael Olmos – Vocals and Guitar
Allan Malavasi – Vocals and bass
Isabela Moraes – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/kamalaofficial
www.youtube.com/user/kamalaofficial
www.instagram.com/kamalaofficial/
open.spotify.com/artist/5mbUdP134DvKlRFr4AhsHO

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Andralls – Bleeding For Thrash

Andralls – Bleeding For Thrash
MDD Records
Release Date: 19/10/2019
Running Time: 36:58
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

I am not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to telling you what makes a band so respected by its fans, respect like Brazilian Thrash Metal band Andralls receive after 22 years on the road. Of course, with so many years struggling in a country which focusses on a very different musical culture from Heavy Metal, it is normal that Andralls has lived through difficult times, but it looks like all problems they have faced have helped them to get stronger and “Bleeding For Thrash”, their sixth studio album, is a good example of what I am saying.

After a short hiatus, the band returned with vocalist/guitarist Alex Coelho and everything looked good for the writing/recording of the next album, except for the fact that Alex was diagnosed with thyroid cancer during the process. He was incapable of singing for a few months, but he won this fight and finally Andralls have delivered an insane album that makes the seven years of waiting, since last album “Breakneck” was released in 2012, worth it.

Playing fast and heavy is the band’s trademark, maintaining focus on a good cadence, being not too fast or slow, just at a good Speed (Metal) to value the riff. The opening song ‘We Are the Only Ones’ is enough to understand Andralls’ sonority. Some interesting details make the album even more attractive like the song ‘Andralls on Fire, Pt. III’ which is full of references, in the lyrics, to the band’s old songs. The composition and lyrics of ‘Legion’ are a tribute to Brazilian Death Metal band Rebaelliun who had Fabiano Penna as the main composer, he was also part of Andralls line-up in the past. What the band could never imagine is that the song would become a tribute to Fabiano, as he passed away in 2018. Also, the instrumental song ‘27*02*18,’ which finishes the main album, is another tribute to Fabiano and this song title refers to the day he died (27/02/2018).

‘Acid Rain’ is a cover song for the Brazilian band Subtera and the track ‘Noiséthrash’ is much slower and breaks the sequence of fast songs. Vocals are delivered in a speech like manner and they talk about the union and passion of life among crazy Metalheads who share the same passion about music. The word Noiséthrash is a pun in Portuguese (Nois é Thrash) that is informal jargon for “We Are Thrash”. It is also a pun for Noise and Thrash, in English. Very clever, well done Andralls!

The album has two bonus live songs, recorded during SWR Barrosselas Metalfest in 2018. One is the opening song from this album that shows that Alex’s voice is still the same before and after his battle with cancer and ‘Fear Is My Ally’, originally recorded on the “Inner Trauma” album (2005), which shows the old Andralls and how the new songs keep that same spirit alive.

“Bleeding For Thrash” is more than a good Thrash Metal album. It shows a band full of passion and who are still very important to the Brazilian scene, even after so many years on the road. Welcome back Andralls, the kings of Fasthrash*.

*Jargon used by the band to define their sound. Fast and Thrash!

TRACKLISTING:
01. We Are the Only Ones
02. Andralls On Fire, Pt. III
03. 64 Bullets
04. Bleeding for Thrash
05. Legion
06. Noiséthrash
07. After Apocalypse
08. Imminent Cancer
09. Acid Rain – Fasthrash Version (Subtera Cover)
10. On Fire
11. 27*02*18
12. We Are The Only Ones (Live At SWR Barrosselas Metalfest 2018)
13. Fear Is My Ally (Live At SWR Barrosselas Metalfest 2018)

LINE-UP:
Alex Coelho – Vocals and Guitars
Felipe Freitas – Bass
Alexandre Brito – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/andrallsfasthrash
www.instagram.com/andrallsfasthrash/
www.youtube.com/user/andrallsclassico
www.spotify.com/album/24L9FAmImFnOFknphaYBH6

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast
Brutal Records
Date: 10/04/2020
Running Time: 34:27
Review by Victor Augusto
7.5/10

Many bands could seem to be totally unknown or new when they appear with a first release, but some work extremely hard before this first step to increase the expectations and anticipation of their first recorded release. Brazilian thrashers HellgardeN are a great example of this. They have been making noise and living fast for a few years, and I had the privilege of seeing them live before hearing this album, so I am one of those people who waited eagerly to hear it.

On the subject of all things that any band must plan and prepare before entering the studio, I have to mention the production of this album. It pleased me. It is raw, but good at the same time, and is refreshing, as there are plenty of albums sounding over digitalized and soulless. The distorted vocals and few guitar effects reminded me a little of Crust/Grindcore bands, just in terms of arrangements.

So, let me talk about the music. The Thrash Metal of HellgardeN has a lot of excitement in compositions and uses many good tempo variations to avoid repetition. So far, nothing new from what a good band in this genre must play. Guitarist, Caick Gabriel, does a great job with good riffs. Diego Pascuci screams a lot, and the mix makes his voice blend very well with all the other instruments. Guilherme Biondo has good bass lines which complement Caick’s guitar work and Drummer, Matheus Barreiros had the hard work to brake and change all cadences. In my opinion, his work, together with Caick are the highlights in the music and they create a good sonority with groove.

All the songs are good, but a couple stand out for me. ‘Evolution or Destruction’ shows the band’s ability to create catchy riffs. ‘Brainwash’ is my favorite due to the straight structure and more aggressive riffs. The album’s title track ‘Making Noise, Living Fast’ has a good bass sound opening it, as well as a good chorus, and lyrics that express the band’s spirit. ‘Possessed By Noise’ follows the same idea, but this last one has a fast and amazing ending to close the album.

Now, I should say what has worried me about HellgardeN’s music, and what I haven’t enjoyed since my first listening. Between many bands that have inspired them, probably Pantera is the strongest influence and it could be a problem. Of course, Pantera are a legendary group and I don’t need to explain why, even if anyone who is reading this review doesn’t like them. The problem is not being influenced by them, but when you sound exactly the same, like a copy sometimes, it could be dangerous. I will mention just two songs to enlighten what I am saying. The first one is ‘Spit on Hypocrisy’, with almost the same riff and cadence from ‘A New Level’. The second one and worst offender is ‘Fuck the Consequences’, that is totally like ‘Fucking Hostile’. Even Phil Anselmo’s counting (one, two, three, four) to open the song is identical on HellgardeN’s version.

Of course, I love to hear Pantera and everything that reminds me of them, but not when it sounds like a cover band. Probably this similarity will help them to conquer a few fans, as we all miss this important band since they quit almost 20 years ago, and a reunion is becoming (or has already become) almost impossible, after everything that’s happened during this time. But in my opinion, if HellgardeN are working on having a longer career, they must look for their own identity; this similarity will not work. Worse than that, the band could suffer by gaining the title of “Pantera Cover Band” and making this disappear, even when they create their own identity, could be hard. Considering that band’s members are working hard to be professional (different from most Brazilian underground bands, by the way) I think it is a subject to pay attention to.

However, it is not the end of the world (right, COVID 19?). The band did an amazing job for a first release and I can assure that you are going to have exciting concerts with these guys exploding with energy on stage. If you like powerful shows, just grab a beer and go to see them. The main thing here is that “Making Noise, Living Fast” shows a band hungry for blood with a great sound, great cover art, and it’s easy to listen to. Enjoy it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Spit On Hypocrisy
02. Evolution Or Destruction
03. Learned To Play Dirty
04. Fuck The Consequences
05. Brainwash
06. Making Noise, Living Fast
07. Believe In Yourself Or Die
08. Possessed By Noise

LINE-UP:
Diego Pascuci – Vocals
Caick Gabriel Cavallari – Guitars
Matheus Barreiros – Drums
Guilherme Biondo – Bass

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/OfficialHellgardeN/
www.instagram.com/officialhellgarden
www.twitter.com/HellgardeNbr
www.spotify.com/artist/5TaQEYrbgw7mdKGtVNI2ye
www.youtube.com/channel/UClHK28vwf-Kkavveir7AhoA

Photo by Thiago Victal II

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

MOFO – Sick And Insane

MOFO – Sick And Insane
Self-Released
Date: 01/04/2020
Running Time: 41:50
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

Now, ‘no one will stop them’! Yes, those are my last words of this review, but I decided to write them first. Let me talk about Mofo so you all understand my thinking during the writing process. Mofo are a Thrash Metal band of young members that have just one EP to their name: “Empire Of Self-Regard” (2017). Since this release, I have watched more than ten Mofo concerts and have followed many things from the whole composition process of this album. Every time I see them playing live, I think I am facing a new band, they are better than before. Maybe the fact that they’ve played almost every weekend for 2 years has helped them in this evolution. Of course, I expected a ‘sick and insane’ album (terrible joke), but what I could never imagine is how my expectations could completely under-estimate the result!

If the previous record was more like Thrash Metal with Slayer and Exodus influences, their sound has progressed to an extreme kind of Thrash, with much more Death Metal inspiration and sometimes similar to what Exodus were doing, musically, after the year 2000. The short acoustic intro ‘Cynic’ is an apocalyptic announcement of what’s coming. ‘Adrenaline’ opens with isolated riffs and blows your speakers with fast and extreme Thrash Metal and the speed of all riffs from guitarists Rodrigo ‘Shakal’ Loreto and Arthur Colonna are very impressive. They alternate between fast solos and bass regularly and the guitar sound is perfectly clear and heavy. All their technique and aggressiveness can be felt when they change from the extreme parts to the small melodies which are dispersed amongst the complex riffs. Don’t expect repetitive music.

You’re probably thinking that with two great guitar players, the bass sound might disappear as happens in many band’s, but you would be wrong! Pedro Dinis has created beautiful bass lines that flow independently of the main riff. I find myself paying close attention to his bass parts, even with the great wall of heaviness around it. On the title track, ‘Sick And Insane’, he shows his technique with an isolated bass intro followed by the drums. He plays his own lines sometimes and doesn’t leave the drums alone, both combining their arrangements which increases the groove.

Talking of drums, João Paulo “Mancha” joined the band right after the last release, and he has an incredible ability to change from Thrash to Death Metal in the blink of an eye on this album, showing wonderful creativity. He does this to perfection on ‘Brothers Of Death’. Double kicks, blast beats plus everything you would expect from a great Thrash Metal drummer are present here. It is like a blend of Tom Hunting (Exodus) and Pete Sandoval (Morbid Angel) with an all Brazilian way of playing percussion. His work with the hi hat and crash, ride, splash and china cymbals is very well composed. Sadly, the mix leaves it a little bit hidden. As for vocalist Emiliano Gomes, well, he has totally changed with his voice alternating between his typical screams, but now also adding many guttural parts. He sounds stronger than ever before.

For the most part, the songs are fast and heavy, but there are also a few more cadenced moments, like ‘Purgatory’ that mixes its rhythmical side without losing speed. I also absolutely love the guitar intro of ‘Time For War’ (killer riff) and the way this song passes its energy to the listener. The album finishes with another fast song ‘Hate And Disgrace’, again, in an Exodus style.

I am sure that all the members of Mofo have worked incredibly hard to reach this high level of musicianship and I can also tell how they struggle and fight in the Brazilian music scene. They have no egos and they’re always opened minded to receive opinions. “Sick and Insane” is an album that could easily perform in any list of the best albums of the year. Many old and big Thrash Metal bands could, and will, envy this record. If they receive the attention that they deserve, for sure, the band will reach the status that they have been working for. If it really happens, no one will stop them!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cynic
02. Adrenaline
03. Brothers Of Death
04. Time For War
05. Sick And Insane
06. Let Them Fall
07. Final Experiment
08. Frank
09. Purgatory
10. Hate And Disgrace

LINE-UP:
Emiliano Gomes – Vocals
Rodrigo “Shakal” Loreto – Guitar
Arthur Colonna – Guitar
Pedro Dinis – Bass
João Paulo “Mancha” – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/mofothrash/
www.instagram.com/mofothrash/
www.soundcloud.com/mofothrash
www.twitter.com/mofothrash
www.spotify.com/artist/5b0lBSsVnWjnxqL3bfTwEE
www.youtube.com/channel/UCDD9ksiF5PXKqnpHPT-ORlA

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.