This is a special interview conducted originally by Zoltán Papi of Burning Sun zine, but uploaded on to this webzine upon the request of the band and with thanks to Mr. Papi.
Hailing from Mexico, Infinitum Obscure, founded almost 16 years ago by the guitarist/vocalist Roberto Lizárraga, is one of those underground acts which were able to get larger attention from the international metal communities. The whole atmosphere surrounding the dark ritual of what Infinitum Obscure presents is not just something which comes from heart, filled with gloomy, yet realistic emotions, but also a tool for Roberto to express his personal beliefs. Since their music is intelligent and mature, the Mexican death metal darkness squad is a band you must pay attention to. A band what stands alone and have their definitive unique vibe. With the following interrogation I tried to recall their past but of course the band’s future was discussed as well.
Q. Hi Roberto! Thank you very much for accepting my request! How are you doing nowadays?
A. Hello Zoltán. I’m doing better nowadays, I had a very rough last couple of years, personally that is, but things are looking up and looking forward to lots of things both professionally and with the band, so all is good!
Q. If you don’t mind, I would go back in time a bit so we can learn more about your musical background! Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious question: When did you become a metalhead and what was your first record that you got/bought? Which was the first album you heard?
A. I think I have to trace back to probably around the mid 80’s, when I was about 8 years old. My sister who is 10 years older than me was in high school at the time and she used to listen to music that was around at that time, she liked 80’s new wave stuff like Depeche Mode and OMD as well as some classic Hard Rock like Kiss and Quiet Riot.
My first experience with hard rock and heavy metal would have to be back then, when I used to sneak into my sister’s room when she wasn’t home, so I’d grab her Quiet Riot and Kiss LP’s and listen to them with headphones while I admired the front cover art works and read the lyrics. It seemed like there was a natural magnet for rock ‘n roll. My mom collected records during her teen years in the 60’s and she loved original rock ‘n roll, like Chuck Berry and such, as well as other things from the time, so I think we had this taste for music in our blood, my sister and me, that is.
After those first experiences I’d stay up late to watch Headbanger’s Ball on cable TV, and there I started learning about more hard rock, heavy and thrash metal, so I got into Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and such. I used to listen to a lot of hard rock like Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, White Lion, and stuff like that so I acquired a desire to learn how to play a guitar.
The first album I heard when I was about 8 years old was probably Quiet Riot’s ‘Metal Health’, then ‘Condition Critical’. The first stuff I bought on my own with allowance money was probably Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and Metallica’s ‘And Justice for All…’ which I bought on cassette in 1988. I loved Metallica so much that I immediately went to get ‘Ride the Lightning’, ‘Master of Puppets’, also Skid Row’s self-titled debut and a few others.
These albums shaped my childhood and paved the road for my teen years.
Q. And what was the reason you started to play guitar? Which was the first band you played in? Did you record anything?
A. I originally wanted to learn how to play bass because I used to see Guns N’ Roses videos when I was a kid and I always thought Duff McKagan was a bad ass, ha, ha! I mean, this was when I was 8 or 9 years old, you know? My mom told me that if I wanted to learn a musical instrument, then she’d rather get me a guitar, ‘cuz that was a leader’s instrument, SO.. I said, “Sure, get me a guitar!”
When I was 10 years old my parents bought me an acoustic guitar and enrolled me in guitar lessons with a guitar teacher that used to advertise around the area where we used to live. I must add to this that just a few days ago I found my guitar teacher on Facebook and I re-established contact with him after 28 years!
During secondary school a couple of classmates and me got into heavier metal and we discovered Thrash, Death and Black metal.
My first band was formed in 1993 when I was in 9th grade (3rd year of secondary school). Me and another friend from school, plus a friend I had outside of school, formed a Death Metal band called Mortem Christ. We recorded only a rehearsal demo tape in ’93, but we had a logo, and layout for it and all that good stuff, and we reproduced the cassettes ourselves and handed them or traded them with people we knew that had similar taste in music than we did. That band broke up in 1995.
Q. Do you still have that demo? Any idea to share it someday?
A. Absolutely! Yes, I still have it! A friend of mine actually helped me transfer it on to digital format a few years ago and you can hear one of the songs on YouTube. I still have the other tracks, but they are only cover versions of Unleashed, Samael and Grave songs hehe.
Q. I was wondering if you have used any of those ideas (even if that’s one single riff) in any of your later songs?
A. Actually I did. I re-used the opening riff for the song Jesus Falls from Mortem Christ for an Infinitum Obscure song called The Final Aeon which is on ‘Internal Dark Force’. The reason is that I felt like Infinitum Obscure was a continuation of what I had envisioned with Mortem Christ when I was 14 years old. Actually, Infinitum Obscure originally was gonna be named Mortem Christ, but I ended up not using the name because I didn’t want to limit the vision of the band with having it being labeled as just an anti-Christian death metal band, because there’s much more to what I wanted to sing about than just “die Jesus Christ” and crap. But of course that worked fine when I was 14 because it was the formative years and at that age you just don’t see clearly beyond those concepts, but the principle is there, you know that your entire existence is based upon being the enemy of these social systems.
Q. Infinitum Obscure started back in 2000. What motivated you to start a band of your own after all those musical projects/band you were involved in? What was the main idea behind forming this new band of your own?
A. Well, I had moved from Mexico City to Tijuana during 1997, it took some time to establish myself here and get acquainted with the new place because I didn’t really want to move here, it was more of a bad situation at home that forced my mom and brothers to move here. During those first 3 years here I had both very good and very bad experiences with people, and those very bad experiences, as well as my way of viewing, analyzing and understanding my surroundings are what lead me to want a new musical outlet for those feelings and thoughts.
Originally, the goal of the band was to serve as a weapon for getting revenge on people that had done very wrong to me and I set myself to use the band as a ritualistic dagger of revenge. And it worked.
Later on, after that original goal had been met, the band became a more introspective tool for personal inner exploration and expression.
Q. Then that’s why the first album was “less” about your personal ideologies. Do you know what the response of those people was when the first album came out? I guess it was a satisfying feeling…
A. It has ALWAYS been about personal ideologies, it’s just that it’s gone through different phases. I think it that makes it even MORE individualistic, cuz hell, what would be the point of writing the same stuff over and over again? Life changes us, we evolve, we will never be the same person today that we were 5 or 6 years before, and that’s how the process of these lyrics on these albums have been, they reflect what was on my mind during that specific period of time, so after 15 years of the having this band, of course all these ideas have matured A LOT, and if the goal that was in mind during that time had been accomplished then the focus matured into something else, eventually what it became up to date. It’s really been just a natural process. The step where I am today would never be if I had not gone through all the prior steps that I went through.
Q. And all the bad things what happened just made the music darker and the lyrics become mature. Well you are definitely not a cliché band…
A. Thanks a lot! I think that sort of thing comes naturally. I mean, I’m not trying to force it to be in one way or another, it’s just what it is, and I think that’s the best way, it’s all about being yourself and nothing more.
Q. Now being a leader of a band which intended to follow your artistic vision, did any of your previous influences get involved in the music of I.O.? Did you feel like that you have to “grow up” to your influences and perhaps play better than they do?
A. I think some influences shined through in a very marked way, which were both good and bad, because at least we never got compared to shit sounding bands ha, ha, but it also became a sort of a problem. Now after a long time, the band sounds like its own thing, which was the original goal anyway, so I can’t be happier for it, actually.
Q. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in some small part I even heard classic metal influences, so I.O. is not all that extreme shredding music rather a well thought flow of musical ideas and composition. I mean, there are those ripping riffs of course, but your music is more about feelings. What do you think?
A. Totally! I grew up with heavy metal and hard rock, of course I still have those kind of influences embedded in me. The way that I structure songs, and write hooks to them, and think of tempo changes, etc none of that comes from Death or Black Metal, that comes from Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, so sorry if this disappoints anyone he, he!!
Q. What would those die hard extreme metal groups/fans think of you now? Haha! Did anybody ever wonder about these influences?
A: I don’t know and quite frankly I’m not worried about it one bit. I just do what I do, if people like it then cool, and if not then cool too! I’m completely over with that idea of trying to be a big band and what not. I’m fucking 38, I’m 2 years away from being 40, believe me, at this point I don’t give a flying rat’s ass about any of that shenanigans. At this point I just want to do what I like and what I do best. And I have 2 things in life that give me that: the band and my day job.
Q. Infinitum Obscure has had many line-up changes, seems like members around the band just come and go… Why? It is clear to me that this band is your child, something to express your vision with. Was that a problem for the other guys?
People don’t want to take things as seriously as I do, it’s that simple. Of course at the beginning everyone says “I’m the man for the job!” but later on they forget those words and stop caring, or stop being dedicated and then I have to be pushing people around and that becomes a very annoying situation as well as a waste of time, so if someone is not on the same serious level than I am with the band, than they should leave.
It has always been a problem for others that I take this very seriously, I don’t joke around with this.
Q. Your first physical collection of songs was released in 2003, which was actually a split release with Ancient Gods. Did you have demos between 2000 and 2003 or the issue of the large line-up change was the reason which prevented you to record anything?
A. Our songs on that split CD actually ARE the first Infinitum Obscure demo! The record label that released that CD heard the demo and he really liked it, so he proposed that split CD idea to us, and we accepted.
That demo was recorded between 2001 and 2002, and there was a brief halt there because the drummer at the time and me clashed a lot in ideas, so he did leave the band for a while and caused it all to slow down. The original idea was for that demo to be out in late 2001 /early 2002.
These issues with line-up changes have ALWAYS held the band back, it’s a fucking curse, and I’m really tired of it. But I refuse to bring down the dedication level in the band, so I guess I have to live with it.
Q. But you did a separate release as well, right? Back in 2009. Is that still available?
A. Correct. It was released on a 10” limited edition vinyl through Blood Harvest Records. I think the label might still have some copies. The CD version (meaning the split) has been sold out and non-existent for years, unless you find a second hand copy somewhere.
Q. Seems like a nice collectibles! Maybe someone should do a re-release…
A. Of the split? Nah! I think it’s ok to keep it as a rare collectible now. Whoever has it, has it, and that’s that!
Q. What should we know about this split release? How did it come together? Was it you who contacted the label or did you know them from before?
A. Well, we produced that first demo ourselves, and we made all the CD-R copies ourselves as well. I used to send them out to record labels and such. The label that did the split, as I said in your previous question, liked it, and they offered the split release, so we gladly accepted.
Q. Your first full length came out in 2006 and it includes some songs from that split, but not all of them. Did you want to keep those exclusive to the previous release or their reworked versions are included here?
A. The reason it included 2 songs of the split was because the split was originally a demo, and I figured there should be a connection between the demo and the album. I should have left them out, now that I think of it.
Q. What is the main difference between these songs and the album versions?
A. Well, the recording, for starters. And the execution, I think. They were better played in the demo, ha, ha! Ad that’s because I tracked all the rhythm guitars myself on the demo, whilst on ‘Internal Dark Force’ I did my rhythm section and the other guitar player at the time did his, but his execution was very poor. That’s another reason why I decided from there on that I should ALWAYS, without exception, track all rhythm guitar tracks myself to ensure that it will sound the way it was written and thought out to sound.
Q. I read somewhere that you had a problem with your label thus the release was delayed because the album was already finished in 2005… What went wrong?
A. The issue started out with the engineer at the recording studio, and not the label. ‘Internal Dark Force’ was recorded in August 2005, we recorded it at this local studio here in Tijuana, and when we finished recording and mixing, I sent out the final mix to the record label for mastering. The label didn’t like the mix so we were asked to improve it, and when I went back to the studio, the engineer had deleted one of our original recording tapes, and that was a huge problem because that album was recorded on analog tape. I got really pissed off at the guy, so I took my business elsewhere. A friend of mine at the time, helped me re-record the parts that were missing from the original sessions, but these new parts were done digitally in a home studio in San Diego, California. Then it was all mixed together by another friend of mine in Chicago. The mixed sounded so-so, but it was a bit better than the original mix, so he sent the final mix to the record label. The record label and I had agreed that he would send it out to the same mastering studio that was used for the split CD, because I really liked that mastering job. In the end he had a friend of his master it and I never got to proof it and approve it. Also, the label had other releases in calendar, so ours got pushed back. In the end I got the final product in my hands and it sounded like crap, so I was very disappointed.
Q. And what do you think about the cover today? Very much different from everything you had later on.
A. If you refer to the front cover art, yeah I do like it, all though I would’ve preferred to have it on a real painting rather than digital artwork, but the concept of the piece was actually sketched out by Me. Ever since ‘Internal Dark Force’ I sketch out the main ideas for the front covers, based out from the lyrical and conceptual content in the record, and in collaboration with ideas also coming from the artist that does the actual piece, we come up with the final product. That was the way I did the cover for ‘Internal Dark Force’ with Daniel Corchado and subsequently the pieces for the vinyl edition of ‘Ipsus Universum’, then ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ and ‘Ascension Through The Luminous Black’, all three with Timo Ketola. The reason I changed to hand drawn and hand painted art was because I felt that the progress being made within the composition of the music did not fit the format of digital artwork anymore. I must add that we will be doing something completely different for the new 4th album, no digital and no painting, but something completely different, which I’m really looking forward to.
Q. Reading the old reviews I can see how great the album was welcomed. What did it mean for the band? Did it open new doors for you?
A. Yeah, I guess that aside from the fact that it sounded like shit, it was well received, appreciated and praised, which was good. It meant a huge deal for me personally to finally have a full length record out for the first time in my life, all though I still wish it had a much better sound. Yeah, it opened some doors, surely. In the end of it all, it was a good experience and I learned A LOT from it, so in the sophomore album, those kinds of mistakes were avoided, and you can clearly hear the end result.
Q. Talking about your releases, you had a demo out, exclusively released on tape. I’m talking about Seeding Darkness which saw the light in 2008. It included three songs from your upcoming second full length at the time, ‘Sub Atris Caelis’. How did this release come together? Do you consider yourself as a tape user?
A. I still collect tapes, but I don’t use them as often because my tape deck is broken, I need a new one. I grew up with LP’s and cassette tapes, and a Walkman in my hands at all times, in school and on the way to school, and everywhere I went.
‘Seeding Darkness’ was a demo that we recorded of that material so that we could shop around for a new record label. But again, there were big lineup changes and label/planning changes during those days and everything got fucked, again. There was a time after we recorded that demo tape that the band had broken up in an non-official way, it was only Me in the band for a couple of months, so I took a couple of weeks off and went away, and after those 2 weeks of re-thinking and planning, I put together the line-up on the ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ album, and nailed the record deals with both Deathgasm and Blood Harvest records.
How about all that, eh? The things that happened under Infinitum Obscure’s endless black cloud of bad luck and turbulent history…
Q. As for Sub AtrisCaelis, you had a 7” EP preceding the album entitled ‘Obscuridad Eterna’. It was dedicated to the memory of Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection). Did you have any relation with Jon why you decided to dedicate this album to his memory?
A. Yes, he was a personal good friend of mine.
Q. Did you ever think of working together on some musical projects? Or maybe he could have been a guest artist on an I.O. release.
A. No, we never got to that point, but we were supposed to tour together in 2006. We had been booked to open for Dissection as their direct support in New York City and in Los Angeles, per Jon’s wish. Unfortunately this was the occasion when he was denied entry to the U.S.A. upon request of a proper working visa. After those 2 dates fell through, they released ‘Reinkaos’ and then Jon left. We had also planned to spend some time together on a personal level. He liked Mexico very much when they came over to play in 2005 and he wanted to come back and visit so we had been planning some leisure time.
Last time I saw Jon, was in Berlin on September 2005. I was on tour in Europe with Incantation and Jon was gonna be in town the night that we played in Berlin. He came out to the show and we hung out all night. Lots of great memories…
Q. So were you in contact with him until the very end?
A. Last time I spoke with Jon was on July 26th 2006. I had just returned from touring Spain with Incantation and ‘Internal Dark Force’ had just been released a week earlier so I had just received my physical copies. Jon asked me about the album, he wanted to make sure it was out and that it was getting around, he really liked Infinitum Obscure and supported us in a very special way. We discussed the cancellation of the shows we were programmed to play together in New York City and Los Angeles, due to the fact that he was denied entry to the USA.
After that, I didn’t hear back from him, and 3 weeks later I heard the news that he had passed away… He is missed, still up to today, he was a good friend.
Q. So ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ was your second album. If you ask me, I think it is a more mature, more worked out piece. What were your goals with this album? The band suffered a large line-up change again, it is you who played most of the instruments on it.
A. The goal with ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ was to simply put out a great album that we liked, there’s really nothing more to it than that, hehe. When I write music, I’m already thinking of how the album will sound and look, I’m already thinking of the artwork and layout, and formats, cuz when I plan an album I like to see it as an album that me, as a fan, would like to have in my record collection.
As for the lineup changes on that one, that’s what I was mentioning to you 2 questions before this one, the people that were in the band when we recorded the ‘Seeding Darkness’ demo all left. I was the only member for a couple of months so there was no band really, but I never published anything about it cuz there was no need to do s because I knew I would continue. Then I retreated for a couple of weeks on that little get-away vacation I mentioned and when I returned I put together a new line up, but at that point, honestly, I already knew people were gonna keep leaving and that it was only up to ME to keep the band going because in all honesty, it is really a personal vision and mission of mine, and it will be very hard that others comprehend that.
Yeah, I played all the instruments except drums, and the second guitar leads. I wrote all the music (as usual), I wrote all the lyrics (except Scepter of Malevolence which was written by a good friend of mine and he asked me to use his lyrics), I also sketched out all the art concepts, etc. After the bad experience with ‘Internal Dark Force’ I realized that if I wanted an album to sound the way I envisioned it and need it to sound, then I must record all the instruments myself, because I wrote and arranged the music entirely, I know how it is all supposed to be executed, accented, and what not. Only like that was I able to make ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ what it became, and same thing goes for ‘Ascension through the Luminous Black’ and same thing will be for the new 4th full length record. After all, I know what it takes to give it all the Infinitum Obscure atmosphere and sound.
Q. While looking at this CD, I can see so many small details and symbols on its cover. I guess there is a certain message behind them… Could you please tell me about it? I guess they sum up the lyrics very well.
A. The absolute end of all humanity.
Q. It was your first album released via Deathgasm Records. How did you get in contact with the label? Were they supportive?
A. Yep, the first one! I met Evan March from Deathgasm Records in 2005 in the city of Atlanta, USA, that’s where he lives and where the label is based out of. I was touring the USA as live bass player for The Chasm, and Evan promoted the concert we played in Atlanta. I met him for a second time in his city a few months later when I was touring USA again but now playing bass for Incantation, so we became really good friends. He was familiar with the band because he had pressed the two CD’s that our previous record label released. During the few months that I did not have a line up during 2008, I went to see my friends form Sadistic Intent play a concert in a city in California called Riverside and I saw Evan there by coincidence so we hung out all night, had some drinks and ended up talking about Infinitum Obscure, so that same night he offered me a record deal, and that’s how the next three I.O. releases happened.
Evan and Deathgasm Records have been the most supportive, along with Blood Harvest Records in Sweden and Doomentia Records in Czech Republic. I am VERY thankful to them and grateful that they have pushed and supported Infinitum Obscure in the way they have, most especially, Evan. I can never ever thank him so much for everything he has done for me, for his true friendship, and for believing in me and my music.
Q. They were supposed to re-release your debut as well as I remember but that release never happened. What was the reason behind that? Will we ever get a chance to buy the album again? Probably with a better, remastered sound.
A. Yeah, there had been a lot of things that have fallen through. That one that you mention is just one of them. I would still love to see and hear ‘Internal Dark Force’ on vinyl someday. That’s our only album that was never pressed on vinyl.
Q. A CD re-release would be great as well!
A. It’s been thought of. I’m still planning to do it. I have all the rights to the record since we paid for the recording ourselves and I paid for the artwork myself. I have the full rights to decide what I do with it. And not any record label what so ever.
Q. So you guys were a band with a large history now. You have seen many nice and band things, the pros and the contras of playing underground metal music. How did it reflect to your shows? As far as I know, you have seen European soil as well.
A. Yeah, we’ve had all sorts of good and bad experiences within the underground music industry. We have only played in Europe once, and it was a great time for sure! We did a one week European run with Dead Congregation from Greece, we did 7 dates in 5 countries, it was really cool. I’d love to be able to bring Infinitum Obscure back to Europe someday, and it would be a great honor to play in Hungary some day!
We have also toured the USA twice now, which has also been very good experiences, so we’ll see what come up our way now that the band is re-forming!
Q. How did the European audience welcome you? Seeing you in Hungary would be a blast, the videos on YouTube show a very dark yet furious performance. What is a typical I.O. show look like?
A. Wow, well, Europe was amazing for us. I think that’s because the style of music we play has a bigger following in Europe than in America, all though we do have some good following in America as well. That European tour was magical! It was a great time all around. I really have to mention that the most mind blowing experience thus far has been in that tour, particularly in Szczecin, Poland; it was a small show, but with a GREAT atmosphere, and everyone at the show, for some reason, knew the lyrics to every single fucking song, especially Messenger of Chaos, I and that really blew my mind. I mean, hell man, we are not a big band, we are just a small band from Mexico, we just do what do, and coming all the way across the world, from a city like Tijuana (where we live) and experiencing THAT, wow man, just thinking about it again gives me goose bumps. I have no words to express the feeling that I get from remembering that.
But not only that one show in Poland; Copenhagen, Denmark was killer, same with Berlin and Jena in Germany. Berlin was a freaking GREAT show, the promoter wasn’t sure that the show would do as well, especially because it was on a weekday, and the place sold out, it was jam-packed and we had such a killer gig man, unbelievable.
Infinitum Obscure is actually very energetic live and the music creates a very dark atmosphere, or so it seems. A typical I.O. show will hopefully leave you wanting more.
Yeah Zoltán, playing in Hungary will be something very special, especially considering that there’s 3 main reasons why I’d love to play in Hungary: 1) to meet you, 2) I’d love to visit Čachtice Castle where Erzsébet Báthory killed all those young women, and 3) just because I like Pokolgép very much!!
Q. That belongs to Slovakia today… sadly. History is a bitch! What do you think about this new Pokolgép album? Share your opinion!
A. “Metalbomba”!! I loved it! I’m very happy to hear a new Pokolgép album after many years, and they still sounds crushing. Gabor Kukovecz is a truly talented musician, both as a guitar player and as composer/songwriter, I think he has a killer imagination and originality in how he structures his songs.
Ah so the castle is in Slovakia now? I didn’t know that, of course, but we all know its part of old Hungarian history. None the less, I’d love to travel there and see those sights one day, all the history that is in that region under laying the Carpathian mountains is absolutely amazing to me, especially the Báthory history and Transylvanian history in Romania in places like Bran and Peleș castles. I think that the remains of Čachtice Castle must have some morbid feeling in the air there, considering so many young women were supposedly murdered inside those castle walls. All though I know there are sources that say that it was all made up. Hell, just like any part of history, we will never truly know what the real truth is because the people behind those chapters of history don’t want us to know the truth.
Q. Again, this release got some very nice reviews. Seems like Infinitum Obscure was on the right path to become more known in the underground, still, the fans had to wait another 4 years for the next release. What did you do during the mentioned 4 years?
A. Line-up changes, fucking retarded line-up changes, MANY OF THEM. I hate it.
Q. Ascension Through the Luminous Black is the third Infinitum Obscure album, as well as your most complex record up to date. When were the songs born? What was the main inspiration when writing this record?
A. I wrote those songs between 2010 and 2014. There were quite a lot of things that happened during those years that made the record and the songs what they are, especially much darker than all the previous stuff I had written. It was all just very dark personal years, lots of loneliness and unhappiness.
Q.You know, listening to the album I feel like it is a real master piece. You did include an acoustic song too, which I love and loved on “Sub…” too! Is this a kind of new tradition for Infinitum Obscure to include acoustic songs as well?
A. It’s not a new tradition, it’s an old tradition. I always enjoyed that sort of thing very much from older Death and Black Metal albums like early Morbid Angel, Unleashed and early Samael, just to name a couple. I have always enjoyed classical music and clean played instruments since in my house as a kid we also heard classical and jazz. So it came up as a natural idea to incorporate something like that on my own works. Which I must say, I’m really glad you enjoy these pieces, I love them too.
Q. By the way! I remember you told me something about having a female singer on the album unfortunately she never sang on the record. What happened?
A. She did! A good friend of mine recorded some vocal harmonies on the song The Luminous Black. After the pipe organ intro, which is a segment of J.S. Bach’s Toccata e Fugue in D minor, a triple vocal harmony comes in which resembles an angel falling at the sound and rhythm of the drums and the opening riff of the song. The harmony was inspired by some works from Krzysztof Penderecki.
Q. Oh yes I noticed that classical influence. Not that usual from a death metal band… What was the feedback to it?
A. None what so ever, really! I think most people don’t pay attention to those sorts of detail. There’s much more in the “ascension” album than people think, they just need to be observant hehe.
Q. The first listen was a powerful one indeed, but the details were revealed with the next spin. It was a true journey.
A. It’s definitely not an album that you will digest on the first spin, it has a lot of hidden things within it and it Is complex, in a way, considering the two previous albums, so it definitely requires some good attention and a few listens, so if you had that experience with it, that means it met it’s purpose!
Q. With this album, you worked with the producer Bill Metoyer who is known for some Slayer records as well. How did it feel to work with someone who took part in recording music which is worshipped by many metal fans? I guess It was an extraordinary experience.
A. We also recorded ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ with Bill Metoyer, so this was the second album we did with him! And yeah, working with Bill was great! I grew up with a lot of the classic heavy metal bands that he produced during the early to late 80’s so it was a huge deal for us to be able to record an album with such a record producer. And as crazy as it may sound, it was very easy to work with him, seems like the more experienced a person is, the easier it is to work with someone. It becomes complicated when someone does not know what they are doing.
Q. What can you tell me about the recordings of this release? How did it all go?
A. Well, for starters, both Bill and us were really happy to get a chance to work together again, and this made the process much easier. Bill has showed a lot of respect and support to us and he knows the band’s sound now. When he heard the progression that was going on in the song writing from ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ to ‘Ascension…’ he was really blown away, and that gave me a lot of confidence in myself and in the album itself.
Q. The Luminous Black is the longest song on the record with more than 10 minutes of playtime. You included many varied themes there that honestly, I don’t even feel like it’s a 10 minute long piece. What was your inspiration to come out with such a dark and cold track? Could you please tell me about the circumstances of how this song was written?
A. After ‘Sub Atris Caelis’ was said and done and looking back at all the songs I had written since the beginning, they all sound fast. But when I began trying ideas and structuring some riffs together for the then “new” songs, like The Luminous Black and Voyage into Obsidian Seas of Diuturnity these structures were sounding much slower, heavier. The Luminous Black ended up being the slowest song I have written to date, but I really did nothing different in the process of writing it, it all has the same exact method: playing from the heart.
I really think that the whole ‘Ascension…’ album is a huge reflection of what I was holding inside. I was very disappointed at everything, I was very lonely, depressed, I was going through health problems because of drinking too much by depression, but at the same time I was becoming much more devoted to myself and digging deeper in within my own ideals and looking for answers in new ways that I had not experienced before; I was reading a lot, and I was isolating myself a lot from all the people that surrounded me (an still am) and all that transmitted onto the music, and successively , onto the album, I think. The whole process of writing, producing and releasing the album was full of huge setbacks, like a really obscure curse, as if this really bleak and dark energy was trying to come out, but at the same time it was making it so hard for it to be released. The ‘Ascension…’ album drained me, from mind and heart, to soul and sweat, it completely drained me, but I LOVE IT and I would not have it any other way. Now that I look back at that record I see and hear the darkest and most abstract album I have ever made, and puts a huge smile on my damn face.
Q. This kind of “draining out” feeling was the reason why I.O. split up after the albums’ release? Did you feel like “there is no reason to continue as you recorded the best you could do”?
A. Those were only a part of the reasons, which did undeniably reflect over my interaction within the band and how I felt in general, all though a big part of the reason was because things didn’t function in the band in the way that they used to for some time. I gave everything to Infinitum Obscure during 14 and half years, I left a lot of ME aside, personal situation which I left carelessly unattended and cause a huge personal imbalance, and little by little they gathered up and suddenly they overflowed and flooded me.
I’ll be honest with you; most people don’t want to talk about these sort of things out in public, especially if they are in a band and what not, like if it was all perfect all the time. Life isn’t perfect, there are positives and also negatives. If you celebrate the positives also embrace the negatives. I guess some people would tend to see it as a weak thing but it’s actually the complete opposite: what doesn’t kill you makes you much stronger when you actually dominate it and use it for individual growth, we are human after all. I’m not the kind of guy that tries hard to pretend to be cool, I don’t give a fuck about being cool or socially accepted. As matter of fact it has helped a lot to express these situations because I didn’t for a long time and it became something shitty. The world fucking SUCKS, as well as most people that walk on it, and we have to deal with it, each in our own way.
Q. I guess that will reflect in the new album’s lyrics. Am I right?
A. Correct, I think? I haven’t penned down full lyrics yet, all though I have some ideas and I do have some titles in mind. I do already have the album title, and I know its focused on that, conceptually.
Q. What about the music? Will it be any different? Darker, slower, faster? Give us some clue!
A. I have two full songs written, one is fast, and one is an instrumental, slow. I have lots of new riffs which I’m recording and saving as I come up with them, so this is giving me a quicker path to writing new songs. The sections I have are all over the place; mid-tempo, slow, fast. Before, I used to memorize everything as I wrote it, so I spent many late overnights without sleep working over songs or parts of songs until I got it to sound the way I wanted it to sound. Now I changed this process, for my own sake, I think it will be a very strong record, no doubt about that!
Q. Back to your last release! Can we say that its cover is a reflection to the main song on the album?
A. It completely is! It is about establishing yourself within yourself, and pushing forward with your own individuality, breaking the chains that hold you back and enslave you. It is completely about freedom and overcoming anything that blocks your path and completely transcending onto a higher level of existence, far away from the average limited human mind, all this through the gnosis and illumination by the brilliant light of Lucifer.
Q. We need to talk more about this ideology behind the lyrics! Where it all comes from? Especially this part you mean about the “personal enlightenment”.
A. I can state that is has been a personal direction ever since I was a kid. I was always attracted to obscure symbols and dark music. I really do believe and live by the idea that we are who we are and these attractions we feel in life are just a resonance within our true selves and that one way or another shine thru, whilst being yourself and only yourself. Attempting to fit in or denying your true self will only lead to imbalance and living a false life. I cannot imagine living like that, like people that fake entire relationships. Holy shit, how the hell do they manage to pull that off? I can’t even fake a stupid “hello” to someone I dislike.
Personal enlightenment through the brilliant light of Lucifer: This is only a clear and direct principle of Luciferian ideology and traditional Satanist views. In the end, it all sums up to breaking apart from the weak herd, being stronger within yourself, and advancing to a higher plateau of individual excellence through a hard process of personal isolation.
I wouldn’t like to say that Infinitum Obscure expresses Satanism even though it does, in a way, nor that it should be considered a satanic band, even though it could be, however I really leave that up to the listener/ reader because every individual has a different perception and understanding of things and concepts. All I do is express MYSELF. I have no intention of indoctrinating anyone at all. The light is there if sought.
The only thing that I CAN admit and state herein, is that in order to be a stronger individual and be able to shine with your own light, one must be an enemy of society and all things ruled. The sense of questioning and analysis is what makes the homo-sapiens, sapiens, thus being man’s true nature, and by denying that, you deny yourself as a thinking man and you forever submit to mental, spiritual and social slavery. To be yourself means to oppose the general rule.
Q. You know I’m Christian, still I think the same way. I think all the religions would like to rule your mind are misleading. God gave us the ability to think because he wanted us to be individuals… I don’t think this is Satanist or what.
A. I respect the fact that you have your ideals, and I have mine. However, I think that these concepts are for personal use and application. If being a Christian is right for you, then that’s your path. But I don’t necessarily agree with it. I think Christianity is mental slavery and the responsible for the most deaths in the entire history of the human race, and a huge cause for ignorance in the world.
Q. And I do respect yours, you know that. I just wanted to say that being a Christians is not necessarily means mental slavery. See, we are friends; we can discuss this topic without any problems. I like your music despite you are the opposite of Christian. I think being a Christian also means to be open minded, intelligent, an individual. To be yourself, I think, people who mislead us, trying to make us to do something against our will are against God as well, even if they claim to be “the servants of God”.
A. This is not of my interest at all. I oppose that way of thinking and living 🙂
Q.In 2016 you will release a compilation of rare songs on CD. What should we know about it? Do you share some unreleased content with us?
A. It’s old material that has been in my private vault for over a decade. It’s some demos from 2004, before the ‘Internal Dark Force’ album as well as some rare live recordings from that era.This compilation release is the tombstone that will mark the end of the first era of 15 years of Infinitum Obscure, that’s why it is entitled “Ad Nigrum Sole – The death of the past)” which translates from Latin to “Towards the Black Sun”, representing the process of alchemical change of matter and spirit unto a higher plain by destroying your previous self.
Q. So this is a kind of reborn of Infinitum Obscure then? You will close the first chapter of the band? Is this mean a new direction in the musical style?
A. It HAS TO BE! “One pays dearly to be immortal; one must die many times during his life” (F. Nietzsche) Meaning that the individual simply cannot and must not remain stagnant. We must constantly evolve through the process of killing our old “us” in order to construct a new, stronger US. It is simply the a cycle of nature, to live, learn and die, to fall and rise, only from below can one better see the heights, so… in order to endure, one must destroy. Basic alchemical process from nigredo to rubedo.
No, the musical style is not changing. It is maturing, however, and becoming stronger. The roots of this tree are sown very deep in order to grow a strong and resistant and flourishing tree that can touch the sky, and that itself is not the limit, and never will be.
Q. As for the first part, I couldn’t agree more considering what happened to me last year. But let’s talk about your band more! So you have a new label now. What should we know about it and how did that deal come about?
A. Transcending Obscurity Records, based out of Mumbai, India, yes. This is the record label that will be hosting Infinitum Obscure’s 4th full length album on CD and digital download formats (is “digital download a format anyway? That sounds retarded to me, really, but oh well!)
T.O. comes from a long way back. Kunal Choksi, the label owner and manager, used to have a webzine called “Diabolical Conquest” I would say what, about 10 years ago or so? And he had a form as well in the web page. I was part of that forum probably since the early 2000’s. So we got in touch from there and became friends since, and we still continue to be in touch and we speak regularly. A couple of years ago D.C. disappeared and he started Transcending Obscurity, now it’s a label, PR agency and webzine. Kunal is a hard worked and has come a long way with what he is doing today, and he has the right vision and attitude for it.
A few weeks ago we started talking about these ideas and he offered a record deal which we began to discuss and structure to see how it would work for both ends involved in the business. We reached a middle point and now we are committed to releasing an album with him, which makes me proud because this offer came from him and this tells me that something is working right in the music that I make, so of course I took the offer.
It will still be some time before the album is done, but I have one big less thing to worry about, knowing that there’s a good label to back it up.
Q. It seems like that after all those years spent at Deathgasm, Infinitum Obscure’s future is again in good hands! What about the album’s European distribution? Which was very unpleasant is that Deathgasm is an American label so the only way to get your album is to buy the vinyl, which I don’t use (I’m a CD guy, not trve enough, right? Haha). Can we expect that it will be distributed here as well? When do you plan to release it?
A. I will always be very proud of and thankful to Deathgasm Records, ALWAYS! Their integrity is one to never be doubted and they pushed the band through their belief in us. In the end, things got slower and that’s because the markets have changed but we together as a team (the label and me) never doubted a single second about what we were doing with Infinitum Obscure. We pushed it together and we succeeded in many ways.
I know what you mean about the distribution, and sure it had European distribution, but not as much as I would have loved to have. So with Transcending Obscurity, one of the main goals is to achieve broad European distribution as well as South American and also opening new markets as well, so we are together in the same goals.
About collecting CDs or vinyl: I don’t think there is a TRVE thing to either or, both have their collector’s charms and both formats are very meaningful. CDs were the main format all throughout the ‘90s and 2000’s until the internet shit came and took it all to the dumpster. So that’s why vinyl resurrected, but personally I like both formats, and I am a collector of both formats. So this current trend with vinyl and such, sometimes it’s a bit awkward but hey, Metal is Metal so in the end it only matters that the music gets across to the listener. I will add that I DO NOT like these so-called digital download formats, AT ALL! Just the idea of the concept is stupid to me because records are what shaped my life. Yeah, so I probably sound like a stubborn old man as I say this, but in the end, it is absolutely true. So, sorry kids, only real format is acceptable, otherwise you’re not really a rock ‘n roll BAND!
Q. Alright Roberto! It seems like I’m out of questions my friend. Would you like to send a message to the readers? Please, give us the final words!
A. I am very appreciative of anyone who has taken their time to read this entire interview, it’s a bit extensive but I think it is probably the most complete and in-depth interview I have done with anyone in the course of 15 years. I agreed to do an in-depth and sort-of personal interview because it will mark a difference within typical boring and generic interviews and the entire media in all formats is completely full of those.
And on a deeper note, always question the limits of it all, never doubt yourself, oppose and crush anything that stands in your way with no mercy what so ever, be as a predator and not a prey and you will always be in control of your own position regardless of your surroundings. Lucifer’s radiant light will always be considered as something negative through the eyes of the blind, but it is the only true path to real liberation and individuality.