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Old-school Barcelona-based Death/Doom act Onirophagus had their sophomore full-length released last year, which set Comrade Aleks on the trail of this conversation with band founder Paingrinder.

Interview with Onirophagus.
"Catalonian Death/Doom crew Onirophagus are all about grimness, nightmares, lunacy and gore. They started this distorted pilgrimage with first album 'Prehuman' six years ago, and held the same direction for second work 'Endarkenment (Illumination Through Putrefaction)'. And, in the case of the second album, Onirophagus changed their formula to lean towards longer complex compositions. There are four tracks, ranging from 10 to 22 minutes each, so we can notice some development concerning the songwriting while lyrical contents remain the same. Well, there are three relatively new members who arrived from Death Metal band Decapitated Christ and Black/Death sect Ered, so that might have affected their approach. Actually, Paingrinder, vocalist with Decapitated Christ, is one of Onirophagus' founders, and recently we had a talk with him."

Onirophagus: Shoggoth (guitar), Grindmad (bass), Moregod (guitar), Uretra (drums), Desecrator (guitar), Paingrinder (vocals).

Hi Paingrinder! You start Onirophagus as a trio, and recorded the 'Defiler Of Hope' EP: what did you expect from this band? What drove you to this macabre Death/Doom metal?

First of all, thank you very much for having us for this interview!

Yes, it all started out as a trio with no other goal than to create an old school Death/Doom band. Back to the sound of the early 90's but without forgetting our Death Metal influences. In Spain there are great bands of the style but almost all of them are more focused on the melodic Death Doom of the Swallow The Sun style. We wanted to create something darker, rougher, a balance between rottenness and beauty.

The EP was recorded by Javi Felez, who's played in a whole bunch of heavy bands. How did you work with him on this material?

If I'm not mistaken, the recording of the EP took a week. Javi is an old friend of the scene and we have been working with him for many years now. In my case I previously recorded four albums with my old death metal band, Decapitated Christ. Working with Javi is a guaranteed success!

Soon, the line-up grew to a quintet. Did it change the situation with your songwriting?

Something changed, as Ghorth from Decapitated Christ joined the band. Ghorth was a person with extensive knowledge about all kinds of styles just like Khrorum on bass. They brought freshness, especially live, but when they came in 75% of the album was already composed.

How did you share your duties towards music and lyric writing, band promotion and organization of gigs?

Musical composition is something we all do together. We all do our part! The promotion and management of concerts is carried out by me. I take care of contacting promoters, Instagram, Facebook and interviews with Webzines and Fanzines.

(Photo: Gerard Brull Photo).

You swiftly recorded the 'Prehuman' full-length album, and I believe it didn't go unnoticed. How did it change the situation around the band?

With Defiler Of Hope we entered the national underground scene. It was something we didn't expect, we didn't think it would go this far when we recorded that EP. With Prehuman it was similar, the response of the public and the critics was great, coming to give concerts in Madrid, Barcelona along with great bands like Officium Triste, Avulsed, Cauchemar, Evadne, Purtenance, Dissect, etc.

The lyrics on this album vary from ecological catastrophe ('Baikal') and Lovecraftian myths ('Nyarlathotep') to more common dark matters. How would you sum up Onirophagus' message? What's it about?

Onirophagus is the dream eater. Somewhat corrupt and ungodly. Total negativity. Prehuman is a return to the primeval mud, to prehumanization, to returning to darkness. Everything is focused on involution, the human being is destined to return to the disgusting mud from which he was born. That's Prehuman.

Xtreem Music released both 'Prehuman' and your new album 'Endarkenment (Illumination Through Putrefaction)'. How do you work with the label?

With Xtreem Music we've done great. We don't have any complaints with Dave, on the contrary, he has always helped us in everything, he has never put us in a hurry when elaborating a new work. Dave has given us a push to join the national and international scene!

Onirophagus - 'Feverish' (2013):

There was a six-year break between albums, what distracted you from Onirophagus during this period?

Six years is a long time to go on a personal level and that affected the band. Ghorth decided to leave the band and Khrorvm disappeared from the map taking his equipment with him without even saying goodbye or giving an explanation. Later Grindmad entered as bassist, then Desecrator, my partner in Decapitated Christ and finally Shoggoth, guitarist of the mythical Ered. With the whole group and being three guitars we started to compose Endarkenment. But as in all bands, each one has his own responsibilities outside of it. Many of us went through bad times on a personal level and that maybe made everything slower, but at the same time we used that sadness, anger and pain to compose.

You again recorded in Moontower Studios. How comfortable is it for you to work there? How intensively did you work this time, with the updated line-up and longer tracks?

Moontower Studios is like a second home to us. Javi not only records and mixes for us, but also gets involved in what we do. He doesn't just regulate volumes and hit a button, he acts as a producer and advises us on everything. The recording and mixing took 2 weeks, and the work was hard. On a vocal level I experimented with recording choruses, prayers and mantras, something I had never done before.

Moregod recorded the interlude of 'Endarkenment II' with a Spanish guitar in 3 voices. He had to unbutton his shirt so that the buttons wouldn't touch the guitar. In fact, he had to reduce his breath so that he didn't slip through the microphone. Endarkenment has been our most difficult work without any doubt. But we also think it's our most mature album.

Onirophagus - 'Dark River' (2019):

You have three guitars in your arsenal now. How do you manage to play your stuff live? Did it take much time to used to it?

Live is easy because each guitar has its part and each one of them knows what they have to do. The really difficult thing is to get all six of them together to rehearse. Work, personal life and two of our members are parents and it is very complicated to coincide in schedules. But fortunately each one of us knows what we have to do and when we get together it's as if months have not passed in between.

There are four compositions on 'Endarkenment': massive, torturous and grim. This material differs from the debut album in its scale and depth - what influenced your approach to songwriting?

Yes, there's a big difference in terms of the first album. Endarkenment is the result of the sadness, the desolation and the accumulation of personal problems that we have suffered in these 6 years. I think you can see the influence of our feelings in the final result. It probably took us two years to compose it. It has been a great work of composition, we have spent many hours, sweat and tears. But even if there is a big change in the composition, there is still that rotten essence of Defiler Of Hope in Endarkenment. There are angry and poisonous passages that we haven't wanted to forget about our beginnings and we believe that they will last until the band disappears.

The 22-minute title track consists of three parts. What's the story behind this composition? Why did you decide to separate it into three?

Endarkenment is a concept we have invented. Putrefaction through illumination and vice versa. With this we want to express how through something luminous you can reach the most absolute of miseries and how in the same misery you can find the purest beauty. That is Endarkenment. We wanted to tell this story in three parts: 'Putrefaction', 'Nibbida' and 'Illumination'. Each one of them explains the steps to reach our particular nihilistic nirvana. Just like Celtic Frost did in Monotheist, closing his album with a trilogy.

Do you see Onirophagus as a live band? What is your most rewarding experience of playing live with the band?

Onirophagus is an active live band. Recently we presented Endarkenment in Barcelona together with friend bands like Hex and Tort. Every concert is an experience in itself, but to name a few the concert we gave in Madrid featuring Prehuman was spectacular. Months before we went to play, fans of the band wrote to me taking advantage of the visit to Madrid to record backing vocals for their band. People came to ask for autographs after our performance.

Also to mention our first concert presenting Endarkenment together with Saturnus and Helevorn. The audience reacted in an incredible way to the new songs. So much so that at the end we sold two whole boxes of Endarkenment and sold out of T-shirts and EPs.

What does Onirophagus give you? Is it for the thrill of playing heavy and loud? Is it interesting to you because of its technical aspects? Does it help to get rid of some negativity?

Onirophagus is my light and my rot. The six components are that dream-eating entity. Without them I would have been lost in those bad moments I lived a few years ago and I owe my life to my brothers and the music we make. We are not here to succeed, we just want to express our feelings with music and here we will continue until the end!

Thanks for your support!

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Interviewed on 2020-01-06 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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