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After 20 years of existence, Brazilian Doom band Unholy Outlaw released their debut full-length in December 2019. Comrade Aleks went in search of guitarist Gustavo to find out more of the band's history.

Interview with Unholy Outlaw.
"Sometimes I receive some black mails from that éminence grise of the Doom scene, Markus Solstrykare - and I guess his hint was my first encounter with Brazilian Doom crew Unholy Outlaw. Working on 'Doom Metal Lexicanum II', I've found that the South American scene of the '90s was richer than we used to think, but most of those bands either remained in constant "demo-periods" or had slow and very infrequent releases. According to Metal Archives, Unholy Outlaw was formed in 1999, but their debut thirty-minute album 'Dark Wings' didn't appear until 2016, and the larger work 'Kingdom Of Lost Souls' wasn't released until December 2019, both recorded with the same line-up, including Mythological Cold Towers member Fabio Shammash. Passionate and dark, 'Kingdom Of Lost Souls' really seems to be one of the examplars of the growing Brazilian Doom scene: we had a nice chat with guitarist Gustavo, and I'm glad we can share Unholy Outlaw's story with you."


Unholy Outlaw: Fabio Shammash (guitar), Gustavo Guedes (guitar), Marcos Kalidor (below, vocals), Fabio Thorngreen (bass), Wilmes Moraes (drums).


Hi Gustavo! So we have a lot of questions here…. First of all, it's said the band's story started in 1999. There were a few Doom bands (okay, Doom/Death bands) in Brazil back then in the '90s, but only Mythological Cold Towers managed to get recognition and remain alive for years. Why do you think Doom metal isn't popular in your area?

Latin metalheads in general has always had a preference for faster and more aggressive styles, such as the traditional Heavy, Power, Speed, Trash and Death, where Sepultura, Krisium and Angra are examples of Brazilian bands with a large number of fans and worldwide visibility, probably due to the our temper, however, we see that in Brazil the Doom style is gaining more space and fans, as it happens in Europe.

Did you feel yourselves as outsiders back then? What motivated you to play this music, despite its lack of recognition in your country?

We didn't feel outside that time, because we believed in this project and we really wanted to perform a heavier and denser style, with paced movements and obscure themes, we always had that idea in mind when we set the goal of being an authorial band.

By the way, how were you involved in the Doom cult? Which bands made you to want perform this music?

Although we believe that the term "doom" in metal came up in the early 90s, we have been involved in this style, or rather, with slow, heavy and epic music, since the 80s. We always have admired bands like Candlemass, Trouble, The Obsessed, Pentagram, some not as slow like Saxon, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Witchfinder General, Manowar and bands from NWOBHM. We cannot forget also the fact that we are big fans of Black Sabbath in all its phases, which has influenced us a lot since the beginning of Unholy Outlaw. And we also enjoy a lot of death doom bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Swallow The Sun, even though these bands are not a direct inspiration for us.

Unholy Outlaw - 'Mortal Desire' (Official, 2019):


How often do you have the opportunity to play live? I know from other bands that to play doom in Brazil is kind of hard, because people are mostly into faster or more trendy music. Well, like everywhere probably…

Smaller than we would like, since authorial music in Brazil, in all its styles, has not been highly valued, the preference of businessmen and the public today is for cover bands, so the spaces for bands with their own sound are facing some difficulty promoting their shows.

So… well… Unholy Outlaw was founded in 1999 and debut album 'Dark Wings' saw the light of day in 2016. What happened in between these two dates?

In the period from 1999 to 2008, we were a tribute band to Heavy Metal, playing classic sounds and, mainly, the "B" sides of traditional Heavy Metal bands, so in 2009 we started composing our own material and in that same year we recorded and released independently the demo titled just "Unholy Outlaw".

What played the role of catalyst to change your attitude towards the band to a more active approach? When did you decide that it was finally time to record it?

In 2015 we had a new formation and we also felt more prepared to show our work, so we had the opportunity to officially launch Dark Wings through Nuktemeron Productions and Impaled Records, with the re-recording of the songs from the first demo and including a new composition, "Death on the Road" and also adding 2 covers ("Dragonfly" by the band Sasquatch and "Killer Kane" by Las Cruces).



First demo? I didn't hear about it. When was it recorded? By the way, did the new members who joined in 2015 start to influence the song writing? Do you have someone who generates most of the ideas for your songs?

Yes, our first demo was recorded in April 2009. In 2015 we had a very solid formation and all members contributed with ideas, in the same way that it is done today, because our songs are born from a collective process.

How long did you work on 'Dark Wings'? The album is quite short, taking into account the two covers you included there.

The pre-production of the album was carried out in the first months of 2015 and the recording / mixing during the month of May and in fact it is a short album, as we were in the process of transition from a tribute band to an author who was consolidated in Kingdom Of Lost Souls.

Your second album, 'Kingdom Of Lost Souls' turned out to be a bigger thing: it was released in December 2019, the CD edition contains a 12 page booklet, and it sounds tighter. It leaves the impression that you were completely prepared this time. What were your main goals when you entered Monolito Studios in June 2019?

Yes, in fact we were better prepared for this new stuff. We produced the album ourselves and we wanted it to sound like the old albums, direct, raw, in the face and without all the tricks that today is possible to do in the studio, because we wanted to sound live as on the CD, without artifice, just vocal , two lines of guitar, bass and drums. During the recordings we used very few details of the keyboard on two of the tracks just to give a mood, which we don't even reproduce on stage. We are like this, direct and objective, as in the old days.

How much time did you spend at the studio? Was this session a fast one, or did you have the luxury of working without much haste?

It was a quick session, the instruments and vocals were recorded in two days. What gave us more work was the mixing and mastering process, in all it was almost two months, even so we understand that it was a quick process if we consider the final quality.

Your approach on 'Kingdom Of Lost Souls' reminds me a bit of Italian Doom crew Doomraiser. Do you keep in touch with local or foreign doom bands? Can you say that there's a kind of Doom circle in Brazil or South America?

We like the comparison. Doomraiser is a great band! For now we have more contact with Brazilian and South American bands. I believe that guitarist Fabio Shammash and the other guys from Mythological Cold Towers know more people from abroad, considering that the band has already toured Europe. About a doom circle, we have a lot of friendship with the doom bands here, for example Fallen Idol, HellLight, Abske Fides, Scarlet Peace, Eternal Sorrow, Serpent Rise, etc. Even Fabio Shammash released on his label (Nuktemeron Productions) a compilation CD called Doomed Serenades in 2 volumes containing the best in the Brazilian doom scene, in addition to several full length albums. He is one of the founders of Brazilian Union Doom, a non-profit organization that aims to expand the doom scene in Brazil.

Doom bands, as with bands of any other Metal genre, have a number of clichés for their lyrics, each genre has its own mark and Doom seems to be about "man in bad times" topics, iconoclastic stuff, deviltry and horror. How is important for you to have a message in your songs? What kind of lyrics do you feel suitable for Unholy Outlaw?

In fact, Doom as well as other styles has its own culture and philosophy, with themes that evoke a dark, terrifying and introspective atmosphere and with Unholy Outlaw it couldn't be different. The lyrics of the band must be compatible with the musical structure and vice versa. The message is similar to a suspense or science fiction movie plot.

The appropriate font for the band UNHOLY OUTLAW is about Occult Sciences, Social Issues and approaches to History and Psychology.

Unholy Outlaw - 'Ancient Hill Of War' (Official, 2019):


More than three months have passed since 'Kingdom Of Lost Souls' was released. Do you feel that you've broken through barriers and reached listeners outside Brazil? What was the feedback from abroad?

The album had a great repercussion both in Brazil and in Latin America, but to our surprise it reverberated much more in Europe, well above our expectations, where the album was evaluated in a very positive way, both by the new fans through messages in the Facebook, Instagran and YouTube, as well as through Zines and Radios in countries like Germany, France, Greece, Russia, Poland.

Well, what now? Does this feedback inspire you to return to the studio as soon as possible to record new songs, or will you take your time?

Yes, with the excellent repercussion of this album and also the fact that today we have the best formation since the band started, we are very motivated and we have already started producing new material, we believe that by the end of the year we will have enough material yet another release .

Do you see a prospect of setting up a proper tour for Unholy Outlaw? Do you really want it?

This is what we really want, we have good material, solid training and we feel prepared for anything, so we hope it happens soon.

Thank you for the interview Gustavo! I hope we'll have a chance to talk about the next Unholy Outlaw album soon. Would you like to add any more words for our readers?

First of all, I would like to thank you for the support and space so that we could tell you a little about our history and our work and that in these times of crisis people are protected and healthy. We are looking forward to getting back on track as soon as possible and meeting at some show out there. Stay Doom !!!!!


Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.


Visit the Unholy Outlaw bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-05-19 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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