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Old-school Brazilian Death/Doom band Obscurity Tears have been around since the mid-'90s. Bassist/vocalist Jefferson Barreto takes Comrade Aleks through the band's history.

Interview with Obscurity Tears.
"Let me show you another artifact from the Doom metal scene of the mid-'90s. Vitória de Santo Antão in Brazil was the place where Obscurity Tears originated in 1994, as the band previously known as Smashed Face accepted their Death/Doom influences. As you might expect, the Metal scene in such a remote place was poor, but the guys were stubborn, and it turned into full-length album 'Songs For A Black Winter' in 2000. I wonder if you ever heard about it, as well as about their sophomore full-length 'Rise Of A God' (2018), which is reminiscent of the good old Death/Doom classics of the '90s. Let's change this situation with Jefferson Barreto (bass, vocals)."

Obscurity Tears. (Photo: Suzana Souza).

Hello Jefferson! According to information we can find online, the band was formed in 1993. How did it happen?

The band's first name was Scum and then we changed to Smashed Face. Just some old pals, messing around what we want to play, that was a massive dark sound, pure metal, black/death metal. This was really early 90's. Then, we gathered what was going to be Obscurity Tears in '96, already creating our own Doom Metal sounds, with a melodic spice, with seven members (two guitars, bass, drums, keys and violin, with two vocals, male and female, and the male voice, Wellington, he was also one of the guitars). Too many people!

There weren't any releases till 2000, how did you spend the first years as a band?

Oh memories...HAHAHAHAHA!!! Well, we had our songs, but recorded just for ourselves to remember and we sure played these songs live. Somewhere we have a live demo, very poorly sound, and we just kept for us, to remember how we were, and how we improved today! And we played some covers sure, that we all enjoyed at the time, and still enjoy today.

What kind of music did you play back then? Was it Doom Death from the start?

As Smashed Face, we played death metal, things like Blaspherion and Carcass… As Obscurity Tears, some years later, we used to play our songs, with covers from bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, and of course, Black Sabbath, the gods of everything. We could play fast, but at that time, we changed for a doom and melodic sound, because we could explore more melodies to fit the double vocal thing that we used to have.

Obscurity Tears' debut album 'Songs For A Black Winter' was released in 2000. When were these songs composed? What kind of material did you aim to achieve as a result?

We started to create Songs For A Black Winter, the real thing, in the end of 99. Then we sat down to write the songs in 2000. We got Wellington's riffs, and everybody ideas, to filter and mix what was good, nothing different from any band, I believe… So, we had the goal, that was to create a massive and very well recorded album, and being a band from Brazil, everybody as regular human beings, with more regular jobs, we did the best we could to have a good record. Our goal was to be honest as a band, not to record anything that we couldn't do live, and do the best we could do. Simple as that.

Obscurity Tears - 'Crying In Silence' (2000):

How did you find a studio for this recording session and what are your memories of this period?

In our state, Recife, we recorded in the studio DB3 that was a really good place for us to record. Oh, the memories… We all were in good mood, enjoying to do our real first thing, everybody together, gathering and these were good days… Some struggles here and there, some metronome to follow… hahahahaha… But in the memories, besides all the small struggles, it was a dream coming true. That really old cliché, but that was real. Good and real.

'Songs For A Black Winter' is based on Doom Death metal themes enriched with keyboards, violin and female vocals. What led you to this formula? Was it demanded back then?

We wanted to do something HUGE. That, in that time, was huge. To organize everybody to play in tempo, it was already a big achievement in rehearsals…So, to play live, everybody, not just in tempo, but doing a live SHOW, as a SHOW must be: memorable. We came from a small-country town, old people with old habits. Still today a small-country people with old habits, that even rock music, it's not appreciated… Not even these massive world wide bands, like Bon Jovi or Aerosmith… Yeah, aliens. Hahahahaha. But, we had our headbangers from every next city, and when we played live, even in our city, we had friends and other angry and furious teenagers, with thirsty for metal, and our shows were really, really good. And, all things aside, we still got it!

Did you feel support from local metalheads and media? What was the feedback on the album's release?

Not so much. As I told, our city is really late in terms of rock music. It's all filled with shitty pop-radio-stupid cuckold songs or some stupid beats followed up by stupid and sexual dance… A real mess and disturbing mind type of music. In my personal opinion, makes your dumber and dumber to listen to these types of music, if I can call that as music. Outburst done (hahahaha- but a real down-to-earth outburst, believe me) Our friends follow the band and every time charge us to do more. And we want to do a real good marketing for our next album! And to Rise Of A God, we had a great impact and well-received critic about it. That made us really happy, and with our new member, Gabriel Oleron at guitar, working together with us, we want to do a better album!

You finished the EP 'My Chemical State' in 2009. Why did it take so much time? How did you spend this period between releases?

All of us still have regular jobs, family… You know, doom metal it's not the next big thing, we all know that, so we still work in regular jobs. When we all got the time, we gather and do concerts, here and there, but now we are returning with more to do, and more goals to achieve. Between the releases, we drink beer and chat with our friends, raise our children… And then we get back, it's slow, we know, but, that's how we kept the band alive. Working to have money to buy new gear and record our music! (hahahaha!)

Obscurity Tears - 'Prisoner In Itself' (2009):

How do you see the band's development on 'My Chemical State'? What influenced the Obscurity Tears songwriting this time?

As always: the darkness of the world. Human beings are, in essence, dark people. Politicians from all over the world are still doing shit, people still believe in them. We still have hungry, misery, and it's not stopping at all. We had a countless "End of the World". WW1, WW2, 'Nam, September 11… How many times the World has ended? And who's fault? Human beings. Yes, we all have religions, and yes, good people exists. But good people do good things everytime, everyday. Turn on your TV. Choose your channel. You probably won't see the next big donation or some people helping one each other. Those things gives no audience. You will see FEAR being screamed and throwed at your face with no pity. So, we all devour the world madness, live in real fear, and that has a name: Control. People cannot have control of their lives. So, the world it's not beautiful as Windows' desktops. The world is dark, and we just take our own ideas to create our sound from reality, and with that reality, we create or do our version of dark histories to our dark but beautiful music.

And again the band returned to the studio after nine years of silence, in 2018. This time you got rid of the Gothic elements, and 'Rise Of A God' represents the purer Doom Death side of Obscurity Tears. When did you start to work on these songs and how much time did it take to finish this album?

First of all, band's got smaller. Less people, less trouble. Simple as that. At the time of Rise Of A God, we had a very strong and solid formation with Evan (lead guitar), Jeff (bass and lead vocal), Bruno (drums) and Junior (rhythm guitar). With no keys, no violins and female lead vocals, we just decided to do more or less a reboot of our own sound, to do a really doom/sludge metal but in essence, agreeing with our past. We finished the songs really quicker this time. The whole thing, from embryony riffs to mastering, took one year.

There are 18 years between 'Songs For A Black Winter' and 'Rise Of A God'. What's common between these albums from your point of view?

We do doom metal. Songs For A Black Winter is more colorful on it's sound, 'cause we had more instruments. But still doom metal. In Rise Of A God, we had less instruments, and still Doom Metal. The two albums have melodic guitar phrases from Evan, and he is the heart of the band, always was, and everything start on his guitar. So, we have the same composer, the same heart, writing the start point of our music. That said, everyone contributes, in the past and now, with ideas, lyrical or musical, but everything starts where rock from essence starts: On guitar. And being Evan the heart of the band, in essence, we have the Obscurity Tears sound with him. Now, with Gabriel to work with him, and Jeff and Bruno, today we are more close to do more for Obscurity Tears together as band.

Obscurity Tears - 'Interstellar' (2018):

Did this release change the situation around the band? Did it help you get some recognition?

Unfortunately, well… Yes and No. Yes, we had so much more recognition, because today you have social media to send your music all over the world. We had at early 2000s, but, you know, today it's bigger and better. So much bigger and better! But, we didn't had time to do more gigs, because our former guitarist, Junior, was very busy with his regular job, and we were waiting for him. Nothing bad, everybody worked, but he started to focus on his family, and he told us, being truly and honest, no struggles, that he was tired to try… So we did many less shows, and we all understood him… It's so true, that when we talked to Gabriel to replace him, he was really fine about it. They are friends in life, Gabriel was (and still is) a fan of Obscurity Tears, so Gabriel told us it is a honor to replace Junior, and Junior was really fine about this and he wishes all of the best to the band. We all are friends, and we thank him so much for two decades of hard working with us. So, band was changed and now we are working more and more to do the best we can to the future of the band.

The album was released by GS Productions. How do you value your collaboration with them?

Oh, they were the best with us! Never in this lifetime we had a better studio quality sound and mastering, and when they got in to do the release, with all social media and press included, that was huge for us! We couldn't thank enough for them!

How often do you play live nowadays? And how do these gigs differ from gigs you played in the '90s?

In Brazil, we are living a cultural hegemony, with pop-radio-music taking every place, everywhere, every time. Even in Brazilian pubs, the massive part of them are now closing doors to rock music, and when you have a rock show, there are just cover bands. In our city, we got two pubs, and both don't play ANY rock music. It's a disease!!! So we can't find places to play, good places, decent places even, because everything now it's about buttholes twerking and that's the bottom line of Brazilian popular music. In underground, we have space, because underground still underground, but more and more, these new generation don't listen to Rock music like before. With free and irresponsible sex being offered in the real dark side of the musical culture, it's comprehensible that young pals run to try to not being virgins anymore. Nobody cares about the world shits and try to even read a (good) book or listen to good music, when you got buttholes rubbing your virgin cock over and over, right? In the 90's were better, because even with shitty music, we still had space to rock music. Today, well, we need to go over and almost do our own personal shows, using a space created for ourselves, metalheads and rockers, to have more shows. But this is good, looking with good eyes, because we need to work harder, and as Master Yoda says: "Do or do not. There is no try!".

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

Visit the Obscurity Tears bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-04-20 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Thermal Mass
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