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Peru isn't really noted for its profusion of Doom bands, but there are some to be found - and Lament Christ, with their foundation in the early '90s, have been flying that flag for a long time now. Comrade Aleks talks with founder Juan Carlos Sotelo about the long trip to their debut full-length of this year.

Interview with Lament Christ.
"It's time to widen Doom's horizons, as here we have the first Funeral/Death/Doom band from Peru. It may sound shocking but Lament Christ was actually formed in 1994, though the following years didn't bring them much popularity and they only released the raw demo 'In Ventus Est Dolor' in 1999. There was also Doom/Death outfit Inmemorial, born in 1993, but they still haven't managed to record a full-length album (and they're more or less active). And there was also En las Espesas Nieblas, who were more productive - started in 1996, they recorded a full-length album in 2005. Now you've completed a full course of Peruvian Death/Doom history! That's all folks! Kranium is a separate thing: they always stand apart, and that's another story. But, back to Lament Christ: Thrashirts released their debut full-length 'The Agonic Fall of Mourners' on April 5th 2021, and it's surprisingly good stuff. Band founder Juan Carlos Sotelo (vocals, guitars) confirms!"

Lament Christ: Luis Elend (keyboards), Ronald Hurtado (drums), Juan Carlos Sotelo (vocals, guitars), Roberto Palacios (guitars) and William Castillo (bass).

Hi Juan! How are you? How does the quarantine in Lima go now?

Hello Aleksey, well here in Peru the government has imposed a new quarantine especially in Lima since it has a higher rate of deaths from covid every day, however many people ignore and do not obey orders and act in a very irresponsible way and that is why every day this is worse

It's said Lament Christ was formed in early '94 by you, William, El Pastor and Robinson Ocampo. You started out playing Traditional Doom, but eventually saw yourselves taking on more of a Death/Doom direction. How was the band started back then? What made you gather?

That was in 1993 when I had many ideas to form a very heavy, slow and fatal band, finding musicians according to the style was very difficult so we had many changes in the lineup, we started playing doom death but as time went by we slowed down and made deeper music, heavy, painful and with a lot of atmosphere.

Which bands influenced you back in the early days? How and where did you get new albums?

I think after listening Funebre (Fin) Demo 90 and Beyond Belief - Remember the Skull (Demo 91). I felt clearly what I wanted to create, write and play, then came Winter, Thergothon, MDB, Anathema, Decoryah, Paradise Lost, great bands, at that times all stuff were via mail and stamps, there were too much delay and some rip offs, But now via the web I got almost all Mournful Congregation discography, also Pantheist stuff - amazing bands.

The band's name has an obvious religious vibe, what kind of meaning did you put into it?

We do not consider ourselves people with religious or related ideas, but this happened when I began to compose the first songs and we did not know what name to give the project and it was that we entered as part of a tourism plan a very old church on the outskirts of Lima in a trip we had with our previous band Morbid Cadaver and we saw a very sorrowful black Christ in there, he looked totally complaining and lamenting, surrounded by characters all lamented, the image was so realistic and shocking that we were very surprised and then we realized as it contained the ideas we had in mind and that is how the idea of the name came to us at that moment.  

You released demo 'In Ventus Est Dolor' in 1999; it was quite a big piece - 54 minutes total. What are your memories about this recording? How were recording sessions organized?

We did not have much experience with recordings and productions but everything was going quite well, progress and recording at that time, but there was a problem between the people in charge of recording and production and it was in the middle of the recording process that they separated and left us in the middle of nowhere we didn´t know what to do and one of them continued with our work and as a result of this it was that we did not have the sound quality that we wanted but quite apart from that it was a pleasant experience, we woke up recording the guitars with some alcohol, unfortunately the following week we had to re-record since the rhythm guitar had several errors, he was drunk, and when we had almost everything ready to finish we felt that something was missing and at that time we told the producer to give us 30 minutes free and that's how we did 'Streams of Sorrow' in 15 minutes, we took the piano, put in lyrics, we practiced and recorded it in that instant.

Did the demo help you to draw people's attention to the band?

We had not really thought about recording since our objective was simply to play, expose what we had inside, create and play what was born from the withered soul but there were people who saw us and listened to rehearse and they liked what we did and it was so. A record store called Los 2 Diablos proposed us to record the demo, perhaps it did not have the distribution or marketing that many bands have now but at that time it was not easy, however the demo was acquired by many people in Peru and they sent them abroad and then we had a lot of emails requesting copies of the demo from many countries that were thought of for us. But it was very comforting to see that many people liked what we simply did to feel free of so much emotional burden.

Lament Christ - 'In Ventus Est Dolor' (Demo, 1999):

Peru never had the reputation of being Doom Metal country, although there are/were such bands as El Hijo de la Aurora, Kranium, Matus, Reino Ermitano, Tlön - and older but far less known Inmemorial and En las Espesas Nieblas. What's was the local scene back then as you had 'In Ventus Est Dolor' released? Was it difficult to be one of very few doom bands in Peru?

When we started with Lament Christ at that time there was already Inmemorial, and Kranium that just changed from death metal to doom folk, there was also a band called Saram Scivit, very good, with Darken (doom death at that time) and then ELEN came. In those times in Lima, Peru, black metal was booming and there were several death metal bands and when we took the stage for the first time with death and black bands it seemed that we were going to be victims of indifference and rejection for playing slower songs but not it was like that, people understood what we proposed and we had a good response. On that side we had almost no problems, little by little we had more followers and not only in Lima but outside of Lima in different cities of Peru where they invited us to play there, people who followed us and follow us until now.

How often did you play live back then? How were these gigs organized?

We do not play so often maybe twice a year in Lima and the same in other cities in Peru. The first gigs were great, we received good comments after playing some gigs. But we do not like to play so often maybe the sound quality was not so efficient as we needed in early days but instead of that we played as best as possible.

What led the band to disband in 2010?

The lack of time and interest of some members. It was difficult to find good musicians who love doom metal, in that time the doom metal scene in Lima was not as big as today and not all musicians felt passion for what we played and needed. I was disappointed, and left the band in standby, and tried to be active with Mortuorio (death metal) as vocalist, but at some gigs people requested us to unite the band again and here we are.

So people's requests did really drive you to resurrect Lament Christ in 2017?

It was wanting to do what we are most passionate about, I was in a classic old school death metal band Mortuorio and at concerts many people indeed asked me to come back with LC. I talked to Ronald the drummer and he also wanted to return to play, and I made sure that William Castillo agreed, once I planted the projects for them and we began to rehearse and put together the new line up. Later we were proposed to play at the very renowned Lima Metal Fest III festival and we also had the opportunity to open the show to Paradise Lost in Lime and some gigs out of Lima.

Lament Christ - 'The Agonic Fall Of Mourners' (Album, 2021):

Lament Christ's first album, 'The Agonic Fall of Mourners', was released on 5th April by Thrashirts records. What are your feelings regarding finally having a physical copy of the band's first full-length work?

It is a great emotion to see our work and effort made. Thrashirts bet on us and trusted in our serious work, we talked a lot about the plans and made a good pact, it cost us a lot of work since it is not easy here in Peru to get musicians such as a pianist or violinist who has an affinity with funeral doom metal! Apart from the fact that each of us has a separate job, and we hardly have a time that we can all coincide to meet to create or rehearse, several times we have rehearsed with half the band. And for my very little time a week for that reason, the good thing is that today we have very good musicians, all talented, and we have many plans for the future, we hope to make more productions since we are already structuring new songs for that.

How long did you work on these songs? How old is this material?

The oldest song on the album is definitely 'Alone in my Dreamlands' since it was previously recorded on the 1997 demo and it seems to me that it was created in 1994. Then 'Drowned' follows, approximately in 2006, which was modified over time. Then also came 'Cursed into Eternal Void' at almost 4 years and 'This Unbearable Pain' that must already be one and a half years old like 'Loss', 'So Far From Paradise' I had it in mind since August 2009.

How did you organize this recording session?

We have now the great support of Thrashirts Records who trusted us and our work, and we fully agreed to order, plan the work plan well and everything flowed, on the other hand, at the time of the demo we did not have the same support and we did absolutely everything, in the same way both recordings were unique experiences full of sorrow and melancholy.

What are your plans now concerning Lament Christ? Do you aim to return to the studio for new material soon? Or will you wait a bit?

Yes, we are about to plan our next musical work, it is probable we will record a split with another funeral doom band.

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Visit the Lament Christ bandpage.

Interviewed on 2021-07-02 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Aesthetic Death
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