Please tell us a few words about the new release, about the music on it as a whole or a few words on each track in part. How are you happy with the final release?
This new record, "Beheaded Children Contest," is a step up from our previous releases. We learned from our past experiences recording and we tried to do it better this time. Our initial plan was to release a full-length album and this EP afterwards. In the end, we decided to do it backwards. Two songs included in this EP, "Rape... Kill... Rape," and "Beheaded Children Contest,” were supposed to be part of "Acrotomophile Mutilator." Therefore, listeners will find some commonalities between this and our previous production. The rest of the songs, with the exception of "The Kill," are fresh material. So, it could be said the combination of old and new stuff makes this record very diverse. As usual, we spice up our death metal with thrash and grind, so that remains the same. Overall, we are quite satisfied with the results.
How would you describe/label the music on it? Does it sound like anything we might have heard before?
We play death metal, but we're not afraid to incorporate influences from other genres if the songs demand it. Some might like it, some might not… but that’s with everything, so we’ll continue doing our thing. In fact, we're in constant evolution. Our first album was very close to the standards of the genre; in the second one we incorporated some melodic parts and we worked on the arrangements of the songs; and in this album people will hear a more complex approach to composition; for instance, there are many tempo changes and we use odd-time signatures more frequently. Another thing that stands out in this album is the vocals. They sound quite evil and demented thanks to the work of Giuliano. Also, the combination of both deep growls and high-pitched screams infuse the songs with a malevolent aura.
Where was it recorded and how much time did it take you to record it? Any interesting stories from the recording/producing the material?
The recording was done in the following order: drums, guitars, bass, and vocals. All drums were composed using MIDI directly in Pro Tools and the sound is the product of a software called BFD2. Just so people know, there's a lot of work involved in humanizing the drum programming to avoid a robotic sound (e.g. altering the velocity of the hits and quantising notes). Once drums were finished guitars were recorded. This time they were tracked twice so as to have a thicker sound. A small parenthesis here, I think some people might be surprised to hear that our guitars are not tuned down, as it is customary nowadays. They're in standard E, plain and simple. OK, let's continue. I recorded the dirty tracks via a Roland Micro Cube for reference purposes, none of those tracks were actually used in the end. The most important thing were the clean tracks that were recorded along the dirty tracks using a direct box. Those audio files were sent to Studio Fredman in Sweden for re-amping. Legendary engineer Fredrik Nordström used a reverse direct box to feed our clean tracks into an EVH 5150 III and a Peavey 5150. He then proceeded to mike the guitar cabinets connected to the aforementioned amp heads and the resultant distorted tracks were sent back to us. Terrific job I must say, guitars sound wicked in this album! Recording the bass was very straightforward: instrument went into a tube preamp, then into the audio interface and then into the DAW. With vocals we used the same equipment, but we swapped the stock valve of the preamp for a Tesla GoldPin 70's tube. That made a great difference in the sound. Fortunately, we finished tracking vocals one week before pandemic hit our country, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to finish the tracking on time. The whole process took us around two years. Yeah, seems a lot, but it's very difficult to allocate time for recording when you have other responsibilities. Mixing was done here at my home studio. Before incorporating the vocals, I worked on an instrumental draft for several weeks so when Giuliano’s tracks were ready, it was very easy to add them and finish the mix. Final step was mastering and it was done, once again, by John Scrip at Massive Mastering. He did a killer job, the final tracks sound tight and very organic!
What can you tell us about the cover artwork? Is there a link between the artwork and the lyrics? What are the topics of your lyrics?
Well, the song that gives title to this album is "Beheaded Children Contest." That track is based on the story of nobleman Gilles de Rais, a cruel and perverted Fifteenth-Century serial killer. The idea behind the artwork was to depict a netherworld realm where Gilles would offer the heart of a dead child to Satan himself. Some research was done prior to selecting the person to whom we would commission the album artwork. I think we couldn't have chosen a better artist to produce the illustration than Adi Dechristianize. He's a cool guy, very talented, and he got the idea very quickly. The first draft he sent us was exactly what we envisioned. The final piece is amazing and fans are really digging it. When we released our first single some weeks ago everybody was asking about the author of that sick illustration.
In regards to the lyrics, I can do a brief summary of the content of the rest of the tracks. "Excrement Overdose" is the third part of a trilogy that started with "Fecal Burrito," and continued with "Feasting with Feces." It's about a group of twisted persons that nourish themselves with excrements, thus creating a new human species in the process. "Horrific Accident Was Not an Accident" is one of our classic short tracks that tells us the story of guy being thrown into an industrial furnace. "Rape... Kill... Rape" is inspired by the story of Andrei Chikatilo, a Soviet serial murderer and cannibal. "First Your Kid, Then Your Wife, Then You" is about a man that decides to take revenge against an officer that killed his father when he was a kid. A bit of context is necessary here: During the 80s Peru was in the middle of a war against terrorist groups (Sendero Luminoso and MRTA), especially in the Andean highlands. Unfortunately, abuses were committed not only by those groups, but also by the army: many peasants were killed on the spot under suspicion of being part of the aforementioned extremists. So that was the idea behind the song. To close the album, we decided to include a cover song of grindcore fathers Napalm Death, "The Kill."
What do you expect to gain through this release? What are the band's aims at the moment?
With our last record we gained more fans both in our country and around the world. We received positive support from media in general (magazines, fanzines, blogs, and independent reviewers) as well. So, with this album we want to continue that path. Our goal is to spread our music to people who have never heard of us. Gladly for us magazines like Pest Webzine are a great platform to make ourselves known and promote our music. Apart from that, we know the current situation is not the best for concerts and touring, but we would like to participate in an international metal festival. We have demonstrated we're a band that take things very seriously and given the fact we've been playing a lot and opening for acts such as Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, and Vomitory during the past years, we believe it's time to do it.
Is there a special format the material is released in? Or is it released in multiple formats? How many copies were pressed?
"Gate of Horror Productions" will release "Beheaded Children Contest" in CD format and there will be a limited cassette edition (less than 50 copies). A 10-inch vinyl edition was in our plans, but global pandemic ruined economy so that's on hold for now. Nevertheless, being able to launch this album physically this year is more than enough at this moment.
Where and how will you promote this new release?
Well, since we're working with a label now, they're working hard to spread the news of this record. In parallel we are featuring the album in our website, social media channels, and streaming platforms. We also have an alliance with "Mass Hypnosis Management," run by our good friend Gino Bonzano. He's doing a terrific marketing campaign for the band via different media channels. For instance, our single is currently airing in "Metal Warriors Radio" and it was chosen song of the week. So, in regard to promotion everything is going smoothly.
Where can we order it?
Well, our Peruvian fans can order the album directly via the "Gate of Horror Productions" page (https://www.facebook.com/gateofhorror). There are very cool bundles that include t-shirts and hoodies! So, they better hurry up, those come in a limited quantity. We'll keep our international fans updated; postal services will resume their operations very soon. In the meantime, people can listen and purchase our single on Spotify, Apple Music, Play Store, Tidal, Deezer, and many more. The album will be released officially on August 15th 2020.