Much like their previous EP, presented in a special feature here on IDIOTEQ, “Chains of Blue“, the newest epic from Brasilia based shoegaze metallers ISAURIAN is hard to define and a wonder to behold. Once again transporting listeners into the ether of their atmospheric soundscapes, the Brazilian experimentalists have managed to design an impressive offering, hitting even brighter and harder than their previous work, satisfying expectations, further fortifying them as masters of their craft, and hopefully getting them a lot more new listeners. Highly impressed by the contrast, dynamic motion and keen sensitivity to a variety of genres, we have teamed up with the band to give you a proper, in-depth presentation of Chains of Blue, including track by track rundown, first hand commentary on their work, other bands recommendations, and ISAURIAN’s take on some of the events happening in the world today, includingThe George Floyd protests and COVID-19 pandemic.
Recorded and produced by Kevin Ratterman, at Family Mob, São Paulo, Brazil, mixed and mastered by Kevin Ratterman, at Invisible Creature, Los Angeles, USA (Emma Ruth Rundle, Ray LaMontagne, White Reaper, etc.), “Chains of Blue” comes out independently this Friday, July 3rd! The record features Hoanna Aragão as another vocalist, adding an intense, powerful quality to the melodies. ISAURIAN moved Guilherme (drummer of previous EPs) to guitars and added Roberto Tavares to drum duties.
The result is a layered, heavy and constantly melodic record, continuing the shoegazey and organic sound started on Dead Flower of Youth, but messing with different song structures and genres, from the gothic side of Doom Metal to the progressive waves of Post-Metal. This is Isaurian finding their true identity in an album that is able to convey hope and misery with the same intensity.
Comments the band:
“Thematically, the album took shape during the year of 2019. It was a landmark year for me. I knew the lyrics were gonna be personal and it all came naturally. This album is mainly about love, new beginnings and all that surrounds that. I find it slightly refreshing to write a metal record that is unapologetically about love, about the beautiful part of love. The joy, the mystery, the sensuality. We wanted to ‘bring sexy back’ to doom metal. It is also about leaving misery behind, breaking chains that held you back. That is why Chains of Blue is such a good title for the album even though the lyrics in the title song take a different approach to the meaning. Hoanna named the record and wrote most of the lyrics to the song, but her contribution to the album and lyrics goes way beyond that.”
Artwork by Jorge Rabelo, Artwork photo by Guilherme Tanner, produced by Hoanna Aragão, Artwork model: Manuela Gomes
“This record was, once again, 100% self-funded and is being 100% independently released. We spoke with a couple of labels, but nothing made sense for us. It is hard to reach new listeners these days without some sort of machine backing us and we are always on the lookout for opportunities, but we intend to make good use of the freedom of a self-release. A very limited CD pressing will be available in time for the shows. We know CDs are dead, but we needed the joy of a physical release and vinyl here in Brazil still costs way too much.”
Track by track commentary:
1. Vanity Mirror – This was one of the first songs written and thematically it stands out from the others. It is about someone who has given up on life but still exists. We all know someone like that. It starts the record off because it is a good preview of what’s to come. It is heavy, with doomier and shoegazier moments and also quite progressive.
2. Pythoness – The first track that was written for the album. It starts the personal themes of the record. Musically, at first, my inspiration was the band Earth, but it turned into something else, something sexier and doomier. This is about the first, hard strike of real infatuation. About sex and then realizing it is not just that, about being put a spell on, about not knowing what’s next. Guilherme’s arrangements on the verses are so brilliant, added so much to the mood of the song.
3. Dead Garden – This one mixes a really gloomy, doomy tone with some more modern riffs. Hoanna’s inputs, especially in the chorus, really make this track stand out. It is about a dried out, long failed relationship and the acceptance of that. It is not a sad way of touching the subject, more of a resigned one.
4. Constant Glow – I wrote this track in about 2 or 3 hours. I was in a weird but creative place after riding a synthetic high. It is structurally more traditional and possibly the most commercial song on the record. It is about the insecurities and fears that need to be conquered before really diving into true, irreversible love. It is a bit more upbeat and Pedro’s keys, especially at the end, just make it brighter and more positive.
5. The Oceans – Also written in a night, in a couple of hours. One of the rare cases I wrote the vocal melodies as I was writing the music. It started out as a minimalistic thing, but the production made it bigger, more epic. Lyrically, it is pretty much a continuation from Constant Glow. About the realization that there is no turning back and after all doubts and fears about love, comes a resting heart.
6. To the Shore – It almost didn’t make it to the record because it was sounding weird in the rehearsals. But we made it work. Now it is one of the favorites of the band. Doomy, slow, shoegaze verses but with a big chorus that Hoanna made stand out marvelously. Roberto’s drumming is a big factor in this one, too. Although it has sad melodies, it is a positive theme. It is about leaving years of bleakness and taking a dive in happiness.
7. Reaching Hands – A slight detour thematically and clearly the most traditionally metal song of the record. The main riff was written by Guilherme. Just a true doom metal song about mortality and my relationship with it and how it changes with love. The only song that features full-on screaming/growling.
8. With Solace – A track that differs from everything we’ve done in almost every way. It is such a positive post-rock song. Vicente’s rhythmic bass is so essential to the song’s progression. It is basically a mantra, a simple one. Sun after the rain. Hope after misery.
9. Chains of Blue – This one was weird technically, because i am not much of an acoustic guitar kind of guy. But the way it naturally works into the electric part was such a cool challenge. This is Hoanna’s song. Her lyrics, her vocal melodies. She came up with the melodies so fast and they are so beautiful and tender. It touches on the feeling of abandonment and drowning. That desolating sensation of being alone in deep waters.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑓𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠.
“We recorded it in only 6 days, partially live and to tape. Kevin Ratterman has a very organic, quiet and focused approach to the recording process. He is a brilliant engineer and makes everything sound so good, but is mainly interested in bringing out true performance from the band. So we kind of get the best of both worlds. We perform to the best of our abilities and we get a tight, beautiful sounding record. And Kevin is a beautiful human and brings such a relaxed vibe to the studio. We had to be prepared and organized so we wouldn’t have to rush things during the 6 days. We made it work.”
𝑊𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑠𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑. 𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑘𝑒𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐.
“Each album and EP takes shape on their own. This one turned out as a true amalgam of our previous records and also of our musical references. The doom is always there, the shoegaze sounds are also there, but there is also true post-rock, post-metal and even droney moments all over the record. And Kevin’s sonic approach to the production was just perfect for such diversity. It is not the traditional metal production. The addition of Hoanna and Roberto to the line-up and Guilherme moving to guitars also made the record what it is. Hoanna is a powerful, experienced singer and is the perfect counterpoint to the airy, laid back approach of most of my vocals.”
Touring versus COVID-19
“Since we were busy finishing up the record, we didn’t have to postpone any tour dates. Obviously, we are now looking at 2021 to start promoting the record with live shows. Dude, this virus fucking SUCKS. I know humanity deserves most of the tragedies bestowed upon this world, but fuck, man… What a cockblocking, piece of shit virus. But we will get through it. I know artists and fans have been truly supportive of each other through this pandemic. In some ways, it is beautiful to see. I just hope the good that is coming out of this still echoes after all is over. And we all want it to be over. Isaurian is a passion project and isn’t a source of income to me or any of the guys, so we have been able to sit tight, be patient and try to keep other aspects of our lives healthy and safe.”
Political situation in the world today
“We are living chaotic, reactive times. The riots are a good example of that. What happened to George Floyd was an unforgivable atrocity and there is no denying it was a result of systemic racism in the american police. Riots often get out of control, and that sucks. We’d all love to see reason and dialogue solve problems deeply rooted in our societies. But we know that doesn’t happen. Fighting against racism is always a noble fight. It shouldn’t be a political issue, it is not about left or right.
𝐵𝑟𝑎𝑧𝑖𝑙 𝑖𝑠 𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑜𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 50 𝑦𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑜.
Our president is pure, utter scum. A dumb, protofascist asshole that took advantage of our confused, angry people to spread misinformation and put in motion a shapeless, elitist government plan. A lot of damage has already been done, but I feel like the tide is turning again. And I hope I can say the same to the rest of the world. The world can do better than Trump, Bolsonaro, Boris Johnson, Orbán etc.. I don’t see Isaurian taking the music to political paths any time soon, it is just not us. But as citizens, we are not numb.”
Local artists worth checking out:
“Brasília still has a bunch of talented, hungry underground acts. Device, Absent, Mofo, Beholder’s Cult and Estamira come to mind, but I could name much more.
Brazilian artists worth checking out: Carahter, Turing, Ousel, Labirinto, Desalmado, Basalt, Vociferatus, E A Terra Nunca me Pareceu Tão Distante. All pretty good at what they do.
Worldwide artists worth checking out: I’ll try to focus on smaller acts – Mellowdrone, Wild Pink, White Ward, Lo-Pan, Twin Limbs, Gazpacho, Curse These Metal Hands, Drab Majesty, Tides From Nebula.. So much great music out there!”
10 essential records that inspired Isaurian’s music:
1. Type O Negative – October Rust – The pinnacle of music to me. A beautiful, sexy, heartfelt record that manages to be super heavy at times, with epic walls of sounds, but always melodic, romantic and intense.
2. Paradise Lost – One Second – Tough to pick one record from them that is a bigger reference. They embraced their goth sound in this one, with heavy riffs and pop production. Their first brave step in a career full of brave steps.
3. Jesu – Silver – Jesu’s industrial approach to shoegaze is incredibly unique. This was the record that really turned me into the project.
4. Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love – This is the younger record on the list, but it made such an impact and influenced our turn to a more organic sound. The clean, touchingl melodies through the black metal heaviness is also inspiring.
5. Earth – The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull – Never has such a guitar oriented band been so elegant and reflexive. This is their masterpiece.
6. Anathema – A Natural Disaster – As they moved away from their more metal roots, this is their most balanced record. Beautiful, deep, melodic but still with punch and intensity.
7. Mellowdrone – Box – The fact that these guys were never big pisses me off. They are an indie rock band, but with so many little twists and turns. They can be sad, humorous, sexy, romantic and their songwriting skills are genius.
8. Korn – Issues – I grew up listening to new metal, sue me. This is the most organic sounding record from Korn. It is so moody and sad, and some riffs are as close to doom metal as anything i’ve heard.
9. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – This soundtrack and movie are so important to me. So much beauty and melancholy, so haunting.
10. Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase – These guys can create beautiful, spacy electronic textures as brilliantly as they can create disturbing, creepy sounds. This album showcases their beautiful side.
Spotify Playlist based on the list above:
“Thank you so much to Karol and Idioteq for such a big space to showcase our art.
𝑀𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐 𝑖𝑠 𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙, 𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒.
We do this because we love doing it. We lose money and it is always an uphill battle to get our music played. But we will continue doing it and opportunities like this one really help on our path. To everyone reading: stay safe, be patient, spend time listening to good music and, if you can, close to the people you love. The world is a shitty place when you don’t have real connections.
We hope this record will be a good companion throughout the (hopefully) final stages of this pandemic.
See you on the road real soon.”
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