Happiness & joy because PANDEMMY releases new material and the Brazilian metal band again does not disappoint. After the fantastic "Rise Of A New Strike" from 2016 comes Obliteration, a split-record with Italian metal band ABSCENDENT. The opening Monstera may sound a bit like an atmospheric warming-up with a not too strong musical aftertaste, the follow-up, however, is ear-shattering. In the music of PANDEMMY a lot happens; the grunt is deeply buried in the music but the relative lack of melody in that department is sublime complemented by the instruments; the inventive melody lines coming from the guitars (shredding as if they play their own metal variations of Flight of the Humble Bee) fill in an important part of the songs and the shifting time signatures are breathtaking. PANDEMMY is total music in which the several influences are not too difficult to trace (from Carcass to Megadeth, see also this interview with the band), but these are absorbed in one organic whole in which the sum is many times greater than the parts.
Four new songs and a Motörhead cover (Them Not Me from 90s album Overnight Sensation thrown in the trash metal shredder) are PANDEMMY’s contribution to Obliteration and in those songs happens more than on many other bands' full albums. PANDEMMY condenses their ideas into bold, catchy songs that can best be described as mind-expanding knuckle sandwiches. Just like with "Rise ..." the songs (and yes, it's a pity they're no more of them) ultimately string together as movements in a metal symphony.
In the same ultra-heavy niche as PANDEMMY we have ABSCENDENT. The Italians stay more at the trashy side of things than their Brazilian colleagues, their metal sounds a bit less hallucinatory, but also their songs kick frantically ass. They also bring four own songs to the show where the final cover -Spirit Crusher of death-metal legends Death- can be considered as an ultimate prove of metal competence. On Obliteration death breathes life. It energizes and makes one attack the day like a bird of prey. A mind blowing metal heist.
Next in a series of interviews with Brazilian metal bands comes PANDEMMY. Founded in 2009 by lead/main guitarist Pedro Valença, PANDEMMY is a metal band that expanded their death/trash sound throughout the years with influences coming from in and outside metal. After Self-Destruction (demo 2010), Dialetic (EP 2011), Idiocracy (EP 2012), Reflections & Rebellions (Album 2013), the band released Rise Of A New Strike (2016), a marvel of an album: vigorious and versatile with an almost delicate feel for melody, a collection of superb songs that feels like a metal symphony. Wagner & Heavy Metal asked Pedro Valença about the band, their musical influences and their goal in life and music.
1. My first question about PANDEMMY. What is the exact line-up of the band?
Pedro Valença - Hi Metalheads! We are PANDEMMY, Brazilian Death Thrash Metal band! The exact line-up of the band is Pedro Valença and Guilherme Silva (Lead Guitars), Rayanna Torres (Vocals), Marcelo Santa Fé (Bass Guitar) and Arthur Santos (Drums).
2. What is the metal scene like in Brazil at the moment? Is it growing and alive? Does is know many subgenres? If so, which of the subgenres is most popular?
Pedro Valença – Brazil is a very big country. there are several metal scenes depending on the region. In general we have great bands and a good schedule of shows. Some cities have difficulties with venues and equipment. We still do not have the level of public that Europe and the United States have. This also hinders the creation of major festivals. Extreme music has more space in the current scene, because Sepultura and Krisiun are big bands that influence a lot of other bands. We also have great melodic bands like Angra, Hangar, André Matos, Terraprima and Hibria.
3. Does each band member bring their own specific influences or are all the band members into the exact same music?
Pedro Valença – We have influences in common in Heavy Metal, especially in Death Metal (Carcass, Morbid Angel, Death) and Thrash Metal (Megadeth, Kreator, Destruction, Sepultura), but each member likes other types of music.
4. What is the writing dynamic among members of the band (does one person write or is song writing more a band effort)?
Pedro Valença – Me and Guilherme are the main composers. When rehearsing new songs, any member thinks about the parts that can be modified. About the lyrics I also like to write them.
5. I hear many diffferent influences in the music of PANDEMMY (thrash, death, progressive metal). What are the influences of the band outside metal?
Pedro Valença – Great question, my friend! We like pop music (Lana Del Rey, Michael Jackson, Adele, Dido, Alanis Morissette), some things from the 1990s (Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden), hard rock (Uriah Heep, Gun Sin), blues, classical music and movie soundtracks.
6. I noticed that the band, sometimes, remembers a bit of DEATH. A band like DEATH (read: Chuck Schuldiner) implemented increasingly complex song structures into their thrash/death sound. How do you see your own musical development? Are there (musical) areas that you still want to explore?
Pedro Valença – Thanks for the compliment! Chuck Schuldiner and Death is a great and present influence. I think we evolved on the second album. We like to keep a dynamic between the tracks. This dynamic can give the impression that we are technicians. Our compositions flow, are not intentional. We will never be something like Math Metal (?!) or Technical Death Metal.
7. What inspires the band the most when it comes to writing lyrics?
Pedro Valença – The injustices of the world. Few lyrics approach personal issues. We are a heavy metal band that doesn’t support any conservatism. It’s sad to see headbangers supporting politicians like Donald Trump, Le Pen, Joko Widodo, Mauricio Macri or Jair Bolsonaro. These people hatch the egg of fascism.
8. Does the band believe in heavy metal (the kind of metal that you play) as a force that can change things for the good (as music that can raise awareness about, for instance, political and environmental issues)?
Pedro Valença – Absolutely !!! Heavy Metal has come to break paradigms. See our heroes. They all grew up in oppressive environments, suffered from prejudice, addictions, any kind of violence. They made music based on their inner demons. We better understand life through these life experiences. I think Heavy Metal (and Rap) have great potential to change people for the better. Talking about politics, ecology and emerging issues (such as the new wave of fascism) is necessary. We cannot relieve the danger that the planet and society are in.
9. What was the biggest gig of the band sofar (in and/or outside Brazil)?
Pedro Valença - Our most three shows was on Abril Pro Rock Festival (2012) supporting for Exodus, Ratos de Porão and Brujeria; Roça n’ Roll Festival (2011) in the state of Minas Gerais for Wacken Open Air Metal Battle Brazil and Hellcifest (2017) supporting to Abbath and Amon Amarth. When the economic crisis is over, let's plan our first tour in Europe.
10. Final question for now: do you have any specific goal in mind for the band (besides world domination)?
Pedro Valença – Music is art. Entertaining or raising awareness are our goals. Make people feel good with our music. Make the most of shows, at most places, launch good albums and dominate the world. Thank you for interview. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Keep spreading the PANDEMMY!
Note: Vocals on Rise Of A New Strike are from Vinícius Amorim. Rayanna Torres joined PANDEMMY after the release of that album.
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