Infera Bruo Guitarist/Vocalist Galen Discusses The Band's Second Album "Desolate Unknown"
The name Infera Bruo might not ring a bell to some readers, but if you’re a black metal fan, it should. The band made a stir with their 2011 self-titled release. Though they retain the signature traits of black metal, they don’t maintain a conventional attitude towards their music. A full-time member is dedicated to synths and other effects, and melodic vocals pierce through the tremolo-generated noise. Infera Bruo is not held down by any standards, making their own waves and steering away from the norm.
The band is getting ready to release their second album, “Desolate Unknown,” in early July, which pushes their dynamic black metal sound against a more progressive mindset. I had the chance to send guitarist/vocalist Galen some questions via email about the new album, the importance of the lyrical content, and being an unsigned/independent group.
Is there an origin story behind the name Infera Bruo?
The name was something our friend Yuri Zbitnoff came up with. Germanicus (synth/effects) and myself were in a short lived band with him around the time Infera Bruo was starting. He was coming up with some unique names that came from Esperanto and Volapuk for that project. We ended up using the name, which means “hellish noise” for this band instead, because it fit the music we were writing well.
The band’s sound takes its cues from various genres, and is not just restricted to black metal. Was this something that came naturally to you guys, or did it take time to evolve?
Well, from the get go, we were all coming from varied backgrounds and influences. We certainly didn't consciously try to incorporate other genres into the music. That's actually something that really bugs me. I think you can hear when bands are trying to cram in as many styles as they can. It's contrived and usually sucks. We're just trying to write songs that we like. The common ground between the members of this band is black metal so it will probably continue to evolve with that at it's core.
Were there any inspirations the band looked to in developing the band’s sound?
Not particularly. It's all come pretty naturally. Obviously, we are heavily influenced by second-wave black metal bands, but there was never a point when we talked about our sound as something other than what was coming out of our amps.
When you guys started gathering material for the second album, did you seek to improve upon the self-titled release or try out something a bit different?
I don't think we were going for anything different. Just doing what felt natural. We are always seeking to improve and I think the new material is a big step forward.
Were there any elements from the first album that the band wanted to highlight further on “Desolate Unknown”?
Not really. Just continue down the path we started on.
Was the songwriting approach for “Desolate Unknown” done in a similar manner as the first album?
Yes, pretty much exactly the same, except this time around we had Neutrino (bassist/vocalist), who composed “Dust of Stars.”
I feel like the second album emphasized a more progressive mindset, with the longer songs and
melodic nuances. Was that something the band was striving for from the onset with “Desolate Unknown”?
Progressive mindset is a good way to put it. We want to be progressive in the true sense of the word. Not in the "musical acrobatics" sense. There are too many bands these days that play music like sports. The thing I wanted more of on this album was dynamics. There's quite a bit of breathing room on it. As far as song length, that's really not a conscious thing. If it feels right, we do it. “Ritual Within” is a pretty long song, but it has a purpose. It serves the concept.
One of the things I think black metal isn’t given enough credit for is its lyrical content. How important are lyrics to the band?
The lyrics are very important to us. There's a lot of energy that goes into it. Most of it is pretty personal for me and can be very difficult at times, like pulling teeth actually. But once they're out, I feel much better. Ardroth (drummer/vocalist) is more of a natural poet. He usually has pages and pages of lyrics. Sometimes more than can be contained in the context of a song.
What kind of concepts from a lyrical perspective does “Desolate Unknown” feature?
There are a lot Thelemic elements in the lyrics. Some based on personal experiences that relate to Crowley's work and the occult. There is also a running theme regarding the destructive forces of nature throughout the album, as well as the self-destructive forces of mankind.
I noticed that the band includes two interludes, or segues as it is labeled on the album. Was this a way to tie the whole album together, or is there some deeper meaning behind them?
Well, “Segue 1” ties directly to “Ritual Within.” Germanicus created it knowing the concept of the song and using that as a starting point. “Segue 2” was more of an in-between piece that ended up fitting very well before the conclusion of the album.
Was the band looking for a kind of unification between all the tracks on “Desolate Unknown”?
Yes, I generally like things to tie together in some form or another. There's no connecting theme per say, but the songs sort of flow into each other. When we play live, there are rarely moments without noise between songs. I wanted to purvey that feeling on the album.
The band is going the independent route with releasing the album. What kind of advantages and disadvantages are there in self-releasing?
The only advantage is that we have complete control over our material in pretty much every way. The disadvantages are numerous. No one in this band is independently wealthy, and we all work hard to pay the rent. So certain things aren't easily accomplished; for example, at the moment we can't afford to put out “Desolate Unknown” on vinyl, which is something that we are very adamant about. We have to do things in steps. If we had a label behind us, maybe it would be smoother.
Do you see bands releasing material on their own as the future, or is there still value in labels?
It seems to me that there is still value in labels if they are run by the right people. I believe it's important for a band to be able to focus on what's important: creating music. If there is someone who cares about what a band is doing and can help them get their art out there and form some sort of mutual partnership, that's awesome. I'd rather be writing riffs.
How does this music translate from the studio to the stage? Are there any major differences,
maybe in how they come across live compared to the studio recording?
We are a bit different live. I think when we started playing out there were a lot of realizations. One was vocals. When we recorded the self titled, we didn't know we would be playing live; in fact, we almost gave up on it completely until Neutrino joined. The vocals on that are split pretty much in half between Ardroth and myself, so I had to start doing his parts live. Also the synth parts are more stripped down in a live setting, since a lot of the layering isn't possible. Germanicus is a great improvisor, so he gets to let loose a little when we perform.
In your opinion, what makes a perfect live show?
Performing your songs confidently and well, but with enough differences to make it interesting.
Is the band looking to go on the road this summer/fall extensively?
We want to play as much as we can. It would have to be the right situation for us to tour extensively, but I would love to go on the road for a while and get the music out there. Europe would be great too. Right now, we're just focusing on the East Coast, but we'll see what happens.
What’s the one advice you would give to any musician just starting up?
I'm not one to give advise, but I guess try not to lose sight of why you started playing in the first place. Even if it's to get laid, and if it is to get laid, I hope you're not playing extreme metal, because that's not going to work.
If you could tour with one band, past or present, who would it be and why?
I'm going to have to say Mayhem. They've been a huge influence on me and I think they are one of the more interesting metal bands out there. People always talk about their past, but they are consistently pushing boundaries and releasing great records.
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