CENOTAPH: A monument to death, a coffin without corpse. A reminder of our final destination. METAL THE HATEFUL WAY.
This interview is taken from many questions done through the last five years. All the answers are by the only remaining original member, the drummer Oscar Clorio. Up to this point the future of the band is uncertain, yet what is already dead cannot be killed. Listen to the words of one of the few proud death metal warriors going strong for more than 10 years…
How and when did you realized that CENOTAPH was going to be a band beyond the early days?
I suppose it was after we recorded our first rehearsal tape, when we were still named “Damned Cross”. You see, it was very exciting to send that demo around and get a great response to it. It gave us the chance to do more shows and to spread our name. Then we decided to go for a better name, as the old one sounded more like a heavy/black metal band. That’s when we decided to name ourselves CENOTAPH. And we choose death as our main lyrical influence at first.
After the recording of the demo, you gained fast many fans, and that landed into the recording of your first 7” e.p. What were you thinking back then?
Well, we were really excited. We were doing music we liked and we found that a lot of people were following also our music. I can tell you that on those days we were not really good musicians, but our heart was there. Now, I think the demo for the time was good, but the sound was too messy. Anyway, it helped out more to spread the name. You see, back then there were in Mexico almost no bands playing the same style of brutal death metal.
Then it come many offers for the band to record another single in various labels around the world…
Yes, that’s right. We felt very good with that situation. The thing was that we were getting a lot of mail, and spreading our name with the first e.p. I suppose that a band form Mexico playing that kind of music was very interesting to the fans in other countries. We signed a deal with an American label, and although it was released later than expected, and it has a pressing mistake in one song, it only helped us more to spread the name.
You are now the only remaining member since the beginning, how do you feel about it?
It’s a responsibility that I have to continue with the essence of CENOTPAH no matter the line-up changes. We have to make people to feel our music. I just feel good for not giving up and for keeping on doing better music. It’s a fact that the people that have passed in the band have something to do with the sound we now have, but to be a member of CENOTAPH is something more than just being a musician. I do miss the old days with the former members, but it is all part of growing as a band.
What were your feelings when you released your very first album?
For any band, at that time, to release an album was like a dream. It helped us a lot, and although the overall production could be better, it really pushed us. It has been edited many times due to the demand, and we will be playing live some songs from that album. I suppose that I would like to re-record some of those songs, who knows? Maybe one day we will.
On that album, there were the signs of a more mature CENOTAPH that was giving shape to your sound. What can you tell us?
It was a natural thing, through rehearsing and a lot of live shows, you have to become a better musician. Then you can find a way to create your own identity. It is true that we were very influenced by the early extreme death-grind bands like XYSMA, old CARCASS, IMMOLATION, NIHILIST and so, but all the members have been heavy metal fans, and good heavy metal is good heavy metal, no matter what style. Yes, we are now playing what we really wanted, and although many might find our sound similar to other bands, we keep our roots firmly into death metal.
I think that what really launched the name to be more known was the “Riding our black oceans” album. There was the real CENOTAPH…
That was the real CENOTAPH for that time, but we have always been behind everything we have done. We will never deny our roots. Don’t get surprised if our new material has some sound of our early style, more grinding and brutal, yet more mature. It is really sad for us to see all those bands we used to worship in the early days to go so fucking poser now. We were even pen pals with many of those people, and now listen to the shit they ended playing. That pissed me off, and make me to go for doing more extreme heavy metal all the time. On “Riding…” we sounded more influenced by heavy metal and extreme thrash, probably due to the line-up changes, but no one can deny we have improved. That album was recorded in 1994, and on that same year bands like DISSECTION, DARK TRANQUILLITY and AT THE GATES released their first albums. Some people thought we were influenced by those bands, but obviously we are not. The only thing that we have in common with those bands is that we used a bit more complex arrangements, and added some old heavy metal riffs to our sound, but still extreme. We created our sound.
I never thought of that in that way…it was all like a coincidence, but yes, obviously your sound is more “European” that anything…
Probably. But we didn’t have in mind to create this or that style of metal. We just did. I mean, we were listening to bands like IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER and so. For the guitar sound we were trying to get a crunchy style, and we told the producer we wanted a sound like the guitars of the METALLICA “Master of puppets” album. Yet, we were all infected with death, black and extreme metal before it was all a trend. I mean, we were listening to the demos of MAYHEM, BURZUM and so before even they released an album. Why? Simple, we were followers of the underground metal.
Yes, I know. You have seen all those trends passing by, like the black metal craze and the power/death/melodic metal scene, and yet stand with your beliefs.
Yes. We don’t give a fuck about the trends. If people like our music, fine, if they don’t, fine too. We are really old metallers, we have chosen a music style and we are not thinking in changing it just to get a record deal or some shit. Nowadays any moron can have a CD out. But, only the ones who are true will pass the test of time. I have been into this for more than 16 years. Some nowadays so called “evil” metal fans were crying and shitting in their pants when we were already trying to create extreme music. I don’t deny that some new fans are wise enough to differ the true bands from the fake, but nowadays, it is hard for any band to impress me like it was in the old days. I don’t know when CENOTAPH will give up, but I guess that is not in a near future.
Tell me about the recording of SHUB NIGGURATH…
Well, as Julio has always been the songwriter when he was in SHUB NIGGURATH, one day we meet Arturo and talk about recording an album, as there were many songs written before they disbanded. Being myself a fan of the band, it was decided. It was a good experience and I think it is a very good album. It was created really in a short time, but that give it a very special essence. What will happen later, I don’t know. I am also in some other projects, but right now my main concern is CENOTAPH
At a time you wanted to relocate to the USA, but what happened?
Mainly we were looking for spreading our name, but to tell you the truth the scene is not what many people think. Yes, we played at the Milwaukee Metal Fest and there were some people interested, but that’s it, the underground metal scene is not as strong as some people think. Just think, what band has risen like MORBID ANGEL or SLAYER? None. Why did a good band like ANGEL CORPSE decided to call it quits? Just think. I suppose we will be doing great if we were from Europe, but we are not. We are from Mexico and I don’t have a problem with that. I am satisfied with my music and with the people that appreciate it.
So, tell me what kind of bands do you listen to?
A lot. When I was younger it was things like SCORPIONS, WASP, QUEEN, JUDAS PRIEST, and then it was SLAYER, METALLICA, ACCEPT, CARNIVORE, DESTRUCTION, INFERNAL MAJESTY and then things like early DISGRACE, early XYSMA, early CARCASS, man, how many bands have sold out. I still like a lot SENTENCED although they have changed in style. Of course I listen to more recent bands, but hardly anyone impressed me. SOILWORK is ok, I guess. Also I do love those crazy Italian progressive bands. They are really sick and evil.
You have played really a lot, with many bands, what can you tell me?
Well, it was great to play with bands like SLAYER, MORBID ANGEL, DARK ANGEL, DEATH and DESTRUCTION to name a few. But, in reality, not because you play with them it means you are better. What we really enjoy is just to give out a good live show. If we enjoy it, I am sure someone else will.
Now, what does the future looks for CENOTAPH?
As you know, we have recorded our latest album in Germany, with Harris Johns, and to tell you the truth it is a very good album. Probably many fans will feel that we have changed a bit, as out style is now more direct, less complex and a bit more brutal, but it is still CENOTAPH. The recording is also good, I guess that the drum sound could be better, but for some reason it ended up sounding very raw, yet it fits the music very good. Basically we did this album for ourselves and probably will be the last. Later, I don’t know, but when you less expect it, CENOTAPH will attack again. We are the EVERLASTING COMMAND.