Chile's Capilla Ardiente are the brainchild of bassist Claudio Botarro Neira and vocalist Felipe Plaza Kutzbach; the current line-up is completed by Julio Borquez (rhythm, lead & acoustic guitars), Igor Leiva (rhythm guitar) and Francisco Aguirre (drums). Botarro and Plaza are also playing with fellow doomsters (and High Roller recording artists) Procession. However, there is a fundamental difference between Capilla Ardiente and Procession, neither of which is a mere side project but both are full-blown bands.
Capilla Ardiente's brand new record »The Siege« consisting or four epic compositions follows 2014's debut album »Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness«.
“The new album is both musically and conceptually the continuation of our past album,” explains Claudio Botarro. “In this chapter, the character presented on our last work - who has been living alone for quite some time in self exile, learning, reflecting and gaining knowledge about him and the island he has being living in - one day finds out that foreign ships are arriving, which he took as the great sign that he wasn't alone on the search; that finally, he can connect and share experiences and knowledge with these sailors who, like him, survived the journey through the black seas and what lives into its depths. 'Seekers of knowledge like me,' he thinks. Now, these sailors have other things in mind, so soon enough, and in the hardest way, our character realizes that he might be facing his doom and the damnation of the island, which forced him to leave the meditative state and prepare to endure the imminent siege ... To defend what he believes is the right thing to do.
Obviously, this tale is not a literal one and it's not based neither on historical events nor literature other than to provide an aesthetic background. This is an album that calls for inner rebellion, non-conformity, self strength but mostly, sacrifice. The solitary path. All the answers and meaning are there, waiting to be discovered after each listening. It´s just an exercise of connecting the dots, I think.”
“We recorded the album at Audiocustom Estudio here in Chile, during several sessions between late 2018 and early 2019,” he continues. “We went to this studio again as we (Felipe and myself) recorded the last Procession album there and we were very satisfied with the outcome, not only on a musical level, but also in the cool vibe the place has and the easy-going character of the engineer (Sebastian Puente). Not to mention that I live five blocks from the place, so I literally went almost two or three times a week after work for months to drink coffee, listen to the progressions and chat about metal and other stuff, too. The recordings went really smooth and we five were there. We flew in Felipe from Sweden for three weeks, and by that time he already had some ideas about the vocal lines, as we were sending him rehearsals and structures as we were composing the music. Each instrument was recorded while the other four members were listening, so we paid close attention to detail to have the best source material to work with.
Like our previous efforts the record is a travel inwards, so we aim to connect with the inner region we are describing in music, lyrics and artwork. The only plan we follow once we are composing an album is to finish the songs, defining the order of the tracks and then start writing the lyrics accordingly, in a storytelling way.
I can state that our music has expanded now that we have two guitars since the composition stage. This has lead us to have more space for harmonies between the guitars and more freedom for the bass. Also, on a live note, we have a backing voice too, as Igor is singing, which also make the recorded arrangements for the voice come to live on stage.”
»The Siege« contains four pretty long tracks. So it seems as if it's easier for Capilla Ardiente to record long tracks instead of shorter, quirky ones. True or false? “Uhm. To be honest, speaking personally, I kind of think I'm telling a story, and some stories can't be resumed, can they? Don't get me wrong, as writer Ernesto Sábato once stated: 'I have no problems with something extensive, but I hate something extended'; you know, we love those long and elaborated songs like Iron Maiden's "Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner', Voivod's 'Jack Luminous', Cathedral's 'Voyage Of The Homeless Sapien' or 'The Call Of Ktulu', 'Orion' and 'To Live Is To Die' by Metallica (R.I.P.), to name just a few, which you can't imagine shorter in any way without sacrificing their magic. We try to focus on the flow of the story, both musically and lyrically, and the result are these 'pilgrim's journey' or 'hero's voyage' kind of songs.”
It's been five long years since the first album »Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness«, a pretty long time ... why that? “I think there are many reasons for that,” elaborates Claudio Botarro Neira. “We all play in other bands and sometimes you have to focus on recording and touring with those other bands, so even when we try to rehearse the most we can, sometimes those other duties put us on hold for weeks and sometimes a couple of months. Also, we like to let our riffs and arrangements mature and see if they grow and survive the test of time or if we have to throw them and start working on a different direction. We don't think we have to release something just for the sake of releasing something, you know? Now, if you also add that Felipe is living in Sweden, well, I think you get the picture. We advance without hurry, but also without rest.”
A song like "The Open Arms, The Open Wounds" sounds like a mix between »Into Glory Ride« era Manowar and epic Candlemass. Probably not the worst references in the world ... “Those references fall into the right place, I must say,” laughs Claudio. “Indeed, we are inspired by the epic feel of classic Candlemass (and Solitude Aeturnus!) and I also get that this song has a kind of 'Secret Of Steel' vibe. If you listen to it a couple of times, you could also find other influences laying under it, from Mercyful Fate's 'Time' and Slayer's 'South Of Heaven' to Los Jaivas' 'La Poderosa Muerte'. We are proud of our influences and it's great that people can feel them in our music.”
If you listen closely, you will hear that the bass is far more prominent on the new material, which makes the album sound a lot heavier ... “I guess that it has to do with the addition of the second guitar,” analyses Claudio Botarro Neira. “Oh, and don't forget the production ... That's one of the main reasons why we chose the studio (and why I went time and time again to check if the sound we wanted to achieve was achieved. The benefits of living five blocks from it!).”