If you do read the biographical texts on the High Roller Records website very carefully, you will have noticed that the name of Felipe Plaza somehow sounds familiar. Yes, indeed! Felipe plays in two High Roller bands, both from Chile, both playing some of the most brutal Doom Metal known to mankind. Of course, I am talking about Procession and Capilla Ardiente. But what's the exact situation? Is Capilla Ardiente a side project of Procession or is it the other way around? In how far are the two bands different musically? That's what I wanted to know from Felipe. Here comes his answer: "Capilla Ardiente is more than a side project, its a good friend's Doom Metal band where I collaborate with my voice and rhythm guitars. As I don't participate too much in the compositions, the difference is clear: Procession is my way of composing and directing things from my perspective of creating a crawling, crushing Doom Metal machine. Capilla Ardiente is Claudio's vision and influence, of course both are Doom Metal bands but some facts make it really different, like the tuning, shape of the songs, vocal lines/tone, tempos etc." Felipe gives a quick rundown of Procession's band history: "Formed in 2006 by Felipe Plaza and Daniel Perez in Chile's cultural heart, the coastal city of Valparaiso, they follow the path of tradition, laid out by the masters Black Sabbath, Candlemass and Saint Vitus without mercy, without compromise. Their songs are fully rooted in the ancient tradition of Heavy Metal, where just drums, bass, guitar and vocals are necessary to give such an impact full of melodies, demolishing riffs and epic lyrics of kingdoms destroyed, frustration, anguish, anger and despair. Their 2008 demo tape 'Burn' (Kuravilu Records, 200 copies, May 2008) was a first near-fatal blow, which showed what the band was already capable of. The three anthems featured on the tape are manifests of true Doom, in the vein of Reverend Bizarre and Count Raven - played with dedication and excellent musicianship. Ultra-heavy guitars, pounding drums and relentless riffing meet the passionate and powerful vocals of Felipe Plaza, reminding of a young Ozzy, Messiah Marcolin, Robert Lowe as well as Albert Witchfinder. One of those demo tapes hit the Iron Kodex headquarters in Germany, which led to a contract for the vinyl release of 'The Cult Of Disease' EP, the band's first official release featuring three brand new songs plus the sold-out demo. A monolith of pure Doom (500 copies, February 2009). The vinyl version of 'The Cult Of Disease' sold out after a few weeks, so Iron Kodex proposed a CD version of it (1,000 copies, April 2009). After the reaction for 'The Cult Of Disease', Iron Kodex plans an European invasion for Procession under the name of 'Disease Over Europe', the band's first international tour ever, spreading the Doom Metal pest in countries like Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland and France. In 14 days, the band had the chance of performing in front of completely unpredictable and unknown kinds of crowds including the 'Doom Shall Rise Festival VI' (also Germany) and 'Keep It True Festival XII' (Germany). The tour was over and after a few months in silence, line up changes and a new record deal, the band started the painful building process of what would be their first full-length album: 'Destroyers Of The Faith'. The new album contains six tracks with a running time of app. 40 to 45 minutes. Intense and crushing heavy Doom Metal in the vein of bands like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solstice, Count Raven and Iron Maiden."
The recording line up of Procession reads Felipe Plaza (guitars, vocals)
Claudio Botarro (bass) and Francisco Vera (drums). However, for the upcoming "Hammer Of Doom" festival Felipe Plaza is playing together with Uno from In Solitude on drums and Jonas Pedersen from Strychnos on bass. Why that? Felipe explains: "Well, I moved to Europe now, to be able to move things forward with the band, like playing more gigs, promoting the album, planning tours etc. By the beginning of the year, both Claudio and Francisco were kind enough to accept the challenge and we raised up this dark beauty called 'Destroyers Of The Faith'. But even if they are aware of our gig/tour plans, due to money issues, they cannot attend and perform 'Hammer Of Doom IV'. So I contacted these two friends, Jonas and Uno, and we are rehearsing for upcoming gigs in Uppsala, Sweden. They'll be live members for Procession when the Chileans cannot attend."
"Destroyers Of The Faith" has turned out a real Doom Metal masterpiece with classic compositions such as "Tomb of Doom" or "White Coffin". Felipe Plaza goes into more detail: "The intro 'Hyperion' is a bombastic slow-tempo invitation to raise from/through dark voids, 'Destroyers Of The Faith' is the fast track of the album, easy to headbang to, I guess as the title track, describes the main idea of the album, as a portrait of war against high powers, dogmas, blind faith and weakness. 'The Road To The Gravegarden' was featured on our demo tape, too. We decided to re-record it as we know its a favourite among us and fans. Deals with partying between graves ha, ha. I just added some extra melodies and we also included a guest solo from Peter Vicar (Reverend Bizarre/Orne/Lord Vicar) as for the sound, well, it definitely sounds heavier, tighter and moves on as a stampede of war elephants! 'Chants Of The Nameless' is a personal favourite, crawling, crushing guitars, lots of melodies and weeping harmonies and the chorus that pounds slowly down into the abyss! Lyrically it is about 'prayers' and 'salvation', but from a not-so-common perspective. As for the next one, 'Tomb of Doom', which deals with 'baptism' and 'condemnation', it's also a slow piece with a crushing guitar ending. The last track, 'White Coffin', is actually the only one we worked out together as a band at the rehearsal room and the lyrics were written by Claudio. We tried to build a really epic emotional ending, as a closing thing, with this silent intro that explodes into this melodic lyric part to evolve into a hypnotic dark sequence of melodies, minor scale riffs and the big choir. I think we managed Most of the songs I composed last year when I was in Europe after the tour, then, when I went back to Chile, it was just about locking ourselves inside the rehearsal room with beers for five months and voila!"
What would Felipe say was the decade that influenced Procession most musically: The '80's with bands like Witchfinder General, Candlemass, Witchfynde and St. Vitus or the '70's with bands like Black Widow, Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster and Coven? Felipe's influences do not reach back into the '70's: "Sabbath and the '80's/early '90's, definitely, with Candlemass, Trouble, Count Raven, Revelation, Cathedral etc. I totally respect bands like Coven or Black Widow, as they both have their 'symbolic' albums and their music is dark as fuck but I cannot understand all this cult thing around 'em and all the witches wannabes nowadays. I'm into Metal, into HEAVY Metal made from the heart in any shape or form, call it Death, Thrash, Doom etc."
Is the title of the album, "Destroyers of the Faith", a pun on Judas Priest's "Defenders of the Faith" after all? I got that one right: "Oh yes, it is. Their best album along with 'Screaming For Vengeance', if you ask me. But more important is the ambivalence between Procession as a faith destroyer entity and this album/ manifesto against those who destroy through/with faith."
Mainstream society in Chile is rather Catholic. Even Tom Araya (being of Chilean descent) revealed that he is a devout Catholic. Are Procession with their lyrics kind of a counter reaction to religious habits in their home country? Felipe agrees: "It is for sure, and there's a lot of abuses/narrow minds around it. I'm personally not baptized, but as we live in society we are carrying and dealing with that 'seal' everyday on everything you do and it gets even worse when you see how related they are with the high powers, with laws, with restrictions etc. Religion and politics are just about power in the hands of people that don't deserve it nor understand it !