Originally formed in 2006 by guitarist/vocalist Felipe Plaza in Chile's cultural heart, the coastal city of Valparaiso, Procession follow the path of tradition, laid out by the masters Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus and Candlemass - without mercy, without compromise!
Receiving a glowing review in Germany's Rock Hard magazine, Procession's debut album »Destroyers Of The Faith« has not only taken the Doom Metal scene by storm but also convinced parts of the Metal mainstream. The new record »To Reap Heavens Apart« will win the band even more supporters. Since »Epicus Doomicus Metalicus« there hasn't been a more convincing pure doom metal album. Songs like "Far From Light", "Conjurer" or the epic title track evoke an eerie atmosphere too frightening to believe.
“After »Destroyers Of The Faith« »To Reap Heavens Apart« is the logical next step on Procession's road to the grave garden,” says Felipe Plaza. “The pilgrimage continues, we're approaching and getting closer and closer to what our 'personal' sound is. We've learned our ways, our virtues and defects and we use them both as empowering weapons for what our conception and vision of HEAVY doom metal is, as a channeling expression of the dark side of humanity. The line up for »To Reap Heavens Apart« is me on vocals/guitars, J. Pedersen on guitar, C. Botarro on bass and U. Bruniusson on drums. Musically, it is a heavy slab of pounding rhythmic sections, a whole bunch of guitar riffs, harmonies and leads, a bass that screams and sings from the underground and also what I think is one of my best vocal performances so far. We haven't moved one single step away from what our influences as a band are, meaning we're still playing doom metal the traditional way once dictated by Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Count Raven, Solstice and all the classics you should all know by now if you're reading this … ”
Although Procession was born in Chile, Felipe has moved to Uppsala (and recruited a new line up there): “They say there's 'something' in the waters of Uppsala … I'd day say it's in the waters, winds, woods, streets, buildings and graveyards of this town and strongly reflecting in a few of its inhabitants. I ended up here, couldn't really tell why or for how long … but it's where I have to be right now. Procession will always remain a Chilean band in essence, as Claudio and me are essential parts of it. A paper or circumstances and details like where do we live, rehearse, compose or record are just 'details', our main focus is to keep the machine rolling and crushing and for that we'd move to the moon or the depths of hell to make it happen. We pretty much went for the second choice anyways …”
»Destroyers Of The Faith« was a damned good album. How big was the pressure for Procession to go one better? Nearly everybody seems to be expecting nothing less than a true doom metal milestone from Procession … “We think »Destroyers Of The Faith« is really good as well and we take it for what it is, as our first full-length attempt,” is what Felipe has to say. “I can hardly compare it to the new material though, in terms of difficulty or quality, because they're pretty similar in spirit and the new one is, then again, the next chapter on our pilgrimage. »Destroyers Of The Faith« was rebellion, a spit in the face of the stagnating oppressive forces conspiring against man's development. »To Reap Heavens Apart« is the awakening and departure, the realization of the never-ending journey towards the self, the chain is broken, the void is open and with clenched fists we scream to mankind: I AM! - as a confirmation of what was once stated in »Destroyers Of The Faith«. Time will tell if it becomes a 'milestone' or not … those terms are so overrated these days and dictated by so many other factors that we don't really bother. We can say everything we do is a milestone as it becomes essential to our lives and to the lives of those who have decided to open their hearts for us to poison.”
A lot of Procession's songs are really long. For some bands it is hard to write short(er) songs. What about a catchy little number along the lines of "Solitude" or "Samarithan", two near-fatal doom smash hits ...? Would that be the way to go for Procession, or should they at least give it a try? “The thing is,” answers Felipe, “it has become our way and we don't really question our ways too much … When you get in the right state of mind/soul and you open the gates of creation seems natural to go down and far, as deep as you can, you don't care about what the destination's gonna be or in which condition you'll get there. You just focus on the journey, on learning and achieving all that's necessary to make this journey worth it. If we'd sit down and focus on how long it's gonna take, you're already conditioning creation and therefore, conditioning yourself. Not our cup of tea …we've done some shorter tracks here and there. I think 'Conjurer', the second track on the new album, is shorter as well … but as you can see I'm not even sure, as I don't really care. I prefer to think that listeners, as much as I do, listen to full albums instead of single songs now and then, meaning you submit to the experience as a whole, while letting the music be your sword and master.”
When I first listened to the new Procession album it became clear quite early on that there's some outstanding material on there, reminding me a lot of classic Candlemass, which can't be a bad thing in the first place ... Especially the title track also shows hints of epic Manowar (think of »Into Glory Ride«) and Swedish legends Heavy Load. Were those two bands an influence on Procession in any shape or form? “Yeah, well, both bands you mention are classics for any heavy metal addict as we are,” says Felipe. “But I couldn't really say we were thinking of them when we came up with the riffs, arrangements, etc. … We sure wanted the title track of the album to be placed in the middle of it as the peak and absolute statement of what the album is … and for it to be the most challenging material we've done to date, therefore all the moods, states and most importantly, the heavy metal vibe all around. I think it turned out fantastic and it's gonna be a volcanic explosion to perform it on stage, so beware!”
Although Procession are musically far removed from the current 'occult rock' trend (of bands like The Devil's Blood or Graveyard), their dark imagery, however, has confused some listeners. Felipe has his own opinion on the topic: “As much tired I can be of the 'trend', I'm tired as well of people feeling they can have an opinion on every single thing and make statements about it pretending others need to hear about that. It's a sign of weakness. Putting too much effort on what 'your neighbor is doing' and criticizing means you haven't found something to live nor to die for and you need to realize yourself through others virtues or defects. I don't listen to any of these 'occult bands' that I know of, I do know some do true work and their achievements go probably beyond a specific musical genre or scene, others are faking it and will pay for it sooner or later, others are trying to get their piece of cake while the cash is in the air … and who am I to criticize that? Trends, waves or fashion will NEVER affect the vision of Procession, which is something we live and die for, so while you people discuss what's 'true' or not, and keep the circus rolling, I prefer to watch from a distance, with a beer and a confident smile, listening to Iron Maiden, anytime … Then again fans of that kind of music shouldn't really care about my opinion either, if they truly believe in the power of it.”