Blackened thrash from Brazil is your thing? Then prepare to get possessed by a “Profound Evil Presence”, the latest effort unleashed by South-American horde Power from Hell. Speaking of which, the band sure as hell takes its moniker from the famous Onslaught album title, is that correct? Vocalist Sodomic answers this and all other questions we have about “Profound Evil Presence”: “Hello there, yeah the name of the band is a reference to the first Onslaught album. When I started the band in 2001, I was a young kid, only 18, and that time I was basically listening to this album all the time, so the choice of the name came very natural to me. It's a classic album that had an influence on our two first records, although nowadays the only thing about our band that reminds of Onslaught is the name because our style now is far, far away from what they did back in the day.”
Power from Hell have definitely steered away from their early beginnings when they also sounded a lot more Bathory-inspired. What are their most important influences nowadays, and is Sodomic okay with being called a black/thrash band? “Yeah, to me, Bathory will always be the most important extreme metal band of all time; if the band name was inspired by Onslaught, the songs and lyrics were of course totally inspired by Bathory in the era 84-88, but of course, with Bathory it’s the same as with all other bands: At some point, the music begins to change. And look at us, Power from Hell: On our last EP 'Blood N' Spikes’ we already showed our more obscure side in terms of songs and lyrics and now, on this new album, this new phase comes out clearer than ever. Nowadays we admire bands like Mgla, Ascension, Cult of Fire, etc... of course, the old influences like Bathory and Dissection are still there. When it comes to the style, I think people can call the band whatever they want to, for me Power from Hell is a black metal band through and through.”
Now we know a lot about the musical influences and bands Power from Hell look up to – but how does being from Brazil shape their sound? “Maybe violence plays a role –
we come from one of the most dangerous countries on this planet. It's a beautiful place in terms of nature but I have no doubts that more than 60.000 homicides per year have a huge impact on all the Brazilian extreme metal bands.” Sounds as if we can take the band name quite literally.
Power from Hell went through some line-up changes on nearly all positions lately. Sodomic explains what influence this has had on the music and in how far the other band members are actively engaged in writing music.
“’Power From Hell’ has always been my personal brainchild and for some years the band was mainly a project to release albums (just like Bathory) so when we started to play live I noticed how hard it is to find people with the same goals and passion who are willing to put 100% into a band and its live activities. That was the main reason why the line-up has changed so many times. In my opinion this new line-up is the best formation we’ve ever had. The guys are totally free to contribute to the music but this new album I wrote alone. I started writing the album in 2016 – it took two years full of passion to complete it and to put my feelings on this record. The recording process was easy. We entered the studio in early October and in late December 2018 we finished the recording sessions. I've been working on my own since the first album, writing and composing all the songs. I used to invite friends to record the albums with me. All our former albums came out with the help of a record label, but now with High Roller Records it’s the first time that we are working with a label of that size and importance, and we are really happy about this.”
“Profound Evil Presence” also features a second guitarist for the first time ever. If Sodomic still writes the songs all by himself, how does the second guitarist influence the music? Sodomic explains: “Yeah, this is the first time that the band has another guitar player. I put more melodies and guitar lines into the songs, so playing these songs live with just one guitar wouldn't have the same power. So thinking about the live concerts I decided to add one more guitarist to the band.”
The production of “Profound Evil Presence” once again sounds really old school – is Sodomic happy with the outcome, and who did he work together with? “One more time we worked with a friend called Rogerio Oliveira at Flight Studios. He have been friends for a long time and we already worked with him on our last EP. All the mixing of the album was done by Rogerio and me. You know, I literally hate modern extreme metal albums that sound 100% clear and basically like plastic, so we tried our best to create a true black metal atmosphere and we are happy with the final result. ‘Profound Evil Presence’ differs a lot from our last album – the lyrical themes, the riffs, the cover artwork and of course the sound – I think it is safe to say that this album is a lot more poetic and conceptual than the last one.”
The cover artwork was contributed by Wellington Backer, a personal friend of Sodomic’s, who explains the idea behind the very striking image: “The idea was to show a special representation of hell, a chaotic place with a terrible evil presence in its centre, like an ‘evil supreme being’ – that is what the giant monster on the cover represents for us. The cover hints at all the different forms of evil torment that human beings have to suffer through in real life.”
Power from Hell’s last album “Devil’s Whorehouse” actually received some critique for being too foreseeable and too monotonous – but Sodomic denies that “Profound Evil Presence” was meant as a direct reaction to these opinions: “I don't think so, because in the end, reviews are just someone’s opinion and that can never be impartial. The personal taste of the reviewer always plays a role. We didn’t lose too many thoughts on other people’s opinions and simply recorded the album we wanted to make. Our main goal was to create a good black metal album, not just with regard to the songs and lyrics but in terms of sound too, and we believe that we reached this goal. ‘Profound Evil Presence’ is our most important album ever.”
Let’s now talk a bit about the ladies who appear in the track list – for sure, “Elizabeth needs Blood” is about the infamous bloody countess Elizabeth Báthory – but who is Lucy from “Lucy’s Curse”, and what is that curse all about? “Elizabeth and Lucy are our ‘hellish brides’ so to speak. As you mentioned before, I think that almost everyone knows Elizabeth, the bloody countess. Lucy is a reference to Lucy Westenra, a character from the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) and Lucy’s curse begins when she is first bitten by Dracula. I love the book and the movie and these two evil ladies come to new life on this album.”
Earlier in our conversation, Sodomic mentioned that he didn’t care too much about what other people think about their music – let’s see how much he cares when it comes to one of the most prominent figures in our field…in an interview with MetalSucks from a couple of years ago, good old Fenriz stated that he liked Power from Hell, alongside Vomitor, Faustcoven and Old – did Sodomic know about this and does it mean anything to him? “Yeah I know about that. In 2010 Fenriz sent me an email asking for the two first albums. At first I couldn't believe that it was true, but I checked his email and it really was him! That was so incredible because the old Darkthrone albums are masterpieces in black metal history and I grew up listening to these albums all the time – and suddenly this guy writes to me and starts to quote my band and appears in photos wearing shirt of my band – this a great honour for me.”
After having been knighted by Fenriz himself – is there anything left to say about Power From Hell, and especially about their new album? Absolutely: Sodomic has some fiery last words for us: “If you like traditional Black Metal with all the elements that define the genre, this album is for you! I hope that you guys join us in contemplating the most PROFOUND EVIL PRESENCE!!!