Based in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian doom metallers Black Priest bring a modern take to the genre. They started out as a tribute band to Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but soon moved on to write their own material. Their EP, “The Soul Scar” features a trilogy of songs that touch on subjects like depression and anxiety. “Dying Again“, “Truth and Obsession” and “The Scar Curse” portrays the cycle of pain of those who suffer from such afflictions, and this trilogy of songs are part of the band’s iniciatives to raise awareness to mental illness.
Vinícius Libânia, “The Priest” (vocals), Gg Neto, “The Evil” (bass), Raphael Ribeiro, “The Spectre” (guitar) and Phil Rodrigues “The Healer” (drums) make Black Priest a band with essence, extremely entertaining in live situations, with a very good sound quality.
Chaoszine had the opportunity to chat with Vinícius Libânia and Gg Neto about Black Priest‘s lyrical themes, their influences, their sound and the audience’s reception to their music. You can read the full interview below:
How did you start Black Priest and define your sound?
Geraldo: I had a band when I was in school, then in college, then I went 8 years without playing bass. One day, by chance, I met Júlio, who is married to a friend of my wife’s. He plays guitar, and we talked about starting a band. He had an intern at work who could play drums, that was Josué, our first drummer. There was also Raphael, our second guitarist. Then, we started looking for a singer. That’s when we found Vinícius. He says I am the band’s founder, but he was our first singer ever.
What are your main influences?
Vinícius: Our main influences are in our name: Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. We used to cover their songs at first. But mainly the Sabbath songs we played, the proto-heavy metal, dense and slow, together with the speed of Judas Priest. And also personal influences: for me, it’s doom metal, like Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble, also Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. That’s really what people identified in my vocal. Other band members have different influences. Our drummer is a KISS fan, Raphael is an Iron Maiden fan.
Your first EP, “The Soul Scar” came out last year. It speaks of mental health issues. How important is it to bring such themes into your heavy metal?
Geraldo: This came long before the pandemic. I have been under treatment for depression and anxiety for a while, and all band members have gone through something like that. It’s not brought in your face, you have to look into the lyrics to understand it. Sharing this with people, especially during the pandemic, when everyone was a little depressed, and so people out there know they are not alone.
Vinícius: The songs bring our individual experiences, and there is a way of showing to people who suffer from these disorders that other people also feel that way, and making people understand that depression is a health issue that can be treated, and shouldn’t be stigmatized. And telling this through our songs is how we know to convey the message. All three songs bring that subject and that vibe.
How was the production process for the EP?
Geraldo: At first, because it was the era of the lockdowns, there were no studios open. So, the first version of these songs was sort of home-made, but we still put it out on streaming services. So, we moved on to the studio as soon as they re-opened, at FK Studio, with Franklin Vilaça, so we re-recorded and re-launched the songs. We make it a point to have a good sound in our recordings.
Vinícius: When we were moving out of the cover songs into original material, we defined the Black Priest experience. Our quality needs to be up there, when we record a song, make a music video, release a single.
You have a new single out, “Catacombs”. What can we expect from you now?
Vinícius: We have an album coming out soon. We were going to release another EP, but we kept on writing and now we have enough material for an album. We also had some lineup changes: Júlio, who kind of kickstarted the writing of original songs for us had to leave, Raphael came into the fold, we changed drummers, too. This single is indeed faster, more like Judas Priest. And the vocals are higher. It’s a song I like very much, and it brings balance into the album: faster songs and doomier songs.
How has the audience responded to your sound and performances?
Geraldo: The response has been very good, especially when people tell us that we sound pretty close to the recordings, with technical expertise. Our numbers on the streaming platforms are getting better, people seem to be enjoying it. We will take it one step at a time, and keep growing. It is very gratifying.
Vinícius: During the live shows we get feedback that means a lot. There were people singing along to our tunes, on the last gig. That made us really happy. We take every little detail into account, every pause in the vocals, every little thing can cause an impression.
Can you recommend any Brazilian bands to our readers?
Vinícius: To us, it’s an honour to mention some bands: Rhégia from Pará, a nervous sounding powermetal. From Rio, Hungry Jackals, a very good stoner metal band.
Geraldo: Here in Rio there is Unliver, their songs were recently put on streaming platforms. Also Gargant, Lynx The Revenge. And we have a playlist on Spotify on which we put songs by other Brazilian bands, you guys can check it out.
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Geraldo: Listen to Black Priest, get to know our songs, take a look at our social media.
Vinícius: Check out our YouTube channel, and thank you for your time.
You can check them out on social media: