“‘Triumvirate’ is made up of stories of human suffering” – Interview with Living Inferno

Author Ingeborg Roos - 29.5.2024

Finnish death metal band Living Inferno was formed in 2020. April 12th of 2024 the group released their debut album “Triviumvirate”, which was recorded during the summer of 2023, through Bandcamp, Spotify and YouTube. Chaoszine had a chat with the band about the creation of the new album and what it is all about.

Greetings, Living Inferno! Who will be answering our questions, and how is your spring going?

J. Kormano: Question are answered by composer-guitarist J. Kormano

– Cheers to everyone, spring has gone by working on the album release, on our day jobs and struggling with a pollen allergy, so all in all, everything’s been quite great and wonderful!  Teemu and Antti are busy working on their sideprojects and Kristian became a father for the second time in the beginning of the year, so everyone has enough activities outside the band.

You released your debut album “Triumvirate” in April. How did the writing and recording processes for the debut go? Did you encounter any surprises?

J. Kormano: The recording process went smoothly, save for a few festival- and scooter-related mishaps. There were also multiple complicating factors regarding our personal lives which caused the recording process to lag behind schedule. Regardless, the recording was completed in a satisfactory time. We did not set a strict deadline for the recording as it is not our preferred manner when it comes to producing music. This approach allowed us to carefully consider musical arrangements and fine-tune the sounds of our instruments, which we believe can be heard in the finished product. This time we did not include synths or keyboards in our compositions as we wished to create the soundscapes on the album with the basic tried-and-true instruments when it comes to metal music.

The drums were once again recorded at Napalm to thy Face studio with Vesa Viitanen (Benothing / Leevi) as the sound engineer, who also did the mixing. The guitars, the bass and the vocals were recorded at our own facilities which of course made it possible to work in comfortable conditions without any hassle.

– The desired sound was found rather painlessly, and in the mixing phase Vesa realized quickly what we were going for. We chose to have the album mastered by Janne Tolsa (Turmion Kätilöt / Tarot / Note On Studio) when we heard good things about him from King Satan, a fellow Finnish band. Based on samples we had heard it was an easy decision. Album art is by Juha Wuorinen (The Lust I Seek / Demonitar), a tattoo artist and a dear friend of the band.

Your EP “A True Believer” was released in 2021. When did you start writing “Triumvirate”? Are all the songs on the album specifically written for this record, or was there some older material among them?

J. Kormano: The songs on “Triumvirate” were mainly composed during the years 2019 to 2023. This gives the album its own twist because you can hear the different sources of inspiration through the years.

There are a load of songs from that time period and any number of tracks on “A True Believer” -EP and “Death Over Ostrobothnia” -split could have ended up on this album. With the cohesion of the release in mind, we left out the most “unfitting” compositions and left those waiting for another day to be released.

When we write songs they are rarely complete at the time of writing. Instead, we let the compositions fester over time as they are shaped in rehearsals and demos. Often the final form of a song is realized at the moment of official recording. This way even older songs receive some much needed freshness from our perspective. Just like a festering wound, many good ideas need time to find their ultimate shape.

Does the album have a theme or concept, or are the songs separate “stories”?

J. Kormano: The songs are their own separate stories so this is not a concept album. However, the lyrics on the album are tied together by larger themes. Not to go too much into detail, “Triumvirate” is made up of stories of human suffering, either caused by other human beings or self-induced.

The three characters on the album cover represent the “dark triad”, a concept known in psychology: narcissism, psychopathy and machiavellianism. These three traits are behind untold amounts of suffering, wrongdoings and tragic human fates. The name of the album, “Triumvirate”, comes from ancient Rome where triumvirate meant three rulers, and in the context of our album, they form a “triumvirate of dark rulers”.

Where did the lyrics of the songs draw inspiration from? Is there any deeper meaning behind them?

J. Kormano: All our songs center on the mortal, imperfect and fallible man whose trials we write songs about. These stories are mainly timeless though it is possible to draw connections from them to, say for example, events of today. After all, mankind has been repeating the same mistakes as long as memory and historical records will go and there is no change to be expected for that.

This is all draped into metaphors and typical vocabulary found in death metal. Each listener is free and encouraged to have their own interpretations of the lyrics.

You released the album independently. Was this a deliberate choice?

J. Kormano: Initially, we wanted to have a label release the album for a more effective promotion, distribution and networking opportunities. However, as time went on we found this idea less and less appealing. It seems that releasing new music is nothing but a cost for a band with little chance for making money. In addition, self-releasing music has become so easy that considering our band’s size and situation, having a label was not the right solution. Thus we ended up releasing the album independently and continue to do everything we can by ourselves.

You recently performed in Seinäjoki at the Heretical Fever Meeting. Are there more gigs on the horizon?

J. Kormano: Heretical Fever Meeting marked the end of over a year long break from gigging. At the moment we are booking gigs for autumn 2024 and winter 2025. Often we have and will continue to play gigs on very short notice. Our drummer Teemu has been especially busy on the gig front, and Heretical Fever Meeting was orchestrated by his Ninehead Productions & Events. Safe to say that we will be seen and heard again live.

What does the future look like for Living Inferno? Any plans?

J. Kormano: Our future seems bright and hopeful. The current lineup, which we have had for quite some time now, works well. Furthermore, as we have gotten more experience with making song and music we are able to realize our vision without limit. We have plans for our next release and new songs are being created year-round, so safe to say we aren’t slowing down any time soon.

Finally, would you like to add anything for the readers of Chaoszine?

J. Kormano: Now that summer is here and the festival season begins, go and sin but watch out for STDs my dear Chaoszine readers! Go to concerts, buy merch and support bands!