After making their UK debut last year only in London, RAMzine caught up with Semblant as they took their Brazilian flair to the North West of England. With a dazzling sound that they find hard to define, the Curitiba sextet aimed to go one step further and win the hearts of Manchester. RAMzine caught up with vocalist Sergio Mazul.
RAMzine: Thank you guys for having us for this interview. You started your European tour five days ago and now you’re here in Manchester. What are your first impressions?
Semblant: We started off in Dusseldorf (Germany) and tonight is our fifth show. The UK is the cradle of it all (metal). Last year was our first time in the UK and we played at The Underworld (Camden) in London. We were impressed by the audience as not only did they like our music but also the energy. Today, we walked around Manchester, which was really beautiful and it touched the bottom of our hearts.
RAMzine: How do you compare the metal scene here in Europe to your home country Brazil?
Semblant: Well, it’s easy to answer this question because the majority of music genres in Brazil have nothing to do with metal or even rock. Brazilian funk and country music are very popular there so metal always faces challenges to get more recognition. We know that in Europe and America where we have a good audience, its metal scene cannot be compared to ours because it’s strong and fully established there. The success of metal in Brazil is restricted to big names. Famous bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer who have been to Brazil many times don’t face the same challenges as most metal bands since they’re well-established and widely recognised around the world. There are also large fan bases for bands like Amon Amarth, Lacuna Coil, Powerwolf and In Flames in my country. In contrast, underground metal in Brazil still has a long path to follow for a better future.
RAMzine: This is something that I’ve been curious about, which is where did the band name of ‘Semblant’ originate from?
Semblant: When you think of the French word ‘semblant’ itself, its meaning (the outward appearance) is always deeper as we never know the story of someone. It’s too hard to describe a personality as each human lives in their own universe. It’s like the face behind the mask e.g. Mizuho (singer) isn’t happy all the time and I’m not always the most positive person (Sergio, vocals), including Juliano (guitarist). So what happens with us can also be applied to our musical personality and Semblant was named with this intention.
RAMzine: Many of us including myself have struggled to define your sound or subgenre so how would you personally describe it?
Semblant: We were talking about this a couple of days ago and we can’t even define our own style. It’s hard as we have a heavy sound with songs like ‘Incinerate,’ ‘The Human Eclipse’ or even ‘Day One Oblivion’ but we might as well just be dark metal. There are too many influences within the band and we’re always trying to do the music that we want to play so we don’t like to put ourselves in a box. You’ll always hear an obscure atmosphere in our music but describing it as a specific metal genre is quite difficult as you can find a range of subgenres in our material from symphonic death metal, thrash metal, traditional metal and melodic death metal etc. It’s a huge list of influences and many of us are songwriters so we have a nice team working together. The fact that we have two singers with very different styles enables us to go in different directions.
RAMzine: You guys just mentioned the contrasting sound between the singers. Where did this whole idea come from?
Semblant: It gives us a chance to interpret songs with a huge variation of emotions like when you think of a cinema, you have a bunch of different feelings during a movie so we try to demonstrate their meanings through our voices. Juliano is an astonishing songwriter but he also sings with harsh and clean vocals so we have a great affinity between us. It comes naturally so it was never a scripted intention as we have always worked with these characteristics. They’re part of our identity.
RAMzine: Could you comment a bit more on your choices for the EU/UK tour setlist, as I saw that it focuses a lot on Vermilion Eclipse?
Semblant: We changed it for tonight but it mainly focuses on Vermilion Eclipse even though it also has a lot of songs from Obscura which we couldn’t tour before. As it’s our first time in Manchester, we’re also playing some stuff from Lunar Manifesto.
RAMzine: We just touched on your latest album so I’m wondering if the song ‘The Human Eclipse’ inspired the songwriting process for the rest of the record?
Semblant: Yes for sure. All of the album was written under the influence of the pandemic when many people in the metal scene procrastinated like “next month I’ll see this band again” or “next year I can buy the record as it’s not so urgent”. Even though the pandemic is over, there are a lot of things changing in this world like a lot of conflicts. Nobody wants to wait any longer for what they want. Now is the dawn of a new era and ‘The Human Eclipse’ reflects the atmosphere of the album.