South America is without a doubt one of the leading places for relentless, blasphemous and brutal Death Metal and countries like Brazil, Colombia and Chile already gave birth to tons of amazing bands over the years. One of the most impressive forces in this department hails from Santiago de Chile and goes by the name MAGNANIMVS. We hooked up with founding member, main composer and guitarist Zeet Nabucod to find out more about this unholy three-piece…
Greetings Zeet Nabucod and welcome to Voices From The Darkside. You and Marco (Espina – bass) originally started out with DEMONFLESH back in 1998. Was this the first band that both of you ever played with or have there been any activities before that already?
“Hails! We really started DEMONFLESH with Jorge Hernández (brother of our current drummer Chaotic Portal Plague) and Amon Horenheb. In particular with Amon and Jorge, we have known each other since the mid 90s. With Amon we were schoolmates, we were approximately 15 or 16 years old. Since we started planning to have a band that was like MORBID ANGEL or DEICIDE at that time. Our first band with Amon was called DEATHBED and we only played live once, that was in 1996 I think and we formed it with pure friends who were starting to play and drink, haha. Marco came to the band when we already had it formed and we were looking for a bassist who shared our hatred and bad vibes, to which he adapted very well.”
When exactly did you record the one and only DEMONFLESH 4-song demo? Metal Archives has listed it as 2003, but DEMONFLESH was supposed to be active until 2002 only, so I suppose the info is wrong, isn’t it?
“We recorded the demo of DEMONFLESH specifically in 2001 in a very precarious way. It was almost a live recording, only the guitar solos and the voices we recorded on separate tracks. The sound engineer, who did it, took very little time to mix and equalize everything. After recording everything in an hour we had the chrome tape in our hands… imagine. That demo was never officially released at that time, we only made a few copies for ourselves and for our friends. Thanks to this demo we were able to establish well the axes and guidelines of what we would begin to compose already in the future.”
There’s also talk of a 3-song rehearsal tape from 2001, which features the same songs as the demo, except for ‘The Return Of The Black Legions’. Was that officially released or just one of a few rehearsal recordings that also ended up on Metal Archives for some reason?
“That tape contains the 3 songs that sounded best from that demo regarding audio quality (if you can speak of the quality of that demo), the song ‘The Return Of The Black Legions’ we decided to withdraw, since when I was recording it, the cone of the guitar equipment I was using broke and the power to the guitar decreased, which made us not like how the last riffs were playing. That tape is not an official edition either, it is only part of what came out of our hands for our friends.”
What was the reason that DEMONFLESH was such a shortlived band and what made start up a new band?
“DEMONFLESH existed at an early stage of our musical maturity, by this I mean Amon and me who were the ones who always continued with the project of playing Death Metal as rotten and deranged as possible. With the demo of DEMONFLESH we realized that we could do better and this triggered different paths between us since not all of us were aiming for the same reason why DEMONFLESH began to disintegrate little by little, leaving me, Amon and Marco with all the desire and energy to start a new band, with a new name that I already had in mind and with another drummer friend of ours, Danny Ugarte, with whom we started the first stage of MAGNANIMVS. After that we were composing, but things were not turning out as we wanted. Marco and Dany came out of the line-up and we stayed with Amon in stand by mode until HateAxes Command joined us and we started preparing the demo “Unchaining The Fever And Plagues”.”
Who came up with the latin name MAGNANIMVS and what made you choose it?
“The name occurred to me. I find that the latin name fits the band’s theme as much as possible and the darkness and sacrilege that it represents in that ancient language. I selected that name since it represents the almighty entity that manifests itself with the theme and with the Death Metal that we execute.”
By the way: the MAGNANIMVS logo includes a “v” instead of a “u”, so which spelling do you prefer?
“I have always found ancient Roman history and its writing interesting. When I designed the first logo of the band I preferred to use the Roman U represented by the V since it represents all the power, anti-Christianity and order of that great ancient culture. Obviously we always prefer using the V in our logo.”
Tell us about the new members that you hooked up with for MAGNANIMVS and how you got together with them. Did they play in any bands prior to the foundation of MAGNANIMVS?
“After the death of DEMONFLESH, as I previously told you about Amon and Marco, we began a new stage of musical maturity and a new band, already with clear and technically more polished goals and objectives. Danny Ugarte joined us on drums and that is the beginning of MAGNANIMVS. Danny came from playing in a band called WAR MACHINE which was inactive already when he started playing with us. After things didn’t start to turn out the way we wanted, Marco and Danny left the line-up and we were looking for a drummer for a while. Almost a year of being stand by HateAxes Command joined us who adapted to the band and the concept of music we were performing. He gave it the speed we had in mind with Amon. HateAxes at that time was starting with the DM6 Studo in which we recorded our first demo. HateAxes Command came from playing with SHEOLGEENNA and had previously played in TOTTEN KORPS and ATOMIC AGGRESSOR for mentioning some of them. With this line-up we recorded our first demo as MAGNANIMVS and in which Amon Horenheb was in charge of playing bass and singing.”
In 2003 your debut demo “Unchaining The Fever And The Plagues” got released. It also features a new version of the DEMONFLESH song ‘God Of Cruelty’… Are the other songs also old DEMONFLESH songs or did you write them with the new line-up?
“Indeed ‘God Of Cruelty’ is a primeval theme from the time of DEMONFLESH in which Dany Ugarte dedicated himself to making drums much more violent and faster than Jorge Hernandéz played them in the days of DEMONFLESH with whom we were very satisfied until he retired from the band. HateAxes finished them and this is how it was recorded as “Unchaining The Fever And The Plagues”. I am always the one who has composed the songs in MAGNANIMVS and almost all the lyrics. There are only 3 songs that Amon and Chainsaw Violator composed that belong to a Promo that they edited I think in 2011 at the time I was not in the band. All the other MAGNANIMVS tracks from that demo were new compositions except for one or two riffs that I really liked from the DEMONFLESH era.”
How was the response on that demo compared to what you were used to with DEMONFLESH?
“It was shocking and satisfying for us to hear what we had been planning years ago, with the technique and maturity to continue on the path that was opening up for us. We had very good external reviews when it was edited and it began to spread, I also answered many interviews and we played a lot live, the devastation portals were absolutely opened to us and we began to stand out in the Chilean scene. Even to this day we have very good reviews of that demo so old, violent and rotten.”
Those 3 demo songs have been re-released quite often ever since: on vinyl 7″ in 2008 via Blood Harvest, on cassette in 2011 via Mushantufe Productions (also as bonus tracks on their CD re-release of your debut full length the same year) and in 2018 as part of the “Throwed Out Of The Light” compilation CD from Spreading The Pest Productions. How do you explain this ongoing interest in these old songs? I mean, you have already released two full length albums ever since, so it seems the demo songs must be kinda special to a lot of people…
“Exactly, that demo has been highly requested by many bangers over time and the labels ask us to include it when we edit something even as “bonus tracks”. When we play live they ask us to hopefully play the 3 songs of the demo. As you tell us in your question, there are many people who are especially identified with this demo.”
In 2006 you released your debut full length “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” via Rawforce Productions, which features J.C. Occult Black Fever (better known as Joseph Curwen of UNAUSSPRECHLICHEN KULTEN) on bass and vocals. Was he just a session member for the recordings or did you also play shows with that line-up?
“The official edition of “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” is indeed the one that Rawforce Productions released in 2006. That album has the true essence of MAGNANIMVS. Joseph Curwen was the vocalist who replaced Amon H. When he left the band for a time and was the one who put his voice on our first album. With Joseph Curwen we played a lot live before and after the edition of “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations”, just after the recording session of the album Chainsaw Violator entered our ranks as a stable guitarist and we continued playing live no longer as a power trio but as a quartet. In the middle of 2007 Amon H. returned and at the end of that same year I left the band for a time, specifically from the end of 2007 until the beginning of 2014, in which I dedicated myself to my professional career. The members who remained at that time decided to do the dumbest thing a band can do, which is to re-record an album that has already been released, re-recorded with lesser capabilities with a new logo, and this resulted in the release on Mushantufe Productions, much slower and without the almighty intention than the original version.”
It seems that you prefer not to work with your real names, but use stage names instead. What is the reason for that and what inspired those names?
“We have always thought that our real names do not represent the true madness and hatred of our music and that it’s better to use pseudonyms that evoke evil deities, old generals and kings who hated Christianity in their reigns. Entities that really manifest when we are playing and display their madness, hatred and concept.”
How did you hook up with Rawforce Productions, a label that also released your second album “Impure Ways Beyond Shadows” in 2018?
“I have known Claudio Cruces since approximately 2006 when he released “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations”. He was known prior to that to our former drummer HateAxes Command. When we had our second album ready, I just called Claudio and we closed the deal for the release of the new album.”
Five of the “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” songs (‘Libation To The Din-Gir Xul’, ‘The Wrath Of Absu – Storm Lords’, ‘Unchaining The Fevers And Plagues’, ‘In War Against Yahve’ and ‘Aeonic Implosion’) got re-recorded at the end of 2007 and were used for the “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” re-release via Mushantufe Productions in 2011. What made you do so? Weren’t you satisfied how they originally turned out? And why only these songs?
“Those songs were re-recorded only for the purpose of listening to how we were left with the contribution of the new guitar (Chainsaw Violator) who joined us after the release of “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” and with the voice of Amon H, who had returned in the middle of 2007 to the band. They were never for the purpose of relaunching the album, they were tests only, since our former drummer had a recording studio and we could carry out those tests. Regarding the reissue of “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” from the Mushantufe label, this contains a re-recording of the album at the time that I left the band as I mentioned in a previous answer. The reason that the members had, that were in the band at that time, is one of the dumbest things that I have been able to witness. It is a slower piece of shit, without the original intention of the true “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” and the real MAGNANIMVS, but as they weren’t the original composers they could not continue playing those songs with the true intention with which I composed them and they wasted time in redoing something that not even they could overcome.”
Why didn’t you release those re-recorded tracks totally on their own instead of having two versions of the album, which might confuse people?
“As I mentioned in the previous answer, it was never our intention to release or edit those tracks, they were only internal tests to find out how they would have turned out. Those tracks were only occupied on the compilation album “Throwed Out Of The Light“ released by Spreading The Pest just in 2018 and only for the purpose of making them known as part of the things we did at that time.”
Apart from the demo bonus tracks on that Mushantufe Productions re-release, the tracklist still differs a little bit from the original release, or is it a printing / layout error on the cover? What about ‘The Dark Spear Of Condemnation’ and ‘Rite The Mistress Of Absu In Babilon’ for example, that are mentioned on the cover?
“Imagine the stupidity of re-recording the album and taking out the lyrics that appear in the original edition of Rawforce because J. Curwen made them and changing the name of those songs by putting some new lyrics on it. It is also so absurd that they used more letters of mine that I had made and a theme that I also composed. They wanted to continue with the band but since they did not have the original composer they were misled trying to do something that was not really born to them.”
The re-release also features a different band logo… is that one the new MAGNANIMUS logo that you continue to use nowadays?
“Indeed. It is a logo that we personally and as a band like very much and that we will continue to use for a long time to come.”
In 2015 you released a vinyl split 7″ with GODAGAINST, entitled “Opening The Cataclysm Portal To The Gods”, which featured an exclusive MAGNANIMUS track ‘Exalting The Venomous Negative Essence Of Existence’. What can you tell us about this song? Did you just record it for this split release or was it a leftover track from some other recording session of yours?
“When we spoke with JL Draconis of GODAGAINST, about releasing a split with the two bands, we were in the middle of composing our last album, so we took one of the songs that we had half-assembled and finished composing it just for that split since the list of songs from “Impure Ways Beyond Shadows” was already closed. We recorded the song at Maestro 3 Studio, which belongs to Claudio Salinas from TRIMEGISTO and MERIDION, the place where we later engraved our plate “Impure Ways Beyond Shadows”. Claudio is a great friend of ours and he also makes the sound for some of the live performances of MAGNANIMVS.”
‘Exalting The Venomous Negative Essence Of Existence’ is the only MAGNANIMUS track that is missing on the “Throwed Out Of The Light” compilation CD from Spreading The Pest Productions. Why didn’t you include it on that compilation as well?
“It never really crossed our minds to include it in “Throwed Out Of The Light”. In addition that the objective of that compilation album is about our beginnings from when we started as DEMONFLESH, the link that exists to MAGNANIMVS, the demo and the crazy things we did by re-recording songs to see how they would be in the time of the original “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations”. Therefore ‘Exalting The Venomous Negative Essence Of Existence’ did not meet the requirements to appear on the compilation CD.”
If I’m not completely mistaken, the “Throwed Out Of The Light” compilation is basically the same CD as the “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” re-release via Mushantufe Productions, just with the addition of the 4 DEMONFLESH demo songs. So, what was the reason to put all these songs on there again?
“As I mentioned before, the compilation CD has nothing but nothing from the re-recorded disc that Mushantufe released. “Throwed Out Of The Light” contains: the demo of DEMONFLESH, the “Unchainig The Fever And Plagues” demo of MAGNANIMVS, vocal recordings on some tracks of the original “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” album with vocalist Amon Horenheb and guitar recordings including Chainsaw Violator. As I was saying, they were only recordings for us with the purpose of listening to how the songs would have been with those members. We decided to share all these crazy things in “Throwed Out Of The Light”.”
“Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” was also available on vinyl via Blood Harvest in 2009 and it was once again re-released via Ablaze Productions in 2019 with a bonus live DVD. That version came out with the original logo again, so does the album itself also include the original recordings or is it the one with the re-recorded songs again?
“The vinyl edition of Blood Harvest is the same slow and boring re-recording that Mushantufe released. Ablaze Productions reissued the original “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” (Rawforce Productions) plus an old recording that we did with a multi-camera at the official release of the album in 2007 and where we appear with the original line-up of “Storms Of Chaotic Revelations” plus our new guitarist at the time, Chainsaw Violator. All that is very old already.”
In 2018 you finally released your second full length “Impure Ways Beyond Shadows”, which features a different line-up. What were the reasons for the change and what else can you tell us about this album? Is it true that it was already recorded in 2016? Why did it take so long until it got released then?
“After reforming the band in 2014, since the members who had been left alone limited themselves to re-record the first album slower and without the original intention and edited a promo in 2011, the band was dead. Together with Amon H. we dedicated ourselves to finding a drummer, which was essential to start composing our new album. We contacted the brother of the former DEMONFLESH drummer with whom we were friends from the same time as DEMONFLESH and a couple of years before. To be more precise, we started as a power trio again: Amon Horenheb – bass / vocals, Chaotic Portal Plague – drums and Zeet Nabucod – guitars. That is the original line-up, just with a new drummer. We actually started recording this album in mid 2016 and we finished recording it, I think, by September 2017. We took a bit of time just for personal reasons. Before having the master in our possession, I spoke with Claudio from Rawforce and we closed the deal so that the first edition on CD came out for his label. But the first edition came out in tape format by Soul Reaper Tapes a couple of months before the CD edition. The concept of MAGNANIMVS has not changed over time, our theme has always been about worshipping ancient evil deities, war, death, the destruction of humanity and especially about the suffering and death of the Jewish plague.”
It seems you had quite a few line-up changes over the years in general, since there’s no less than 13 members listed on Metal Archives… Why is it so difficult to keep the band going with a stable line-up?
“It is really very difficult to maintain a stable line-up for a band like ours, the relations between members often become a nuisance and begin to return to fissures that in the end end up dismantling the cohesion that the band’s alignment has. But as long as the evil deities continue to manifest in our existence, MAGNANIMVS will continue to exist.”
You already played a whole bunch of shows in your area throughout the years and from the flyers I saw, most of the time you even headlined those shows. So, is MAGNANIMUS already a well established name in the South American scene? How many people show up at your shows in general and how do you judge the status of MAGNANIMUS internationally?
“I do not know if I am the one to answer this, but from what I have been able to witness throughout the years MAGNANIMVS is always encompassing more, like a plague of death. Here in Chile we have been well positioned for a long time, we are known on the South American scene and we are getting better in the rest of the world. I have been able to realize that through the filthy and filthy social networks, I have spoken with many fans from abroad, from many countries that know the band and who acquire our merchandising, or by publications of webzines or zines that make reviews or interviews for example or labels that edit or reissue our releases, also of bangers that label us on Facebook from very distant places, in places that we never thought would ever hear us. Thanks to this we have been able to realize how the plague spreads. Our shows are always very intense, there are always many bangers in the room of the place where we are performing, whatever the city. That leaves us very satisfied.”
Can you recommend any bands from your area to our readers that you shared the stage with?
“Yes. I can recommend several bands that are very good and with whom we have shared the stage. GODLESS, ATOMIC AGGRESSOR, INFERNAL DOOM, HOMICIDE, GRAVERED, INFAMOVS, SON IN CURSE, ENDLESS SEDITION, just to mention some of them.”
How important are lyrics to you and is H. P. Lovecraft a big source of inspiration for MAGNANIMUS? Which other topics do you draw inspirations from?
“H.P. Lovecraft has no influence on us. MAGNANIMVS’ theme has always been the cult of ancient evil deities, the intrinsic evil of the human being and anti-human humanity, chaos, war, plagues, plagues and absolutely hatred of Jews, also internal philosophies of how we see the world and what we hope for it. From all of this MAGNANIMVS’ concepts of negativity and hatred come from.”
What bands did have the biggest musical influence on you guys when you started out with DEMONFLESH and which bands are responsible for the style that you play with MAGNANIMUS these days?
“The bands that were influences for us in antiquity and that forged in a certain way our axis of composition until the present time together with our increasingly mature composition mentality and of which I will only mention the ones that I have the freshest mentally: MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION, SLAYER, DEICIDE, MORGOTH, ASPHYX, ANGEL CORPSE, DIABOLIC, DOMINUS (Chile), TOTTEN KORPS, ATOMIC AGRESSOR, BURZUM, MAYHEM, KRISIUN, HATE ETERNAL.”
Since “Impure Ways Beyond Shadows” is already a few years old by now, have you already started to work on new material? Is there a new release coming up sometime soon maybe?
“We started working on the composition of a new EP in mid 2019 and that unfortunately remained on stand-by due to the social outbreak and its shit of protests and now the Covid-19. All this has left us locked up in our homes without to be able to remake our lives normally, so we cannot get together to rehearse or even think of a specific date to have a new production ready. Obviously when all this is regularized we can visualize a date for the launch of new material. For now we are just waiting for the fucking meteorite.”
Ok, that’s all for now… If there’s anything else that we might have forgotten, you’re welcome to mention this now. Thanks a lot for taking the time and all the best.
“Frank, thank you very much for the interview and all the best for you too. Thank you!!”
Live pics: Marisol Correa Corales Fotografía, Sergio Mella (last 3)
Interview: Frank Stöver