With all respect to the ten releases that made it into the top ten of our latest annual readers poll, I gotta say that to me personally at least one other record would also have deserved a place up there. I’m talking about “The Rise Of Heresy”, the debut EP from Brazil’s THE TROOPS OF DOOM! The band features original SEPULTURA guitar player Jairo “Tormentor” Guedz and musically picks up the pieces where SEPULTURA left off with their “Morbid Visions” / “Schizophrenia” albums. Needless to say that we had to get a bit more first hand information from Jairo himself, who kindly answered our questions for the following in depth feature (the second part you’re about to read was conducted by Steven Willems, who interviewed Jairo shortly before as well)…
All of the members of THE TROOPS OF DOOM, except for your drummer Alexandre Oliveira, have been involved in countless bands before you all got together, so who came up with the idea for THE TROOPS OF DOOM, when did you start exactly and do you consider it a full band or is it just a side project for most of you guys?
“At the end of 2019, Alex, who is the lead singer and bassist of THE TROOPS OF DOOM, invited me to jam at a concert by another band of his called ENTERRO. On this jam, we played SEPULTURA’s ‘Bestial Devastation’ and the public’s response was great! I decided that it was time to relive this era with SEPULTURA, which is so special for me! We all do consider THE TROOPS OF DOOM a full band.”
What can you tell us about Alexandre? What has he been doing prior to THE TROOPS OF DOOM and what made you work with him instead of some more experienced drummer?
“Alexandre Oliveira, besides being an excellent drummer, also participates with me in another project of mine called THE SOUTHERN BLACKLIST. We have a lot of friendship and mutual trust. As soon as we formed THE TROOPS OF DOOM, it was the first name to be considered.”
What about your other bands? Which of them are you still active in?
“At the moment my main focus is THE TROOPS OF DOOM. Recently, I left THE MIST and my other project THE SOUTHERN BLACKLIST is on hold. Marcelo Vasco continues with PATRIA, Alex Kafer continues with ENTERRO and EXPLICIT HATE and Alexandre Oliveira continues with RAISING CONVICTION.”
When and why did you exactly split-up with SEPULTURA and have you ever regretted that?
“My quit from SEPULTURA was completely friendly and for familiar reasons. I was very young, I had just married and with that new challenges and goals entered my life. I couldn’t give the attention the band needed at the time. About regrets, I surely say not. My only feeling was a bit of sadness, knowing that I would no longer live day to day with Max, Paulo and Igor, who are great friends of mine until today.”
Is it true that you didn’t actually play on “Morbid Visions”, even though you were credited?
“I’ve never heard this story before and I can assure you that my guitars are on every track on that album. A very special moment of my life, which will always be alive in me.”
By the way, do you know why the ‘Carmina Burana’ intro by Carl Orff was left off of later pressings of the “Morbid Visions” album? Have there been any legal problems maybe?
“As far as I know, the left off of ‘Carmina Burana’ from the latest pressings of “Morbid Visions” was really due to execution rights.”
Were you still involved in the songwriting of any of the songs that ended up on “Schizophrenia”? What about the re-recorded version of ‘Troops Of Doom’ from 1990, that’s on the re-release of “Schizophrenia”? Is it Andreas Kisser or you, who is playing guitar on that one?
“During my period in SEPULTURA, we were writing new ideas all the time. Some of these ideas were included in “Schizophrenia”, but they are just ideas, I cannot say that we even made an entire song. Regarding the re-recording of ‘Troops Of Doom’, I was no longer in the band. The guitars over there are from Andreas.”
It’s pretty obvious that you still have a very strong connection to old SEPULTURA in general these days. I mean, you used to be their guitar player in the early days, you re-recorded two old SEPULTURA songs (‘Bestial Devastation’ and ‘Troops Of Doom’) and also named your band after one of these songs and you also mention SEPULTURA and their official fan club as well as the Cavalera brothers in your thanks list… So, are you guys close friends with them? Do they support your band in any way?
“During all these years, I continued to relate extremely well with both parts. The proof of this is that several times I participated in shows, making jams with them. With the birth of THE TROOPS OF DOOM, I made a point of, first of all, having the endorsement of both Max and Iggor, as well as Andreas and Paulo. To my delight and satisfaction, they all received the news very well and praised the work, since our relationship has always been one of great friendship and respect.”
“The Rise Of Heresy” is the first physical release of THE TROOPS OF DOOM, apart from the previously released digital singles ‘Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘The Confessional’… What can you tell us about its origin? When did you start writing the material, how long did it take you to finish it and have there been other songs in the making as well, that didn’t end up on “The Rise Of Heresy”?
“The band was created in late March. Since the beginning, the band was already complete and everyone participated in the entire composition process. The whole process took 4 months. Any music were left behind.”
Tell us a bit more about the Colony Studio, where you recorded the songs… What made you record there? Have you already done any recordings with any previous bands of yours or was it suggested to you by some bands that you are friends with?
“Due to the pandemic, the possibility of getting together was zero. Plus the matter that Alex Kafer and Marcelo Vasco live in a different city from mine and Alexandre Oliveira. Things made it possible for all of us, because of the fact we all have home studios, being able to compose and record this EP without the need for face-to-face meetings. The Colony Studio is a studio in the city where Marcelo Vasco lives and we use this studio only for mixing.”
Did you produce and engineer the recordings yourself or did you have any help from the studio owner or an outside producer?
“No. The whole band was responsible for the production of the EP.”
Who came up with the idea to let BORKNAGAR’s Øystein G. Brun do the mastering at his Crosound Studio in Norway? Have you been in touch with him previously already?
“Marcelo Vasco has a long-standing friendship and business relations with Øystein, including some graphic designs for BORKNAGAR. Øystein really liked the proposal and the songs from THE TROOPS OF DOOM, so it was a natural way to deliver the work in his hands to be mastered by him.”
The very impressive cover artwork for “The Rise Of Heresy” (as well as for both single releases) was done by your guitar player Marcelo Vasco. He also has done a lot of artwork for other bands already, hasn’t he?
“Sure! Marcelo Vasco is a great graphic artist! Over the years he have been creating artworks for numerous highly influential bands including SLAYER, MACHINE HEAD, KREATOR, DEE SNIDER, SOULFLY, HATEBREED, DARK FUNERAL, DIMMU BORGIR and many more!”
Has he also created the band’s logo?
“Yes! He was resposible for all the graphic concept and work itself.”
Who’s idea was it to incorporate the devil from the SEPULTURA “Bestial Devastation” debut into the artwork?
“The idea came from Marcelo Vasco.”
The classical intro for the song ‘Whispering Dead Words’ was written by Dave Deville… what can you tell us about him and what is his connection to the band?
“Dave Deville is a friend of Marcelo Vasco and a very talented musician and producer. He lives in the extreme South of Brazil, like Marcelo, and they were already friends. When Marcelo showed us Dave’s orchestral work we just love it and we thought that would be amazing for the EP introduction. We wanted that old horror / thriller movie soundtrack inspired by Alfred Hitchcock movies, you know? Dark, dramatic and intense. Dave was brilliant and came with this beautiful intro. We’ll surely keep this partnership for the full album.”
Musically I hear three main influences on “The Rise Of Heresy”… The riffs and the Dave Lombardo – like drumming in the middlesection of ‘Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ remind me a lot of old SLAYER, the riffs and vocal delivery in ‘The Confessional’ make me think of old CELTIC FROST immediately and then there’s a lot of obvious old SEPULTURA riffs to be found in general in THE TROOPS OF DOOM… Would you agree that these are the main influences of you guys?
“Right in the bull’s-eye! These are our main influences, and these bands were also the main influences of mine during my time in SEPULTURA. We mix all of them, including also a bit of KREATOR, SODOM, HELLHAMMER among others.”
In the lyrics of ‘The Rise Of Heresy’ there’s a lot of references to old SEPULTURA songs as well (‘Antichrist’, ‘Morbid Visions’, ‘Bestial Devastation’…). Who came up with the idea for that and did you already get any feedback in this?
“This lyric was written by Alex Kafer, and this song for us is like a tribute to the Death Metal of the 80s. It has lyrical and musical references that refer to that era! So far the feedback regarding this track has been the best possible!”
You also released a video for ‘Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’, in support of “The Rise Of Heresy”. Why aren’t the bandmembers included in it, who did the video for you and does it have any connection to the lyrics of the song in any way?
“We cannot exactly call it a video clip, but a lyric video, where the viewer can follow the lyrics of the song – and in this format, the band members do not participate. We chose to be a model widely used by bands today, to promote singles. The video was created by designer Wanderley Perna, who has a lot of experience with this type of material. About the lyrics, it has no personal relationship with any member of the band. It speaks of the conflict of the human being, of constantly living between good and evil.”
There’s an impressive lot of companies involved in the debut release of yours: Rebellian Republic, The Black House Records, Hellven Records, Blood Blast Distribution, Repulsive Echo Records, Austral Holocaust Productions, Metalized Distro… How did you get together with all of them and why do you work with so many different companies?
“Our first contract was with Blood Blast Distribution to launch the EP on digital platforms. Right after the release, we were contacted by several record companies and decided to license the work to some of them. With that, we will have the opportunity to see our EP released in various formats, such as CD, LP and cassette. In addition to expanding the geographic distribution of the material.”
Have you already had the chance to play any live shows with THE TROOPS OF DOOM? Do you also incorporate any other SEPULTURA songs into your setlist, apart from ‘Bestial Devastation’ and ‘Troops Of Doom’?
“Due to the pandemic, unfortunately, the possibility of playing live is zero! However, we are preparing our show for when things go back to normal. For sure, besides the SEPULTURA songs re-recorded on the EP, we will have others on our setlist too!”
What are you guys currently up to? Have you already written any new songs since the release of “The Rise Of Heresy”? Did you get any interest from bigger companies because of it?
“We already have several ideas for what will be our full album. Recordings are scheduled to begin in March 2021 and is expected to be released in June 2021. However, we don’t have any deals closed with small or big companies.”
Ok, that’s about it. Thanks for taking the time and all the best. I’ll leave the closing words to you.
“Thank you so much for presenting THE TROOPS OF DOOM to your audience at VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE! My total respect for your work and the Metalheads in Germany and all over the world! I hope we can play there very shortly! Thanks for the support! You can follow the band on official channels https://linktr.ee/thetroopsofdoom.”
35 years ago SEPULTURA’s “Morbid Visions” was released… The album was recorded in August 1986 in 7 days and it’s by far the most ‘evil’ sounding album that SEPULTURA ever made. What are your memories regarding the recording of that legendary album? You were only 17 years old back then, so it must have been pretty impressive for you…
“Yes, it was. Actually that was the very first time that we entered a professional studio and could work with a producer. Iggor had never recorded on a drum kit like that. Everything was great and new. Amplifiers, drum kit, mics, engineering room etc. We had to learn all the tools in a very short time, and also the producer, who never worked with a Death Metal band at that time.
It was pretty astonishing that you already managed to play for big crowds back in 1986. Take a look at this concert for example. I mean, your music was really extreme back then, but already many people seemed to be into it. Any comments?
“In Brazil, especially in Belo Horizonte (the cradle of SEPULTURA), we always had big crowds. Our gigs in our town were always sold out, sometimes 500, sometimes 1000 or 2000 headbangers for gigs. We were starting something new at that time, and lots of bands around the planet were doing the same, a kind of frequency that made everyone work and live on the same vibration. Remember that we didn’t have any internet or mobile back in the 80s…”
What actually made you leave SEPULTURA back in 1986? Would you say that it was a difficult decision to make?
“It was in ’87 actually. It was a very hard decision for me to take. We were like brothers. More than friends and musicians. I am the oldest one, we didn’t have issues or fights, so I decided to leave the band to make other stuff (work, children, marriage, different music)… Nowadays I am very happy with this decision I made in the past – I was not a part of SEPULTURA when they broke up – and I still have all respect from them, the Cavalera Brothers and also SEPULTURA.”
After your departure, you’ve kept making music. Because you’ve played afterwards in bands like EMINENCE, OVERDOSE and THE MIST throughout the years. How do you look back at these years / bands? Would you say that it was also really satisfying?
“I can say that it was very good for me as a musician. With those bands I learned more than ever about the music market, how to make a good record, a good tour and so on. SEPULTURA is the most famous, but I am very proud of all the knowledge and friendships I made with my other bands during those years.”
When did the idea for THE TROOPS OF DOOM arise? Was it difficult to find fellow musicians? What would you say is your main goal with the band?
“The idea came from Alex, our singer / bass player. His other band ENTERRO was the opening act for my band THE MIST at a gig in Rio de Janeiro. Alex asked me to play one of songs with them, just before I entered the stage with THE MIST that night. We chose ‘Bestial Devastation’ as the song for that jam, and it became a big act on the internet. The crowd and fans started to ask for more on our social media, instagram, Facebook, etc. People gone crazy hahahaha. So, in March 2020 Alex came up with the idea of joining with some friends and making something with my old songs with SEPULTURA. I decided to start an old project of mine (also with Alex Kafer and Marcelo Vasco) and this is how everything came out. I already knew the other guys for a long time. The drummer Alexandre plays drums in my side-project THE SOUTHERN BLACKLIST. Our goal with THE TROOPS OF DOOM is to do the same kind of music I was doing at the time of “Morbid Visions” with SEPULTURA – something like “what if Jairo Guedz didn’t leave SEPULTURA?” and use my own influences (the same influences I had at that time) to bring back that kind of sound, the Death Metal from the 80s.”
The line-up of THE TROOPS OF DOOM consists of Alex Kafer (ENTERRO, EXPLICIT HATE, ex – NECROMANCER) on bass / vocals, drummer Alexandre Oliveira (SOUTHERN BLACKLIST, RAISING CONVICTION), guitar player Marcelo Vasco (PATRIA, MYSTERIIS) and you. The songs on the EP sound incredibly tight, so for how long have you been playing together?
“Thanx!!! We haven’t played together yet. We live in different states in Brazil and also because of this shitty pandemic times, we’d never met each other. Everything was done separately and we sent the tracks to Øystein Brun from BORKNAGAR so he could mix at his studio in Norway. THE TROOPS OF DOOM will make an immersion this year in a studio in Rio, so we can practice a lot and start to record our full length also.”
“The Rise Of Heresy” has a really cool eighties vibe, as well as a good production and an old school sound. The EP sounds very honest. Many bands try to capture to bring back that ’80s feeling but don’t succeed. Would you say that you really had to search to find that sort of ‘feeling’? Or would you say that it comes naturally when you write music?
“I can tell you that it comes naturally for us. Sometimes I think I can write one EP per month hahahahahaha… so, the right thing to do is to send every idea to the other guys and they send me their ideas, so we can work together in the best way for the band. We do it as a family business, like brothers searching for the best result. We love the 80s sound and atmosphere, and it comes naturally, even with the distance issue.”
When you listen to “The Rise Of Heresy”, you can really recognize your guitar style. What is it that makes you stand out or recognizable as a guitarist?
“I really don’t know. I do not see myself as a great guitarist or musician. I can say that I was forged in the 80s atmosphere and sound. What you hear in the first albums from SEPULTURA is the same kind of “touch” I have nowadays… it is like a footprint. I do not have any control over it.”
What I especially like on “The Rise Of Heresy” is the really furious drumming. It sounds really excellent. Take the track ‘Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea’ for example. Any comments?
“Alexandre is a kid, the younger among the hookers hahahahahaha. He is studying that kind of drumming, the 80s style. And I think he did it well, with focus and dedication. He is one of the best drummers I ever saw.”
Marcelo is an acclaimed graphic artist for bands like SLAYER, KREATOR, HATEBREED and DARK FUNERAL among others. Tony Dolan (VENOM INC) and DARK FUNERAL posted enthusiastic comments about the EP. It seems like you’re acquainted with a lot of people / bands in the scene…
“Well, I do not know the guys personally, but as a fan I am very proud of it. They really like it and I am very happy with this kind of support. I love VENOM and DARK FUNERAL, love their work and hope to meet those guys on the road one of these days.”
The closing tracks of “The Rise Of Heresy” are re-recordings of the old SEPULTURA tracks ‘Bestial Devastation’ and ‘Troops Of Doom’. What made you go for especially those two tracks? The new songs fit surprisingly well together with those old tracks, I think…
“I could re-record any of my songs with SEPULTURA, as author and co-author. My idea was to choose one song from each album, and I think those two songs were very appropriate to do that. I still want to re-record one or two songs in the next few years and I also have the option to play some SEPULTURA old songs live.”
You have stayed in touch with the Cavelera brothers over the years, because you joined them several times on stage over the years to play ‘Troops Of Doom’ and ‘Necromancer’. Apparently you also join them sometimes at soccer matches. What do they think of your new band?
“They love it. Before we started this band I asked the guys to wait for a blessing from each guy from SEPULTURA from my era and I also included Andreas Kisser. I sent emails and messages to everyone asking for their indorsement and blessing, and as soon as they gave me that “ok” we pushed the start button.”
A tour through Spain was scheduled for last November but had to be cancelled because of the current corona pandemic. Do you have any tour-plans at the moment in order to support the EP? Or do you prefer to wait and see how the corona situation is going to evolve?
“We already have a tour scheduled for November / December 2021 in Europe. Our tour agency office in Spain is working on it as they can, and we think and hope that the road will be open till then. The idea is to make as many gigs as we can do in a month through Europe and not only Spain and Portugal.”
What are your other future plans regarding THE TROOPS OF DOOM? Do you already plan another EP or maybe even an album?
“We want to play live gigs and tour. Besides that we are already working on the next album, a FULL ONE! We intend to release this one in May / June 2021, before the European tour.”
Frank Stöver / Steven Willems