Band – PRECARIA and ÔROS KAÙ
Album – Theosulphuros
Country of Origin – Mexico/USA and Belgium
Genre – Black Metal
Release Date – November 13, 2020
Label – I, Voidhanger Records
Author – Hayduke X
Today, we once again join forces with I, Voidhanger Records to give you an exclusive listen to an upcoming release. In the second of two themed splits, the Mexican black metal project Precaria joins forces with the shadowy Belgian entity ÔROS KAÙ to present Theosulphuros. Before I get to my full review, hit play and been drawn into the depths of the darkness and magick the two present. Also, below the review, you will find separate interviews with each project.
In 2018, Metamorphosphoros was released to the world. The three way split featured Precaria, Deathspiral of Inherited suffering (now INIEL), and Dominus Ira. Now 2020 brings us Theosulphuros, part two of these connected splits. On the Precaria side, the black metal is both tightly controlled and otherworldly wild. There’s an almost martial quality, and yet, the four tracks take the listener on a dark journey that devolves ever deeper into that which can’t be understood.
On this release, Bestia handles the drumming while Hermit, the founder of the project, plays and composes everything else. Bestia’s drumming is relentless, with stretches of syncopated, almost military blasting. The drumming is also complex, powerful, and noticeably interesting. The hit selection often draws my interest, but as part of the whole. The drumming doesn’t overwhelm the other pieces. Sticking with rhythm, the bass work on this side is very noticeable, and absolutely exceptional. The explosive warmth is a burning fire that traverses the midnight landscape of the album. Riffs are darkly melodic, with subtle dissonance that underscore the power of Hermit’s vocal attack. There are also periodic hints of keyboards (I don’t see any credit listed for keys, but I’m pretty sure I hear some back in the mix), which I’m sure are also done by Hermit. They add layers of depth to the tracks.
Theosulphuros marks the second release (after an initial full length earlier this year) by the Belgian entity known only as ÔROS KAÙ. The four tracks on this side present a different type of fire, a wildness, an other. If the Precaria side is a purposeful, relentless, and destructive controlled burn, then this side is the essence of wildfire, subject to the whims of the wind and the fuel in its path. Riffs sweep over you with an urgency, often in surprising ways. Reverberating croaks belch forth from the void, birthing images of…something… Drums blast and roll this way and that, in a furious reckoning.
Though ÔROS KAÙ capture the essence of the wildness and chaos of something other, there is also a deep meditative quality to these tracks. There is no riding the surface here. One is drawn into the hidden currents, to be pulled along on the journey, with no way of knowing where one will end up.
Taken together, the two sides of Theosulphuros have something of a yin yang quality to them – the more structured Precaria, riding herd on the wild nature of Darkness, driving chaos relentlessly forward and the more chaotic ÔROS KAÙ whose wild rhythms reveal a central, mesmeric calm being birthed. Come. Take the journey. Join them in the darkness.
Hayduke X: Can you take me back to the beginnings of Precaria? How did that all come about? What is the purpose of the project?
Hermit: Since I can remember I’ve always been drawn to darkness. From doing harm to others when I was a kid to the choices I’ve made for my life, and music was not the exception.
My first exposure to metal was at twelve years of age and it captured me immediately. It was in a piracy/street market in Monterrey, Mexico, called “Mercado Reforma”, which doesn’t exist anymore due to the police raiding it. You could find anything, from house items and food, to guns and child pornography. There was a music stand I walked by and the guy had the darkest music I had ever listened to playing in his stereo. I asked him what it was. It was Immortal’s Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism. I bought it and became obsessed with it, listening to it daily. A month later I returned searching for something similar. Amongst all the metal bands he was selling I discovered Dissection, Emperor, Dark Funeral, Abigor and Lunar Aurora. This revolutionized my life.
I wasn’t introduced to heavy metal by some friend or relative. I found black metal by mere chance and fell in love with it. Soon I started feeling the urge to transmit my own darkness the same way, via music. I washed cars for a week and bought my first acoustic guitar, started making horrible “riffs” (I never had music education) and the name Precaria came to my mind because of the way I was living – in plain misery.
The textbook meaning of Precaria is a condition of poverty, misery or lacking something. You might be familiar with the word precariousness. But for me it had an even deeper meaning, because I felt that my misery wasn’t limited to that, but extended to my soul or whatever was beyond what everyone can see.
My idea of these types of concepts wasn’t very clear at that age, but the darkness was there and extremely predominant, in every aspect of my life and myself. The purpose of Precaria is to transmit this darkness to the world.
I kept trying to structure riffs and songs and improved considerably through the years. However, I didn’t know anyone else into black metal, so making Precaria a real band wasn’t possible for a long time. It was practically a solo project for at least six years. In 2010, I met the drummer Opposus Discordia and after listening to me playing the acoustic guitar, he was extremely interested in taking those riffs into distorted form with blast beats. From then on, Precaria was officially a live band.
We started rehearsing, playing live as a duo and recording. This duo style, however, limited a lot of what I could do. Before this, I had only played alone, so all my compositions were a single guitar doing very complex stuff, to compensate for the lack of everything else. A prime example of this is the entire album Precaria Ex Humanitas, released in 2014 but composed from 2009 to 2010. The riffs and structures are more like a flow of chaos, than conventional songs.
As I gathered other members to form a full live lineup, I started feeling the freedom to add different guitar layers to the main riffs, and this eventually made me see music as more of an orchestral movement with coherent points of expansion and return, rather than an everflowing stream of chaos. This notion that I developed is present in the new material and I believe it makes the compositions better. The better they are, the more ears will be seduced by them, therefore spreading more darkness into the world.
HX: Who is officially considered a part of Precaria? How does composition work for the project?
Hermit: There are three official members. Both drummers (Bestia and Discordia), and me.
Discordia will always be a part of Precaria. His role was fundamental to the formation of the band and even if he’s not currently recording for the new releases, he has still been playing live with Precaria and provides input on some beats, therefore making him a core member.
Bestia on the other hand lives in Italy, so it would be hard for us to play live together, but he’s the one that’s been recording lately and composing most of the beats, with me only wanting some changes occasionally. His notion of beat creation is amazing, so the direction I give him is minimal.
I’m the one that composes the guitar and bass, song structures and vocals/lyrics.
The live members are Nefarious and Asbeel, but since I’m now living in the USA the live lineup might change once the world is back to it’s non-COVID state.
HX: That must be a fairly recent move. Would the plan be to find a whole new live lineup? Would any of the live members come up for tours? Maybe it’s all too early to tell.
Hermit: The Mexican live members are able to travel. They do it with their other bands, Hiboym, Alpha Hydrae, Sacratus, Northwar… However, I’m living with the guitarist and drummer of Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering (now INIEL), the US band I invited to the Metamorphorphoros split released in 2018. They’ve expressed the desire to play with me, so a live lineup isn’t an issue. It could either be with Asbeel and Nefarious or with Manus and Principivm from INIEL, if they put effort into it, plus a live bassist.
HX: Speaking of INIEL (formerly Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering), in 2018 you released a split with them and Dominus Ira. Now you are releasing a split with ÔROS KAÙ. It’s my understanding that these splits are thematically connected. Why did you choose to do two splits instead of releasing a full album on the theme yourself? Is there some aspect of it that you felt the other bands brought out in a different way?
Hermit: I had the idea of having a “bridge” between Precaria Ex Humanitas and Necrokhaos (the upcoming, second full length album) due to the drastic change in composition – what I mentioned about constructing songs with the idea of multiple instrumental roles that compliment each other.
The songs Ex Abyssia (present on Metamorphorphoros) and Ex Nigredo (present on Theosulphuros) are this bridge between the initial and latter styles. While the other songs in Metamorphorphoros reflect the past style and the other ones in Theosulphuros reflect the new style, Darkness Is My Light being a prime example of this.
Rather than fitting them all into a single split with one band and having each song progress and reflect this change, I choose to make two splits, naturally connected by their themes and artwork. This allows the change to be stretched across releases. First, I chose Dominus Ira, a very obscure black metal band from Russia. We’ve been in contact since the release of Precaria Ex Humanitas. Then I chose INIEL after I noticed the type of black death hybrid they do. This brought a dose of variation to Metamorphorphoros that keeps you interested in what every band has to offer. For Theosulphuros I initially chose Ars Magna Umbrae and then Heretic Cult Redeemer, but they quit after realizing that the artwork was being painted by a gnostic Christian. Luciano from I, Voidhanger Records introduced me to Ôros Kaù, a Belgian black/death band that showed openness towards collaborating with people of diverse ideological background.
Split albums are often overlooked because it’s typical that bands just put songs together that didn’t make it to an album. This is not the case here. Metamorphosphoros and Theosulphuros are splits in which the bands composed specifically for them both musically and lyrically. It’s everyone’s take on dark spiritual subjects. Mine revolves around Theion in Ex Abyssia and Ex Nigredo, and it expands to more themes in the other songs, but they’re all burning with the same flame.
Nigraluminiscencia is a compilation LP that features the Precaria songs on both splits, with the Metamorphorphoros songs remastered here at Necrosound Studio. And since vinyl requires a more specific sound, the Theosulphuros songs on the physical version of the LP also sound different than in the split CD. A Precaria superfan would have both splits and the LP.
Something I’d like to point out is that my compositions take years to make. I started Ex Abyssia in 2011 with a different name. It was called Fragilitatis Profunda Atrissima, and we played it live as a duo in 2012 opening for Nocturnal Depression in Monterrey. The title changed as I expanded on the lyrics and refined some riffs. By 2016 it was finished with the form that you can listen in Metamorphorphoros. Ex Nigredo started in 2013 and was finished in 2018. The new album (Necrokhaos) has been in the making since 2015.
Being so meticulous with every detail is both a curse and a blessing. I’m trying to create a big work of art that serves darkness in a majestic way, not just being a band that releases a bunch of metal riffs.
HX: Wow! That all sounds like an absolutely massive project. Can you expand on this concept of Theion?
Hermit: Theion is divine fire – an agent of transformation. It burns but never consumes.
An example of this is mentioned in biblical texts describing how Moses found a burning bush which was not being consumed as he “heard” God speaking to him through it, and so he was appointed tasks which were of divine origin.
I fully associate Theion with my realization of the purpose I have in this world. It transforms me from being a miserable pile of flesh to being a soul that’s constantly scorched for a reason. I still feel the desire to kill myself daily, but I know I need to fullfill my task as a bringer of darkness in this world and prepare my soul for an eternal departure.
Genuinely serving DARKNESS (the true God/Essence/Void from which everything IS; beyond any human perception of a god) grants a permanent death in which there’s no need to return to a physical plane as a life form. This task is more important than my own human desires. Theion is the fire that keeps me here, constantly burning but with the will to not be consumed.
My existence is a tribute to what lies beyond and yet is present in everything. By crafting uncompromising majestic dark art with Precaria and working on others’ by mixing and mastering their recordings under the banner of Necrosound Studio, I’m actively being a key piece in the spreading of dark energy in the world.
HX: I also wanted to ask about the choice of cover art. You mentioned that it was created by a gnostic Christian, not a conventional choice for a black metal project. Tell me about that.
Hermit: There’s various reasons why I chose Ikonostasis (Elijah Tamu) to be my painter for this set of releases.
I noticed how digital art is becoming more predominant as time goes by and most of it looks pretty generic.
The artwork of Precaria Ex Humanitas is digital, but it has depth and looks impactful. However, by the time I was looking for an artist for the splits, I wanted to choose a more original direction – a real painting was the solution.
I discovered the artwork of Elijah Tamu with the album of Lo-Ruhamah and immediately knew I wanted something in that vein. As far as I know that was the only front cover Elijah had painted.
At that point I had no idea about his beliefs. I contacted him and proposed my idea for the front cover of Metamorphorphoros.
As we talked he told me about his personal ideology, and that other black metal bands had decided not to work with him after knowing this.
That’s up to the criteria of the artist. Are your beliefs so rigid that you wouldn’t work with someone that walks the opposite path even if he’s open to working with you? Mine aren’t. My ego would never be above the greater purpose I have.
Something that I admire about Elijah is his passion and devotion, because I fully identify with that, even if we have different ideas of God. We do feel very similarly about certain aspects.
I understand the archetype of Christ as a martyr. Someone who smashed every hint of human ego and suffered for a more important cause. As I explained in an earlier reply, I have an otherworldly purpose which is not for the benefit of the masses, as his, but in the process the same suffering is experienced, the same alienation and development of spiritual endurance.
Most people who are into black metal are either nihilist atheists or basic satanists, and none of these can grasp what really goes on beyond the flesh. The same goes for basic christians and muslims. What a lie they live in!
It’s extremely uncommon to find someone who genuinely has an open mind for the understanding of the soul.
For me there’s an ultimate goal and working with a gnostic christian for a chapter of the process is not a stone in the path. The outcome has been worth it.
Ikonostasis was absolutely fit for participating in the Nigraluminiscencia diptych (Metamorphorphoros and Theosulphuros).
As for the next album (Necrokhaos), I’ll have to find someone who’s open to crude aspects of reality as the themes within the album are not only of spiritual darkness, but reach to mundane darkness as well.
There’s a song about the Narcosatanicos, a group of criminals whose lives revolved around drugs, violence and sinister occult rituals in Mexico.
With this kind of narrative I would not ask Ikonostasis to be the painter. Rather someone who’s path isn’t holy.
It might be hard for this album to find a painter and a label due to the disgusting/horrendous nature of it’s subjects so I might eventually self-release it just like the debut album.
HX: It sounds like you’re very clear on themes, etc for that new album. Has it been written already? How fully developed is it?
Hermit: Necrokhaos is in pre-production phase. The album has two main guitars doing different stuff, with the appearance of a third guitar in key moments, such as choruses or immersive sections. These are fully composed.
Each song has its own identity and they’re compact in comparison to the first album, this time with a length of around five minutes average. Only the best riffs make it to the songs and nothing is overused. The pace in every song is dynamic as, after moments of blasting, we get rhythmic sections, build-ups and occasional non-conventional metrics.
I’m currently working on making the best melodic/harmonic bass lines for every riff. I want Precaria to be a band where the bass shines, because this is so rare to find and so seductive to listen.
Bestia is currently working on the drum beats for each section. Some of the Necrokhaos songs already have beats done by Opposus Discordia, since we played them live in Mexico, but I will let Bestia come up with his ideas and in the end we’ll keep what’s best.
The lyrics are mostly done, but I always find something to change as time passes by, some phrase to add impact or a phrase to remove from a section, as to give it a moment of pure musical contemplation.
The official recordings will be done after a long period of practice and I’ll most likely send my guitar and bass signals to Nullset Studios in Massachusetts for reamplification, just as I did for Theosulphuros. The studio owner has some top class analog gear and we share the same passion for audio, so that’s a guarantee for good results.
The sound I’m going for this time is a more “right in your face” dry/warm kind of sonic assault, as opposed to the typical cold and reverberated black metal sound. Precaria is burning, not frozen. There’s a whole lot of magic that goes on in order to achieve the production I’m after.
HX: This has been a really comprehensive interview so far. Your answers go into a great deal of depth. I want to wrap it up by asking if there’s anything else you’d like to add?
Hermit: Yes. To the reader: if you’re planning on releasing an album, consider contacting me to work on the mixing and/or mastering. My rates are very accessible for what you get. Look for Necrosound Studio on Facebook or Remastered Black Metal Albums on YouTube and get in touch.
Thanks for the fluid interview and expect more from Precaria for as long as I live.
HX: Thank you. I greatly appreciate your time and thoughtful answers.
ÔROS KAÙ Interview
Hayduke X: Take me back to the beginnings of ÔROS KAÙ. What is the purpose of the project? How did it get going?
ÔROS KAÙ: There was no goal initially. Just survival. In fact, after breaking up a very difficult romance and being kicked out of my doom group, I felt the need to do something violent to survive.
So I just took a guitar, started some riffs. And I immediately thought “why not directly produce my music, like Leviathan does, all alone at home, without compromise”. I had nothing more to lose, so I started programming the drums, then the bass, etc. Three months of intensive production followed. I didn’t have a job anymore, so it was non-stop composition / recording. Almost a song a day. I produced the equivalent of three or four albums. Imperii Templum Aries is the first, and the songs on Theosulphuros are from that same period there.
HX: Has the project met that goal of helping with survival? You used the term “at first”, which suggests it has grown into more now. Is that correct?
ÔROS KAÙ: Yes totally ! Because things have never been so good for me since, although it has been a long journey strewn with great difficulties and great trials. But now, in addition to the socio-political situation of our countries which is disastrous, I am very well!
HX: That’s really good to hear! Does that change the drive or intent of the project’s music at all? Does ÔROS KAÙ need to have the difficulties to be what it is?
ÔROS KAÙ: Not really. There is an evolution which is certainly the fruit of my emotions, but also the fruit of the technical evolution of the personal mastery of this new mode of solo production. But strangely, I might be much better, the songs to come are even crazier and more epic, still very violent and faster. It’s one of my medicines, extreme music.
HX: Is this split the last of the material from that original recording session? Or are you planning to release it all eventually?
ÔROS KAÙ: These tracks are not the last. They each come from different potential album. They will be the object of the next full release with two other tracks.
HX: How do you determine which tracks go to each release? Did you decide before recording, or have you been putting that together since?
ÔROS KAÙ: Nothing is decided in advance. I choose the songs that build a coherence together, that build a story.
HX: According to the promotional material I received, this is the second Precaria split on the theme of “Theion”. Does your half of the split also speak to this? If so, in what ways?
ÔROS KAÙ: Not exactly. My lyrics feed the theme of the album on the journey of the soul, but I followed my own path, that of opening a door by an efficient ritual act for the birth of ÔROS KAÙ, like the vagina of the mother who opens onto a new world of unknown. In this sense, my texts are not narrative or descriptive. It is a performative discourse, which, like when the priest declares you “husband & wife”, acts in the real world as it is spoken. That’s the way magic works and that’s what I do, nothing else. So I have a triple opening rite which goes through the exorcism of primordial elements which will wean into the magic ritual followed by a portal opening formula.
HX: Just to clarify, when you say ‘a triple opening rite’, does that refer just to the rituals on this split, or is this split one of three, with your prior album another of the three?
ÔROS KAÙ: No just on this split.
HX: What does this “opening of a door” bring to the world?
ÔROS KAÙ: I can not say it. It is the world of the unknown, the other world, with which I finally come into conscious contact recently. I look for. I explore.
HX: Understood. And likely a worthwhile exploration. Your side of this split seems to me to be significantly more chaotic than the Precaria side. Do you feel that brings a necessary balance? Or is it just the reality of two different projects with two different styles?
ÔROS KAÙ: Just two different bands.
HX: How did you end up getting involved in this split? How did that all come together?
ÔROS KAÙ: It was on the initiative of I, Voidhanger Records quite simply.
HX: After initially releasing Imperii Templum Aries through Epictural Production, your debut is now getting a vinyl release through I, Voidhanger (in addition to this split). How did you end up connecting with this label?
ÔROS KAÙ: I signed another band on I, Voidhanger records, then .. here it is.
HX: The artwork was done by Elijah Tamu, who is (according to the promotional material I received) a devout Christian. Does this run contrary to black metal in general and this release in particular?
HX: Mmmh, hard to say. I have my own vision of Black Metal, but BM is not dogma. I have no authority to say that it goes against the BM to be a Christian. In the end for me the BM is spiritual and psychedelic, in addition to being violent and emotional. But there are so many sub-branches .. and antichristianism being so widespread in the BM, that it is almost blasphemous to be. In short, I think it’s a sterile debate in the end. Too much chatter on these subjects. It looks like the last century with the dilemma between figurative painting and abstract painting. Today this dilem is over. Tomorrow it will be the same for all these stupid and time-consuming debates on the BM.
HX: That’s a refreshing viewpoint actually. What do you think of the art itself as a visual to go with the audio aspect of this release.
ÔROS KAÙ: It’s excellent! Elijah rules! It is a massive work to think of the artworks of the two splits coming together like this! His work is full of mysteries and has something saving in it. We feel the healing effort in his art. I have long been attracted by his work, and there it is really an honor to have a record that comes out with it. I don’t think I realize too much yet.
HX: It is pretty incredible artwork. What’s next for this project?
ÔROS KAÙ: More albums are coming on I, Voidhanger Records and maybe a line up for shows. 2021 will be full of new stuff!
HX: That’s really great to hear. Final question: What else should we know? What did I miss that is important?
ÔROS KAÙ: Art is about healing, if not, is it art?
Zazas, Zazas, Nasatanada Zazas!
HX: That’s really beautiful. Thank you so much for your time and thoughtful answers.
ÔROS KAÙ: Thanks you too.
Biography: Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for TOmetal.com, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B Productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.