Into the Primitive: An Interview with El Salvadorian Thrashers, Witchgoat

When I first listened to Witchgoat’s debut effort, Umbra Regit, a restored sense of excitement came over me. Its primitive intensity whisked through my veins, sending chills down my spine with every sick riff. I became curious to know more about these El Salvadorian thrashers, but Witchgoat was seemingly shrouded in obscurity online — with only a small digital presence. Fortunately, I was able to speak with Witchgoat guitarist P. Scyther about the details of the band’s writing process and future plans. Here’s what he had to say…..

Underworld– First things how are you?

P. Scyther– Everything is going well. We are somewhat busy with our jobs, working on the album’s release and our debut that we hope it will occur before this year ends.

Underworld– That’s great! To jump right in, “Umbra Regit” has been getting quite a bit of attention online by webzines and so forth. Besides it being a killer demo, what factors would you guys attribute to the album’s success?

P. Scyther– First of all, we would like to thank all metalheads for the support that the demo Umbra Regit has received, and also we thank the media that supports the underground.

It has been great to find people who are interested in the primitive elements of metal that we have tried to compose. In regards to the response received, we assume that the mix of elements such as speed, aggressiveness and visceral vocalization, all mixed with the sound of the riffs and melodies of old school thrash metal, has resulted in a great response from old school and blackened metal fans.

Witchgoat Guitarist P. Scyther
Witchgoat Guitarist P. Scyther

Underworld– It definitely had that primitive vibe. One of the first things I noticed was the classic feel of this demo and how it brought me back to metal’s heyday back in the late 80s/early 90s. Did you guys intend to recreate that kind of atmosphere on this album? Did any other bands influence the sound of Umbra Regit?

P. Scyther– This classic feel that you mention is a consequence of our own taste for the type of raw/blackened thrash metal which we have been fans of our whole life. Before being musicians, we were enthusiastic fans of these genres so we have tried to impregnate in our demo the elements of those times in which music was honest in its ideas and above all in its sound avoiding excessive technological refinements.

We believe that metal must have a dose of rawness such as the one this genre had when it began in Europe and Latin America in the middle 80’s. At the same time, we have tried to incorporate and admire very much, the melodic part that blackened death metal bands impregnated to the genre in the 90’s. All of this tried to preserve the tuning and a tone close to the standard used by the first old thrash metal bands.

In regards to the sound, we have various influences of thrash metal albums such as: Schizophrenia from Sepultura, Inverted Crosses from The Unsane, Fragments of Insanity from Necrodeath, this kind of stuff… and even classic bands like Bathory, Death, Possessed, Mercyful Fate, Aura Noir and Sarcófago, etc…

Underworld– Schizophrenia is easily my favorite Sepultura album. I definitely hear the same elements of raw intensity on “Umbra Regit.” El Salvador isn’t always the first country people think of when it comes to metal, but doing a quick Google search, it seems that there’s somewhat of a thriving scene in the country. Should metal heads be paying closer attention to the El Salvadorian scene?

P. ScytherEl Salvador is a country with underdevelopment in many aspects. However, like other regions in Latin America, the metal scene has been growing gradually and even though there is not a huge number of outstanding bands, there are some that we recommend and that have represented this region well such as: Conceived by Hate, Disorder, Invocation of Death, Morbid Stench, Dismal Gale, Tabú, among others.

Witchgoat Drummer E. Driller

Underworld– I’ll have to check out some of those bands for sure! Tell me a little about the process that went into writing “Umbra Regit?” How long have you guys been at this? Do you have time to practice as much as you’d like? Metal is DIY in my experience, with bands marketing themselves and buying studio time themselves etc. How much of your blood sweat and tears went into this demo?

P. Scyther– As far as the demo’s composition process and the long play, which is completely recorded and hoping to be released by the end of this year, I can say that music was totally composed in the middle of 2016 and 2017.

Since then, time has served to rehearse and assemble the drums and bass adequately, and to develop a complete concept that includes an agreement regarding the philosophy expressed in the lyrics, and that which we share among the members of Witchgöat. We consider this an important aspect of our music and Morbid Miasma, the band’s vocalist, has taken sole charge of this.

Regarding the composition of the music, sometimes it is easy and ideas come up without much effort. On the contrary, sometimes more time and inspiration is required to obtain the desired result. Either way we shape our creations and work in them until we are fully satisfied with the result.

The production of the Umbra Regit demo has been precarious and much of the sound is actually intentional. Guitars were recorded in my home study and the drums in the studio of a close friend. Vocals and bass were recorded in Devil’s Eve Studios owned by M. Miasma. The mixing was done by us and the mastering was done by a friend of the band. We are pleased with the demo sound because we believe that a demo should have a raw and honest sound but with enough power to show the music that the band is making and to demonstrate the concept. From that point of view we believe that this is an honest production.

witchgoat-banner
Witchgoat Umbra Regit Official Banner

Underworld– “Towards the Gulgalta” is one of the most emotional acoustic pieces I’ve heard in a long time. Ending the demo that way was a bold choice. Tell the readers a little been about what influenced you to make that choice. Were you just trying to show range, or was there some other inspiration?

P. Scyther– Thank you for your kind words. Towards the Gûlgaltâ is a piece played with acoustic guitars. We intended to evoke a state of melancholy and darkness in the way old Swedish bands of the middle 90’s used to do. Big influences such as Lord Belial and Dissection have absolutely impregnated in our minds their seal and have marked our path in metal.

A composition like this finale definitely intends to create an atmosphere that will take us to this era and is merged with our own composition essence. It was selected to finalize the demo with the intention of creating some kind of melancholic epilogue following the demo’s chaos and melodic violence.

Underworld– Given the demo’s underground success, do you foresee getting on the bill for fests in the near future? Is there anything already in the works?

P. Scyther- Thanks for saying that, we are taking this step by step so we are focused right now on releasing the debut album and try to get a good promotion and distribution for it. After that maybe we will start in some new material but so far there is no clear vision of possible live performances. We do have some ideas for future releases that we are working on.

Underworld– I’m sure fans will be happy to hear that? When can they expect the first full length LP to be released? What else can we expect from Witchgoat in the future?

P. Scyther– The short-term plans are the release of the full-length album by the end of this year 2018, which is almost a reality. We are working on the final details and hope to have news about the release very soon. Additionally, we are currently working on making new music and rehearsing for preparing new material in order to keep on dispersing in the future our musical pestilence worldwide through the underground.

You can purchase Witchgoat’s demo, Umbra Regit Here

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