Interview: The Troops Of Doom
Since we started to talk about this band, our main goal was rescuing this nasty and raw kind of metal, almost in a nostalgic way, to bring back that full experience, not only the influence, but the actual sound and production
As the original guitarist with Sepultura, Jairo Tormentor Guedz played on both the band’s first recording Bestial Devastation and their debut album Morbid Visions, cementing his place in extreme metal history. Since leaving the band he formed The Mist, who are still a going concern, but he is back with The Troops Of Doom, who are about to release their first material with the The Rise Of Heresy EP. Gavin Brown caught up with Jairo to talk with him all about The Troops Of Doom, The Mist and Sepultura.
E&D: Your debut EP The Rise Of Heresy is out now. How did the recording of the EP go?
Jairo: This is something really curious, not only how the EP was recorded but also how the band was born. Everything started at the beginning of this year, already under this covid shit times. If I remember well, we started to talk about this project in March, and almost like magic we were recording the first songs in May and everything was so fast. It was crazy because basically each of us recorded its parts at home and later our other guitar player, Marcelo Vasco, mixed the material at his home studio, still having the final gold touch on the mastering by the hands of our good friend Øystein G. Brun (Borknagar), in his Crosound studio in Norway. It was a very different way to record an album, at least to me, that I was used to do with the band in the studio, you know hehe. But the result of what we got was simply fantastic. Beyond of what I could imagine, specially considering that it was done during these stupid tough times. So, I could say we used a very modern technology, but to capture and forge something that sounds extremely primitive and old school, like I was used to do back at the 80’s with Sepultura first records. Awesome!
E&D: What are the songs about on The Rise Of Heresy?
Jairo: Since we started to talk about this band, our main goal was rescuing this nasty and raw kind of metal, almost in a nostalgic way, to bring back that full experience, not only the influence, but the actual sound and production, the artistic visual, the smell and all vibration that surrounds that decade. Our lyrics and songs are 100% about it, straightly influenced by my way to play in Sepultura on Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions, but also like a continuation of what I could create if I was in the band yet, still inspired by other amazing bands that I love so much, like Celtic Frost, Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Possessed among others. The lyrics specifically are about inner demons, chaos, occultism, the devil and the so called heresy itself, you know, like the old Death Metal albums from the 80’s… No bullshit, straight and explicit, sometimes through a little more sophisticated vision, let’s say…
E&D: What has the feedback on the EP been like so far?
Jairo: It’s been SICK! We’re really digging everything that the people are telling about the songs and The Troops Of Doom approach. Seems like they got perfectly what we wanted to offer, and that’s great when it happens. The reviews we read so far are the best!
E&D: Are there any plans for a full length follow up album at the moment?
Jairo: Yeah! Absolutely! We should start to work on upcoming songs for the full length still this year of 2020. We’ll work hard to have the album fully recorded before July of 2021. That’s our plan!
E&D: How does it feel to be making music in a new band?
Jairo: Fantastic! As I said, although our “unnatural” recording method, we kind discover that there’s so many possibilities to do things today, even virtually, but still so good, so fast and with a really high-quality sound. It was a new experience and I got fucking surprised. I had all these riffs ideas in my mind’s drawer. Some riffs are really old, by the way hehe. And the composition process together with my band mates turned natural, beautiful and full of truth. Simply happened…
E&D: What are the biggest influences on the sound of The Troops Of Doom and The Rise Of Heresy?
Jairo: Well, as I said before, the old Sepultura itself, of course… It’s in my veins! But also other legendary bands like Hellhammer / Celtic Frost, Slayer, Sodom, Kreator, Voivod… The old school shit that inspired us when we were young.
E&D: How did The Troops Of Doom start as a band?
Jairo: I kind already answered it before… But yeah, we’re a brand new band, founded in March of 2020. When we started to talk about it the sketch idea was only re-recording the albums Bestial Devastation and Morbid Visions. It was suppose to be just a studio project, not exactly a real band. Well, maybe a few shows, nothing concrete at all. But when we talked to some friends and important people of the Metal music industry, we felt it wasn’t the best step to take. Instead, we decided to create new tunes, inspired by that same primitive atmosphere, and yeah, then include some revisited songs from my Sepultura’s era.
E&D: Can you tell us about the other members of the band?
Jairo: Sure, Alex Kafer is our vocalist and bassist, he also play on the bands Enterro and the classic thrash metal band from Brazil called Explicit Hate, don’t know if you already heard about them. They’re great! He’s also ex-member of another old and awesome Brazilian band, called Necromancer. But on that time he was the drummer, not the frontman. Marcelo Vasco is our other guitarist, from the Brazilian black metal bands Patria and Mysteriis, and also worldwide famous for his artworks, have been worked for Slayer, Kreator, Soulfly, Machine Head, Dee Snider, Dark Funeral and tons of others. And at last but not least, our brilliant drummer Alexandre Oliveira, that also plays in the bands Raising Conviction and Southern Blacklist, in which I’m also the guitarist.
E&D: You cover two tracks by your former band Sepultura in Bestial Devestation and The Troops Of Doom. Did it feel natural to include these songs on the EP?
Jairo: Yeah, of course. As I said, the initial idea was re-recording the albums, so we felt could be interesting to have these new versions as bonus tracks. ‘Troops Of Doom’ is probably my most famous song ever. That’s why the band’s name couldn’t be different. We just added a “The” and that’s it.
E&D: What were the highlights of your time with Sepultura?
Jairo: Man, there’s so many stories that I just can’t remember of all them. Everything was so crazy on that time. But was a very cool experience for sure, and also it was so much fun too (lol). We did amazing shows, get in trouble together, we go hungry and everything else you could imagine. Insane years! I love those guys, we’re friends until today and I’m definitely very happy for having quit the band, not losing their friendship. I’m probably one of a few people that walk among them, as a good friend of both parts, which’s important to me.
E&D: How does it feel to have been a part of such death/thrash classics like Morbid Visions and Bestial Devastation?
Jairo: It’s awesome and weird sometimes. It’s difficult to describe this kind of feeling, but I’m just a regular man that loves metal and music in general, lucky for being part of something so important, with this greatness, specially cooperating as a little spark for the beginning of what was the Brazilian death metal scene in the 80’s. I’m glad to be part of this somehow!
E&D: Do you still have any contact with the members and former members of Sepultura?
Jairo: Sure! By the way, before I started The Troops Of Doom, I called them and told what I had in mind about this project and the band. I even talked to Andreas Kisser too, who obviously wasn’t part of the band then as he replaced me. I simply had to have their “blessing”, let’s say. I didn’t want to do anything that could look bad or could affect our long friendship, you know. They were very friendly as always and supported me to do whatever I wanted. Very cool! All of this is rightfully mine, it was part of my life for good years at the beginning, and of course, I have all the freedom to rescue it in the way that I judge the best possible, as Cavalera brothers also do, not being part of Sepultura anymore, for example… But still, I wanted to talk to them before I take any step. I think it was the right thing to do.
E&D: Can you tell us about your time in your other band The Mist?
Jairo: The Mist is a band founded in 1989 and was my first band after I left Sepultura. The debut album Phantasmagoria really caught my attention due to their unusual style, a more obscure thrash, full of a dark and melodic musicality. Right after my entry we recorded The Hangman Tree. The Mist recorded four albums (Phantasmagoria 1989 / The Hangman Tree 1991 / Ashes to Ashes… Dust to Dust 1993 / Gottverlassen 1995) and stopped the activities in 1997. The band returned in 2019, started “The Scarecrow Tour XX” and now are writing new songs for an upcoming album!
E&D: What are your favourite death and thrash albums of all time?
Jairo: Slayer (Hell Awaits) – Celtic Frost (To Megatherion) – Possessed (Seven Churches) – Kreator (Pleasure To Kill) – Sepultura (Morbid Visions).
E&D: What was your introduction into metal and the more extreme forms of metal?
Jairo: I started my life in music listening to Elvis Presley in the 70’s. Then I met KISS and I was crazy about the look of the guys, that aesthetic was very impressive, even before I listen the music! Although ‘Fast As A Shark’ from Accept was the first song I heard and made me want to play guitar more aggressively. Since then my life was destined to metal!
E&D: Do you plan to tour with The Troops Of Doom once all the craziness that has engulfed the world is over?
Jairo: Of course! We’re already planning a European Tour for November of 2021. We have some dates on Portugal and Spain, but our manager in cooperation with the Spanish agency Hueso Producciones are working hard on it, to get more dates in other European countries. Crossing fingers! By the way, if you’re reading this interview and know some local promoters that could be interested to take The Troops Of Doom show to your city, please, write to Hueso at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E&D: How have you been keeping busy during this time?
Jairo: The Troops Of Doom and The Mist have made me damn busy during this endless pandemic days. Not to mention the thousand LIVES that I take part (lol), but it’s something excellent. It’s very good to know that we can take something positive from this so bad year.
E&D: What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
Jairo: I think that all experience, specially on the stages, touring, has its own golden moments… I really love practically everything I did with the bands I played! But I would like to highlight Sepultura’s album Morbid Visions, which opened the door to a new world for me and the band! I also highlight the album The Hangman Tree by The Mist, considered a masterpiece by critics and metalheads from Brazil and the world. And at last but not least, I must say my newest album with The Troops Of Doom, The Rise of Heresy, because together we were able to bring to the surface the pure essence from the 80s death metal surrounded by all that nostalgic atmosphere, in a very good way, of course.