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The Damnnation's Renata Petrelli: "We try not to get stuck in any stereotype, you know? For us, we are only metal…"

Interview with Renata Petrelli from The Damnnation
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 03 July 2022, 10:42 PM

The human condition has always been an intriguing topic that could be endlessly measured. To think that the human personality has so many angles, now that is something that could be covered, with tons of material written over it. The Brazilian Metallers, the Thrash / Death Metal band, The Damnnation, circle around their version of what goes on in the human mind, and interesting out take in a violent form. Signed to Soulseller Records, the trio was able to cross continents with their music, spreading their new "Way Of Perdition". Steinmetal had a good talk with Vocalist / Guitarist, Renata Petrelli, about their take on the album's experience.

Greetings Renata, it is good to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Hello there! Thank you for having me! All good around here, recovered from Covid 2 weeks ago, but all good! Hope all good around there too!

Starting out The Damnnation back in 2019, as a part of a rather substantial Metal scene such as the Brazilian one. What can you tell about what drove you to form the band in the first place? I noticed that you were already involved with several bands in the past, I guess that you wanted to have a kind of baby of your own?

There were 2 main reasons: 1st of all I already had a lot of songs written from the previous band and also other great ones I hadn’t shown to anybody back then. So I thought it would be unfair let them rot in a forgotten hole, never recorded or played to people. The 2nd reason of course was that I was “dismissed” from my previous band. I wouldn’t stop making music… It is what moves me and put my mind in check. I just thought after some projects, and having the perception I could do both things sing and play guitar, was a good way to make some logistically easier. It much fun, and easy, to have a 3-piece band.

Right into the Covid 19 pandemic, you released your debut EP, “Parasite”. What can you share about the experience of actually making this EP, even though rather short, in such a hectic timetable in mankind’s history? I know that in Brazil that situation was pretty dire back then

Yeah, the process to record was long. We had to stop some months due the cases of death here. So we recorded it in the end of 2019, so we had line-up changes due some secondary problems Covid brought to us, then we recorded 2 other songs for the EP in the middle of 2020.

Talking about the pandemic, the last couple of years were trying times, people changed their perception towards one another. Some would say for the worst and others for the better. Another thing about those years is that due to restrictions and lockdowns, the mental state of a lot was in shambles. How were you able to comprehend what was going on? How did it affect you? Would you say that your motivation to do anything, especially music related, was at a conflict?

No I didn’t have any conflict on doing music and any other creative process, but Covid made me more reflective about life and people, of course. It helped me writing lyrics especially about depression, ways of running away from this state of mind, etc which reached me at some point…

The next step for The Damnnation was to sign with a label for the release of its debut album, and you caught the Dutch extreme Metal superior, Soulseller Records. Being a band from Brazil, how do you view such a signing with a European label? What are your expectations going forward with the label?

Is a good way to reach the European market of course! The label helped us as well on paying for our recording!

Titled “Way Of Perdition”, your debut album was recently unleashed. What can you tell about the reviews coming in, with the album being out there for a month or so?

I think most reviews are positive and almost all of them try to regulate us in a genre of metal, or try to guess our main influences or say some that we even we don’t listen too much, all of them are pretty curious!

I could sense plenty of anger, and possible criticism, on “Way Of Perdition”, but before we delve into it, what can you share about the meaning of the album’s title for you?

Is an introspective title… trying to resume all the mess that can be inside people’s mind and the ways people tries to get out of all problems, misunderstanding, depression, anger, anguish and so on… you can try to recover your senses or you can just go to the way of perdition….

In the previous question I mentioned anguish, disappointment, and generally a lot to say about what is going on. I can assume that mostly these are generated thoughts about what has been happening in your country. In your view, do you find that relation between the themes of the songs on the album, and the current state of affairs locally?

Yeah of course. Not only what is happening here, but in Latin America in General. In a most introspective sense too. Like I had a lot of disappointment with people years ago, so I also used the lyrics to spread about it a bit.

Inside looking out, you guys are on the prime fusion between Thrash and Death Metal, but keener on slicing people’s ears with Thrash other than the latter. However, what interested me is that that fusion isn’t solely there, there is more to your music, generating a kind of a classic Metal angle. What can you tell about the band’s musical development in contrast to the EP?

We try not to get stuck in any stereotype, you know? For us, we are only metal, lol.  It is like… I don’t sit down and think “I want this song to sound like this band” I just sit and start to compose, not trying to sound like anybody. Eventually some not so obvious influences can appear here and there. I think on the new album I could explore more melody on leads, we tried some beat changes in 1 or 2 songs, and vocals are quite better lol (always trying to improve myself!).

Talking about the classic driven Metal elements within “Way Of Perdition”, what you could say were your influences while working on the album?

Uhn, I would say some Kreator, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Lamb of God, Arch Enemy, Gamma Ray, Opeth, Blackberry Smoke, Paradise Lost…

Other than surging beyond the fusion of Thrash and Death Metal, in your perspective, what makes “Way Of Perdition” a sort of a unique entity within the vast sea of releases that tread the same fields as you?

The mix of agression and melody. Harsh vocals but stills comprehensive, nice groovy bass lines.

The songwriting of “Way Of Perdition” generated straightforward songs, yet these share quite the messages, within the musical end being a sort of background, other than the centre of attention. What can you tell about the songwriting process of the record? What lessons of the past were implemented while writing the songs?

I use the same process as always lol. First I do arrangements, then I show to the girls whose improve their instruments according to the demo that I sent. Then I write lyrics. I learned to not be in a rush to finish a song, or to do a lot of music in the same time, if so, probably the songs will be lookalikes, and we will have a boring album…

Earlier on I mentioned the challenge of coming up with the debut EP, as the Covid pandemic went wild. “Way Of Perdition” was written and recorded while the pandemic was still relevant. What can you tell about the challenges that stood before you in order to complete the entire recording, along with studio work?

We had the same problem on EP lol… we had to stop 3 months due Covid to finish the album. Martin Furia would come to Brazil to help us on the production process, but things were insecure in Europe too. So we had to do it by skype!

Martin Furia engineered the album, providing you a sound pattern that is clear, with the ability for the listener to identify nearly every channel. How do you find the sound of the band in 2022, and in light of this album?

Now, myself and our bass player understand more of what we need and want to sound like, and this album helped us on that. So I think alive we sound better than right on the beginning of the band.

One of the album’s major exports, in my opinion, is “Rotten Soul”, deploying a heavier dosage of thrashed up mid to fast tempo onslaught. The song’s morbidity is also being attributed by your vocals, in particular when the chorus is involved. What is your appreciation of this song? In your view, is it a source of impact on the record?

Yeah, this song is one of my favorites. It is super intense, once the lyric provided is about a situation I had to go through. So probably, when I recorded I put a lot of emotion on this one, specially.

You have been around bands in the past, and you also gained experience with The Damnnation, in light of the completion of “Way Of Perdition”, what can you share about what you learned from this entire process of the album?

Despite Covid, it was pretty nice and easy going to record this album. I had a lot of support, esspecially on vocals. Mayara Puertas (Torture Squad) gave me some lessons, which helped me a lot, to be a little bit more confident. Martin also encouraged me a lot and helped me to improve my accent (lol).

When you sat down and listened to the entire album, which I am sure that you did in its various versions, how did it make you feel?

Proud! Because I had to start a band from the very beginning, and see and listen a job done after all that, Covid, and a lot of other problems, I am very proud of the job we’ve done so far!

Looking forward to your schedule of shows, what are your plans, whether locally or outside of the country?

We’re planning to play around in more cities in Brazil and probably set something outside for the next year! Let’s see what will happen!

Renata, I wish to thank you for your input on this conversation, and for your time dedicated to it. All the best for you and the ladies, you made a good release. Cheers

Lior, thank you so much for the interview! Glad you liked of our first release! Hope to see you all in a near future!


 



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