(Comrade Aleks made a virtual journey to Bolivia to interview vocalist Antonio Ortiz, founder of the death-doom band Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens, and we have the results of that discussion here for you today.)
I knew nothing about the Bolivian metal scene until I found Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens. They identify their genre as atmospheric death-doom metal though I see there a blend of a few more extreme genres as well, but who needs tags except journalists and labels?
The band was formed in La Paz back in 2003 and their discography is built around one full-length album, The Truth Is Out There (2009), and a dozen other releases like demos, EPs, live albums, and splits.
I guess that it points to Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens’ underground approach and we’ll find out why from this interview with the band’s founder Antonio Ortiz (vocals). And it’s all about “human suffering, nature and universe” as Metal-Archives says.
Hi Antonio! How are you? What’s new on the Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens side?
Greetings my FriendDoom, I am honored by the interview. LCD is stable and working with session musicians for the next shows.
Why do you recruit session musicians? Is it your constant practice? Don’t you need full-time members?
It is very difficult to find doomer musicians, the current members are musicians from my other bands. Nilss Vazques is a guitarist in Vigoorian, Rhycela Chavarria is a bassist in Amduscias, Andrés Rojas is a former drummer of Amduscias, and Antonio Magne is a keyboardist of a friend band Nature Morte. Beyson and myself take care of the composition of the songs, but any contribution from the other members is always welcome.
You and Beyson Gibson are the band’s founder members and you’ve played together for almost 20 years, so how did it start for you? What motivated you to start the band?
At the beginning it was difficult to find doom metal records in Bolivia. At the end of the ’90s when I listened to some records by Empyrium, Anathema, Ras Algethi, Saturnus, Celestial Season… they blew my mind. That’s how I started to become a doom metal fan, and I thought that I should put together a band with these influences.
I already had experience in singing because I was the vocalist of black, death, grind, and gothic metal bands at the beginning. In 2000 I started looking for musicians who liked doom metal and I managed to find some musicians with whom since 2003 we began giving shows, playing covers and some compositions, but almost all of them stepped aside and who accompanied me until now on this dark path of the Doomentia was Beyson Gibson.
There is the live album Live in Taypi (2006) among the demos you recorded in Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens’ first years. And that’s interesting, as little is known about your local scene. So how were your gigs organized back in those early years? How often and where did you play?
Since 2003 we recorded two rehearsal tapes with three to four songs and in 2006 we released a promotional CD Live in Taypi with covers and compositions, all this to give away at shows and promote LCD and let them know our style. On the other hand, it was difficult to play in the concerts since in those years black, death and heavy metal were booming in Bolivia. But there were some organizers who trusted us and we managed to open for some bands from abroad and play in some local shows.
How have conditions of live shows changed since then? Is it easier now to organize the gigs or are people overfilled with it?
At the end of 2000 and before the pandemic, concerts and support for doom metal bands improved a bit because several metal pubs were opened in Bolivia where you could play with your band. Entering the pandemic and the confinement, we managed to make a live stream of two songs “Listen the Silence” and “Birth from the Obscure” with the new session musicians, Antonio Magne, Rhysela Chavarría, Andrés Rojas and Nilss Vasquez.
We participated in online concerts in the countries of Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, and Germany, and after the restrictions due to the pandemic opened, there is an overload of concerts, and not only in Bolivia. Some pubs are reopening and all the dates are saturated. In my country there were organized up to three concerts in a single day with local and foreign bands in different cities.
You spent six years recording the demos and elaborating your style, so your first full-length album The Truth Is Out There was released in 2009. How did you record it? Did you face any obstacles on your way to finishing this material?
From the beginning of LCD in 2003 until 2006 we worked on recording an album together with the former members of the band, but due to personal problems they decided to step aside, so together with Beyson Gibson we decided to compose new songs and leave aside live performances and dedicate ourselves fully to composing and recording. Joel Crispín also collaborated in the recording of the keyboards.
Due to the scarcity of metal recording studios in our country and the high costs of some studios, we bought a sound card, we implemented it to our guitarist’s computer and we decided to record everything at home, without time pressure, to get the sound we wanted and we were very satisfied with the sound we achieved and with the release of our first album.
How did you equip the room where you recorded the songs?
Beyson and I had some savings, my guitarist bought a Gibson guitar, I bought a Palmer acoustic guitar and a Shure microphone, the keyboard and the bass we borrowed from some friends. First we recorded the acoustic songs, then in the absence of more microphones and a sound card with more input capacity, we decided to program the drums for the atmospheric songs. We covered the walls with blankets and cardboard, we stayed three days a week recording, without leaving Beyson‘s house, sometimes whole nights jajajajaja, it was a good experience
Did the album help you to break through and find new listeners? How did you promote and distribute it?
We released our first demo Laudo/Extinción, the album The Truth Is Out There, and our single “Birth from the Obscure” independently on Cdr Pro, but there was little acceptance of our style in Bolivia. Some bangers managed to acquire our albums and even now they follow us, going to gigs with my other black and death metal bands like Vigoorian, Amduscias in Peru and Argentina.
We collaborated with Black Angel from Peru for their tour of Brazil, and that helped me to distribute our LCD records. Also the social networks played a fundamental role, so labels, magazines, radios and bangers from Europe will be interested in our art. We received good reviews in the countries of Syria, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, England and many more. Also the labels GS from Russia, Depressive Illusions from Ukraine, American Lines from Mexico, Herrecords from Argentina, made the reissues of our records, and now the Satan’s Grind label from Bolivia will also do a reissue of the three albums.
I was very pleased with all these achievements, that our LCD music is spreading and liked more in other countries than mine, to the extent that Thomas A.G. Jensen vocalist of Saturnus bought our tapes that came out in the Ukraine.
I searched and I found that there are a few doom bands in Bolivia besides Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens – Black Candles, Nîn Morn, Opium… do you keep in touch with them?
Black Candles from La Paz is a friendly band. Nîn Morn is a new band from Santa Cruz. I didn’t listen to Opium, but another band is Saudade from La Paz and Dark Abismo from Cochabamba, friendly doom-bands, some of which will participate in the first In Nomine Doom Concert that I will organize in the month of November in the city of La Paz.
Is it the first doom gig you organized there? Or is it a kind of annual local doom metal festival?
It will be the first Doom Metal Festival that I will organize here, in fact the first doom festival in Bolivia. There’s In Nomine Doom Festival in Peru, they do it every year in August. We planned to travel with LCD to Lima to take part there, but it didn’t happen due to the pandemic. Hopefully next year they will organize it again. They also held it in Chile and now it will be Bolivia’s turn.
What happened next? You released two compilations, one live album, and singles after The Truth Is Out There. Didn’t you just aim to record the next full-length?
We were planning to record a new album, but there are things that happened and stopped us. The murder of my mother and my change of residence from La Paz to Cochabamba due to labor issues made it difficult for us to continue with the recording of a new album. But we returned to rehearsals with my guitarist and our new partners in 2016 to be able to give some live concerts. Some weekends I traveled to the city of La Paz to rehearse and be able to compose some music.
Please accept my condolences regarding your mother’s murder… What made you return the band to life after all of this?
Thanks for the condolences, friend. All that support we had abroad, several followers who asked me to return to the stage with LCD, the reissues that foreign labels released, and above all the love of doom metal. Then Mortiis announced his arrival in Bolivia, and the organizer asked us to be the opening band, and as LCD’s return to the stage we gave an acoustic show.
You took part in a Bolivian tribute to Iron Maiden (2018) and two split-albums – Legiones del pantano (2021) and The Call to Silence (2022). Did these releases help you to spread the word and recruit new followers effectively?
It was a good experience to participate in the first Bolivian tribute to Iron Maiden made by Maiden Bolivia F.C. It’s the double CD edition, one disc with the covers and the other with the compositions of the bands, It helped us to find new listeners, and our cover for “Sign of the Cross” became part of a special show on Poland’s Lotu Ptaka Radio.
Then there was the split Legiones del Pantano with the bands Les Memoires Fall from Brazil, Funeral of Souls from Argentina, Vermiforme from Uruguay, and Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens from Bolivia. Seven editions came out, CD and cassette – for six countries: Herrecords from Argentina, Satan’s Grind from Bolivia, Terceiro Mundo Chaos from Brazil, Irminsul Records from Chile, Depressive Illusions Rec from Ukraine, and Jaibana Records from Panama.
Then there was split The Call to Silence split with the bands Abigorum from Georgia and Germany, Until My Funeral Began from Ukraine, and Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens, released by Herrecords from Argentina. We also hope that more labels are encouraged to release this doom split. That war between Russia and Ukraine prevented some labels from being able to release it. These albums helped the bands get to know each other in the different countries where the bands come from.
Why did you choose “The Sign of the Cross”? I like that the song, but this choice isn’t that obvious.
I like all of Iron Maiden, but that X Factor album, it’s a dark sounding album, especially the song “Sign of the Cross”, and it fit well with LCD’s style. It’s also one of the least-covered songs by bands.
How soon do you plan to record your second full-length album?
This 2022 we managed to record a new EP titled MartyrDoom, which will be released physically in the following months, and we are already composing for the new album that we hope to finish in 2023, so doom metal loving bangers and followers of Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens stay tuned!!!! Stay Doom Metal!!!!
Sounds like a plan! Then I wish you all the best in following this schedule. Good luck.
That’s right and the new album will materialize. Thanks to you for the interview and to the readers whom we’d like to tell them that the melancholic, dark melodies of doom metal is not to depress you, rather it is to make you stronger in your loneliness, to embrace death and let it be your friend, to be one with nature and the universe, to fill yourself with energy to move forward overcoming every obstacle in life with the aggressive melodies of doom metal!!!