Every so often we are sent an album at SonicAbuse that really causes a stir. Sometimes the extremity of something can be breathtaking. Other times it is the haunting melodies or the band has some unique quality that you struggle to find elsewhere. In the case of Nimrod, while musically excellent, it was undoubtedly the band’s singer: Erico ‘the beast’ Morales, a man possessed of a voice so vast in range and scope that my initial thought upon reviewing the album was that I was reviewing a band with four singers in the vein of Therion, rather than just one master craftsmen at the peak of his skills. Of course, no matter how good a vocalist Erico proved to be it still would not matter if the music was lame, but Nimrod have a real power in their song-writing that not only makes their music exciting but also very original. A combination of influences from old school heavy metal to NWOBHM and American technical thrash means that in any given song you may hear overtones of Slayer, Judas Priest or Iron Maiden, but with vocals that raise the bar several steps higher than such a description might allow you to imagine.
Having reviewed the album, we felt that the best way to find out more about the mighty Nimrod would be to go to the source and speak to the band’s driving force, Chris Ira, who provides the guitars and music for Nimrod. We hope you enjoy this interview and, more importantly, you will go to the band’s site and check out a unique and exciting metal band who have much to offer fans of all things heavy.
1. With so many definitions of the word Nimrod from its early biblical association to its more current military connotations could you tell us what the name means to you and why you chose it for the band?
-Well, this goes back to 1985 when we decided to choose a name for our band. We felt that we need a powerful name, something which can be related to a mighty force but some real name not a fantastic or childish one , so we came finally to Nimrod which represents the first mighty man in the face of the earth who became the king of the land (Babel after to be call Babylon), he was also a hunter and a rebel .He rebel himself against God(Bible says) and built the Babel Tower, but we didn´t took the name for some religious thing, what we meant was to rebel against the Tirany we were suffering as a country in that period of time with the dictator Pinochet
2. Can you tell us a little about how Nimrod formed?
Well , I was a teenager living in France at that time and witness the heavy metal movement take form , it was great there was magazines like (Enfer magazine , Metal Attack etc etc ) I was In England learning English and saw the Monsters of rock posters, heavy metal was everywhere hahaha!! I attend many concerts. In 1985 I came back to Chile and there was not much happening and after sometime I met a guy (Yanko from the band Massacre)he was putting together a festival with a new kind of music ( thrash metal) and encouraged me to form a band to play in the festival, so I ask some friends if they´ll be interested in playing and that was it.
This Festival was the first METAL HOLOCAUST , the first thrash metal festival in South America maybe in America !
3. You re-emerged after a lengthy break in 2004 – what made you decide to reactivate Nimrod?
I was always doing music at home and every time I was watching a concert I have people asking me , When is Nimrod back playing live again??
The problem was that I couldn´t find a singer for my music I was looking for someone melodic and powerful plus with excellent English pronunciation and this is very difficult here in Chile . So, a German friend of mine recommend ERICO to me and we decided to work together. I was looking to do a professional work and I found the right guy, they call ERICO “THE BEAST“ because he is absolutely amazing as a singer, as you noticed in your review!!
4. Return to Babylon is a strikingly heavy album – what were your key influences when you came to record it?
Well you know after so many years listening to metal, influences comes spontaneously. In the beginning as a band we were very influence by Slayer but that was 20 years ago. We rerecorded 3 songs from our 1988 demo tape TIME OF CHANGES and those songs are very thrash old school( I would say Slayer meets Coroner meets Exodus hahha) technical thrash but I think we have some originality as well. Now I love all kinds of metal from traditional heavy , power or thrash. For the other songs Our influences would be Mercyful fate, Judas Priest(w/Ripper Owens), for the guitars I like Marty friedman , Michael Denner, Uli roth and Michael Shencker.
Some people said that we sound sometimes like Sanctuary or Nevermore, they have mentioned also Memento Mori which I like a lot but to be honest we don´t try to sound like others bands, our mixture of power thrash and Erico voice to me is very original and nowadays it’s really difficult to do this.
5. The lyrics are quite involving and complex – is there a specific theme, mood or piece of literature that informs them?
There is no specific theme that we like to write about. Every song has its own spirit. ‘I am’ is a heavy metal hymn, ‘Death behind’ is about War, ‘Dark land’ as well as ‘Time of changes’ is about the era of Pinochet as the dictator we all know(politic). Nimrod is epic.
6. One of the most impressive aspects of the album was that, until I checked the album booklet, I firmly believed that your singer Eric “The Beast” Morales was an army of singers!! How long did it take to get the vocal tracks and was it hard work to conjure up so many different sounding voices from one person?
As I told you ERICO The beast is call like that for that reason he is really a Beast of a singer And he did his work for the album in 10 days I think, he was living in Florida USA and he came to Chile just to record the album and went back!
7. Was the writing process for the album, particularly for the vocals, a difficult one or did everything come together very quickly?
When you work with a Pro like Erico it’s very easy , he knows exactly what he wants to record and sometime he improvises as well but with his vocal resources its easy so everything came together very fast !
8. How long did the record as a whole take to record and where did you go to have it done?
In total it took about 10 months, we recorded and mixed here in Santiago, Chile , in Sade Studios where many metal albums have been done and the mastering was done in Malmo, Sweden by Staffan Osterlind who has worked for the Sweden rock Festival.
9. You’re now looking to play in Europe in support of the album, is that correct?
We love to but for this year we don´t have plans but maybe next year after our next album is out , we have scheduled a USA tour for a month next year and we will be playing at the WARRIORS OF METAL FESTIVAL V, in June 2012.
We are in the writing process at this moment for the next album.
10. What can European fans expect of a Nimrod show?
They can expect to see a band that gives everything they have on stage with an extraordinary singer and a very fit band, that unleashes his power and kick your asses !!! Guaranteed !
11. Given the complexity of the material on the record how do you plan to reproduce the material live? Will you have some tracks on playback, will you be using session musicians to fill out the sound or will you be altering the material to suit you playing as a four-piece?
We have been playing our album for the past 2 years with no problems and we do like any band that do complex music trying to sound like the album recorded, we have our bassist who does some vocals and another guitar, we are five members band.
12. With a very positive reaction to ‘Return to Babylon’ what are Nimrod’s plans next?
We have had excellent response to our album, we are in the writing process now and have some shows ahead also, we are looking to do a great job for our next album So we can promote it in Europe and everywhere our music can be heard and spread the Metal of NIMROD !!