Interview: Abstracted [Brazil] Discusses New Esoteric Concept Album ‘Atma Conflux’ & Shares Heated Opinion on Their President + Brazilian Metal Band Recommendations

Brazilian technical / progressive death metallers Abstracted are a reckoning force, blending complexity and intrigue through both dynamic instrumentals and undeniably enigmatic lyrical themes. Their debut LP, Atma Conflux, dropped earlier this year via M-Theory Audio and is comparable to the likes of Revocation or Between the Buried and Me, boasting the quirks and range within their unique palette.

We spoke with vocalist Rosano Matiussi about the band’s new conceptual release along with both the political and musical landscape of Brazil. Also, be sure to read to the end for plenty of other Brazilian metal recommendations. Enjoy the interview below.

You recently released your debut full-length studio album, Atma Conflux. I read that the recording process began in 2018. Did COVID-19, lockdown, and the current status of the pandemic affect recording or the overall release?

Actually, we had the album ready at the end of 2019, if I remember correctly. We mostly faced issues about overall logistics between the band itself, music video recording, photoshoot, etc., but the album itself was already recorded, mixed, and mastered around the COVID breakout.

I think it’s appropriate to consider the album a ‘concept album.’ Do you find writing with a fictional plot in mind can be easier than writing about something more personal / autobiographical of the lyricist? When you think about ‘concept albums,’ do you have a favorite?

Yeah, we actually do consider Atma Conflux to be a concept album! I could say writing a fictional plot has its ups and downs. For example, during the lyric writing we had to read a handful of books to find the right references and then combine our thoughts with the source material. It’s a very technical (and tiring) job, but it draws the line on where we can or cannot step. On the other hand, writing about more personal stuff is a double edged sword where you can sound as cheesy as you can sound deep.

And oh, I do have a favorite concept album, for sure. Ghost Reveries by Opeth is my absolute favorite album ever. That record is quite possibly the major influence on us deciding to write a concept album. 

The new album, Atma Conflux, refers to much spirituality and esoteric topics. Do you believe that as an artist in the metal genre, you need to present original ideas thematically to avoid the death, war, and political clichés present in death and thrash metal?

Well, frankly, I don’t think we always should aim for the ‘most original.’ Even if the aesthetics of certain metal bands may be cliché, that can fun in its own way. But speaking on behalf of Abstracted, we always try to aim for something out of the ordinary and let our creativity flow out of boundaries for the most part. I like the idea of doing what the moment asks us to. 

I believe your band’s name, Abstracted, is influenced by the Scar Symmetry song. Can you confirm this? If so, can you discuss your relationship with them as a fan?

Yeah, I’ll confess we took the name from the Scar Symmetry song. To clarify, the name actually came in a period during my first college year and I was listening to Holographic Universe and Pitch Black Progress a lot. I have fond memories of those albums. Nowadays, they’re not a band I listen to all of the time, but I very much enjoy their old material still.

Your discography boasts several amazing guest features including Mike Semesky from The HAARP Machine, André Casagrande of Vitalism, and both Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel of Allegaeon. Who else is on your list of artists that you’d love to work with musically?

Thank you very much, we are very honored to have had the opportunity to work with those guys. They’e all absolute pristine musicians. Personally speaking, I’d very much enjoy to have Tom Englund (Evergrey, Redemption), Ihsahn (Emperor), and Dan Swanö (Nightingale, Edge of Sanity, Bloodbath, etc.) on one of our records. Let’s see if something happens for our next record.

Even though your band does not have political themes, politics still can affect the music industry and the overall state of art in a country. How would you describe the current political situation in Brazil?

Sadly, we’re in the darkest of times for artists and musicians to express themselves in our country. Our current president gives benefits to mainstream artists that create positive propaganda for him and, on the other hand, neglects all the underground or contrary artists, referring to us as trash. The dude is absolute garbage, if you ask me.

Every country has unique musical interests. Who would you say are the mainstream popular bands to most Brazilians and what is your opinion on their music?

Brazil is a pluricultural country, so it’s kind of a hard question to answer. The mainstream is full of pop and country music. On the other hand, we have a great hardcore / metalcore scene that is drawing a little bit of attention from the mainstream as well. Acts like Bullet Bane, Pense, InDharma, and a few more have been drawing my attention lately.

When I think of Brazil, the metal bands that come to mind are Sepultura, Angra, and Krisiun, but some more modern acts I recently discovered include Jupiterian, Goat Necropsy, and Deafkids. Are you familiar with these modern acts? What other modern Brazilian metal bands do you recommend?

Yeah, I am familiar with Jupiterian and Deafkids. We have a very rich metal scene in Brazil; it blows my mind to think how many good acts there are! Regarding recommendations, I have some up my sleeve for both the old-school and modern metal fans. If you’re looking for the 80’s speed metal, fast, and as raw as possible sound, I’d recommend the bands Álcool and Flageladör. If you’re looking for something more modern sounding, I’ll definitely recommend Odeon, who blend a little bit of pop and metalcore, which sounds absolutely amazing. And lastly, AXTY has a very modern djent-y sound that I absolutely love. I call them the “Brazilian Architects”!

This year, guitarists José Consani and Artur Hermani as well as drummer Fernando Pollon officially joined the band. Can you talk about their music background and what led them to join Abstracted?

Absolutely! They are wonderful guys in which we are very happy to work with. Two of them are big music nerds. Fernando has a music degree in drums and comes from a jazz drumming background, but luckily for us, he loves metal too. José on the other hand has a music degree in management is a maestro in the Santos’ Orchestra. So both Fernando and José come from a very rich musical background. Artur, alongside me, is bringing all the metal and harsh sounds to our music. He is also the guitarist for the deathcore band Resistencia Terminal, which is an amazing act as well!

What upcoming plans are there for Abstracted in the near future?

We’ve actually been thinking about playing some shows outside of Brazil since the reception of Atma Conflux has been astonishing. Maybe the US will see us around in the near future, who knows! We are also planning on writing new material to bring the new face of Abstracted to the public.

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