Ater is the black metal project founded in Chile in 2010 by Fernando “Feroz” Bühring. Initially named “Aeons Collide,” they became Ater in 2013. The original lineup included drummer Matias Acuña (now of Follakzoid) and guitarist Yeray Santos. While written and produced in Feroz home studio in Santiago, the artist later relocated to Los Angeles and by 2018, the debut album, Eternal Gray Spiral, was self-released.

After meeting at a Meshuggah concert in LA, Josh and Stephan Seguin joined Ater, transforming it from an instrumental project to a full band. Marking an official second chapter for the now-trio, their second album, Somber, recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and blending black and death metal styles, was ultimately released on April 19th, 2024. Metal Insider reviewed the record last month, and most recently, we caught up with the mastermind himself, Feroz, to discuss the group’s sophomore offering.

What inspired the shift in musical direction for your latest album Somber?

Personally, my taste in music has been getting just heavier and heavier. In recent years I have been really getting into death metal, black metal and everything in between, besides heavy riffs and progressive stuff. Naturally, this influenced the writing process for Somber.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic influence the writing process for Somber?

All the songs for Somber were written before the pandemic froze the world. However, It did affect the recording – production process of the album and caused many delays. I moved to Mexico City at the time and the Seguin brothers left for different states in the US. Travel restrictions and a terrible financial situation made it difficult for us to get together and record the final tracks. The recording ended up taking place over the span of 2020 and 2021, and another year for additional production and mixing.

How would you describe the musical style and themes explored in the new album?

The musical style is hard for me to describe. There is a lot happening and a lot of different styles of metal. I can say it is very dark, heavy and dense.The themes in the album are all of somber tenor, hence the name of the album. These themes range from old legends to personal darkness and to cosmic death.

What songs were more challenging to put together?

Some of the songs happened very quickly and were written over the course of one night. With Ignis Immortalis it was a very different story… After writing the first half of the intro and ¨black metal¨ sections it was really difficult for me to come up with something compelling to continue the song with. It took me over a year to finally stumble upon the right idea and the song was finished that night. Soon after I showed the full song to the band, Josh got inspired, took the song and wrote all the lyrics for it.

Now that Somber is out, how has the overall response been?

We are very happy with the response so far. The album is getting really good reviews and the band has gotten more attention than ever.

How has transitioning from an instrumental project to a full band impacted Ater’s creative process?

Initially our first album, Eternal Gray Spiral, was not supposed to be an instrumental release. I spent years trying to find the right person to do vocals for the album and potentially join the band, but it never happened. I got tired of waiting and decided to put it out as an instrumental release. After that happened I decided to put my frustration aside and just learn how to do it myself. That is why we now have transitioned from an unintentional instrumental project to full band.

The writing process back then was focused on the music always and then writing lyrics for those pieces and figuring out patterns and so on. The creative process is the same nowadays. We first write the music without thinking about lyrics, and then find the right themes, words and rhythm to go along the music.

How did the band transition from Aeons Collide to Ater in 2013?

It was really just a name change. All that Æons Collide released was one single, ¨Epiphany¨ before I decided to change the project’s name back in 2013. Reason? I just wanted to encompass darker themes in the music as the music I was writing was getting darker and heavier, and I wanted the band’s name to reflect that.

Are there any plans such as touring or new music you can share with us?

We have just announced a few dates in Colombia and Ecuador, and we are working on more to make it a full tour. Besides that, we are doing an album release show here in Santiago, Chile on the 8th of June. Oh, and we are open to all opportunities.

Is there anything else you want to say or add about the new album?

If you like our new album and would like to see us live, tell your local promoter! Thank you Metal Insider for the spot, I appreciate it!