Brazilian symphonic/gothic metallers Semblant released their most personal album to date with Obscura on March 6th via Frontiers Records. We caught up with vocalist Mizuho Lin and guitarist Juliano Ribeiro to discuss the challenges the group had to face to get their new album made.
How would you compare Obscura to 2014’s Lunar Manifesto?
Juliano Ribeiro: Obscura is a more personal album. It was created during turbulent years for the band, so it reflects many of the feelings we had while making it. Lyrically it is a darker album because of that. I also believe that it is a bit more experimental. Despite having songs that are extremely heavy like Left Behind or Wallachia, we tried to create songs that were more atmospheric than anything we’ve done before, creating a very dynamic album as a result.
Mizuho Lin: I think Lunar Manifesto was an album to show the band to the world. Obscura is something more personal, even deeper and experimental than our previous albums.
I read there were a lot of difficulties in your personal lives, which resulted in the six year gap between records. How did you guys push through these personal challenges to create Obscura?
Juliano: It wasn’t an easy task. It demanded a lot of time to get every band member on the same page to create the album. Everybody was facing some sort of issue during its creation. From personal issues to issues related to the band itself like tours being cancelled or problems with our former label. We had to try to solve a lot of those problems before being completely ready to move on and make the album. Fortunately, the band is in a much better moment right now and Obscura was essential for this.
Mizuho: Actually I don’t consider this 6 years gap. The thing is that we had 2 release dates for Lunar Manifesto, the first one in 2014 (only in Brazil) and a worldwide deal in 2016 with our former label. We had to keep promoting the album for a while, so in early 2017 we were still launching videos to promote that record. We started to write new songs the year after to finally release a new album in 2019 but that was the worst year we could ever pass through as a band. Despite all of this, we finished the album in time and signed the deal with Frontiers.
With such challenges, you can hear some of your personal struggles in songs “Left Behind,” “Barely Breathing,” and “Daydream Tragedy,” can you talk more about these songs?
Juliano: These songs are very good examples of how personal this album is. Left Behind, for example, is a song that has a lot to do with our touring issues during the last years. Everything that a band wants is to be able to play their music as much as possible and it was something that we were not really able to do during the Lunar Manifesto cycle because of the cancelled tours. It was something really hard to deal with for the band. This frustration was a spark to write Left Behind. Barely Breathing and Daydream Tragedy, on the other hand, are songs that are more relatable to personal experiences, varying from depression and isolation in Barely Breathing to being so focused on what your dreams that your real life starts to struggle because the dream is all you really care about in Daydream Tragedy.
Have there been talks on a possible cancellation/postponement due to the outbreak?
Mizuho: Actually our tour was already postponed to September. We’re waiting to confirm all the new dates before announcing them.
We recently celebrated International Women’s day, can you name some of your favorite female artists in rock/metal?
Mizuho: There are a lot of them. Tarja, Floor Jansen, Mariangela Demurtas, Simone Simons, Doro Pesch, Sharon den Adel… Just a few names, but there are so many more to mention.
What plans do you have for later this year?
Mizuho: Due to the Coronavirus situation, it’s a bit difficult to plan anything for now. As our tour was postponed to the second semester, we have to reschedule everything we were planning to do during that time. Let’s see what happens.
Is there anything else you want to say or add to your fans?
Mizuho: Thank you so much for being there with us all this time! We hope to see you all very soon.
Juliano: Thank you all for your support. Hope you enjoy the new album!