AVA INFERI, the Portugal-based band whose lineup includes Norwegian guitarist Rune Eriksen (a.k.a. ex-MAYHEM guitarist/songwriter Blasphemer),has set "Onyx" as the title of its new album, due on February 14 (February 22 in the U.S.).
Commented Eriksen: "The Tree of Life has got to be learnt by heart; you must know it backwards, forwards, sideways, and upside down; it must become the automatic background of all your thinking. You must keep on hanging everything that comes your way upon its proper bough.
"....and so became 'Onyx'.
"These words of wisdom I borrowed for a moment just to emphazise the importance of evolving to become who you essentially are. How necessary and rewarding it is to breathe the air of experience, to gratefully accept the opportunities granted and to feed on life's treasures and dreams. For it is through our life experiences and the knowledge attained we are able to develop and define our music and musicality. This I feel strongly about.
"There is no easy pointing fingers and defining this band of ours, and I really do enjoy that fact. It's amusing and quite liberating to be between a few of those 'chairs' that have been defined by the masses of journalists, fans and followers of music all over. Some have defined us as gothic doom, sure we have those aspects, but I wouldn't state that it ends there. No, on the contrary, Watson, it most certainly continues.
"Since the very first 'Burdens' we have been named and linked to several styles and bands, although the comparisons have differed slightly from album to album, there has always been graphic and colourful ways of attempting to describe us. Even during this period of mixing and mastering I received many diverse compliments and equatives from the one and only Mr. Dan Swanö (which himself has a long list of great merrits to be counted). Some of the written words he threw at me consisted of 'sounds like some Tim Burton-esque dark/doom metal' and my favorite, which was aimed at one of our new songs; 'I got the feel of BAY LAUREL crossfaded with 'Power Windows'-era RUSH and something unique....damn great!!' I admit I had no instant idea what he was talking about being shamely unfamiliar with most of the works from mentioned bands... However, and might I add once again, it is proven somewhat clear that music and its expression can speak louder than these genres and borders and that a given categorization can be a preconceived token of repetition to an open mind or simply an easy presumption for the 'not-knowers.'
"There should definitely be no rules in art, no limitations and no foregone conclusion. Just allow it to unfold and manifest. Let it become, let it be!
"The 'Onyx' stone has had diverse meaning over the ages. The most folkloric or saga-friendly might be the one that features a sleeping Venus, telling the tale of a crooked cupid cutting her fingernails, leaving them scattered on the ground. And obviously, as in the design of the Gods, they were transformed to stone and known on earth as 'Onyx'. Maybe not exactly what we had in mind, however an amusing and inspiring tale.
"No, we aimed for the more metaphysical properties of this peculiar stone, which for us would include such as increasing happiness, intuition and developing ones instincts. It's supposedly a strength giving stone as well, not only protecting from 'evil' but also meaning good for athletes and for people under mental pressure and stress. The bad side, if that can be stated, are the vividly dark dreams and also foretellings of the future. Not for the faint hearted then, I sense... Mostly I suspect these theories comes from conspiring ancient lores, as it was thought that inside the actual 'Onyx' stone there was a demon imprisoned. This demon was awakened by night and spread terror and nightmares to the ones within reach, such as the bearers of the stone. Tales from the old world it just as well might be...
"Well, enough mythology and folklore lessons for now. However, I can reveal that these 'attributes' are all a part of the main topics in this album, both concerning the lyrical side of things and also as a part of the influence brought forward into the music. All to a certain extent of course, but still, very much so.
"Truth be told, nothing really surprises me anymore, and I'm sure that many of us have been going through some hard and demanding phases in our lives, leaving an unmistakable item of charm in the sack of The Fool. It's all beautiful though, as these experiences we can bring along and forge into some sort of poetry or a subject of resonance, as this album you soon are about to hear. It has its pain, it has its wonders, it has its beauty and its darkness, and it definitely has its own nerve.
"We are once again happy, and perhaps even more so this time (as I believe that the more conscious one gets, the more one is actually allowed to feel the depths of completion and satisfaction granted from persistent work). And now, seeing the album has taken its form and showcased its will to breathe, I can only hope its content and purpose will continue to amaze people the same way it did to me.
"'Onyx' is real, and it is definitely the sound of profound honesty, development and adventures, for good and for bad. But then again, those words could possibly be the essence of most albums, methinks...
"To end it off, I would like to thank Carmen [Simões, vocals] and myself, the main creators, for sticking through this together and for not giving up one ounce of faith in this piece of work. There are stars out there, waiting to be found. Blessed be!"