Interview with: Vulcano's guitarist Zhema Rodero

Brazil's Vulcano are probably one of the first thrash bands around, formed in 1981, the band is legendary for its raw and aggressive brand of thrash. With a new album out – "Tales From The Black Book", and a new split on its way, we spoke with band mastermind and longtime guitarist – Zhema Rodero:

Hey Zhema! Let's start with your latest album, "Tales From The Black Book", what does the title mean?
The reason of that name is because almost all of the songs on this album come from a handwriting called "Metal Negro".
That manuscript was written around '83/'84 by Carli Cooper, a friend of mine, and it contains a trilogy and some more texts.

How does the music sound in comparison with your classic albums?
I think its sound seems close to our second album "Bloody Vengeance"; however it is much different from our later albums.

What is the current line-up?
Currently VULCANO is: Zhema – Guitar, Angel – Vocals, V.X – Drums, Carlos Dias – Bass, and Fernando Nonah – Guitar.

What kind of a reaction did the band get to its reformation?
I joined Vulcano again because over all I love metal!
I've seen many bands playing brutal songs and I feel that metal runs in my veins! Then I thought: I'm able to do this! Just this!
We are in a direction that we never should have left: Brutal and Raw Death Metal!!

I understand the album is dedicated to your former guitarist, Soto, who sadly died, how did that happen?
We were working together in the return of VULCANO some time and we did our last show in 02/11/2001. He died in 23/12/2001 of a heart attack.

How did you decide on releasing a new album, so long after your former one?
Soto Jr always tried proposing me to reunite VULCANO again; however I always answered to him that for doing so it's necessary to record a new album.
I believe that for an ancient band to return to the scene it's necessary to show some new work, and this was the reason why we recorded "Tales from the Black Book”

Some history, you guys started out way-back in 1982, as a continuation of Astaroth, your former band, how did you start out doing metal in the first place?
We started to change our sound soon after we recorded the single "Om Pushne Namah".
We changed the lineup and directed our sound for something rawer and heavier. Just after we found the singer Angel, we could compose the songs that appeared on the Live album

What bands influenced your music when you started out?
The main bands that influenced VULCANO to change its sound to more raw and aggressive were Motörhead and Black Sabbath.

What kind of metal scene was there in Brazil when you began?
When we started to play with Astaroth in '78/'79 the Brazilian scene was very full of hard rock music. Bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and the American South Rock Bands dominated the scene. Here in Brazil there were some bands doing rock'n'roll music directed to the hippie scene. Just at the beginning of 80's things changed to more heavy metal music and bands from NWOBHM started to appear.
After '83, we could listen the bands like Venom, Slayer and a lot of metal bands.

You started out with songs in Portuguese, why and when did the band switch into singing in English?
Because the Portuguese language doesn't have good phonetics to sing Rock Music, in all its styles. It's very bad. It's a language to sing samba, just that!

You played with Venom and Exciter a few years later, what do you remember from those shows?
That was one of the larger happenings in the metal scene that happened in Brazil.
We spent a long time with Venom's guys.
In that day São Paulo city changed, the policemen had never seen so many guys dressed in black t- shirts and long hair in the same place. There was much violence in the show's entrance.

What happened to Luiz Carlos, who sang with the band for a while?
He plays drums in a band called “Hierarchical Punishment” and He is the owner of a label called “Violent Records”.
He's a very important person in our town's scene .

Why did the band stop making records in 1990?
In that time I was very disappointed with the Brazilian metal scene and still by the fact that the bass player and the drummer of the band were going to the university, I thought it'll be better to put VULCANO to sleep.

I heard that you were doing "Creedence Clearwater Revival" covers since, is that true?
Yeah! I play in a band called "Travelin' Band" and we perform "Creedence Clearwater Revival".
We play in many places here in Brazil, so I can get some extra money to spend with VULCANO.

What else did you do as a musician since?
I always played in VULCANO, but between 1990 and 2000 I played in several others bands and I would like to cite especially "Talavera", a power trio that's very good.

What kind of live shows do you have planned for the band?
We did a long tour here in Brazil promoting the album "Tales from the Black Book" and the highligghts were on "Cogumelo 25Th Fest" and "Bonded by Blood Fest" with EXODUS.
Now we want to play in Europe and others places, this is our great plan for 2006.
I know some things about the scene in Tel-Aviv because a friend of mine visited on business Israel in April this year. It would be great to play there in Tel-Aviv!!!!!!!!!

Any last word for the fans?
Thanks for this nice interview and I want to say to you that VULCANO will release a split single together with NIFELHEIM through the Sweden label "I hate Records" and very soon we will start to work very hard in a new album.
In a special request, I'd like to ask for people from Tel-Aviv - if you know about somebody that'll be interested to contact us about a tour.
Stay banging!!!!

That's it, thanks for doing this interview!

Alon Miasnikov
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