Cult of Lilith – Praise LilithTuesday, 25th August 2020
Cult of Lilith left a favorable impression with their first EP a few years ago, but they are sure to blow away many listeners as Mara hits the streets. Using high-speed tech death as a base and cultivating it with neoclassical and baroque influences (amongst many other things), they’ve struck a formula that is as nuanced and complex as it is viscerally enjoyable and energetic. We sat down for a few moments with vocalist Mario Infantes Ávalos to discuss all of the comings and goings of Cult of Lilith and their new release, as well as look at the mythology of Lilith and a look at the Icelandic scene.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the band been up to since Arkanum?
Mario Infantes Ávalos: When they released the EP I wasn’t in the band. They had another vocalist, so they were looking for a new one. I joined around 2017 and we started recording in 2019. We played a few gigs, but mostly we have been focusing on the album. When we were finished with the album, we eventually signed with Metal Blade Records and we have been doing videos and promotion since we can’t play right now. So we have been focusing on practicing and promotion.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the deal come about with Metal Blade Records?
Ávalos: We worked with our previous label, and once the record was finished, they told us that the album was amazing and that the guys at Metal Blade need to hear about it. We thought he was kidding and that he was being super nice to us [laughs], but few days later, Metal Blade contacted us and said that they were interested in signing us. It’s pretty amazing for us. We didn’t have any social media following what so ever, so it was a big risk for the label. But they see something promising and they like the material, so we are pretty excited.
Dead Rhetoric: What sort of statement do you hope that Mara makes, as your first full-length album?
Ávalos: The last EP has nothing to do with this one, I would say. This definitely marks the style and the direction of the band.
Dead Rhetoric: So what do you hope people will get out of Mara?
Ávalos: Music, for me, and art in general is about appreciation and sharing your emotions and what you are feeling. I just hope that people click with what we are sharing. That they understand it and connect with it. I hope that they can enjoy the music. Those are my hopes for everything I do – that they enjoy it as much as I did when recording the album.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you say about the direction of the artwork?
Ávalos: We are super happy with it. Eliran Kantor is such an amazing artist. He absolutely nailed down the concept. We have him some hints of what we wanted for the cover and he went beyond our expectations for the cover. I’m very happy with that piece.
Dead Rhetoric: With so much going on in the music, how important is the overall flow of the record?
Ávalos: We defined the album as a whole – it’s not meant to be apple-picked. I always tell people that the first time they listen to the album, to save 40 minutes for yourself and listen to the whole thing. Then you can do whatever you want – if there’s a song you like or whatever. I want people to listen to the album at least once as a whole because it’s conceptual. I think the flow is good. There are very different songs and rhythms, and they dance together pretty well within the album. For us, the dynamics are important.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel helps Cult of Lilith to stand out in the extreme metal world?
Ávalos: The members in the band have very different musical backgrounds. We have been adding all of these different flavors to the album and probably there’s things that you don’t see very often in the tech death scene. Normally it’s more straight-forward and I think that Cult of Lilith has a different touch to it. We’ve found our spot and our own style. It’s difficult to compare with other bands – like we sound exactly like another band. I can see some influences from all of us, but overall, I don’t think you can compare it to any other. But that’s up to the audience for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel the mythology of Lilith compares to what you do musically?
Ávalos: Lyrically, there are many references to it as well as metaphors. There’s also stuff there that relates to my experiences and emotions, but in the end, it’s all kind of connected to Lilith for sure. Musically, I’m not sure. You can tell there’s kind of a feminine figure’s touch to the music. It’s not super male-dominated, like other types of extreme metal bands. I’d say that the figure of Lilith is important for the band, and the concept is around it.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel allows technical death metal and baroque/classical influences to mesh so well together?
Ávalos: I would say that both genres are super rich in sound. If you hear Archspire, it’s super rich and full of different sounds. Also, in baroque, the whole concept is about being rich and full of different sounds.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your take on the Icelandic metal scene?
Ávalos: I’m not originally from Iceland, but I moved here a few years ago. The rest of the band is from Iceland, but I’m from southern Spain. I was born and raised there. So for me, I have the point of view of an immigrant. But I think it’s a very heathy scene, especially for a small population. The whole population is around 360,000 people and 2/3 of the population are in Reykjavik. There’s a large amount of amazing artists in the country. I would say it’s influenced by the bad weather and the long winters that are fucking rough. People stay at home more and stay creative. So I would say the scene is pretty healthy for such a small place.
Dead Rhetoric: What made you decide to move to Iceland?
Ávalos: I have always had a strange connection with the country. For like 10 years, I was thinking about it. I was very strangely attracted to the landscapes and the culture. Somehow, I just knew I would end up here one way or another. I came to visit in 2016 and stayed for a few weeks. I fell in love with the place, and the following year I just moved to Iceland.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for Cult of Lilith?
Ávalos: If the world doesn’t end, our plans are to tour for sure. We plan to tour next year as soon as possible, whenever that is. If we can’t tour or play, we will just keep writing our next album or keep doing more videos. We are planning to do some more playthrough videos and promoting the album until we can start playing again.