Brutally honest, creative and constantly evolving, Croatian based Infernal Tenebra withstood the test of time in the realms of the metal underground. With that they have released and recorded several albums, played showcases, and have so much more underway for them. Vocalist and guitarist Darko Etinger talks of their latest album and upcoming plans.
1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Infernal Tenebra.
Darko: Hello to you and readers, I’m Darko, the vocalist/guitarist of Infernal Tenebra.
2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Darko: Infernal Tenebra comes from Croatia, a small country situated at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. As a country with about 4 million people, the scene is relatively small. Still, there’s numerous bands worth mentioning like Ashes You Leave, War-head, Rising Dream, Gorthaur’s Wrath, Avicularia among many. The Croatian metal scene seems to be opening up a little lately. We have a new initiative by the bands in the form of UNDERWALL FESTIVAL, with Xentrix and Destruction headlining this year’s edition with bands collaborating like never before to make it happen.
3. What type of band are you?
Darko: We’re often described as a melodic death/thrash metal band with progressive and modern elements. But we don’t care about classifications, we’re a metal band making noise that sounds pleasant to our ears.
4. Tell us the brief history of your band.
Darko: The band started back in 1999 as a black metal band and self-released the album “Beneath the Twilight” in 2001. We continued evolving and endured the hard conditions of the Croatian underground metal scene with a lot of lineup changes, experimenting, playing in obscure underground places. That’s what characterized the band’s activity throughout the years. We self-released “The Essence of Chaos” in 2007 adding some death metal elements but retaining the rawness in our sound. We were also active in other metal bands in Croatia. I released an album entitled “Paths of Insanity” with Forlorn Legacy and toured Europe supporting Vital Remains in 2005, played with The Rite of Retaliation for a while. Ivo and Sebastian played with Mercenary Cocroach, with Ivo also self-releasing two guitar oriented albums by the moniker of Arthrone. Somewhere in 2009. we settled with a mission to push beyond national boundaries and we started writing the current album “New Formed Revelations”.
5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Darko: Society enslavement, human boundaries, deviations from established norms, personal struggle to cope with difficulties, injustice and sacrifice. I think it all comes down to our passion for the music. I find inspiration everywhere, except TV, I gave up on that media.
6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Darko: Most ideas on New Formed Revelations came from me and Ivo (guitars) but we all work it out in our private studio and rehearsal room. We tend to be very picky with ideas until we’re satisfied with the results. I write the lyrics letting the words and ideas come to me through personal experience, books, movies and everyday life.
7. Who are your musical influences?
Darko: Now that’s a difficult one, as we listen to all music genres, mostly metal but still. If I had to pick some bands I’d say Death, Testament, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Necrophagist, Gojira, Dark Tranquillity, God Dethroned...
8. When did you guys get your new drummer, Sebastian Stell and how has he been adjusting to the band?
Darko: Right after we came from Belgium where we played Power Prog & Metal Fest 2013, our drummer Sandi told us he must resign due to personal reasons. It’s tough life in Croatia, the economy is struggling, the average pay is less than thousand dollars and not much people has good situation. As we knew Sebastian Stell from way back, he was our first choice and he caught up very quickly. We’re proud to have him, as we think he’ll make a great contribution to the band’s sound.
9. Tell me how did the band get signed with Massacre Records, and how has the label been towards you guys, are you happy with what they have to offer, Infernal Tenebra?
Darko: After we finished recording “New Formed Revelations” we took it step by step. Got in touch with Full Metal Service, Heavy Space Agency. Played some cool festivals and shows like Metalcamp, Metalfest and Bloodstock Open Air in UK and it all lead to Massacre Records. They liked our music, guided us through the process of the album release and we have a good support by them. It’s great when you have someone to call for advice and help.
10. How did the band come to get the name, Infernal Tenebra does it have a meaning behind it?
Darko: Infernal Tenebra basically means “shadows from hell”. Our bassist Paolo, the only original member left, named the band back in 1999 during the full eclipse. He’s into some weird and obscure stuff, I don’t know anything more. I have my own vision of the band’s name. For me, it reflects today’s world, the inability of the human race to get itself together and create a better place to live in.
11. Can you tell me about the song and video for "Blood Stained Canvas"?
Darko: Blood Stained Canvas is a song I wrote probably in one breath. I just came out of me. Remembering the writing process, I felt into a strange state of mind and all the lyrics just started pouring out as I was scrapping them on a piece of paper. It wasn't our first choice for a video, but we got a call from Igor Malecic (Meisterwerk Productions) who envisioned the sequences and the whole concept. It all came together just like that. The video is kind of sick on a certain level and reflects the basic though perfectly.
12. New Formed Revelations is your third and latest release to date, do you guys have any new music in the works?
Darko: Sure. The music for the next album is almost completely done, except we will delay some things because of recent line up changes. I guess we learned much with New Formed Revelations. It represents a new chapter in our career. It consists of eight tracks, capturing groovy, melodic and progressive elements incorporated into our death/thrash style. We added some clean vocals just to spice things up, some acoustic guitars to add atmosphere and several effects and keyboards where we felt it contributed the overall sound. We consider this album a natural progression of all our work in the past. it’s the base for our future direction. Our aim was to create sincere extreme metal music, no matter what specific genre or sub-genre it falls into. New Formed Revelations is much more mature yet it retains some elements we used on previous albums. It also adds a whole new layer of sounds that we adopted from our past bands and projects. It’s groovy, it’s melodic, it’s progressive but also brutal at moments. It determines our current sound and marks the future direction we’re taking.
13. Is there any story or concept behind the New Formed Revelations title?
Darko: The story behind the album title is the sum of all ideas and thoughts written in New Formed Revelations. We wanted a unique album title as no particular song could reflect the whole idea underlying the album.
14. Who produced New Formed Revelations and what was it like working with them?
Darko: The album was mixed and mastered in Sweden at Fascination Street Studios by Jens Bogren (Kreator, Soilwork, Amon Amarth). Jens is an experienced producer and we wanted a our album to sound great. Although we were offered some other “big name” metal producers, I felt Jens Bogren was right for us, and he did an amazing job. Very professional, listening to our wishes and delivering a perfect product. I think Infernal Tenebra is going to continue this collaboration for the next album.
15. Who did the cover art for New Formed Revelations and how much input did you have on it?
Darko: During the writing period for New Formed Revelations, we started thinking about the cover artwork. Through our vision and ideas we found a work by an Indonesian artist Whendy M. Effendy and a Croatian designer Damir Mazinjanin helped us develop the idea. Based on that, we tapped Gustavo Sazes (Arch Enemy, Sepultura, Firewind) for the final album cover. It represents a sort of throne for the fall of mankind. Also a new beginning based on truthful values.
16. Select two songs from New Formed Revelations and what inspired the lyrics.
Darko: Happily Depressed is a very personal song about inner fight a person deals with. It’s about leveling the good and bad in ourselves.
17. Has Infernal Tenebra ever played in the States or plan to do so in the future?
Darko: We never visited USA, but who knows. Maybe one day we’ll do a tour over there. We’d sure like to.
18. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
Darko: We’ll co-headline Underwall Festival in June along with Xentrix, Destruction, Ashes You Leave and some 30 bands. After that we’re finishing the material for the next album and embark a tour with... Oh, I can’t tell you that, yet.
19. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Darko: There’s a whole range of streaming services like Spotify, getting on my mind first. Our CD is available worldwide, in USA through Century Media. Also, we have our own webstore, with some cool T-shirts and stuff.
20. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Darko: Our passion, sincerity and attitude. We’re not about being trendy, we’re about being metal. If you like versatile vocals, dynamic and technical solos, extreme music done with brain and not solely muscles, you’re at the right place.
21. Any final words of wisdom?
Darko: Thank you for your interest. We’d like to send a huge thumbs up to our fans all over the world. You make it all worth it. In the shadows of hell, we dwell!!!