Plenty of bands have had to overcome serious shit to make the music they love, and Florida’s melodeath mob Silenmara have weathered their fair share of tragedy and setbacks. Consequently, the Miami-based recording sessions for their latest EP, A Darkened Visionary, took a darker turn than any of the band had expected.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way – so dark, so aggressive,” says guitarist and vocalist Jason Gato. “But this thing made itself into what it is now, it has its own translation of our lives. My father passed away during the recordings. I was very close to my dad, he died young and it was unexpected. And a couple of days before we were about to track drums, Adrian’s [Perez, drummer] grandmother also passed away unexpectedly. I believe his performance, the way he was able to translate his emotions through his drumming, had a lot to do with her passing.”
Silenmara were born from the ashes of five separate bands back in 2008, but it’s only in the last few years that the band have truly established their sound: gleaming metal rippling with melodic leads, irrepressible vocal hooks and ragged roars that lands somewhere between Sweden’s Gothenburg sound and pummelling Florida death metal.
“[Our music has] always been guitar, aggressive drumming, aggressive vocals,” says Jason. “But all of a sudden we started writing this really melodic, proggy stuff. It started to sound like later Soilwork and the proggier stuff started sounding like earlier Scar Symmetry. Then we have songs on our new EP which are just death metal. I would call our first couple of years our experimenting period. Without that I don’t think we would be as accepted as we are here today.”
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Having already poured their grief and pain into writing and recording A Darkened Visionary (track The Black is dedicated to their lost loved ones), the band were close to completion when they were dealt another blow.
“We were tracking the vocals and keys, when Hurricane Irma hit,” remembers Jason. “Our studio didn’t have electricity for about two or three weeks. We were just so busy trying to keep our lives together and get back to work that we couldn’t get the EP finished. The night of the hurricane we were also playing with Dark Tranquillity in Fort Lauderdale. We were like, ‘Let’s play real quick then let’s get the fuck out of here!’”
As a result, A Darkened Visionary is something of a testament to survival, healing and perseverance. Yet having recruited Florida-based producer Giovanni Angel and Jamie King (The Contortionist, Between The Buried And Me) on mixing and mastering, the result is their most revitalised recording to date.
“We haven’t had much luck with good production in the past years, says Jason. “It had a lot to do with money. Unfortunately those records were not polished. I love the music, I’ll never ever let go of those songs. But this record by far supersedes anything by we’ve done before totally. I’m in love with it.”
A Darkened Visionary is out now and available to order from Amazon.