Saturday, January 8, 2011


Biography :

ThanatoSchizO is a metal group from Santa Marta de Penaguião (Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal), founded in late 1997. Practicing a sound associated with progressive death metal, the band makes various incursions into other musical genres such as black metal, doom metal, world music, progressive rock, atmospheric and electronic music, thus being generically included in the avant-garde musical range.

Initially called Thanatos, the group has a discography that includes four albums (Schizo Level, InsomniousNightLift, Turbulence, and Zoom Code), an EP (Melégnia) and a demo. The band has been with many labels (Rage of Achilles, Divenia Records, Burning Elf Records, Misdeed Records); Presently the group is in the ranks of Italian label My Kingdom Music and Portuguese Major Label Industries, with which a deal was recently signed for the release of an acoustic album, the band's fifth.

The band is currently in studio mixing their fifth album - Origami -, which consists on semi-acoustic remakes of songs of their previous four full-length CDs.

History :

The early years (1997–2000)

The band started in late 1997, continuing a previous cover project, Blind & Lost, by founders Guilhermino Martins, Paulo Adelino, and Marco "China," who were joined by singer Tómané. After a regular series of rehearsals during three months, recorded its first demo, in the studios of Rádio Universidade (Vila Real), which was only used to enable the band to enter music contests. In August 1998, the group was invited to be the opening act for the Swedish Clawfinger and the British Senser in Festival Internacional Praias in Praia de Mira.

In late 1998, the band went to Rec’n’Roll Studios to record the EP Melégnia in three days (it were, in fact, three mornings and two afternoons for the recording and one more afternoon for the mixing). All the material was practically recorded on the first take and resulted on six themes (three of them came from Demo ’98 but now with better arrangements and interpretation), which had an overall more defined sound.

The EP was financed by the group and released on February 1999. It was distributed by many national and international entities and received very positive critiques, mainly because it was a breath of fresh air in a scene that was too attached to the clichés of the symphonic black metal so trendy at the time. In a Top 20 elaborated by the national radio show "Holocausto," the band reached 11th place, as the best Portuguese band.

Melégnia’s promotion on the road entailed more than 60 concerts side by side with bands such as Sinister, Asgaroth, Pandemia, Purgatory, Tarantula, Sirius, and Aborted. During the "Chaos & Disorder Tour" (Melégnia’s promotional concerts) and mainly during the rehearsals where the new material was being composed, it was obvious that a change had to occur, in order to prevent a feared stagnation, and this happened in October 2000: Guilhermino and Paulo stuck together, Tomané and Marco (for health issues) left the band.

The experimentation era (2001)

Schizo Level promotional photo

With the new material practically ready to be recorded, Filipe Miguel (keyboard) and Patrícia Rodrigues (vocals) joined the group respectively; both had worked with the band in the past. For a lead singer, the band invited Eduardo Paulo, an old friend who had previously been in the project Blind & Lost, completing the line-up which would record the first album, Schizo Level.

After some rehearsals and a brief pre-production, the group returned to Rec’n’Roll Studios and recorded its first album during almost a month. Schizo Level is a completely atypical CD: it starts with an aggressive black metal tone and then wanders through atmospheric music, doom metal, world and electronic music. The necessity to create something really unique lead to the decision to invite some musicians that could play trumpet and horn in the opening song "RAW", which resulted in a cacophony of extreme black metal with wind instruments; or, in another case, a flute in "Nightmares Within." The album was released by Misdeed Records, a recently formed independent label that had previously worked with the band for distribution of the EP. After finishing the recording process, the band started to look for a bassist. Guilhermino had recorded the album’s bass lines; now Miguel Ângelo joined the group

When the CD was released (in digipack), it was very well received but probably misinterpreted. Critics analyzed it from a monochromatic perspective thought it was a black metal album, proof that they had only listened to the first three tracks (these were indeed black metal songs) and neglected the rest of it.

Anyway, a first place was reached in a listener’s poll for the best international album of 2001, once again on the Portuguese radio show "Holocausto." On a poll counting the votes of the producers from this radio show, Schizo Level got fifth place. Moreover, the album was included in a top 20 list voted by the readers of the Portuguese magazine LOUD!.

Adulthood (2002-2003)

InsomniousNightLift promotional photo

If Schizo Level’s material was practically composed when Eduardo joined the band, the same couldn’t be said about InsomniousNightLift. He started to take his acoustic guitar to the rehearsal room very early and suggested many riffs, which made him the band’s main composer. Almost unconsciously trying to get rid of the black metal stereotype brought by the previous album (too narrow to the members’ eyes), the band started to compose very homogeneous themes in a progressive doom/death metal style. The musical ambiguity from the past was now followed by a very consistent work.

From this point on the band started to value the "song" format and to pay more attention to the voices. Eduardo began to make more use of his clean vocals and Patrícia became more important in the group’s sound. If the previous tendency was to deconstruct, the idea now was exactly the opposite.

In early 2002, the recording of InsomniousNightLift’s began at Rec ‘n’Roll Studios and Luís Barros was once again the producer. The whole process took about two and a half months, during which the band signed a contract with the British independent Rage of Achilles and thus assured the worldwide release of the album in January 2003. The Portuguese audience would have access to a pre-release in September 2002 through Misdeed Records. Kerrang! and Metal Hammer (both British publications) valued InsomniousNightLift with 4 out of 5 possible stars. This last one even wrote that the future of the doom/death metal would cross ThanatoSchizO’s freshness and originality.

When the national press made a balance at the end of 2002, ThanatoSchizO reached an important first place in the list of the best national/ international albums in the now dead site “Metal Open Minded” and, in LOUD! magazine 5 out of 7 collaborators selected InsomniousNightLift as one of the best national albums. The Portuguese edition of Rock Sound emphasized the group in a poll for the best albums (voted by its collaborators) and placed Miguel Ângelo (bass) and Filipe Miguel (keyboard) in the top 10 musicians’ pool of that year.

Intense promotion of InsomniousNightLift garnered the group a supporting act position when Katatonia and Finntroll played in Portugal in April 2003.

The return to a heavier sound (2004-2005)

Turbulence promotional photo

Having the same line-up as the previous record for the first time, the band felt the necessity to sharpen its death metal side for the third album, Turbulence. Eduardo changed from acoustic guitars to electric ones, reinforcing its importance in the band’s sound.

From late 2003 to April 2004, the band returns to Rec’n’Roll Studios. Tommy Newton, a well-known German producer, was in charge of the mastering. The record had a special pre-release in Portugal through Misdeed Records in July 2004. Limited to the national territory and in a digipack format, it included a multimedia section with a studio diary, many promotional photos and a video with several episodes shot during the recording process. The international release was taken care of by the Australian Burning Elf Records and not by Rage of Achilles, a deal which had ended abruptly.

Turbulence was very well received by the fans and the specialized critique. The high point occurred in January 2005, when LOUD! magazine published the votes for "the best of the best" from the past year: the readers chose the album as the best national release, the band as the second best Portuguese group (right behind Moonspell), and Guilhermino as the third best national musician. Moreover, the radio show "Holocausto" nominated the third album of the group as the second best international release of 2004. Also, the Portuguese magazine Underworld - Entulho Informativo listed the group in a poll for the best albums of 2004.

The band headlined some events, was the opening act for the Swedish Nightrage in Festival Outubro Negro 2005, and was invited by the well-known Portuguese journalist António Freitas to be part of the itinerant Festival Alta Tensão, side by side with Moonspell and Ramp.

Decoding (2006-2007)

ThanatoSchizO recorded Zoom Code at Rec'n'Roll Studios between February and May; it was mastered by Tommy Newton at Area 51 Studios (Germany). The group was also the opening act for the Israelite Orphaned Land (Lisboa and Braga, 6 and 7 July respectively) and the Swiss Samael (Corroios, 14 July) for their Portuguese gigs.

Moreover, Gauchos de Acero—the Argentine group aged between 10 and 14 that became famous through Youtube, due to their Sepultura and Iron Maiden covers-–recorded an interesting version of the song "Suturn" from ThanatoSchizO’s first album Schizo Level.

Zoom in (2008)

ThanatoSchizO inked a deal for the release of their fourth album, Zoom Code, with My Kingdom Music. The worldwide release date was April, 11. Zoom Code was produced by Luís Barros (Tarantula), mastered by Tommy Newton (Conception, Helloween), and features guest appearances by Timb Harris (Estradasphere, Secret Chiefs 3) and Zweizz (Fleurety, ex-Dødheimsgard).

In May, Mexican label Sun Empire Productions released a special deluxe edition of ThanatoSchizO's first album Schizo Level, in digipack format. On May 17, ThanatoSchizO celebrated their 10th anniversary at Liperske IV Festival, with Before the Rain, Pitch Black, Daemogorgon, Loss Spectra of Pure, My Eyes Inside, and Primordial Melody. The band performed songs from all their releases and played for almost two hours. That same week Zoom Code went straight to the first place of the metal magazine LOUD! Broadcast Top List. On June 28, ThanatoSchizO performed at Metal GDL Festival (Grândola, Portugal) right after Krisiun and Devildriver, as the only Portuguese band on the main stage. During September and October, the band headlined Berço Fest (Guimarães, Portugal) and presented live a semi-acoustic version of the songs in Zoom Code at the Fnacs in Lisbon and Porto.

On the end of the year balances from the international press, Zoom Code has collected numerous praises, being the nominations on the sites Metal District and Metal Imperium a good example of that. On a national level, the voting from LOUD! magazine's readers pointed out ThanatoSchizO as the fourth best band of 2008. In the same magazine, the album was mentioned on the top 5 by 3 of its collaborators.

The fifth step (2009)

On the 28th of February, ThanatoSchizO sold out the Vila Real (district) Theater while performing an entirely semi-acoustic set for 80 minutes.

The group has also headlined/co-headlined three festivals: Barreiro Metalfest (Lavradio, Portugal), Metal Horror Picture Show 2 (Fundão, Portugal) and Silent Night - Christmas Metal Fest (São Pedro do Sul, Portugal) and played at Festival Ilha do Ermal with Sepultura, Obituary and Blind Guardian as the main attractions.

Presently, the group is mixing its fifth record - Origami - which will consist on acoustic remakes of songs from the first four albuns. The recordings took place at Teatro de Vila Real and at the band's own Blind & Lost Studios. The production is being handled for the first time by Guilhermino and the album will be released in the last months of 2010 by Portuguese Major Label Industries.

Band Members :

Current Members :

* Eduardo Paulo – Vocals, Guitar, Percussion
* Filipe Miguel – Keyboard, Sampling
* Guilhermino Martins – Guitar, Sampling, Vocals
* Miguel Ângelo - Bass
* Patrícia Rodrigues - Vocals
* Paulo Adelino – Drums, Percussion

Former Members :

* Marco "China" - Bass
* TóMané - Vocals

Discography :

Thanatos (earlier name) :

* Thanatos - Demo '98 (Demo, 1998)
* Thanatos - Melégnia (EP, 2001)

ThanatoSchizO :

* ThanatoSchizO - Schizo Level (2001)
* ThanatoSchizO - InsomniousNightLift (2003)
* ThanatoSchizO - Turbulence - (2004)
* ThanatoSchizO - Zoom Code - (2008)

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