When it comes to melodic death metal with an epic story about nature, mankind, and cultural evolution of civilizations, look no further than As We Set The Skies Ablaze from Moonshade. It’s been four years since their debut, Sun Dethroned, was released and it seems the band used that time wisely to focus on tighter songwriting and better storytelling. While being grounded in melodic death metal the music here is more forward thinking and at times drifts into progressive stratospheres and even walks a tech death tightrope. This all may sound like a mouthful, but Moonshade nails the landing with an album that’s heavier, deeper, and more memorable. Just ahead of the album’s release, we posed our set of Profile questions to vocalist Ricardo Pereira to find out more. Read on below to see how it went down and be sure to secure your own copy from the links contained within.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
I got my first guitar when I was about 15, I think. A couple of friends of mine started getting guitar lessons as a group and since I wanted to fit in, I gave it a fair shot, then started playing on my own, got a Telecaster, joined a couple of punk bands. Turns out I suck at guitar, but that’s how it started!
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
One time a promoter offered so little money that it barely covered a quarter of the gas expenses. Since it was a big festival, we said yes, because of the exposure, and we really wanted to play there. It’s an amazing event so we made the five hour drive with a rented van to that venue. Turns out they put us on at 2:30 in the afternoon when the festival gates were opening midway through our first song. Very few people were there, it was brutal. We knew what we were getting into though, it was a full transparency deal. But yes, we did debase ourselves on that one. Things we did because we love to play live but opportunities like that didn’t come regularly.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
I think one of the best things in metal right now is how amazingly diverse it’s become. Metal is just a cultural gem in that regard. As for the worst things, well, I would have to say that we need to start being more welcoming towards younger, upcoming artists if we want to keep things fresh and innovative, and pass it on to the younger generation. Also, gatekeeping in metal is a fucking plague.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
I would say global warming and the nuclear standoff are unequivocally two of the most important issues nowadays since they both threaten mankind’s very existence. Both of these topics are present in our upcoming album As We Set The Skies Ablaze, where we protest climate inaction with the song “Epitaph” and remind everyone of the dangers of nuclear weapons in “Valley Of Dying Stars.” Other issues that concern me personally, and are also present in this album, are the dangers of dogma and organized religion and of late-stage capitalism. Whether it’s Jesus, your country, or the stock market, just say no to gods.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I was 11 and saw a Rammstein video on MTV, it was Feuer Frei! My family was always incredibly supportive as long as I kept my grades up and honored a defined set of values, you know: honesty, kindness, respect, the basic cocktail of a good person, milk of human kindness, whatever you want to call it.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
It’s hard out there nowadays for metal media. I get it, I mean if people want news about their favourite band, they need only follow them on social media. And as far as music reviews go, the average listener can just log on to Spotify, listen to three songs and form an opinion with the same time it would take him or her to read a review. I would say outlets need to reinvent themselves in terms of what type of content they offer. You know, learn their place in this new, digital world because bands like us need you guys to have the audience’s attention. I think the hardest yet most valuable thing for an outlet these days is to actually create a faithful fanbase that trusts it as a tastemaker or, at the very least, enjoys consuming its content. Two great examples of that would be vloggers like Anthony Fantano or Nik Nocturnal, who both have a huge following and indeed have true tastemaking status.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
World domination would be nice! Our upcoming album already received praise and pre-orders from the four corners of the world, so the seeds have been planted. We do have day jobs as 99% of musicians nowadays! I’m currently finishing my PhD in Animal Science, our guitarist Pedro and drummer Maia work with programming and data science, and our bass player Nuno does corporate logistics. Both Maia and our guitarist Luís just finished their master’s degree in Engineering Physics, and Luís currently works in that field.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Been listening to a ton of Orthodox, Saor, Lorna Shore, Dyscarnate, Soreption, among others. Besides metal, mostly hip hop, punk or rock. Been listening to Rakim’s The Master a lot, love that album.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Of course. July 22nd will be the official release of our upcoming album, As We Set The Skies Ablaze. But before that, we have a nuclear blast of a new song coming out on July 15th. We also have two huge festival shows here in Portugal: Laurus Nobilis Metal Fest on the album release day, and Milagre Metaleiro on August 27th. And that’s just the start!
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Ricardo and Moonshade for their time!
As We Set The Skies Ablaze will be available July 22 via the band’s Bandcamp page, their official website, and all major streaming outlets. For more information on Moonshade, visit their Facebook page.