If Steve Rowe was a farmer instead of a metal musician and record company owner, one could say that he bet the farm on this next band, Antidemon – a Brazilian import of the heaviest kind. They play music like he digs: fast, furious and doomy, but delivered in bars and clubs alongside un-believing metal bands.
Tell us about your new album. What was different about this one?
Batista: ApocalypseNow is really different from the other albums for a lot of reasons. This is the first time that we haven’t released something on our own, as we are doing it through Rowe Productions from Australia. It was very different for us, because we felt that we got a lot of support to go ahead, at every step of this incredible moment. After signing the contract, Antidemon got highly motivated to write this new album as Steve Rowe had asked for it. That was really something very special for us, as he has always been a role model for the entire group. We knew he was betting on us and we did everything that we could to get it done! The way we recorded was also different. We had Ciero Luiz Ricardo, a legend in the Brazilian metal scene, produce the album and he recorded it in analog, which has changed how we think about producing a disc… We’ve really learned to appreciate what could be achieved with this format of recording and we were surprised, because everything turned out very real, very organic and very satisfying in the end. The new album is also different, because it is manufactured in Australia and in the way it will be distributed and released and publicized. Everything about this album has been very good for us! We are pleased to be able to continue our work of evangelizing throughout the world with it. With the previous album, we toured 27 countries on four continents and thousands of lives were actually reached out to through our music and our message of salvation in Jesus Christ. We are happy, because now we are working alongside the greatest Christian metal band in the world – Mortification – the band that for us has set the example of being a missionary band and having the mission of conquering nations for Jesus Christ. It’s wonderful, because we have a common vision and, with this new album, we strongly feel that we can achieve much more than in our previous 19 years of existence.
What lyrical themes have you written into this album?
ApocalypseNow, as the name suggests, talks about the apocalypse – the end times and the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. There are actually eleven tracks with a real and impacting message, and no cover ups. Tracks like “Welcome to Death,” “Infernal” and “Lamento (Lament)” talk about the sad consequence of being far from God and how the eternal death of hell is something certain for people who remain so. We also have “Não Tardará (It Won’t Be Long),” which talks about the return of Jesus Christ and the marriage of the Lamb. “Virus” tells us that sin is an epidemic that has infected mankind. Also there are songs that glorify God’s sovereignty, which are also apocalyptic, such as “Rei da Glória (King of Glory)” and “Domínio (Dominion).” The opening track is also the title track and it declares that the apocalypse is already here … and we’re already living it today. Anyway, this album is a cry of warning about the end times.
How or why did this develop?
I believe that God gave us every guitar and bass riff, every drum rhythm, every growled word. Everything was put together in a way so that God’s work continues strongly and more strikingly. It made us grow and has kept us growing.
What excites you the most about this new album? Why?
As we said before, working alongside Steve Rowe has filled us with expectations and achievements. We are filled with hope that this album will change the course of our story and with it we can reach thousands of lives for Jesus Christ. What most motivates us is that! Rescuing lives from hell and their Salvation for the Kingdom of Light.
What type of message do you deliver in bars and clubs? What kind of reaction do you get? Share with us a story or two, if you would…
Usually I say things in a way that people can understand and in this way I have the opportunity of opening their hearts to what I’m talking about. I try to convey a true picture of what God is … I speak of the first coming that Jesus Christ had had on earth and what it means for each of us. That Jesus Christ’s passage has made us inherit a treasure and that we can not ignore this wonderful inheritance. I also always speak of the powerful experiences I have had with God and of the supernatural way that I had had with him finding out that he really is not a fairy tale or illusion, but a reality within reach at all times.
There are always reactions from people who open up and many others who close up and even physically attack me … At a show in a city in Mexico, every time I opened my mouth to speak between songs I was hit with beer. The kid who was angry at my words got quite close to me and threw huge glasses of drink on me! There were some 5 or 6! I got totally drenched and was smelling of pure alcohol. However at the end of the show, when he was leaving the place he came up to me, at that time I thought he would hit me again … However he asked if he could hug me. As he did that he apologized for what he had done, and then he asked me not to stop going back to that town again and not to take too long in going back because he liked our music.
There was another case in the city of Oruro, Bolivia, over 4000 meters above sea level at almost zero degree Fahrenheit temperature… We did a show in that town and it seemed that all of its residents were there when we played in the Square! When I began to preach and talk about my faith, the people went incredibly silent. They didn’t seem to understand how someone who was playing music that was so loud and full of piercings and tattoos could speak of God and the plan of salvation … However when I finished preaching I made a call inviting them to accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of their souls, I asked for those who wanted to make a covenant with God to raise their hands, it was wonderful! Almost the whole city prayed with me saying that Jesus Christ had become the Lord of their lives. Glory to God.
Some people say Brazil is like a test case of what will happen to/in America, where the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. the gap ever widened and the middle class disappeared. First off, how accurate is that? Second, what are your thoughts on that? What is life like in Brazil nowadays (I know it’s a big country and hard to generalize)??
I can say that this situation of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer has been happening for some time in Brazil. Studies and the news tell us that the Brazilian economy is growing. Even with the ongoing global crisis it has not stopped growing and the number of the so-called “New Rich” has increased … that is, middle-class people becoming rich … and the poorest achieving a decent life. This is something we had waited for for a long time, since Brazil is really a very large country territorially with many natural resources. Another positive factor is that the number of evangelical Christians has grown tremendously. And I cannot forget the verse that says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
I believe that Brazil is economically blessed because it has turned to God. This had always happened in the history of Israel, for example … When they served God the nation was blessed and prospered when they served pagan gods they became slaves and the nation was destroyed.
How does someone who loves metal find a way to hear the voice of God?
I believe that with metal or any other kind of music … people make music to express how they feel and what they believe. Music has always been a vehicle to convey feelings. There are those who use Metal to express “anger”, others to express “outrage”, a lot of others express other feelings such as disappointment, hope, sadness, joy, astral travel, Satanism … And there are those who use it to express their experience with God. And it is entirely possible to feel God listening to these songs! Because it is something that is true and sincere. So people can hear the voice of God listening to metal … Especially because the sound that the inhabitants of heaven will listen to according to the Holy Bible is pretty heavy:
“And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.” (Revelation 14:2)
Has God broken your heart about anything recently? If so, what?
God always breaks my heart! He makes things happen that really prove his greatness and how small I am. Just responding to this interview with HM is something that makes me feel the blessing of God in my heart. All of my life I’ve admired this wonderful instrument of salvation which is the Heavens Metal magazine. Having received an invitation to join Rowe Productions and recording a new album when I had least expected to do so has also broken my heart … But something more recent in which God has left me really baffled was through the love we felt on our last mission as Antidemon in Central America. Although we have traveled to a lot of countries, always facing difficulties and hardships during the months outside of Brazil…different food … many sleepless hours, endless hours traveling by land and facing danger at borders … there are many factors … but in one of these battles, going from Tegucigalpa, Honduras to Nicaragua, we faced a very long and time consuming journey to reach our destination. It was a whole day traveling in a van with about 12 people and all of our instruments. When we got to the village where we would be staying, which was near the Nicaraguan capital, we could not find the place where we would spend the night. It was late at night and nobody came to welcome us. Fatigue, hunger and sleep were at their extreme, and more hours went by and we could not find the place and it made me very angry and I did not want to smile or talk to someone … I was really grumpy. When we finally met the brothers with whom we would stay with, they received us with great love and joy, with eyes full of tears and then I realized how difficult the situation was for them, and the ultra-human sacrifices they had made so that we could get to Nicaragua. As they were two young men who organized everything! One was 15 and the other was 16. And despite their young age, they worked hard and with great responsibility and got us there. I felt really bad about getting there grumpy and felt broken by God for the love that we received from those brothers to get us there. Not to mention that during our show as Antidemon, dozens of lives surrendered to Jesus. I really want God to continue breaking me everyday with his love.
I’d like to thank everyone who’s been able to read this interview. I’d like to tell you that I feel honored for the time we’ve spent together.
Let me make one final comment: Often when we are suffering or facing obstacles or going through difficult or even extreme situations, we end up feeling alone. In these moments of struggle, it seems that our faith is so small that we end up doubting that God exists, or if He does we ask if it is that he doesn’t care about our suffering. Know that it isn’t only happening to you! It happens to me and to a lot of people. We need to remember that God is with us in these moments of distress as well. He only desires to teach us something, even though we are crying! Maybe he won’t prevent us from being thrown into a den of lions … But if we have to go through this, surely he will be with us in that pit, and won’t let the lions devour us … Just let our faith grow! Maybe he won’t prevent us from being thrown into a furnace of fire … But if we have to go through this terrible struggle, he will also be with us inside that furnace right by our side and protect us from the fire and not a strand of our hair will be burned. It’s at these moments we feel very small and powerless… Maybe you might end up saying the same things that Jesus himself said: Father! Why have you forsaken me? That’s when our faith becomes greater as we’re being trained. Just as Jesus had to complete a difficult mission that was given to him, maybe you and I also have a mission to be completed and as much as we feel weak, we must go forward, knowing that he hasn’t forsaken us, as there are things that we have to do! Just like when we’re doing an exam at college, our father the teacher has to remain quiet! It is us who has to do what’s necessary!
It is good to remember that faith is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it gets! So now is the time to believe and to overcome the obstacles! He is our father and he’ll be with us at all times to ensure the victory.