Interview: Lago – Arizona death metal revenants near perfect “Tyranny”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 10:05 AM (PST)


I want our songs to grip people that listen to them. I want the kid standing in front of the 
stage to be pumped up and head bang. I think even in the dark world of metal there is a positive side. Wanting someone to 
just get a release out of what you’re doing, and wanting someone to enjoy your music is a positive force for sure. – Cole Jacobsen

Kind of not into the more overtly technical trends or Sumerian-core influenced styles that have been going on latey? That’s your perogative, for sure.If you don’t find something to make you rage when you hear Arizona firebrand’s Lago’s Tyranny however, you just plain don’t love real death metal.

Delivered with a grand darkness, the album pulls a cloud over you like a stage curtain dropping, but under the veil is a world you will become addicted to. In the end, it is an empowering record that makes you want to confront the tyranny around you, when lies won’t cut it anymore. A wise man once said ,” It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes ‘em afraid.”

Lago on a more direct level just plain kick ass and make you want to bang your head, howl at the sky or grip invisibles oranges in an insane/inane manner. The few rough patches are minor in the scheme of their recordings and honestly lend it a more human essence that makes it rule more.It’s a perfect blend of classic death metal influences with blackened edges and just enough technicality to not be mere re-hash. Drawing from stuff as divergent as Metallica and Behemoth to their own inner landscapes, the Lago boys are blazing a powerful trail into the black.

For more read BELOW.



Can you discuss the growth from the first EP (Marianas)  to now? Do you see what you are playing as a positive or negative force, or
is that a gross over-simplification?

I think Lago now is really where we wanted to start (musically) in the first place. I still really love the Marianas EP,but to me it sounds like a band that’s kind of trying to find out who or what they are. We haven’t actually played any of the songs off of the EP in quite some time. We’ve talked about maybe throwing one of them into our set for the tour. At this point however, what’s starting to be known about us is the “Tyranny” album, so that is more of our focus.

(Note to band: “Youma” is awesome). 

As far as what we’re playing being a positive or negative force… I really have never thought about it that way. I mean, I haven’t purposefully thought to myself about being one of the two or both even. We’re a band that doesn’t take too much seriously. What we do take seriously is the actual end result of what we write. With what we’re doing… I want the music to be dark. I want the music to blast and have huge double kick drum sections and to just be fucking harsh, but I also want there to be reason within the songs. I want what we’re doing to make sense. That would be a negative force maybe? But if you look at the positives… I want our songs to grip people that listen to them. I want the kid standing in front of thestage to be pumped up and head bang. I think even in the dark world of metal there is a positive side. Wanting someone to just get a release out of what you’re doing, and wanting someone to enjoy your music is a positive force for sure.


Like I said though, other than the actual songs themselves, we don’t take much seriously. We recently had the option between two shows and we picked the option that was at a bar venue haha. This band is our hobby. It’s something we love to do and something we want to have fun doing. We don’t do causes; we don’t (as a band) get on soapboxes to talk about our political beliefs. We would rather sit down at a bar with a beer and bullshit with someone and hear their latest dick andfart joke, or if they watched Monday night RAW from last week. For me especially, I’m really careful about answeringquestions. There is nothing more I hate than reading something from an artist who’s talking about their music like theirtranscending…. Or becoming more than the genre itself. Like they’ve ceased being a normal person, and they’re now this entity that’s creating something “Magic”. I once remember reading some LA Times article that was all over the metal siteswhere Nergel from Behemoth answered a question about how he got into metal. His answer was along the lines of “For me it was about rebellion, and the dark spirit….”. Like what does that even fucking mean? I love Behemoth too, but damn, how hard is it to say “well, I heard Metallica when I was young and I just wanted to riff out on a guitar from there on out.”

Hahahaha. Do you worry about genre that much? Tyranny has some classic death metal menace but also moments of really edge of black metal type stuff. Is it just part of conversing with the shadows?

I don’t worry about genre’s as much as people might think. It’s always been funny to me the rift between the black metal scene and the death metal scene. It’s like the fucking Blood and Crips. I love Morbid Angel, and I love Emperor. I love a ton of bands in both genres, and in tons of other genres. On our EP we cover a His Hero Is Gone song. I’m pretty sure they are neither of the genres in question haha. So it turns out you kind of blend what you like into your own style. So far we’ve been pretty well received. Occasionally I’ll see the “There shouldn’t be growling vocals on the black metal riff.” Oh… well don’t buy the fucking record then.


That’s one of the best answers to that sort of question I may have ever gotten. Word up, man! Let’s talk “Father of All”. I am related to Bishop Morgan and in my family history there are generations of ministers back to the 16th century. People who kept the Welsh language alive through Biblical translation. And I love your band! Do you feel there is a correlation to modern times advance of communication and media that allows
for different ideas to co-exist or is it just forcing the culture wars we seem to be having now with Charlie Hebdo and
radical (not real, benevolent) Muslims?

“Father of All”! Haha. Our old lead guitarist actually wrote the lyrics for that one. I do love it, but lyrically it’s more of a traditional themed song and doesn’t have the same feel as the lyrics that me and Garrett wrote. It’s just an idea from the famous quote of the greek philospher Heraclitus turned into a themed song.

But to your question of advanced communications effects on people… I really think it can go both ways sometimes. I think it’s a great tool to learn about other cultures, ideas, religions, and life styles. People tend to think that the world is really going down the shitter and that hate, and radical ideology is at an all time high. A lot of these sort of things I vaguely touch on in our lyrics. I don’t really feel like this is a result of modern technology or social media. I was in the Marine Corps for 5 years. I did a tour in Iraq, and I’ve floated on a boat all around the pacific, and I’ve been all around the world in my 5 years of service. The world is an evil and fucked up place. It’s always been like that. Now people just have the ability too see it, and hear about it. The fear of radical Muslims is getting pretty crazy. I think it’s fucking ridiculous. People can’t separate radical Muslim terrorists from from the rest of the peaceful people that are a part of that religion. They seem to forget that we’re 60 years removed from Jim Crow laws, and the KKK hanging black people. Last time I checked lynching black people isn’t very Christian. They seem to forget that we aren’t very far removed from a massive slaughter of native Americans when we came to this country. Don’t get me wrong, terrorism is a terrible thing and should be stopped. But evil is everywhere. Men are born with it. It’s not taught. It’s just a cruel fact of life that isn’t ever going to go away.

Thanks for your thoughts, man. Much respect. “Reckoning” is my favorite Lago song. Something about the intro into the first death metal verse. It is so ripping and hits the mark. Some technical death metal bands worry too much about showing off to one another that they don’t get transitions right and it is more herky jerky. Your song is really natural.

Thanks man! I really liked “Reckoning” when we first wrote it. For whatever reason it just really seemed to flow pretty well. We didn’t spend a lot of time writing it either. It just worked. It’s also super black metal sounding compared to our other songs so I was worried how it might be received. We’ve only played it once since it’s such a long song. We played it at our album release show and it was probably the most well received song that we played.

As far as being technical, we are very fortunate to have Manual Dominguez on the lead guitars. He’s one of those next level sort of guitar guys. Super tech. Then you have me. I’m not a tech guy. I can’t even sweep pick. I think that our two differing styles really compliment each other and work for Lago. If there were two Manual’s in our band it would be different. We would probably sound like Necrophagist. He definitely has to tone it down for what we’re doing.


“I’m the mayor! I’m the sherrif!” What’s your favorite part of High Plains Drifter?

Oh man, it’s so hard to say. That movie is so fucking dark. It’s almost like Stanley Kubrik directed a western. It has the same sort of vibe. I love so many parts about it. The scene where the store owner starts talking shit to the Indians, so Clint Eastwood goes up to them and gives them a bunch of blankets like he’s apologizing for the store owner. That whole movie is just him righting all of these wrongs in the crooked as fuck town. Obviously I’m fond of the scene where he’s crossing out “Lago” on the sign and he has written “Hell”. That’s where we got our band name from. Really, the last scene is great. You finally find out the guy was a ghost the whole time. It’s the giant “ooooooooooooooooooooooh, I GET IT!” part of the movie. It still only comes in 2nd place to my favorite Eastwood movie Unforgiven. There’s so many good quotes from that movie.


How does the band decide on distortion tones for parts? Does each member get “their” sound or do you go for a group
effect or mood?

In studio we both use the same exact thing for the rhythm tracks. We used a Mesa Boogie Mark V. I’m in love with the sound of that thing. It’s a very clean amp but still super heavy at the same time. Manual used an EVH for the leads. Live I’m using the Mark V and Manual is using a Blackstar.

As far as what we’re going for sound-wise… I just like clean and polished. I’m not into really dirty sounding stuff. It’s blasphemous to some metal heads but I hate the HM-2 sound, for the most part. I feel like it’s pretty played out at this point too.

What is a live metal album that shaped you? Any classic moment you recall that made you want to go to a show
or pick up an instrument?

For me it was Metallica’s Live Shit Binge and Purge boxed set. I probably listened to both of those discs a thousand times. I got that well after I was already into Metallica. So there isn’t really any live albums that got me into a band. I liked some punk when I was younger, but when I discovered Metallica, I had to get a guitar. I first heard them when I was twelve years old. My Favorite album is …And Justice for All. I’m 32 years old and I still listen to that album at least once a week.




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