CRIMSON BRIDGE: "The figurative monsters we talk about represent the emotional baggage that we all carry"
Having spotted some amazing, sea-related cover artworks over the past months, is "Watermetal" probably a thing these days? ;-) Even though this is just a play on words of course, CRIMSON BRIDGE could be a strong representative here. The Portuguese band released their debut album "In Pitch Black" on September 7th, 2021, which caught my attention due to its unique sleeve, and quickly convinced me with their genre-bending, powerful music.
Glad about the opportunity for an interview, welcome to learn more about them here:
Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions today. Could you please introduce yourself and CRIMSON BRIDGE to our readers?
You’re welcome, thanks for having us! We are CRIMSON BRIDGE, a 4-piece metalband from Almada, Portugal, consisting of lead singer and guitarist Renato Guerreiro, guitarist Henrique Simas, bassist Nuno Cruz and drummer Bernardo Rebelo, who's also responsible for the backing screams. We strive to make music never feeling chained down to any subgenre, which creates a lot of dynamics and nuances ranging from all the metal spectre. In sum, we make whatever sounds good to us with catchy melodies, heavy parts and proggy twists.
Let’s start with a little time trip. When and how did you guys get together?
Renato and our previous guitarist Daniel are childhood friends and wanted to start a band in their teens. After meeting Nuno through some mutual friends at a Sepultura show in 2014, the first pieces fell into place. We started casually rehearsing in our former drummer's garage without a greater goal in mind, aside from becoming better musicians by playing with other people, learning as much as we could.
In 2016, wanting something more professional, we started to look for like-minded people and happened to find our drummer Bernardo, forming then the band CRIMSON BRIDGE. In 2018 we came to our current line-up and released the same-named debut EP in 2019, followed by our first album "In Pitch Black" this year.
How did you come up with your band name, and is there a deeper meaning behind?
Our name was something relatively hard to come by, as we feel like naming things can be a bit tricky. We knew we wanted something that referenced our roots, and the ‘25 de Abril’-Bridge was the perfect candidate, since it connects our home town Almada with Portugal’s capital Lisbon. In the end we settled on CRIMSON BRIDGE, so that the reference wasn’t too on the nose, but we could have more meanings than just the bridge itself.
Even though we try to have multiple interpretations to the subjects we explore in our songs, one of the core themes is overcoming adversity. With this said, the bridge can also signify the path from a place of suffering to a place of hope, where the subject may feel enlightened or free from burden. In a sense, it symbolizes the path one must embrace for growth.
Historically, the bridge name also comes from the coup where the authoritarian regime in Portugal was overthrown. Even though there were no casualties, the crimson color can also represent the struggles of people for a better, brighter future. But as mentioned before, this is just one of many meanings people can take from our lyrics, and our band name is no different.
Your debut album “In Pitch Black” came out in September. How do you feel about it, and how was the reception so far?
This release was our greatest achievement so far, and it was really well received by old fans, friends, and new fans as well. Aside from all the knowledge and experience we gained from it, we got to do some fun interviews, and our live shows scaled up in terms of equipment, audience, and in terms of performance we feel like we really matured. The people in our shows are always moving and are noisier with the newer songs, which makes us happy - you can feel the energy in the air!
We also won a national contest of a portuguese metal page for best album released in the second half of the year.
Congrats, that's awesome! What can you tell us about the origins of your eye-catching cover artwork, and how does it reflect the album thematically?
Pedro Valente - Renato’s university friend - did our album artwork as well as some t-shirt designs. We really like his style because it’s very unique, and he has a keen eye for it, even though the artwork itself has a common theme within metal, which is having a monster as a central piece.
We knew we wanted something that could serve as a visual backdrop for the music, while also paying homage in a modern way to some of the classic covers that inspired us. We are really happy with it and believe it reflects the themes of the album in an objective way, even though the lyrics are open to interpretation. People will definitely have a fun time deciphering them!
Could you dive a bit into the topics with us, please?
Although this is not a conceptual album in the traditional sense, the songs are connected by a major thread that interweaves them all, while still sounding very distinct. Occasionally, they'll also reference each other. Overall, and without giving too much away - since we want people to relate to them more easily - the album is very much tied to maritime ideas. In short, the cyclic nature of ocean tides and the fear of the unknown, brought upon by what the depths hide, and how insignificant we seem to be when faced with such turmoils.
In reality, this whole aesthetic that we adopted is nothing more than a metaphor for the events and ideas that inspired these lyrics. It's our way of making the message a lot more entertaining and palatable for whoever is on the other end. In specific, the figurative monsters we talk about represent the emotional baggage that we all carry, the inner struggles that arise from it, and how in the face of what seem like herculean tasks, the spirit of human perseverance reacts, adapts and eventually prevails. Concisely, it's about how in those moments, we transcend what it means to be human, to become something greater than ourselves.
Music-wise, you lean in different directions by mixing elements of power-, death- or thrash metal among others, which sounds great. Where do you see your main influences?
We are a very diversified group of people when it comes to music taste. Melodic death, prog and metalcore are probably the elements we most closely all relate to, but every one in the band leans to different influences, and we’re constantly evolving by sending each other new music that we find.
Renato is more on the melodic side, like heavy metal with Iron Maiden being one of his favorite bands, which is apparent in his guitar leads and the way he writes his vocal melodies. Simas is really into Jazz and Prog, one of his favourite bands is Dream Theater, and this new influence was very important for our band to add some spice into the mix, we all appreciate his solos and riffing. Nuno really likes industrial metal and experimental music, anything black, death or doom that is out of the box. Rammstein, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Converge are some of his favorite bands, and we all love his style of bass playing, which is very prominent. Bernardo is also into heavy or artsy stuff, being jazz, hardcore or metal in general, his favourite bands are Daughters and Koenjihyakkei.
That's an interesting mix indeed :-) Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process, please?
We usually write some ideas separately first. When we get together, we choose the most promising ones and write on top of that already developed work, changing some things to everyone’s liking. This whole process is very repetitive, as creative things usually are.
Normally, we start from a single idea or melody (a central theme) that gets explored during the course of a song, with the lyrics being the last thing that usually gets finished. Sometimes the opposite is also true, with us starting from some lyrics or vocal melody that seems promising, and then everything gets developed around that.
Recording wise, Nuno was our engineer for the album. He recorded, mixed and mastered everything, with the rest of the band providing feedback throughout the whole process. Some guitars and vocals had to be recorded separately in our houses and sent to Nuno during the pandemic. Drums were recorded by Nuno and Bernardo in a pseudo-studio.
Let’s talk about CRIMSON BRIDGE live: What was your most memorable show so far?
This has got to be when we played at "RCA Club" in Lisbon. We had released the album a few days prior to the show, and it was our biggest venue yet. We were grateful and humbled to be on a stage where we got to see and be inspired by so many of our favorite bands before.
How would you describe the rock/metal scene in Portugal, and is there something special about it? Did you notice changes over the past years?
We believe there is definitely something special in everything art related here, and we can for sure say some great Portuguese bands like for example: Attick Demons, Empty-V, Verme, Theriomorphic, Analepsy, Tod Huetet Uebel, Serrabulho, Twin Seeds and Grog. Each one in their own way, they bring something different to the table while being incredible musicians in their own right.
In the last decade, things had been somewhat dormant, but nowadays we’re seeing projects and bands from our generation with heavier music in mind, sprouting a bit from all over the country. There are also smaller festivals and some radio shows aiming to promote these bands. Some mentalities still need to change, but things are looking brighter.
What can you tell us about your future plans?
The only thing we can say for sure is that we will be releasing new music and do a lot more shows in the future, in order to get the band and our work out there! We always have new ideas, concepts and songs in mind, with our main objective being the evolution and maturation of our sound, blending the various influences from the four of us. Deep down, we seek to innovate and break the limits of what we believe we are capable of doing.
Finally, we want to reach the most people we can and turn them into fans, something we believe will come naturally, through the quality and consistency of our hard work, a result of our continued effort and dedication.
Do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?
Thanks to the people that support and inspire us to keep pursuing this collective dream of ours, whether by listening or sharing our music, buying our merch, coming to our shows or just sending constructive criticism our way - We appreciate you all!
Thanks again for your time and these detailed insights into your work. All the best for you and your musical plans \m/