When I reviewed the debut full-length album from Caedeous last week, the new project from the mind of Portugeuse composer Paulo J. Mendes, I explained how the album ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ had been a long-time coming. Caedeous was first proposed some years ago and began the development stage of what would later become ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ in 2014, when Mendes first began composing for the record. Cut to 2018, and Caedeous is now ready to unveil their masterwork of extreme symphonic metal on the masses come February 20th. To discover the inner workings of ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ and how this album—drenched in its many layers of traditional horror—came together, Overdrive caught up with the mastermind behind Caedeous: Paulo J. Mendes.

“I am very excited to finally bring to the general public Caedeous’ debut album,” Mendes exclaimed excitedly. “The process of composing, recording and producing this record since its 2014 orchestral original conception was very extensive; full of hard work. I finally feel that a big weight has been taken from my shoulders, and with a very happy smile on my face of accomplishment; but, like everything, it does not stop here since we already have entered studio for the recording of the second album of originals.”

Moving on to the meaning behind the album’s title (which translates from Latin to “the dark”), I mused how this felt like a very apt description for the album, given the manner in which content has been presented in. But furthermore, to how it plays off both the style of music utilised (that being, extreme symphonic metal) as well as the direction the storyline for the album takes. I wondered what indeed the main inspiration behind ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ was? Mendes explains: “‘Domini Tenebrarum’s main inspiration was a theatrical horror concept story I had in mind for a long time.” Elaborating, “ involved the end of humankind in a total apocalypse where demons had come from hell to bring the souls into the darkness (the title of the album), and where a saviour baby was to be born (Anathiel) to save it with the help of exiled angels (Marion), the last human survivors. So, the album was born from that story inspiration; and in which each musical theme brings to life lots of different characters done with Rute Fevereiro’s vocals and a different musical tone and attitude in each tone to describe the story/environment where the story takes place.”

Given the quite theatrical nature in how the songs are presented (a great example of this is the twisted opening narrative to Corbie The Deceiver), these seven tracks have the quality of almost being like a grand stage show. I mused over whether this is always the direction Mendes had wanted to take with his Caedeous project? “Yes, always,” he confirms. “I mean, the album itself was inspired by a story I had made a long time ago in my head. All of the album was conceived to be represented musically like a ‘Broadway show’ with several vocalists making the voices for each character. However, when Rute Fevereiro was brought in with her amazing vocal skills, she ended up representing all those characters from operatic to guttural growling’s.  In the end, I ended up with more than I originally envisioned in terms of performance; it was an amazing creative process.”

If Paulo J. Mendes was to describe the story of ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ to someone coming to hear of his musical project and this album for the first time, I asked how he would do it? “Well, I would describe it as a musical voyage between hell with extreme chaotic and dark sounds; of which represents evil itself incarnated. And then to beautiful melodies and rich orchestrations which represents heaven.”

Along with the likes of Cradle of Filth and Carach Angren, elements of bands such as Summoning are present on this record (especially in the main riffs for Light Of Darkor and Siege of Draedemor). I pondered the question to Mendes if this was an accurate take-away; and further, to who he would say are some of his main musical influences? His answer was enlightening. “Well, my musical path and inspirations is very eclectic and ranges from classical to metal on the extreme point. In terms of metal, I am a huge fan of bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Dark Funeral, Immortal, Crematory, Summoning, Tristania, Sirenia, etc… So, I would definitely say that, in a way or another, these are the bands which I have grown with and, in a way or another, influenced my playing style.”

Between Mendes’ compositions and the orchestral arrangements, alongside the vocal prowess and lyrical work of Rute Fevereiro, the two have together crafted a very unique and interesting album here, and one that feels wholly fresh. I asked how it was working with Rute and with his session musicians, Bernardo Rodrigues (guitar) and Bruno Guilherme (drums), and if Caedeous’ sound comes out of these sessions or if it is mostly pre-planned?

“Caedeous’ sound comes pre-planned from my compositions,” Mendes states. “The session musicians come into the studio and bring their extra magic and signature sound which is then added to the already musical compositions, which enriches them to a whole new stage; bringing the sound of Caedeous to life in its current form. The overall experience of working with Rute Fevereiro, Bernardo Rodrigues, and Bruno Guilherme has been fantastic: they are all individuals with so much talent as musicians and also great people which I love to work with. I could not feel happier with the team we currently have on Caedeous, either for live performance shows or studio sessions; the end product sound reflects that amazing experience and chemistry we all have.”

I was curious to know what Mendes would consider the best thing he’s taken from this album, and where he sees Caedeous going post-‘Domini Tenebrarum’? “The best thing I have taken from this album, beside the amazing experience, was getting the sound right for the project in terms of musical concept. Having an idea is different from executing it correctly, and for the most part, it has been largely well executed. This has allowed me to go wild and more secure in terms of what I want for the next Caedeous studio albums, since it will let me explore new paths within the concept that ‘Domini Tenebrarum’ previously established.”

As Paulo and I wrapped up our interview, I asked if he had any last words he’d like to offer Overdrive’s readers and any potential new listeners? “I would like to thank Overdrive magazine for the time for this interview and would like to send a big thank you to all our fans, followers, friends, and family for the awesome support over the last months and we hope to see you soon on stage on a place near your home. Rock on!”

Purchase your copy of ‘Domini Tenebrarum here.