Majestic Downfall - The Dance of the Dead
By: David E. Gehlke
One-man projects and sub-standard production jobs are like conjoined twins - they're virtually inescapable from one another. A lot of the blame lies with the mid-00's influx of singular black metal bands, who preferred their albums to sound like they were recorded through a Magnavox boom box. If we want to go back even further, good 'ole Varg Vikernes made sure that Burzum's early output was recorded with the shittiest equipment possible, thus ensuring that his odes to Valhalla (and Socialist renderings) didn't have the slightest sheen. So when you take into account the albums that preceded Mexico's Majestic Downfall's The Blood Dance, it's as if mainman Jacobo Cordova threw out the manual on one-man recording projects. Good thing he did, for The Blood Dance is totally savory and pristine-sounding.
Doom death is the name of Cordova's game with Majestic Downfall, and his reliance on chilling, mid-90's Katatonia melodies is one to behold, especially when the weighty "From Black To Dead" (the 6:43 to 7:01 portion of this song is simply gut-wrenching) and "Cronos" unfold into beauteous, yet desolate opuses. The Blood Dance is truly a robust affair, with the bulk of the songs pushing over the 8-minute mark, chalk-full of Cordova's mournful guitar musings and from-the-depths bellows, and it's one of the year's early must-haves. In an effort to keep the praise a-comin', we tracked down Cordova (who also is a part of Mexican death mongers Zombification) for a round of questions. Here's how the lone ranger of Mexican doom/death responded :
Blistering.com: Give us a little background as to how you started Majestic Downfall, and the steps you've taken since the release of Temple of Guilt.
Jacobo Córdova: Majestic Downfall started in 2007 after more than three-to-four years without touching an instrument. I had played in a doom/death band in Mexico for 10 years and suddenly the magic went away and I decided to quit and put my bass to rest. Time passed and when I moved to Dallas after being offered a job, I started to feel the urge to compose again. I was able to buy a small portable studio and from there on I haven´t stopped composing. Metal is my life and eventually had to come back.
After the release of Temple of Guilt in 2009, I took some time off from Majestic Downfall and composed the second album of my thrash/death metal project Ticket To Hell and recorded it. Then I went to compose the debut album of Zombiefication, my death metal band and also went into the studio with it. After being done with these two albums, the urge to compose a new Majestic Downfall album came and that is when The Blood Dance started to take shape and form. The Blood Dance was composed in two months and finally released in Europe in June and now in the Americas.
Blistering.com: What led you to go the solo route and do everything yourself with Majestic Downfall?
Córdova: After being in bands for many years and realizing that not everyone in a band should have the same weight when it comes to composition and decisions, I decided to go my own way. If I had wanted to go back to composing in 2007 with an actual band, I would surely have dropped the towel soon. Fortunately with technology, I was able to go my way and do the things just as I imagined them. Bands are like an office, each member has a different role than the other, unfortunately if it is not that way, failure is close. Some people have to let go and be aware of who is better for what. This doesn´t happen anymore and I guess that is why I am still doing this with so much heart and conviction. No one tells me what to do and I am completely free of all the decisions. Of course I can fuck up sometimes, but in the end, I am the only one to blame. On the other hand, it is sometimes hard, ‘cause when you run out of ideas it can get frustrating and I mean it big time. Also covering band expenses by one is a very hard part of it.
Blistering.com: Describe the amount of work that goes into putting an album together by yourself?
Córdova: The most important thing that you need to have when putting an album by yourself is discipline. You have to have continuity when it comes to the creating and recording process, otherwise it can take forever and all the magic is gone. When I write an album, I wake up every day at 5.15 am and go to my little home studio and start throwing ideas. I spend two hours a day without any kind of contact and focus purely on the music and what I want to achieve with it. At the same time, I have to start visualizing what art can go with the music, as well as vocals and all in between.
I do my demos and from there everything starts taking shape and form. Many ideas come to mind fast, others take forever and some start one way and end up completely different. Also a lot of stuff is thrown to the trash. You have to be very selective when coming with final ideas especially if you are one. After the demos are finished, I send them to my drummer, he learns the songs and when he is ready, we go to record the album in a proper way. This is basically it.