Inner War – Exclusive Interview with Introtyl

Introtyl (Left-to-Right): Rose Contreras (guitar), Sariux Rivera (bass), Kary Ramos (vocals), Annie Ramírez (drums).

Mexican quartet, Introtyl, made the Scream Blast Repeat shortlist for death metal album of the year in 2022. It’s easy to see why – the four females behind the music had to work harder than most bands to get here.

Their homeland has a vibrant metal scene but attitudes remain cynical amongst a small minority in Mexico. That might be due to the pummeling brutality of their latest album, Adfectus, which presents a threat to male notions of female grace and beauty. Comparisons with Nervosa and Crypta are inevitable and inaccurate. Fans of Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, and Deeds of Flesh will blink in astonishment when they see vocalist, Kary Ramos, roar into the microphone with a demonic voice that could strangle Snow White in her sleep. The rhythm section behind her is just as violent and as intense. Brutal death metal hasn’t sounded as alive as this in years.

Introtyl can look back on 2022 as a major triumph. They toured select dates in Canada with Suffocation and Atheist and played the prestigious SeptembroNegro festival on the same bill as Tribulation, Psycroptic and Vio-lence. Their annual number of Spotify listeners now stands at an impressive 26,000 – remember, this is brutal death metal!

We spoke to bassist, Sariux Rivera, about the making of last year’s Adfectus album and the amusing assumptions people make about the band before they hear their music and see them play.

Let’s start with the line-up of the band. You, Rose (guitar) and Kary (vocals) have been in the group since the debut EP in 2013. Annie Ramírez (drums) joined in 2019. How important is it that all members of the band are female if one of you leaves and you need a replacement musician?

Sariux: Well, it was something very important to be aligned with the early essence of the band: to be all female. But back in 2016, we decided that we cannot stop the train anymore because we couldn’t find any females to have the band commitment and go in the same path we follow. We decided to invite a friend of us to join the band (supposedly while we were looking for a new girl drummer), and he accepted and stayed in the band as an official member. After a few months, we decided to part ways, and finally we just returned to an all-female line up because our former drummer returned to the band. And, lately at her departure, we found our amazing Annie, and the rest is history. I would say we would like to keep the female essence in the band, and fortunately we have found a great musician that merges in our same direction, ambitions, hard work effort and, of course, that she became a good friend to work with. So…answering your question (finally), it is important to keep the band essence, but when we have substitute musicians, we have males, and it works perfectly!

You played guitar and Rose played bass on the 2013 EP, Several States of Violence. Since 2017, you two have switched positions, and Rose is now the guitarist and you handle the bass. This is unusual. How and why did this happen?

Sariux: Well, it was not an actual switch, ha-ha. What happened first, was that Rose, being a bassist, was writing guitar riffs and music for the new songs we were working on. I loved the way she was playing and almost begging her to join me in the guitar. She didn’t want to at the beginning, but she gave up at the end and joined me. We had a couple of bassists in the band that were not in the same synchronicity as we were, and, after looking for a bassist, I decided to play bass to avoid searching for a new musician and to invest more time in sharing the music, you know? And our band is not necessarily a two-guitar band, so this was the best. We are only four, we travel light, decisions are more democratic, easy, and we feel more comfy working like this.

Which artists had the biggest influence on you during the writing sessions for your latest album, Adfectus?

Sariux: Well, I believe this time everything came from our hearts about lyrics – that is why we called it Adfectus, which means feelings in Latin (pretty romantic, huh?). I would say that for our sound we did not look for sounds of other bands to be based on. I think we don’t have, like, a reference exactly for this album. We tried to look for a sound that we wanted to express in the lyrics of the song and to link that with the audience feelings. During the lyric-writing process, Kary asked us what do we feel when listening to a certain song – we answered something like, “I imagine, like, an army marching and the sound of the feet in the ground; I feel something like a beat of my chest; or it makes me headbang.” So, we wanted to have that sound in the album, and Martin Furia (Destruction, Bark) produced his magic to make our sound just as we imagined. And I can tell the lifelong influences on us must be implicit in this album. These are Terrance Hobbs (guitarist in Suffocation), Alex Grind (drummer in Despised Icon), George Fisher (vocals in Cannibal Corpse), and Ryan Martinie (bassist in Mudvayne).

What is the most difficult song to play live from your Adfectus album and why?

Sariux: I guess it depends on the instrument (ha-ha), but I can tell you which one is more difficult for everyone. For Annie to play ‘Inner War’ because the bass drum goes super-fast the entire song, so it is very tiring to play. Kary’s one would be ‘Redemption’ because of the rhythm, and she is headbanging and jumping across all the stage, ha-ha. For Rose, definitely ‘Abyss’. She struggles with the triplets in this song because they are in almost the entire song, so she gets a bit tired. For me, I would say ‘Flame’ because besides being fast, the basslines jump a lot from scale, and I must be ready, but I enjoy playing everything. Also ‘Land of the Fleshless’ for Rose, and I that is why we prefer to play it at the end of the set.

Which song are you most proud of from your latest album and why?

Sariux: Well, we LOVE all the songs, and depending on our mood, we have many favourites. But I must say the latest favourite for all of us is ‘Redemption’ because we get super, super-excited and love the riffs. But also ‘Abyss’ has been one of our favourites and one of the top songs to play. The last favourite is ‘Under my Skin’ to play live because it makes us super excited! The breakdown is just so catchy – we can headbang to the floor!

I believe this time everything came from our hearts about lyrics – that is why we called it Adfectus, which means feelings in Latin.

Sariux Rivera

Track number six on your album is called ‘The Flame’. The lyrics are fascinating: “Two bodies merge like never seen before/ Two souls were complete without needing each other/ Two bodies learning the art of loving/ Two souls make words real.” To what extent is this a love song?

Sariux: This is the most romantic song we have.  This song is about LOVE. We truly believe in love. I mean love as a couple, must be freedom to respect the life of the other, to grow up together in body and soul, as human beings, and to be the best for each other. This song is the moment when you give yourself completely to the beloved one, with no strings attached, with respect, with an open heart and soul. This is how together we become one. It’s the excitement of the love, the high point of falling in love.

Name three things that annoy you about the way people treat you differently as a female death metal group.

Sariux: There are so many! But I would say (not in importance of order): 1. People think someone else (friends or significant others) makes our songs. It sounds crazy, but they think that! Or that we pay for our music to be made. 2. We get our participation in festivals or as band openers because we f**k promoters, band members, or tour managers. Seems that we are in the medieval age… 3. This must be the most popular: People listen to our music or go to our shows because we are girls, and because we are girls, we are pretty hot even if we have no talent. Just because of that, being a woman according to their minds is a synonym for lack of talent. If you think for a minute about this, NO “male” bands have these issues, so I would say this is one of the things that definitely makes it different being an all-female band.

Cast your mind back to the many live shows you played over the years. What is the most hostile live audience you experienced as Introtyl?

Sariux: I think we are super lucky to not have something like that. We always have been received good, and even with some audiences that are different (not being so noisy, or headbangers). In the end, all shows are great! I would say it was not hostile, but it was not comfy at all, but many years ago in a town called San Juan del Río, in Mexico, where the people were super drunk, they tried to touch us while playing and were bothering us. It was quite uncomfortable. But, fortunately, we have not had too many sour experiences to share.

Above: Bassist, Sariux Rivera (second from the right), granted us her time to do the interview.

How much attention do you receive in the Mexican music press?

Sariux: We have a lot of support, mainly when we are super active playing shows through the country or while we have new material to share. We have lots of media now that support us.

People think someone else (friends or significant others) makes our songs. It sounds crazy, but they think that! Or that we pay for our music to be made.

Sariux Rivera

Which country do you most like to visit as a touring band and why?

Sariux: We would love to go to Europe in general, actually. We have followers from Germany, France and Italy that show us much love, and we would love to go there. We are looking forward to go to Europe because the biggest festivals are there, the metal music culture is way more different than in Mexico, and it’s time for us to explore new lands.

Why does your music lean towards the brutal death metal sub-genre rather than technical death metal, melodic death metal, grindcore or deathcore?

Sariux: We just play the music we love and that makes us feel happy. We like to go straight in and hit hard. I feel like technical music or melodic music plays a long road that we don’t explore – it makes me imagine like when a boxer is in the ring with the opponent and is dancing with fists on guard, moving from one side to another and just moving without attacking. Introtyl is the fighter that steps in the ring and gets in guard looking a bit for the rival’s face and hits straight at their opponent, quickly. It might sound stupid, but we like to cut to the chase and have fun, headbang, and have a good time.

Final question: What are the band’s collective goals over the next twelve months?

Sariux: We will write a brand new album to prepare a world tour (fingers crossed) and take more music around the globe! But in the meantime, you will see a few more videos of the previous singles, behind the scenes videos of touring, and the making of these videos, among other stuff. Stay tuned!

*** Introtyl released Adfectus via Emanzipation Productions on 29 April 2022. You can read the original SBR review here. ***