Brazilian band April 21st have honed a gripping, intense metalcore sound that they describe as a mission to “sound heavy, play fast, and be as aggressive as we can” while spreading a positive message.
The band was started by guitarist Herbert in late 2016, when he started to get more serious about his passion for music. As he tells us: “I wrote a couple of riffs, lyrics, vocal lines and spent a few months trying to find other musicians to join the project. But after a while struggling to get people’s attention I just decided to hire/invite some other musicians and friends to record a few songs.”
The result of that was debut EP Remains, before bringing in August Nery (drums) then Lucas Akira (vocals) and Helbert Collyn (bass), who also have another metal project together, completed the lineup.
And on the sound they’ve honed since, Herbert told us: “The songs are heavy and yet melodic. It is fast and has a couple of breakdowns too. This is our sound. We wanna sound heavy, play fast, melodic and be as aggressive as we can as well as spread a positive message to the audience. We are a metalcore band and try to merge the old and modern metalcore vibes. Also, it is not just about the sound, it is also about the message. We wanna spread a good message through our lyrics.”
Our latest taste of this is the April 21st’s second EP Courage Is Born From Fear. The EP’s intro track, fittingly titled Before The Storm, launches into the brutal intro of Struggling To Break This Cycle, which features savage screamed vocals over driving drums and a big bouncy riff. A cool jumpy lick comes in over stabbing guitars, before vicious vocals in a massive chorus. The vocals intensify even further before dropping into a section of stabbing guitars and crashing cymbals. That gives way to another lively riff and booming vocals that bring the track to a heavy ending.
The heaviness doesn’t relent in Stand Up And Scream, which opens up with a cool riff, which drops into a lively opening verse of crushing drums and a riff under vicious vocals. That continues into a big melodic chorus of clean vocals answered by big screams. A second chorus drops into an awesome guitar solo, then a pause for breath before huge screamed vocals build up to a powerful conclusion.
On the track, Herbert says: “Stand Up and Scream is a song that talks about depression and sadness. The video shows a guy trying to write a letter for himself about everything he has been through. He is struggling to find the words, the terms, and the correct approach to convince himself to do it. He told many lies during his life, and he thought that this behavior was hurting others, but deep inside he knows that all of this was hurting no one other than himself. He recognized his mistakes but still it is too hard to believe in salvation. In the chorus, there is this inner voice saying that there is no need to be afraid anymore, and with this own encouragement hopefully one day he will be able to finish the letter and read it and this will mean that he overcomes everything.” Check it out in the lyric video here:
Things get even more intense on the huge Healing My Wounds, which opens with delicious chugging guitars before launching into an awesome driving riff under savage screamed vocals. And the EP closes out with Decision, which begins with a twinkling riff and big cymbals before unleashing into huge driving drums supporting big screamed vocals. Check it out in this awesome drum playthrough video:
On the EP, Herbert told us: “Courage Is Born from Fear is our first release with Eclipse Records. Having the support of a label in a release is totally different than putting out a record as a fully independent band. It’s been such a great experience ever since. We have released two singles Healing My Wounds’ and ‘Decision’ before the EP came out. The reception has been amazing. We are reaching a broader audience around the world now.
“For anyone that has not listened to the album yet, go check it out now (after reading this whole interview, ok!). So, the EP has four full songs and an intro. If you pay attention to the lyrics you will see that the songs are kind of connected somehow. We talk about depression, sadness and things like that, but in a way that we try to encourage people to keep fighting, to be strong and never give up on their dreams and most importantly never give up on yourself.”
The April 21st sound is influenced by a wide range of genres, from rock and metal to blues, 80s pop and música popular brasileira (MPB), which combines traditional Brazilian styles with foreign influences. And as a band, their biggest influences include the likes of August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine and All That Remains.
While on what inspires them to write music, Herbert tells us: “Personally, I don’t have any music background in my family. My father used to play guitar a little bit but it was never a big deal. He taught me how to tune my first guitar. It is through music that we all found the best way to express ourselves and show who we really are.
“Music is what moves us. We really like this idea to be able to reach more people, connect, inspire and even help them to get through difficult moments in their lives. As I said, we wanna spread a message of encouragement, and inspire others to fight for their dreams and always believe in yourself no matter how hard the situation can be.”
April 21st are the sixth Brazilian band we’ve featured in the last 12 months or so and we’ve loved the bands we’ve heard so far, so we got their thoughts on their local scene. Herbert told us: “I can say that we have many, many great bands in the Brazilian underground scene. That is for sure. I think we still have many things to improve, learn, and work more professionally.
“There are also very capable people working a lot to help the scene and the bands to grow and we respect that a lot. I don’t think there is a huge market to be explored, especially because we are talking about heavy metal and I know that this happens in several countries as well, not only in Brazil where metal music is not the most popular music genre.”
There’s plenty more to come from April 21st as the band never stops writing new music. They’re currently focused on promoting the new EP and are planning a tour of South America next year, in hope that the current difficult situation alleviates.
As Herbert adds: “I would like to invite everyone to listen our brand new EP Courage Is Born from Fear, which is available on several digital outlets. Maybe you can find the strength you need to achieve anything that you are looking for in your life, or maybe you are struggling with some kind of emotional issue and I think our music could be very helpful.”
You can follow April 21st on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal and YouTube. And check out more new bands from their record label Eclipse Records.