Anthony Kaoteon on the Genesis of Kaoteon's Brutal Second Album, 'Damnatio Memoriae'

Kaoteon guitarist Anthony Kateon pens an essay about how his band's bludgeoning sophomore effort came to be.
Publish date:

Anthony Kaoteon performs live with his band at the Beirut Metal Fest in 2017.

Anthony Kaoteon performs live with his band at the Beirut Metal Fest in 2017.

On Damnatio Memoriae, I tried a lot of sounds and tones before I decided to record direct and use BIAS for guitar effects. Ideally, I would have loved to have used my Ibanez Tube Screamer directly into my Mesa Boogie Mark Five and record that sound, but where I'm located, it's almost impossible to find a studio—not to mention a sound engineer—that can capture that sound correctly on a record. That’s why I decided to just plug my guitar in and record, and worry about the sound later on.

Kaoteon's sound is pretty straightforward, and we try to keep it simple so that we don’t lose the epicness and aggression by getting lost with a lot of effects and sounds. However, although you might think that makes our jobs easy, that actually makes it more challenging, as the focus then is more on the riffs and melodies than the overall sounds and effects. This is where the challenge of creating a great, unforgettable record, with one sound from beginning to end, becomes an interesting one.

I used my Ibanez RG Prestige 1820 on this record, for which I have installed two Seymour Duncan pickups that aren't typically found in a metalhead's guitar; a Custom Custom and a Jazz humbucker. I wanted an old school, passive sound that wasn't too loud.

We did this album while we were living thousands of miles apart from one another. I was in Dubai, Walid—the band's vocalist—in the Netherlands, Linus [Klausenitzer, who played bass on the record] in Germany and Fredrik [Widig, who played drums] in Sweden. After I composed all the riffs, I started working with Norwegian Jarle [Jarle "Uruz" Byberg] at first on the drum parts. I would send him voice clips on WhatsApp for drum beats back and forth until we nailed them.

After that though, he had to go on tour with Shining, and I got in touch with Fredrik to start the process all over again. With Linus, it was a much easier task, as I explained to him what I wanted, and he would come up with fantastic bass lines that complimented the main riffs, rather than overshadowing them. Last, Walid laid his vocals on top and then we had it ready for editing, mixing and mastering.

You can buy the best equipment, practice all you want and make a daily process that you follow religiously every day; but if you want to make great music, you just need to close your eyes, imagine what you want to say and let the music flow as a language of expression. This might sound weird, but it's the truth. Music that's well thought-out and engineered can give us a great hit, but those rarely last. It's the music with feeling that  stays with us forever.

To pick up a copy of Damnatio Memoriae, step right this way.