LagoLAGO - It Doesn’t Get Any Heavier
By: Sara Lambeth
Photos courtesy of: Lago

Lago embodies the death metal genre, with horrific guttural growls, nefarious guitar solos, emphatic and technical drumming and bass. This in no way means that Lago’s sound is generic. Far from it actually and their latest album is likely to eclipse all others for album of the year. "Sea of Duress," the answer to "Catacombs and Oceans," was released June 8, 2018 on Unique Leader Records. The album was recorded by Ryan Butler at Arcane Digital Recording (Exhumed, Nightage, and Lago’s "Tyranny," "Catacombs and Oceans") and mixed and mastered by Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams, ex-The Faceless and Lago’s "Catacombs and Oceans").  The end result is a record that is masterfully massive. The eight tracks inside "Sea of Duress," will pummel you into submission, and wear you down with sheer ferocity.

In support of the record, Lago set out on a quick tour that included the sold-out Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle, Washington. The last day of the tour and "Sea of Duress" official release was celebrated in their hometown, at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona. The band had one requirement for anyone attending their CD release show-- cut-off sleeve shirts. Not sure what I mean? Just look at the band photo.

We here at DaBelly Magazine, love Lago. They made the list of DaBelly’s Best of 2015 and one of the top 11 bands from Arizona  (DaBelly Feature 595) . We have also reviewed their 2014 release of ‘Tyranny’ (DaBelly Reviews 165).  One thing we had yet to do was interview them. Frontman Cole Jacobsen changed that and agreed to chit-chat with us about the new album and future of Lago.

DB: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Congratulations on your new album, "Sea of Duress" and the tour leading up to its release.   Did you have fun on the tour?

CJ: Well, it wasn't really a tour. More like a glorified road trip in which we played three shows and drove 3,200 miles. It was really fun though. Northwest Terror Fest was a blast. We got to play with some killer bands. Of Feather and Bone, Gloam, and Primitive Man to name a few.

DB: Anything memorable or fun happen on this tour you can share with us?

CJ: As far as anything memorable... nothing crazy. Though, the first thing I saw when I stepped out of the van in Oakland was an empty coke bag laying on the ground. (laughs) Oakland, right?

DB: For this album, are all of the songs new, or are any older material you revisited that perhaps didn’t make it onto previous releases?

CJ: Everything on this record is new. We spent about eight months before we hit the studio writing it.

DB: After hearing the record complete, did any song come out different than you expected?

CJ: Actually yes, "Haze" is the one song on the album that didn't quite end up sounding how we were wanting it to. Not to say its bad. Just the way we pictured it turning out and how it actually did turn out were a little different. I am my own worst critic though, and I've had a couple people tell me that it’s their favorite song and the record. I guess we'll have to play it at some point.

DB: Back in 2016 you released the song, "Catacombs and Oceans," to get an idea of what direction you wanted your next album to go. How does it tie into "Sea of Duress"?

CJ: "Catacombs and Oceans" was basically a demo for what turned out to be "Sea of Duress." We had suffered through some lineup changes since the time we recorded the song for the split. So we wanted to just get an idea of what we were doing and how it turned out. It exceeded our expectations. We even had Trevor from Black Dahlia Murder feature it on his column. It really helped us in our talks with some labels.

DB: What inspired the album title and song titles?

CJ: We initially were going to call the album "Providence" but then remembered that was Immolations SCION album title so with opted for "Sea of Duress." I think a lot of what we write lyrically is about depression and fear of tyranny and just kind of losing faith in things in the world. As far as titles... I feel half the time we just pick a word or two that kind of works with lyrics. For some reason, the title of the song always seems to be the hardest part.

DB: How did you find Revolting Worship to do your album art?

CJ: Revolting Worship is a guy named Nate Burns. We know him through our previous label Battleground Records. He did a bunch of work for them, and he actually did the cover of our split with Calm Hatchery back in 2016. I just love the stuff he does. We gave him the general idea for this album cover and he just came up with something that I thought was perfect. Our friend Matt Martinez who does a lot of graphic design stuff for us added the color to the drawing. Matt is also a wizard. He's constantly helping us out with art stuff.

DB: You had mentioned being apprehensive about doing a music video. Was the label pushing the idea?  Did you enjoy the process of making the video?

CJ: I was beyond apprehensive actually. I straight up didn't want to do it. I don't know that the label was "pushing" the idea, but it did seem to be an expectation of sorts. Matti Way directed it and well before he did it we hung out a bunch and he was showing us movies and videos he was into, and stuff he had done and I really started warming up to the idea. I definitely wouldn't say that I enjoyed making a video. It's a weird process. You're playing along with your song through a PA... you're not actually playing through your amps so it's super awkward. I had to get a few beers in me to lighten the mood a little. But in the end, we were super excited with how it turned out.

DB: I noticed that all of your shirts have sleeves. At shows, will anyone in the band do custom sleeve cut-offs for fans that purchase a Lago shirt?

CJ: Oh man... This no sleeves thing has seemed to take on a life of its own. At our album release show, I actually had a pair of scissors on our merch table with a sign that said "Sleeve removal station." Security told us to put them away. I guess they're worried someone was going to snag them and start stabbing people.

DB: Thanks for talking with us, as you know we are huge fans of Lago here at DaBelly. Is there anything you’d like to add?

CJ: Be sure and check out the new album, and tell your friends about it. Lago currently has a tour to the east coast and back in September. Outside of that, we’ll be hitting the road for long weekend trips and home. We’ll probably plan a west coast swing for spring of 2019 as well.

Band Line-up:
Cole Jacobsen - Vocals, Guitar
Gus Barr - Lead Guitar
Neil Koch - Drums 

"Sea of Duress" tracklist:
1.      Day of Wrath
2.      A Broken Barrier
3.      Sepulcher
4.       Dead Sun
5.      Soiled is the Crown
6.      Haze
7.      Effigy
8.      Providence 


Additional Links:
Unique Leader Records:
Arcane Digital Recording:
Album artwork - Revolting Worship:
In studio footage by - Band Mechanic:

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