Apotheus is a four-piece Progressive Metal band from Portugal that loves to weave tales to take you on a musical and lyrical journey. Very cinematic in their approach to songwriting, Ergo Atlas is a concept album that is part two of a story Apotheus is writing based on the works of Isaac Asimov. Recently, they answered some question I posed to them, clarifying a few things that I assumed incorrectly. Read on to find out what inspires them, what they think of AI and even a couple hints to the future. This is a band that write interesting concepts and takes the time to add in elements of current and future times. Part sci-fi, part current events, they straddle the line between now and forever.


Band Members:

  • Miguel Andrade – Vocals/Rhythm Guitars
  • Luís “Gold Monkey” – Lead Guitars
  • Daniel Rocha – Bass
  • Albano “von Hammer” – Drums

Metal Zenith – You list as a Progressive Metal but cross over into so many other styles. There must be a lot of different tastes for music in the band. What genres/bands influence each of the various members?

Apotheus – Yes, we draw from a wide range of influences, not only in metal itself but also from other genres. Bands like Pain of Salvation, Katatonia, Opeth, Tool and Leprous are definitely some of our influences. But also, Sade, Peter Gabriel, Portishead, Massive Attack. I’m missing a lot of artists here, I’m sure.

MZ – Who are the primary science fiction lovers?

Apotheus – We all are science fiction fans! However, I (Miguel) brought the idea of starting our “universe” when we were composing “The Far Star”.

MZ – Is Isaac Asimov the main love or are there other writers whose work might appear on future albums?

Apotheus – Isaac Asimov was the main influence for the creation of our story. In fact, “The Far Star” name is a tribute to that. Far Star is the name of a spaceship in Asimov’s Empire Saga. However, since then, we started our own story and Asimov’s influence is less relevant.

MZ – As much as I love this and applaud the use of Asimov’s work, is anyone working on an original story to tell?

Apotheus – To clarify, we did NOT use Asimov’s work. All our songs, music and written story is our own, created entirely by us. By the way, feel free to read our story at thefarstar.apotheus.net, free of charge. What did happen was that we decided to market the story as “Asimov influenced”, due to some similarities in the writing style and scientific themes. However, we never used Asimov’s work, and everything is our own.

Comment – I was not trying to imply the music or thought was not original, I misinterpreted “inspired by” as “based on,” a mistake that was purely mine.

MZ – How many albums are going to be in this storyline (stop at two or keep going for more)?

Apotheus – We are composing the song and story for the next album. So, I confidently say that that the storyline will have at least 3 albums. Whether or not the fourth album will happen in the same storyline is still up for debate. I will depend on how confident we feel we can continue the story! Prequels are also a viable option, for example.

MZ – Was the writing of these album based on the Asimov works a group project or the brainchild of one member?

Apotheus – It was a group project, for sure. We are fortunate enough to have talents in different areas and that makes us react efficiently to different demands and types of projects. Everyone is involved in everything the band does, but sometimes one of the band members is the “captain” that makes sure a certain project is executed until the end. I was probably the most involved in the story aspect of Apotheus, but I couldn’t say it is my brainchild at all. It very much embodies the ideas and creativity of all of us.

MZ – How do you draw the parallels to society today? Do you see AI potentially trying to be the GODS?

Apotheus – Not at the moment, but the future is uncertain. I think a pivotal point will be when an AGI with the capability of evolving itself appears.

MZ – How do you feel about the use of AI in album art? Video making? Song writing?

Apotheus – I will speak for myself only now. In general, I support any kind of technological advancement. Countless times technology has saved or improved our lives, even if at the beginning it didn’t seem quite clear how. I believe AI has that potential.

Apotheus – However, I’m also a firm believer in individual rights and freedoms. I can’t agree with AI being trained using other people’s art without their consent.

Either way, it’s inevitable that AI will be used to generate art, ethically or not. I still can’t answer simple questions like “Who is the author of this piece of art?”. The AI? The people that created the AI? The people that created the works with which AI was trained with? Is it even relevant if it makes you feel something and inspires you? Lots of unanswered questions, sorry. But I think it’s expected given the complexity and novelty of this whole situation. For Apotheus, we will continue to create art because that’s what we want to keep doing.

MZ – Do you feel like there will ever be an ability to regulate AI effectively?

Apotheus – I feel like we’ve seen similar situations in the past. Piracy, for example. We tried to regulate it, make it illegal. That didn’t stop piracy. What it did was to make it unsafe, harder to access, obscure. But it didn’t stop it. Then came Spotify and other streaming services, and I think those killed piracy by making the content conveniently accessible in a controlled and well executed platform.

Similar attempts happened with cryptocurrency and prostitution, for example. For AI, making it safe might be our best bet. AI safety is a growing scientific field nowadays.

MZ – Do you think AI will change us for the better or for worse?

Apotheus – Much like Asimov’s stories and the author himself, I tend to be an optimist in such matters. We have countless examples of humanity eventually benefiting of technological advancements, even if the road can definitely be really windy sometimes.

MZ – Do you think there are both positive and negative points to the evolution of AI?

Apotheus – I believe so. Just as it happened with internet, nuclear power, cryptocurrency, cars, cellphones, etc. Every tool can be used for the good and for the bad. I think it is possible to place the correct incentives so that people don’t feel motivated to use it for bad reasons.

MZ – As divided as humans appear to be at this moment in history, do you think there is a possibility they will ever be able to truly unite against a common enemy?

Apotheus – Again, being an optimist, I think so. If you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, we’ve never had less conflict than nowadays (even if it might not feel that way). Rewind the clock a few centuries, and things looked a lot worse. If we had a common enemy, I believe we could unite, even if the path to that can be hard sometimes. It’s actually one of the things we explore in “Ergo Atlas”. Human individuality is something valuable I think, even if it is costly and inconvenient to preserve sometimes.

MZ – Is there any warning you would give to the population of Earth based on what you see going on with technology and politics today?

Apotheus – If I could make a callout, it would be to combat ideas with ideas, respect democracy and differences and encourage critical thinking. I feel like so many of the world’s problems are caused by people talking past each other or people not thinking critically. In my view, that creates a space in which violence can emerge. As Asimov’s famously said “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”.

MZ – What is the main message you hope the listener takes away from this record?

Apotheus – The main goal with “Ergo Atlas” was to make people question how much they value their own individuality. Do you value it above everything else? Above death? Above your loved ones? Each person has their own answers to these questions, and they’re not necessarily right or wrong. I just hope this album provokes self-discovery in all of us and of course, that you get a good time enjoying our music.

MZ – What do you think they should watch out for?

Apotheus – We will be touring Europe! Definitely watch out for that. Also, the sequel for Ergo Atlas will be of your interest, for sure. Definitely watch out for that, and we hope to see you at our shows were the full experience really materializes.

Thank you for the interview. It was a pleasure!