Italy's metal scene is a flourishing one, sure it has household names like Lacuna Coil, Theatres Des Vampires, Exilia and Fleshgod Apocalypse to name but a few, it does however have a vibrant underground scene stretching from the Alpine regions right down to the Sicilian lands, bypassing the Sammarinese (San Marino) metal scene along the way.
Currently causing a buzz in Tuscany is Progressive sextet MindAhead who just last year dropped their debut album 'Reflections' via Revalve Records (http://revalverecords.bigcartel.com/product/mindahead-reflections), GMA checked in with this uprising ensemble to find out what carries this band forward and their unique connection with... San Marino.
"the issue [in Italy] is that there is not a huge live culture... local venues have no audience and so close and the groups are not known and do not emerge"
How did MindAhead start out? Were members of the band in previous bands?
"MindAheaD were born in 2010 at the behest of the guitarist Nicola D'Alessio (previously Athena and Hellrage). Firstly, guitarist Matthieu Angbeletchy joined the project, then the vocals composed by the aggressive voice of Francesco Novelli and the sweet voice of Kyo Calati (Evergaze Eternity), in the end and at the beginning of 2013, with the arrival of the bassist Matteo Prandini (Humangled) and the drummer Matteo Ferrigno (Exsecror).
With this line-up, MindAheaD created songs that composed their first studio album. In 2016 Matthieu left the band for personal reasons and was replaced with Guido Scibetta (now with Room 6 and Phalenae as well).
This band is formed by senior members and others much younger, and has been for many of us the first live and studio recording experience."
What is the metal scene like in Tuscany?
"There are a lot of metal bands in Tuscany, because there's a lot of passion for metal music. We're proud to know and to have shared the stage with Str8, Vision Divine, Domine, Felon, Deathless Legacy, Lab Eleven, Panic0 and many others and soon we'll be on stage with Norhod.
There are also several local venues: Borderline (PI), Theremin Live Music (MS), The Cage (LI), Deposito Pontecorvo (PI), Circus (FI), Cycle (FI), Patatrack (LU), Exenzia (PO) and many others.
In spite of all these bands (and many others), the issue in Tuscany and in Italy in general, is that there is not a huge live culture. People want to be reassured and so listen to music they already know (hence the birth of the cover and tribute bands), the local venues have no audience and so close and the groups are not known and do not emerge."
What sights / attractions could you recommend to metalheads visiting Tuscany to go and see?
"Tuscany, like the other Italian regions, is full of museums, buildings and great places to visit (more than 50% of artistic heritage is in Italy). We have the sea and mountains, the sun and the art... unfortunately often we don't know how to manage them. Tuscany is a great place to visit, we live in Pisa, where the leaning tower and the cathedral is, where were born and lived Galileo, Fibonacci, Pacinotti but everywhere you can find something great."
What is the meaning behind your band name? Who came up with it?
"Our band name is wordplay and is composed of two words: Mind (thought) and Head (anatomic part), as a (musical) creature that expresses herself through the rationality of the matter and the irrational power of the madness, underlined by capital letters M.A.D.. she looks "AheaD" to satisfy new expressive needs, exploring new frontiers and mixing together a lot of musical influences. We think that our music should express all these aspects, currently through the notes of "Reflections", maybe tomorrow in a different way, but always true to herself."
Your album 'Reflections' was mastered at Domination Studios in Republic of San Marino, were you previously aware of a metal scene in San Marino? What are your thoughts on metal's global spread?
"Not at all, but Simone Mularoni, great guitarist of DGM, is a guru for mastering metal stuff. Relating to the second part of your question I have already answered earlier just in part. Italy is a very conservative and traditional country, so it's very hard to change the behaviours. Radio stations bombard the people with hits and blockbusters, and this is normal and common across the world, but here there's no alternative... we have almost just pop music, or jazz if you are a scholar. The people should be free to know every kind of music and the decide what prefer to listen. This leads to a lack of musical culture.
From this point of view the social networks are a great resource for the diffusion, but all depends from the curiosity of the listener."
What has the reception of 'Reflections' been like from media and fans alike? Will there be a UK / EU tour in promotion of it?
"We've received a lot of really great reviews, from the UK as well, and we've been in Spain for a mini tour. It would be wonderful to be able to come and play in UK and we hope than one day this will be real in the future, but for now we have to promote "Reflections" here and try to make a UK tour possible."
Speaking of the UK, are you worried about Brexit and the challenges that you might / could be faced with?
"We're very worried about all the instability that we can feel during this time. We don't know if Brexit is the right way to solve the problems but we have to do something for sure. Brexit and other issues (see Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy etc...) are the consequence of politics, not the cause of problems. We think also that journalism is not (or no more) very reliable and responsible, then it creates fear in people and the results are that we divide us. EU is a great thing, although with a billion of problems to solve, but it certainly helped to circulate a lot of culture between the countries: with Brexit we're afraid that UK could be isolated from other countries."
What can fans expect from MindAhead in the year ahead?
"We'll try to promote "Reflections" as more as possible, but we know that we're making our first steps. In May we'll be on stage for two dates at Circus (Florence) and Traffic (Rome) with Moldova's Jinjer. Meanwhile we're working new material for the next album; we have already got a lot of riffs and grooves ready to be assembled :-)
Thank you so much for this interview and for the time you gave us. We really hope to have the possibility to play our music in your wonderful country. Stay MAD!!!"
'Reflections' is out now via Revalve Records
A decade seems a long while right? Well to most it does, but perhaps not so much for Aevum who have just last month released their second album 'Dischronia', a heavenly slab of Symphonic Metal devised by the Italian octet.
However over their decade of activity the band's world was slewed by numerous line-up changes, thus hindering the time when they would unleash their debut album 'Impressions' (2014); a full 7 years since their birth.
But for a band who hails from the city used for 'The Italian Job', Turin, their new-found blueprint certainly seems to have them on the right path and perhaps might become a shining beacon within the Symphonic Metal movement. Aevum were more than happy to let GMA into a few secrets as the interview shall now reveal....
How did Aevum start and were the members in bands previously?
"We started in Turin in 2007, we were so young at the time... in the beginning it was like a garage band, we had no particular goals, just a huge will to play and express our feelings through the music we love."
It's been a decade since Aevum started and you've just released your second album, what challenges have you had to overcome?
"How far ahead you can see; it took us four years to move from the first EP onto the second EP. We had to take our time to find the right set-up and the perfect line-up for our project. We consider 2011 our real year of birth.
A band is like a big family... you have to overcome many different situations as they happen. Our hardest challenge was the 2016 line-up change... we had to find the right people committed to this project, and we made it! Now we are completely satisfied about the line-up, we are so close to each other, and Dischronia represents the amazing result of this intense teamwork."
Symphonic Metal seems to be well-represented in Italy, what made you decide to make this music and is Symphonic Metal popular?
"The symphonic scene is an important reality in Italy. I think that this kind of music gives you the chance to express your feelings and ideas through many different musical aspects. When you listen, our music is inspired by many influences and 'Dischronia', as our previous album 'Impressions', acknowledges other music styles too... jazz beat, swing, blues, heavy metal, black metal, electro, dubstep, reggae... and many more.."
Will there be a tour in support of the new album? If so where are you playing? Is the UK in sight? Are you worried about Brexit?
"Sure, we are working in partnership with the Alpha and Omega booking agency to get gigs in different countries this year. Actually we can't give you any more details than that, but we are preparing something special and maybe, we hope, we will be able to reach some venues in the UK too.
What about Brexit? We are not worried but certainly we are sad about this, we think that we have lost a good opportunity to stick together to make Europe a better place to live."
Could you give us a brief overview of what each song title means?
"You have to know that 'Dischronia' is the diary of a modern, dystopic travel. It retraces the journeys of the Romantic wanderers who, travelling through Europe to see the most astonishing views, cities and masterpieces, fulfilled their souls. The booklet is structured as an actual diary. Each song is inspired by a famous Italian painting or sculpture, especially from the Baroque age.
We invite you to find out or guess the sources of inspirations of the other songs!"
What can you tell us about the Turin Metal scene? e.g. venues, bands, etc
"Wow, that's a tough and awkward question. We are not very proud of our country and in particular our town. Few and fewer people get used to following the underground scene and for different reasons too many venues have closed or are closing.
At the same time it's getting harder and harder to find the right places to play, but still, we have lots of good bands and good musicians in Turin... so we hope that something can change in the future".
What sights / attractions should metalheads see in Turin?
"Turin is less known than Rome, Florence, Venice, etc., but you can bet it's a wonderful town, just like the others mentioned before! Turin was a royal city, it was the first capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
I think that the streets, the squares, the buildings still reflect this royal ancestry.
In Turin there are many things to see, from different ages: you have the Roman doors to the city, the Baroque royal castle, lovely porticoed avenues, stunning churches, trendy shops, delicious restaurants... really, tourists shouldn't miss a trip to our town!"
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
"Our plans? Conquer the world! (lol) Certainly we would like to spread our music as much as possible around the world. We hope to play in Europe and, if possible, outside the European borders too. So... we hope to have an intense year, full of new exciting experiences, new people, new friends, new places, new venues... see you on the road!"
'Dischronia' is now out via Maple Metal Records
Many might see their latest photo as perhaps as Visual Kei, sure their Gothic-Glam crossover is one to admire and for the ladies to swoon over. But this quintet are no pushovers, in fact what we could see here is in fact the dawn of a new scene in Italy, as the guys in Beyond The Fallen go on to explain, hailing from the Vatican City (or Italy) is not as weird as it seems, or is it?
Hi guys, for those who do not know of Beyond The Fallen could you give us a brief history? Are you really from the Vatican?
"Hey there! We are Beyond The Fallen, an industrial metalcore band born and raised in the Vatican City, as odd as it may sound. We started the band back in 2014, releasing a full length album named "You Rise, We Fall". In 2015 we released a remix EP named "Re:Fall", while our latest piece of work is a single called "Anima"."
Italy has had a long-standing history with the industrial music sound, what makes it so popular there (if so)?
"Actually, metal bands and in general alternative music in Italy doesn't work out as well as it may seem from the outside. There's been probably one, maybe two alternative bands that actually "made it" in the alternative music scene, but truth is any metal band in Italy knows very well that the only way to make it is to gain attention from international labels and fans. "
You recently released your new video 'Anima', what makes the sound different in comparison to older songs? Is there a story behind the video?
" "Anima" was our first work with our guitarist Yuki, who entered the band after the release of our first LP. We wanted to evolve our sound from the very harsh, raw industrial of our first record to something more polished and modern, and it turned out to be very easy and natural thanks to Yuki's approach to songwriting and music in general, which was very different from what we've had with "You Rise, We Fall". The result was a more metalcore-ish song, with loud guitars and a lot of changes in the song moods. We kept some of our key elements though, like synths and drum-work, and the mix turned out to be an excellent starting point for us in our pursuit of a new sound.
About the video, we did something different this time around. In our first video, "Disconnected", we played a lot with dark and sick atmospheres, trying to achieve something that would confuse and impress the viewer. With "Anima" we did the opposite. The white background gives a sense of clarity, everything is bright and visible and while there are still some strange, confusing elements (thanks to our wonderful actors and costume designers) the action is quite clear so the viewer can focus more on the overall flow instead of wtf-ing about what's happening on screen."
How was it working with Utau Yume on the music video? Would you invite her on tour with you?
"We've had a great experience working with Utau Yume. It was our first time working with someone else, and her music is so different from ours that we actually were a bit concerned about how things could turn out. Instead, everything went extremely smooth. Songwriting sessions with her were very easy and fun, and everything came out naturally. Not to mention her incredible performance! We'd love to bring her with us on stage, it's something we already thought and talked about, and we can't deny that it could surely happen."
What has the international response to your music been like so far? Have you had any fans come from any countries that you were surprised by? What do people in your area think of your music?
"We've had a great support from both national and international fans. Most of them were surprised about how different "Anima" was from our previous work, but thankfully in a good way. With the release of the single we also printed physical copies of it and of our previous LP and EP, which were only digital at the time of release. We still don't know why but it seems our music gets a lot of love in Mexico.
We tried to reach countries like Germany, UK and of course the US, but the love and support we receive from Mexican fans is something we didn't expect at all and we're very happy and grateful about it. We also have fans from Japan, and our love for the people there and the country itself was what led us to write a song in japanese. About Italy, we played several shows around the country in the last 2 years, and we managed to reach a lot of people who supports us in a wonderful way."
With the popularisation of the 'Gothic Metalcore' movement inspired by Motionless In White, would you consider them and yourselves as pioneers of the said genre? Or what you describe yourselves as?
"MIW could totally be considered pioneers, but for us, we don't consider what we do pioneering at all. We had an idea, back then, to try and mix our love for the '90s industrial scene with modern metal music, and we're still working on it to get to the sound we have in mind. When we'll reach that point, fans and critics will say if what we do is pioneering or not, but for us it's just trying to express ourselves in the way we think best suits what and who we are."
Does each member have their own unique look in terms of clothing and make-up? Would it be safe to say that you're influenced by the Visual Kei scene?
"We are totally influenced by the V-Kei scene! We went a little overboard in the promo material for "Anima", but with it being a song in Japanese, mostly for japanese fans, we felt it was natural and we've had a lot of fun building our looks and outfits. Every one of us has a very different taste in style so we find ourselves talking (and arguing) about our looks often when we have to shoot a video or some promo pics. While writing and playing music are of course our favourites things to do, we surely think and work a lot about our image in order to deliver something that's carefully thought and realized from start to finish."
Where does Beyond The Fallen go on from here (the music video release)? Debut album? UK / EU tour?
"We have a lot of material for our second LP, that should come out sometime around 2017. We'll start working in studio in October, and thanks to "Anima" we have a clearer idea about what the album will be. We can't wait to let you guys listen to it!"
Finally do you have any hello's or thank you's you wish to send out?
"We'd like to thank you for this interview of course! And also thanks to all of our fans for their incredible support, we never thought what we do could mean so much for people and every one of our fans is a reason for us to keep working as hard as we can."
Gone In April started in 2011 through their debut album "We Are But Human", culminating in the band playing across North America and Asia; the latter seeing this group co-headline 'The Great Indian Octoberfest' held in Bangalore. They also headlined the WaveTransform Festival 2014 (North America), as well as other events in the USA.
Following Gone In April's second album "Threads Of Existence" which saw new members joining from the USA and Canada, and another appearance at the WaveTransform Festival, GMA decided it was time to collar this group and excavate the facts behind this multinational facade.
So we bound Julie to a chair in a leather catsuit and placed Yanic in confinement, at least that way they could not escape... mind we did not give Julie the catsuit in the first place... another story for another time. Read below to see how it went.
"It is nice to see the diversity and unity continue to grow within the metal community" (on metal music)
Firstly, how did Gone In April come to prominence and how do you maintain communication? Seeing as it's key to an international band / project, what limitations have you overcome?
"Yes, some aspects of international projects are indeed managed a little differently than bands whose members all reside within the same region, however, many aspects are not any different at all. In terms of communication, my belief and experience over the last decade is “if there is a will, there is a way”. Communication between Gone In April team members is very efficient. Through emails, text messages, video chats, etc, we typically get replies from musicians within 24 hrs, which enables us to move forward with our planning efficiently."
"Writing new material is an aspect which is managed a little differently. Since writing is not done during rehearsal with all musicians in one room, each musician writes his parts in his home-town, and sends recordings of his parts by email. One of us will start to work on new material, and send audio files to the other musicians. Then, another musician will work on the material in his home-town, and send his parts to the others, and the work continues in that fashion over a period of several months. All musicians work separately, listening to the other musicians’ audio files, focusing on, and analysing, the composition, and providing feedback to other team members. Once everybody has reviewed and approved all the parts, the official recording begins and all parts come together. Some musicians record in their studio, and some travel to the studio where the majority of the production is taking place, which in this case, is WaveTransform Recording Studio in Knoxville, TN, USA."
"When it comes to band rehearsals and live performances, we all rehearse in advance by ourselves, and the group meets in the same city for rehearsals a few days before the series of live performances. Working with musicians from different countries also requires travel (flights, lodging, etc), as well as working with immigration organizations to get work visas for the musicians which are not citizens of the country where performances are taking place. Therefore, there is a bit more administrative work to be done by the band, however, once a band has experience with international management, international touring becomes a much easier task and many opportunities open up for the band.
For example, Gone In April had the opportunity to travel to Bangalore, India, to perform as a metal co-headliner, alongside Children Of Bodom, at The Great Indian Octoberfest 2012, a 3-day festival with a typical 60 000 attendance. This opportunity might not have been possible without the international management experience of the band. The band also performed at the WaveTransform Festival, in Knoxville, TN, USA, in 2014 and 2016, as well as for other dates in the USA between 2012 and 2016. These international concerts have helped the band get more international visibility. In addition, getting amazing support from magazines, webzines, etc, from various continents, through album reviews and interviews helps a great deal as well. Global Metal Apocalypse is a great example of that! Thank you!"
Having played in India, would you say that metal music unites the world regardless of social, political or religious differences?
"Yes, from my experience, the metal community is a very diverse community. I believe the diversity promotes a sense of open-mindedness, unity, and adaptation. I have had the chance to perform in North America, in Europe, and in Asia, and fans have always been very supportive, regardless of social, political or religious background. In addition, metal musicians are constantly pushing the limits of music composition and performance, and the diversity of the metal community has contributed to creating the sub-genres of metal. I believe that musicians who have contributed to creating sub-genres of metal have come from several different backgrounds, have been exposed to and have had interest for various cultures, which has led them to be interested in several styles of music, and hence, help create a new blend. It is nice to see the diversity and unity continue to grow within the metal community."
You recently released your second album 'Threads of Existence', could you give us a break down of what each song means? What did you do different on this album in comparison to your debut 'We Are But Human'?
"The concept of the 1st album focused on the psychological evolution of a 13th century warrior. The concept of the 2nd album focuses on survival of an individual, or a group or a society within various environments and situations, through its existence, hence the title “Threads of Existence”."
The Curtain Will Rise:
An individual, whose goal is to climb Mount Everest, begins his climb after having trained for years for this challenge. On the way up, the climber faces mental and physical challenges, and wonders whether or not the top will be reached, or if death will be faced. If the top is reached, the curtain will rise to reveal the achievement.
Our Future Line:
A young boy’s family passes away in a tragedy. The boy is brought to a guardian. The guardian, who owns a sawmill, treats the boy as a slave, does not provide proper food and shelter. As the boy faces these challenges, he becomes stronger and eventually takes ownership of his future time line and makes changes to his life, by confronting the guardian, and freeing himself.
Remember The Days:
A group of sailors leave their home country to travel overseas, to a land which they believe will be filled with better opportunities. The sea is a challenging environment. The group struggles, and, in their fight for survival, many of them die of malnutrition. Sailors remember the old days in their former country and wonder if they took their life for granted. In their search for greener pastures, they might not survive the trip, and if they do, they hope it will be to find a land that contains opportunities which were worth risking their lives.
As Hope Welcomes Death:
Soldiers are injured at war and are taken to the infirmary. Although they are now on safer grounds, another battle begins: a battle for survival. Medical staff do their best to take care of soldiers, and keep their spirits up. Some soldiers hope to make it out alive and fight daily for survival, and others wish for death in order for their suffering to come to an end.
Embracing The Light:
At the end of his life, an older gentleman holds his grandson in his arms. While his own life bleeds away, the baby’s life is just starting. The old man passes down his knowledge to the boy, telling him all he knows about this world where beauty is weaved with horror, where time stretches forever, and then suddenly flies away. He hopes that he will continue to live in the memory of his descendant once he draws his last breath.
A Million Souls Gather:
Cancer begins to grow and invades the body. After much growth, the individual feels symptoms and finds out about the cancer. Treatment is necessary. The patient will fight for survival alongside powerful allies: technologies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment begins as the allies, the million souls, gather and begin the annihilation of cancer.
There are 16 personality types per the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. One type, the “ENTJ”, is organized, productive, motivated, with high willpower, determination, and leadership skills, has vision and a desire to achieve. The “ENTJ” will not sit back and see what life brings, but will proactively make things happen and relentlessly work to achieve its goals. It takes many types of personalities for a society to survive and be healthy. The lyrics present the world in the eyes on an ENTJ personality type, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the personality type.
The Great Contemplation:
An author’s inspiration is constantly challenged throughout his lifetime, hence his survival is threatened. At the start of the author’s career, all ideas for the first publication are fresh as the author has not yet written and released any works. As the author grows, he gets challenged to find new ideas for the new publications, as to not repeat or release the same content as the first books. The author evolves and develops new tools and ideas to generate inspiration.
The Will To End A Life:
A fighter pilot during war has 2 choices: kill to survive, or be killed. Although the soldier fights to rid the world of evil, the soldier realizes that “overtaking evil begins with the will to end a life”, and that “evil begins with the will to end a life.” Survival sometimes involves surrendering to evil. The soldier begins to questions his actions.
Regarding your new album, have you got any plans to take your album promoting shows to Europe? The UK?
"We are currently working on dates for the North America, Asia, and South America for autumn 2016. We look forward to opportunities in Europe in late 2016 or 2017."
You played the WaveTransform Festival, what can you tell us about the festival? Are there any more festivals near to where you are situated?
"The WaveTransform Festival is a series of prominent music concerts presented at one of East Tennessee’s theatres, the US Cellular Stage at the Bijou Theatre. The line-up consists of artists from WaveTransform Recording Studio. The festival features events which cover several styles of music, and which include both local artists and international musicians. Gone In April was fortunate to perform at the last 2 festivals, and we look forward to the next festival. Another great festival in the area is Progpower USA in Atlanta, GA, featuring national and international acts."
What hobbies does the band have outside of playing music? Do you have any pastimes you indulge in?
"I play with symphony orchestras, sing with opera companies, and teach voice and violin. When I have a little bit of time, I enjoy hiking, crossfit, D&D, as well as spending time with friends.
Marc teaches music in college, and outside normal hours, is hired as a session guitarist for live and studio. At the moment, he is doing a Masters degree in Music, therefore, most of his spare time goes to academic work for his studies, and rehearsing. He enjoys watching movies and playing video games.
Steve spends most of his time on tour and in studios, away from home, but to answer the question, he just texted and said his hobby involves “trying to play bass half as good as Yanic does air-bass”.
Now you know Yanic enjoys to air-bass…! Yanic works over 100 hours per week. He is a Physicist and Engineer, and designs nuclear medicine scanners, and also runs a recording studio (as an engineer and session drummer) and event management company. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This applies to Yanic’s crazy lifestyle. He loves what he does, so everything is like a hobby. He does enjoy watching movies and TV shows to relax a bit before his little amount of sleep.
Aaron likes to spend time with friends, watch movies. He also plays in another band, produced at Yanic’s studio, so he spends time writing and performing for his band."
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year?
"As mentioned earlier, we are currently planning live performance dates for autumn of 2016. We look forward to growing our fan base, and meeting a lot of fans on the road who support the band."
Finally are there any hello's / thank you's you wish to send out?
We would like to thank all the fans who have supported us throughout the years. We look forward to meeting many of you on road! If you would like to see Gone In April perform in your home-town, contact us and let us now! We will be glad to pursue opportunities within your region! Many thanks to you, Rhys, from Global Metal Apocalypse for all the support!
Ahead of Fleshgod Apocalypse's tour of the UK and after they had finished their USA stint, GMA initiated contact with and interviewed frontman Tommaso Riccardi through Skype. Having formed back in 2007 in the beautiful city of Perugia, Fleshgod Apocalypse have since then ramped up themselves year after year, delivering four extremely well-received albums:- Oracles (2009), Agony (2011), Labyrinth (2013) and their latest offering King (2016). All whilst playing all over the world supporting and headlining, last year they headlined the Sophie stage at Bloodstock to a packed-out tent and are kicking off their UK/EU tour today by performing tonight at The Audio in Glasgow (SCO).
After which they will play at three other UK venues in Manchester, Bristol and London before setting off rampaging across Europe. Where they will be performing in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Switzerland and of course Italy. After which their string of summer festival appearances take them to Germany, Belgium, France, Finland and Spain (all dates for the tours and festival appearances can be found here)
Let the interrogation begin!!!
"We never thought about it (Eurovision), that could be a good idea though I mean there are no restrictions on the music genres so you know it could be interesting to see what happens"
Having played in the US, Tommaso admitted he still felt the jet-lag from the whole tour (USA is at least an 8-hour flight from the UK; 5 hours behind, so you can understand). 'King' as said stands as the band's fourth album and was released earlier this year, so by asking for a background explanation to what is going on behind the lyrical content and what the artwork portrays, Tommaso was able to give a in-depth account to what makes the album not only what it is, but also tick.
He admits that the formula used for this albums is the same formula used for all FA albums, that is by having an idea as to what the band wants to sing about, they can break it down into smaller 'chapters', as for the artwork the "visual is strictly connected with the concept itself", essentially the artwork explains visually what the album concept is about, in fact FA likes to talk about "human beings in the terms of how our behaviour, our feelings reflect on the world we have around us and how these two different worlds: the outside world and the inner world influence themselves", essentially from this you can gather that FA are somewhat philosophical when it comes to the albums in question, whether it has to do with their Italian heritage is a question for another time.
In context with 'King' they became inspired and guided by modern societal influences but not of a political nature, adding that the band prefers to look at something in a purely philosophical way (this lead me onto thinking maybe FA could become the next band to be questioned if lyrics can be educational). Tommaso believes that people are becoming lost in modern society and in doing so getting addicted and hooked on needless things, adding that 'King' is on two different levels and Tommaso goes on to explain these levels:-
Two tracks that really stand out are: "Healing Through War" and "The Fool" and so Tommaso was pleased to explain the meaning behind each of those songs (you can watch and listen to "The Fool" below via YouTube):-
Next year the band will be ten years old, so speaking about how FA came about mixing classical elements with Technical Death Metal in the very beginning, Tommaso welcomed us into the Fleshgod Apocalypse-sphere as it were. The FA sound "came from a very simple intuition at the beginning" and "like every idea you have it's really a matter of experimenting and developing, and seeing where that idea can take you", with references harking back to their Italian background and subsequent heritage as Tommaso continues to explain:-
"Essentially in different ways we will have been fans or in any way have had influences also as kids by classical music, and of course all of us at that time were already into metal music (for a while having played in previous bands and projects), but I really think that the fact of this idea mixing it with classical music came simply from also our heritage. Of course being Italian is something that really makes it part in that we had also a lot of very important musicians and composers, so in a way it was really something that came from a very simple intuition, that then in due time of course to integrate all the different aspects and to understand the mechanism of our music and understand also the ways to reach a certain balance between all of these elements".
Because of this it would seem that the band arguably could have created their own genre as a result, but as Tommaso highlighted if you have an idea and you experiment and develop that idea, it can lead to things, but naturally the band did not set out to create a new genre because it had to be created, but rather as said, followed their instincts as Tommaso goes on to elaborate:-
"It's something that's never up to the musician himself to say because of course its feedback from people who support the band and listening to the music that's the most important thing. For sure we really tried to be as much as possible as original, but not in a way that meant we are just looking for something that has to be different just because, but simply I guess the fact that we incorporated certain elements, and the fact that of course those elements are obviously influenced simply by our own personality, in some way created something that at this point starts to be something that you can say 'OK this is Fleshgod Apocalypse'. I mean I guess that at this point there are certain elements that are recognisable as Fleshgod Apocalypse elements so we're just trying to keep on following this inspiration and this thought that we have, just trying to do our thing".
Speaking of doing their own thing, we had one of our readers ask a question some time ago about how fast (and if he has tested it) the FA drummer Francesco Paoli actually drums. At this question Tommaso delightfully chuckles and admits that Francesco unfortunately hasn't taken a 'drumming speed test' before going on to talk about said musician:-
"Francesco is really... I mean obviously he is a drummer at this point, but you always have to consider that Francesco is someone who started playing drums just because the band needed a drummer; he started in late 2008, previously as you know he was the vocalist and guitarist at the very beginning, but actually before we started touring. Then he decided to start studying drums, because it was a need of the band, so this is just to say that he's really a musician and not just an instrument player, that means that also his interest is always always the fact of giving the music what the music needs.
So actually it is true that he is probably one of the fastest drummers out there, but in the mean time he is not even that kind of 'nerd musician', he's really dedicated to the music and also the fact that he's the main composer and in a way he's like the 'artistic director' in Fleshgod Apocalypse, that gives you an idea of that he's a very transversal musician and he really does what is needed, so even for the speed and kind of techniques he uses, essentially the music requires it. I couldn't say how fast though, I guess what we really care about is the quality of the music and how the technique can be used to make music what it is."
Attention was then turned to (along the lines of 'quality of music') towards Francesco Ferrini, who in 2010 joined FA as the pianist and on orchestration:-
"He's (Francesco) been working with us actually since the beginning in the meaning that for example in "Oracles" we still didn't get to the point in which we had a full orchestration throughout the whole album, but we already had interludes and parts, orchestral parts and of course piano parts because already in "Oracles" for example the title track was a piano song and he was already working on that part of the music even before joining the band as a live member. Then from like late 2010 / beginning of 2011, he joined as a full member also in the live shows and of course since then and since "Agony" we actually introduced the full orchestration into the whole music. He started also working on composition and arrangements together with Francesco Paoli, so now it's these two guys that mainly work on the composition".
Consequently the first album that Francesco Ferrini appeared on was "Agony" and this partially formed the basis for the next question, well the other part was focusing on a specific track. One of the less aggressive songs that FA have put out, of which the music video matched the level of aggression exerted - virtually very little. 'The Forsaking' is a lovely number, it is piano-driven, full of dramatic twists and turns and as the music video goes (you can watch it below), the setting is rather majestic. Speaking about the venue, which presumably was in Perugia, I was wrong but wasn't completely far from the truth as Tommaso goes on to explain:-
"Yeah well nearby it's Città di Castello, that is like 60km (37 miles) from Perugia so yes it's in the area". What can you tell us about the venue and have you played there? "No actually we haven't, that's a theatre that is mainly used for ballet, opera and classical music, sometimes other kinds of music like jazz shows, it was really interesting that the piano that Francesco used to do all the private parts in the video is the piano that has been played a few years before by Michele Porchene (I am not sure of the name so I apologise if wrong) for example, so that is an Italian artist on piano and it has been played on by a lot of crazy musicians. But actually we've never played there, actually during tours we had the chance sometimes to play in actual theatres, but we still didn't play a full show in an ancient theatre like that and that's obviously something that could be suitable for future shows but also a live video, because I think it would be the perfect frame for one of our shows."
It's always cool to see bands play and perform in some of the most unorthodox of venues, be it a castle, theatre, church, vineyard (in Australia) or hell even right down to Metallica playing in Antarctica and The Defiled playing on an iceberg.... but what about Eurovision? Well Lordi did it and won it for Finland, soon a flurry of metal acts made the leap into the song contest: Eldrine (Georgia), Terasbetoni (Finland), maNga (Turkey) and Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko (Albania). So what about Fleshgod Apocalypse? Clearly Francesco has his eyes on the possibility as he explains:-
"To be honest we never thought about it, that could be a good idea though I mean there are no restrictions on the music genres so you know it could be interesting to see what happens, you know it could be interesting actually... you could probably have given me a good idea now (laughs)". Well Lordi did it. "Oh ya ya, that's what I mean, we could really consider to try and do that, it's one of those things that obviously fascinates me just because I like music things like that, like the Grammy awards, stuff like that so I really, you know I would never say no to anything like that just because I like the idea of participating in a contest that is so important, that's the only thing I could think about".
Aside from Eurovision being an interest, I asked Tommaso what hobbies and interests does he and the band have, how the band survives on tour and reflecting on a musicians life essentially:-
"One of the things that I love the most and I know it's a very simple thing and also probably very, VERY typical for an Italian but I really really consider food and wine as something that is a real form of art. So every time I get the chance, I really try to just see some friends and go to some place that I like, there are a couple of places here in my home town, especially a couple of wineries that I really love and we also like the people that work there, they're my friends. So whenever I get the chance and I've come home from tours I try to catch up with my few good friends and just go for some good food and wine, because I really like to experiment and try all these different things. Besides that I really like skateboarding, this is something I've discovered really late so even though I'm 33 I'm actually a beginner (I started at the age of 30), but still it's something that really frees my mind, so every time I can during the warm season (summer) I really try to go skating.
For each of the other guys, Ferrini for example he's a real expert in cinema - I like cinema but he is one of those guys who really checks out everything, so he is really into cinema so he spends a lot of time watching movies and of course going to see movies at the cinema. Paolo (Rossi) for example is a big football supporter of our home town - A.C. Perugia Calcio (it's possible that Paolo's parents named him after an ex-player of the club of the same name), when Perugia plays at home he always goes to see the match at the stadium and really follows Serie-A and Serie-B.
Francesco Paoli is the only member who has a kid for now, so of course he spends a lot of time with his kid and most of the times I see that when he has a couple of days off he always tries to go skiing, because he really likes it. So you know normal things here and there, because of course now the band became something that really takes a lot of our time and also energy, so it's so important to sometimes to try to distract yourself from what you do, even if it's your passion, sure you become used to touring and recording music, but you also learn how to manage your energy - it's about getting used to a certain lifestyle and consequently seeing if that lifestyle is alright for you.
For each of the guys and for me, I really like touring, I like seeing different places and discovering things, how different cultures work. I really like to see the world, obviously on tour you just have a very short amount of time everywhere you go, but still you get that experience that is different obviously than from going on vacation and having time to check out a lot of things, but still it's really interesting but of course it is something that takes a lot of energy both physically and mentally, because there's so many constant changes that it is impossible to call anything a routine, so that's obviously an exciting part, but also sometimes a very stressful part because you continuously switch from one lifestyle to another and that's of course very stressful.
I think this works until you're really doing what you do with friends and the good thing that in Fleshgod Apocalypse is that we're friends first of all and that means that, when we jump on stage it's not just doing our duty but it's something that we really share and I really think that, that's the only way to really take the touring life in a good way, because I could not imagine how it could be to be on tour for so much time and don't get along with each other, you know what I mean? So for us we're lucky in the meaning that we really... sometimes we also fight on every little thing but it's always a very constructive fight, so it's always getting better altogether and finding the best way to bring things together."
If you recall earlier in the interview, Tommaso revealed that he likes food and wine, well with AC/DC having already revealed their own wine and Iron Maiden their own beer, has or would Fleshgod Apocalypse ever release(d) their own wine?
"We actually already do, we have our own brand out there, for the whole "Labyrinth" promotion we put out two different wines, a red wine and a white wine, and we are putting out the new wine 'The Fool' for the promotion of "King", so it is already something that in which we are into because we, well it's really a part of our heritage so we really liked the idea so, at the beginning we wanted to do it so."
So guys Fleshgod Apocalypse have their own brand of wine coming out for the promotion of "King", so be sure to be sober enough to start drinking it (Tomasso chuckles). So how did you get into playing music and listening to metal?
"I've always been a fan of music and part of my playing when I was a kid was something that started pretty early and got me curious in the beginning, I actually started with the piano (he was 6 or 7 at the time), one of those small digital piano's from which I spent a lot of time pressing the keys and experimenting, and then my parents listen to a lot of rock music - Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Rolling Stone - and also a lot of Italian music, we had so much good Pop Rock music in Italy in the 70's and 80's; I'm from the early 80's, so I listened to a lot of my parents stuff and when they saw that I was interested in that they also introduced me to classical piano, so I've been studying classical piano for a few years when I was a kid, and then I remember that I was on probably like 5th grade when I was around 10 years old.
I remember my brother who is 9 years older than me, that when he got his driving licence I was going around with him sometimes on Sundays, just driving around the countryside and I remember that he was the first person to introduce me to Iron Maiden and I recall that it shocked me in a positive way because I remember he was listening to 'Fear of the Dark'; that actually came out when I was around 8/9 years old and I remember I was actually quite hit by this music, it was so different and then when I started intermediate school, I also had a friend of mine who was a super big fan of Queen and he gave me my very first CD as a present and it was "Hot Space" (1982), I was so blown away by Queen in particular so I started to temporarily listen to some metal music, Iron Maiden namely so after that of course discovering Metallica and then listening to Queen, Aerosmith, some rock bands from 70's / 80's.
When I was 13 years old my brother who was actually playing a little bit of guitar, pretty much acoustic guitar and so then I came pretty curious about the guitar and I remember I was continuously taking his guitar and trying to find notes by ear without knowing anything about guitar, and then I think the last push was the fact that my sister's boyfriend was a singer from a local rock band in my area and they gave me my very first electric guitar as a present when I was 13 years old and from then on I just started playing a little bit of rock music and stuff and then of course after a couple of years I formed my very first metal band with some friends of mine, and from then on of course I've been keeping on playing metal music until I found myself in Fleshgod Apocalypse.
My parents are happy of course that I was playing, they didn't push me in any direction, it's been something completely by myself that I started to do just for passion so of course they cared about me taking care about school like every parent, but in the mean time they were happy that I was playing and doing some local shows. But of course they didn't have an idea how this could or not become a job, but really they've been really supportive in that they never have pushed me in any direction, just let me do what I have in mind.
When I was 19, so right after school they asked me if I wanted to do this or that, continue into college or go to music college, or something like that, but at that time I did not know where music would take me in the end, so for many different reasons and because also I have a passion for science (his father is a researcher in medicine), I decided to study pharmacy in college - that I have been continuing also during the first years of Fleshgod Apocalypse, in the mean time I kept playing as a self-taught musician, then obviously Fleshgod became my main job and in the mean time I graduated in pharmacy, so at this point I'm a musician but at the same time I have a graduation in college, so I know something about chemistry and stuff like that. Now of course they're super happy about this and always following me, continuously communicating when I'm out - sending pictures and stuff."
Having finished their US tour, Tommaso happily stated where they have also played, where they hope to and the like:-
"We've actually been to Japan twice, we've played China, Hong Kong, Taiwan (Taipei), Indonesia, Australia, we've been to South Africa twice, Mexico twice, Costa Rica, but we're still missing South America and that's a shame, BUT we're working on it of course because I know that South America is crazy and we've been already trying to organize for a couple of times but due to timing reasons we had to pass, but we're working on it. Until now Asia in general has been amazing for us, and it's been growing really fast, I've also seen that in this particular moment with "King" we have a very high position in the charts in Japan and Australia too, so obviously we're planning on organizing a new Asian tour for "King". It's been a blast since the beginning and especially China and India, we've been to India last year and these are all new markets where there's a lot of people discovering metal music right now and it's really interesting because they didn't have the possibility of getting this, because of Governments and stuff like that.
So to see them opening up to this kind of music, to see now that it's happening is really interesting as we see fans and new fans emerging. Although I'm not very aware of what happens over that side of the world when it comes to bands, I know of some bands but still to be honest I don't know very much about what's happening with bands out there, but I see there's a lot of things happening even though it's still mainly an underground music. I do though see these bands on Facebook and continually listen to new things from all over, there's a lot of fans who send me links and stuff - there's also a lot of people interested in playing music, so of course it is a market that is destined to grow up also in terms of putting out valid bands and valid music - when a new scene starts it's always stimulating for new music to come out.
How do you keep yourself amused on tour?
"What I really try to do and I think I speak for the whole band, is really try to use that small time we have to just walk around and try to check out the places, also places we've already been because also as I've said it's always such a short time that you have because every day you play in a different city, for example in San Francisco we finished the show at around 11-11:30pm and were leaving around in 4:00am and I spent around 3 hours walking around the city at night, just because I think that's the best part of touring - it would be foolish just to.... I mean sometimes of course we do watch movies or just relax because that's obviously a good thing to do and I really like to spend time talking to other musicians and just listen to music, or sometimes just partying - that's of course a part of touring, whenever I can I also try to spend time around the city because I really like to just be outside and do things.
So that's the main thing that we try and do is seeing the place and of course now, we start having a lot of friends around the different countries - so whenever there's a good friend of ours that lives in / near the city, we obviously try to hang out with friends and spend a little time with them. Sometimes of course there's party time, but not everyday because of the show we do - it's physically challenging, so we also try to be as much as possible normal but there's of course times where you drink a little bit and you party and listen to music. It's healthy for your mind just to chill out and forget for a minute all the things about the shows and things like that."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year? (UK tour begins 13th March).
"Our last show on the tour is in London at the Underworld on 17th March, so we go back to Italy the day after and we have got ten days off over Easter, so obviously we'll try and spend time with our families and then we're leaving in the very first few days of April because we have a European tour in direct support to Ensiferum. I've seen a lot of the clubs we're playing at, there are some good clubs and so it looks set to already be a good tour so we're excited about that. Officially we're confirmed for some European festivals (having just played Hammerfest in Wales; 10th-13th March) including Hellfest (FR), Metal Days (SI), Graspop (BE) amongst other festivals, we're also trying to add other few festivals in Europe for the summer. We're working on some things for May and probably other tours between Europe and the US for the last part of the year, but nothing official has been confirmed yet. Pretty much the idea is promoting the new album as much as possible, but also going back to all the places we've been in the last few years and obviously having the chance to play new songs and play new shows."
Finally have you got any greetings you wish to send out to fans, etc?
"Of course obviously I'm supposed to say this but I always take care about saying thank you to all our fans everywhere because of course the support of fans and people who listen to our music and believe in the project is the main reason why we are here, so thank you all! Of course the same for our families, you know it would be quite impossible to be able to do this, a kind of 'crazy life' we do without the full support of our families so that's the two most important things that I would say"
Their UK tour started 10th March, lasts 7 days and finishes up in London as Tommaso said.
"See you there and thanks very much for your support!"
In Italy "It’s really hard to be noticed and not be compared with veterans like Lacuna Coil".
Country - ITALY
Genre - GOTHIC METAL
Label - REVALVE RECORDS
Since your debut album 'Fall From Heaven' dropped last year, what has been happening in the camp? Have there been any new songs? Any line up changes?
Yes, a lot of things have happened. Lately we had an important line-up change. In fact our drummer Zeljko left and went back to his hometown in Serbia. So our new drummer is Paolo Faccioni, he is a great drummer and a funny boy! On the 31st May we re-released our album “Fall From Heaven” with some new distributors.
Taken that Gothic Metal is a fairly popular genre globally, is it popular in Italy? What bands are there in this genre?
In Italy it’s not the most popular genre. Anyway there are some great bands like Lacuna Coil, Mandragora Scream, Theatres Des Vampires, etc.
Do you feel the Italian metal scene is not getting enough attention that it deserves?
It’s a matter of fact that in Italy there are loads of metal bands, but really few are known internationally. Anyway for newcomers it’s really hard to be noticed and not be compared with veterans like Lacuna Coil.
How did Sin Deadly Sin get signed to Revalve Records and what was your fans reaction to this?
We got signed by Revalve Records after being contacted by the label’s management. They heard our music on MySpace and we met and found out there could be a great cooperation.
Has Sin Deadly Sin played any festivals and have you (or are you) played / playing outside of Italy?
Last year we played at few big festivals, like Metalcamp in Slovenia and Metalfest in Croatia. We have also played at the biggest open air festival in our country like Rock Im Ring and Alpenflair, and at some contests.
What future plans does the band have and what challenges would you say lay ahead for the band?
We are looking for some opportunities to play live and promote our music in Europe.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to say to friends, family, fans, etc?
Yes, we’d like to thank all of our fans and supporters, everyone who enjoyed our music, our label, and of course, you Rhys!
Band - Lectern
Genre - Death Metal
Country - Italy
Label - Ragtime Records
How long has the band been going, how did it form and what does the band name mean?
Enrico: "The band was formed many years before I entered. Fabio is the founder of our band, the one that gave start to this malefic assault and the mastermind behind our concept. Lectern is the priest's higher place where to spread the holy lie".
Fabio "He said all so much and well, so, nothing to add more!".
What inspired you to play the style of music you play?
Enrico: "Death metal is a way of being. I was born with Death metal inside me and hate sculptured it focusing my will. In time I discovered that the hell I had in, could be translated in apocalyptic music which death metal stands for. Early extreme bands? Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and Slayer (even first Metallica four albums)".
"I was just speaking of that with Enrico one day, I told him "man, Slayer is the top of extremes how they could be so, without high blast beats and grunts?" He told me "simple: it's Slayer!".When I approached to heavy metal, it wasn't a genre so extreme rather for Venom and others. They had a great look, they were rude, but not so skilled at play. We had Iron Maiden that changed the visual concept of how a gig was meant to be finally on a stage, I'm speaking about Powerslave tour and what came after.
The Nineties, changed everything prepared by Slayer since the middle and at the end of the Eighties. Reign In Blood changed all, unconsciously this band was unaware of the monstrous styles they were forging like death metal and grind. Then, someone understood that you can play faster, brutal and out of all patterns just going a bit forward! Holy fuck! Florida was the home of prime movers like Morbid Angel and Deicide, sons of a brutalized thrash: death metal was born. If I think about death metal, I wanna an insane show, motherfucking weird riffs, growls and solos and an approach that destroys every kinda melody. These bands are legendary, with other great acts like New York kings Suffocation and early Immolation and Incantation. Europeans were too busy with schemes and elegance in riffs, Americans were the bastard Yankees they're and always will be, ready to blow you away! Lectern belongs to this second side".
What is your local town / city scene like?
Enrico: "Rome's metal-rama is quite good against all the critics everyone part of the scene, sentences. We got even few international bands, like Hour Of Penance and Buffalo Grillz, and a very florid underground. Some of those bands are ascending in terms of importance and in terms of presence during important festivals in Italy and outside our boundaries. Extreme or classic both are in our scene. Most of us are part of the same crew even, good friends even I mean".
Fabio: "Perfidy Biblical and Lectern are my bands, and the best in Rome I knew was last summer, guitarist of our Finnish brothers Ceaseless Torment and hope to play with them in Helsinki as promised. It's quite strange, I don't use to listen to so much metal by now, 'cause I don't like going too much outside, I hate people but myself and I don't recognize me in this society and in the actual music scene full of nerds caught by social networks and shitty mind-lock barriers. Well, if Dark Angel comes for a show here, I'll go, for the rest I don't give any fuck!".
Have you played alongside any big bands, if so who? If not who would you like to play alongside?
Fabio: "No, we're an underground band, and we didn't play with anyone famous! I'd play with Jesus Christ to nail him by my own, but a stage would be too fucking small for that!"
Enrico: "Personally, my aim is to play as much as I can in league with the classics of death metal and thrash also. If I've to choose I don't want to share the show with posing rockstars that are concerned only about cash, forgetting that, as Destruction said, "united we stand, together we're strong". I do appreciate humble and serious musicians that want to respect the passionate fans and impose an honest message, because that's why we are here".
Has the band got any plans for 2013?
Enrico: "Releasing our new slab of pure hatred. A ten tracks album that will contain new songs originated by the new line up. You'll hear the difference in terms of inspiration, believe us. Playing as much concerts as we could do, even outside Italy".
Fabio: "Also this time, Enrico precedes me. Songs are ready, and we will finish what started at Kick Studio very soon, artwork and layout have been set. Death metal it is! In the name of Satan will be!".
Finally any thank you's, hello's and any other messages you wish to say?
"I'd like to thank first of all Fabio for his brother-ship in life and in Lectern. As fan I wish to bring my cheers and my gratitude to those pubs and clubs in our area that still give metal the possibility to breathe and spit flames through all the sacrifice that our musicians spend on the show: in particular I want to say thank to Closer Live Club and all its honorable crew, Traffic Live Club, Blackout and Atlantico. Then I want to say thank you to the Roman organizations like Altamira Events and New Rome Disorder for bringing metal in Rome. A special thank should go to Welt from Yama Tattoo studio for his inks and events organization and professionalism. Visit his studio if you come in Rome! Last but not least I'd like to pay a merited thanks to Old Temple Records".
Fabio: "Shambles will come! Upside every cross!".