Published on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 17:44
Interview with: Alessandro Pace
Conducted by: T.V.
There were not so many albums rated with the highest possible evaluation on our webmagazine, but the Italian undisputable masters of gothic doom metal, The Foreshadowing, who are back with a new album, Seven Heads Ten Horns, deserve it, just like their previous masterpiece Second World, which was released four years ago. Seven Heads Ten Horns came out in April this year through German label Cyclone Empire and is one of the best representatives of the genre ever to be released (you can read the review over HERE). The band was founded in 2005 and after some line-up changes the line-up of today consists of vocalist Marco I. Benevento, guitarists Alessandro Pace and Andrea Chiodetti, keyboardist and backing vocalist Francesco Sosto, and recently adopted renowned ex-Novembre drummer Giuseppe Orlando. The Foreshadowing already with their debut album, Days Of Nothing, released in 2007, received great appraisal from the fans of gothic doom metal and have soon earned a status of a cult band. With the following album, Oionos, they just upgraded everything to a higher level. They follow their estimated path and thankfully are not burdened with recent trends. This is already the second interview I did with one of the bands founder and main songwriters Alessandro Pace and he kindly gave us an insight into the new album and many other things around it. The band is now ready to embark on an European tour together with Portuguese dark metal giants Moonspell and later on on an Italian tour with German nautic doomsters Ahab and Maltese gothic metallers Weeping Silence. If you have a chance to catch them playing live be sure not to miss them, but now please read this interesting interview.
T.V.: Hi Alessandro! I'm blown away by Seven Heads Ten Horns. Congratulations! It's an amazing piece of art. For starting this interview can you explain me the meaning of the album title?
T.V.: I was as well impressed by "Two Horizons" and "Until We Fail", the two a bit more balladic songs, especially the second one. Again something quite new for The Foreshadowing... You most certainly didn't want to repeat what you've done in the past, even though you maintained all of the characteristics of your sound. Alessandro
Alessandro: Thanks a lot! The basic line is based in particular on a passage of the Book of Revelation (17), but the album's main theme is the decadence of the European Union. The idea to choose the EU as a main theme of the album came out from an article taken from a website, where it was observed that the symbol of the "mother of prostitutes" who rides a beast with seven heads and ten horns was used to represent the EU. For example, to commemorate the first elections to the European Parliament in 1979, Britain issued a stamp depicting a drawing of a woman riding a beast. Going deeper in the matter, we noticed that this symbol was prominent in EU palaces of power and clearly recalled the woman of Revelation 17. From here on we developed the idea for this album.
T.V.: It took you four years to make and release this album. This time you worked mostly in your own studio, while the album was mixed and mastered by Sławek and Wojtek Wiesławski, who worked before with more extreme acts like are Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated,... Can you give us some more details about how the whole procedure went?
Alessandro: This time we chose the Hertz Studio in Poland. Anyway we wished to work in a recording studio who could satisfy our requirement of a more powerful guitar sound for this album and a first-class equipment, just like Hertz Studios; everybody knows their prestige, since they produced great acts as Vader, Behemoth or Decapitated, therefore we thought the Wisławski brothers could be the right choice for us. They’ve been professional and have given great contribution, especially in terms of guitar sound. We had some smaller issues with deadlines in order to have the whole mixing ready in time, but we fixed everything. Basically, what was important for us was the basic sound for guitars, bass and drums. All the rest, like keyboards, chorals and vocals has been completed by the wise hands of our Giuseppe (Orlando) at his Outer Sound Studios.
T.V.: How would you compare Seven Heads Ten Horns with your previous masterpiece Second World? Where do you see the main difference?
Alessandro: On the whole Second World is easier to listen to and remains closer to our basic sound. I don’t want to say there were no innovative passages, indeed there were, but certainly we didn’t go further as well as with this new album, which is certainly less catchy at a first impact, but more dynamic and atmospheric compared to Second World. It’s an album with less doom and more gothic and much more other stuff. We believe that in this album you can listen to many passages that refer to ambient, synth-pop, world music and dark medieval music.
T.V.: In 2013 you were joined by the legendary drummer Giuseppe Orlando (ex-Novembre). I must be honest and tell that the drums on the new album are just mindblowing. Tell me, how do you feel working together with Giuseppe and how much is he included into the compositional process?
Alessandro: I think Giuseppe has given a lot, not only as far as the performance but also in terms of songwriting and sound engineering. He played an active role in both aspects, for instance, he composed part of the music for the track “Fall Of Heroes” together with me and Francesco and provided several valuable suggestions for the album arrangement. In addition, as a sound engineer, his presence was essential during the whole process of mixing and mastering with the Hertz Studio, since it has been able to provide useful guidelines for the basic sound we wished for this album, without neglecting any detail. As a drummer, I would say he maintained his own style adapting it to our needs. At the beginning it wasn’t easy because he used to play quite different things with his previous bands, then with time he managed to acquire our own sound.
T.V.: The album is somehow conceptual and its theme is more or less a prophecy for Europe. Can you give to our readers a bit more detailed description of what is all about?
Alessandro: Like I said it before, the main theme is the decadence of Europe, or rather the European Union, a major project that seems to crumble before our eyes just like the Tower of Babel. Most of the lyrics themes are influenced by several events that happened in Europe and the East. In general, there’s always such an apocalyptic symbolism in our songs, as it always was. In this case there are issues that at first sight may seem different from one another, but indeed they are all related to the main theme of the album.
T.V.: Please tell me your honest opinion about where all this mess that’s going on in Europe and some parts of the world will lead to in the near or not so distant future. Do you think that total chaos is on the way?
Alessandro: I don't know if we are going into the chaos but what you can feel nowadays in Europe is disunion. I think that something is already moving in this direction, see Brexit...
T.V.: Yes, that's pretty much evident and we can only hope that something even more drastical won't occur. The over 14 minutes long song "Nimrod", divided in four parts, is something like you never did before, it sounds somehow sacral. But as well the whole mood is a bit darker and also more epic. How was this idea born to make such a song?
Alessandro: "Nimrod" is our first real attempt to create a "suite", although this term is a bit inappropriate for this song. Actually one of the features of a suite is having a main recurring theme throughout the song and this is not the case in "Nimrod". We might say it’s more like a story made up of 4 chapters, I personally like to see it this way. It’s been an interesting experiment and however well managed attempt. The song theme is the Tower of Babel and it’s seen simply from our perspective with a structural logic that tries to follow the story plot, just like we had wanted to create a soundtrack for it, that's all. It is composed in 4 parts, the first and the third one ("The Eerie Tower" and "Collapse") are distinguished from one another, the second part ("Omelia") is a kind of interlude and the final part is an outro with a unique theme repeating endlessly like a mantra going in fade out. Originally "The Eerie Tower" and "Collapse" had to be put in the album as tracks in their own right - by the way, they were two tracks we composed at different times and had nothing in common, but then we decided to combine them to create a kind of "suite". I believe we all agree with the fact that this song is the best one of the entire album. It’s a sort of musical manifesto about what The Foreshadowing represent now.
: Yes, even if I think that “Two Horizons” is not a proper ballad but a typical song where a strong main vocal theme is mixed with really heavy guitars. Maybe “Until We Fail” is a proper ballad, we like the way we worked on this song. It was born from a piano song but we completely changed the arrangement and added a lot of guitar drama on it.T.V.: After the release of your previous album you've toured quite a lot, even with some really big names. So, we can expect to see The Foreshadowing playing even more after such an album. Is there a tour, festival appearances and gigs planned in the near future?Alessandro
: We’re working on this even if it doesn’t only depend on us. We will try to promote the album with live performances as much as possible.T.V.: This time I really hope to see you playing live someday soon. But if a proper tour will be an option, tell me, would you like to headline it now or just go for it as a support band?Alessandro
: We will tour Europe next fall, supporting bands like Moonspell
, the complete list is updated on our facebook page. We will also come to play near you, mate! I think that for now the best option for promoting our name is supporting bigger names in order to reach as much people as possible.T.V.: That's great to hear and I'm very enthused. Now, if you’ll have countless options opened, than with which band would you like the most to go on a tour with?Alessandro
: My dream was touring with Type O Negative
, but unfortunately it will remain just a dream.T.V.: Still, you already played some shows after the release of the album. Tell me how did the audience and your fans accepted the new material.Alessandro
: It’s hard to have a complete vision of it, but for the couple of gigs we played in Italy the fans reaction was pretty cool! Expecially the release party was a blast, we played almost all the new album.T.V.: I can imagine that! I believe that you must feel pretty comfortable with the label Cyclone Empire. It's already the third album you've released with them. Tell me, how is this collaboration working out? Alessandro
: It had its up and down moments. Overall it has been a good collaboration, they are a honest label and that’s what's most important for us. T.V.: Have you had any offers from other labels in the meantime?Alessandro
: Sincerely we didn’t look for other labels because we had a deal with Cyclone and we respect the deal, but... who knows what the future holds.T.V.: The cover artwork was done by Seth Siro again. He did the cover artworks for your first two albums already and I wonder why did you choose him once more for this job? Still, I like it a lot and there’s a lot of symbolism in it.Alessandro
: We contacted several artists and Seth was the most interested one in helping us. This time, I think it was the best choice, because we were a bit out of ideas about choosing the cover and some of the possible ones were somewhat trivial and obvious. Since we knew Seth, for our previous covers with him, we were aware he would have created a basic idea for the artwork. So we let him do what he simply does best and suggested him only some elements we wanted to be present in the artwork.T.V.: I know that you are a big fan of George R.R.Martin and the amazing tv series Game Of Thrones. Last year you even did a cover version of "The Rains Of Castamere" and I wonder what was the reason to do that? Tell me in which way did this TV show inspired you?Alessandro
: We are all fans of Game Of Thrones, and "The Rains Of Castamere" somehow was already akin to our musical language. Indeed the cover came spontaneously and naturally in a really short time. However, I don’t think we were too influenced in the songwriting of the new album. I mean, the epic side was always present in our musical language.T.V.: From what I see as a music journalist, the metal media these days is mostly promoting stoner rock, plus more extreme genres, like death metal and many variations with hardcore. How difficult is for a band like The Foreshadowing to get a proper promotion these days?Alessandro
: It's very difficult because it doesn't seem that gothic doom is quite popular these days apart the classic evergreen names. As you said the audience seems to like more extreme metal in the last decade.T.V.: I hope that you won't shift into the extreme side because of that like many other bands. How much do you follow new music that has been released? Which was the last album that you've bought and which albums did enthuse you the most in the last time?Alessandro
: It's hard for me to find newcomer stuff outside. The albums I loved more, recently, were the latest Moonspell
and new Cult Of Luna
. Really great albums!T.V.: Who's Alessandro in his private life? What are the things outside music that you are interested in?Alessandro
: I'm quite a normal person... I guess... ahah! I have a normal job (yes, actually music can be no more than an expensive hobby mates) and recently I have become a father, so it's going to be a new beautiful but hard experience in my life. I hope to meet the expectations! My other hobby is collecting vintage toys and stuff (pretty nerdy I know!).T.V.: Thank you Alessandro for taking the time with my questions. It was a honour talking to you! Is there anything that you would like to say at the end of this interview? Alessandro
: Support us! Come to our shows! Support music, not rumors! Thanks for the interview!
The Foreshadowing links: Official website, Facebook