As you might be already aware from time to time we like to have some interviews and chats with the bands that have marked our past. Well, this time we got in contact with the members of Italian band Evol who was active during the 90s. During this period they have recorded three full-length albums and one mini CD. So, if you want to find out something more about black metal movement and bands during 90s we are strongly suggesting you to read the line below…
Greetings Giordano! We are very honored to feature the story of Evol on our pages as even though the decades have passed we still remember your band as shining jewel of the 90s scene. So please tell us for the beginning do you still think about those days and are you satisfied that people still love the art that you have created back then?
GBF: Hail to you! As the years pass by, it is a real honour for us to be so well remembered. This means that what we accomplished was solid and real. I never get tired to say that EVOL was and is a messenger for Art. And what we remember nowadays is Art indeed. We are so proud of this. Another important thing to say is that with our creations we planted a seed in history and a lot of people nowadays, are able to get the results of it.
Let’s go through the history of Evol since the very beginning, shall we? The band was formed in 1993 by you, Samael von Martin and Princess of Disease? How do you recall those days, were you friends before the inception of Evol and what was the initial goal when the band was formed?
GBF: EVOL was initially formed by me and Samael von Martin… In that period, we were in the same school and we just met and found out we had the same feelings and need to express them. Princess of Disease joined us immediately after. She attained in our same school too. Those were the mythical days of the first black metal bands and we were so young, but full of fire. The aim was to express Truth through music, that’s quite it. There were no clear projects at the beginning, everything just followed, during the first rehearsals.
Before your debut album you have released two demos, The Tale of the Horned King in 1993 and The Dark Dreamquest Part I in 1994. The songs from demos later reappeared on the albums so I guess that you had ideas about their grand concept already back then, am I right? Was the reaction from fans back then satisfactory?
GBF: Yes, that is right. When we started to play together, we just followed our inspirations. And the great picture was just there in front of us. Everything was part of a bigger scheme. You know, I tried to let out all my need for Truth, also due to my personal philosophical studies. We started from the Darker Side of Existence, passing through the Land of Dreams, and concluding our path in the World-That-Should-be.
Your first album The Saga Of The Horned King was released in 1995 and it showed that Evol is band with its own musical vision and the voice. How did you came up with musical style of Evol, what were the main influences on this album? The album is conceptual and it showed the ideas of Evol in early Satanic stages so can you share some thoughts about it from this perspective?
GBF: In those times, we were surrounded by a lot of musical influences. Sure there was the first black metal, with bands like Rotting Christ, Samael, Impaled Nazarene, but we were also influenced by other musical cultures, such as the Italian prog, Goblin above all else, ancient and classical music, and of course metal in general. So, we had never had prejudices in what we were creating. In Tale/Saga the general atmosphere is really gloomy and dark, with references to middle ages tunes. Lyrics were inspired by the traditional satanic culture, but the general composition of the album was a little confused. Anyway the final result was really deep indeed, very instinctual, and primitive.
Your second album Dreamquest came out in 1996 and it already showed that Evol was moving forward both in musical and lyrical sense. This album’s theme is gained through visions of Lovecraft so can you share some thoughts about it?
GBF: You are right, Dreamquest was more cohesive, with a particular structure. All the lyrical concept was inspired by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft, and in particular, The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath. All the songs were more complex, and we had the possibilities of a better production also for the synth tracks. The result is a true and great homage both to Lovecraft and to the eternal quest for Truth. In that time I was very interested in studying the dream dimension, considering it as a part of life. So, during a dream, you can continue the search for Truth, but it is easier to meet monsters too.
While we are at it, we can see the video for Flying With The Night-Gaunts where Evol is showed in live environment so can you tell us something about live experiences with the band? What is your favorite gig memory, did Evol do some tours across Europe back then?
GBF: First of all, I have to confess that in the band, I was the one not so fond of live experiences. Even if EVOL people were and are amazing, I do not like very much crowded places. So, EVOL played live very little. The video you mentioned is a simple edit of some live shows we had. Now, that said, nevertheless I have great recollections of those gigs we played. The last ones were those of Marseille and Lyon, that were also professionally recorded for a never released album, the mythical De Bello Gallico.
Your next release was 1998’s EP Ancient Abbey which served as a transitional release between two full lengths musically but you have also gained two new band members here. Where did you find them and was Ancient Abbey a way to represent them to the fans? How did you decided upon the material which was to be featured on this EP?
GBF: Ancient Abbey solved us the problem of Witchlord. As you may have noticed, all our demo tape songs were included in the studio albums, and every studio album is a concept one. Witchlord did not fit in any album we released. So we decided to release a miniCD, with an extended version of Witchlord in it. We decided to record also a tribute to the great prog band Goblin, Phenomena and some anticipations from the upcoming new album, but in different versions. The result is some sort of standalone product that reflects also the difficult choices we faced when choosing a final version of a song.
Evol’s third and the final album entitled Portraits came out in 1999, would you say that this was fitting for a swansong? I remember that the album was supposed to come out in limited edition featuring your book, did this come to fruition? Was this book ever released?
GBF: Portraits is the final step for EVOL artistic experience, the definitive lock of our creation. Everything in it is original and personal. All the lyrics are based on novels I wrote, set in a world I imagined. The composition and structure are more mature and production is the top we could achieve. The initial idea was to publish the novels too. The original works are written in Italian, so we had them translated in French, and were looking for a professional translation in English. Unfortunately, everything stopped and the book of novels is now kept in my personal archives.
Portraits also marked the final stage of your philosophical journey, where you told about the Whole and the ideas of Noble Men who roam this world. Can you please tell us everything about this concept? Are you still on this path or have you developed your ideas even further? How did you come up with the realization of the concept of the Whole?
GBF: You may understand that it is quite impossible to answer this question in short. I can say that Portraits concludes the Philosophical path of EVOL experience. Mine will end with my physical life. In those times, I was graduating in Philosophy, and was influenced by many high masters, such as Plato, Giordano Bruno, Hegel. So dear to me were themes such as Art, Whole, Being, Truth. Human words and thoughts cannot catch the Whole, we are but shards of It. But everything that exists, and everything that not-exists is the WHOLE. You can define it in a logical point of view, and that’s it. But after EVOL, there is the negative path, Nihilism. If Truth cannot be catch as a WHOLE by human mind, if our only hope is the illusion of the various faiths, and if the only certitude we have is our fate, well, it is quite difficult even to speak. Everything we have around just fade, and become vain. I know it sounds bitter, but I cannot decide for Truth. I just beg for crumbs of It.
What has happened with Evol afterwards, did the band simply dissolve or did you have some more music up your sleeve? Will it ever see the light of day?
GBF: EVOL path is perfect and circular, or better, triangular. Everything we could have done after would have diminished it. You have to know when it is time to stop. I think this is the reason why a lot of souls nowadays keep alive the flame of EVOL. They can feel there is something more in its music, something deep and primitive, something true.
I have found you through Evol Facebook page where you told me that some band members are active, are you still in regular contact with them? What has happened with Princess of Disease, it seems that she completely fell off the face of the Earth…
GBF: the only way to contact EVOL nowadays is through facebook. Every other contact you find in old interviews or in the records are no more active. In facebook you can find me, Samael and Demian. Obviously we are still in contact. Both of them are very active in the metal scene, and played in great bands such as Death Dies, Mad Agony, Satanel and many others. The Princess Suspiria is not in facebook, but I can assure you she is fine, in the Foggy Plains were she now lives.
Even though Evol was not some virtuoso band it is safe to say that your music created magic and transferred listeners into another magical realms. What do you think that is the secret ingredient for it?
GBF: You said it right, we were not professional musicians. We were spontaneous and used music as a mean to convey something more, that just words cannot. As I said before, there is no secret ingredient. We played because the felt the need for it and never cared about fame and glory. It has never be a job for us, but some sort of mission. Never cared about royalties, or contracts or rights. Never cared about promotion or having fun. We just were not there for success. The only aim was and is Truth, and the voice of Truth is Art. That’s it.
Do you think there is some future for Evol, will we perhaps see the return of the band at some point?
GBF: EVOL is not the past, EVOL is present, now. A triangle cannot be undone, it is perfect and closed and will ever be. Nothing more It is, and nothing less.
That would be all for this time, I would like to thank you for honor to feature Evol on our pages! Parting words are yours, Evol lives forever!
GBF: I thank you for this interview and for your interest. Share my words. And everyone is free to ask me more. You are more than welcome.
- Interview by Slobodan “Von Grab” Trifunovic