Greetings DoomSword, and welcome to the pages of Serbian Metal Sound! How are you?
Greetings to you and thank you for this interview! Things are great, thank you.
Your fifth album „The eternal battle“ is in front of us so tell us how are you satisfied with it?
I’m very satisfied with it, everything about it. We are definitely convinced it’s our best album to date and we consider it a small „opus“ given that everything – music, lyrics and the imagery chosen to represent the album – came together very well in a coherent fashion.
This is your shortest and maybe the more concrete release, heavier I would certainly say… It is mixture of everything that DoomSword has done in the past. Your comment?
You’re certainly right. Although I would like to point out that this does not mean our future releases will be this way. DoomSword are an ever-evolving band and we don’t like to ever repeat our choices. I don’t think there are two DoomSword albums that sound the same and this is always going to be the case for as long as we have inspiration. We consider this album very „experimental“ in that we adopted sound choices such as a lower profile on the vocals, very vintage sounding guitars, some almost „whispered“ choirs… it’s definitely a springboard towards the future. Now we have even more elements to add to our experience, which was mainly made of ballsy guitar riffs and battle like choruses.
The album is also darker, I would say… what caused such a direction?
The theme of the album is darker, more introspective. The album is a concept about the Eternal Battle of Man – both intended as physical and psycological / interior conflict. There’s nothing pretty about it so we went for everything „dark“ from the sound to the cover of the album.
I would like to hear about the reactions on the album, and also I heard that you got really harsh reviews in your homeland, is it true?
Ok reactions were definitely good, the best so far in terms of average. Everybody seems to appreciate that DoomSword can get to their fifth album and still not sound the same all the time. As for the reactions in our country… well harsh reviews is a bit of a harsh description (forgive me the repetition) major magazines and sites all treated us very well. Minor webzines instead seemed to have a bit of a problem with the album, on a scale from 1 to 100 our average mark in Italy and abroad is 80, while these few webzines all marked us 65. That’s normal though, Italians are really hard to please music-wise.
What position do you think that “The eternal battle” have in your discography, do you feel that this is your strongest album? By the way, which DoomSword album is the most popular among the fans?
I feel that the Eternal Battle is our strongest album but as I said it’s an album that looks to the future. It almost exists in function of what improvements and changes we are going to implement in the future to our sound. Most notably, our line-up is now absolutely killer, I believe that our drummer Wrathlord and our guitarist Alessio „Sacred Heart“ Berlaffa are among the best musicians in the genre and the new addition – Cristian „Nidhoggr“ Grillo (already in our side project Gjallarhorn) is an incredible musician who goes to fill that one slot left for a killer line-up. I couldn’t tell you what the most popular album is, our fans are genuinely divided, those with more extreme tastes in music would love LBC, the 80s freaks would prefer the first, RTH is probably the most personal sound and the album that really projected us into the international scene so many long-time fans would be attached to it, and MNWLO was a hit with its fast and melodic songs so again, many kids got into DoomSword through it, and because of its classic sound many early-days fans loved it.
As always, lyrics do have strong role in DoomSword release, so what can you tell me about the lyrical content this time?
The album is not a concept in the sense that there is a story, but more that all the songs are somehow related to the central theme of the Eternal Battle. The “Eternal Battle” we are talking about is what – in our opinion – is the natural condition of Man. If you think about it, everybody has their own personal idea of happiness, and we all strive to achieve this longed happiness. Getting there is a constant struggle. You have to overcome physical and psychological obstacles; you have to make decisions, always being in two minds about what to do and how to do it. The reality is you’re always battling some inner demon or the external world. And if you are so lucky that you achieve your goals, what happens to you? You realize the whole point was never the goal, but it was the “getting there”, because before you can even realise it, you have new goals, new dreams. So there you are starting from scratch, or already engaged into some other journey. More psychological conflicts, more demons to defeat, more people to confront yourself with. And what is on an individual basis a confrontation between two people, translates into rivalry between communities, political parties or social classes, and actual wars between nations. Man is always battling something. The Eternal Battle is this condition, which we can never escape. Well, not until humanity grows into something spiritually and intellectually different, not necessarily better or superior. So in the album we explore this theme through different perspectives: two songs in particular, Warlife and Soldier of Fortune, are dedicated to those who gave their lives to fight battles they probably didn’t even believe in, living a life which is practically marching to death. The song “Eternal Battle” takes inspiration from Norse mythology and shows how ancient cultures had the idea that they should fight all their life, they would wish to die fighting and what would the reward be? To get to fight eternally in the sky! Varus Battle is a very important song for DoomSword as the historical consequences have their effect on the present day still: DoomSword hail from Lombardy which takes its name from the Northern Germany tribe of the Longobards who were a part of the confederation of tribes which fought the Romans in the Varus Battle. Had the Romans won the battle the North of Italy would not have been – in all probability – invaded and dominated by the Longobards (and other Germanic tribes beforehand such as the Goths) and our culture and language would probably be different. As you can see in every song the theme of “battling” is very strong.
Italy and Greece seem to be the true strongholds of epic metal in the last decade or so, why do you think is that? Maybe beacuse of rich history?
Probably so. In fairness all Italians and Greeks are a bit „geek“ in that if you question them about history all of a sudden they’re all professors ahah… but yeah I suppose that could be one reason. At the same time though, I would dare say that all European countries have a rich history and yet – throughout the years – the US were the most prolific country in the genre so maybe a rich history doesn’t count that much (Not that the US don’t have a rich history but I think we’re safe saying they have it less rich than Europe). The reality is that I agree with your impression but logic seems to contradict us my friend.
While we’re at it, we all know that Greece is full of fantastic fans and the gigs are packed, what is the situation in Italy in that department? Are DoomSword gigs successful there?
We only played 4 times in 14 years in Italy and all gigs were a hit. In particular our „home“ show in Milan in 2007 with Wotan attracted almost 500 people which is numbers you expect for really big bands in Italy so we were absolutely blown away by the turn out. The Greeks themselves told me they think Italy is currently going through a phase of being even better than Greece for its metal scene. I don’t know about that – but things are good anyway.
DoomSword has started its quest at the end of nineties, so being the epic Italian band from that time can I hear your opinion about Rhapsody?
Rhapsody… you might as well be asking me about pottery, I know nothing about it. I don’t like them but I know nothing about them as a band or people so I still wish them the very best with their career. I believe I must have listened to Rhapsody once in my life when their first album came out.
Why wasn’t Deathmaster singing on „Doomsword“, your debut? Also, it is your only album that wasn’t released on Dragonheart so how do you recall thos etimes?
This is a bit of a funny story. I created DoomSword with a kind of an agreement with Underground Symphony… talking to Maurizio – the owner of U.S. – I explained how my dream was to create an epic metal band in the style of Warlord, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road etc. And he said he’d publish me immediately if I did. So I went home, reworked on some 1014 AD stuff I had around (a medieval acoustic project i worked on at the time), got my buddy (Guardian Angel) to work with me and two weeks later we had the demo „Sacred Metal“ out. So I sent the demo around, including Enrico Paoli (Domine/ Dragonheart) who showed great interest. At the time our friendship was only at the start but we had enough confidence for Enrico to tell me that he didn’t think i was ready to sing on a full length published by Dragonheart. Maurizio of Undeground Symphony instead thought i was perfect for it. So – following Enrico’s advice – I recruited a singer but ironically I still honoured my agreement with Underground Symphony (who was perfectly fine with me singing on the album) and ended up singing again on the first Dragonheart album ahah. That’s mad isn’t it?
I often had hard time describing DoomSword’s style, so would you label your music as epic, heavy or doom metal?
I don’t believe we are doom. We have doom songs, but we’re not a doom band. I believe you can describe us as epic all the time. But ultimately we play Heavy Metal. We like to call ourselves epic Heavy Metal (note the caps).
As a band deeply rooted in eighties’ sound of Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol, how do you like today’s metal scene? Any favourites there?
I have great fun going to European festivals and there are many good bands emerging. I think the scene is healthy, just needs more and more young bands coming and constant innovation, that’s the challenge.
Please tell us something about you upcoming touring plans, are any tours already booked?
One show: Hammer of Doom VI, Wurzburg in October 2011.
I must say that the reason I am asking you so much questions connected to Italy is that I absolutely adore your country and even thinking about moving there, actualy I am going to visit Trieste in a few days… So can you give me some useful advices about living in Italy?
Well first of all good to hear that you like Italy. Interesting question, especially because I’ve lived in Ireland for 7 years now but I can tell you that: a. The food is exceptional wherever you go – so that’s not a bother b. It’s hard to find a job, especially a permanent one. You have to get in the frame of mind that you might have to change a lot. Even for qualified people the situation is hard. c. The weather is mad. People think of Italy as sunny beaches, the reality is that only 23% of the land is flat. The rest is hills and mountains, summers are hot and winters are cold and snowy (well except if you go to the South). Italy is not Miami, don’t think that shorts and sunglasses will do you fine all year round. In Trieste in particular you’ve got to get used to the Bora, a fierce wind that regularly wipes the town. d. Learn Italian. Most Italian young people speak some English but they’re notoriously crap at it. Things are improving vastly thanks to the internet but still. With normal people on the street if you don’t speak italian you’re dead. Also they have this funny habit of thinking that if you didn’t understand what they said the first time then maybe SHOUTING will make you understand better. As if you were retarded or deaf. It’s really funny to watch ahah.. e. make no assumptions. Italy is a very diverse country, culturally, geographically, linguistically.
That would be all , I would like to thank you for your time. Please add your final comment…
Thank you very much for the interesting interview. I hope we can one day come to Serbia with DoomSword and play some gigs, see you on the road!
- Answers by Deathmaster
Interview was done by Slobodan Trifunovic