(KevinP brings us this interview of Enrico Schettino, guitarist of Italy’s Hideous Divinity, whose superb new album Adveniens was reviewed by us here and is available now via Unique Leader.)
K: How does it feel to exceed expectations with the new album for the second time?
E: It feels good indeed, if this is what people truly believe. I mean, to exceed expectations sometimes looks like the only way in death metal nowadays. Competition’s insane. And also, people’s judgments leave you disoriented. This is our life, sometimes we are at ease with the pressure, it compels us to push the envelope. Some other times, we decide to take a deep breath, a step back, and do our thing: rewrite, relisten, erase, rewrite. “Ad libitum”.
In other words, I really didn’t know what “expectations” were! Too many different awkward ideas about how a band should sound today.
K: Well I guess I mean “expectations” in a very general sense. Everyone would like a new album to be better than the previous one, or at least I do. I usually have unrealistic hopes for the bands I enjoy.
E: That’s what we wanted with Adveniens. To go one step further. Towards a more epic, obscure sound. Cobra Verde was a way to say to Gorguts, Wormed, Defeated Sanity, “Thank you for 2012 and 2013”. Adveniens is a way to say to Adversarial, Akhlys, Sulphur Aeon, “Thank you for 2014 and 2015”.
K: Speaking as a non-musician, I imagine it’s always a challenge to come up with something fresh and different, while staying within the parameters of your established sound. But even more so when you are a technical/brutal death metal band as opposed to a standard death metal band.
E: I never identified my music with anything strictly “technical”. That word should be used with other bands. The search for something always fresh and new, on the other hand, is our main driver. The best challenge ever. I always like to imagine H.D. as some sort of compendium of our past and present influences, a manifest of passion. A reviewer wrote somewhere that Adveniens reminded him of Sulphur Aeon: that made me happy, it means we managed to leave our Nile-ish comfort zone to try something new.
K: While the first two albums were simply based off movies, this one goes a bit deeper and off the rails. Instead of me trying to explain it (and failing miserably), I’ll let you.
E: True. Cinematographic dimension here is joined by literary/philosophical.
The work and reflections of Walter Benjamin on one side, the movie Videodrome on the other.
On one side, the prediction of a modern capitalism-driven era where humans live in a state of perpetual visual shock, and contemplation is completely replaced by distraction; on the other side, Cronenberg, who creates a new world inside the Videodrome society, accustomed to violence and dominated by television, forecasting with surprising precision our present made by “socially positive brutality” as a result of the market law, an era in which “…soon all of us will have special names”. Cronenberg was a prophet, therefore yes, Benjamin predicted the arrival of Cronenberg! Whoa. How scary is that?
K: Very, coming from the likes of you. LOL
E: Sometimes I believe we’re the bums entering every day the Church of the Cathode Ray. But we focused on the social side of the story rather than the anatomic one (the concept of “new flesh” is predominant in the Cronenberg cinema), we were never at ease with splatter connotations.
K: Musically, right from the first song, “Ages Die”, you can tell there is a purpose. Yes there are tons of ideas, which ultimately gives it staying power, but it’s not just trying to sandwich 50 ideas into a song for the sake of doing it and sounding brutal and crazy.
E: Thank you for saying that. Yes, I do believe in the power of re-writing, Haha. Not to mention that, once the vocals pop in, the whole structure may go thru massive changes. There’s nothing worse than adapting the vocals to the song instead of the opposite. And Enrico H Di Lorenzo’s vocals are as big as his personality.
I can’t judge other bands’ methods. If they like what they write they’re happy, I guess. Personally I think that we’re not in the late ’90s any more, when having a drummer being able to do blastbeats would put you already ahead of others. This competitive age forces us to pursue good ideas.
K: I usually get requests from gear heads (and forget to ask) who want to know the setup you used. So spill the beans for us.
E: There are 4 main rhythm guitar tracks that you can hear in Adveniens. After endless struggles to craft a guitar sound that’d be aggressive and intelligible, I came out with an idea (YES, I do take all the credit for that). Two tracks reamped with one head, two reamped with another. It seemed a bad idea until we tried it, and the effect was perfect.
Two guitars have been reamped thru the eternal Engl Fireball, while the other two thru a Framus Cobra 120W monster head, perhaps the most powerful amp I’ve ever used. Never thought there could be something able to beat the Dual Recto at its own game… until I heard the Framus.
K: If you said that in Italian I wouldn’t understand it any less.
K: And I always end an interview with “tell us what upcoming shows or tours you have coming up”, and more importantly, is Tito (manager) doing his job and getting you to the USA anytime soon?
E: We’d love to. But will we get our visas in time while your Bad Hombre at the Whitehouse rules the world with his tweets?? Seriously now. We’d love to make it, maybe 2018 will be THE year for it. Who knows, fingers crossed.
We will have some cool visual updates just before the UK tour, and, well, we might be doing something in quarter 4 of this year, but I’ve already said enough. I’m a superstitious Italian peasant, this is gonna cost me a lot.
Hideous Divinity on Facebook: