(Comrade Aleks rejoins us with the following interview of Salvatore Fichera of the Italian black/death/doom band Sinoath, whose latest album in a career which began in 1990 is 2018’s Anamnesis.)
This band has a long and complicated story and a pretty short discography containing only three full-length albums. Having started in 1990 in Catania, Sicily, they recorded their first album Research in 1995 after two demos — Forged In Blood (1991) and Still In The Grey Dying (1993). It’s hard to categorize this material but it’s done on a converging of death, black, and gothic metal, with some Italian dark prog influences.
The band was finished in 1996, but seven years later it was restored with Sinoath’s initial drummer Salvatore Fichera. The new album, Under The Ashes, turned out to be darker and heavier than its predecessor, but the band didn’t aim to strengthen their position from there and laid down again after that. After 11 years of silence in terms of album-length releases, Sinoath returned again in 2018 with their third album, Anamnesis, which combines doom metal with some other influences. I’ll try to sort out everything in this story with Salvatore himself.
Hi Salvatore! Thanks for your time and an opportunity to spread the word about Sinoath. The band was formed in 1990. How did it start for you? What were your influences?
We formed in 1990. We often met at the rehearsals of friends and we noticed that we had the same taste — Morbid Angel, Obituary, Grave, Mercyful Fate, Death SS, Black Sabbath, Goblin, Celtic Frost. And these are our influences.
Sinoath recorded the demo Forged In Blood in 1991. Do you remember how you worked over this material? What kind of sound did you want to get?
We recorded on the volcano Etna at the bassist’s house in the middle of the woods, and we used Fostex analogue coils. We wanted a macabre death sound to the height of the foreign bands, and we managed, spending 1000 euros in 1990.
You also wrote the lyrics for the demo. Was the Sinoath message really important for you? What was it about?
I have always fought the Catholic Church and always tried to understand the human soul, and therefore myself.
Almost all members left the band in 1991 besides Rob (guitars) and Adriano (keyboards). What happened back then?
The usual differences of opinion on the musical direction to be taken.
Salvatore, how did it happen that you brought Sinoath back to life after a few years of inactivity, with a completely new lineup? What made you resurrect it in 2003?
I wanted to re-do a record with the original line-up in 2003 and bring the sound back to its origins, but it was not possible because the old members had taken different paths of life, so I had to find completely new people, and in my city the scene is not so great; it’s difficult
Your first full-length album with the band (and the second one for Sinoath’s official discography) is Under The Ashes. I see that it took some time to finish it. How long did you write this stuff?
For the reason that I said, it was complicated to find people and try to do this. Under the Ashes consists of 53 minutes of music with articulated pieces, but it was not difficult to write them, but rather to record them.
Sinoath – Messenger
It’s said that during the recording you only used original instruments from the ’70s. How did you manage to get these instruments? And how did you work at the studio?
Yes, Frank and I are ’70s sound enthusiasts, so we bought some original ’70s instruments. I own two Ludwig’s from ’74 and 1969.
Did you write the album in collaboration with Frank Tudisco or was it completely your creation? The album is an original amalgam of doom and some kind of blackened metal. How did you reach this balance?
We wrote the album together and you notice his influence, and his style of voice is more black, so this influenced the final result.
You recorded the Meanders Of Doom EP in 2015, and with a new lineup. Why did it take so long?
As mentioned before, in my city there is not a big scene, but one evening in August I met the old bass player and we were completely drunk and we decided to make a new album, also because we were approaching the 25th anniversary of the band’s career.
How would you sum up the main differences between Meanders Of Doom and Under The Ashes?
The difference with Under the Ashes is that in Meanders there are the definitive bases for a sound of macabre heavy doom.
Sinoath’s most recent album, Anamnesis, was released a few months ago by Black Widow Records. What’s the story behind this work?
The Black Widow listened to the promo and was immediately interested — it is a cult label for prog doom.
It seems that the new material is more doomy than anything you played before. What influenced this change?
The new album is completely doom heavy, because we have always liked the doom side of us and finally we could write a dark doom album that is our natural evolution. Of the rest our favorite bands in absolute are Black Sabbath.
Sinoath – Anamnesis (teaser)
The album’s cover and those creepy artworks in the booklet are pretty remarkable. Why did you choose these pics? Are the songs united with some concept?
There is not a real concept behind the album, but rather a common thread — that is, the search for knowledge and the human soul. The figure on the cover and in the booklet are works of an underground artist who recently disappeared and represented perfectly what we wanted to express.
You have a new vocalist and bass player on Anamnesis. How did you recruit them? Did they contribute in the songs’ composing process?
Francesco Cucinotta is the brother of our old keyboard player and was already part of Sinoath, but he had not recorded anything. He played and loved Black Sabbath, Death SS, etc. His contribution to vocals and the keyboard and second guitar was fundamental. The bassist is the only real new member and he is younger than u. He plays a more gothic dark style, and he has contributed all this to the new direction of our sound.
Do you play live more often now that you have a new album? How important is it for you to play gigs?
We love to play live, but unfortunately we never have stable formations, and therefore it is often not possible.