Lately, Italy has been a stronghold for quality doom metal. The Foreshadowing, formed out of members of avant-garde metallers Klimt 1918 and Spiritual Front, is one of the country’s newest acts to bridge the gap between Candlemass, My Dying Bride, and Anathema. And there’s a touch of Type O Negative, too. The sextet’s latest offering, […]
Lately, Italy has been a stronghold for quality doom metal. The Foreshadowing, formed out of members of avant-garde metallers Klimt 1918 and Spiritual Front, is one of the country’s newest acts to bridge the gap between Candlemass, My Dying Bride, and Anathema. And there’s a touch of Type O Negative, too. The sextet’s latest offering, Days of Nothing, represents an overcast step toward the apocalypse, where the End of Days isn’t so much death and destruction but decay, despair, and the sad, inevitable decline of humanity. Days of Nothing, pivoting on “Departure” and “Death is our Freedom,” isn’t an immediate listen. Rather, it’s one of those albums that takes time to sink in and convince. We cornered keyboardist and backing vocalist Francesco Sosto to find out why The Foreshadowing are so damned depressed.
What is Days of Nothing about?
Francesco Sosto: Days of Nothing is about an imaginary end of the world seen by a common man’s eyes, whose life is made up of endless and boring days making the same old things during the passing time. He feels more and more uncomfortable in the mechanism of society and in the rules and conventions he’s forced to obey in order not to be set apart from the mass. But the more he’s homologating to this mechanism, the more he’s being left on his own — sick of society’s customs and hypocrisy. Light, sun, and smiles are lies, and he finds some comfort in darkness, obscurity, and death. I don’t know if it might be defined as a concept album, but surely there’s a main theme that leads the listener from the beginning to the end of the album.
What, in your view, inspired you to write such depressing music?
Sosto: There had been a series of circumstances that have made Days of Nothing sound like it is. First of all, the time and the place [where] we live, the music we were listening to or the movies we were watching. It happened with “Into the Lips of the Earth.” It was born after we watched Eraserhead by David lynch. Besides it was such a cold and cloudy January when we started to work on Days of Nothing, which tells a lot about the atmosphere of this album.
Is the depressing lyrical and musical style more a product of what you see around you – the world, wars, humanity, etc. – or something you’ve created as a fictional concept?
Sosto: I would say both things. On the whole, it’s a fictional concept, but at the same time these songs come from the experience of real life, both at a personal and general level. If we take into account that after the September 11th events there’s a widespread halo of pessimism all over the world, you can see where the metaphor of apocalypse comes from. We felt and we still feel that what we see around the world is not good and it reflects even in our personal problems. Anyway, on Days of Nothing we don’t argue any political or social matters. It’s just an album about our existence in the world.
I love the imagery you’ve created around the record. Did you give Seth the overall idea and let him run with it or was it carefully scripted?
Sosto: Seth was great at identifying the album mood, because he inserted, in the artwork, most of the elements recalling each song. What we just did was to give him the promo and the lyrics, and suggest to him to read and listen to it carefully. And so he did. He read the lyrics many times, and at night he listened to the promo over and over again until he absorbed its melancholy and desperation.
Did you work the imagery – band photos, visual style, etc. – around Seth’s artwork or was it a concept from the very beginning?
Sosto: It was a concept from the very beginning: visual style, band photos, even every single detail, the location where we shot photos, and the colors we chose were all thought by ourselves.
It sounds like you’re influenced by both traditional doom (Candlemass) and atmospheric doom (Anathema). How have your influences shaped The Foreshadowing into what it is today?
Sosto: As a matter of fact we’ve been influenced by doom metal of all facets, but we also must say we’re not stuck in a unique genre. We like listening to various kinds of music like indie, post-rock, or ambient. I think ‘80s pop music has been very important for the evolution of our style, because of the simple structure and the short length of the tracks, which is the opposite of traditional doom metal. In the future, we would like [to] combine various genres in our music, even though we would keep ourselves basically as a gothic doom metal band.
Vocally, I hear a bit of Type O Negative and Nick Holmes. Were these two vocalists influences? Any other vocalists who you feel deserve mention?
Sosto: Everybody says Marco’s voice is very similar to Depeche Mode frontman Martin Gore. I agree with you when you say there’s a bit of Type O Negative, but instead of Nick Holmes, I’d rather say Aaron Stainthorpe.
“Departure” is probably the song that stands out the most.
Sosto: That’s true. It’s probably because it’s easy to listen to and it has a pop-like structure that makes it catchy and even accessible to other listeners. It’s a song that pictures the disparity between young people, who represent our future, and old people, who represent the present, threading the future at any cost. I always feel sad when I think of “Departure,” ‘cause I always think I am in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I do like the keyboards in “Eschaton.” It’s a subtle yet effective way to drive the song. The choral vocals are a cool addition.
Sosto: I’m very pleased you say this. “Eschaton” is the track that represents the concept the most. The keyboard theme is the very first thing that was conceived, and the whole song has been developed from that theme. While, as for the choral vocals, we needed something to introduce the song refrain, so we thought a baritone chorus could be a good idea.
What lead you to form The Foreshadowing? I know you guys were from Klimt 1918 and Spiritual Front.
Sosto: It was basically the fact that in the bands we were playing we’d never found the room we needed. Surely playing with such acts like Spiritual Front and Klimt 1918 have been satisfying and grateful, but [it] wasn’t quite enough for us. We felt like outsiders with them, so we realized it was time to make something of our own. After all it should’ve been born 10 years ago, but for several reasons the project never took off. But when Andrea played us some of the old stuff we wanted to work on the old days. There was something that made us arouse the interest in our old gothic doom project, and it was the beginning of everything.
What prompted you to issue this quote? “We don’t feel part of this world and we don’t need to believe in any creed, convention or lifestyle. We just wait for a right end of this wrong and cruel world.”
Sosto: We thought that the first thing we wanted to make clear was to give ourselves a valid reason to make this project trustworthy. We wanted this project to be honest, and this quote encloses the simple truth. And we wanted to speak out to everybody all our rage and disappointment in this world.
You recorded and mixed Days of Nothing at several studios in Italy. What was the recording and mixing process like?
Sosto: We recorded the drums first at Outer Sounds Studio. Then the other parts at our little Howitzer Studio. We did the vocals at Subsound Studio, and then we came back at Outer Sounds Studio for final mixing, which was done by Giuseppe Orlando (Novembre). The mastering was done at Principal Studio in Germany. We’re really satisfied with the whole work and sound. It was the maximum for the small budget we had!
How did the deal with Candlelight Records come about? Any artists on the label you think of as kindred spirits?
Sosto: The Candlelight deal has been unexpected and astonishing for us. When we finished the album we received, with great pleasure, several offers and we were about to sign to another well known European label. Then suddenly Candlelight arrived and offered us a deal and it was impossible to say no! Everything went very quickly, and in about 10 days the deal was struck. We’ve always loved this historic label and it’s a great honor for us having the chance to work with them.
Sosto: We hope to arrange a tour to promote Days of Nothing in Europe. In the meantime, we’ve already been working on our second album.