Bred for Slavery

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Back in 2012 Unique Leader Records released one of their best albums that year, Obeisance Rising, the debut from Hideous Divinity. I love the Italian death metal scene and it has nothing to do with me being Italian. It goes all the way back to Necrodeath and their stunning debut album, Into the Macabre, back in ’87, when I purchased the beautiful double gatefold vinyl. Over the last decade the Italian death metal scene has continued to grow and transform itself into a country that is a force to be reckoned with. The bands are getting more and more vicious and the Hideous Divinity album last year, for me, was spectacular.

I was drawn to the interesting artwork, that I said, ‘man that’s from the movie, They Live” and I loved the alien concept. The music, while influenced by Hour Of Penance, also allowed the songs to breathe a little more. The mix is killer, with none of the instruments overtaking the other ones. The song structures and musicianship are highlights of this super brutal album. With each song coming across better than the last one, the album simply gets better as each song goes along. I chatted with guitarist Enrico, to find out the inner workings of this great new young band, with some input, from their singer, Enrico Schettion. I strongly encourage you to pick up Obeisance Rising if you love well played brutal death metal — or you will be “Bred for Slavery”

Enrico, how is the new material sounding, in comparison to your Unique Leader debut, last year, Obeisance Rising?

Hi Frank, great to have a chat with such an early influence of my DM life. No matter how obvious this might sound, with the new material we’re really trying to enhance what’s best in “O. R.” and add what we feel it has been missing so far. The writing process is incredibly slow, it’s all about writing, erasing, re-writing, arranging, re-arranging… what cheers me up is the guarantee that the final result will be good. Otherwise there won’t be any record, I can tell you that. Music never paid my bills, so if what I have is not good, it won’t be on a record. A new H.D. record could take one, two, five years to come out. Maybe ten. That’s not the point.

Will it be out in 2014, how many songs and where are you recording it?

Hopefully in the beginning of next summer. We’ll enter 16th Cellar Studios once again with Stefano Morabito sitting behind the console at the end of February 2014. The number of songs is not decided, our intent is to enter the studios with more songs than the ones that will end up in the second album, and choose the best ones. Some songs are quite short, some other are like 7-minutes DM suites, the material is multi-colored.

Obeisance Rising was a fantastic slab of brutal Italian Death Metal that featured a killer recording. I notice that some brutal Italian DM bands get a mix where the drums, ala Hour Of Penance, are just too loud and they overtake the other instruments. Not the case with your recording, which was a plus, I feel. Explain why some of these bands go for such an overpowering drum sound and how you did not fall into that trap?

Thank you indeed for that. Since the very beginning, when I started writing music for H.D., I felt that the issue was not about being fast as hell anymore; back in the early Hour Of Penance days, there were maybe two or three drummers in Italy that could do blast beats. Luckily enough, we had one, so it was all about being the fastest band around. Life was easy… now everyone’s fast, everyone has a killer production, competition has become insane. So, what to do next? The answer is: we must go back, way back, and start paying attention to music again. Loud, blasting drum sound? We like it, of course, but if there’s no music, if there are no hooks, you’ll be one in a million clones. Take Gorguts, take Ulcerate, take Defeated Sanity and Wormed: do you remember their drum sound or their music?

While your debut had plenty of blasting sickness you did take the liberty to make some songs breathe a little more, the closing track “Enclosured”, is proof of this. An amazingly heavy riff/groove that is in the song and it’s extremely memorable.  Will there be more elements like this on your new album?

Absolutely. After O.R. was out we realized the album needed perhaps more sick slow moments, when the listener both takes a break and enjoys some dark atmospheres. Bands like the ones I’ve mentioned previously  –and I’d like to add Dead Congregation, Portal and sick shit like that, they know when to lift the foot from the gas.

The album cover seemed to be influenced by the classic movie, ‘They Live’, am I right in my assessment, in terms of the billboard signs and alien influence.  Is this going to be an ongoing theme for the band, or was this just for your debut?

Even more than “influenced”, the album is definitively a concept about that movie. We will repeat the experiment, our next album’s concept is gonna be again around a movie. Rather than stupid gore, antichristian bullshit which is something we have no interest in.

How long have you been singing for and how do you develop your voice, or should I say strengthen it, as time goes on?

I’ll let the “other” Enrico answer that (I’m the guitarist, but don’t worry, everyone keeps on doing the same mistake [laughs]): I started growling and screaming when I was 16, studying modern singing as well and trying to apply the “normal” technique of resonance and breath management to the extreme voices. Though the real improvement has come when I became a Phoniatrician (Voice Medicinae Doctor) and combined my musical and medical studies conducting one of the very first medical research on extreme metal singing. “scientia potentia est”.

Any show/tour plans in the future, for the new album?  Will it be on Unique Leader again?

Touring has become something difficult to deal with. To make a very long story short, it’s all about money, sometimes a shitload of money. If the other bandmates and me, after doing some basic accounting, will decide a tour would be truly helpful to the promotion of our music (and that depends on how much to pay, where and when we play), then you’ll see us around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to play live! The tours we did in Russia and Northern Europe have been a blast and I wish I could do them forever… but without going bankrupt.

How do you write the lyrics?  Do you wait until a song is finished and then you phrase your lyrics to it and see what works during practice?  How many times a week do you guys practice?

The trick, far from being easy to apply, is not to leave lyrics at the end when music is completely done. Vocals need their own space and can (rather say, must) change the song structure. Luckily Enrico H., besides being the most skilled vocalist I’ve ever played with, is also extremely focused on vocal metrics and arrangements. He’s nagging the hell outta me to write lyrics so he can try different solutions while we write music. And then, after working weeks and weeks on the same song or maybe even on the same verse, you know the final result’s gonna be killing. We rehearse usually once a week, but think about it as a 2 hours squat session and you’ll have an idea of what it’s about.

The underground Italian DM scene is vicious and Fleshgod Apocalypse were part of this scene, before they blew up and became popular with their Agony album, as well as going in a more symphonic direction.  Does their rise in popularity have an affect on you guys and could it open up more people’s eyes to the Italian DM scene?

Thanks to bands like them, people now talk about an “Italian Death Metal” scene. Funny thing is, they’re not even death metal anymore to me. Whatever. They invested a lot of money and resources, they committed a lot and they deserve the success they’re having. If a metal kid approaches H.D. after listening to Fleshgod Apocalypse, or even Dimmu Borgir or Alter Bridge or dunno, Trivium, I believe I should be thankful.

How are the local shows you go to and play?  What is the largest crowd you played in front of and do promoters do a good job in getting the event out there? Any memorable concert stories you care to share with the fans?

Crowds have never been that big so far [laughs], but some of them were so wild we couldn’t believe. A country above all, by far, is Russia. We had the time of our life there. A metal show over there is still a huge event no matter how big is the band playing, something completely different, for example, to our home country, where people have become extremely spoiled.

What is important to you when listening to brutal music and how do you feel you guys separate yourselves from the death metal pact?  What do you offer that other brutal bands do not?

Tell you what. When I left Hour Of Penance back in the days (before re-joining and being kicked out for money reasons) and moved to Norway, I thought “OK, that’s it, now death metal will slowly become a collection of cool memories”… it took me one month, and then I created Hideous Divinity. Truth is, I cannot separate myself from this music. Call it symbiotic relationship if you’re into sci-fi. So I put all my life into it, if you can tell this after listening to our songs well that’s pretty much THE achievement.

Is this a full time project for you, any other bands you’re in right now?  Are your families supportive of your musical endeavors?

At the moment I’m 110% into H.D.: couldn’t dedicate time away from work to anything else. Our families have to deal with us missing weekends at home because we’re playing away, or they have to deal with our bad mood when we struggle for something related to the band… therefore yes, they’re extremely supportive.

Did you grow up in a traditional Italian family?  Can you cook?  What are your favorite types of meals?

[Laughs] What is “traditional Italian” according to your standards? I’m actually very curious about it… but yes, I can cook some things, or rather said I can warm food with style. Actually my fave meal right now could very well be spicy Indian, so how’ bout that? Am I still a good Italian citizen, Mr. President? (if you can guess the comedy I quoted just now I’ll buy you dinner, I promise)

Any final comments/thoughts for our readers?

Thanks you all for taking the time to read all this, keep an eye on our facebook page and enjoy music rather than noise.


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