Saturday, June 11, 2016


This is an interview I did last year for Old Skull underground fanzine in Hungary.

Interview conducted by Balazs Caseres.

Hail Roach! Big greetings on the pages of Old Skull fanzine! How are you doing?

Greetings, I’m doing great! 

ATTAKKR "Blade of Ithiel" EP (2006)

Lets talk about a little bit about the beginning. When was the band founded?  What were the purposes of the band? Which bands influenced you?

Well, I had another solo project called ATTAKKR that existed around 2006-2007. ATTAKKR was very experimental, I was at a stage in my musical output where I couldn't decide which style to play. I was constantly writing and recording songs, but I was always being influenced by what I was listening to, and my tastes were changing. I was getting interested in what was happening in black metal. I was fascinated by the harsh minimalism of bands like ILDJARN and even WOLD, but I was equally intrigued by what the French scene was up to, with bands like AMESOEURS and LANTLOS doing exciting stuff, at the beginning of “shoegaze” black metal. At some point those influences came together and I started writing black metal songs, and I was more focused. ATTAKKR had fulfilled its purpose, so I called it quits for that project and MOONKNIGHT was born. I took the name MOONKNIGHT from the Marvel Comics character. I am still influenced by what I am currently listening to, and these days my favorite style is depressive black metal, so MOONKNIGHT tends to be sad and melancholic.

MOONKNIGHT "Toplov" debut LP (2010)

In 2010 your debut album was released. When and where did you record it? Did you make any demos before the "Toplov" album?

“Toplov” was my debut release, there were no demos or recordings released prior. Most of “Toplov” was recorded in my home studio in several different sessions, and from a large group of songs I chose the ones that would become “Toplov”. I had so many songs it was no problem to put together a full-length album. These were my first attempts at doing solo black metal again, and I felt a freedom to try pushing the envelope and combining that raw harshness with beautiful guitar riffs. I am still proud of “Toplov”; even though I have evolved a lot since then you can hear the roots of MOONKNIGHT in those songs.

MOONKNIGHT "Ligeia" LP #2 (2012)
Cover art by William David Pollard

Your second album released in 2012. I think the sound is more powerful than in the first album. Where did you record it? How was the feedback? What does "Ligeia" mean?

“Ligeia” was recorded at home, just like “Toplov”. Even though “Ligeia" came out later, it was recorded before a lot of the songs on “Toplov”. I took a break from experimenting with the noisy, shoegaze style, and I did a batch of songs that were more straightforward, at least to me. They were inspired by a more “classic” 2nd wave Norwegian sound, but then I was worried that they were not as innovative or exciting and I put them aside for a long time and I didn’t even plan to release them. But my artist friend David Pollard, who does a lot of artwork for MOONKNIGHT, really pushed me to finish the songs and release them. He was very supportive and I dedicated that release to him. Many fans have told me that “”Ligeia” is their favorite release. I plan to re-issue the cassette as soon as I can. The name “Ligeia” comes from an Edgar Allan Poe story.

MOONKNIGHT / MOLOCH Split 7" EP (2013)
Cover art by Johnny Ryan

You did two splits with two different bands (Moloch and Horrendus). Do you like split releases? Do you like the music of these bands?

I really like doing splits. I think you can achieve more by uniting forces with another artist. That’s my strategy with doing splits. And, it’s easier for me to do one song or a few songs for a split than to do a whole full-length, so I can get more releases out there. I’m currently in talks for a couple more splits this year. News to come!

Lyrics wise, what do you like to talk about in your songs? Do they follow any concept or is each one about a different story?

Lyrics are very challenging for me but I feel if the song calls for it, it’s worth the effort. I usually start with a blank piece of paper and write whatever comes to mind. But generally my lyric themes have to do with misanthropy, isolation, despair, that type of thing.

Los Angeles, California

How is the club life in California? What kind of metal clubs, bands and fanzines do you like there? Can you tell us about your city? Do you like NHL, MLS and NFL? Which your favorite teams?

LA has a surprisingly small underground metal scene, considering what a big city it is. But, I find that people going to underground shows are often supportive, open-minded, and genuine. I have a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles. Everything I want is here, but there are too many damn people and too much traffic for me. I am not very interested in sports, but my girlfriend loves NHL and her favorite team is the Boston Bruins.
You are the owner of Rising Beast Recordings. When founded your label and for what purposes? Can you tell us about your label and the bands who are in your interest? How do you choose the music you release? What kind of materials will Rising Beast Recordings releases in 2015?

Rising Beast happened really naturally. I started out doing CD-Rs for my earlier solo stuff like ATTAKKR, but as I kept going I thought I should go ahead and have my own label. I named it after the first song on the first LORD FOUL demo, “Rising Beast”. I never planned to release anyone else’s music, but that just sort of happened as well. I seem to gravitate towards death metal, but really it just depends on whether a band grabs me or not. I have more releases planned for this year, I have just started a deal with Nuclear War Now! Productions to license cassette versions of some of their releases. The first one I am doing is INFRA from Portugal, it’s really great atmospheric death metal.

Rising Beast has done only cassette and vinyl releases. Why did you choose these formats and do you hope to branch out further into other formats in the future (CD’s, DVD’s)?

I am a big fan of cassettes, that’s what I grew up listening to and collecting, so there is a sentimental feeling towards the format. I like vinyl as well, but for my label I don’t like doing vinyl as much, it’s very expensive and more of a hassle. Cassettes are cheap and easy, I can cover more ground doing cassettes. I have no plans to do any more CDs.

Son of Dog circa 1992
Left to right: Roach/Horus, Greg Mattingly, Vic De La Cruz

If I know it right, your first band was Son of Dog around 1992. What do you remember about those times? After that you were in Forsaken? What do you remember about the times in Forsaken?

Actually, FORSAKEN was first. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and back then there were very few people into death or black metal. The first death metal band in Louisville was called NOTHING, and after they broke up the members Vic and Greg started a new band called FORSAKEN. I knew the singer Jason, he was dating my girlfriend’s sister and we became friends. When I heard about FORSAKEN I begged them to let me join the band, it was my dream to play death metal. Later we changed the name to SON OF DOG. We toured and released 3 7”s before we broke up. We did a SON OF DOG reunion in 2010, it was a lot of fun.

HARASSOR live at The Regent Theater, Los Angeles 5/16/2016
Left to right: Roach/Horus, Sandor GF, Pete Majors

You have a Black Metal/Hardcore Punk project as well, Harassor. Can you tell us a little bit about that band? If I know right the drummer of Harassor is a Hungarian guy, Sándor. When and where did you first meet him? Do you know Hungarian words or swears? Did you taste any Hungarian food or drinks?

The members of Harassor met while working at the record store Amoeba Music in Hollywood. We all were interested in black metal and the idea of starting a band just happened naturally. Our main influences were VON and  ILDJARN. We were very interested in “de-constructing” riffs and songs to a primitive simplicity. We’ve evolved since then, with different types of songs, and better production, but our primitive approach is still the same. We've been playing together about 12 years now. We have played lots of shows Los Angeles and have gained respect in the local scene. Sandor is Hungarian, his family moved to LA from Budapest. He always tells us about Hungarian culture, music and food.

Do you know Hungarian bands? What do you know about Hungary? Have you ever been in Europe?

I actually have learned more about Hungarian music from Sandor than anywhere else. I’ve been to Europe, but only to Britain, France and Belgium.

You took part in a quite interesting release: you wrote partly the music for Adam Rehmeier's movie, 'The Bunny Game'. How did this come to happen? Did he give you freedom in composing the music? Do you like horror movies? If you do, who is your favorite director and which film?

I used to work at a production company with the director of “The Bunny Game”, Adam Rehmeier. When he was finishing up the film he needed music for the soundtrack, so I gave him some songs from HARASSOR as well as some of my solo experimental recordings. I really like horror movies, some favorite directors are John Carpenter, Sam Raimi, Stuart Gordon, Mario Bava, Roman Polanski, etc. etc.

When did you first discover metal? What were the first band that made you fall in love with this so misunderstood musical genre?

I have to say it was METALLICA “Master of Puppets” that was my first metal cassette, it got me interested in the genre and from there it was SLAYER, TESTAMENT and VOIVOD. I was always looking for darker, faster, and more extreme music, this led me to eventually discover underground metal, which was an exciting world to explore, especially in those early days from 1988-1992.

Is the USA a dream land with thousands of opportunities to become a millionaire?

I don’t know about that as I have been out of a job for a long time now! Hahaha

I’ve got lots of favourite USBM bands, like Xasthur, Leviathan, Moonknight, Von, Lurker of Chalice, etc. Nowadays in Europe there's a tendency to not like the American BM bands, mostly from the side of „true” metalhead assholes. What do you think how strong is the American scene comparing to the world's others? How many people are going to shows and buy vinyls, CDs, tapes? Here if you have 100 people at a show it's really good…

I listen to metal from all over the world. But yes here in America there is “hipster” black metal with trendy styles. I don’t pay attention to trends, I just listen to whatever I like, there’s plenty of room for everything. Los Angeles doesn’t have as many underground fans as you would think but there is still a good scene. We can get 100-200 people usually at a good show.

What are the near future plans for Moonknight?

I am finishing up the new full-length “Valinor”, it has 8 new songs of depressive atmospheric BM. After that there will be a new EP "Zhora" and there is talk of a couple more splits but it’s too early to mention yet! I would also love to do some merchandise like t-shirts, patches, stickers, etc.

Thanks for the interview. The last words are yours:

Thanks and cheers to you for the support! And thanks for listening to my music! ~Roach/Horus

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Conjuro Nuclear, Ambergris, Carma, Mòr

CONJURO NUCLEAR "Reacciones Paganas"
Darkwave/Black Metal

Last year's self-titled release from CONJURO NUCLEAR was a favorite of mine for 2014. I even wrote a review for it in an earlier post on the Twilight Revue. So when the new album "Reacciones Paganas" showed up in my inbox, it was warmly welcomed. CONJURO NUCLEAR takes the best elements of grim, cold black metal and 80's synth/darkwave and combines them into a catchy yet sinister confection. Sole creator Emesis from Barcelona has conjured up a style that seems effortless in its simplicity, yet it has a uniqueness and appeal that is all its own. This new album shows a firm step up in all aspects, from the songwriting and instruments to the mix and production. There's a bit more emphasis on atmosphere and vibe, and more variation from song to song with different synth sounds and beats. This feels like a greater realization of CONJURO NUCLEAR's potential, and I think will ultimately win more people over as they discover the music of this very enjoyable band.

Cassette edition also available on the band's Bandcamp page!

AMBERGRIS "Ambergris"
Math/Post-Black Metal
United States

I had a bit of trouble tracking down info on AMBERGRIS, other than they are/were a duo from San Diego, and this self-titled EP is one of 2 releases they have thus far. AMBERGRIS has done a sort of "de-construction" of traditional black metal arrangements, with jagged, unpredictable transitions and off-kilter timings that make use of the element of surprise. This approach, along with the jangly, dissonant riffing and shrieked, distorted vocals, makes me think of the sort of "math-rock" bands found on Skin Graft Records in the 90's, such as DAZZLING KILLMEN or ZENI GEVA. And yet, even with a sonic landscape that is constantly shifting, there is still a thread of some distant longing or melancholy that finds its way out of the maze.

CARMA "Carma"
Atmospheric Blackened Doom

Slow burning, charred-black doom with a haunting melancholy and moments of devastating beauty. Some really fantastic vocals in the mid-range between a black metal shriek and a death growl, communicating some sort of incalculable anguish and pain, and with all of the lyrics in the band's native language. An ebb and flow approach featuring some extreme dynamics, from quiet, moody contemplation to absolutely bludgeoning riffs with all knobs cranked to 11. This is a very well crafted and arranged release, and a great and promising debut. Excellent!

MòR "Aequinoctium"
Raw Black Metal

I don't know about you but this one floored me the first time I heard it. Another band I had a hard time finding info about. I almost tried to contact these guys to see if I could release this demo on cassette. I just love it. MòR has these great, thrashy riffs and dual harmonic leads that are infused with melodies, and the compositions are skillfully arranged. However, in stark contrast to the musicianship, this release also has a very harsh, raw and burnt-to-a-crisp production that reminds me of ILDJARN or BONE AWL in its unapologetic savagery. And it's this odd juxtaposition of the musical proficiency on display crossed with the abrasive recording that is the magic formula. It just fucking rules. Apparently there is another older French band called ASMODEE with a demo called "Aequilanx" that MòR has been compared to. If anyone has a rip of the ASMODEE demo hit me up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

INFRA "Initiation on the Ordeals of Lower Vibrations" Cassette

I am pleased to announce the next release on Rising Beast Recordings will be INFRA from Portugal. Their stellar debut "Initiation on the Ordeals of Lower Vibrations" has just seen a prestigious vinyl release on Nuclear War Now! Productions, and now Rising Beast has licensed the cassette edition. Despite a mere 2 songs and a run time of just under 12:30 minutes, INFRA nonetheless have left a formidable mark on the current death metal zeitgeist. With a decisive attack balancing livid aggression with metaphysical dread, INFRA cleaves a gaping wound in the fabric of reality.

Listen to the first track "Communion" below and prepare for cosmic death metal horror!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Dampe's Keep, Trigger, Khthoniik Cerviiks, Encoffination

DAMPE'S KEEP "Twilight"
Black Metal/Soundtrack
United States

The concept behind DAMPE'S KEEP might throw you; this is a one-man BM band whose entire output consists of cover songs from The Legend of Zelda video game series. "Twilight" is the second release, and its single, sprawling 22 minute track is a medley of themes culled from the game "Twilight Princess". Fans of the game series who also happen to be fans of raw black metal will instantly love this, as these "black metal-ized" interpretations carry the emotional weight of the game's storyline to new levels. For people not familiar with the games, there is plenty of craftsmanship and technical flourish to appreciate, and in my opinion it would be hard not to be enchanted by the dynamic and emotive range of this excellent release.

TRIGGER "Start Our Revenge"

I admit that grindcore and power-violence are genres that I don't really keep up with these days. That being said, I do love me some GRIDLINK and CLOUD RAT, and occasionally I'll dig out my old Slap-a-Ham 7"'s for a spin. I was WAY into the style in the early 90's, and it still has a special place in my heart.
So a few weeks back my band HARASSOR was on tour, and on the first night we played in Tempe, AZ with touring bands LOVE MACHINE, TRIGGER, and CATHETER. TRIGGER was the second band of the night, and they were a German 3-piece with drums, bass and vocals. Myself and a handful of people watched in casual curiosity as they set up their gear. Then, about 60 seconds into their set, I was chasing after my lower mandible, which had hit the floor and rolled away from me. The room quickly filled up with all the people that had been milling around, and we all stared transfixed as this group of young savages destroyed our minds.

I would describe them as a blend of DISCORDANCE AXIS and ANAL CUNT. The drummer was mind-blowing, he did this move where he attacked his kit with all 4 limbs, hammering out hyper-blast rhythms at machine gun speed. And the singer had one of the most shrill high pitched screams I've ever heard. They were explosive and bristling with fury. After the set, I made my way to the merch table, hoping they had a cassette release. Alas, they did not but this t-shirt instantly captured my eye:

Sadly they didn't have the shirt in my size. :(
I don't know if the recordings below can convey the intensity of the live experience I had. TRIGGER rules.

Black/Death Metal

German label Iron Bonehead Productions, in my opinion, has been consistently releasing some of the most exciting music in the current atmospheric black/death metal movement. Cue up KHTHONIIK CERVIIKS, a power trio that plays a chaotic, dissonant style of death metal. A bombastic and complex rhythm section lays the ground work for a bizarre tremolo-picked guitar style that spends a lot of time in the upper tonal registry, creating a feeling of delirium and swirling dementia. This unique release is listed a demo, and was released on cassette, but it's really a full-length clocking in at just over 43 minutes. Recommended!

ENCOFFINATION "III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thy Wretched Choirs)"
Death Metal/Funeral Doom
United States

I wasn't sure where these guys could go after the last full-length, 2011's "O' Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres". That album pushed every element of ENCOFFINATION's brand of death/doom to the utmost extreme. They then released an EP in 2012 titled "Elegant Funerals for the Unknown Dead", which continued the same abysmal course, but with a barren and stripped down production it lacked the same choking-on-cremated-remains atmosphere of past releases, in my opinion. So I was curious to hear the 3rd full-length "III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thy Wretched Choirs)" and see what the next step in the band's evolution would be. "III..." picks up where "O' Hell..." left off, with the band somehow, impossibly, taking their concept even further with an album even more fetid and dank than the last. Their music is slow and plodding, with riffs that creep past in morbid dissonance, rarely supplying any hooks or dynamics, and I'm sure that's the intention. I feel you are meant to experience this music on a visceral level, as ENCOFFINATION creates some of the most overwhelmingly dismal music ever made. They seem to be obsessed with death, not in the blood and guts kind of way, but in funerary rites and procedures. With everything sounding de-tuned, and super-gutteral vocals, they sometimes sound like an INCANTATION record that is 45 rpm but played back at 33 rpm. Follow your nose to the source of the stench below.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Swallowed, Haunter, Rhuith, Tongues

SWALLOWED "Lunaterial"
Death Metal/Doom

At long last we get a full-length from this Finnish group. In fact, "Lunarterial" is the band's first release in 4 years, but it was worth the protracted timeframe. With a noticeable step-up on the production from 2010's eponymous EP, the band still preserves the grime-crusted depravity of past recordings. SWALLOWED touches on something truly foul; they have a tangible atmosphere of down-and-out filth that makes you want to take a shower after listening to their music. "Lunaterial" sees the band launching their plague-dipped spears in a bombastic shower of dissonance and grime, reminiscent of Spanish occult horde TEITANBLOOD at times. But what really sets SWALLOWED apart is their relentless, uncompromising pursuit of psychic nausea and delirious dread, and with "Lunaterial" they achieve their sickening goal.

Physical formats available from Dark Descent Records.

HAUNTER "He Who Jumps Into the Void Owes No Explanation to Those Who Stand and Watch"
Black Metal/Hardcore
United States

I had some trouble tracking down info on these guys, but they look to be a 3-piece outfit from San Antonio, TX, and this is their second release. HAUNTER plays a great blend of moody, atmospheric black metal laced with some hardcore punk. The vocal duties are shared between two members, and they switch off on harsh screams, occasionally using more of a shouted hardcore vocal style. Some great riffing, dynamic transitions, and a raw but fitting production make this worth checking out.

RHUITH "Darkness Moves"
Black Metal/Dark Pop

RHUITH has quite a few albums and EPs, but "Darkness Moves", released on cassette by Canadian label Tour de Garde, is my favorite. This band's output, the product of sole member XV, is eclectic and defies categorization. At times, you'll hear straight-forward raw black metal; at other times styles like post-punk, goth, and dark pop with layered harpsichords that give the music a romantic, baroque quality. My favorite song on "Darkness Moves" is "12 Hours In Malkuth", a blown out, distorted affair with a driving beat and vocals that alternate between an echoey plea of longing and harsh, overdriven screams. RHUITH is also known for doing uniquely interpretive cover songs, from EMPEROR and SLAYER to DEPECHE MODE and EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL.

Cassette version available here.

TONGUES "Thelésis Ignis"

An exciting debut from this Danish 2-piece, released on I, Voidhanger Records, that has drawn me back for repeat listens. TONGUES certainly covers some of the same alien, insectoid turf as PORTAL, invoking cosmic horrors by ripping open the veil between worlds. But TONGUES offers more than just tentacles and centipedes; they diversify with passages of mournful doom, creating an unsettling atmosphere that alternates between melancholy and delirium. The outro is a 6:39 long drone piece with a deeply-pitched vocal chant reminiscent of the Tibetan throat singers. Truly unique songwriting sets this release apart and makes TONGUES a band to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Ritual Chamber, Afterwalker, Murmuüre, Summer Graves

RITUAL CHAMBER "The Pits of Tentacled Screams"
Black/Death Metal
United States

This demo was released earlier this year by Nuclear War Now!, but I never heard much talk about it. It's got that great dark, murky atmosphere quite prevalent in today's current death metal zeitgeist; however RITUAL CHAMBER adds a mysterious thread of melancholy to the riffing, with subtle melodies that float upon the abscess of the pits. Not surprising since the sole member Numinas is also the creative force behind depressive black metal band KROHM.

Tape version still available here.

AFTERWALKER "Afterwalker"
Depressive Black Metal/Shoegaze

Shimmering, pulsating and hypnotic black metal from Brisbane. Repetitive long form patterns oscillate from left to right, with layers of guitars and a haunting, chiming effect. Sad and beautiful at the same time. So awash in reverb it borders on ambient. So epic.

MURMUÜRE "Murmuüre"
Ambient Black Metal/Experimental

This band's name means "whisper" in French. This eponymous release is the sole emanation of sole member "F." and it came out in 2010. I recommend it. Totally unique, with a very deliberate and well-realised vision, a true artistic approach, with distorted ambience and instruments that could be guitars or synths. Drums kick in here and there. For me this music has a Chicago art-rock vibe, like TORTOISE or a Jim O'Rourke side project. The drums have that explosive Albini-esque production. It's cinematic, too.

Raw Black Metal
United States

Esoteric black metal from Tennessee. One man band, and very stripped down, most songs are comprised of drum machine, one guitar track, and vocals. Nonetheless, SUMMER GRAVES has a catchy simplicity that drew me back for repeat listens. Clean vocals doing Latin-style chants adds to the mystery. The song "Quarrel of the Sun and Moon" kicks ass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Interview with Luca Dalpiaz of BARRENS

Tuscany is a triangle-shaped region in central Italy roughly 9,000 square miles in size. With a geography comprised of rolling hills and mountains, fertile plains, and the white sands of the Etruscan coast, it is a rural paradise of natural beauty.

It also happens to be home to musician Luca Dalpiaz and his solo project BARRENS; a seamless, alchemical blend of black metal, gothic folk and shoegaze. After discovering his debut demo "Circles" while cruising the blogosphere (see our review here), we were eager to learn more about this artist and the influences and methods behind his music.

Tell us about the history of BARRENS and how the project came to be.

LUCA DALPIAZ: I started playing bass when I was a teenager. From that moment I've been involved in a lot of different bands and projects; I was focused on my instrument, that's why I changed so many musical styles. Punk, hardcore, noise, post-stuff, folk, shoegaze. During these years I always developed music as a part of a band, improving my skills, my ears, and growing as a person by meeting the right people around me to collaborate with. I can say it was a long period of learning. Then I felt like the moment had arrived; the moment to do something that would be strictly mine, deeply mine. The name ''Barrens'' had been floating in my mind for the last 2 and a half years, I liked the sound of it, so evocative; therefore the thing was so natural, I had the right name at the right moment. So I only started playing other instruments to create what in my mind was so clear: the first structure of ''Circles'', my demo.

BARRENS combines a variety of styles/genres into a very unique sound. What are the influences or inspirations behind the project?

As I said, a lot of musical styles, and I always listened to everything in my life: what is important to me is the quality and the intensity of a song, of a track, of an ambient suite. So I tried to concentrate all the whispers of inspiration that came to my mind into something that had its own essence, and that was consistent. These ''whispers'' were Cormac McCarthy, Dino Buzzati, Eugenio Montale, A. Jodorowsky, Werner Herzog, Ben Chasny, Phil Elverum, Dylan Carlson, David Eugene Edwards. Then ambient music, wicked blues and, of course, black metal.

Since you are a one-man band, how does the songwriting process happen? Do you start with one instrument and add layers until a song is complete?

First of all, I start from a concept. I mean, it can also be a peculiar word, or just an atmosphere. Then I start playing instruments to create it. When I decided to work on the material that would become the demo ''Circles'' I had a few lines of lyrics and some riffs; I just let them grow in my mind. The first brick of the recording session was the drums/percussion; that's because the song was clear in my mind, I already knew the guitar parts because I had already written the guitar's acoustic line; then I recorded acoustic instruments, basses, then the most important moment: the atmospheres. I say this because they are like a ''glue'' that brings together all the work's different parts. All the ambient/drone parts you hear on ''Circles'' are not synths; I made them using the reverbs and the distortions between the mics and tens of overdubbed acoustic guitars.

You play multiple instruments and are an accomplished songwriter. Have you ever had any formal or classical training?

I am completely self-taught. I am just a curious guy with a strong sense of discipline.

You mentioned that you are in other bands besides BARRENS, but this is your first solo project. Can you compare what it is like to work with an ensemble group versus working alone? Is it better or worse, or just different?

These are two completely different ways of working. I mean, not only as a method, but as a philosophy. I've always had some bands and musical projects in my life, so I shared many experiences and deep feelings with people/friends/musicians around me. It's great to create the chemistry to get a good band, achieving our musical ideas together. This is a path of compromises and discussions, which are very important to make you grow as a person and, why not, as a musician. This simply does not happen when you work by yourself. All the possibilities around you drastically change, and a sort of a ''creative avalanche'' overwhelms you; you can do whatever you want, but you have to be prepared to manage this freedom. You don't want to drown in it. That's why you need your discipline to create a balance between all these new possibilities, to bring them wherever they may come to. So it's different to have or not have a band to play with, as you can imagine; what I can say for sure is that I could never start this solo project without first being in a band.

What is the music scene like where you are from? Are there a lot of shows? Are people supportive?

Sincerely, I don't like the concept of ''scene'' very much. I will say more: I started BARRENS to escape from these ''rock'n'roll'' ideas. I mean, I like to be competitive, trying to reach the highest level I can (considering my equipment, of course) and doing my stuff. I obviously listen to other artists from my area, comparison has always been important to me; it keeps me ''awake'' so I can take inspiration from the things around me, from what I see and what I hear. I think that this improves us and lets the music show itself in the purest way. But this cannot create immutable standards that flow into these sort of reactionary dogmas; there is a high risk of falling into a dead end that would suffocate the natural development of an idea. So know your soil but don't let it control you. In the meantime, a few ''Italian'' suggestions: be sure to check out Gottesmorder (they split up but they have released a great record), Graad, Bland Vargar and Enisum.

Black metal seems to be crossing over with more and more genres, what do you think of this? Do you see potential for the genre of black metal to spread even further?

Now the moment is over, but I think that in the last years Black Metal showed itself as the more dynamic style in between metal genres. I think that's happened because of its being so extreme; it is like a raw, dark and distant frontier, where everything could happen; it's like, you know, the perfect place for contamination. If you stripped it of all its theatrical aspects (face-painting, satanistic stuff) you can see a huge, dark and entirely free area to work in, to fill it with your ideas without any sort of restriction. This music style is particularly suitable for these dark years, where the wave of progress has crashed upon the stones of some atavistic, deadly recall. What I call ''Black Metal'' is just a mood to approach reality, or what it means to you, in a deepest way; it does not base itself on solipsistic dogmas or musical laws, you can express it with atmospheres, raw drums, melodies, electronics, primitive percussions, techno, dark ambient, whatever. The point is ''what'', not '' how''.

What are your future plans for BARRENS?

I am writing new material. That will be pretty different from the ''Circles'' demo; more ''songs-based'' work instead of long suites, a sort of melancholic journey.

Thanks for the interview Luca, is there anything else you would like to say?

Thank you for this interview and for having discovered my work in the depths of the web's ocean.