There is always hope, despite the hard times.

Speaking for myself, and maybe a few others, I’ve only had a cursory understanding of this band. After hearing their latest offering Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying), I now have a newfound appreciation. These artists from The Eternal City have been around since 2013. Their albums “Quiescence” (2014) and “Black Drapes For Tomorrow” (2017) are in my personal “must listen” playlist. With the addition of their latest album, they could easily call it a career, but somehow, I think these gentlemen have far more to offer. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with them. MHF wishes them all the best.

Dvide Straccione – Vocals

Gabriele Giaccari – Guitars

Raffaele Colace – Guitars

Matteo Capozucca – Bass

Emiliano Cantiano – Drums

Greetings from Metalheads Forever and from Colorado! How are things in your part of the world?

Matteo: Hi everyone, and thanks for your time. Here in Europe things are still quite complicated, with numbers of corona cases going up and down periodically. We have to be strong and keep resisting for a little while.

Let’s jump to it. The new album. One track. Multiple sections and layers. I know I’m supposed to be impartial, but…bravo. An amazing piece of art. It’s a bit of a departure from earlier works. Did this change in direction come from a specific event or was this just natural progression? By the way, this is where you get to brag and promote your new album…if you wish.

M: Thanks a lot, we’re glad you liked the album. For everyone who does not know what we are talking about, it came out for Spikerot Records on November 27th under the name of “Beyond The Shores (On Death And Dying)”. It’s a very different album from our previous works. First because of its structure: one track, 38 minutes. Second, because of the genre: while with the previous two works we put together a quite melodic mix of gothic-doom, black and death metal, with this we are leaning towards the first of the three. There are slow passages, dilated rhythms, somber and tragic atmospheres, but there are also mood changes, needed to give the album some variety and keep the attention of the listener high. This time we decided from the beginning that we wanted to do something different, but there were no plans of writing a single-track album. It all came naturally with composition, day by day. And it took just 3-4 weeks for writing pretty much the whole thing.

The new album features at least three iconic figures from the Metal world {Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun), Thomas A.G. Jensen (Saturnus), and Elisabetta Marchetti (Inno)}. What was the most challenging part of collaborating with these artists…and what was the funniest thing that happened?

Davide: As soon as we had the instrumental part ready we started daydreaming about some special guests. The more we listened to some of those riffs, the more two names came to our minds: Mikko Kotamäki and Thomas A.G. Jensen. With the latter we got to know each other in 2014 when we played a few Italian shows with Saturnus, while I was introduced to Mikko by a common friend and later met him in person at the last Swallow The Sun gig in Rome. In both cases they agreed and were both invited to Rome in the following months, Mikko in January 2020, and Thomas in February, right in time before Covid-19 became a serious thing. What I did was sending them the pre-production track and the lyrics; in the end they ended up doing more things than initially expected while in the studio. The reason why we wanted them to be in the studio and not just a long-distance relationship was to fully capture the vibe and making them part of the record, same reason why I wanted them to sing throughout the whole song and not just a 30-second appearance. Everything went quite smoothly so I wouldn’t say there was a challenging part, but surely there are some funny story to tell. The night before entering the studio, we were with Mikko drinking a couple of beers and going through the song, next thing I know we were listening/singing to Rhapsody and Stratovarius on YouTube. We also loved bringing the guys to eat in local restaurants and stuff like that, that made the overall experience more interesting for them as well. Elisabetta lives in Rome so it was quite easier to have her, I’m still amazed by her performance on the album.

You have three albums. For the uninitiated, describe each album in ten words or less….

M: Quiescence: Somber, melodic, catchy riffs. Full of despair, but also hope.

Black Drapes For Tomorrow: Similar atmospheres compared to Quiescence, but more complex and refined.

Beyond the Shores: Slower, doomier, darker. A voyage through the five stages of grief.

There are many artists with similar elements as Shores of Null. How do you stand apart from the crowd?

M: We are pretty much all fans of the gothic-doom genre coming out of the ‘90s, especially from Scandinavia and UK. We tried to create a mix between this and the more melodic currents of black metal, like modern Enslaved and Borknagar, with a slight finish of melodic death metal. A lot of reviews mentioned the peculiarity of the vocal lines and harmonizations, comparing them to Alice in Chains. Blend everything with a modern production, and what comes out is a quite original style. We did not invent any new genre, but we think it is a somewhat personal way of blending all that stuff. Obviously, nothing was decided beforehand, it all comes this way in the composition phase.

I read in an interview that you describe your music as “Melancholic with tiny bits of hope.” Is this still true? Would you like to expand your description?

M: Absolutely. Shores Of Null lyrics have always been about the struggles of life, the suffering we meet through our existence, the battles we have to win every day against loss, death, evil. But the main message is always how to fight against these difficulties, how to find the resources and the energies to battle and carry on during our lives. There is always hope, despite the hard times.

Beyond the Shores is inspired by the work of Kubler-Ross, regarding the 5 stages of death and dying. What other written works have given you inspiration for your music?

D: For this album in particular, no other works to be honest. The inspiration came from the 1969 ground-breaking book by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross ‘On Death And Dying’, one of the most important psychological studies of the late twentieth century. Her research consists of hundreds of interviews conducted with dying patients, compiling case studies whilst at the same time educating medical students about the care of the dying. We took Kübler-Ross’ study about the stages of grief and turned it into a monologue seen from the terminally ill’s perspective, from the early stages all the way through acceptance.

Assuming there was no Covid, if I were to travel to Rome, what is the one thing I simply must see?

M: Wow, there are so many things to see! I would probably recommend a visit to the Vatican’s museums, there’s so much beautiful art in there. Also, some classics like the Pantheon, the roman forum, Castel Sant’Angelo. But more importantly, visit some real, non-touristy roman restaurants, especially in the area of Trastevere and the Jewish ghetto.

We know you are busy and we appreciate your time. Any parting words for our readers?

D: We’d like to take a moment to thank all of you for taking your time to read this interview, if you want a deeper experience go check out our Official Music Video on our YouTube Channel: