Hateful Lyrics Dissected

Hateful seed inside me
Scald my mind of all but truth

So here is the first installment of a new category of posts called “lyrics dissected”. Most bands nowadays in the Death Metal world (more so on the Grindier side, less so in the Blackest side) barely write lyrics. Some however take their time to communicate something.

Hateful from Modena, Italy is one such band. Here is a long chat I had with Daniele and the lyrics of their latest full length album “Epilogue of Masquerade” (2013).

So let’s start from the conceptualization of the lyrics. Are the ones on the latest albums somehow connected? Is there a common thread?
No common threads, I touched many different themes and I think I’ll continue to write in this way… Each song has its topic. Inthe first album there were some tracks that were linked together but in “Epilogue of Masquerade” I had so many different things I wanted to write about that a concept album would have been a limitation, so to say.

The lyrics on the first song refers to the cover art? “The blackened blood flows into turbulent oceans” looks like it refers to the black liquid spilling from that circular dimensional gate. Did you get inspiration from some Dan Seagraveish illustrated nightmare and built lyrics upon that or on the contrary you first envisioned the lyrics and subsequently engineered the cover art? Abstracting the concepts to the limits, would it be possible to define all the lyrics of the album combined with just a couple of words? What does “Epilogue of Masquerade” refers to? Revelation? Of what?

You are right, but to be precise I wrote the lyrics first. Artifacts of the Damned is about the essence of the artistic creation in general, at least from my point of view. Visual arts are definitely a source of inspiration for the lyrics, as well as many other concepts more related to society or personal experience. I think I use a very “visual” style even when I thalk about society or more mundane things, the atmospheres are very important in our lyrics

Memory is mostly visual after all even if perception is a mixture of all senses, and then some more.

The title “Epilogue of Masquerade” does not refer to any of the songs in particular, It is a sort of “sum” of the overall atmosphere and the sense of “unveiling thruts and exposing inner deformities” that permeates the whole record

What’s the masquerade? Some sort of self-inflicted blindness humanity needs to safeguard its sanity?

Yes, the lies that keep us away from insanity probably.

Maybe a sort of “yang” that permits the existence of luciferian creativity? That brings us to the second track “Corrupting the Veils That Keeps the Mind Sane”

Yeah, the hidden side… Society uses the lies to mantain a sort of difficult order. I tried to dismantle this construct in our lyrics.

What if we needed these lies? Do you believe we can face a world of complete freedom
would that be auspicable?

What you find beyond the veil is not necessarily good or illuminating it could be scary and disturbing.

What moves you towards it then? Is it some spark of creation and divine consciousness?
Isn’t ignorance bliss?

This concept has been inspired by Mondrian‘s painting research… He gradually dissolved the veil and reached a world of primary colors, a totally abstract dimension.It leads you to a place of no emotions apparently. The lyrics arre the opposite.

Or maybe the apex of emotion is emotionlessness like the combination of colors is white.

He reached a place of violent colors and rumors…that’s probably because I did not go so far. It is possible I went deeper

Sounds like a circular reasoning, an endless struggle for higher conscience that peaks into non existence.

Yeah, that song is probably the faster and more aggressive of the album, I think the lyrics were appropriate

Is this higher search for the founding blocks of reality one way to be “Craving for dead ideals” (referring to track 3)?

“A despicable Harvest” is a more motionless track everything is static the ideals are futile, humanity is a solrt of product of an entity that feeds them to absorb its energy

God? As in the God of Jews.

I think it is a more “earthly” entity, the song has nohing sacred, it is a grey picture of reiterated gestures, hopeless stuff.

The fourth track “And there was light brought my attention to the fact that you use terms like obscure, glowing, light and dark several times in the lyrics. Maybe the album is a journey through an oscillating waveform of light and its absence?

Yes, the lyrics here are like paintings, very figurative…your interpretation is very interesting….there are songs that deal with daily stuff but it is the way they are written that makes them very “pictorial” and sometime inscrutable the fact you are giving interpretations that are very close to what I wanted to talk about is reassuring ehehehe
It once was light is about paranoid and the disgusting felings you experience after a traumatic experience. The loss, the sense of guilt and stuff like that.

Indeed every single lyric could potentially be illustrated.

True, It would be a very interesting project!

So absence of light leads to disgust and exhaustion. Light is therefore the light of the flame of creativity.

We could say that the light is the vitality, the will to expand yourself and create… the quest for immortality through art. As you said before it is closer to the luciferian concept of light.

Not just light but also sound and smell and every sense. Perception and experience as light. The promethean flame. On track five you mention “An unheard sound – Buried by the blanket that covers the mind”, another take on the lack of perception or it’s something else?

Breathing the Whirlwind is inspired by the cataclysms that led the life on earth close to the total extinction so many times in history….once again I used this figure of speech to reflect on all the the energies we spend on futile things on a daily basis

Hard to tell what is futile though.

Futile compared to the immense power of the universe of course.

Unless we can define futile as anything that sways ourselves from higher conscience.

Yes this is acceptable. The message once again is “create and leave a trace before it’s too late” ha ha ha.

You imply search for higher conscience is somehow nobler that experiencing and just taking maximum pleasure from every moment of our life, can’t I just sit and watch the universe unravel?

Of course these traces could be cancelled by events like that but you have to try. It is not my lifestyle, I never enjoyed being inactive and waiting to see what happens but I respect people that are calmer and take life easier It is not myself, and this is reflected on our music

Mammals’ vestibular system regulates balance through impulses sent to the spine, that brings us to other senses with “Instinct of the Carnivorous Mass”. When you mention vertigo.

IIt is a very “organic” text.

The space between senses as perception and sensations as feelings blurs
The lyrics on this one feel like a carnal urge to expand

I remember being inspired by John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Yeah I’ve always been fascinated but the way those alien cells were able to mute form when needed in order to survive.

Some Yuzna and Cronenberg as well apparently.

It’s about the struggle to survive, the organisms on this planet are not here to give up without fighting. It is what we are forced to do all the day but there is also a negative and egoistic side.

Who is reawakened at the end of “Stillbirth”? Seems like the main subject is fading to nothingness and cold, but in the end he reawakens.

It is about the trauma of the birth.I remember reading something where they explained this incredibly brutal experience leaves unforgettable traces forever in our subconscious. A lot of nightmares and paranoids (as well as sexual deviations) we experience during our life could be linked to it

Let’s talk about Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Apparently it’s about concealing rage and hatred. Is it referred to a specific category of people?
You also mention revenants, is that hatred somehow justified revenge?

It is more about how negative feelings and hatred in particular changes the human habits and shape. This hate could come from the inside or could have been instilled by outer “forces”, like organized religions, groups of power. I Imagined a sort of architecture based on this…The “Ivory Tower” that appears in the end is the place from where this tentacular system irradiates its power. The revenants are this malicious energy’s servants.

Hatred could also be good fuel that can be channeled into positive acts however
It pushes you into action

Of course! It gives you a purpose and sometimes makes your mind sharper…Because it drives you to analyze things, the reasons why you hate that certain things and defines yourself.

Celestial Purification looks more visual. Do you think it will ever happen? Maybe it is the true purpose of Death?

I’ve always been intrigued by the geological time scale…the eons, the eras, the extinctions…I had this colored and pictorial image of a giant comet arriving and tearing the world apart. It is atrocious but also fascinating. The snow-white trail with ten thousand harpoons is a Moby Dick tribute. Him and the comet have something in common. They are so huge and relentless that their strength seems to be of a divine nature, every rational construct crumble under their impact.

Ravenous seems to alternate between a first person and third person approach. Is it about mutation and the loss of individuality in a process of externalizing one’s pain? Catharsis through torture?

Yes it partially deal with that. The individuality is lost because the protagonist was searching for answers, thirsty of knowledge, tormented by the aims. In this case the search drove him to a state of pure pain and the negativity rose to a level impossible to contain. Thus he became a sort of “evil generator” leaving to the reader the speculations about how many victims suffered from it.

A bit like the experience of Frank from Hellraiser: “explorers from the further regions of experience, angels to some, demons to others”. But where pleasure and experience is circular, instead of libertine lust, it’s about the impossibility to properly express one’s feelings.

Yeah, this frustration stagnates and creates demons…

Walking into a Nightmare envisions a desolate place crystallized in time where the fire of creation finally arrives. Is it the same driving force that the protagonist of Ravenous experiences?

Maybe a similar force but the scenario is different. Here we have a motionless, oppressive and reiterated reality that is suddenly overcome buy a crazy nightmare or daydream. It is not a totally negative development because at least a more colored world substituted the grey reality, even if it’s apparitions are scary and uncontrollable. The lyrics contains some images inspired by the Selby Jr‘ “Last exit to Brooklyn“, a true inspiration back in the days.

Regarding the last one, Bloodline
Is this line some sort of alien construct? Or it comes from the recesses of humanity?
And who’s this slumbering tyrant?

Ironically, I think your interpretation is correct…the “line” is a metaphore to describe oneself strong will to live following its own ideals and passions, no matter what. Doing that we become “aliens”, because society probably has other plans for us. The tyrant is the superstructure that you have to tear down (at least in your own mind) to avoid a passive enslavement. I was strongly inspired by my father’s life while writing this song, I hope I assimilated some of his precepts. The song is also one of the hardest to play in the entire record, I think It suits the lyrics very well.

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Something’s rotten (and festering) in Italy

I can’t certainly be identified as someone who blindly followed and supported bands from my country over the years, and I might say it with pride. On the contrary I have been often accused of hating Italian bands by default which might be not entirely incorrect. I do believe Italian bands on the average sucked amazingly during the nineties with just a short lived moment across the millennium when we had some interesting things going on. 90% of what I heard however in about 30 years is pure garbage, mostly composed of bands obsessed with technical Death-like riffing, usually self described as Thrash/Death but actually being just sloppy second rate, unimaginative thrash metal with stellar overproduction and a lot of ego. The last 10 years or so, however, basically the decade after I closed my old shop and drifted away from everything related to music, things got REALLY interesting. Possibly lead by a couple of dedicated individuals a whole layer of rot started to fester over the plastic post-Meshuggah shit mountain that the Italian “scene” had become. Is it just a new trend? Yes, probably. For some of these these might prove that to be true. Do I care? Hell no. Let this shit come over since it really looks like a new Renaissance to me. No, not exactly a Renaissance, that would imply a glorious past, which my country NEVER had except for VERY few bands. No this is really the real shit we were supposed to play in the early 90’s, we’re just 20 years late.

I will certainly forget about a lot of bands, some on purpose. I won’t list “Brutal Death” or Black Metal or Grind/Death, but just the sickest, darker more traditional sounding Death Metal shit I have been enjoying and discovering lately.

Funest

Funest

Funest is a relatively new band which recently had their 2014 Memento Mori album on vinyl repressed on Morbid Generation (boy what a horrible name is that for a label, right short of Brutal Bands). Their sound is massively Swedish, kinda old Grave with a crisper production and reminds me VERY much of the first Bloodbath EP in more than one aspect. Great vocals, great riffs, great sounds. Their album is just a must have.

Into Darkness

Into Darkness

Into Darkness is not just the title of one of the greatest Death Doom recordings ever, but also a relatively new Death Metal band from Como with a rather sparse discography. Their sound is definitely less Swedish and has strong references to Asphyx and has that kind of half-desperate, half-agonizing, half-hateful (yep that makes 150%) vocal style which is typical of Asphyx/Pestilence and Morgoth. I like their more minimalistic approach to Death Metal, just grab take some good riffs and start munching, no fillers. Like said before their releases are few and sparse, but I think everything is easily available.

Gravesite

Gravesite

Gravesite’s an highly interesting and also rather new band from my city and neighbors that inherited a great part of its sound and members from the troubled yet decently successful Undead Creep. Gravesite also rests in the moldy chamber of older-sounding Death Metal with a mix of sonorities closer to the American southern coasts ranging from earlier Death to Massacre with some faint reminiscences of crust in between. They released a full length on Xtreem last year but I feel like recommending their previous demo tape as well, where the double vocals were ever more distinct and the sound a bit darker. Good stuff.

Assumption

Assumption

They might be catalogued as Death/Doom but I would just say Assumption is really just straight backed Death Metal at its best and probably in my top 5 list bands from Italy today. They’re not more Death/Doom than Incantation, so to speak. Apparition’s only EP is just four tracks (still runs longer than Reign in Blood) but it’s just flawless. Minimalist structures, no filler riffs, Mortician-like zombie vocals, and that tiny pinch of harmonies that is just like that white pepper in the batter for fried chicken, or the stem of vanilla in whipped cream. This is for lovers of the Finnish darker side of Death Metal. Top quality here too.

Profanal

Profanal

Remember when the most Swedish-sounding band around was Fleshcrawl which was not even a Swedish band? Profanal discovered the same fountain of youth rot that defies borders with the dedication of a Syrian immigrant. They manage to sound just like a band from Nicola Costantini’s fetish books and, while in the past the similarities with early Dismember sometimes just overlapped a bit too much, their upcoming “Supreme Fire” really sounds like all weak spots have been addressed. Contaminations from all the cult classics are here, including some early Necrophobic, but the mix is just evenly balanced. It is really one of the best albums I have heard in 2016 even though lampredotto is still nowhere to be seen, mister.

Morbus Grave

Morbus Grave

Formed this very year Morbus Grave is probably the youngest band of this report, but features members of Sepulcral, Funest and Into Darkness. Still another nail haling from the land of fog and panetùn ready for the vacant coffin of OSDM. To be completely honest the band still sounds a bit unripe to me, I like them in general but they just don’t have anything that clicks incompletely yet. No killer riff, dark but not too much and so on, you get it. Possibly the most interesting element in the demo are Erman’s vocals, eerie and malignant and with a barely perceivable accent just like Angelripper on “In The Sign Of Evil”.

As far as I know the band only released one demo so far and moreover that one is also limited to only 200 copies on our inexorable and inoxidizable Unholy Domain recordings so it might not be so easy to obtain in the future BUT we shall take into account that they have a track on Youtube for listening and the fact that people just don’t buy anything anymore (me included sadly but I have already done my homeworks in the past so fuck off that’s another story) so 200 might as well be the right number.

Voids Of Vomit

Voids of Vomit

The band might not have an impressive array of releases despite being over a decade old now, yet they might be considered one of the cornerstones in the new renaissance of our beloved Metal of Death in this shitty peninsula. Necrovore and Sadistic Intent aptly demonstrated in the past how releasing one full-length a year doesn’t necessarily means quality – just saying. Truth be told, all Voids releases have a slightly different feel, from the messy 2006 debut to the latest 2016 promo on Unholy Domain, even though there are at least two common recurring elements: a massive, ultra-down tuned sound (which might be the reason Asphyx come up so often in their reviews) and the eerie feel of the lyrics, which are generally made of short one liners and deal about things dark and creepy hidden beyond our veil of conscience. Things might have changed a bit on the last tape however as I think* the theme shifted a bit on the topics of ancestry and blood valor. Nevertheless the sound is till there: massive vocals, massive riffs and that general feel of decrepitude.

*haven’t read them, just judging by the titles.

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Hateful

Hateful might be the only band in this list together with Valgrind that has roots back in the nineties. They are also the less “plain old school tribute” of them all as well so it barely fits this list. We all love the sound of the early 90’s when the genre was fresh but Hateful just don’t grab full hands and build their sound upon influences, preferring to go entirely personal, a choice which definitely doesn’t follow the market, preferring to create a corner of its own. We can certainly grab a couple of technical Death Metal bands from Florida and make some comparisons now but I think the elements that make Hateful what it is cannot be easily identified. The songs are pure Death Metal, crisp and technical without sounding scholastic, chock full of tempo changes and variations without being another brick in the Unique Leader pyramid. If I had to choose three words to describe the band those would be drive, honesty and inspiration. Their second full length was released in 2013.

Valgrind

Valgrind

Earlier this year Valgrind released their second full length album, and boy it’s a devastating piece of Morbid Angel-influenced traditional Death Metal with paired guitars that contort and twist like snakes. Not so many bands use this many solos and riffs in their songs without sounding one of those Willowtip shitty bands with sideburns. Valgrind plays neat, quintessential Death Metal with some serious guitarwork, Another hit from Lord of the Flies that seems unstoppable. Go for it believe me.
Morbo

Morbo

Hailing from Rome Morbo is a tribute to the old school, putrid sound of Autopsy performed by musicians already active on other bands like notably Corpsefucking Art. They recently released a split Ep with Bunker 66 (which I haven’t heard) and yes, they’re actually quite good. They have all the good elements of the more punkish, rawer part of Autopsy including the classic tremolos, phlegmy vocals, mid tempo accelerations and so on. Being a huge fan of the band myself I can’t but recommend to hear this. The vocalist does a particularly good job in my opinion.

Hellish God

Hellish God

Another extremely recent band formed this year that offers a brand of Death Metal that you just don’t hear so often: kinda Deicide meets South American brutality. Think of bands like Throneaeon and Centurian and mix the sound with Ophiolatry and Fornication. The satanic aspect is exploited in full including the double vocals that recreate the feeling of being present at an exorcism. Needless to say, once more Lord Of The Flies is the way to go. To be honest I am not 100% into it all of the time, but we have a solid ground to work on. We wll see.Presumed Dead

Presumed Dead

I’ll make a bold statement here but I believe this is potentially the most interesting band in Italy right now. Presumed Dead from Treviso might be young, might be somehow untight, hell they might even lose control sometimes, but they have IT, which is something I seldom say anymore. They don’t have IT all the time, but when they do, they hit the G spot hard. I heard once them saying they sounded a bit like Grotesque and well. It’s true, they do. Add Kaamos, Pentagram, Revenant and something else in that vein in the mix and you might get an idea of their guitarcentric approach to Death Metal. I really feel like we haven’t seen anything yet, which is confirmed by the fact they have released just two split EPs so far, a total of 8 songs in 3 years.

Necro

Necro

I can’t forget to mention Necro even though I admit I bought their full length from 2012 (their last release) and I wasn’t particularly blown away. Maybe the expectations were too high according to the promotion that mentioned Impetigo, Repulsion, Autopsy and so on. Certainly the band from Como plays some decrepit sounding mid tempo Death Metal, but just lacks entirely of the sickness and nauseating feel of the band mentioned before. I think the band was trying to do what Cadaveric Incubator from Finland is doing brilliantly, but just ends up sounding a bit dull and boring in the long run.

SepolcroSepolcro 

Verona based Sepolcro is an interesting band. In their innocent simplicity they might be the most genuinely 90’s sounding of the whole lot I listed so far. I particularly dig the vocal style, which has that feeling of coming from beyond the grave which is often absent these days, in particular when paired with that marked Italian accent. They play some very simple, mid tempo Death Metal that just feels like some demo tape I could have found my mailbox when Death Metal was fresh and vibrant. Nothing incredibly innovative again but definitely 100% authentic which is a big thumb up coming from the Crypt of Pus and Gore that is Nuclear Abominations. Great sound too on their split with Presumed Dead.

Cimitero

Cimitero

Another band from Como Cimitero is maybe a name that doesn’t come up as often but they’re not terrible at all. They sound sometimes a bit uneven, like a patchwork of different styles but often you actually hear something good in the mix. Full albums are free to hear on streaming (last one from 2012).

Haemophagus

Haemophagus

Another cornerstone of the NRoITDM (New Renaissance of Italian Death Metal) is obviously Haemophagus, a voracious, hyperactive and hyper-productive band with a long list of releases that include two full-length albums and a big compilation released earlier this year on Despise The Sun. After 12 years of intense activity Haemophagus are so well ingrained that their sound is solidly defined and doesn’t just sound like a mix of other band material blended together, it’s just Haemophagus with all its twists. I personally dislike the 70’s guitar leaks that sometimes head into the songs, but generally speaking every release they ever made is good. Even the lyrics are great stuff, all of them based on gore topics in pure Autopsy style. These guys are pros and you can’t really go wrong with them.