– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything doing right now into the BARBARIAN’s camp?
B: everything’s fine, working hard on the new album and preparing for the next gigs
– First off, how did you come up with the band’s name? You can’t get more Metal than that, something that depicts your music really good, besides being really powerful.
B: As we use to say: Heavy Metal is evil, Heavy Metal is ugly, Heavy Metal is threatening, «Barbarian» just perfectly conveys our own idea of heavy metal
– The band was formed in 2009 and your debut album came out in 2011 so, as an introduction of the band; how and why did BARBARIAN born? When did you feel the need of forming a band like this, so rooted in the 80’s?
B: That’s were my musical roots lie, at some point it was something simply natural after having played in many different bands before. I asked Lore if he wanted to join me in the project and after a few rehearsals and writing a handful of songs D.D. Prowler entered the band. A classic power-trio, we have never changed our-line up so far and everything’s still working fine.
– You recently released your sophomore album, «Faith Extinguisher». How are you feeling on the result obtained? And how has its feedback been?
B: We are never 100% satisfied, we always have the feeling that something could be done better, it’s a kind of neurosis I guess, but we love to play those songs. We are having some really good feedbacks around and people seems to enjoy the record a lot, so probably it’s not too bad. We are trying to promote it live as much as possible, it helps a lot
– Starting to dig into this opus, first off I would like you to comment on the origin behind it’s title and its link with the lyrics.
B: there’s a common thread among all the lyrics, although using some common metaphors all the songs target religion, moral, cults and any kind of belief in the «metaphysical». So it’s «faith», opposed to reason, the main enemy. Lyrics are very important to me, I always put extreme care when writing them, since people are (hopefully) eager to read what I write it would be stupid wasting the chance with something worthless.
– On the other hand, the cover looks just epic and old school at the same time, it doesn’t look digitalized at all. Who’s the artist behind such piece and how did you/he work on it?
B: The cover has been painted by Shagrat from Acid Witch/Shitfucker, we gave him the general idea and he came up with this great piece of work, most definitely what we had in mind. It has that epic feeling you noticed (and that we wanted) but it’s also old school, kinda brutal and not too polished.
– On your music you mix all 80’s styles: Heavy, Thrash, Black and even some Punk. Was this the vision you have of the band when forming it or did it just developed itself? Did you started BARBARIAN with the purpose of honoring the classics?
B: we simply wanted to play some kind of raw metal because this is what we like and what we are able to play, we are no geniuses with our instruments, no endless solos in our music but at least there’s some feeling. Classics are such for a reason so influences are undeniable, but our list of listenings is endless, everything just blent naturally in our songs and it’s been evolving since, «Faith Extinguisher» is quite different from the first album although maintaining some kind of trade-mark.
– And talking about such, what have been the most influential bands for the sound of BARBARIAN?
B: it’s not easy to drop names, our life is basically music-centred and we continuosly listen to a lot of stuff . When we started the band I guess the Hellhammer/Celtic Frost influence was quite conspicuous , then all the classic metal started to surface in our songs, even in first album itself (a song like «The hammer and the anvil»)… I could also name Venom, Bathory, Sodom, Running Wild, Manowar, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Overkill, Onslaught, Kreator, Acid, Motorhead, Accept, Warfare, Discharge, Tank, Metallica, Exciter, Slaughter… no astonishing names, but come on, who doesn’t love those bands?
– Your debut album had a strong HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST vibe, and on your new «Faith Extinguisher» I think you’ve got a heavier approach, even epic at times. Was this the direction you wanted to take this time or did things just come out like this on a natural way? Has it been, let’s say, a natural evolution?
B: nothing was planned, we just kept writing songs and it showed up little by little. We write music ‘cause we like it, we don’t have to show anything to anyone, Barbarian is not a full time job and we don’t have to please people to sell more records, so we can afford to do what feel is right at the moment.
– And how do you manage to blend so much different influences without sounding non-sense? Most bands fail and create a chaotic buzz, but you have managed to blend all this things and create one single big sound, the BARBARIAN’s sound.
B: thanks a lot, I’m glad you think so because besides the many obvious influences we strive to make things coherent, interesting and personal in our song-writing, it’s the least we can do, we don’t pretend to invent anything new. I remember reading a Pestilence interview many years ago commenting their current album «Spheres», there was thing with Fusion mixing with metal, and Patrick Mameli stated that they avoided listening to music for a time in order to be devoid of any kind of influences and thus resulting in more original songs. Well, I guess that, on the contrary, since we listen to so much music and so much metal in particular, we are able to discern if what we are doing is worth or not.
– Due to this I would like to know how do you use to work on the songwriting process.
B: very simple, I use to come up with riffs using a classic guitar, I bring them to our rehearsal place (we practice regularly once a week). We assemble them, we jam a little, arrange some fitting drum and bass parts, and we keep rehearsing and changing what has to be changed, once is sufficiently refined that’s a Barbarian song.
– And how was the whole production process? In these terms you also sound really 80’s, with an almost analogue feeling and a live vibe.
B: it’s very important to us sounding natural, we are a live band, we like when instruments sound like proper ones, no point in not being able to convey live what we show on record. So overproducing just doesn’t sound right to us, while the digital revolution has make it overall tempting. It doesn’t mean we don’t put effort in what we are doing because achieving a natural sound requires time, it’s 80’s in the sense that we can’t afford to be lazy like many are instead nowadays.
– As I said earlier, I think your new «Faith Extinguisher» sounds heavier (still raw and aggressive). I found more catchy melodies, and in general you seem to be specially inspired by the NWOBHM. Are you? A good example of this is «Inhale the Dead», with a galloping rhythm that makes it feel epic at times. Will these epic moments be more present on future releases?
B: we love the NWOBHM, Venom, Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Jaguar, Satan, Sledgehammer, Tank, Raven, Iron Maiden, White Spirit, Holocaust, Virtue, Sparta, Grim Reaper… so many awesome bands, I guess some kind of influence is inevitable. The kings of epic are Manowar though, and I can say that the epic spirit will live on in the new songs as well
– Another quite Heavy song is «Godless, Amoral and Proud», but mixes this Heavy basis with some Punk elements. How influenced are you by Punk? Punk is not just about music,but also about attitude so, has Punk been an inspiration for BARBARIAN in those terms?
B: I started listening to metal and punk almost at the same time, and we all are into punk as well. And I think punk and metal have continuosly influenced each other, in terms of attitude or music-wise. So, a punk influence cannot be denied. When it comes to attitude, I guess that the main influence on Barbarian is in terms of DIY ethic, in being humble and down-to-earth and also in the straight-forwardness of our lyrics.
– It also caught my attention «Crux et Circenses», which I think is quite different to the rest of the songs on the album with a more Doom, or Epic Doom approach. What could you comment on this song?
B: yeah, the initial part is very slow and oppressive, then the song developes little by little. It’s a long one but I think it’s not boring since a lot is going on in there, and it’s very heavy indeed. It’s simply been something slightly different that fits perfectly though. In our new stuff something in that mood surfaces here and there.
– There are also tracks with a Black Metal flavour, such as «We are the Profane», being specially raw (also on vocals) and a cold atmosphere. What’s the story behind this tune?
B: it’s been the first song written for «Faith Extinguisher», in it’s rawness it’s the trait d’union between our two albums. I’m glad you noticed the cold mood because it’s the same I feel, and it perfectly fits the lyrics.
– So, all in all, «Faith Extinguisher» is a really diverse and dynamic record. How important is for you, both as songwriters and musicians, to keep things interesting?
B: the primary thing its keeping ourselves interested, if we get bored it means it doesn’t work. And I believe the same goes for listeners, so many albums are released nowadays, if an album is able to keep the attention focused from start to end, well, mission completed then!
– All this about «Faith Extinguisher» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
B: I’ll only use one: stubborn!
L: «Barbarian: Faith Extinguisher»
– You play a really traditional kind of Metal that take your listeners back to the 80’s, and nowadays it seems to be a huge interest (or hype) for old school sounding Metal. How good are the current times for a band like you? Do you think due to this may be easier to not go unnoticed?
B: actually it might happen that it’s hard being noticed when too many bands are doing the same thing. We don’t care too much about that anyway, we’ve been so many years into it, we just play what we like, if people like it it’s great and everything that comes with that is welcome (mostly having the chance to play live), otherwise no problem, we have full-time jobs and we can afford doing what pleases us.
– In Italy there have been a lot of classic Heavy Metal bands such as STRANA OFFICINA or CREEPING DEATH among others, or even new bands such as SIGN OF THE JACKAL just to mention one. It has always had a healthy underground scene, but specially for Heavy Metal so, are there more extreme bands you could suggest?
B: among rawer metal acts I would suggest Bunker 66, Extirpation, Terrorsaw, Undead Creep, Profanal, Fuoco Fatuo, Saturnine, Violentor, Baphomet’s Blood, Voids of Vomit, Corpsefucking Art…. Lore also play in Noia and I in Children of Technology.
– And how do you see the current state of the Italian Metal scene as an insider?
B: right now there are lots of bands, it’s a sign of the times I guess. Quality-wise there is the good and the band as you might expect, but I can say that there are several awesome bands that deserve recognition worldwide, coming from Italy sometimes make things more difficult, but working hard always pays back and Bunker 66 are the first example of this. There are also many chances to play live right now. Not many labels and even less distros maybe, comparing with other countries, but I think that Metal on Metal, Iron Tyrant, Agipunk, Terror From Hell, Ordo MCM, F.O.A.D…. and, why not, my own label Ripping Storm, are doing a great job
L: I think Italian scene is great and nowadays it’s probably my favourite one
– And finally, what are your near-future plans?
B: new album is almost composed already so, if everything goes properly, we might start the recordings before the end of the year
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
B: thank you for the support, we really appreciated it as well as your in-depth interview, it means you listened carefully to the record which for us is the maximum achievement. We hope to come and play live in Spain soon!
L: Thank you, ciao!