Necrodeath – Claudio

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Necrodeath’s Guitarist, Claudio
Interviewed in Feb 2001 by Arto Lehtinen

The legendary Italian cult deathrashers Necrodeath have returned back from the beyond after being on hiatus since the first split up 1989 and of course their new and third output “Mater of all evil” was unleashed in the beginning of this year and it definitely shows this band truly rules and every old school deathrash manic should get that album immediately. Here is the interview with the guitarist Claudio.

Good day Claudio, what’s up there and what have you been doing lately?!

ClaudioWell ? we have been playing around here in Italy ? some gigs in the south and two big festivals .. No Mercy (Marduk, Cannibal Corpse, Immortal, Dark funeral ..) and Gods of Metal with Slayer. We’re gonna talk about this???

I have paid attention that you don’t play that much gigs, well one here and one there and recently you did a gig as an opening act for bands being on the No Mercy Tour, so I can’t help asking that what kind of reception did you get from the local Italian deathrash crowd?!?

Reception was really good. We have a video from this No Mercy gig. You can download it from our web site and have a look to what happened. We’re really lucky with fans. As you know, we have the status of a cult band, especially in Italy, the kids love us. They loved our first album, maybe because it is violent like in the past. We’re back the same as we were in the past. I think people appreciate this.

But the biggest event for Necrodeath as to gigging was the “Gods Of Metal” festival headlined by Slayer and a bunch of other well known acts, well did you at last manage to meet the gods of the whole death/thrash metal genre Slayer personally and any other bands and how did you get along with them, as far as I know another Italian cult band namely Death SS had been booked to the same festival?

Yeah, we played on the same stage as Slayer and it has been really cool. We met them personally and I had my Reign in Blood vinyl copy signed by the three living legends!!!!!! Obviously we played at 12:00 and they played at 9:00PM but, believe me, it has been a great emotion the same.

What about the reception from the audience of the festival?! Did you get bottled off from the stage or applauded with massive screams by the audience back to the stage?

Wow…no, as I told you, Italian kids love us. Then, you have to think that people were there to see Slayer, so, they were an extreme audience. Other bands had big problems with them – Tommy Lee’s Methods of Mayhem couldn’t play at all!!!!! It has been really unbelievable. When they came out on stage, 1000 bottles rained on the stage, it was really dangerous, and they had to stop after 2 songs. Tommy was not that happy!!!! Then, even Slipknot had some problems. A part of the kids keep on throwing bottles all the time. We had our fans, they screamed all the time under the rain, even if it was really early in the morning!!!!

Even though the Scarlet Rec isn’t that big, but seems like their financial resources are quite limited as they are unable to send Necrodeath out to tours as a supporter for bigger bands, but as far as I know you have been licensed to the prestigious Metal Blade, haven’t they showed any kind of interest to set tours for Necrodeath for example to warm up other bands?

Wow. I know nothing about Metal Blade. Scarlet is not that big as you say, but there have been some proposal for tour with big bands but, as you know, we all have jobs so, we can’t leave tomorrow for a European tour. Now there is an agency working for a small tour in Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Holland in November 2000?let’s wait and see.

Flegias - vocals

The comeback and above all third Necrodeath album “Mater of All Evil” was unleashed in the beginning of this year and so far all the reviews what I have witnessed have been massive overwhelming brilliant and great and especially a lot of comparisons to the era of Slayer’s “Reign in Blood”. So let’s be sarcastic now: I guess you must be more than surprised at getting a lot of good reviews, but did you have a feeling inside that this album will murder and tear everyone apart and get such massive good support ?!?

Well…I know we had good reviews all over the world and I’m really pleased about this you know I’m a big Slayer fan, so you can imagine my feelings when I read about a comparison between Slayer and Necrodeath ..brrrrr. Well, to be sincere we were sure the album was really good. We were sure about every song, so, the only doubt was about the kind of production we were going to have But, when we entered Underground Studios and met Pelle Saether, then we were sure about the result. Then I think the support we receive is a natural consequence of the fact that our come back has been “true.” I mean, we’re back because we love this kind of music, no business or other considerations.

At least I for one was utterly blown away by the album, especially the first three tracks from the beginning literally stopped the blood here and in general the whole album represents the triumphal march of the old school deathrash assault with the 80’s vibes, “Mater of all evil” is a pure evidence of roots of all evil and Flegias’ nasty delivery crowns the whole hell, I guess you must be more than very satisfied with how the album after all turned out or how would you like to comment?

Yeah…I love what you say because it is exactly what I think about the album. We wanted the album to start with extra violence to let understand everybody what are our intentions. Then, it’s natural we have this kind of 80’s sound, just because we are a band from the 80’s!!!!! but I think this kind of sound represents exactly what this kind of music should be. I’m sorry I don’t like new metal or keyboards!!!!

The album has been processed and done from the beginning to the end in Sweden, but didn’t it cost a lot for you and Scarlet to fly all up to Sweden to work on “Mater of all evil” and the quality is really insane, but seeing from our point of view Germany would have been much closer to Italy and there is a lot of great studios, why didn’t you choice some studio in Germany instead?

Well, Scarlet paid for everything of course…flying to Sweden or Germany is more or less the same. We knew about Underground Studios and we wanted that kind of sound. Germany could have been all right the same for sure. It has been Sweden just because we knew that name, no other reason.

“Mater?” includes an updated version of the old demo track “Iconoclast” off from “Mater Tenebrarum” demo’86, seems like the new version is much rawer and more brutal than on the demo, cos personally I didn’t recognize the track in the first place..heh.. But do you feel about the renewed version of Iconoclast ?! And any plans to renew another old track “Morbid Mayhem”?

Well…the demo’s original title was “The Shining Pentagram” and Mater Tenebrarum was originally there, and then we put it on our first LP Into The Macabre. Iconoclast was 9 minutes long, with 1 minute of a sort of guitar solo at the end. Really, it couldn’t be the same today so now it is shorter and more evil. But believe me, there are the same guitar riffs as in the original version. Maybe you don’t recognize it because of the very bad quality of sound!!!!! Really you like Morbid Mayhem???? I can’t remember of it .. I will go and have a listen to it!!!

“Mater of all evil” came out via the Scarlet rec and was licensed to Metal Blade as stated above. But how come you decided to sign a deal with Scarlet not instead of some bigger labels in hope of getting a better chance to get distributed and have more gigs outside Italy ?! Did Scarlet have some legal rights tied up to Necrodeath because of the first two albums?

Well Scarlet had no rights on our albums. We gave them a license for the reprinting of Into the Macabre about our second album, Fragments of Insanity. We do not own the rights, but ..(this is a big new and you’re the first who knows) .. they’re gonna buy them and reprint it on CD!  About Mater of All Evil, there are some reasons why we choose to sign with them. The principal one is, as I told you before, that we have proper jobs, so, we’re not the kind of band you can ask to do whatever you want, when you decide it. We need a small label to decide things together. Then, of course I would be happy about a big label with a big distribution all over the world…but this is not that easy.

The first Necrodeath album “Into the Macabre” was re-issued by Scarlet, but you once mentioned about having problems with the legal rights what comes to the ownership of “Fragments of Insanity”, cos Scarlet didn’t unleash it, so have you managed to sort out these legal hassles about who actually owns the master tapes of the album and will the second see the light of day some day?

Yeah, as I told you before, we don’t own the rights about that album. Even now, that Scarlet have bought them, we a re not part of the business. Believe it or not, we’re gonna earn nothing by this reprint!

Excuse my ignorance, but gotta admit having your old albums on tapes obtained through tape trading, so entirely unaware of who released “Into the Macabre” and “Fragment of Insanity” between 1987-89 in the first place who was it anyway and I am afraid that label’s distribution wasn’t that well organized because it turned out to be rather a “mission impossible” to get a hold of original versions of two album?!?

Yeah, first album was released by a very small local label and printed in only 1000 copies. I think it’s impossible to find for sure. Then, the second one was for the same label of Bulldozer called Metal Master. It doesn’t exist now so I think it’s difficult to find it the same.

I used to be under the impression the Italian label called Warlord Rec run by the Deathrage dude would be willing to issue something from Necrodeath, are you aware of this thing in a way or another?

Yeah, you know a lot of things about the Italian scene!!!!!  I know less than you, but I think, Warlord owns the rights of Fragments and now they’re gonna reprint it together with Scarlet.

After the Necrodeath split up back in ’89 most of you pulled out of the whole metal scene by focusing on other things, but what exactly lead you and the original drummer Peso to give a second chance to Necrodeath?

Well I had no possibility to play in those years then I came back to my original town and met Peso again. I still enjoyed playing metal and Peso too, so we decided to start Necrodeath again and here we are.

The current Necrodeath line up consists of two new dudes Flegias on the vocals and John on the bass, but didn’t you try to get the touch the two original Necrodeath guys by bringing them back to the band or are they entirely out of the metal scene at the moment ?!

Yeah  they’re out of the scene. They still are metal fans but not interested in playing again.

I guess they must have heard the third album by now, so any comments given by them regarding “Mater of all evil” ?!?

I just met Ingo and he said he liked the album? I know nothing from Paolo.

2000 – “Mater of All Evil?

But basically doesn’t it feel somehow great and good to know that the old school thrash/death metal is getting back in wake of all these reunions of old bands of the 80’s and the younger kids will get interested in the older type extreme bands and stuff, not only b-class penguin black metal groups?

I think it is good if old legendary bands come back and play good music. If they come back and play shit, then it is better if they don’t come back!!! Anyway, I’m happy about some thrash taste is coming back, ‘cos I’m not deeply into black metal as it is played today.

So how did you like all these comeback albums by Destruction, Agent Steel, Whiplash, Venom in general? How do you view all these bands who ventured more into the softer direction like?hmm? Kreator?

I like the new Destruction album .. I just heard only one song of new Kreator album .. well, maybe it was a good song, but I’m not interested in listening to that kind of stuff from Kreator. I love Endless Pain and Pleasure to Kill. Anyway, Mille Petrozza is still a legend to me. If they want to change it’s not my business, I don’t buy their album, but they are free to do what they like. It’s like James Hetfield  – I don’t like their new stuff, but to me he’s always the guy playing Kill ’em All

But do you still and rather listen to these older bands for example mentioned earlier and how much do you pick up releases by newer bands and do you any certain fav ones?

Well I still love Slayer over all, and old 80’s bands, but I like good albums. So, for example, the last Testament album is really cool but I don’t like their old albums!!! Among new bands I like Carnal Forge and Darkane.

All right Claudio, Gracias for this interview and a lot, all the best to the cult Necrodeath and hopefully see you on the tour some day and somewhere?.And of course the last words are always yours?.

Well ? thank you Arto .. I really hope we can meet somewhere. I think it’s possible because we want to play around the more that we can. Keep an eye to our web site for news.