From the Depth’s mastermind Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese talks about the reissue of BACK TO LIFE and what is coming for this power metal band
Interview by Cristóbal Torres
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From the Depth is a Power Metal band born in Parma, Italy in 2008. After releasing a demo in 2010, a year later they released their debut album called: BACK TO LIFE, an opus that embodies the most characteristic benefits of the genre both on a musical and lyric level, making it one of the most interesting promises of the always captivating Italian power scene.
However, something happened and the band was not heard from again until a long time later. For the rest of the decade, From the Depth only released one EP in 2014 with both acoustic and live versions. It was not until just last year that the band returned with MOMENTS, their second LP where they showed that the spirit embodied ten years ago is still completely intact.
In the framework of the 10th anniversary of BACK TO LIFE, the band decided to do a reissue, so it was the perfect moment to contact From the Depth and ask their mastermind Raffaele “Raffo” Albanese what happened to the band after having released that magnificent debut album. This is what he answered us.
How did you come up with the idea of celebrating ten years of the album with a reissue?
Our first album has been sold out for several years, the 10th anniversary was the perfect occasion for a reissue. This time with a new mix, a new mastering, and a little refinement on the artwork
Besides the line-up, in what other ways do you think From the Depth has changed since the days when you released your debut album?
Surely the approach to the composition, there is less naivety and much more attention to details. The heavy metal side is slightly more present and the themes of the lyrics are much more mature.
How do you think the album has aged; do you think it has stood the test of time or are there details that you would like to have polished a bit more?
If we recorded it today it would sound totally different, but that’s the appeal of the first album. In the very first album, you taste a band’s potential, with its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s nice to listen back to it focusing on those “weaknesses” to see how far a band has come in the latest releases.
How was the experience of recording “The Will to Be the Flame” with the new lineup; do you think it gave a new shine to the song?
The experience was absolutely incredible. The song really shined with new light thanks to the work of our new musicians and our refined technical abilities. It’s like a trial, a demo of what the next album could be and we are really excited about that
It strikes me that “The Will to Be the Flame” is also the name of your first demo of 2010, is there any special relationship between that title and that song that marks the beginning of the band?
It has been like carrying something on with us, we underlined the bond with our very beginning, the demo. Personally, I like to leave some references that can be found again in later works, I find it fascinating.
What are the main differences that you have noticed in your local scene in the last decade; do you think it has improved or is it still the same?
There’s been great technical growth. Bands and musicians are much more proficient and prepared than 10 years ago. But at the same time, I found that there are much more “projects” than real bands that share friendship and common goals. Paradoxically, I think this influences negatively the overall quality of the composition process itself.
Do you think releasing that first album was more difficult than releasing MOMENTS or the situation is still difficult?
Releasing MOMENTS has been more difficult, probably because labels nowadays are more interested in your money rather than the quality of your music. We have been very lucky with Rockshots Records because not only have they done a splendid job, but also they worked with us evaluating our potential and not our “funds”.
Why since 2011 have you only been able to release one more album?
The main reason at first was laziness. Our first album gave us the possibility to play in incredible places and stages and we were happy with that. We carried on our live activity intensively and once it started to dim we began to think about a new album. But the beginning of the new works brought new problems regarding the line-up changes that went on for years.
This absence of stability inside the band broke me down and this resulted in procrastinating on the new album. With the help of Santo Clemenzi (our bass player) I found again the energy to conclude the works and the arrival of our new guitarists (Gianpiero Milione and Simone Martinelli) gave us new strength and hope to face the future.
Ten years after that debut album, do you think the band is in the place it deserves?
Honestly, no. I think that the second album should have received more appraisals, but nowadays this sort of thing can be redirected to a certain lack of funds to advertise it the way it deserves. But most importantly we are sure that this forced stop to live shows really took us back and limited the album resonance. Overall we can’t complain, MOMENTS has been very praised by the critics, especially outside Italy.
In the past ten years, the Italian power metal scene has given many great bands to the world, but most of them are still underground, why do you think there has not been a band with the reach and popularity of Rhapsody or Vision Divine the past 10 years?
There are lots of reasons. First of all, there is this technical development but at the same time a decrease in composition and style. Then we have the current music business situation. At the time of Rhapsody, Vision Divine, Labyrinth there was a different approach and the incomes were higher, lots of CDs were sold. The more you sell the more the music labels believe in you and invest in you. Now the music business is almost limited to digital sharing, and musicians get almost nothing. When you see a local band taking a step further it probably is thanks to their own investment. We hope to be able to get this sort of thing in the future.
What do you think will happen in the next ten years for From the Depth; where would you like to see the band?
I’m sure we will be able to have a discreet fanbase and we will get back to international stages like we used to, but with greater maturity and self-awareness.
For all the Power Metal fans who don’t know you yet, what should be the first song they should listen to meet From the Depth for the first time?
I can’t decide between “Spread Your Fire” and the new version of “The Will To Be The Flame”.
Although it sounds soon, can this reissue be the prelude to a new album or will you focus on promoting MOMENTS for now?
We are actually working on the third album, we hope to release it by the first half of 2022.
By the way, how has been the reception that MOMENTS has had so far; have you noticed a bigger reaction than your debut?
We had a greater response from international critics, and according to Spotify data the average age has grown as well. Probably the maturity in terms of musicality is shown by these things.
Before closing, I would like to take the opportunity to ask what is the impulse that motivates you to write such uplifting lyrics. Is From the Depth the vehicle of a specific message?
What I like to do is trying to create an empathic bond between us and the listener; I hope that in this sort of “sharing the grief” kind of thing one could find the strength to react and surpass their own limits and overcome any difficult situation, and I hope our lyrics help other people becoming the best version of themselves.
Thank you very much for your time and congratulations on this reissue, any final words for readers?
We thank you for this wonderful interview and I thank all our supporters for the strength you give us.