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Into Darkness – “I was inspired by Sinister, Thanatos, Acrostichon and Beyond Belief”

into darkness – “i was inspired by sinister, thanatos, acrostichon and beyond belief”

Info

When I only half-attentively accidentally stumbled across Into Darkness’ new EP ‘Cassini – Huygens’, I was quite surprised. The information I was aware of was that the band had called it quits (again?) several years ago. But fortunately, vocalist/guitarist Doomed Warrior turns out to be a lady with the power of an unstoppable night-crossing comet and dishes us out a new cosmic treat. That alone, of course, is reason enough to have a chat with her, but she immediately insistently pointed out to me that the band never stopped existing, thus also dismissing the first paragraph of my review to the dustbin. But apparently Holland and this chatty musician have much more in common than was already apparent on first hearing… She also kindly suggested doing our conversation over a beer and a good record. Unfortunately, I had missed the intergalactic train to Italy so we were unable to complete the interview in person, but as I read it, I am still owed this opportunity… (FelixS from The Whispering Darkness and former VM-Underground, suggested to (re-)publish his interview. And here you go…)

Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! On a general level, what’s new on the Into Darkness front?
Hello Felix! Thank you too, for being interested in Into Darkness! this means a lot to us!!! We’re still excited for the new EP release, and for our last gig – the very first with the new line-up – and we’re currently working on new stuff. Things are doing great!

A few weeks ago your new EP, ‘Cassini – Huygens’ was released on both cassette tape and CD through long term companions Unholy Domain Records. I was kind of surprised to see the band resurface. As far as the information I have is correct, you have been in an out of activity for four times now. What was the reason to put the band to sleep (three times) and resurrect it yet another time?
I have to be honest, I don’t know who gave this information, or better, who wrote this information on Metal Archives. The band was never on hold on or inactive during the years, the reason is simple: I’m running this band since the beginning and I never considered in any occasion Into Darkness on hold or inactive. Many people came and went in this band, but this band depends on me, and … I am still here!

With the resurrection of the band also came a new line-up. Among them are current and ex members from bands like Extirpation and Thulsa Doom. What made you tie them to your band and maybe you can introduce them to us a little?
Eros (guitar) and Darak (bass and back vox) are the minds behind Extirpation, while Santo (drums) plays in Thulsa Doom but switched from drums to the bass.

Eros and Darak are a long-time friends of mine. We know each other since we were 15 or 16, very young anyway. They started Extirpation back in that years, while I had a band called Sign of Evil with their current guitar player on the drums. We lived quite close so we usually met at local shows. We also played together once, in Padua ! I know Santo, the drummer, since we were kids, 13 years old or something. But Santo was in Rome, while we are from Milano. Santo used to print a beautiful fanzine called “Impure Fanzine”, I made an interview for him. Santo moved to Milano after degree, and almost six years ago me and Eros got engaged. I often talked to Darak how cool would have been if he ever joined Into Darkness at the bass and doing backing vocals: he sings in Extirpation, and his voice is incredible. In the end, I asked (or forced ?) Eros to join Into Darkness, so we started rehearsing with another guy  on drums. Meanwhile, we both joined  Santo’s project, a black metal act inspired by the early 90’s Greek scene, called Araphel. Not much time passed that I forced the other drummer to leave. Santo joined the band, and finally Darak too. Darak draw the EP cover, and Santo took care of graphics, layouts, flyers and t-shirt design. In less than one year we entered the studios, played our first live show together and released an EP. And that’s the story!

With ‘Cassini – Huygens’ you have added a new chapter to the Into Darkness book, if you’d scroll back through that book as the kingpin, what is the main feeling you get from browsing through all those memories?
If I take a look back, I cannot say I’m happy or satisfied about everything I did with the band during the years – and about myself.  You know, that feeling of “I could do better”. But with the passing of time I learned to keep aside those negative feelings and to consider the positive things as an input to  get better in every aspect of life. It seems a foregone conclusion, but is never simple to apply this way of thinking in your everyday life if you don’t see the light in the end of the tunnel. I can tell you that music has always been the first big motivation and moving force for me as for many people I guess, something that helps you to never give up! And today I’m so proud of Into Darkness. I like what we do, that’s the important!

And while we’re retrospecting, what would you regard as the major difference between the first releases and your latest effort, the ‘Cassini – Huygens’ EP?
If I compare the first demo and the last EP I feel the same intention and the same touch, but the song writing has been delineated into a more definite form, that is what I wanted it to become. My North Star in music have always been my favourite bands, Asphyx, early Soulburn, Pentacle. It is something that left a mark on me and it has become a natural attitude in the song writing. But every time I started write something new I had fun to fill compositions with other influences, mainly from the old dutch scene. Maybe you don’t recognize those influences that eloquently, but after the first demo I was inspired by Sinister, Thanatos, Acrostichon, Beyond Belief, and something also by the German scene – early Morgoth, to say one. In the end, if I listen to “Cassini – Huygens” I am that satisfied that I’m almost afraid of not achieving this excellent result in the stuff we’re working on. But we will!!!

Like all of your previous releases, you have been inspired by science in general and astronomy more specifically. What made you choose for wrapping a whole EP around the launching and working of the Cassini-Huygens probe?
I always wanted to do a concept album with Into Darkness. “First Encounters” demo is a concept too, even if it has only two songs. I love that demo, but the drums composition took me a lot of time, so I decided to put it out the two songs and the Pentacle cover as a demo. Saturn and the Cassini-Huygens mission has always been my favourite argument in astronomy, sooner or later it would happen to write about it! And let me tell you that is an incredible fascinating topic, when we started to rehearse I never thought the final product could be this beautiful.

Continuing on from the previous question, the science topics in general have been a major part of Into Darkness’ identity. To me personally it felt quite like a relief to have run into a band that wasn’t all about gore, death or Satanism. On a personal level, how is science a part of your life? Where exactly does your fascination come from?
I’ve always been into astronomy, since I was a child. Everything started when my father made me a present, a VHS astronomy series. I was six or seven years old. I used to read a lot of books about astronomy, at an amateur level of course. When I grow up and I met my true love in life – music!!! – I kept astronomy a little aside, but when I started the band I always dreamed to do, I never had a doubt of what to talk about in the lyrics.

You mentioned that Into Darkness’ major influence is early 90’s Dutch Death Metal. As you might know I am Dutch, so, let’s talk some Dutch Death Metal. What do you think made the Dutch Death Metal scene at those early 90’s distinctly different from other countries? And, for you personally, what makes it so special and a big part of your musical influence?
Dutch Death Metal is pretty varied and takes inspiration by the coolest acts of the 80s. It’s incredible how those people created their sound, there are not that much Dutch bands that you could recognize as similar in sound or song writing – and if they are, it is because some bands shared members with other bands. For example, if you take a look to the main influences of many Dutch death metal bands, you see: Infernal Majesty, Slayer, Messiah, Necrovore, Celtic Frost, Death, Slaughter. These are the most quoted I saw. I still have to understand how a band like Necrovore, that released only a demo, a cool demo of course, became such a strong influence for many people in The Netherlands. To get the answer I have to read that book I bought about Dutch Death Metal by Steven Willems, but time’s never enough!!! And that book is still waiting to be read. It’s incredible anyway that in a quite small country like Netherlands you can find a lot of different styles of death metal: brutal, death grind, death doom, death thrash, more traditional inspired by the USA school or the near German scene. The Netherlands took all the best from Europe but especially from outside and forged unforgettable extreme acts, and maybe it’s a coincidence, but this is the stuff I like the most!

Into detail now. Let’s skip Asphyx, as that might be a bit too obvious, but apart from that band, what other acts were getting you on your bike? Can you maybe mention five with your favourite album by them with a bit of commentary?
Okay … I won’t include Asphyx … or not? I’ll do, but with a good reason ! I’m not putting the records in order of relevancy, I am not able to do it!

  • Soulburn – “Feeding on Angels”: Asphyx dressed in a black metal sound, with a bit of Celtic Frost. This album switches from solemn doomy parts to martial mid-tempo and then faster, a wild riffing with a primordial vein that left me astonished the first time I listened to it ! And the sound … shall we talk about that FUCKING GREAT MAJESTIC SOUND?
  • Pentacle – “The Fifth Moon”: This was strange. The first time I listened to it I didn’t like it. A friend of mine asked me if I was interested into buy that record from him, and I answered no ! But then … after a few months I listened to it again … and again and again. I still remember that sensation – as if I discovered hot water ! I went totally mad for Pentacle, and I started to listen and collect the more of their stuff I could. I am convinced there are no similar bands to Pentacle as far as I know. They’re unique.  A strong Celtic Frost vein, mixed with thrash metal and death metal in such an original way. Their riffings and drums patterns are totally recognizable: they’re like Iron Maiden to me.

Ok… I’m drinking a good beer while I’m scrolling a lot of fuking good records that I can recognize as something that got me on my “own bike”. Can I say it’s REALLY difficult???

  • Morbid Angel – “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh”: I always venerated Altars of Madness. I love Blessed, but I don’t like the sound, it seems to be suffocated and not strong enough for the milestone that it is. I love Covenant as well, while I don’t like that much Domination. But when I listened to Formulas … When I listened to Formulas I started dedicate myself to Death Metal, and nothing else. It is difficult to write a “short” commentary about this album. Here you have some brutal cadences that gives way to mid or down tempo parts that usually I describe as transcendental, blue, the stroke of genius of a madman named Trey Azaghtoth. Do you ever describe music in colours? Well, Formulas is a BLUE album for me!
  • Mythic – “Mourning in the Winter Solstice”: after Formulas by Morbid Angel I literally started to devour ONLY Death Metal – I was around 15-16 years old. One of the very first Death Doom Metal act I discovered, together with the Swedish stuff of Eternal Darkness, Moondark, Crypt of Kerberos, were Mythic. I was so excited the first time I listened to “Mourning ..”, cause it sounded different from any other record I’ve listened to previously – I knew death doom metal bands mainly from Europe – and the music was not only down tuned and downtempo, but the mid-tempo and the faster parts were totally in the USA pre-brutal and death metal way. And how HEAVY is Dana Duffey’s voice? I had a trusted store in my home town, cause I was that young that I didn’t know eBay – Discogs came later, and it was my ruin! – and I bought through the store the Relapse first press on tape.
  • Sinister – “Diabolical Summoning”: There’s nothing that sounds more brutal to me than this album, nothing. Aggressive slayer-worshipping riffs, guitars like chainsaws, technical drums patterns, the bass sound that pumps directly in your chest. I listened to it a thousand times and I never get tired of it. Oh, p.s.: On my right arm I have three albums tattooed: Crush the Cenotaph, The Rack, Asphyx. On the left one … there are Cross the Styx and Diabolical Summoning by Sinister.

Let’s travel a bit, a bit further for me, but back home to you. When you’d look to your own, native Italian metal scene. How would you characterise that and do you feel part of that?
Italian underground metal scene changed a lot during the years, but is a quite short retrospective of fifteen years, since I’m thirty years old. I remember when I started to go to gigs and to play, a lot of people of my same age were approaching metal, but they were mainly listening to thrash metal. A big thrash metal revival was running all over Italy – and I suppose, in Europe – and this young generation was surfing the wave. I remember that my friends used to name me “deathster” as a derogatory term: why do you dress combat boots? Where are you sneakers? Some people were also into Black Metal but this trend was slowly ending. Underground death metal gigs started to be common here around 2010-2012, a bit in late of the rest of Europe, in that period there were gigs in Padua, Brixia, Milano. Many bands from outside Italy came, and some of them more than once: Pentacle, Sadistic Intent, Funebrarum, Dead Congregation, Incantation, Cruciamentum, Archgoat, Deteriorot… and underground italian death metal bands had the opportunity to be part of amazing shows. Profanal, Mefitic, Necro, Blood of Seklusion … and Into Darkness too. Now with internet and social media things are faster for bands and gigs promotion, new album releases, labels etc., but in the last years a lot of venues that used to host metal gigs in the north of Italy have closed, and today we miss venues for gigs here. Some friends, older than me, often tell me stories about the Italian scene when they were young, and they use to say it was different on every aspect of course. They bought the records we all love in libraries in the used stuff sections paying few moneys, they used to do tape trading or buying records from worldwide sending payment in sealed envelopes. In Milano there were also cool records store that don’t exist anymore. And when my friends tell me for the hundredth time all the killer bands they saw in Italy – we’re talking of the late 90’s, early 2000 – I just have the feeling I was born too late!

My favourite italian acts from the past are Mortuary Drape, early Necrodeath, early Electrocution, Bulldozer, Schizo, Excidium, Sinoath, Strana Officina, Necromass, Maleficarum, Aiwaz … It’s a shame that some of them didn’t keep on playing or, if they did, they forgot their roots ! But if you go see Mortuary Drape, Strana Officina, and Bulldozer … they’re KILLER on stage!!!

Are there any special bands that you’d like to recommend us, or maybe even like to be featured on our pages?
Of course ! I don’t know and listen to many “new” bands, but I’ve got something for you: Extirpation (we share half of the line up with them), Morbus Grave, Deathfucker, Black Oath, Vomitvulva, Miscreance, Necromutilator – all these bands from Italy! Apparition, Ataraxy, Nuclear Revenge from Spain, Phantasmagore from Chile. Give em a listen!!!

This by definition is a subject that lends itself more than perfectly to a conversation over a good record, let’s put on Immolation’s debut, and a drink. Personally I had the pleasure of catching you live at the Killtown Deathfest in 2013. I have very fond memories on those early editions of the festival. Can you elaborate with me about that festival? Tell me about your key memories and experiences?
Always a pleasure to listen to Immolation!!! And HOW KILLER IS THE LAST RECORD? They never missed a beat in music. And for the beer, I’m picking up a “Lumina” by Siren Brewing, one of my faves. Do you like session ipas?

Killtown… ten years ago! It was the very first time for me.  I remember that feeling of being part of the history because I saw bands as ROTTREVORE live! In Europe!!! And the other killer bands we saw, Pentacle, Convulse, Ataraxy, Blaspherian, Drowned, Cadaveric Fumes … I am grateful for the occasion I had … Speaking of us: that was the greatest place and bill we have ever played, but unfortunately my worst performance ever… I was sick as fuck, I was barely able to go on stage. I had some good feedbacks but people were too kind. Ten years later let me give my apologies to the Killtown crew and crowd: sorry for the poor and sloppy show. Check out our recent live videos and see now on stage we are of another league compared to ten years ago!

Anyway, I knew awesome people from everywhere and I saw an incredible festival, one can’t be happier than this!

Let’s move on to these types of topics. Just killing another bit of my curiosity, can you take me to your personal music collection? What were your most recent purchases? And what would be your most played records?
Records are life!!! Let’s go check!!! Once a friend of mine stepped in the records room and he asked me “Wo-ho … is this the SOUND’S ROOM ?” hahaha ! I made the most recent purchase in a store in Pavia, near Milano. I bought Gomorrah from UK first full length, Infernal Torment second full length, Thou Art Lord first full length, Phantasm from Russia, a Bitches Sin compilation, Paradoxx from USA, the last Immolation (finally!!!), Desultory’s “Bitterness” (I’ve tried to understand that record for many years, maybe the time has come ..), Razor’s “Escape the Fire”, and I can’t remember the others. I’m gonna buy the new arrivals from Unholy Domain: Pestigore, Lucifixion, Necromortis, Summoning of Flesh. The most played records??? Arrrrrghhhh … it’s hard! In my whole life … Every Iron Maiden album, at least until Dance of Death – I bought and I listened to the others too, but not that much as the rest of the discography, then Asphyx and Pentacle of course, the first (AND ONLY ONE, FOR ME) album of Soulburn, Infernal Majesty’s “None Shall Defy” … “Seven Churches” by Possessed for sure: the summer I discovered that album, I was sixteen, I used to listen to it every day, and sometimes more than once a day!!! Slayer, Deicide’s first three album, Dissection’s “Storm …”, Autopsy’s “Mental Funeral”, Hypocrisy’s “Penetralia”, Baphomet’s “The Dead shall Inherit” … and Razor!!! Bolt Thrower … And some more underground stuff … Swazafix “Anthems …”, Reactor (pre-Sickening Gore) “The Tribunal Above”, the list is very long … But there’s other stuff I discovered few years ago that I literally devoured once a day .. for example first ADX, and Virtue… I’m starting listen to some heavy metal, my boyfriend knows many bands and I’m learning something new!

What would you consider your all-time favourite records? That might be a bit of a bold question, but why not pick about 10 of them?

  • Iron Maiden – “Killers”
  • Autopsy – “Mental Funeral”
  • Razor – “Violent Restitution”
  • Nile – “Black Seeds of Vengeance”
  • Gorefest – “Mindloss”
  • Acrostichon – “Engraved in Black”
  • Possessed – “Seven Churches”
  • Infernal Majesty – “None Shall Defy”
  • Massacre – “From Beyond”
  • Slaughter – “Strappado”
  • Bolt Thrower – “Realm of Chaos”
  • Deicide – “Deicide”
  • Incantation – “Blasphemy”

Sorry, they’re not ten … and I can assure you, the list goes on !!!

As mentioned before, the EP has been released on both CD and cassette tape, you also have quite some 7” EP’s in your back catalogue. What would you consider your preferred format and why?
My favourite format has always been CD. Differently from many people that collect more than one format, I don’t. When I was younger I used to buy other formats – 7”, tapes for example – of bands that have never been released on CD, but today I’m that lucky with great labels as Dark Blasphemies, Awakening, Huangquan, Memento Mori, Vic Recs, Xtreem etc. that release or released in the past a lot of beautiful compilations, that for the more underground stuff are my daily bread!

Even if I don’t collect other formats, I have a nice Asphyx collection of all their stuff, LPs, 7” and tapes, and some niiiice records on 7” and tape: Mythic, Derketa, Acrostichon, Crypt of Kerberos, Eternal Darkness, Eucharist, Suffer, Disembowelment and more…

I love CDs cause I was born in the 90’s and I grew up with them. It’s definitely MY format!

I hope we can assume that Into Darkness can now continue for a longer period of time, well, right, assuming that, what can we expect from the band in the remaining part of the year?
We’re here to stay! We’re working on new stuff, but we’re also planning new shows! There will be an exchange of shows with Spanish Apparition, we’re working on it. I can’t wait to hit the stage again!

Alright, thanks a lot for sharing this conversation with me. Please take the opportunity to take the last words and close this thing off.
Last words are for you, thank you Felix for your interest and support. And thanks to all the people who supported us in a way or another!