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Hell Theater

Ik ben al jarenlang een grote fans van de theatrale, occulte horror metal van het Italiaanse Death SS, en datzelfde geldt voor King Diamond en zijn theatrale spookverhalen, verpakt in fantastische metal. In Hell Theater heb ik onlangs kennis mogen maken met een nieuwe band die zwaar beïnvloed is door beiden. Hun debuut 'Reincarnation Of Evil' is een duister horrorverhaal, die op een theatrale wijze wordt vertolkt door extreme heavy/thrash metal. Ondanks het feit dat het idee, het concept en de muziek allemaal niet origineel zijn, valt de band nergens direct mee te vergelijken, en los daarvan liet de band een positieve indruk achter. Wij waren benieuwd naar de hoofdpersonen achter deze helse theater, en gingen een kort gesprekje aan met gitarist Brian “Slaughter” Steele ter introductie van de band.

Door: Nima | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

Hails and congratulations on your debut album, 'Reincarnation Of Evil'; one of the pleasant surprises for me from 2012. Bu before we get more into that, please take the time to introduce the band and its birth to our readers…
First of all, thank you very for the interview and for the compliments. Hell Theater was born in 2009 from an evil idea by our singer Victor “Death” Solinas and our manager, Susy Porcedda. The idea was to combine the harder metal, like U.S. Power metal and thrash, with horror themes. They started to writing songs, but as always they had to deal with line-up changes constantly, up to the current line-up. We only had to deal with one change in the line-up ever since.

Listening to the album, looking at the photos and reading the lyrics it is obvious that the band name wasn't chosen thoughtlessly and that the theatrical part plays a big part in the band. In my opinion there are two main influences to be recognized here, so please your opinion: King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, both concerning the fact that 'Reincarnation Of Evil' is a concept album the high-pitched vocals and of course the theatrical approach:
We all love the darker and harder metal and so don't deny that we love both bands that you mentioned. But above all we love horror movies and horror stories, and we like the idea of transforming such obscure and hard metal into something very theatrical. We want to play the soundtrack of our horror film in a more theatrical way. We also want to say that we all love horror but we aren't Satanists or evil.

Your fellow compatriots Death SS, also due to the theatrical, but also occult approach:
We are all proud to be compatriots of the great and legendary Death SS. Their music is great and also their approach to live gigs… so theatrical. Although we know that Steve Sylvester (Death SS' vocalist and main man – Nima) loves horror movies, their themes are much more focused on Satanism/Occultism an upwards all forms of evil. Nevertheless we are one of the greater supporters of Death SS and love their music so much.

Let's talk about the music then; your music obviously has its roots in eighties heavy metal, and again the two previous influences are audible. But you also mix that with extremer, more contemporary forms of metal with blastbeats, and a sharp guitar sound and fast riffing and solo's, that somewhat reminds me of your fellow countrymen Story Of Jade. Can you tell us more about your influences and musical direction?
I guess the main influences for us would be “The big 4” school, so basically that's where the thrash vein comes from. Usually we lay down the main riffs, which are thrash, and then everybody joins in with their own ideas and influences, and it blends all together.

I think that despite the fact that the King Diamond/Mercyful Fate and Death SS concepts are obvious influences, and therefore not really innovative, thanks to the mix of heavy metal with thrash and somewhat modern influences, Hell Theater is more or less also a unique band. I mean, I can't directly compare you guys to other bands, and that's quite a great achievement…
It's kinda hard to say how the songs come along. I guess you need the right chemistry. Some songs don't really have a normal song structure; we just jam all together and riffs come out just by playing.

What can you say about the story behind 'Reincarnation Of Evil' and how that took form?
The story comes from Victor's insane mind, haha! As for the music, it was a new thing for us when Victor proposed this horror metal show. But we all really liked it, and want to try out a lot of strange stuff. Everybody in the band puts an element into the story.

band image

How difficult was it to transform your story into lyrics and set the right mood with the music?
The creative evil mind of Victor did most of the lyrical job, transforming his nightmares into a beautiful horror story. The music started from the guitars by Bob “Raven” Axx and myself, directly inspired by the story and were completed them with the rhythm section in the end.

Of course the horror element also plays a great part in your music and lyrics, and I think also a movie like 'The Crow' has left its traces. What other horror stories, legends, books, movies etc. are part of your inspiration?
You're absolutely right! The main character of the 'Reincarnation Of Evil' story is more inspired by Michael Mayer of 'Halloween' by John Carpenter, but the story is totally reinvented. I think the main reason is because Victor was very much impressed with this movie in particular in this childhood.

Again something totally different, and I think the answer is a bit obvious, but this is a question I ask all Italian musicians, so I'm afraid you can't escape it, haha: What is your opinion about the "Innominabli", Death SS, and especially their reputation and superstition around them in Italy? Haha!
As I already said, Death SS are more focused on Satanism and Occultism, and consequently they gained a nasty reputation in Italy. Also their name was misunderstood because of “SS”, which has nothing to do with National Socialism, and simply the initials of Steve Sylvester... But I they were provocative very consciously.

For those of you who don't know the story: Death SS and especially their charismatic vocalist/front man and head figure, Steve Sylvester were/are considered Evil and their names are not to be spoken out loud, because bad things will happen to you if you do. Hence “Innominabili” – he, whose name cannot be spoken. When hearing the name, to prevent evil from happening to them, the superstitious men grab their genitals, and the women their breasts! - Nima

Ok, back to Hell Theater then, I guess the last question for now is what can we expect from you guys in the near future? Can we expect to see you guys live across Europe somewhere this year?
We definitely hope so! We're working really hard to spread the word about Hell Theater all over the world, and we're pretty sure we will rock lots of country after Italy!

Speaking of live gigs; what can we expect from Hell Theater live? I can't imagine that you won't be doing a whole show, but on the other hand I can also imagine that a show element would be too expensive for an up and coming band like Hell Theater. Please tell a bit more about what you have in mind and what can be realized…
After the release of 'Reincarnation Of Evil', we started to perform live with some new elements, such as special lights and a fog machine. One of our soon-to-come goals is to make a show on stage, so the people will enjoy the story with their eyes and feel the evil inside their souls, and the blade of Moron in their flesh.

I used to be a regular visitor of your country a few years ago and my experience was that metal has a great following in general. But how difficult is it for a band like Hell Theater to get gigs booked and the ability to do a proper show or tour?
I don't agree on this! We're sorry for our country but metal is popular only with reference to big bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, etc. But for new metal bands it's very hard to have a future here. People and the clubs don't want to bet on new metal ideas. For this reason it is very difficult to find places to play and gain popularity.

Alright then, I guess we can wrap it up for this time. Unless of course there is anything left that you'd like to mention…
We hope to change the situation in our country and we hope the people all around the world will understand the sacrifices we make to reach them with our music and passion.

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