The Modern Age Slavery is an Italian death metal band. They have an extremely brutal album out (Damned To Blindness) and they already toured with some of the greatest death metal bands like Cannibal Corpse and Brujeria. The band is well-known in Italy and has done a lot of touring but isn’t known enough in America. TMAS has an amazing energy that must be known. Boulevard Brutal talked with Simone "Sym" Bertozzi, guitar and to the singer of the band, Giovanni “Gio” Berserk. We talked about inspirations, touring, the next album, musical labels, drinking abuse and also of what the band is thinking about our local scene!
You are currently working on your new album. How’s it going?
Simone "Sym" Bertozzi: yep, that’s right. At the moment we’re totally focused on that, we’ve concluded about 80% of it music-wise and Gio is making his way through vocal lines and lyrics. We had some struggles in the beginning of the writing process ’cause we weren’t totally sure about the direction we were taking. You get lot of inputs from reviews, listeners and fans and you might get confused about different opinions, you know… that’s why we had to trash some stuff we weren’t dead sure about and concentrate on the overall mood of the album… it will be fast, brutal and obscure, with plenty of "live" tunes. The Modern Age Slavery is a "live" band and the live reaction of our fans and listeners is what matters the most. We can give our best on stage but if the feedback from the pit isn’t there, you cannot have a killer show. Hell no.
Do you have a release date?
Sym : Not so far, but I guess it will be around the beginning of 2011. hang tight ’cause it will be worth the wait.
Damned To Blindness is categorized as a Deathcore album. Do you consider yourselves as a deathcore or death metal band?
Sym : I guess that the most correct answer would be : fuck labels, (laughs). Really, putting a label on your music it’s always a pain in the ass, I mean, let the music speak for itself, you know ? But yeah, I don’t wanna sound too naive and I’ll tell you that The Modern Age Slavery is an extreme metal band. You’ll find death metal riffs, brutal blasts, hardcore passages, deathcore breakdowns and that’s about it. As long as you dig our shit, crank it up and headbang on it, we’re cool. Amen.
I heard that the band’s name was inspired by Giovanni’s work at a research center. Is that true?
Giovanni “Gio” Berserk: How did you get to know that, (laughs) ?! It’s true, I work in a research center where we build robotic hands. The band name, though, is an idea from Mibbe (bass player) that came out after some brainstorming we had together. Even if our name might sound somehow against modern technology, that’s not the right way to read it. I think it is more about how we make use of the possibilities we have nowadays and, primary, on how we tend to avoid freedom even when we have the chance to catch it. As I reported many times in the past, freedom is a big responsibility and people usually try to avoid responsibilities. This is actually a quote from a book which inspired me a lot: "Escaping From Freedom" from Erich Fromm. If we have to find a source of inspiration for the band’s name, I’d say that’d be the one.
What’s your favorite song on Damned To Blindness and why?
Sym: Tricky question. Out of the blue I’ll say "Vile Mother Earth". It was chosen also for our first video and I think it really condensates all the aspects of "Damned to Blindness" album, it’s brutal and fast, groovy chorus, sing-alongs and sick breakdown. A song for the moshers, the headbangers, the stage divers and a real fun to play.
What are your musical influences?
Sym: I have to say that our musical backgrounds are very diverse but we all share the same passion for metal and hardcore, from the classics to the last releases. We’ve been influenced from both the American death metal scene like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Morbid Angel and the European one like Entombed, Decapitated, Behemoth, Meshuggah etc. But really we enjoy music in every form and on tour our iPods could go from Despised Icon to Journey, from Iron Maiden to Muse and so on.
What is your source of inspiration for lyrics and music?
Gio : concerning the lyrics, for our debut album, my source of inspiration has been a diary which I was used to write long time ago while travelling. I had the chance to make a round the world trip few years ago when The Modern Age Slavery weren’t born yet. I had a lot of time to think and many chances to meet interesting people. Every lyric is about a single story from that diary, apart from the song "The Modern Age Slavery" inspired by the aforementioned book and "Red Lines Of Obsession", inspired by the conflictual and intense experience I had in my former band.
Do you have a tour anecdote to share with us?
Gio : The European tour with Malevolent Creation and Vomitory was my first "real" tour and I was coming out from a tough period at work. Well, I tried my best not to drink too much and avoid anything that could be harmful for my health. I ended up being ill for 5 days (and 5 shows!). Phil from MC was used to drink a bottle of vodka every damn night and he was used to say that was his way to feel healthy. Damn it, he’s been the only one without any health problem throughout the whole tour. Cheers Phil, that was a lesson !
How was it to play with metal legends, Brujeria?
Sym: You know, back in the days the cover of "Matando Gueros" scared me off, as well as I laughed my ass off on the "Marijuana" tune… I mean, if you’re into metal you gotta love Brujeria ! Sharing the stage with them was a great honor for us. The actual lineup consists of Jeff Walker of Carcass, Shane Embury of Napalm Death, Adrian Erlandsson of At the Gates, The Haunted, Cradle of Filth… a metal legend supergroup !! We were almost shaking the first time we met… I personally had a pile of booklets to have signed ahah. And these people are so down to earth and funny like very few out there… killer.
With which band would you like to tour?
Sym: If they’re extreme than it’s our cup of tea ahah!! Well I’d say a lot of bands : Cannibal Corpse, we shared the stage on the Malevolent Creation eurotour and they’re awesome both on stage and off stage. Kids love them, everyone goes apeshit for Cannibal Corpse! Job for a Cowboy… we love them. They helped respawn the whole death metal scene with a killer deathcore EP, than kicked everybody’s asses with two raw death metal albums like there’s no tomorrow. Decapitated. We played together on their last European tour, these guys had a tough time back in the days but now they’ve returned bloodthirsty and ready to crush all. One of the most tight band I’ve ever seen live. Ever. Behemoth… just pure awesomeness. Ok, I can go on and on… Let’s cut it (laughs)!
Is it hard for an Italian band to get recognized in the USA?
Sym: You bet! Try to image an American cook that tries to get recognized in Italy: no waaaay (laughs)! Jokes aside, we know that Italy is far from being recognized as a metal country, even though there are loads of killer bands here. On the other hand USA was the birthplace of it all so it’s pretty obvious that getting through tons of releases over there is very tough. Anyways, we do our best to get our name spread across and hope to have a tour in the USA as soon as possible.
Who are the best metal bands in Italy?
Sym: Well I was partially wrong on your previous question : Italy it’s far from being recognized as an "extreme" metal country. A lot of people think that Italy equals to cheesy powermetal, Rhapsody, Labyrinth and so on. Fuck no, people !! Have a listen to some of our best deathmetal bands and you’ll get blown up. Some Names ? Fleshgod Apocalypse, Stigma, Hour Of Penance, Slowmotion Apocalypse, Awaken Demons… then come back and tell me about cheesyness. And don’t forget The Modern Age Slavery, you fools !! By the way, I love Rhapsody… but that’s a whole different story. (laughs)
What do you think about music piracy and how does it affect your band?
Gio: On one hand piracy has been killing the music market and you might blame technology (internet) for that. On the other hand, at present, almost everyone can record an album and can put a video on the net. In this sense, the main source of piracy is what made us all equal in terms of possibilities. You see, there are moments in the life of a band where you have the chance to sell more cds… after a live show! The stage doesn’t lie (or at least, not yet ;-)). In my opinion, piracy has turn the live performance into one of the main sources of music business.
What do you hate the most about the music industry?
Gio: Falseness and the fact that appearance pays the most important role on the music biz, whereas the "music" falls desperately in a second place.
What do you listen to these days?
Sym: Well, well… lately I’m really into some nasty blackmetal : Watain, their new record is sick. "A New Era of Corruption" by Whitechapel, killer. I’m also consuming Muse and Opeth discographies, because that’s a thing to do. Evergreens ? "Evangelion" by Behemoth, "Day of Mourning" by Despised Icon and "The Fathomless Mastery" by Bloodbath, once you pop those albums you cannot stop.
What is your favorite music video?
Sym: I’ll say "Ov Fire And The Void" taken from the last Behemoth album. That video is sick. Story, post-production, interpretation, that is pure evilness taken to the limit. And their new video yet to be released seems to be another masterpiece. Another video I love is "To the Nines" by our labelmates Hatesphere, where genius and sickness collide. Thumbs and horns up !
What is your favorite videogame?
Sym: Unfortunately I haven’t time to play videogames anymore so I’m not up to date at all. Some friends of mine showed me God of War 3 and I can tell you it’s sick and brutal. Plus there’s an Opeth song on the soundtrack so it must be a work of art for sure. (laughs)
As a fan, what would be your ultimate concert?
Sym: I’d die to see Pantera again with their original lineup… but that’s more about magic than ultimate concert. RIP Dime.
Wich "Big Four" band is your favorite and why? Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth or Anthrax?
Sym: Slayer. Hands down. Slayer it’s Slayer… starting from the name: SLAAAAAAAAAYEEEEEEEER. Metal, nothing more, nothing less. A matter of attitude, coherence and dedication to metal, period.
Do you listen to a Canadian metal band? If so, wich one?
Sym: Hell yes !! Some of my favourite bands are from Canada, you guys have one of the most sick scene ever !! Above all : Despised Icon. I’ve shed in tears when I heard of their breakup, and I still feel dizzy about it… I hope those guys will start a new project in no time because I need it. Other killer Canadian bands : Cryptopsy, Beneath the Massacre, Ion Dissonance… and the genius itself : Devin Townsend, in all its forms. I envy you bastards. Take one cheesy powermetal band from Italy and give us some real bands ahah !!
Do you plan to come in Canada sometimes in the future?
Sym: We’d love to, totally. Promoters if you’re reading this, get in touch… c’mon !!
Anything else to say to our canadian readers?
Sym: Keep supporting the scene, always listen to new bands because evolution is revolution… and get ready for the new The Modern Age Slavery album ’cause it’s gonna be hot… and you Canadians need some Italian hotness up there in your coldness! (laughs) Horns up!