Ancient sounds progressing
In Italy, there's a huge thrash metal revival going on at the moment. One of the many bands, Ancient Dome, have been working hard to get their name known. The band hail from the town of amaretti liquor, Saronno, Lombary, and formed back in 2000. They have released two full length albums, a live album, and a bunch of demos since 2004. AM contacted guitarist/vocalist Paolo Porro for this interview, so let's go into it now.
AM: Hails! What's happening in the Ancient Dome camp these days?
Paolo Porro: Hi Lane, many thanks for this interview, the first one for an international webzine to promote our second album, entitled 'Perception of This World'. Everything is going good except for gigs, we cannot find interesting events to be inserted in! I can say that the album in Italy is receiving very good comments, while not the same in the rest of the world, even if all reviews got a sufficiency: anyway, this is a complete success to my eyes!
AM: Ancient Dome is an interesting name for a band. What does it mean?
P.P.: The band's name was suggested by our previous drummer Syra; the complete monicker could be thought as "Ancient Dome Of Thrash", which means that we're trying to keep intents and feelings of the old school thrash metal movement (Ancient) and to bring together under one roof (Dome)... along with a progressive way to play, yeah!
AM: The band formed in 2000, but is still relatively unknown outside Italy. Can you shed some light over the history and all the main points?
P.P.: I have to underline that outside our boundaries it is difficult to find people interested in Italian metal, that's why a lot of bands those are absolutely better than a lot of others coming from the rest of the world are still unknown! Ancient Dome is not inserted in this list, don't worry... I don't want to be polemical, believe me, and a large part of the blame is due to our country: Italy hasn't got a musical history which contemplates metal music!
On the other side, our history started back in 2000, and until 2003 we just continued to play covers from our idols; our first demo, 'Once Were Thrashers', came in late 2004, but just with the Ep 'Ancient Dome' in late 2005 / beginning of 2006 we started to have some real supporters. Live activity was incremented during 2006/2007, and we also found a deal with Punishment 18 Records thanks to a promo in 2008, leading us to produce and distribute our first studio album 'Human Key' in 2009, and 'Perception of This World' in 2010. Ah, we also played with some of our most important influences; I'm talking about Artillery, Whiplash and Heathen, a complete satisfaction and a great possibility to show our potential.
AM: So, you are heavily influenced by legendary thrash metal bands. However, you are clearly building a sound of your own. What are your goals in songwriting? And do you have any special stories to tell about your thrash influences?
P.P.: Well, sincerely I don't like to read bands sentencing "our goals are..." or "we're special and unique because..." etc.; as you and everyone can listen inserting 'Human Key' or 'Perception of This World' in a CD player, we're just a thrash band influenced by the Bay Area movement growth in the 80s, and we add a progressive vein mixing our personal musical heroes. Nothing really new and original, but as you underlined, we have "a sound of our own", and that's important to me. Special stories? Mmmmm... maybe the fact that my actual principal influences are bands that I completely snubbed when I was younger? That's true, think about Death, Heathen and Coroner... I can still remember my stupid reaction to some of their albums: "What is this shit?"... Poor me, fortunately I came back to sanity some months later!
AM: Yeah, it's not so common nowadays to get that kind of feeling when listening to any new album. But it's not easy to be inventive nowadays, because it feels everything's alreay done. Or perhaprs not...
Your debut album 'Human Key' (2009) and your latest release, 'Perception of This World' from last year, are both quite diverse albums. The debut had even some concept thing going on, right? Can you tell something about both albums and the lyrical themes?
P.P.: 'Human Key' was born as an EP, but I was forced by my band mates to record other songs. So, you can find songs that doesn't suit with the leitmotif of the central theme, plus the 'Human Key Saga'. Sci-fi inspired, the Human Key is the only way to escape the machine's dominion, and five songs explain how the facts evolved ('The Defeat', 'Tyrants', 'Human Key', 'Aeons' and 'Fall of the Dominion').
'Perception of This World' is not a concept, but you can find a thin line that links some of the songs, based on a metaphorical idea of the continuous irrational behavior that has led man to build around him a bad future, with a use of the available resources that could be identified as a real exploitation. For some points there is no turning back, but we all can (and should) make the effort to react in order to let future generations have the opportunity to enjoy their lives!
The third album will be an entire concept album, we're hard working on it.
AM: You don't seem to play but only some concerts. Ok, you told there are no interesting events coming. Generally, is it hard to book shows over there, or does the band members have too much other things to do or what?
P.P.: Well, since I started to play live, I was pretty sure and convinced that I don't have to play too many gigs in a year. Why? First of all because it's difficult to find gigs far from our area, and to play tons of gigs always near home could just ends in concert with a few people, really sad for a band. You got the problem: a mix of hard work to book shows and a little time to dedicate to find gigs is the principal reason for our very limited live activity. But I'm still dreaming at least about an European Tour, I hope it will be possible to realize it in the future...
AM: In Italy, there seems to be a lot of new thrash metal bands there. Old school, new school, anything. How do you see the situation there?
P.P.: That's good, Italy hasn't the same possibilities of other countries regarding metal music, as I wrote before, and this "New Wave Of Italian Thrash Metal" (as we used to define it, to underline a necessary "brotherhood" between bands) is just our answer to the tons of foreign bands that Italian metallers support instead of looking forward bands from their country. I'm happy, I'm really glad to enter in contact with a lot of bands every months trading our works, and keeping the faith alive, as the great Chuck used to say!
AM: How's the metal scene in Italy otherwise?
P.P.: I answered this question indirectly before, so sorry if I come back to the argument... it's pretty difficult to be a metalhead in Italy, and it's pretty impossible to be a known underground reality... we don't have the same passion that moves supporters in other countries, and just a few people contribute to the survival of the scene (I count myself in this number, although it may seems not so modest). It's destined to become worst than the actual situation, and the question is: will Italy have a metal (underground) scene in future? I don't know, but that's not 100% insurable...
AM : Your both albums are released by Italian label Punishment 18. How can you comment your relationship?
P.P.: We met Corrado and Marita from Punishment 18 Records in the summer of 2008, and since the first time it was more than a relationship between a label and a band. Now we're first of all friends, and Ancient Dome loves the approaching method of these two guys: they're passionate, and they need a human exchange between label and band, not just a contract to sign and rules to follow! Last but not least, without them our name would be still related just to Italy, while now there's the possibility that some people in some parts of the world could have listened to us...
AM: And as the thrash metallers are always concerned about the world, how do you see it nowadays? There was a lot of nature and war lyricism back in the 1980's, so what has actually changed?
P.P.: Just a little? I can still hear nature and war lyricism, even if a lot of bands don't use anymore their possibilities to show a point of view over important questions, preferring other classic lyrics focused on classic metal cliches. I'm sincere, in the thrash movement worldwide I can't feel changes not only regarding music style, but also lyrics ideas are quite similar to those of the bands who started everything...
AM: So, a few months have passed since your sophomore album 'Perception of This World' was released. Can you shed any light over the future of Ancient Dome?
P.P.: Now we have a vocalist, a real vocalist! Not me once more behind the microphone! We're planning to re-record some old tracks with him, plus 2 new songs that were not included in 'Perception of This World', in order to print a little EP, or better to print a split with a friends' band. Of course, we hope to play live more than twice a year, so we're searching for new gigs... Finally, there are already 40 minutes of new music ready for the third AD album, so we hope to record it at least in the end of 2012, maybe after a series of gigs to promote the second album, ah ah ah!
AM: Ok, that sounds interesting!
Now it is time to wrap up this interview. Anything you want to say that hasn't yet been said?
P.P.: Thank you Lane for this "featured media", I want you all to remember where you all can find us: www.ancientdome.com and www.myspace.com/ancientdome . If someone could be interested in supporting us, we have some copies of the new album, patches and pins; your help is a way to survive and a possibility to plan future... thrash on!
AM: Thank YOU, Paolo, and good luck with next album etc.!
Interviewed by Lane