Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?
Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.
This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your new album “Inheritance”. But could you please start off by introducing the readers to you?
Gian: Me and my brother Onofrio founded Ashent more or less 12 years ago, we came from totally different musical experience, cause my previous band was a Symphonic Black Metal act and while Onofrio had a Thrash Metal band. So we decided to collaborate together in order to make into a band our idea of music, involving talented musicians of our area. Basically we have had 3 line-ups, or 3 eras if you prefer: the first one going from the very beginning to our 2003’s demo; with the second one we made the first 2 albums of the band, “Flaws of Elation” in 2006 and “Deconstructive” at the beginning of 2009. After “Deconstructive” we had a deep change in the lineup and we gave light to “Inheritance”, the third album of the band released by the end of September 2012.
And now onto “Inheritance”… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express with this song etc.
Onofrio: With Inheritance, our aim had been to increase the weight of the progressive side in the balance of our proposal, and so we decided to start the album with a track that could perfectly summarize all the new elements of the Ashent sound. Eve is an elaborate tune full of sick vocals, persuasive choirs, particular harmonic sequences that starts directly with the epic refrain, after a short atmospheric intro; we wanted to introduce immediately the voice of Titta Tani to the listeners, to develop the new atmospheres created by the keyboards and the new guitar riffing style, more modern and catchy. Lyrically speaking, the song is an intense voyage between literature’s citations (Umberto Eco and Sir William Shakespeare) and autobiographical episodes, mixed in a delirious sequence of lines. Here and there, there’s also some vocal performances of mine, used in order to underline particular lyrics passages with a different voice.
02. Magnification Of A Daydream
Onofrio: Less complex than Eve, Magnification of a daydream continues the experience in our renewed sound. It’s a mid-tempo, characterized by a particular architecture of sounds layers but also by more accessible choruses. For these reasons we choose this song as first single, shooting an interesting music-video, where you can see everyone of the band acting in strange and funny episodes inspired by still autobiographical lyrics.
03. Shipwrecked Affair
Onofrio: It has been the first track composed for Inheritance and so you can still find some references to the old Deconstructive sound, like huge guitar riffs more linked to the Swedish melodic death metal and faster drums arrangements. But the song is completely contaminated by new experimentations like Queen choirs and a long sax solo played by our keyboardist Gilles Boscolo. I wrote the lyrics together with Davide Buso (our old drummer now replaced by Ivan Moni Bidin) talking about the difficulty of every kind of relationship, lived as a sort of war, doing a comparison with some historical episodes. We all consider “Shipwrecked” perfect for live situations, for the great impact mixed with the long evocative middle section.
Onofrio: An epic mid-tempo with clean guitars verses and a great refrain. A song full of dreamy passages underlined by choirs ala Pink Floyd and some melancholic Opeth references. It has been the second track composed and since its birth we started to shape the revolution of our classic sound approach.
05. Spider’s Nest
Onofrio: Inspired by the Freudian “The interpretation of Dreams”, one of the favorite songs of the band members, probably because in only 3 minutes and a half, we recreated a big range of different musical solutions, with sick arrangements and melancholic atmospheres. And, in my opinion, it has the best Titta’s vocal performance!
Onofrio: Freely inspired by the French authorial movie “ Hiroshima Mon Amour”, Renaissance represents the “ballad moment” of the album. Only clean guitars, keyboards and a drum loop, until the final solos section. With this song we decided to continue the path started with “How could it feels like this?”, the ballad of “Deconstructive”, trying to use electric moods, avoiding totally distortion and metal clichés.
07. The Starving Litany
Onofrio: With Starving Litany we embrace once again the prog attitude of Spider’s nest, with the addition of some seventies touches, using massively Mellotron and Hammond. Personally I love the roughness of the first guitar riff, the dramatic choruses, and a free-jazz sax insertion at the end of the song. Lyrics by Davide Buso.
08. Confessions Of Riemman
Onofrio: One of the more elaborated song, a prog-mid tempo characterized by the most complex vocal lines of the album, Titta gave his best contribution composing suggestive choirs and melodies! In the second half of the song we developed a long and elaborated instrumental section with interesting guitar and keyboard solos. Lyrics by Davide Buso about the solitude of the great personalities.
09. La Danzatrice Scalza
Onofrio: Mainly instrumental, this 7 minutes track is the core of Inheritance. Created like a sort of long soundtrack, “La Danzatrice Scalza” is our “band manifesto”, musically and atmospherically speaking. Probably the most ambitious and intense piece of music we composed. Dedicated to my infancy ( “The barefooted dancer”), lyrically is inspired by an episode I lived when I was 9. The weight of the autobiographical elements pushed me to use directly my voice for the short vocals in the middle of the song. We have to underline the magnificent classical guitar solo, played by the album guest, Igor Madeyski.
10. The Defiant Boundary
Onofrio: The most technical song of the track-list, full of every sort of instrumental and vocal madness and probably the best Davide Buso performance ever behind the drums. It’s an hymn of our passion for music and art in general.
Onofrio: The instrumental conclusion, the final voyage characterized by an interesting sax section at the beginning of the song.
Could you please tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?
Gian: As for Deconstructive, the hands that made this awesome artwork have a Spanish owner, mr. Mario Sánchez Nevado. I love to collaborate with Mario, he’s a great artist and he’s able to understand our needs and elaborate everything with his personal style. I am a staunch supporter of the idea that it's important to support the music with a visual side, which is also what made us decide to shoot our first official video for the Inheritance song “Magnification of a Daydream” (you can watch it on Ashent’s youtube channel). I think that for a musician it is important to collaborate with other artists and try to build a faceted representation of his music.
Three years have passed since the release of “Deconstructive”, and “Inheritance” is finally out! What are the first reactions and your own feelings?
Gian: I am very proud of “Inheritance”, for the huge musical and production work behind this album, but also because in my mind what Inheritance means is “Hey we are here and we want to make music and share our emotions, despite the musical business problems and everything is apart the genuine need to make music”
Is there any track that means something special for you on the album?
Onofrio: “Eve” and “La danzatrice scalza” because, being the latest tracks composed, these songs better represent our renewed proposal.
The creation process of “Inheritance” was a long path. Can you tell us about it?
Gian: It took more or less a couple of years, it's not simple to find the right balance. Onofrio is the main composer of the band, but for Inheritance the process of arrangement and refining of his work involved, more than in the past, everyone of the band. You can recognize the Ashent style but clearly there is something different, as for example Titta vocal lines and his approach to the songs, or the keyboards sound layers made by Gilles, this way you can listen to the reinterpretation of the typical Ashent’s sound made by Ashent, which is kind of funny.
Who and what has inspired you musically on this album?
Onofrio: To be honest, we have no precise models. But we all love Devin Townsend, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Cynic, Steve Vai, Queen, Pink Floyd and probably these names influenced us in some mysterious way.
What’s the biggest difference between your previous two albums and this release?
Gian: Probably the desire to experiment with sounds and instruments, Inheritance is a very complex album that grows up each time you listen to it. I think this album has been a necessary step for the band: there is something genuine and warm in Inheritance, like someone giving you his entire inner world, maybe you could think that is disgusting and suffocating but everything is real and right before of your eyes.
Have you planned any touring next year outside the borders of your homeland Italy?
Gian: Believe me when I say we are trying everything in our possibilities to promote Inheritance in the best way, so stay tuned on Ashent website and online channels for more news.
Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?
Gian: Thanks for the possibility you gave us to promote our music and spread the word. Keep in touch with the band on www.ashent.net and through the official pages on social medias.
Tommy Skøtt, January 2013