Fuoco Fatuo is an Italian doom and death metal act hailing form Varese, north Italy. The band formed in 2011 and recently released their first full length album The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains through Iron Tyrant. The band consists of Fabrizio on drums, Ken on bass (also a member of Into Darkness) and Milo on guitar and vocals (also a member of Funest). The members of Fuoco Fatuo recently sat down and answered some questions for The Metal Observer.
The band has rather humble beginnings. When asked about the formation and origin of the band and band name, Fuoco Fatuo states, “We started as an Italian occult and sabbatical doom band with eerie and gloomy atmosphere. We decided from the beginning that the main themes would be the desolation and the transition, a sense of distance.” Delving into the meaning behind their name, “Cemeteries and death gave us the inspiration for the name: Fuoco Fatuo means will-o’-the wisp, the power of suggestion of these words evokes obscurity and mystery.”
When describing their early sound, which is quite different from their latest effort, the band states “The early sound has developed during the last two years, after the releasing of two EP’s, thanks to hard work in the rehearsal room and lots of gigs with mighty bands.” Rather than reliving past glories, the band seems determined to focus on the future of the band, “At this time we are not very nostalgic about the past as much as we are thrilled by the album we are creating.” I’m glad the band focused their energy into channeling a new album rather than riding the coattails of their previous releases. The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains is a monstrous work of cavernous funeral doom metal. The best way I could describe the music was “crushing heaviness”. Fuoco Fatuo states, “If you describe our music as crushing heaviness, you have felt our intent in the right way.” Getting into further details, “Our intent was to create an album whose heaviness could estrange the listener into a deep mental abyss, annihilating reality and opening vast unconscious spaces.” That’s a hell of a statement, but the band was able to achieve their goal. A fellow reviewer of mine told me The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains sounds “like the earth opened up and swallowed me whole”. That’s fitting, but not everyone will get what we’re talking about. I asked Fuoco Fatuo to describe their music to an outsider: “It is doom/death metal, capable to transcend the genre and engulf the listener into the experience of utter darkness.”
Speaking of darkness, I inquired about the album’s art work, which to me seemed to be more akin to black metal than the desolate themes of funeral doom metal. “The design was made by Raoul from View From the Coffin, a talented Italian artist. He has done lots of black metal logos, also a few co-productions with Christophe Szpajdel. His main style is, of course, the black metal one, but we knew he could realize what we had in mind. In fact, it was realized from a sketch we made and we really liked it, with that black metal evilness and rotting inspiration. He also realized the entire artwork of the album, in the inside of every lyric is an illustration of his, all made in a dotwork style.” Regardless of which style fits which genre, the cover is bad ass and just exudes vileness and putridity.
As previously stated, the band’s sound has changed since their formation. Not only is their music darker and more cavernous, but the band also put their lyrics and song titles in English. “For the full length we decided not to write anymore in our mother tongue. With no doubt it’s our most important work and we want it to be listened to abroad.” Continuing with the band’s stylistic progression, Fuoco Fatuo states there was no big difference in their songwriting process: “The process through which we compose has always been the same. We get together in the rehearsal room, we lock ourselves up in it a couple of times a week. Then, starting from a guitar riff, we begin to understand the form a new composition has to get. The full length is definitely heavier than the previous EP’s, because we focused on details that were already present but only in the background, they only had to mature.” The band’s full bodied sound is conjured by three musicians, but there is no front man or genius behind the scenes, as the band states “We believe being a three piece band is the best thing for Fuoco Fatuo. Besides knowing each other very well, we’re also able to help one another to play better music. Each of us has his own duty in the band and it’s fundamental that each one contributes with his ideas. Because of this, this musical magma of Fuoco Fatuo has undergone a decisive maturation in a short time.” When compared to the recording of their previous works, the band commented, “The recording process was different from the previous ones: we recorded in studio (La Sauna Recording) live in one take, so that the feeling between the instruments would have been solid and real. Also the sound was studied to obtain cavernous and oppressive spaces.”
When asked whether or not the band can produce these monstrous, cavernous sounds during a live gig, “The music we play is reproduced accurately during our live gigs, only the volumes are higher and the vibrations arrive straight through the chest. Probably this makes our music experience even more involving.” I can only imagine the band puts on a hell of a show and they would like to hit the road, “For sure we would like to promote our album with a European tour. Nothing has been organized yet, but this could happen in the next year.” The band must have some clout in the live setting, as they have opened for some hefty names: “It was a great experience to open for groups such as Necros Christos, Grave Miasma, Evoken, Ash Borer, Brutal Truth, Eyehategod and many others.” That’s quite an impressive list of band to have played with, but the band simply states, “This has allowed us to live our biggest passion.”
Always looking forward, the band states that they are already working on an EP that will be out this year and will contain a cover track. They are ambitious and hungry as evidenced by this statement, “We would like our music to reach every part of the world, with time it would be great to achieve that. Our composing creativity is still very fresh and active. In the next years you can expect several release from Fuoco Fatuo.”
Getting into what makes the band tick, they mention diSEMBOWELMENT, Thergothon, Incantation and Winter as influences. “We don’t feel ourselves as a copy of these bands, we’re simply trying to elaborate pre-existing concepts.” When asked what their standout releases of 2013 were, there as a fairly large laundry list of albums, “2013 has been quite an interesting year for extreme metal. Some of our favorites are Krypts – Unending Degradation, Antediluvian – λόγος, Grave Miasma – Odori Sepulcrorum, Bolzer – Aura, Portal – Vexovoid and Grave Upheaval – Untitled.”
Finishing the interview, that band would like to thank the following: “Thanks to all the bands we had the opportunity to share the stage with. We would like to thank all the people who helped us in the realization of this album. Huge thanks go to Luca and Iron Tyrant, Raoul and View from the Coffin, Hansel and Caligari Records, Angelo and Threshold Live Rituals, Nikos Giagoudakis, Daniel Abecassis and Kill Town Booking, Andrea Cajelli and el Toxyque.”
Thanks to Fuoco Fatuo for answering some questions. The Viper Slithers Through the Ashes of What Remains is available through Iron Tyrant and I highly recommend that you procure this release. I look forward to what the band has in store for the metal world in the future. For now, I will continue spinning The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of What Remains. Unless there is some monumental shift in the earth’s gravitational pull, I can assure you that this album will make my year end top 20.