Hell Theater – Interview –
Genre: Heavy / Thrash Metal
Interview with: Hell Theater
Hello and Welcome to Acier Doux. To begin with, what could you say to introduce Hell Theater to the readers?
Thanx Acier Doux for the interview and welcome your readers to HELL THEATER’s nightmare !! HELL THEATER is a “horror metal” band formed in the Venice area (North-East Italy) in 2009. We compose horror themed concept albums and our way to play Horror Metal could be defined as an influence between Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal and classic Heavy Metal, but we don’t really care about
metal genres, we just compose and play what we feel is right for the stories to tell.
The starting nucleus Hell Theater started in 2008 with Victor Solinas and Brian Steele, then Uhn Buryan was found as the drummer and Alex Pervertor as bass player. A year after, the lineup was completed with Bob Axx as guitarist, so we were able to start working on old and new material and record the first EP “SMELL OF BLOOD”.
Immediately noticed by the record company ‘MyGraveyard’ they released the concept album ‘REINCARNATION OF EVIL’, a suite of 12 tracks for a total of 60 minutes of overwhelming music. Unfortunately when we were ready to record “S’ACCABADORA” album we had to face countless misfortunes and strange mishaps, it really seemed that this new album was coursed… With our friend GU.LUG (current GORGOROTH bass player) as guest bass performer we was able then to record the album and after a long work, even to find the label, we finally released last November 2022 “S’ACCABADORA” under “Wormholedeath” label. Again 60’ minutes concept album, in 11 songs.
This record is very important for us, we are really tired of the latest “plasticky” productions, so perfect, flat, so unnatural, boring and nearly unlistenable. With “S’ACCABADORA” we decided to go totally counter current, focusing to produce an album made to
last, using all modern technologies yes, but with a natural aggressive sound. The watchword is “music played by musicians”, realistic sound, humanity. Digital must serve the music and not the contrary. Obviously it’s not the easiest and cheapest way… First, everything recorded is performed by the respective band members, nothing is built on the computer.
No easy copy-paste: even when parts are repeated later in the song, they were simply re-played and re- recorded by the musicians. We are sure that listeners will taste the human tiny differences in similar parts of the songs. We have *banned* all the easy automatisms to fix the rhythm base, align rhythm instruments and massively auto-tune notes. In the editing, the small deviations in the human execution have been deliberately left to convey naturalness and warmth of the playing. Instead of “flattening” the tempo base to make everything easier, it was patiently detected in all parts by comparing live performances at different months. We wanted to preserve the “feeling” of tiny tempo variations even when not consciously noticeable by the listener. Nearly nobody does that in modern records! Again: minimal use of plug-ins: the well-known “Melodyne” tuning for vocals has been used for probably 5 seconds in the entire album, who can say it in the all last 10 years records .
We also didn’t use any “easy” guitar amp/rack simulation plug-ins: what you hear are real guitars played by Brian and Bob, with the same rig of their live performances, amplified by their MESA BOOGIE heads with 12 incandescent hot tubes, their MESA BOOGIE cabinets and captured by an array of excellent microphones. People say our live performances are very similar to our CD… In the mix, the position of the musicians was almost always maintained, Brian on the right and Bob on the left to convey the feeling of having the band in front of you. Also, on the mastering point of view we went totally counter-current: all metal records today are highly compressed towards to the CD limit to give the maximum volume, which penalizes al lot the dynamics. We refuse to do it, S’ACCABADORA will return the right dynamics, violence and feeling. It’s something nearly lost in modern rock and metal records.
Our research for a “Hell Theater” sound involves also particular innovative executive and instrumental techniques that we introduced to produce sounds that will perhaps be heard for the first time. You may be surprised to know that some sounds that seem keyboards are actually guitars… This is also HELL THEATER today.
You play Horror, Heavy, Thrash Metal. What has lead you to embrace these themes and influences?
Because of the common passion of metal and horror themes. It’s important to underline that “our genre” – that could be defined as “horror metal” – is just our way to intend it. We prefer not to be referred as a thrash or classic heavy metal or progressive band, probably it’s something in between, as well as we don’t like to be assimilated as resembling any existing band, even if we understand the journalistic reasons to do it. What we try to do is use the music as the mean to move the inside or our listeners and tell horror stories. We also know that it may not be easy to understand our music at first listen, but we are confident in the result in the long term…
Tell us more about the reasons for choosing the Hell Theater moniker. What is especially interesting about the “concept”?
The band’s name idea came after discussing the band’s project. “Hell” expresses the stylistic direction of the band, for image, lyrics, and music writing, while “Theater” represents the vision of a horror show. We love to perform live and we want to give the audience all our energy with the best show possible. Our theatrical ideas for the show are much bigger than our budget… but all the same we see that in our concerts people stay from first note to the last like hypnotized, and their comments after the show confirms that we are in the right direction.
Some of your lead guitars and small epic touches remind me of Death SS and King Diamond. Would you say you listened to this band, or is it a coincidence?
We all grew hearing all big metal bands of the 80’ and 90’ but we like also the special creativity of bands of the 70’ when musicians weren’t afraid to dare and experiment new things. This is the mood we try to have. Sure we well heard Death SS and King Diamond, we respect them a lot, they contribute in our background as well as a long list of many other musicians. Some of us hear a lot of classical music, experimental electronic music, progressive rock and other totally different musical genres. This allows us to be open minded also on the composition and arrangement of our songs. We recently avoid to say “who influenced us” because it continuously happens that we are compared with other bands, in good faith, we know, in the attempt to describe our music in a simple and practical way. We are also honored being compared with such great bands of the past and the present. But in reality we don’t try to be similar to anyone (even though our past “look” could be somehow deceiving, we know…), and, even if very difficult, we try more and more to find our own place in the metal scenario, with the help of our fans. The inspiration to compose music comes from a fire inside all of us and the stories we tell, a reaction from reality and the urge to throw that fire from the stage to the audience, with the music, lyrics, attitude and stage layout. When we finish a new song, we can’t wait to play it live and see fans’ eyes stare and their bodies shake when they hear it. It’s a spark that come from inside when Hell Theater are rehearsing together and it continue in the live show, we are happy to see our fans capturing those feelings and being cursed with us.
Which other bands did you feel musically close to at the time? Some bands often have contacts and traded friendship with other musicians who are close on a musical or spirit point of view… It’s quite motivating and interesting… And did you share the rehearsal room with other bands?
None particularly, we enjoyed big moments with many other bands when we shared the stage with, before the show and especially afterwards…
What are your future projects?
Our fan will be happy to know that we are in the composition phase of the next ‘concept album’, based on a very exciting new theme: we want to outdo ourselves once again and we have a lot of material ready. However, we are also very very fussy and every single track will have to be played and refined many times before it is ‘approved’ by all of us, but the most natural and important dimension for HELL THEATER is live, where we try to directly involve the audience with all our energy. We want to play online much, much more than we manage to do and we hope that this will change very soon !!
Allright, I have asked most of the questions I had in mind! Thanx from advance for your time and answers!