» Lorenzo Testa - Hyades
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Hyades is a new and fresh addition to the thrash scene and they origin from such an unusal country when it comes to thrash as Italy. We were not late to question guitarist Lorenzo Testa about the situation when the opportunity arose.

Thomas: Greetings Lorenzo. Let me just start with saying that I really appreciate that you are taking the time to answer my questions and letting me and the readers of Metal Covenant know what's up with Hyades and your new album Abuse Your Illusions. To me, and I guess many others, Hyades is a rather unknown band - can you tell us a little about the background of Hyades? And from where did you get your name? Hyades seem to be a mythological name but there isn't much of mythology about your music.

  • Lorenzo: Well, Hyades formed back in 1996; we were very young at that time and we started just playing cover songs from the legendary speed metal album "Walls of Jericho" from Helloween, probably my all-time favourite album. In nine years we evolved step by step toward the sound you can hear now, that is to say a fucking timeless thrash metal without compromises or allowances to new/alternative music or other craps of bullshit. Many thrash bands nowadays here in Italy have a totally thrash metal background and don't know bands such as Accept, Exciter or the US power of Metal Church or Helstar; surely we have a more classic metal background than them. Talking' about the moniker… well, that's the worst name I've ever heard hahah! Our previous bass-player chose it when we started playing live; people now know us with this shitty name so we have to keep it hahaha! But it is not a problem; the non-meaning of this moniker good represents this stupid band hehehe!

Thomas: After doing demos for about ten years your debut album is finally done and out in the certain unknown, how are your feelings now that you have a full-length album out? Did it turn out as you wanted or there any things that you are not completely happy with on it?

  • Lorenzo: At the moment we're absolutely happy! We were losing the hope after nine unsuccessfull years with demos, live shows but no fucking record deals. It's very hard for an Italian band to sign with foreign labels, because there is a lot of discriminations and prejudices; uhm… doubtless they're justified, because the most part of Italian bands play sucking poppy power metal. We have the misfortune to live in Italy; probably coming from Germany a lot of things would be different. But we're proud to be wops hahaha! Maybe with a bigger budget we'd have recorded a better album; anyway we are happy with the result!

Thomas: What are your expectations with the release of Abuse Your Illusions? And how has the reactions been so far, both from fans and press?

  • Lorenzo: We only hope that metalheads will like our music and understand our honesty. We don't care about selling, we don't care about money, we don't care about our future, and we're here just to play the music we like, nothing else. The reactions are absolutely over our expectations: fuckin' cool reviews and a lot of compliments from all over the world: Spain, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, USA, Finland... My God, people is crazy! The worst rate is 7/10… I can't believe it!!!

Thomas: What would you say to people that have yet not heard Hyades to convince them to buy your album? What is it that makes Hyades better than other thrash band?

  • Lorenzo: Uhm, I don't know hahaha! Nowadays there are a lot of thrash bands but all of them play too similar to Sodom, Destruction or Slayer. I like this sound, but we are far from it; we play surely more complex but always straight in face, we have mosh parts, speed riff but also "melodies". But the most important thing is that we play the music from the heart and we have no fear to say what we think.

Thomas: When I listen to your album I would guess that most of your influences come from American bands like Overkill, Anthrax, early Metallica and especially Exodus, not least with the guitars that seem to have a lot of Exodus in them. What do you have to say about that? Am I correct to assume that it is the old bands that are your biggest influences, or do you take impressions of contemporary bands as well?

  • Lorenzo: You are absolutely right. We grew up with bands from Eighties and still we listen to them. Exodus, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, SOD, Death Angel from USA but also the intellectual thrash metal of undervalued bands such as Artillery. I don't hate nu metal or actual trends; simply I don't care about them and I don't like 'em.

Thomas: In the press release that came with the promo of your album it says that you have socially critical lyrics, combined with an oddball sense of humour. Do you feel that it is important to try to make a statement with your lyrics? Do you consider yourselves to politically aware?

  • Lorenzo: Yes, I think it is important, but not obligatory. I've the possibility to be heard by someone and I want to say something… well, more or less intelligent. I simply want to be myself in my lyrics and I wanna spit my truth in the face. There are a lot of different topics in "Abuse your Illusions", but the main of them is about the media role and the lies they told us since September 11 'till nowadays. I'm talking about WMD's, the relations between Al Qaeda and Saddam, and how they plagiarized your and our minds after the WTO attacks. The hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, but what's the country the US government chose to strike? And everyone was sure that Afghanistan was responsible for WTO attack. Everyone. After this, they built a castle of lies during Iraqi war: the mockery of the soldier Lynch (a fake) or Saddam found in a hole (another fake)… They're making fun of us all and I can't accept it. By the way, we aren't a "political" band; Bush or Kerry? That's the same. The problem is our society and our way of live.

Thomas: Judging by an animation at your website you don't seem to be thinking that highly about President Bush, would you go so far that you would say that you are a political band? Or is that just an example of your oddball humour?

  • Lorenzo: Hehehe it is an animation taken from www.toostupidtobepresident.com. That's just for fun. I consider George W. Bush just a puppet in the hands of lobbies and industrialist; he's definitely a stupid person, but not the main actor of this plays.

Thomas: How does the song-writing progress work in Hyades? Is it a common effort or do you come up with songs individually? When I look in the booklet you seem to be responsible for most of the songs.

  • Lorenzo: Yeah, I write lyrics and music, but we arrange the songs all together and every one is important for Hyades' sound! This is not an enforced process and I hope to have in the future more songs written by Mark or Rob… but not by our singer Marco 'cause he totally unable hahaha :)

Thomas: What was it that made you pick the old Beastie Boys classic Fight For Your Right as a cover on your album? Any special reason or just because it is a good song for partying? Do you usually throw in other covers when you play live as well?

  • Lorenzo: Well, first of all it is a fucking excellent song! It good represents our unresponsiveness and us! But there's another reason: here in Italy many metalheads are absolutely ridiculous with their self-imposed evil looks, inverted cross and those craps. When Italian kick-ass band Hatework decided to add the actual hardcore singer (Fab, the guy who sing "Fight for your Right" in our album), there has been a lot of invective 'cause he was not "true"… not a "real metalhead". That's far-fetched. Including a cover song of a rap band is to best way to demonstrate that we hate clichés and blinkers. We do just we wanna do and fuck all the rest!

Thomas: You have been supporting legendary acts like Manilla Road, Omen, Virgin Steele and Helstar, how has the reception from their fans been? And how were those experiences, to play with well-known and established acts, did they treat you well?

  • Lorenzo: In spite of stylistic differences, the crowd reaction has been always fucking good! Our hen Marco surely isn't a talented singer hehehe but he has a lot of charisma on stage so people's reaction is always good! We lived great moments with those bands, because first off all we're old time fans: Helstar is surely one of favourite metal acts of Mark and mine. They was brilliant, skilful and original as no one else. I was moved when Jerry bought our CD asking for autographs!! They're really good persons…

Thomas: How are things looking in the nearest future according to gigs? Any touring planned as of now, either as opening act or on your own? This might seem a bit distant now but do you have any festivals planned? Any festivals that you would prefer to play at?

  • Lorenzo: At the moment we're touring Italy. Last month we played in Milan as guest of Anvil and Phantom-X and we met our friend Kevin Goocher. We talked about a US tour together in the spring, but it is yet to be confirmed. Talking about the festivals… We'd like to play at every festival all over the world, but it's hard for a young band with just a debut album out to play there. We would need a monetary investment by Mausoleum Records, but I can understand they don't wanna spend money for a debutant Italian band...

Thomas: You are signed with Mausoleum Records, did you chose them or did they chose you? Are you happy with how things have worked out with them so far? Moreover, for South America and Japan your album is being released by the Brazilian label Marquee, how are things working with them? Is it difficult to have two labels releasing your album?

  • Lorenzo: Oh no it's fucking good! Mausoleum Records has a very good distribution all over the world, and Marquee Records works well in South America and Japan. Marquee Records isn't a "big" label, but it's filled into old-school metal and we're proud to be in their roster. We chosen to sign with Mausoleum because it was the better record label proposing us a deal; Alfie Falckenbach is into metal scene 'since 1982 and produced a lot of fucking good album and legendary bands… We're definitely happy to work with him. Obviously at the moment we're a small name in his roster, but thanks to all this great reviews maybe in the future we'll be more… weighty! :)

Thomas: It feels to me that thrash metal is about to come back strong again after many years with almost an underground status, is that something that you feel in Italy as well? How is the climate for thrash metal in Italy, for someone like me that lives in Sweden the existence of Italian thrash was totally unknown until you guys showed up?

  • Lorenzo: Yes, I know. Italy is famous just for symphonic poppy metal and bad productions. We have a lot of good thrash metal bands such as Hatework, Ground Control, Warmonger or Vexed, but all of them are unsigned or signed with fucking small record labels. The foreign labels will never invest money on Italian thrash metal bands; we were extremely lucky with Mausoleum Records. The people have a wrong and partial idea of Italy and Italians… for example I've never heard a tarantella in my life, here's at North we have other kinds of folk music! I recommend downloading some stuff from the bands I've written above, I am sure they will impress you!

Thomas: Italy as a metal country is mostly known for their power metal with swords and dragons, but there is more to it I can imagine. How does the metal scene in Italy look generally today?

  • Lorenzo: Yes, after Rhapsody's commercial boom, many bands here started to play symphonic power metal, often with a low budget and consecutively a bad production. I don't like this kind of music and I laugh reading tales of dragons, fairies, gnomes and all this assholes, but it's a personal opinion. Unfortunately the Italian record labels waste money and time for these shitty bands just because it's the trend of the moment. Another problem here is the mentality of the metalheads: you can record the better album of the world (this is not our situation, of course, hehe!) and sell it at lower prices, but everyone will prefer buying a sucking album from a sucking foreign band. That's a shit: the record labels blew, the magazines blew (you must buy ads space to obtain interviews) and too often the metalhead have a wrong attitude towards Italian bands. But the worst thing is the rivalry, the jealousy, among the bands; this is absolutely sad.

Thomas: What are your feelings toward the music that we outsiders find to be the most common in Italian metal with bands such as Rhapsody, Labyrinth and Vision Divine? Has these bands in any way helped to create some focus on the Italian metal scene and in a way made it easier for other band of other genres to get some attention?

  • Lorenzo: Well, I think Rhapsody is a good band with a trademark and much personality. I respect them but I don't like their sound. There're a lot of bands I can't listen to because they're absolutely arrogant and hateful. I don't give a fuck about competitions and antagonism; we play just for fun and for ourselves. Definitely not, these bands never helped to create focus on the Italian metal scene; they helped to create a prejudiced vision of Italian metal scene.

Thomas: General conception is that every Italian is nuts about soccer, what is your relation to this sport? Any favourite team that you follow closely?

  • Lorenzo: Oh yes you're right, soccer here is more important than religion or politic. People blow up for a penalty or a missed goal! I play in a little team of dilettantes and I'm a fan of Juventus Football Club, but soccer isn't my favourite game. I prefer skateboarding or watching at NFL… Raiders c'mon let's go kick some fucking ass!!

Thomas: If you stare into the crystal ball, let's say 2-3 years from now, and with another album in the back - how do you realistically see the situation to be for Hyades? What would an ideal situation be, according to you?

  • Lorenzo: Uhm… first off it would be great to release a new album! I'm realistic: we haven't huge dreams. We hope just to sell enough to carry on playing the music we like. We've a two-records deal but if we'll sell just 100 copies Mausoleum will fire us! No one in Hyades gain money, everything is used to pay back the expenses, so we hope just to carry on with this band 'cause we love this music and we love to play. But I think also without a record deal Hyades would continue, because this is surely the best and funniest thing in my life, in our lives.

Thomas: And to round this off I would only like to say a big thank you for taking the time to share this with us, and if there is anything more you would like to add and share with the readers of Metal Covenant, feel free to use this last space as you like.

  • Lorenzo: I want to many thank you for the great review and for this interview! Cheers to all the readers of Metal Covenant, keep on thrashing and long live the loud! I hope you'll listen to "Abuse Your Illusions", I'm sure it will be appreciated by old-school metal maniacs!! THRASH NOW, WORK LATER!!!

Review of the album Abuse Your Illusions

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