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!
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
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
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?
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
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 :)
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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!!!
of the album Abuse Your Illusions