Friday, August 17, 2018


Hey brutalbangers,
after the review about the debut album of the Italian black metal band Mascharat, I asked to them if they were available for an interview...and this is the result of the chat between me and them. This interview is very interesting not only for the themes here faced but also because I asked so many questions that you have to prepare to read a loooong interview. But it was interesting for me also for another reason: I translated from Italian to English all what you'll read within few seconds, so I hope I did a good job. But now stop to this intro and...


Hi men! How you doing? Usual start: please introduce you to the avid readers of Timpani allo Spiedo 'zine with a nice bio. What dark force determined the foundation of this mysterious creature called Mascharat and what is its purpose in this rotten world?

Hail! Firstly, thank you for letting us to tell about our band in this interview. The dark force is surely the black metal music, a genre that we love for many years. In fact, Mascharat was born not only due to our attraction towards the gloomy and transcendental atmosphere that this genre can summon, but also for the common will to give a shape to our ideas and reflections coming from philosophy, esotericism and literature. So, the purpose consist in mixing our knowledge with the instinctivity of the music in order to create a narration as much as possible original and good at trasmitting something to the listeners.

How was born the moniker Mascharat? Is it intentional the fact that it has a double meaning, in Arabic as well in Italian?

Without doubts, our moniker is conceptually linked to the Mask and everything concerning the Carnival. In addition to the various suggestions dealing with the spirit, the demon or the witchery ("Masca" is also associated with "witch", and, in fact, it means "witch" in the dialect as well the folklore of the Lombardy and Piemonte areas), Mascharat comes from the Arabic, in which it stands for "prank", "violent joke" and "chaotic and immoral situation". Moreover, the origins of the Italian word "maschera" are traceable just in "mascharat". Our interest about Carnival is mostly about the subversion of the rules and the social norms happening during this festivity.

You released your demo in 2014 but you founded the band in 2010. So, what bring to spend so much time to release your first (and only, for the moment) demo?

The main reason is that we managed a lot of time to complete the current line-up. We were still in search of a drummer in the demo period but, anyway, we decided to release it by utilizing a drum-machine. Another reason is linked to our kind of songwriting. In fact, if, in a hand, we like to be spontaneous and instinctive during the musical composition stage, in the other hand we prefer to take our time in order to deepen the subjects and themes that will be used for the lyrics, and so to prepare the entire concept. A last reason that slowed down also the composition of the album is given by more practical circumstances because, at the moment, some band members live abroad.

Why do you hide your personal identities? Now, this is a "trendy" feature in the current extreme metal scene.

Said frankly, it isn't a thing so important for us. To say the truth, the choice of the anonymity mainly concerns the demo while, for the album, we thought to use the pseudonyms. Anyway, we don't see many differences between the pseudonyms and the total anonymity, also because many of the Mascharat members have no other projects in addition to this band, so I think it's difficult having some infos about us. In our opinion, what counts in a band is the music produced by it, not its members.

Where did you record the album? Did you have some difficulties? I am saying this because some long songs like "Medecin de Peste" shouldn't be very easy to record.

Due to the fact that some members lives now abroad, the album was just recorded in different moments and places during 2016, and Carlo Meroni (A.D.S.R. Studio) greatly helped us since he mixed and mastered our album. Maybe, the main difficulties were just finding the right occasions, the time and the way to organize the recording sessions. Surely, the 11 minutes and a half of "Medecin de Peste" have been felt between the takes.

What pushed you to do a concept-album about the Venetian Carnival?

Actually, our concept isn't uniquely linked to Venice and to the Venetian Carnival but, rather, it embraces the conceptions of the Carnival and the masks in general. In fact, the idea was born from the fascination which always characterizes the masks as aesthetical, theatrical and ritualistic item. After that, the project took surely a more detailed dimension when we started to study the various meanings hiding behind what are today known as the traditional masks of the Carnival.

You are from Milan but you preferred to create a "Venetian" concept. Why? Aren't there interesting traditions/legends/myths in the Lombardy/Milan areas that could be fit for a black metal album?

There are certainly interesting legends and myths in our local areas but this isn't the point. In fact, we don't want to anchor our project to a specific geographical area, be it Italian or from Lombardy. The themes that we want to face or interpret with our music are more linked to the philosophy and occultism, instead of the various local folklores. In this sense, about the Carnival we are interested in the principle of the rollover and subversion of the religious and moral values hiding behind the masks.

Do you want to tell us about the story of "Mascharat" track by track as well its characters?

Really, we prefer to not bind the album to our only interpretation, so the listeners are free to develop their own opinions about the meaning of every song into the album. What we can say is that there are different reading levels of our songs while the lyrics contains many references to esotericism, literature and philosophy. In general, the album can be divided in two parts: the first one is a sort of dialogue with some of the most important masks of the Carnival tradition known as  Bauta, the mask of the plague doctor (Medicus Pestis. - ed), and Mora or Moretta. Instead, the second part has surely a more esoteric nature and can be readed as a kind of quest for the truth.

Your black metal is arcane and macabre and it seem to me that it sound in a very Norwegian way. More specifically, what are your influences? In your opinion, how much is "Italian" your black metal, musically speaking?

It's hard to say, especially for us that have written this music, so we think that the word of our listeners is more reliable than the ours. Certainly, what we can say is that the Scandinavian bands (the classic '90s Norwegian black metal, in particular) and some coming from the rest of the European scene belongs to our musical background. So, a first fundamental influence comes probably from this kind of music, but we don't exclude also other musical genres connected or not with metal.

Why is "Vestibolo" instrumental?

As suggested by its title, "Vestibolo" ("hallway", "lobby". - ed) is a transition in which, after the vision shown by the three masks, is opened a new phase of the album characterized by the quest for the truth. So, we thought that the lyrics were useless also because, musically speaking, this song is rather an instrumental intermezzo.
Maybe, did you mean "Simulacri", as you mentioned in the review? In this case, it seemed to us that the absence of the lyrics was better able to symbolize the silence of the simulacra, of the ghosts of the past, that there is need to face.

It seem to me that you use three different languages in the album: Italian, French and a Northern Italy dialect, maybe just Venetian, isn'it? Do you use French in "Medecin de Peste"? A more important question: what needs brings you to sing the tracks through all these idioms?

The languages are three, but without any dialects. In addition to Italian and French (that's present only in "Medecin de Peste"), the start of "Bauta" is in Latin. These linguistic choices are justified by various reasons, and the first one is traceable in the many influences composing the album. For example, in "Bauta", a song dedicated to a mask that represent, in a certain sense, the spirit of this ancient tradition, Latin is used to homage the origin of the same Carnival, a festivity present since the pagan era under the name of Saturnalia. So, French is used not only to homage the numerous influences of the French literature in the lyrics but also for its sound. Beyond these "unusual" choices, Italian, anyway, remains the main language also because it let us a better way of expression. In general, the choice to use many languages is linked to the fact that we don't want to anchor our band and our music to a precise national dimension.

Do you speak in other languages? If yes, do you have the intention to use them for your future productions to come?

Yes, we know other languages, and, at this point, you have to consider that a member lives in France and another one in Norway. Additionally to English, we speak some German and Swedish. For the moment, we don't know to say if we will utilize other languages in our future works. As said before, apart some experimentations or reasons leaded by some specific needs, we use languages well known by us and that allows us to use them at their best.

Speaking again about the song "Bauta", what is exactly this kind of mask?

As already said, Bauta is one of the most common and famous masks of the Venetian Carnival, but it was used not only during this festivity. Its name usually comprehend the same mask, called "Larva" (with the sense of "ghost", "spectre") that cover the entire face, the cocked hat and the cloak.

A special feature of this kind of disguise is that it totally lack of ornaments in order that everyone, independently from their social class, could get one of it. So this thing accentuated the principle of anonymity and subversion typical of the Carnival.

In the demo, the song "Medecin de Peste" was titled as "Medicus Pestis". Why did you change its title?

At a first glance, we thought to maintain the Latin title because this is the usual name in which this mask was called in according to the sources of the time, being Latin the language of the erudite people. But, at last, we preferred to change the title during the phase of rewrite and revision of the album since the lyrics of this song are in French.

The cover artwork of the album seem to be a Medieval illustration. How was born it and who designed it?

Exact, our intention was just that one. During the composition of music and lyrics of "Mascharat", we counted on images and symbols so to manage to achieve the mood that had to be summoned through the music. Hence, our ideas were already very clear when the moment to conceive the cover artwork arrived. We needed an image able to complete the message transmitted by the music and the lyrics, as well. After some research, we were so lucky to get in touch with Gozer Vision, who accepted our request to create a cover artwork good at representing an incipit for the narration through the figures and the setting what we were thinking. His abilities to represent faithfully the xilographic style of that period helped us a lot, letting us to have a work very close to our ideas. In particular, we pushed to use some esoteric symbols, that were very frequent elements in the Medieval and Renaissance illustrations. So, we are very satisfied about the final result.

It's always nice when an Italian band, especially when it sings in mothertongue, manages to attract the attentions of a foreign label. So, how was born the collaboration between you and the Aussie label Seance Records? Did you know before?

After the recordings, we started to look for a label interested to release our album. Initially, we contacted Italian labels, then also some from abroad. We received some positive answers and, among them, there was Seance Records, a label before unknown by us. Their interest for our music and our lyrics as well their appreciation shown through very precise questions about the more in-depth aspects of our album, impressed us already. So, we are very happy about the relationship between us and we are still in contact with the label.

Your label dubs your as "Renaissance Black Metal". Do you like this definition? Exactly, why is "Renaissance" your black metal?

No, sincerely we feel to be a black metal band and nothing else. This doesn't mean that you cannot hear some far Medieval or even Renaissance influences but, for us, this feature isn't dominant. Actually, the "black metal" definition is really vast and, in some ways, also ambiguous, in the sense that it can consist of very different bands. For this reason, we feel to be completely tuned with the philosophy of this genre and also with the artistic freedom offered by it, without adding other explanations.

Are going and gone well the sales of your album? I suppose so if your album has been recently edited on tape by the Polish label Morbid Chapel Records. Speaking about it, how did this label "hit on" you?

It's hard to determine it because we imagine that the album is mainly selling in Australia where, in according to Seance Rec, there's some interest about us. Speaking about the copies in our hands, the requests came from Italy so far, apart rare exceptions from abroad. Anyway, we are pleased to know that our album is listened and appreciated apart from the sales.

About Morbid Chapel Rec, we received its proposal after a Polish review on Terror Cult 'zine. We were very pleased and the result has been so good, especially because of the obscurity and the better cohesion of the songs offered by the sound on tape.

Do you consider yourselves as a studio band? Soon or later, do you think you will play on stage or do you prefer to let intact the mistery about Mascharat since their end?

We don't consider us as a studio band but, so far, we managed to play only a gig at Centrale in Erba (Rock Centrale is a pub located in Erba, a small town in the province of Como, in North Italy. - ed) in occasion of the demo release. We would like to bring again Mascharat on stage but, at the moment, this is a little bit difficult. Since the chances to meet us are still few, we prefer to exploit the short of time to the composition of new stuff.

Are you agreed with the final words of my article about your album, in which I said that black metal, that's a very unique musical genre, can be considered as a way to preserve the local and national traditions by bands like yours? Why is common this thing into black metal and not so much in the other metal genres?

Surely, it can be a way not to preserve (considering that many references are about customs not yet present nowadays) but to make know forgotten traditions and cultures.

To say the truth, with our project we would like to go beyond the mere dimension of memory characterizing many new bands. So, our aim is more philosophycal and metaphysical than historical, in the sense that the images and symbols behind our songs, even though they are in line with the traditional values, are always used to create something new and never to stage some historical and folkloristic reenactments.

In your opinion, what is the current health status of the Italian black metal? How do you consider it in comparison with the world black metal scene? Are some Italian bands that you appreciate in a particular manner?

The Italian black metal scene is surely very active and appreciated also beyond our national borders. As every broad and diverse reality, you can find everything in it and also the kind of quality changes a lot. It's hard to choose a band or another. We don't want to disrespect by mentioning some names or not. We prefer simply to say that there are excellent bands, be they well known, lesser known, or even newborn.

Thanking you to answering to this river of questions, I'll leaving you with this last task: please try to convince the readers to buy your album also by defining its features that makes it different from the other black metal albums into the market. Unleash now with your own press release!

Thank you for the interview and for your questions, that gave to us the chance to clear some very important aspects about our band. We invite the intrigued readers to listen to us and, eventually, to contact us if you want to share your opinions about our album as well our band in general. We'd love it and we believe very much in the advantages that the debate is able to give to the scene.

Our music is entirely listenable for free both on Youtube ( and Bandcamp (, where it's also possible to order the CD in case you want to support us. It's available also a limited offer on Big Cartel (, if, instead, you are interested in the tape version.

For us, black metal isn't a simple form of entertainment  but a continue research of transcendence made of music, images and words. Maybe, this is one of the features that characterizes Mascharat along with the way in which the symbols, concepts and themes are faced, not in a way for its own sake but in order to create an original narration.

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