In November, the Italian death metallers of Embryo released their new album, called A Step Beyond Divinity. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviewed them about the new album and their history among other things.
Hey, congratulations with your new album, A Step Beyond Divinity. It’s really nice!
Thank you, it’s really good to know that you liked it. We are very proud of the work done for the album, but seeing that it’s not just us is a further confirmation of what we were thinking and feeling.
Your music is very brutal and very atmospheric at the same time. How do you find the perfect balance in this during the writing process?
It’s not something we look for when we write new music, I mean: we have always had keyboards, since the very first days of Embryo and we grew with the idea that we wanted to create something that could be a perfect mix of what rhythmics (guitar, bass, drums) and atmosphere (keyboards) can bring to the realization of a song. We start from the guitar riffs, then we add drums and bass and we have almost a complete song in our hands, this is the moment when keyboards transform the song adding completely different shades, underlining the most emotional part and emphasizing the most brutal. It’s not something we plan, but after all these years it’s something that comes out naturally during composition.
For this album you signed to Art Gates Records, what made them the best label for Embryo at this moment?
They are a serious, hardworking and honest label; the perfect mix for the band. During all these years we experienced a lot of different labels and for this new album we were looking for someone who could work for the band, for its growing and working with the band in planning and deciding what is the best for us to increase as musicians and to reach a wider audience than we reached so far. We have an everyday dialogue with them, we talk and discuss about any kind of proposal that we receive or that they receive and that we could be interested in and try to understand what is good and what is not for us. We are extremely happy and satisfied of their work!
You recently welcomed Danilo Arisi as Embryo’s new bass player. How do you know each other and what makes him the best option for this job?
We already knew Danilo for his previous work in different bands (Avelion for example) and because he lives nearby us; there are not so many metal bands where we live so it’s quite normal knowing members of these bands. The first reason we choose him is exactly this one: we already knew Danilo personally and we knew that there wouldn’t be problems with him. We met in front of a beer, we talked clearly with him explaining what we were looking for and what we were planning for the band. He agreed with us and after a couple of rehearsals his choice became official.
All your albums, except your debut Chaotic Age (2006) are produced by Simone Mularoni. What makes you return to him?
He’s the best! He knows perfectly our music and our way to record. Every time we go to him, we know that we’re going to find an extremely high level of professionality, but at the same time an absolutely relaxed atmosphere. It’s the ideal place to work hard, fast and at the best. After that he’s also great in mixing and mastering, giving our works the perfect balance and giving our songs the perfect equilibrium to sound exactly as we thought them. He’s a good friend too so, why looking for someone else?
The cover art, created by Septicflesh’s Seth Siro Anton, is very nice! What is the story behind the cover and the title of the album?
He made an extraordinary work on the entire album artwork, cover, booklet…We contacted Seth thanks to our previous manager and explained him what was the concept and the idea behind the album and he’s been really enthusiast about the idea of creating something inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci (as he said to us, his favorite artist ever). We sent him a brief resume of the concept, the lyrics and the title and left all the work to his imagination. The result is absolutely amazing, we are all very excited of his work. About the title, we wanted a title that could remind a kind of duality: lyrics are focused on the man instead of the artist and the man was struggling between mind and emotions, between freedom and the need to serve a patron; among all these “duels” there was also the strength of science and knowledge set against the power of religious dogmas. He was skeptic in a certain way and even heretic in following his thirst of knowledge and understanding; his “scientific curiosity” was not seen positively by his contemporary, mostly because he went far over what was done since then. He wanted to understand and find the reason why everything was as it was (people, animals, rivers, mountains…); for him knowing that god made all the things was not enough, he wanted to go beyond, here’s the meaning of the title.
This year you already exist for 18 years, what are the most memorable moments of Embryo from the past?
This is a really hard question…I think that it’s really tied to our own sensibility, so if you make this question to any of us you will probably get five different answers. For me every time we went to the studio to record our music (from our first demo to our last album) and we had the results in our hands is a memorable moment. Every show with people having fun, moshing and headbanging it’s been a memorable moment because it’s absolutely amazing feeling that people under the stage is enjoying the show as much as you on stage. There have been many many memorable moments during these 18 years tied with the people we met before and after the shows, the people we shared the stage with and the people who worked with us; journeys, rehearsals, tours, festivals…let’s see what he next 18 years will bring.
What is on your wishlist for the future to do with Embryo, that you haven’t done before?
We have a lot of things on our wishlist!!! Some things that probably will remain dreams and some goals that we’ll try to achieve and this is another reason for us to go on. We want to reach as many people as possible with our music and this means trying to go to most places possible to play live and meet new people. This is on the top of our wishlist and we’re working to make it come true.
Can we expect some Embryo shows in the near future? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?
Absolutely! We want to present the new songs live and see what will be the audience reaction. We are evaluating different ideas/proposals with the guys of Art Gates, but we want to be back on the road soon. And of course if there would be the chance to come to The Netherlands we won’t let it go; we’ve been there different times during our previous tour and we always had a lot of fun.
Already plans for any new material or not?
Knowing Eugenio, I think he’s already thinking about new riffs and new ideas for the new album, but it’s too soon. We want to bring A Step Beyond Divinity on stage and play it for as many people as possible, so for the moment we are focused on the promotion of our new album and this is the exclusive priority now. There is time to think about the new album, maybe with other surprises, who knows?
Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
Thanks again to you for the chance of letting know you the band a little more. We just want to say to keep on supporting the underground and for those who didn’t, give our new album a chance. See you soon on the road, don’t miss it!
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).