Shores of Null returns to feed melancholy.
Formed in 2013 in Italy, the band composed of Davide Straccione (vocals, Zippo), Raffaele Colace (guitar/vocals), Gabriele Giaccari (guitar/vocals, ex-Mantra, ex-The Orange Man Theory), Matteo Capozucca (bass), and Emiliano Cantiano (drums, Embrace of Disharmony, Ivory Moon, ex-Anthelion) announces the release of The Loss Of Beauty, their fourth album, through Spikerot Records.
The haunting sound comes back to life with Transitory, a short but melodious introduction which slowly leads us to Destination Woe, a slightly more energetic track on which clean vocals appear. We also have rawer screams on the choruses, but also leads with piercing Black Metal influences which barely fade when the vocalist takes control again, but which will leave way to soaring sounds on The Last Flower and its painful quietness. The rhythmic strengthens with an oppressive but heady saturation, letting the vocal duo enchant and assault us before this unexpected but intense central acceleration which will finally slow down again before Darkness Won’t Take Me takes over to choke us under its melancholic and heavy riffs. Vocals perfectly blend into the bewitching waves that easily carry us to Nothing Left to Burn, a slightly darker composition that creates a striking contrast with the previous track, but also with the softness of the vocal parts. The intensity in the desperate choruses and screams is also noticeable, and then Old Scars will again ignite the rhythmic with raw, abrasive and sharp roots, sometimes reminding us of a world famous Finnish band. The mystical atmosphere will welcome howls on the final, then The First Son will let piano and violins soothe the children’s cries before letting its quietness darken with A Nature In Disguise, the next track, which again draws from epic and soaring influences to fuel a haunting sound. Darkness literally explodes with the arrival of saturated vocals, then it will be nuanced when the two voices join, finally giving way to fury on My Darkest Years, a composition mixing rage and much softer melodious leads. The break will come to punctuate chaos before clean vocals make it hypnotic until the final, leading us to Fading As One and its ice-cold atmosphere. The track remains impressive and suffocating even when leads let us glimpse some brighter sounds before A New Death Is Born appears to be more accessible while keeping the heavy and aggressive elements, which are crushed under the softness of the impressive vocal duo. Underwater Oddity returns to catchy riffs without dropping the two complementary voices that make us navigate in this majestic universe out, which will end with Blazing Sunlight, the last track, which lets a piano answer the icy wind.
Shores of Null continues to sail in an ocean of melancholy and sadness, guided by an intense and complementary vocal duo, which makes The Loss Of Beauty a rich, accessible but above all extremely intense album.
Few questions to Davide Straccione, Shores of Null’s vocalist.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Shores of Null without using the usual Metal “labels”?
Davide Straccione (vocals): Hi, I’m Davide, the singer of the band. We started out 10 years ago although a few demos had been circulating between Gabriele, Raffaele and me for quite some time before we decided that the time was ripe to make our debut into the world. We play heavy melancholic metal music.
The Loss of Beauty, your fourth album, will be out soon. How do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Davide: The album will be released on March 24th and it’s mid-January as we speak, so I guess reviews will start popping up next month or so. For us, it’s a really weird feeling since it’s been ready for quite some time now. Our first two singles Nothing Left To Burn and The Last Flower has been received very well on our social platforms, by both old and new fans.
How would you sum The Loss of Beauty up in only three words?
Davide: Melancholic, gloomy, beautiful.
You stated the recording process happened between 2019 and early 2020, which is the same time as for your previous album, Beyond The Shores (On Death And Dying). What is the main difference between the two albums in your opinion?
Davide: Exactly, The Loss Of Beauty is not really a new album for us, because it was composed in 2018 and recorded in 2019. You may wonder why all this time, well, it’s quite a long story. After the release of Black Drapes For Tomorrow, which came out on Candlelight/Spinefarm, we started writing new material for our third album, this material was actually what would later become The Loss Of Beauty. We entered the studio in Summer 2019 and recorded drums and bass for that album, then we took a break before recording guitars and vocals. During this time we were puzzled about our future, our old label wanted to benefit from the option on the third album that was in the contract, but we wanted out because we were unhappy with the poor promotional campaign that Black Drapes had gotten. We wrote another album with the idea of doing something extremely different from our usual path, with the hope that the label would refuse it. That album became Beyond The Shores (On Death And Dying), a one-track album of nearly 40 minutes. We entered the studio again, recorded drums and bass for this one too, and then we used the same studio time to record both the guitars and the vocals for both albums. In early 2020 we ended up with two albums in our hands, but our old label luckily never replied to our email so we decided to release them via my own label Spikerot Records, starting with Beyond The Shores, which got released in November 2020. The main difference between the two is that Beyond The Shores, as the title suggests, is something that goes beyond what we usually do, it takes a specific aspect of our sound and makes it the protagonist of the whole composition, a 38-minute long track of Gothic Doom Metal with violins and piano, with an almost Funeral and Death/Doom approach in some of the parts. The Loss Of Beauty is more balanced and it is composed of more tracks, shorter ones, and it’s the perfect continuation of the trail set forth by Quiescence and Black Drapes For Tomorrow.
What can you tell me about The Loss of Beauty’s name and artwork?
Davide: The title contains what we may call an antiphrasis, the emphasis should be on the word Beauty, not on the Loss, which makes me think more about seeking beauty. But it can also be read with its literal meaning, and it still would make a lot of sense. Wars, pandemics, people fighting each other over their useless opinions on a stupid social network, it’s all beauty lost somehow, the utopian beauty of living in harmony. The album artwork reflects the wabi-sabi aesthetic, very common in Japanese culture, and is based on the acceptance of transience and the imperfection of things. The Loss Of Beauty wants to be an invitation to seek beauty in small things, especially in those unexpected and ephemeral, things that the eyes of ordinary people fail to see but that are all around us. The cover artwork perfectly captures this fragile concept and is a picture of the Italian photographer Sabrina Caramanico, with whom we also collaborated on Beyond The Shores. We really wanted the same artist on these two albums because somehow they are connected.
I feel the difference between clean vocals and harsh vocals is more seizing than before, do you think you improved yourselves on this point? What about your musicianship?
Davide: I started growling with Shores Of Null, my roots are in clean singing and I’ve never considered myself an extreme Metal singer. My growls and screams have definitely improved through the years and I always try to give 100% when I’m in the studio, but this time Marco “Cinghio” Mastrobuono encouraged me to give even more than that. Our musicianship has also improved throughout the years, being lucky enough to play around 200 shows together with the same line-up.
Which song was the most natural one to create, and which one is for you the deepest?
Davide: The Last Flower and My Darkest Years were definitely the ones that came more naturally and easily, at least from an instrumental point of view. It’s hard to pick just one, but I think My Darkest Years is the deepest one because the lyrics are inspired by the true story of Raffaele’s grandfather who deserted the war and survived the Second World War.
One of the songs I like the most on this album is Old Scars, on which I feel some Amorphis vibes. What is the story of this song, if you mind sharing it?
Davide: I’m glad you like this song because I’m sure it will be one of those songs that will not always end up on our future shows setlists. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song, but we haven’t chosen it as one of our singles/videos, therefore we will play it live only when we’ll have longer sets. The lyrics talk about living our lives while showing the scars of yesteryears. Things evolve, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but in the end, we only have one life to live and we must be courageous and face it head-on.
Do you have some plans for the band’s future?
Davide: We have a tour with Swallow The Sun, Draconian and Avatarium in April/May, then hopefully some summer festivals, some more gigs in Autumn and then more gigs in 2024, we hope this album will be well received because we are really proud of it, and we’ve worked really hard. I guess we’ll start laying down new material at some point, I know Gabriele and Raffaele both have some riffs in the pipeline.
I was lucky enough to catch two of your shows in Paris (in 2017 and 2019), but how do you feel when you play on stage?
Davide: We’ve always had a good response in France and especially Paris, so we can’t wait to play there again next April. We love playing live and meeting people after the show. When we’re on stage we feel we are where we belong.
What led you to the Metal universe back in time? What was the very first album you ever bought?
Davide: I needed something special, I liked music since I was a little kid, but I was looking for that kind of music that was able to give me strong emotions, and I found it in Metal and Punk. Back then I copied and exchanged many cassettes with some of my schoolmates, but the first record I consciously bought I think was Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson.
What do you know about the French Metal scene? Which French bands do you know and like?
Davide: France has a very good metal scene, absolutely top-notch in many genres, especially Black Metal. I do like Alcest, The Great Old Ones, Blut Aus Nord, Hangman’s Chair, and many more.
About your local scene now, maybe you have some underground Italian bands to recommend us?
Davide: In Italy there’s a lot going on right now, you might have seen the explosion of Messa and Lili Refrain, artists that we’ve been following since their early steps and that now are finally gaining worldwide recognition, it is extremely positive for the Italian scene as a whole. Other bands I recommend are, in no particular order and without worrying much about the genre, Master Boot Record, Guineapig, Ottone Pesante, SednA, Zolfo, Hierophant, Selvans, Nubivagant.
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Davide: On our previous album Beyond The Shores (On Death And Dying) we had the pleasure of having Mikko Kotamäki from Swallow The Sun and Thomas AG Jensen from Saturnus as special guests. As for the future, I have a few ideas but I’ll keep them to myself.
Last question: With which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour (or just a single show) with Shores of Null and three other bands!
Davide: There are many bands we would love to play with but right now I’d settle for Amorphis, Paradise Lost and Borknagar.
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Davide: Thanks for the very cool chat, we hope to see you on the road. Follow us on our social platforms, Facebook and Instagram in particular, or check our official website shoresofnull.com if you’re Old School, you can even subscribe to our newsletter.