Review 1704 : The Modern Age Slavery – 1901: The First Mother – English

The Modern Age Slavery strikes again.

Formed in 2007 in Italy by Giovanni « Gio » Berserk (vocals), Luca « Cocco » Cocconi (guitar) and Mirco Bennati (bass), the band also counts since 2016 on Federico Leone (drums, Ultra-Violence, live for Hierophant) and Ludovico Cioffi (guitar/orchestrations, Nightland, Delain, live for Fleshgod Apocalypse). The five musicians announced in 2023 the release of 1901: The First Mother, their fourth album, on Fireflash Records.

From Pro Patria Mori, the first track, the band immediately announces the strength of its mix between Deathcore and Death Metal by letting solid riffs, later joined by screams, adopt majestic orchestrations. We can also notice a rather technical approach of the rhythmic before a modern and worrying final, followed by the crushing KLLD, a composition already revealed by the band to present the album. Raw screams and aggressive riffs cooperate to make the track a real steamroller which also incorporates dissonance and an explosive final moshpart, letting Irradiate All The Earth offer some catchy cybernetic tones before the rhythmics start again. The jerky parts perfectly fit the sound’s icy and massive aspect, just like on The Hip which comes to place aggressive Hardcore roots on heavy riffs. Again, modern samples perfectly fit the track’s atmosphere, which will let Lilibeth, a slower and mysterious track, develop haunting sounds at first to create an interesting contrast with heaviness and rage which come later. Overture To Silence, the next track, will again highlight an oppressive and perfectly worked atmosphere with violent riffs before leaving us a very short moment to breathe before OXYgen. Darkness and Industrial influences will weigh the rhythmic down without ever putting groove aside as on Nytric which again picks in more technical patterns to give it this explosive touch, completed by abrasive screams. The track has a catchy final break before letting Victoria’s Death get us ready for the next surge with a heavy sample leading to The Age of Great Men and its dark tones which choke us before heavy riffs take place. Murmurs add these disturbing parts a heavy side, leaving choruses all the power, before the band closes its album with Blind, an iconic Korn track, to which its heavy and jerky touch fits perfectly, even in clean vocals.

Don’t expect to come back safe from an experience with The Modern Age Slavery. In addition to heavy, jerky riffs, 1901: The First Mother offers reflection complemented by a savage yet crafted brutality which will break your neck in no time.


Version Française ?

Few questions to Giovanni Berselli, singer for the band The Modern Age Slavery.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band The Modern Age Slavery without using the usual Metal “labels”?
Giovanni Berselli (vocals): Thanks to you and thanks for the time and space you are giving us. My name is Giovanni Berselli, singer and lyrics writer. The other band members are Luca Cocconi (guitarist and producer), Mirco Bennati (bass player and tour manager ?), Ludovico Cioffi (guitar, backing vocals and composer of the orchestral part), Federico Leone (drums). Without using the usual Metal labels, I guess we are five very simple people that share a huge passion for Metal music (in all his genres and subgenres). Some of us are professional musicians, some of us have another full time job. In any case, since you are giving the chance, here is the TMAS manifesto: “The Modern Age Slavery dissects the anxieties of the human mind and explores untold motions within the collective consciousness of mankind, underlining why – despite age, sex, skin colour, political view, religious beliefs, social status – the modern man naturally avoids the responsibility not be a slave, escaping his own freedom to look for a counterfeit peace. Our music is not for everyone. Our music pierces the hidden, repressed, primordial, guilt-laden, though restless part of each and every man, forcing us to behold the world with different eyes”

1901: The First Mother, your fourth album, will be out soon, how do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Giovanni: Well, it feels truly great. We couldn’t be happier about it. Our label – Fireflash Record – is amazing and the reviews are also all super-positive. We also have four videos planned (two of them are already out) and we are truly looking forward to going to play these songs live. 

How would you sum 1901: The First Mother up in only three words?
Giovanni: Fast, brutal and schizophrenic

How did you deal with the composition process for this album? Was it different from the previous one with the same lineup?
Giovanni: We compose in a serial rather than a parallel way, in the sense that Luca composes a song that already contains midi bass and drums. At that point, myself and the drummer come into play. I write metrics and lyrics, trying to be as less invasive as possible on the initial idea, whereas the drummer adds his own ideas, also keeping in mind the live acts that will follow. Only when we have a well-set idea, then we all rehearse together so to get the overall feeling of the song. Ludovico only adds orchestras at the end. This writing method is also somehow dictated by our lives… we live in distant cities and, unfortunately, we don’t have the privilege of seeing each other very often to rehearse together as much as we would like to. Nonetheless, all the band members have already gained a lot of studio and live experience, so that this strategy seems to work for us. In this sense, the composition process is the same as the one used in Stygian, although for this last album we took more time to record the drums and we also tried to keep the vocals lower (avoiding too many screams), so as to kinda differentiate ourselves from the Deathcore scene.

What is the concept behind 1901: The First Mother?
Giovanni: 1901 represents the beginning of the 20th century, the year in which Queen Victoria died and the advent of The Modern Age in English literature. Initially, we wanted to keep only this number as the title of the album, finally deciding to add a subtitle for visibility reasons (for example, to facilitate searches on Spotify). The album is not a concept even if the genesis of many songs follows a common thread. Together with Ludovico, we tried to list different types of slavery (even self-imposed). On the basis of this list, I wrote the lyrics, often taking inspiration from poets or philosophers of the past. For example, slavery to drugs is painted in OXYgen, the psychological archetype of the devouring mother, who feeds on the attention of her children, making them slaves of her own love and unable to grow up, is painted in The Hip, The Age of Great Men speaks of the approval of the masses and the destruction of the Ego – here intended in its positive sense, KLLD (freely inspired by a poem by Blaise CendrasI’Ve Killed) speaks of slavery in the call to the military. As a final example, Overture to Silence (one of the few not inspired by poems but based on a personal story), deals with the bondage to toxic love. We then decided to talk about a trilogy for two reasons. The first is to self-impose to ourselves two more albums. The other, with a symbology that is also reflected on the cover, of trying to paint, with the next two volumes, not only the past but also the present and, subsequently, a dystopian future.

I noticed the orchestrations and atmospheres are really pushed forward on this new record, how did you work on them to make them fit the riffs?
Giovanni: The orchestral part is written by Ludovico Cioffi, with the help of Luca Cocconi. I guess that, when I said the composition is done in series, I am right up to a point. Also here, Ludovico comes up with an idea of the orchestral part and Luca helps to fit it in the music that, as I said, is totally written at this stage.

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or the one you just can’t wait to play on stage?
Giovanni: My favourite song is OXYgen. It reminds me of a long afternoon in my mountain house, where, together with a concert pianist – Vanessa OConnor – we wrote the lyrics. Also, it is a great pleasure for me to sing that song along with Ludovico.

The last song of the album is a cover of Korn’s iconic song Blind, how did you get the idea to include this one to your album, and to your style?
Giovanni: We always include a cover in our albums. In the past, we covered Entombed, Sepultura, Pantera and Metallica. Just to say that we always choose a song from Metal icons, that cannot be touched. I mean, in this case, either you decide to change the original song by rearranging it in your own style or you would end up with a bad copy. This time, we gave a shot to Korn, also adding some experimentation (such as clean vocals). I am curious to see what our audience will think about it… I have read controversial opinions about that song, and I am eager to know what the outcome will be. We are also totally open to, let’s say, constructive criticism, if possible.

You signed a record deal with Fireflash Records, how did this collaboration happen?
Giovanni: That is a nice story! I was living in Germany for working reasons and it happened that Barbara Francone – from the NeeCee agency that is also following us in Italy – came to Germany to meet Markus Wosgien, which is the founder and owner of Fireflash. I brought a demo to his desk, told him a little bit about the band’s history and about our possible plans for the future. I guess he liked our proposal and we mutually felt supergood together not only in terms of music but also for a sense of familiarity that Markus is truly able to express. He is a legend and we are truly honoured to be part of the Fireflash family.

With which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour (or just a single show) with The Modern Age Slavery and three other bands!
Giovanni: Slipknot, Behemoth, Benighted.

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Giovanni: Come see us live! It is fun!

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