Review 2135 : Hideous Divinity – Unextinct – English

Hideous Divinity returns to crush us with its fifth album.

Entitled Unextinct, it will be released in 2024 on Century Media Records, thanks to the hard work of Enrico Schettino (guitar, ex-Hour of Penance), Enrico « H. » Di Lorenzo (vocals, Eyeconoclast), Stefano Franceschini (bass, Hammer of Dawn, ex-Aborted), aided by Davide Itri (drums, Bedsore, ex-Ade, ex-Helslave).

The band has since recruited its new drummer, Edoardo Di Santo (Shaula, Voltumna, Ade…).

The album opens with Dust Settles On Humanity, a relatively ominous introduction that quickly reveals the band’s striking force with a simple riff that first veers towards a certain dissonance before crushing us, then letting The Numinous One take over with assumed technicality and violence. A few keyboards mingle with the surge and its furious vociferations, leaving bass and guitars to place worked harmonics throughout this long, dark composition, which leads into the equally savage Against The Sovereignty Of Mankind, where the musicians couple complexity and brutality with a catchy naturalness. The jerky parts perfectly precede the arrival of the more impressive moments before the sound drapes itself in mysterious tones on the opening moments of Atto Quarto The Horror Paradox, which quickly reverts to its pessimistic but devastating fury. Although very long, the track is excellently paced, alternating slow, majestic passages with others that are much more lively and delicate, all at the service of power, with a few misty, melodic elements thrown in to nuance the tidal wave that gives us a moment’s respite with its final, quickly followed by Quasi-Sentient and its frightening sample. The guitars are much sharper, with a slamming bass exploding from time to time as the double kick reigns, but the final unveils a different kind of intensity before the quietude begins to hover on Hair Dirt Mud, a short soothing track that abandons itself to saturation before truly exploding with More Than Many Never One. The composition draws on influences as violent as ever, but there’s also a more melodic approach on leads, especially in the solos followed by a heady bass and very melancholic tones, which are echoed in another form in Der Verlorene Sohn, an intriguing interlude. Violence soon returns with Mysterium Tremendum and its massive rhythmics, skilfully alternating between abrasive technicality and more soaring passages where we have no idea of the return of heaviness, but the contrast is also exploited on Leben Ohne Feuer, where the band combines all its influences for over eight minutes to weave its web where sheer devastation meets rage, but also darkness and monstrous howls in increasingly intense waves before a much more vindictive final.

Hideous Divinity has always been known for skilfully combining brutality and complexity, but this album is different. Unextinct obviously takes up the basics created by the band, but adds a darkness and a melancholy melodic approach that didn’t leave me indifferent!


Version Française ?

Few questions to Stefano Franceschini, bass player of the Italian Technical Death Metal Hideous Divinity.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Hideous Divinity without using the usual musical labels?
Stefano Franceschini (bass): Hi there, this is Stef from Hideous Divinity, and we are a band that plays the kind of music that you would expect by looking at the artworks of our albums. If I had to describe our music to our fans, I would think of a pitch-black room with sporadic, disturbing flashes of dark grey pulsating to the rhythm of irregular heartbeats. I tried to be as imaginative as possible.

What does the name Hideous Divinity mean to you, and how is the link with the music you create?
Stefano: That’s a question for Enrico Schettino Montesano (the band’s founder and guitarist, ed.), but I’ll try my best and give you an explanation of the name’s origins. I guess it dates back to a comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes, where at some point Calvin summons a horrible deity, something evil that would demand sacrifices. He wanted to give it a more “unholy Death Metal” kind of twist, and there you go.

The band’s new album, Unextinct, will come out in a few months. How do you feel about it? Do you already have any feedback?
Stefano: I’m stoked about it, man! Can’t wait for everyone to check it out. I am very proud of what we achieved. And yes, the feedback’s been great so far. 

How would you sum Unextinct ’s identity up in only three words?
Stefano: Obscure, relentless, oppressing.

How did the creation process happen for Unextinct? Did you notice some changes, compared to the previous records?
Stefano: We worked the usual way: Enrico S wrote the songs, then passed them around and we gave him our comments and suggestions, you know, “why don’t you add a couple of bars of that riff here,” or “why don’t you shorten this part,” stuff like that. Then we entered the realm where all of our musical dreams come true, which is Stefano Morabito’s studio. He did such an amazing job with the record.

What about the artwork, what were the guidelines you gave to Adam Burke and how does it fit with the music you created?
Stefano: Nosferatu, the 1979 movie, basically. We think it perfectly matches our sound.

The band’s sound has always been super thick and technical, but we now also feel some more majestic moments, what are your influences for this album?
Stefano: You can clearly hear quite the Ulcerate or Deathspell Omega influences in it. We wanted to expand our drive for atmosphere, make the music fit the story; make it tell a story. Enrico’s penchant for soundtracks and movie-inspired concepts just completed the job.

I also felt more heady but melancholic melodies and harmonics on Unextinct, especially on the songs More Than Many Never One or Atto Quarto The Horror Paradox, which is the perfect combination of violence and beauty. Is the album a pessimistic one? What is its concept?
Stefano: You got that right, I had the same experience listening to the songs. I don’t know, they feel so much deeper than some of the songs on our previous records. The concept is about the undying flame that our world keeps burning regardless of our seemingly innate vocation to tear it down to pieces. Nosferatu accurately embodies the sentience behind the undying death wish. At the same time, it could also be seen as a metaphor of resilience no matter how committed we are to destroying what’s dearest to us all. You decide. 

Do you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Stefano: My absolute favorite would be Against the Sovereignty of Mankind, but Leben ohne Feuer is an epic runner-up. 

Where do you find your inspiration to create music?
Stefano: Anywhere, I guess? It’s an ongoing process.

The band teams up again with record label Century Media Records, how is the collaboration with them?
Stefano: It’s a strong and very efficient one. We’re thankful of their support, and couldn’t wish for a more productive collaboration.

Do you think you improved yourself as a musician and songwriter with this new record?
Stefano: Again, something you should ask Enrico, who’d probably give you a very evasive answer. But since it’s usually the others who are better judges of someone else’s art, as biased as I may be, I’d say he definitely knows how to touch some chords. So yes, you can call that improvement if you want.

I actually had the opportunity to see Hideous Divinity a few times on stage in Paris, but how do you see a show from your end? How do you feel on stage?
Stefano: I feel great, it’s so exciting to be on stage and rock out with my mates. And there’s this continuous, reciprocal energy between us and the fans. We’re lucky enough to have that sort of connection. Speaking of Paris, we played Le Klub last year and it was electrifying. Small, but great!

You actually faced a few lineup changes in the last few years, how did you keep the boat afloat? How did you hire the new drummer, Edoardo Di Santo?
Stefano: Let me take the opportunity to thank Giulio for all he did in the band and for everything that we accomplished together. And in regards to Edoardo, well, the boat floats very easily with him onboard. He’s such a talented drummer! Sometimes we have to keep him “on a leash” during practice given how hard and fast he goes behind the kit. We’re lucky to have him.

Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Stefano: I would love to see Devin Townsend, Chris Poland and Jeff Loomis experiment with our music.

What do you know about the French Metal scene? Are there any bands you know and like?
Stefano: I’m not an expert but I do know quite a few bands: Kronos and Benighted are among my favorites.

If you had to organize a concert for Unextinct’s release show, which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with Hideous Divinity and three other bands!
Stefano: Cannibal Corpse, Aborted and Vitriol; that would be a hell of a lineup! 

Last and funny question: which dish would you compare Hideous Divinity’s music with?
Stefano: Wagyu steak with black pepper sauce, and mushrooms on the side. I don’t really know lol.

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Stefano: Thank you so much for the opportunity! It’s a pleasure as usual, and to all our French fans… see you on the road. À BIENTÔT.

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