The Phoenix has arised
Many of the people who have been keeping up with Furor Gallico will no doubt realize from their promotional photos on social media, and from their new single, “The Phoenix”, that the band has undergone significant stylistic changes which I have mentioned in my earlier review, carry over to the sound of their new album. I reached out to the band with some questions about their new release, you can read the interview, covering everything from folk tales to war-paint, below.
Dusk of the Ages
‘Dusk of the Ages’ has a very distinctive sound that sets it apart from your other releases. What influences or songwriting elements contributed to the eclectic feel of this release?
(Gabriel – Guitars) “This is presumably due to the changes that the line-up underwent in the last years. Most of the songwriting process originated from my ideas and those of our harpist Becky. Together, we began trying to combine her Celtic tradition-rooted-melodies to my guitar riffs, which are closer to melodic death metal and progressive metal, as for the structure of the songs. In general, we aimed at combining the different musical backgrounds of all of us in order to create a diverse – yet uniform – album, consistent with the band’s trademark sound.”
In some songs, the folk instruments, especially the violins and Celtic harps, feel like they dominate most of the sound. Dusk of the Ages also implements female vocals on certain songs. What drove the decision to implement these factors into your music?
(Gabriel) “All these factors result from precise choices: as for the violin lines, we opted for a more “symphonic” approach on some songs, thus adding more lines and orchestrations, and not only a single violin line, as in the first two albums. Laura Brancorsini did a great job, in this sense, since she arranged both the violin lines and the orchestrations. As for the Celtic harp, the reason why is that, as I said, many songs started from ideas and melodies originally conceived for and by our harpist. The decision of having female vocals on the album was mainly taken in line with the direction we wanted to give to the tracks. When the songwriting was over, we thought that a female voice could add something in some songs, when mixed up with Davide’s growling and clean vocals, in order to get the atmosphere we expected.”
Rebirth and Renewal
Across the album, there are lyrical references to rebirth and renewal, could you explain their significance?
(Becky – Celtic Harp) “Every one of us has a natural tension or desire towards renovation and a different life from the one we are living. At our dusk of the ages, the shadows of an undetermined future – full of doubts and darkness – looming on humanity and on the entire planet can finally be dissolved in the light of knowledge. The band also underwent a great renovation in itself, so this concept got naturally strengthened in this new album, and it is actually a baseline concept of the album.”
As with all your releases, there are some mythologically inspired songs on the album. Could you give us brief descriptions of the stories that inspired them?
(Becky) “Many legends and local folklore inspired some of our lyrics: Waterstrings is inspired by the Celtic legend of mythological voyages at sea, the so-called “inramas”; Aquane is the name of water nymphs featured in a local legend of our mountains; Canto d’inverno is a winter song and recalls the goddess of winter and snow. Annwn is called upon in The Gates of Annwn, where we have brought back the concept of the Wild Hunt. Again, the concept of renovation is expressed by the Phoenix that burns and is reborn from its ashes.”
How do you typically decide which stories or folk tales to adapt into song?
(Becky) “Music is usually the natural inspiration for some of the stories. Waterstrings’ rhythm, for example, recalls the movement of waves, so a folk tale inspired by the sea came pretty naturally as a story for this song. More in general, the songs are inspired by the four elements – water, fire, earth and air – and these elements, in turn, inspired the rhythmic sections.”
In the past few months you’ve taken several new publicity shots that left the kilts and warpaint in favor of the more traditional black denim and leather look. Is the band changing its look to match the new sound of the album, or do the photos you shared on social media have no deeper meaning than simply being publicity shots?
(Davide – Vocals) “The band is naturally evolving. As such, the growth of a band is never limited to its music. We decided not to use kilts anymore after the tour in support of Songs from the Earth, since we felt the need to have a more modern look. We also changed our warpaint, adding more and more black paint to the already existing blue and eventually deciding to abandon it. After ten years, a band’s desire to evolve becomes a natural need, both in terms of music and image.”
Otherwise, there’d be something wrong!
Do you have any plans touring-wise with regards to supporting the new album?
Of course we have! We’ll embark on a promotional tour across Italy on support of the new album.
As for the upcoming shows abroad, we are playing Cernunnos Pagan Fest in Paris, in February, with Finntroll and Skiltron, while in June we are already confirmed for Skaldenfest Open Air in Germany with Moonsorrow. Many other news will be revealed in the coming months, of course!
Do you have any closing remarks?
Well, it may sound like motherhood and apple pie, but it is always a pleasure and an honor to have the possibility to express ourselves. So thanks to everyone in the editorial staff and to all of you for giving us your time. A big hug from all of us and give our new album a try!
Unsurprisingly, the new album clearly marks the next shift in Furor Gallico’s sound since, Songs of the Earth. I freely admit now that I know that there is another layer of complexity to “waterstrings” for example, I will most likely think of the song from yet another perspective than when I initially reviewed the album. Hopefully this interview will also give readers some new insight into, Dawn of the Ages, out now.