Italian folk/power metal SpellBlast hails from Bergamo, an Italian city northeast of Milan, in the Lombardy region. Born in 1999, they have released four full length albums with a new album ‘Classified – V’ due out soon. ‘Horns of Silence’, their debut album, was released in 2006 and involved some folk influences with lyrical themes inspired by fantasy tales and J.R.R. Tolkien references. In 2010, ‘Battlecry’ was released with themes involving ancient Norse mythology. ‘Nineteen’ was released in 2014, and the band took to executing a crowdfunding campaign, thus creating a concept album based on the Stephen King book ‘The Dark Tower’ saga. The album took previous folk themes and morphed them into more of an “old west” direction. The last album, released in 2018 titled ‘Of Gold and Guns’ brought us another concept album. The band chose to keep the old west direction, but using legends and references to figures that helped shape the old west in the United States. Spellblast has had some notable guests on some of their releases, such as, Elvenking’s singer, Damnagoras, as well as Fabio Lione from fellow Italian power metal band Rhapsody of Fire.
Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions for our Folk Metal fans. It has been four years since your last release, ‘Of Gold and Guns’.
Did the pandemic cause the delay between releases?
“Of course it caused several problems that made us work in a “distance mode”. But as usual, we respected the timeframe of four years per album.”
Did you take advantage of the down time to put more energy into writing the new record?
“Although the down time was due to something we have never seen and experienced before and although we had a line-up change on the vocals, yes, we used it wisely to improve our capability of work remotely. Consequently, we put more energy on this work since the lack of physical playing and physical presence, but it also helped a lot as a “resistance “to the pandemic.”
“the emotions, the experience, the awareness; it really gave us a lot”
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
“As you can see in our storyline, a concept is decided for the upcoming album. Then most of the times it all starts from guitar or bass riffs and we decide the arrangement to get inspiration to write more on them. Then a vocal melody line is made, with lyrics too, then we ultimate by arranging the lyrics, the vocal line and the guitar solos added on.”
The new record ‘Classified – V’ seems to have some themes regarding people or societies whom have mystery around them. What made you go with this type of theme?
“To clarify, the themes does not regard people or societies, but some stories of mystery built by the popular tales written by newspapers and told by legends that pretend to leave these mystery unsolved. We were inspired to this theme because these popular tales took a part in the pop culture in these last years and we thought it was a particular concept to take inspiration from.”
The themes are also historical in nature, are you interested in history?
“No, not in particular, although the themes pretend to be set in the past.”
Can we expect a ‘Goblin’ track on the new record? One of my first and favorite songs I heard from SpellBlast was Goblin’s song.
“We know it well mate, and we’re very fond of that song. On this turn, I think we could avoid a new “Goblin” reinterpretation, but, you know… nobody can know the future for real.”
Are there any musicians who inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
“We have been on the scene for 20 years now; different bands have inspired and excited us, from one extreme to the other. From Blind Guardian to Turisas, from Metallica to SuidAkrA, from Inflames to Amon Amarth. We have always tried to do what we like, changing the contaminations but keeping what the SpellBlast sound is. We hope we have succeeded!”
One of your first festival performances was at Bloodstock, how do you feel about playing festivals?
“This is a real blast from the past! It was 2006 and we had just recorded our first album Horns of Silence. That was really an important stage for us, the emotions, the experience, the awareness; it really gave us a lot. We would love to go back to playing on the stage of a festival. I am convinced that if the opportunity should happen we would not let it slip away.”
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
“Great question, I wish I had a great answer ready! Our music is constantly changing, as you know we don’t have a historical line-up, we have recorded five albums with four different singers. Each member of the band has always brought his influences, his history, his way of experiencing the instrument and this has influenced our music every time, leading us to evolve into what today is Classified-V.”
How do you feel about labeling bands or music, such as power metal or folk metal?
“I think it is the need to make some order in the great mass of today’s proposals that leads to giving “labels”. We do not see it as a negative thing; it is a way to orient oneself in this great universe that is metal music.”
What band or type of music are you currently listening to?
“You will be really surprised to know that in my Spotify favorites today you can find Five Finger Death Punch and Lo-fi, Rise Against and Synthwave. I try to listen to all the music that communicates emotions to me because I am convinced that this must be the “role” of music: to give emotions to those who are listening to it.”
How has the experience been working with your current record label?
“We have not signed for any record company, perhaps what I am about to say may sound presumptuous and perhaps this choice has penalized us over the years, but between paying for a dubious service and having a person within the band who is dedicated to promotion activities, we prefer the second option. We enjoy what we do and we take away our satisfactions, certainly this does not mean that if a serious proposal arises that enhances our work we would not take it into consideration.”
How do you feel about the recording process, do you find it exciting or burdensome?
“It was so exciting, a total new experience for us, since we changed the line up and since we passed through a worldwide pandemic… which this, could be the only thing that made the process a little burdensome too.”
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music? And as a follow up how do spend time when not creating or performing?
“We are very different people from each other, those who work full time, those who teach in the field of music, those who have their own musical instruments shop and those who have a comic shop. Who is married and who still lives as eternal peter-pan, who teaches the instrument that plays and who teaches parkour (athletic training discipline), a truly incredible heterogeneity but we are all united by a great passion for music.”
What is one message you would give to your fans?
“First of all thank you for the support you are giving us, it is an immense gratification to know that in the world there are people who listen to our music and have fun doing it. And secondly an invitation to all of you metal heads, support your local underground scene, it is also thanks to your passion that the legends of rock and metal music are born.”
What’s next for the band?
“Our fifth album is about to be released, we are also very curious about what the future holds, maybe a tour, maybe not. In any case, we hope to be here again in four years with another new release!”
Once again, thanks for taking time to answer some questions, we look forward to hearing ‘Classified – V’ soon, the first few tracks released sound great!