Interview with Integral

IntegralItalian modern death metal band Integral’s debut album Resilience is a strong one. I’m listening to it again as I type these words, and it has a lot to recommend itself. Don’t believe me? Just listen to the embedded Bandcamp player at the bottom of this interview – the band easily make their own compelling case for priority airplay time as soon as you press play.

The drummer of Integral, Agostino Buttarelli, was nice enough to give us a bit more info on this relatively fresh new band. Check it out.

Introduce us to Integral

Integral was born in 2013 and what we wanted to achieve as a band was basically to make our version of what many call modern death metal. We perceived our music as a blend of technical and melodic death metal. What came out is a mixture of these intentions with the playing styles of each member.

What are your influences?

Of course our influences include bands like Obscura, Revocation, Devildriver, Necrophagist, Death, Beyond Creation, The Faceless, Gorod, The Black Dahlia Murder, As I Lay Dying, In Flames, Sadist. When it comes to the musical education each member of the band has his own background, but we basically grew up as rock and metal kids as many do.

Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend

I have to admit I am not an assiduous listener. I’m not the typical super metal fan that always seeks for new bands and music. I don’t wait nervously for “that band’s new release” and I don’t necessarily listen to new releases of the month. This being said, I’ll simply write down what’s in my “Recents” playlist: Rush – Permanent Waves, As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise, Sadist – Season in Silence, New Trolls – Concerto Grosso (The Seven Seasons), Blotted Science – The Machinations of Dementia.

You’ve recently gone through a lineup change – how did that come about?

It is never a pleasure to go through a line-up change. It’s a very stressful task, both on the working and the emotional side. To sum it up, the band thought that the standards we agreed were not being met and this led to the decision to have a line-up change.

Why should someone listen to Integral?

Million-dollar question here ahah! I do not know how to reply because the risk of being taken for an arrogant person is really high if I praise my own band! I don’t know! Whatever I could say is not worth really much in my opinion.

Integral Band

Tell us about Resilience

I don’t want to bore you with all the details. It’s our first album. I think it’s well made and it’s strong enough to get some attention by modern death metal fans.

The album has been completed for a little while now – what has the feedback been like so far for it?

I think the feedback we had until now has been really positive. We received enthusiastic comments and considerations for our work, and, for some guys that are just starting out a career as a band, this is really important because it pushes us to work harder and to do even better in the future.

If you could go back to change anything about it, would you?

Oh yeah for sure! As some guys that basically are at the beginning of a career it is really easy to commit some mistakes in the first work. There is a lot in this album that I would change for the better.

How do you go about writing and arranging your songs?

As for the writing process of our last release Resilience, the songs were written and structured using mainly Guitar Pro 6. Starting from nearly definitive guitars tracks we wrote down the drums and the bass and finally we merged all together and did the refinements. The vocal parts were added when the instrumental part of the songs was completed.

The songs have a balance between the melodic and technical components – was this a conscious consideration, or something that occurred naturally?

I think this was a conscious consideration. We didn’t want to do that kind of death metal which is pure aggression without any melody. We think that a good balance between heaviness and melody is fundamental in nowadays extreme music scene.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

Maybe Mac Brazel. I think it’s the more consistent song of the album. It’s not easy at all to maintain a certain consistency in this type of music and to me Mac Brazel has the best balance between heaviness and melody.

How did you decide on the order of the tracks?

Well, I’m glad you asked this question because I have a really unique answer. We were in a cabin in the mountains to both have some relax together and refine the arrangements of the songs. Believe or not, while we were in the grip of an alcoholic delirium, Jacopo (the rhythmic guitarist) and I improvised the order of the tracks trying to sing the beginning of a song, then the end, and after that the beginning of the following song, to verify if they sounded well one after the other. The incredible thing is that we sang the songs in the same order simultaneously at the first attempt ahah! There was then no doubt that was the order.

What do you want to achieve with Resilience?

I think Resilience is our way to say: “Hey there, we are Integral, we play technical/melodic death metal, and it sounds like this.” Since it is our debut album, the main purpose is to start a career and to seduce that small group of fans which is fundamental for every band at the beginning.

What does the album cover represent?

It represents the concept of resilience. The definition for resilience is: ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, misfortune, troubles. I think the hand that punch through the ground with an enormous strain is a good metaphor of some human conditions. We are talking about depression, inner conflict, discomfort and also mental illness. We would like to think that anyone was able to overcome his difficulties, even if the actual message is that we can’t. In fact you just cannot punch through rocks like this. One interesting fact is that this cover was made by my brother Francesco, who is a 3D artist. The subject is inspired by the sculpture The Mighty Hand (Main Crispee) by Auguste Rodin.

What’s the Italian metal scene like at the moment?

Unfortunately I am not very pleased with the Italian metal scene. There aren’t many bands I really like. I don’t know exactly why but I have to say the Italian metal scene is not at the same level as the others, in my honest opinion at least. Of course I have my favourite Italian bands, but I don’t think they are more than two.

Playing live – essential or pointless?

I don’t want to annoy you with the stuff nowadays everybody knows. At this point I think it is evident to everyone that your online presence could be way more important than playing live. You can achieve lot of success even if you have never played live, but if you don’t have a strong online presence, forget about it. This being said, to me playing live is still really important. Given that I am a performer, I think the live performance of a band is the only way to see what a band really is worth. I still believe in the power of a live performance because it allows the band to express messages that aren’t possible to be delivered in other ways. I just don’t want to renounce the human contact that the band and the public have at a concert.

What are the next steps for Integral?

Our near future plans include for sure touring to support and spread our last release. This is actually what we are working on at the moment and we hope we can make some cool announcements really soon.

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