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A Pale Horse Named Death's Sal Abruscato: "I wanted to have a biblical sense about it, to believe in god you must believe in Lucifer, he was an angel in heaven before he was banished and sent down to earth…"

Interview with Sal Abruscato from A Pale Horse Named Death
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 September 2021, 10:44 PM

Some albums out there are too deep, but in a good way. Every album, in its own special way, is taking the listener down the path, to an unknown journey. However, there are those that simply have the listener sink in, within a kind of universe that would set emotions on fire, other than being merely a good listen. “Infernum In Terra", by the American Doom Metal groovers, A Pale Horse Named Death, is a new level, a new dimension that would turn one's psyche upside down. Steinmetal once again had a chat with the band's founder, ex-Type O Negative, Sal Abruscato, talking about the utmost intensity of the material, his vision and more…

Hello Sal, it is mighty great to have you once again for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing? I hope all is well in the family

Hello thank you for having me, we are doing good, kids back in school now and we are ready for the Fall season.

Only a few months after your previous album, the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, with a lot of people going into a sort of shock worldwide, a lot of conspiracy theories started rising, lockdowns and the whole shebang. I guess the world received quite a lot of food for thought right? What are your thoughts of what has been going on?

I believe the virus is very real, hurting and killing innocent people around the world, but this was no accident, continuing lab experiments through gain of function, taking an animal virus and modifying it to be lethal towards humans and through the neglect of warning the world in time or for a malicious reason from a certain communist regime we got crippled. I call it a global reset, a new world order that we will never return to the normal freedoms we knew. I feel some governments are using it as an excuse to further their control over the people without needing to take any military action.

Throughout last year, until the first signs of vaccinations, which some people question up to this day, it appeared that our general idea of society changed a bit. With you this time around, and we are coming slowly to your new album, exploring other areas of the darkest voids of our world, did this journey lead to some of the fresh ideas displayed on the new album?

Yes, it definitely gave some influence to my thoughts, it was half the reason why I called the album ‘Infernum In Terra’!

Titled “Infernum In Terra”, which translates to “Hell On Earth”, A Pale Horse Named Death’s new album that surges beyond the individual and crosses over to other social and emotional themes that reflects on several types of people. Is the pandemic an element that inspired this doomy feeling of the Earth under the burning fires of hell?

Yes to an extent, the album would have been hellish regardless of the pandemic. I have been leaning for some years to encompass some more Luciferian concepts. The song ‘Lucifers Sun’ is about the state of humanity now. How foolish we are to make the same mistakes that our destiny will always be to burn in the sun.

You talk about leaving more room to other darker aspects in our lives, casting out some of the manic depression idioms. Was it sort of enough talking about yourself or your experiences? Would you say that in time, or perhaps you have always been, you became an optimistic person?

I wanted to mix it up a little and not just focus on manic depression, I try to be optimistic for my wife and children even though I battle depression every day. Some days are better than others but when I go black I stay away from everyone.

From my end, “Infernum In Terra” is divided between the story of Luciferianism and its development, as if being told the history of the devil, personal experiences and the constant inner battle of a believer. In your opinion, is that what it is all about? How do you view the album’s philosophic nature against these themes?

You are absolutely right, I wanted to have a biblical sense about it, to believe in god you must believe in Lucifer, he was an angel in heaven before he was banished and sent down to earth. Maybe not everyone knows this story which I find very interesting

Perhaps I am being too cocky to say that “Infernum In Terra” is a new beginning for A Pale Horse Named Death, yet judging by the artwork, maybe it is close enough. Not merely relying on the dead horse as a guide, this current artwork portrays a new form of belief, a distorted version or the past with a possible eye into the future. What do you make of it?

You’re very intuitive! It was time to freshen up the artwork, I was tired of a version of a horse on another album cover and meeting Kelvin Doran and getting his perspective on the artwork for this album was spot on with the changes I was looking for. It is definitely a look into the future.

Generally speaking, from your perspective, does “Infernum In Terra”, other than stating a situation, or various kinds, also offer a sort of a glimmer of hope?

A slight glimmer of hope possibly, personally I just enjoy writing such dark stories of human emotion and depression. Its only after you go through the darkness you may be lucky enough to find the light.

The New York style Doom Metal has been part of me for years, and I have been tracking you ever since the band started as well. Listening to “Infernum In Terra” is surely a heavier experience, but also provides an amazing taste into a vision of atmospheric tunes, which enhances the intensity of each of the tracks. What inspired you to undergo this supposed change on this record? Is it merely a natural form of evolution?
It is me evolving with my writing and mixing in new elements for example more piano, orchestral bells, some strings etc. I was thinking about becoming even more doomier and heavier with this album it was a natural and relaxed progression.

A Pale Horse Named Death, as a band, how do you feel that the work on “Infernum In Terra” contributed to the band’s chemistry?

Honestly, being the multi-instrumentalist I am and have recorded most instruments on all the albums. I played and recorded everything except guitar solos on this album, Joe Taylor and Edward Heedles contributed the guitar solos. Remember also we had a pandemic so that was another reason no one got together. I only jammed 3 times over the summer with 4 out of the 5 members everything is very different these days and that’s a good thing because if I relied on getting together with musicians in a room this album would have never been done.

This feeling of being out there, as if lost in the horizon, floating in the air, has been a part of “Infernum In Terra”, at least for me. The choruses appeared to be made to become the pinnacle of most of the songs. Would you say that this time, you focused on taking these powerful moments on and giving them the treat?

I always treat the chorus’s as a special moment,it's the chorus! I just do what I do on every album the way the chorus’s come across is a natural result. I like to make sure its catchy and melodic.

How would you say that “Infernum In Terra” challenged you as a veteran songwriter? Would you say that after the album’s completion, you felt drained and badly needed a break just to gather your senses once again in order to be focused?

Not at all, I am a prolific writer I have ideas all the time in life and I am brewing new ideas for the next album. I have actually recorded some small ideas and come up with some new music to focus on hopefully over the winter. I am inspired by this new album I feel I am only getting better and better, who knows what I may come up with next!

It felt to me that the powerful tune, “Reflections Of The Dead”, has ties to your past experience of being put under anaesthesia. I hope that I got this one right. Is it about a personal case or an elaboration of the feeling of being under? As far the music goes, what do you make of it? What can you tell in regards to the song’s creation?

You are incorrect ‘Two Headed Snake (Propofol Dreams) is about me under anaesthesia. ‘Reflections Of The Dead’ is about a manic depressant that has the gift of looking into another
dimension and seeing the dead. They are so enamoured by this gift that they want to commit suicide just to cross over and leave this raging world behind.

Oh well, at least I tried. Anyhow, two excellent songs that really convey the spirit of the album

“Believe In Something (You Are Lost)”, no doubt one of the album’s heaviest and grooviest tunes. It made me shiver here and there, as if meeting me at points in my life. I found it wonderful to relate. Would you say that song is a guiding light for the next efforts of the band? What is your appreciation of this tune and how does it meet you personally?

I feel ‘Believe In Something (You Are Lost)’ gives the listener a taste of a different direction as a writer I am capable of and that there may be similar tastes in the future. A guiding light of combining heavy and doom grooves. I was very pleased on how it turned out and its reception.

What can you tell about the mysterious outro, “Souls In the Abyss”? Was it merely a recording of a crowd? What is the twist?

It is supposed to represent the agony and moaning of lost souls in hell or on their way to hell. Something about the gentle piano combined with these agonizing souls is just beautiful to me and after such a dark record it was an appropriate ending.

A question that I recently started asking artists, yet I found it to be rather crucial. When you sit down and listen to “Infernum In Terra”, what does it make you feel? Where do you find yourself while the listen is going on?

Makes me feel very emotional and a great sense of accomplishment. I am very proud of this album and the reward is hearing everyone's reaction to it. I space out every time I listen so when I do it moves me, I love the sonics, I love how it turned out. This is the first album where I recorded, engineered, mixed and produced it all myself so it was a big deal to me and along with the mastering done by Maor Appelbaum, the end result is killer!

Looking already towards 2022, do you have plans lined up for live activity or are you being cautious of the coming future due to the pandemic?

Not at the moment, maybe we can get things together in the summer of 2022 but we will see because with the pandemic it’s changing all the time. I plan on writing and recording while we wait to see what happens next!

Sal, I can’t thank you enough for your time. The depth of APHND is simply out of this world, with every album being an event. Thanks again for the music sir, much appreciated. All the best.

Thank you for having me and doing this interview stay safe.


 



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