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Soulline's Marco Alberti: "In a very negative moment, we were tired of complaining and it was necessary to react. That's why the lyrics give off a hope for the future, optimistic for sure, but also sweaty"

Interview with Lorenzo "Lore" Barenco & Marco Alberti from Soulline
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 April 2022, 11:09 AM

In every negative aspect of life, there is a way out towards positivity, to find that very thing that is bound to uplift one's spirit. Life isn't perfect, nor it is easy, yet there is always that half glass full to be watchful of. The Melodic Death Metal band, Soulline, this time around embarked on a journey throughout the soul of a person, or people, to seek out the answer within the emptiness, and feeling of being down. Their new album, "Screaming Eyes", may as well be the hand the lifts one from the gutter. Steinmetal explored the album's storyline with Lorenzo Barenco, aka Lore, and Marco Alberti. Trust that it was quit an emotive ride into the very essence of a soul

Hello gents, it is awesome to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

L: Hi Lior, it makes us very happy to be able to have a chat with you for Metal Temple readers. By the way the band really appreciated the magazine's review of "Screaming Eyes" and we are honoured, thank you!

Even when there is a deeper look into the personal struggle of a person, it is hard to ignore the struggles of many out there. We are still in the pandemic, in a measure of sorts that goes up and down on a daily basis, and we have fighting in the East. I have to ask you, even before we dwell on your band’s new record, have we crossed the line as people? Is there a way back for us to live better?

L: I think it will be very difficult to improve our lifestyles. Unfortunately, our society is increasingly ruthless. People are selfish, without respect for others and for nature. I am a father of two children and my biggest worry is whether they will ever have a future. But fortunately there are still people who try in some way to save the planet and give a future to the new generations. If each one of us commits to give up some of our whims, not to pollute stupidly our earth and to respect more people and animals… well, then the human species will still have a chance to survive.

Talking about the pandemic, it hasn’t been easy for anyone worldwide, in particular for artists, where staying at home, without performing live, or having regular rehearsals, and tolls were paid. Gladly, Soulline worked on a new album, which enabled it to continue its musical journey. I have to ask, what gave you guys the strength to put aside worries and simply work on music? What was your source of motivation?

L: The motivation really came from the pandemic. The frustration was so high. We weren't having a great time. The cancelled tours and concerts had ended the live promotion of our last album "The Deep" prematurely, penalizing it a lot. I had intended to end the band's history after 20 years of activity. But then the lockdown pushed me to move on, giving me time to reflect and most importantly to write a new album.

Just recently you released your new album, “Screaming Eyes”, and this time, as a signed band with Massacre Records. I believe that in contrast to your past relations with labels, this is quite a leap forward. How do you view this signing with the German label? What are your expectations going forward?

L: We are very proud of this contract; it took 20 years but we finally got there. We hope to continue this collaboration in the future, their support is definitely important for the growth of our band and we can already see the results.

As you describe it, “Screaming Eyes”, other than being your sixth record, is an emotive journey, tagging along with a person’s will to get rid of the negativity of his life, in order to find the light, a better outcome for himself, a possible grander future. What was your main inspiration for this conceptual story? Is there a personal note of yours within the narrative?

M: On this album as well, the lyrics are very autobiographical. We like to tell the story of how we see things. In a very negative moment, we were tired of complaining and it was necessary to react. That's why the lyrics give off a hope for the future, optimistic for sure, but also sweaty. In the sense that you can't be happy without fighting for it. And that's exactly what the character in our lyrics experiences. The decision to get back up after a hard time, and to fight to stay upright and live life decently. Because life is good and you have to enjoy it to the fullest.

The songs on “Screaming Eyes” show that there is a way to overcome the bad elements in one’s life while clinging on to the positive, whether past or present. How can you describe this show of force against the darker side of yourself, the one that tries to pull you down asunder, perhaps the one that allows you to lose yourself?

M: First of all, thanks for taking the time to read the lyrics: I'd like to do a poll and see what percentage of Metalheads read metal song lyrics.  If you do, let me know the results ;)

To get back to your question, the answer is entropy. Everything is entropy. If we let ourselves go, we definitely won't end up in a pool full of gold coins, but in a black hole. To create order, it takes energy. And it's the same with happiness, to maintain it takes energy and intent. Leviathan, our most requested and listened song at the moment, is about this very "beast" that "drags you down". And with the first song of the new album, Your Death (is my life), we want the death of this beast in order to come back to life.

The will to win, to overcome the hardships, isn’t something that many people have, some are continuing to struggle, on a daily basis, with themselves, trying to keep steady and hold their emotions in check. In light of “Screaming Eyes”, what can you say to these people? How can they find a true form of salvation, while remaining among the living?

M: Obviously we philosophize. There are people who suffer from serious illnesses like chronic depression, and you can't heal yourself just by "thinking you're happy." Medicine is making strides in that field, and so surely one must also get help and accept mental illness. Whereas, speaking of the more common sadness and despair, it's important to talk about it. With anyone. Not to keep emotions inside. But live them, let them live. I wrote the lyrics to Salvation Inside and I was in a very sad, difficult, hard time. And at one point I had a rapture of lucidity and I started writing the lyrics, in 5 minutes, and I'm still surprised about how it came out. I wrote without looking, without re-reading. This happened because after weeks I started strumming the guitar again and it immediately gave me crazy relief. And I was like, "Was it really that hard to find soul relief?"

For me, playing with Soulline is joy, it's life, it's a source of happiness. Hence the "Music Saved Me" quoted in the lyrics. Often the solution or answer is within us, we just have to find it or rediscover it. It is there waiting to be found. And it's necessary to look inside in order to save ourselves and never lose another fucking second.

Under the banner of Melodic Death Metal, over time you have been proving that you're step beyond that labelling, and developed a style that comprises a mix of a variety of directions, maintaining the contemporary version of Death Metal in its melodic form as core. How do you find “Screaming Eyes” as the next stepping stone musically for Soulline?

L: On every album we are always trying to evolve and bring some new things to our sound. We have a very open vision and we like all kinds of music. We don't limit ourselves to the canons of death metal and that definitely penalizes us. But first and foremost we have to like the song ourselves. Some songs may sound too "rock" and therefore the average death metaller will vomit, but we're fine with that. So we don't care about being liked at all costs or being a perfect copy of another existing band. And it will be like that in the future too, but of course we will always try to improve as musicians and songwriters. The road is still long.

The songwriting on the album shows quite impressively that your diversity lives and breathes quite heavily, setting a different tone for an extreme Metal band. What can you tell about the songwriting process? What was done differently this time around as “Screaming Eyes” was gradually created?

L: The inspiration came during the first lockdown. I started reading several autobiographies of musicians from the world scene of metal, rock, pop, punk and prog. While I was going through their history I was gradually listening to their discography. A sort of real-time soundtrack to the story I was reading. It was a very interesting journey. All that music immediately inspired me to write my own.

In your view, for “Screaming Eyes”, which elements in your music, whether new or old, received a sort of a better treatment, or refining?

L: Vocals. We have added more clean vocals to this album compared to its two predecessors. Ghebro has a very powerful growl voice but he is not really a "rock" singer. So it was a challenge for him and with Marco's help on the backing vocals the result was satisfying.

With “Screaming Eyes” being a concept album, I believe that finding the right cohesion between the music and the lyrics is highly significant. How were you able to connect the dots between the two? What was your angle?

L: Personally, I take care exclusively of all the music. The lyrics come later and very often I don't write them. I like that everyone in the band contributes in some way to the final realization of the songs with lyrics or arrangements. On this album all 5 members wrote at least one lyric.  The interesting thing is that in the end we all had a very similar vision on the themes to be dealt with, to the point of creating a "concept album".

Since the album was recorded probably in the worse times of the pandemic, how was the process done? Was it individually recorded by each member or something of a sort?

L: Exactly, we never met all together. I recorded the guitars and keyboards in my home studio, Mila did his bass parts in his office, Marco recorded the solos at the DynArt Studios of his guitar teacher Luca Princiotta (Doro) and we recorded the vocals at Beyond Studio near my home. While for the drums we relied again on the technical and compositional skills of Italian drummer Edo Sala. I sent him (as had already happened for The Deep) the demos made with a drum machine and he arranged and played them great!

Following your vast experience with Soulline, and also since “Screaming Eyes” is a record that was probably also draining due to its emotive touch, what did the process of the record teach you about yourself as a songwriter, and also as a musician?

L: I recorded demos of all the songs myself and brought them to the band without much pretence. When we started pre-production in the rehearsal room, I immediately noticed that there was some shared enthusiasm that had been missing for a few years. I could tell that the material was good and that we were all going to give it everything we had.

For the first time I played keyboards on the album. It was a fun experience. Not that there are any striking parts, but just the little bit that's enough. Even though you can hear that I'm not a keyboard player, I'm still happy with it. I used to waste a lot of time explaining to someone what parts to do, but this way it was easier.

Crossing from the vast majority made Melodic Death Metal of the present, more like the early 00s, I was astounded to listen to “Dragonfly”. It shares a melodic main riff that is common, but it works. But moreover, it develops into a work of art as the song progresses, and that is amazing. What can you tell about the experience of working on this song?

L: My songs start with a melody or guitar riff that's going through my head. Then I start to develop the structure by adding everything else. When I was playing the main riff of "Dragonfly" I felt like I was a Viking on a drakkar ready to disembark and it was natural to add the chorus (UH AH). I think it's the pivot of the whole song. At the end I also added the central part: a "Maidenian" ride on which Marco wrote a fine solo that ties in perfectly with the melody of the "special". The song was elected the best song by about thirty fans to whom we had given a preview of the album.

Covering Paradise Lost’s “Say Just Words” fitted you like an iron fist in a velvet glove. You found your edge in a song that is a classic of the 90s, and was able to fuse it within your story. What was the song’s impact on you that drove you to make your own version of it?

L: I was 16 when this song came out and somehow it has always stayed with me. We used to play it live more than 10 years ago.  We felt it was time to record it, so of course we made our own version. I am very happy with this tribute to one of my favourite bands of all time. Moreover, this year is the 25th anniversary of its release, now you know my age…

“Against Myself” somewhat took you guys off the Death Metal capacity and into a more dramatic, melodic modern Metal styled form. What is your appreciation of the track? Does Soulline aim to continue the direction that is similar to this song’s outcome?

L: I like this song, it's 100% Soulline. But in the future we won't twist our genre too much. We will continue to balance both music and growl & clean singing in a believable way. We are not delicate enough to become a "melodic modern metal" band.

Looking forward into 2022, there is still the pandemic, yet for now, there is no wave that has the ability to shut down anything. What are your plans to perform live to support the album?

L: We are planning some release concerts from this April to June in Switzerland and Italy. However, we hope to be back on tour in the rest of Europe soon. We are looking for a booking agency that can help us with this. We can't wait to go on the road!

Gents, it was a pleasure having you for this interview, and thank you and the guys for sharing this amazing journey on the new album. I wish you all the best, cheers

L: Thank you for your hospitality and kindness, and especially for the support you have been giving to the whole metal scene for many years with your webzine.

M: Horns Up Metal Temple!!!



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