Earlier this year the Italian thrash/death metal band Total Death released their second album, “The Pound Of Flesh”. The album is filled with crazy riffs and catchy thrash/death songs. Umberto “Umbe” Restelli, the bass player of the band, was kind enough to take time from his crazy working schedule to answer these questions.
Hi!! First I want to say thanks for answering these questions. Can you guys introduce yourselves and give the readers a little background on Total Death? (When did the band started, how you guys met etc etc)
Thank you for the interview! Me (Umbe), Max and Teo started the band in 2,000, but things started to be more concrete when Azzi joined the band a couple of years later. We decided to play together due to the passion we have for thrash metal. Me and Teo were in the same high school and he told me he has a friend (Max) who was also interested in starting a thrash metal band. After changing a couple of guitar players we asked Azzi, who was already a friend, to join us. Since then we started strolling around playing near our hometowns, then in other Italian regions and then abroad. Up to now we recorded some demo tapes and two full length.
Between “Well of Madness” and your latest release “The Pound of Flesh” there is a gap of 5 years. Why did it take so long to release a new album?
Basically because we are very lazy. Me and Azzi play together since more than 13 years, unfortunately we had problems during the years with other band members, especially with drummers. We’ve been for long periods without a drummer and that slowed the songwriting. The first full length was recorded by a friend of us (Francesco Fabris) since Lorenzo, our former drummer, entered the band few days before the recordings. Then Lorenzo left the band and that slowed us up. When Ale (the actual drummer) entered the band we could finish the song writing and we entered Decibel Studio for the recording.
But finally your second album “The Pound of Flesh” is released and it is catchy and brutal!!! I love the riffs and solos with the brutal drumming. Can you guys explain how the writing process is within Total Death?
The songs are almost completely written by Azzi. Usually he writes riffs and comes in the rehearsal room with an idea of the song structure. Playing it together both the riffs and the structure are modified to give the songs their final shape.
The Cover art for “The Pound of Flesh” is very sick and I feel like there is a meaning behind that gruesome art. Who is responsible for that amazing cover and can you explain the meaning of the art?
The artworks of the two full lengths were also thought by Azzi. I like the fact that both might be interpreted in different ways and the fact that who sees them can give its own interpretation based on his views is very interesting. Concerning the artwork of “The Pound of Flesh” cover represents how money is considered to be more important than living beings. Therefore animals are treated as mere goods in an inhuman (or typically human) way. The cover was realized by Denis Gualtieri. We like his style and we’ve been very satisfied with both.
The lyrics on “The Pound of Flesh” are very interesting. Can you explain a little more about the album title and themes of the songs on “The Pound of Flesh”?
The lyrics deal with veganism (both Azzi and me are vegan since several years) and the unacceptable exploitation of animals. Lots of person reading the lyrics think we are talking about workers and human exploitation, any way you interpret them I think the most important thing is to make people think about what surround them, and about our society.
“The Pound of Flesh” is released by Punishment 18 Records. How did you guys come in contact with Punishment 18 Records and are they doing a good job promoting the album?
We know Corrado since several years, meeting him at gigs. So it was natural for us to send him, as well as to other labels, our recordings. We are very glad he appreciated “The Pound of Flesh” and to sign a contract with him, due to his professional and honest approach. We are so far satisfied with the promotional activity and support.
Are there any touring plans for promoting “The Pound of Flesh”?
We are promoting “The Pound of Flesh” playing around Northern Italy and we are trying to organize more gigs and a mini-tour, compatibly with our working commitments.
Which metal band had a big influence on you that made you decide to pick an instrument and form a band? What are your top 3 albums of all time? What are your favorite bands and what are you currently listening to?
To answer to the first part of your question I can tell you the covers Total Death were playing in 2000/2001: Sodom’s “Outbreak of Evil” and “Blasphemer”, Hellhammer’s “Massacra”, Sepultura’s “Troops of Doom”, Kreator’s “Tormentor”.
Among the top albums of all times there are for sure “Blood, Fire, Death” – Bathory; “Persecution Mania” – Sodom; “Seven Churches” – Possessed.
Among my favourite bands, along with the aforementioned bands, I always enjoyed a lot bands like Mortuary Drape, Bethlehem (since S.U.I.Z.I.D.), Mercyless, King Diamond, Forgotten Woods, Death SS (their earlier albums), Sabbat (Japan), Barathrum, Omen, Manilla Road, Master’s Hammer, etc… currently I mainly listen to metal stuff I was listening since when I started following metal. I also enjoy stuff like Jethro Tull and Oi!
The last few years there a lot of good bands with killer releases coming from Italy. How is the metal scene in Italy and what are your favorite Italian metal bands?
Concerning the scene there are lots of people that are playing music with passion. That’s what I appreciate most. There are band still playing since several years, like Hyades, Horrid, Vexed, The True Endless, Pig Speed, etc… over the years we enjoyed sharing the stage with Warmonger, Death Mechanism, Torment, Injury, etc…
Thanks for taking time answering these question! Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Thank you for the opportunity to answer to your questions. Everyone interested in having more information on Total Death may visit our homepage at: www.facebook.com/totaldeath2000 . If you have the opportunity to come to listen to us and maybe we will have the opportunity to have a chat in front of a couple of beers!