Death SS is a big chapter in rock music and generally in the metal scene. Apart from the fact they have released a significant number of albums, they have managed to influence many artists and bands either musically or as a stage presence. The examples are plenty, and whoever deals with Steve Sylvester’s band knows exactly what I mean, their offering is great in what they do and for all of us, the fans, we should be pleased with the fact that there are still pioneering groups, whether they are recognized or not.
After releasing their new album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon’, we had the opportunity and the pleasure to chat with them for some interesting topics… Let’s see what we got.
A few months ago, you released your latest album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon‘, congratulations from Last Day Deaf on this! I think it suits you perfectly in what you represent; Tell us a few things about this latest album what was the approach in relation to the previous ones?
Hi Michael! It’s just like you’ve said: ‘RocK ‘N’ Roll Armageddon‘ represents perfectly Death SS in 2019! It’s the logical evolution of the previous album, ‘Resurrection‘, recorded with the exact same line-up in a relatively shorter space of time than the previous one, with a more direct and Rock’n’Roll approach, without betraying the dark and obscure side which represents our sound.
With the release of this album, what are the goals you have set as a band?
We have no particular goal except to express ourselves in full artistic freedom whenever we have something really good to show to our fans…
Are the musical changes and different elements included in your sound the result of your musical journey-evolution all these years? For example the beginning of Death SS was heavy-doom, other albums like ‘Heavy Demons‘ or even the ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon‘, a significant change is audible; What is the reason behind this?
We never put any limits at our creativity and we like to range in many types of sounds, depending on the mood that we want to transmit to every single song. We worked a lot in studio to achieve the kind of sonority we wanted, a continue evolution of our sound, record after record. In the case of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon‘ we wanted something that melodically referred to the 80s, but projected towards a very powerful and modern sound!
What are the differences that were at the beginning of the career in comparison with the current ones?
Well, more than 40 years have passed since the beginning! I would say it’s normal that there have been changes… The opposite would be very strange! I consider Death SS a constantly evolving band, and over time many musicians have come, each of whom has contributed to the sound, even if the style we created from the beginning is always well recognizable: A 360-degree shock rock that deals with every aspect of evil and horror, with references to occultism, genre films and sexy horror comics from the 70’s!
Where exactly and when a musician or a band must experiment; Do you think that there must be boundaries? What is your opinion?
I don’t think there must be boundaries in experimentation! The true artist knows no limits and explores his creativity in full, without caring about fashions or impositions by the business… At least, that’s what I’ve always done!
The fact that Death SS are the pioneers of a musical genre do you need to give yourself your best on what you can achieve?
In 1977 the Death SS invented a genre, mixing Hard Rock, Punk, Sexy-Horror Comics and Acid Occultism, a genre that we called “Horror Music” and that years later was called “Black Metal“. Then we always changed our musical approach, enriching it with new nuances. We always do our best in this.
There are many bands (Marilyn Manson, GHOST etc.) who have borrowed, if not copied to a large extent several elements from you, like the extreme stage appearance or the dark lyrical themes. What is your opinion on this? Are you affected from these trends?
Yes, there are many bands that have been declared influenced by our horrorific and theatrical style. Over the years I’ve received many certificates of esteem and affection from bands from various parts of the world who in some way, have traveled the path we have traced, some of those have also become very famous !… I’m very proud of this. It means that Death SS have done school and left their mark in the history of metal music. The three recent tribute-albums that came out are the proof of this!
Italy is a very traditional country of rock and metal music since your started back in 1977, surely what you do and view as artists would have been and will still be considered a taboo and bias, what is the deal you have about it?
Unfortunately Italy is still in some ways very bigoted and reactionary, and metal music of a certain type, with “satanic” references is not accepted. This is something that never seems to end! Even during our last show at the Agglutination Festival we were attacked by a group of religious fanatics who felt outraged by our show! Evidently these people have not understood that ours is only a theatrical show, without any religious or political proclamations! If they don’t like it, all they need to do it’s simply not come to see it!
How important is the theatrical part on stage in your live shows?
The theatrical aspect has always been very important for us! It represents an inseparable whole with our music.
As an Italian band do you think that you have been unjustified and also do you think that other bands that pioneer something that there is no proper promotion or advertising? For example I have noticed that a band from the European North is promoted much more in relation to another from the European South. Your opinion about it?
I think it’s a matter of tradition. In some southern European countries rock music has never been supported by the media, so there are no grounds for adequately promoting it.
Would you like to mention some beloved Italian horror movies that have inspired you?
In the 70s Italy was very advanced in the field of horror films, which have become cult in the rest of the world. In particular I love those of Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci.
What are your next steps as a band?
Soon our latest album, ‘Rock’N’Roll Armageddon‘, will be released all over the world by High Roller Records and we will plan some dates around for Europe. Few but important. Then we are working on a new DVD.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk with you. The last words belong to you.
Thanks for the support and we hope to see you soon with a fantastic show in your country.