Disarmonia Mundi – Peeking Beyond the Inferno

Sunday, 12th July 2015

Few melodic death metal bands have been so consistent as Disarmonia Mundi. Getting their start all the way back in 2000, it wasn’t until their second album, 2004’s Fragments of D-Generation, that people started to stand up and take notice. Perhaps in some small regard due to the involvement of Bjorn Strid (of Soilwork), but none the less, Disarmonia Mundi quickly become a force to be reckoned with. 2007’s Mind Tricks saw them put their own true stamp on their sound, which become the hallmark of their fourth (and then strongest release), The Isolation Game. Things just continued to climb for the band.

But then things went a bit dark. Never completely so, but DM’s two members got involved in a number of projects (that you may read about below) as well as chief songwriter Ettore Rigotti’s involvement in recording/producing as well as Coroner Records. There just wasn’t enough time for Disarmonia Mundi. But moving past all of these things, the silence broke earlier this year that Disarmonia Mundi was to release their fifth album, Cold Inferno.

Maintaining the same high-velocity mentality (if not more so) as their predecessors, Cold Inferno is the album that DM fans have been waiting for since 2009. As cited in my earlier review of the album, no one really does melodic death metal quite like Disarmonia Mundi. So it seemed only right that we would fire off some questions to Ettore Rigotti himself, to see what he and Claudio had been up to since 2009, the response to Cold Inferno, and where do they see the band going from here.

Dead Rhetoric: Disarmonia Mundi is now five albums in and it’s been six years since The Isolation Game – you had some high numbers on release day. Was it a good feeling to know that the fans are still aware and supporting the band?

Ettore Rigotti: Of course! It’s a great feeling to see our fans following us after all these years, and it’s also great to see how many new fans are just now discovering our old records with amazing feedback!

Dead Rhetoric: Any reasons for the wait in between The Isolation Game and Cold Inferno?

Rigotti: It took a lot of time mainly because I started other musical projects in the meantime such as Imaginary Flying Machines and The Stranded. With Imaginary Flying Machines I took a break from DM, trying something new and experimental. For The Stranded, it had been different: we came back to classic melodeath – a bit less dark and fast than what we usually do in DM. The Stranded is also more easy-listening and simple than DM, there are also other musicians involved and so that brought us to make a brand new band.

Then I had to build my new mixing/mastering studio (The Metal House) from scratch and in the meanwhile I worked as a producer for many bands such as Destrage, I Killed The Prom Queen, Blood Stain Child, Gyze, Babymetal and many more, and all these works took a lot of time.

But I’m sure there won’t be other 6 years to wait for a new DM album!

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel that Disarmonia Mundi’s sound has changed over the years? Most bands seem to slow down, but DM seems to be getting faster.

Rigotti: Yes it seems many bands are slowing down with their last releases, but sincerely we didn’t choose to go faster, it simply happened and maybe next DM album will be quieter and slower, or even faster and more aggressive – who knows!

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel Cold Inferno measures up to The Isolation Game?

Rigotti: I think both albums are at the same level, with their own mood and differences (fortunately), but both aggressive and 100% DM sounding.

Dead Rhetoric: There is a cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Loneliness’ of the Long Distance Runner,” which features a vocal contribution from Christian Alvestam. You worked with him on a track from the Mind Tricks re-issue as well. Why’d you chose him to lend his voice to this particular cover?

Rigotti: Yes, the Japanese edition features a Maiden cover. I’ve loved Iron Maiden since I was 12 years old. I discovered metal music with them and I can say they had been my “first love”, so they are my favorite band of all time! I always desired to do a cover of them in the Disarmonia Mundi style. I spent some time checking which song could fit good with DM’s style. I simply chose to avoid the classic songs all bands seem to cover, so I discarded their most famous tracks and being that Somewhere in Time is one of my favorite albums of all times, I decided to pick up a song from it. I was undecided between “Deja-vu” and “Loneliness…” but I finally chose “Loneliness.” Then, during the period that I was collaborating with Christian Älvestam (ex-Scar Symmetry, Solution.45) on another song for the Mind Tricks reissue version, I asked to him to do a guest appearance on the Iron Maiden song to give it a final touch, so we finally completed our version of the song. Just that!

Dead Rhetoric: Even though he’s had a diminished role over the years, do you think that Disarmonia Mundi could release an album at this point without at least a few vocal lines from Bjorn Strid?

Rigotti: Yes, like for Nebularium and the Restless Memoirs EP albums, we could release a new one without him, but that doesn’t make so much sense. Also if he is credited just as a guest, Bjorn is part of the family. He could be still credited as a permanent member in DM, but being that Soilwork and Disarmonia Mundi are in the same style/genre scene, we did not want to create confusion – he is Soilwork’s singer first of all, so from The Isolation Game album on we chose to credit him as a guest on our records instead as a permanent member like for our previous albums. But nothing has changed, he is still part of the family like in the past!

Dead Rhetoric: Balancing the three vocal approach, how do you decide to split up the parts?

Rigotti: Usually we always write complete lyrics and I record all the clean vocals melodies. Then we give Bjorn some parts to replace or just to overdub our vocals. Sometimes it happened that we rearranged some parts together during the final recordings or, in a couple of episodes, we asked him to keep just the lyrics and to compose a new melody or scream part from the beginning.

Dead Rhetoric: Knowing that Disarmonia Mundi is a studio band only, does that give you more freedom to write more lavishly?

Rigotti: After all these years writing music alone I can say that it’s just the right formula for DM. In the beginning it had been a forced choice because I didn’t find any possible members that wanted to seriously join the band. Then the force of habit of working alone in composition and then working with Claudio on vocals turned out to be the perfect formula for us. The same for recording/producing our music completely by myself: as for the composition, with all pros and cons of this way of work, it gives me 100% freedom and creativity.

Dead Rhetoric: Is there even the slightest chance you’d consider performing live at some point, if the conditions were right?

Rigotti: A few years ago I tried again to find session members to bring DM music to the stage, but I never found the proper time (and people) to make it happen. Also, managing possible live shows with Bjorn is pretty difficult (with him being so busy with Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra). Unfortunately I don’t think there will be many chances to make it happen.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve contributed to both the Princess Ghibli compilations for Coroner Records. Are you a big fan of anime?

Rigotti: Yep, basically 4 years ago I decided to create and produce this Studio Ghibli covers project, in which most of songs had been rearranged by Disarmonia Mundi, but I also asked to some bands of my label to add some vocals or to re-arrange one or more entire songs (like Destrage and Blood Stain Child).

I really love Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli movies and so I tried to reinterpret their soundtracks in a “metal” key, but trying at the same time to be respectful to the “state of the art” original versions. After Princess Ghibli I & II I also released a Princess Ghibli III “Best selection revisited” that included the best songs from first 2 chapters in a new arranged/mixed/mastered version.

Dead Rhetoric: Will there be any more output from The Stranded or was that a one-album project?

Rigotti: The idea is to make a new album soon. The new material sounds a bit more modern, and that’s good – we don’t want to make a Disarmonia Mundi part 2. But at the same time I want be sure all DM fans will like The Stranded’s music too.

Dead Rhetoric: Are any of the band’s other projects doing anything pertinent in the near future?

Rigotti: Again, Claudio and I are working on a new project: during all these years I composed a lot of material that doesn’t fit properly with the DM style, in some ways its more extreme, and I always put it aside waiting for to write a proper album using it. We probably have enough material to release 2 albums now, so hopefully we’ll find the proper time to start working on it.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next down the road for Disarmonia Mundi? Is a new album something to look forward to sooner or later?

Rigotti: Of course there will be a new album! Cold Inferno took so long to be released simply because I had to spend a lot of time to build my producer/sound engineer career. In these last few years I also built my brand new studio for mix and mastering (The Metal House) and my label Coroner Records, which I’m the co-owner. Now, that all this “big work” is done, you won’t wait again all this time for the next DM album, I promise!

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