Italian horror metal machine DEATHLESS LEGACY captures the imagination. But not just that, they also keep improving themselves. With a fairly stable line-up (in 2022 Revyla Zirael was added as a new ‘performer‘) and led by head vampirella Eleonora ‘Steva’ Vaiana, the band surprised friend and foe with their debut album “Rise From The Grave” in 2013, followed by three more excellent albums in three consecutive years (2016-2018) and an incredible opus lasting more than 24 minutes titled “Saturnalia” in 2020. And now, with their last roll “Mater Larvarum”, only just released on December 9th through Scarlet Records, it looks like DEATHLESS LEGACY have reinvented themselves. Reason enough to test Steva’s sharp fangs by firing some questions at her, hoping she wouldn’t bite back and draw first blood…
INTERVIEW BY: Isabell Köster & Henk van Nieuwenhoven
DEATHLESS LEGACY’s sixth release is called “Mater Lavarum”, which translates as “Mother Of Ghosts”. Who is this mother of evil spirits and what role does she play on the album? What are the central themes of the album?
“Mater Larvarum” is like a maternal hug into the darkness and the unknown, she’s the mother of all spirits. This is an album that we hope will help people win the taboo of death, which is an inevitable thing in our lives, but we go on pretending it won’t be something affecting us. And this is how death becomes something to fear. What if it was something to be somehow grateful to? Because without death, there wouldn’t be life. All of this is told through a main story where a girl investigates her sister’s mysterious death.
How would you describe the writing and recording process for “Mater Lavarum”? Did you deliberately do anything different than on your previous works? What’s your role in the creative process?
I think the main difference this time is the plot behind “Mater Larvarum“, which is an actual investigating / thriller story. So the music and lyrics are literally tailor-made on the story and what we wanted to evoke. I took care of the vocal side of the album, but we worked together during the whole creative process so there are everyone’s ideas in every single note.
How would you characterize “Mater Lavarum” musically, compared to previous works?
After “Saturnalia” and its 24 mins length, we had the need to create something shorter, faster, but still filled with darkness. And I think that’s how I’d describe it.
As a singer, what challenged you the most on this album?
I take every single song as a challenge, because if you don’t challenge yourself a bit, it’s impossible to improve and grow as an artist and in general in life. I tried to push myself to the limit, but this time I played more with low tones à la Peter Steele.
The album artwork was designed by your drummer Andrea Falaschi and has a modern look with a classic touch. What’s the idea behind the triptych on the cover?
The triptych represents the whole concept behind the album: in the lateral sides, we can find the two contrasting forces that bring the story on, and in the centre there is a representation of Mater Larvarum.
You describe your style as horror metal and reference films like “Häxan” in your videos. What sparked your fascination with the genre? What’s your favourite horror film and why?
I’ve always had a fondness for horror since I was a little girl, thanks to the horror movies and videogames my dad used to show me. I am a romantic undead, so I would say my fav horror movie is “Dawn Of The Dead (the 1978 one, directed by George A. Romero), because it was the first horror movie I’ve seen when I was like 6 or 7 years old. It terrorized me and I think it really planted the seed of horror in me.
The song “Nightfall” contains the line “No one’s gonna save you from the darkness within you”. How do you handle your inner darkness?
You need to deal with it at some point, and manage it. Most of us just pretend it’s not there, until it grows too much to be ignored. Then it’s hard to get out of that pit of darkness, even if you get someone’s else’s help. If we could just welcome the darkness within ourselves, it’s gonna become part of us.
One of the heaviest tracks is “Altar Of Bones”. Who or what does the song talk about? Was it a conscious decision to release the catchier, more radio-friendly tracks as singles instead of the heavier tracks?
“Altar Of Bones” dives into the Mater Larvarum subject and it fits the story by describing the altar dedicated to the goddess. It was a conscious decision to release the catchier songs. Who wants to dig into our sound and find the heavier tracks, will have to listen to the full album.
The last single that DEATHLESS LEGACY released from the new album was “Absolution” *. Who needs forgiveness and for what sins?
Nobody needs forgiveness. We were born as free human beings and unless we hurt someone else, everything is legit. Sins don’t mean anything. For example, you are not supposed to hurt other people because of empathy/civil sense, not because your God asks you to not do it. The only real “sin” is chaining ourselves with our own hands into a cage of senseless impositions, empty rules and shame.
You have a unique, dark and seductive way of dressing on stage. Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a style icon?
My style icon is for sure Elvira, but I don’t get inspiration from anyone, I would say.
DEATHLESS LEGACY have a new band member, a performer named Revyla. Can you tell us a bit more about her, please?
She was like the perfect missing piece to finish the DEATHLESS LEGACY mosaic. And we cannot wait to rock the stage together.
Are you planning a European tour in 2023?
We have a lot of stuff already planned for 2023 and will have more announcements coming soon.
* In the meantime, DEATHLESS LEGACY have released a new video for “Ora Pro Nobis“ that you can watch here: https://youtu.be/Xm9T1YU9gC8.