Label : Independent Release/Revalve Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Pursuing the End is an interesting little band from Italy. In 2011 they released their 4-song 15 ½ minute EP, “Dawn of Expiation”. Now the band returns with a new 3-song, 10 ½ minute single titled “Withering”. There is actually a lot to like about this operatic, symphonic metal band as their debut EP hinted at. “Withering” is mostly a good effort. The male vocals by Giacomo Benamati are clean metal vocals, no screaming or grunt here, they are more along the lines of the male singer from Visions of Atlantis. The angelic sounding female vocals by Caterina Bonfanti are excellent as well. Unfortunately though, in my opinion the female operatic vocals are a little too over-the-top. Others may disagree and find this right up their alley, but I think Pursuing the End would be better served if they toned down the opera elements. That is not to say that there are not parts where it could definitely work.“Overture” starts things off with its orchestral intro setting the stage for “Withering” which starts off with the ultra-operatic vocals when Giacomo takes over and the angelic female vocals come in, these definitely save the song for me. There are a hint of grunt vocals in the background but they are very low in the mix. Musically, “Withering” is a beautiful song that shows that this band is capable of so much more. “A Glimpse of Forbidden” closes out the trio of songs and once again has a lot going for it musically. Thankfully the band relies mostly on the clean male vocals and the angelic female vocals and strong choir-like background vocals. The operatic vocals are utilized but not as much as in the previous song. “Withering” is definitely a step forward from “Dawn of Expiation”, but the operatic vocals are certainly going to be an acquired taste for some, but others may love them and others may be turned off by them. There is no accounting for taste, I guess. Pursuing the End is a good band, but in my opinion could be so much better.
Rating – 75/100
- Glimpse of Forbidden
- Caterina Bonfanti – Vocals
- Giacomo Benamati – Vocals
- Davide Rinaldi – Guitars
- Stefano Bottarelli – Keyboards
- Giuseppe Sterlicchio – Bass
- Alessio Massimo – Drums
Interview collected by Ary R.
Questions by M. Cadoni & Ary R.
“Withering” is the new single that places Pursuing the End on the top of the new Italian symphonic metal scenes. On the occasion of the nearest release of the video clip of the homonymous single, I had the pleasure to exchange some chats with the two lead-singers and the guitar player of the band, Giacomo, Maria Caterina and Davide, who kindly revealed us lots of new things.Here it is our nice chat. Have fun!
Hi guys, first of all congrats for both your own EP and your new single. Let’s start this interview talking about your biography… would you like to share something with us?
Maria Caterina: Hi everybody! First of all, thank you for your high praises! We really appreciate, because for an emerging band like us give us strength and courage, the energy to go on and it supports us in our dream. Pursuing the End was born in 2010 in Parma, thanks to an idea I had with Giacomo, rocked by a passion for this kind of music and right then, after some changes in the band, we reached a stable line up, with Davide Rinaldi at the guitars.
Giacomo: This allowed us to conclude the “trial period” and to dedicate ourselves in a more serious work, that has been ratified with the release of the “Withering” video clip, waiting for the debut album, that will be recorded as soon as possible.
Soon, the video for the single “Withering” will be out. Could you please reveal us something about it? Moreover, how was born your own cooperation with Mike Lunacy?
Giacomo: “Withering” will be the single that will introduce our first album. The idea of the video was born randomly with Mike, because he is a friend of ours, we live in the same city and Mike wanted to get himself involved with this new experience both as a director and as an actor. This is something we can reveal you and we didn’t announce it before. He will have a small part in the video clip and you will see him soon. Everything started as a joke but it all turned out to be an experience that made us all grow at a musical level but chiefly on a professional level, because we had the honor of working with a great studio production in Milan, which was involved in the video recording, with a great director of photography that was contacted by the studio and which also produced our video.
The video sees the attendance of Ottavia Fusco: could you please introduce her to our metal fans and to the people who still don’t know her?
Giacomo : Sure! We like doing this kind of cooperation with artists that aren’t involved in the metal scene, because we think you should live the music at 360 degrees, you have to live it in its totality, hence mixing new things with people that don’t even know what the word “metal” means, is something good! Ottavia Fusco is surely a great artist, that we could define versatile, because she is a great talented opera actress, she worked in the biggest Italian and European theaters, but she is also a singer: indeed, she took part in Sanremo Festival for two years, she sang a song written for her by Vittorio Sgarbi and her own album, “The Noughties”, is a sort of poetry collection that some literary man has written for her and she interprets these songs in a very particular and personal way. We have contacted her in a quite random way, I mean: we were attracted by this artistic character which ranged over so many different areas and we have thought: “Why not?”. Why shouldn’t we ask her to cooperate for something related to metal, which was something she didn’t work in, and she appeared very kind, very happy to take part in this project, so our cooperation started with “Withering”.
Before asking you the details of the various collaborations you had with musicians of classical singing, I would like to ask: how was born this kind of synergy with classical music? Was it born from your own passion or unexpected chance?
Giacomo: All the band members have different backgrounds. For my part, I always attended the world of the opera when I was young, thanks to my parents that pushed me into this, and even classical music so the people who listen to the symphonic metal are inherent in listening to it, they should however, know something of the classical singing. We are Italian, we really like the Opera and the artistic heritage, which, in our opinion, among the young people is undervalued, so we try to create a new way to show it to those who haven’t yet approached to it. For example, our keyboard player Stefano led quite an influence from the world of classical music.
Maria Caterina: Yeah, each of us has proved something. For example, I’ve always been a symphonic metal music fan and therefore, growing up, I’ve learned a lot, thanks to the bands I’ve been inspired by and that I really liked.
Giacomo: Indeed, we don’t only talk about classical music, we also have different music influences, we listen to the more extreme metal, we listen to the electro music, thrash… and so on…
For the EP “Dawn of Expiation” and also for “Withering” you’ve cooperate with Corale Verdi from Parma. What could you tell us about this collaboration and why have you decided to implicate a classical chorus?
Giacomo: Yes, we didn’t have all the Choral Corale Verdi in our very first EP, we only had some member of a choir, who joined in some other singing parts with professional opera choristers. For “Withering”, we asked for the cooperation with this chorus, which is actually one of the first choirs which were founded in Italy by Giuseppe Verdi, because, precisely, being a native person of Parma he founded this Choir and, accidentally, talking to the President of this Choir, we have explained him what we were doing and he agreed, he seized the opportunity and we also had in mind to record this single, in order to film the video clip as well, afterwards we had the great honor to get these 50 people who have sung our songs and it was quite a big feeling. Listening to these people singing your own tracks, after a long and hard day of working and recording, and seeing the final result, which was even better than what we expected, was really a big honor!
Taking a look to your last photo shoot, I’ve seen that you wear some particular outfits. Why have you chosen to have this look and who was the stylist about it?
Giacomo: We have entrusted an Italian theatrical stylist, Artemio Cabassi that we met in Parma. He has worked throughout Italy and abroad, setting up different works and plays and he helped us in everything that has been caring with our image for all the shoots we have done, starting from the last one we did at the Rock of Soragna, near Parma, where we also shot the video for “Withering”, getting to the first photo shoot, which was done in a deconsecrated church in Parma, perhaps one of the most majestic monuments of our City.
Maria Caterina: The choice of wearing those clothes is surely due to the fact that however our genre of music, symphonic metal, is a theatrical and majestic genre, with all its orchestra and orchestrations, we have chosen to represent this grandeur in our personal way, also in the approach we have with our fans making pictures and everything.
What could you tell us about the sessions of your debut EP called “Dawn of Expiation” and about the single “Withering”?
Giacomo: Our first EP “Dawn of Expiation” has been recorded in a studio of our city, for us it was a new experience, but it wasn’t the first one for everyone, but indeed it has been one of the first serious and professional experiences in a music studio, so we tried to get a more professional sound, as more elaborate as we could for what concerned the caring of the details. Indeed, as far as I am concerned, I can say that with “Withering” we have put into practice what we had already learned from the session of “Dawn of Expiation” and we further cared of the details but I believe that Davide will tell you something more about the latest sessions of single “Withering”.
Davide: Yeah, the recording with PTE has been quite a surprise, since we took part in the recording process in the best professional way ever and the final product was more than great…
Davide, I know that you write the biggest part of the music of the band and you also did it in this latest EP, giving a hand to your band member Stefano. How do you manage to create the music in a typical PTE style?
Davide: Primarily, the ideas come with guitar riffs, which are quite speedy and right after, it follows all the arrangements done by Stefano and by all the band.
Where does your inspiration for the music come from?
Davide: Certainly, it comes from my favorite bands, which I prefer not to list because it would be quite long but it comes also from the improvisation, which I dedicate a lot of time every day.
As a band, do you use the “so called” team work, trying to express your own ideas and opinions?
Giacomo: Surely since the beginning of our music experience as a band until now we feel we have grown up and we have developed a way of working and composing that is very effective as for the production of the new songs that we are composing this period. As I said before, every team member has his/her own background and he/she tries to bring it in every song and composition, so yes, we absolutely do the team work and our ideas develop first between a person or multiple people, but then we discuss about them all together and everyone tries to give his/her opinion and to bring some of himself/herself, because then everyone in his/her instrument tries to put her/his signature.
Moreover, we see the soprano Federica Gatta as “a session member”. What could you tell about her background and how did you know her?
Giacomo: Besides being a great friend, Federica was one of the first people who believed in the project because being a soprano herself she has been the vocal coach of Caterina for a while and she has also helped me at the beginning of this experience and immediately we asked if she wanted to record the vocals for “Dawn of Expiation”, then in some solo parts that have taken more prominence in what was the work of “Withering”, we say that Federica gives a refined note to what is the closest work of the symphonic music, and she represents the symphony that has been trodden by Tarja or however the great opera singers, that we don’t use for our own choice, but we have these little goodies that sometimes are represented by Federica!
This is a curious question: I’ve seen under your own logo on your website a sort of writing: “Orietur in Tenebris Lux Tua”. It’s Latin, for what I see: what does it mean? And, do you think that this sentence represents you somehow? Could you please explain us how does it “apply” to your music vision for PTE?
Maria Caterina : Well, this statement means “Your light will rise in the darkness” and it appears also in the lyric for “Withering”, since it deals with a girl that is enslaved by her man and she is oppressed as if she were living in a bell jar but in the end, thanks to her own strength of will, she manages to break free from this kind of constriction and indeed she raises from the darkness she was in.
Giacomo: It’s a sentence that the choir says, as it worths for all the sentences sang in Latin, so it’s a sort of “side dish” that are put all together in our songs and I personally think that it represents our music. Because of this we have chosen this phrase for our website, for the merchandise, we have put it on our t-shirts and so on, also because we alternate some very dark atmosphere to some bright moments, very melodic ones, so in the end it’s a nice antithesis.
Caterina, first of all congrats for your voice. What could you tell about your personal background from a musical point of view? Where does your passion for music come from?
Maria Caterina: First of all, thanks so much for your compliments! I’ve started singing two or three years ago, helped by Federica Gatta, the soprano lady who collaborated with us in our projects and still now I sing modern singing and I’ve started to apply it in Pursuing the End, because I’ve always loved to sing, I’ve also studied/attended 8 years of theater that helped me to express myself on stage and to make my emotions alive and everything that I feel while singing.
I know that you also took part in the song writing process for this EP. Where do you get the inspiration to write a lyric?
Maria Caterina: I rely on experiences I lived personally, on feelings and passions that can be felt every day, even in the past, all that has been tried and a lyric comes from a general idea of what I just base the content and from there I try to create the whole song.
Next question is for Giacomo: you’re the main male singer of the band and you also take part in the song writing process for PTE, like Maria Caterina. Where do you get your own inspiration for writing the lyrics?
Giacomo: I take part in what I can do and I could give a melodic idea or to give an opinion or again I can add something to a work that is already done. Surely when e melodic idea comes from my mind, an idea I have to give in order to compose a song, it starts randomly, maybe whistling something or even playing the piano since I played it for a couple of years at the Conservatory or possibly looking for different inspirations, maybe hearing something on the radio that can give me a sort of inspiration in “sound terms”, just listening to a band I could like, possibly suggesting the setting for a track, beside a melody: for example, a speedy song or a “darker” song. In addition, I give my own help in writing the lyrics, even if the biggest part is always done by Caterina. We could say that I am the “columnist” of the band…
Where does your passion for singing come from?
Giacomo: It comes from the passion I have for music, I have it since I was a child and it happened thanks to my parents that are related to the music itself, and, right after having done some piano and cello study at the Conservatory, I’ve sang in a opera choir for almost 12 years and with the knowledge I had about the metal and symphonic metal I’ve seen that I liked to discover some new music areas beside the opera singing, so I discovered the modern singing, the growl, the scream and everything I do with PTE.
Over the years, the line up has changed a bit. Do you think that you’ve found a stable line up now?
Giacomo: Surely it’s something in the process of every emerging band to look for a balance and yes, we can say we finally found a balance of stability and cohesion among all the band members, as we endure and we understand each other. In fact, “Withering” is a bit laid down by the entry of Davide in the line up, a breakthrough in what was both the process of the setting of the songs but above all the sound. We finally found and we also understood where we wanted to wander, in which way we wanted to do this and we are super ready to work on the preparations for what it will be our debut album, which is its forthcoming shortly.
Which are the bands you have been influenced by?
Giacomo: As I mentioned before, everyone has his own different background, so each of us has his/her own inspiration for what he/she does inside the band inspiring from the most disparate bands: for example, the symphonic metal founders as Nightwish and Epica are and so on… We have them, we have to consider them, so what we would like to do is not to create a clone band, something that everyone has already listen to or something that a listener could connect to a precise band!
Maria Caterina: We would like to create a PTE style : )
Giacomo: But above all, we would like to create a personal style and something that nobody could associate to anything as well.
A long time ago, someone talked about a debut album. Is there something planned? What could you tell us about it?
Giacomo: It has been mentioned, it is mentioned and it is absolutely the major priority. We are working, we are ready to enter the studio in June with the first group of pre-production parts. Now we’re going to record 7 tracks, 7 brand new songs in pre-production and we are in touch with some labels for entering the studio, so we hope to have everything done by the end of the year. It is clear that with the entry of Davide in the band and with the single “Withering”, as we said before, the sound has taken a new path.
Do you have already something new, some hidden dreams for the future?
Giacomo: Surely the release of our video clip, that it will happen soon…
Maria Caterina: Our album!
Giacomo: Entering the studio is quite near. We also scheduled some live show for the Summer season, baptized by us as “2012 summer, the most ruthless for what concerns composing”, so we have to work a lot and we will reveal some nice surprises and some prevision!
Thank for your time. Is there something you would like to share with our readers and fans?
Giacomo: First of all, we would like to thank you for this opportunity and we would like to offer our congratulations to you for the great work you do every time and we would like to say “Thank you” to every single person who follow us and we really hope that, after this interview, someone will follow us more than before.
Maria Caterina: Thanks so much for your support on our social networks.
Giacomo: We really did not expect this and we are really happy about it. Thanks so much!
Review by Tony Cannella
The operatic, symphonic metal band Pursuing the End were formed in May 2010 in Italy, and although the band has only been together for a little over a year they have managed to complete an EP titled “Dawn of Expiation”. 4-songs and 15-minutes are featured on their debut outing and as far as first efforts go, Pursuing the End has come up with some strong material. The triumphant opera dominated intro “Aeterna Fuga – Prologue” starts things off as this leads us into “Followers of the Wrong Way” which sees Caterina at her operatic best. Plenty of strong symphonic elements can be heard here. Caterina is also joined by some clean and extreme male vocals on this track. “Call the Priest” is next and starts off with a rocking, straight forward vibe as the male vocals start off on this track, before Caterina joins in. The title song, “Dawn of Expiation” brings the album to a strong conclusion and certainly ends things on a positive note. There is plenty of stellar performances all the way around that can be heard on “Dawn of Expiation”. Pursuing the End is an exciting and promising new voice in the world of Symphonic Metal.
Rating – 70/100
- Aeterna Fuga – Prologue
- Followers of the Wrong Way
- Call the Priest
- Dawn of Expiation
- Maria Caterina Bonfanti – Vocals
- Giacomo Benemati – Vocals
- Thomas Pipitone – Rhythm Guitar
- Alex Vetri – Lead Guitar
- Stefano Bottarelli – Keys & Piano, Backing Vocals & Orchestral Arrangements
- G. Mortimer Sterlicchio – Bass Guitar
- Alessio Massimo – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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