1. Hello Farz thanks for your time. Exultet is in it’s eighth year as a band, could you tell us how Exultet started and what has been the focus of the band over the last eight years?
I created Exultet in 2003 and soon after I got a drummer Argoth. The band recorded their first demo “Urbs Felix” in the summer 2004. The concept describes the ancient Sicily battles between Saracens and Normans in the year 1000 and the sound can be described like a epic black metal with folk elements inspired from Arabian & medieval tradition. In July 2006 came the second demo “Requiem of a Dream” and the sound is a symphonic black metal, different from the epic metal heard on debut. The third work “Constantinopoli”s out in summer 2008. The lyrics describe the fall of the famous Roman Capital of the Middle East in the year 1453 and various phases of the battle through the chronicled events and deeds of their characters. In this album the Arabic, folk and epic sound expressed in Urbs Felix returned. Lastly “I Soldati della Croce” is out at the end of 2010 as a promo album and was then introduced professionally in 2011 by Sullen Records. The sound is very similar to the Exultet’s past releases, a melodic epic medieval black metal full of Middle Eastern folk atmospheres.
2. Exultet is an interesting name how did you come up with that name?
I chose this name for many reasons. Meanwhile I must say that The origin of the Exultet word derives from the scroll of papyrus, diffuse in southern Italy and is used in the Christian functions of XI sec. The paintings were turned over regarding the written one, that allowed the Priest to read the hymn and to the believers to watch the comment illustration. This sums up my passion for Art, my religion and identifies the origin of our band. In addition, the auditory phonetics we liked from the beginning.
3. I find the subject matter of your albums to be very interesting could you talk about the inspiration for them?
Urbs Felix, Constantinopolis and I Soldati della Croce are related by a single message: they tell, through the events, characters and chronicles the most famous battles of medieval history. We are Italian, and we want to especially capture events that have seen our compatriots stand at the forefront, such as Captain Giustiniani Longo, commander in chief of the defense of Constantinople, or the various battles in Sicily told in Urbs Felix, or even of many Italian knights, protagonists during the First Crusade. In the future we also do not rule out revisiting the Ancient Roman period. “Concept-Warlike album” is a recurrent feature that I believe will live long in the DNA of the band.
4. With all of your lyrical content being a virtual history lesson how are you using the lyrics from a Christian perspective? Is there a Christian perspective or are they purely to tell about the past?
We are really interested to the Middle Ages and We love to tell the outcome of the battles that have marked the history, but also is nice to think that all this suffering is finally behind us, and today we should not see any more religious or any other wars. The lyrics are not of conflict between civilization or religion, I only described the historical events that actually happened, without giving too much emphasis on my personal beliefs. A journey in history through music & words to learn from the past and exorcise the present and future. In the future certainly will realize a true and complete lyrical Christian metal album!
5. What is the Christian Metal scene like in Italy?
In Italy there is no real movement within unblack or extreme metal, while I do not follow the classic metal scene. I can only report the Sicilians and veterans Metatrone. A great progressive metal band!
6. How has your music been received by the secular crowd? Do you get a lot of positive feedback?
The skepticism of some secular webzines against Christian bands is always high, but we can not complain. Although we never had an adequate budget available, our albums have received rave reviews, even in major magazines such as Grind-Zone. We hope this trend continues.
7. The “Requiem Of A Dream” demo was a turn away from the first one musically speaking. Why the switch from Epic Black/Folk Metal to Symphonic Black Metal?
Requiem of a Dream is the second album of Exultet, but in reality the material proposed is a collection of songs written before our debut in November 2004. All the tracks in Requiem…in fact go back to the period between 2001 and 2003, and the sound can be described like a Symphonic Extreme Metal, different from the Epic Metal heard in Urbs Felix. The production of this demo/album is quite low, but I’m glad it has registered. In many ways this album is more Christian than anything in our discography.
Also Urbs Felix and Requiem of a Dream are full-length albums. Our real problem in recent years has been that the limited budget has prevented us from recording a quality product that is totally competitive. We hope in the future to improve our production because it is essential in an increasingly competitive metal-world.
9. What does the album title mean and what is this particular album about? What is the title track about?
The translated title is “Soldiers of the Cross”. In this way they were called the Templar Knights during the First Crusade.
I was undecided until the last moment with two other options: “Bloodthirsty Knights”, as Alexios I Komnenos called them during the siege of Nicaea; or “Men of Iron”, nickname used by Turks because of their heavy armor.
The lyrics, in Italian language, describes the long journey and the battles lived by the Christian knights to the conquest of Jerusalem, against the Islamic army.
It all began with the Council of Clermont, where the Pope urged the Christian world to holy war and the conquest of Jerusalem.
In “I Soldati della Croce” album I describe the arrival of European soldiers in Constantinople and the big battles that marked the First Crusade (date 1096-1099): Nicaea, Dorylaeum, Antioch and Jerusalem.
Just close your eyes to be transported in the many fields of battle and harsh desert with the protagonists crusaders & Turkish armies face to face in very bloody battles.
10. How is this album musically different from the previous ones?
Our trademark has remained more or less faithful to our earlier albums (except the aforementioned Requiem of a Dream), a mix of melodic black metal, medieval and arabic folk & accompanied by epic symphonic arrangements. To help those who have never heard our music we can suggest some references to bands such as Summoning, Slechtvalk, Eluveitie, Melechesh, Enslaved and Falkenbach. Exultet is an original band that works hard, album after album, to find their own way, both musical and lyrical.
11. What is next for Exultet? A new album perhaps? Any live shows planned?
Maybe we’ll have a chance to re-release our two old demos with Sullen Records: “Urbs Felix” demo 2004 and “Costantinopolis” demo 2008.
In the future there is a desire to create a split with “Myrrha Dei”, a new roman band. I’m sure you will be impressed by them. For this split the Exultet’s lyrics discuss the attack on the Italian coast in Otranto by the Turks in 1480, historical period just after the fall of Constantinople, (subject already covered in our EP Constantinopolis).
The sound does not differ from that heard in previous works, perhaps the only differences are the accelerations in black metal style, without forgetting the folk melodies and epic orchestrations.
No live shows for us, Larry. Unfortunately Exultet is a band with two elements and we have never found good musicians ready to commit 100% to complete the roster. I also had requests from friends outside Sicily, eager to join the band, but for different reasons I’ve never found a way to implement this project. Currently Exultet remains a “studio band”, although the desire to play live is a constant. Never say never…
12. Thanks again for your time any final comments for the fans?
We want to thanks you ‘Larry & Untombed.com‘ for the space dedicated to us. We hope that this interview can help your readers to better know Exultet’s project. Visit our official website: www.myspace.com/exultet.
Interview by Larry Versaw for Untombed.com
You can pick up Exultet‘s latest album “I Soldati della Croce” at Divine Metal Distro.