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INTERVIEW: Malevolentia

Malevolentia is a French orchestral extreme metal band native of Belfort founded in 2003. The previous album ‘Ex Oblivion’ was well-received, but their latest outing seems to be all about pushing the boundaries of their prior work.   ‘République”s concept was to build a movie soundtrack fused with black metal aggression; one that tells an Orwellian fable from a film that does not exist.  We at Transcending Obscurity had the honor of having our questions answered by various members of the group regarding more about the album concept, classical influences, opinions on other symphonic bands, and much more…

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Transcending Obscurity (FlightOfIcarus): Republique is a concept album. Could you tell us more about the story? Don’t spare the details.

Dies : “République” is an analysis and a critique of current republics under domination of the market and more generally of the Bank governance. Lobbies, corporations, Deep State have established a system that looks more like a banking fascism than democracy through the process of individuation and alienation by contemporary consumer culture and commodity fetishism. This album treats various subject by putting them alongside historical facts such as commercial reasons that caused major wars (and the others too), the rewriting of history, influence networks, the establishment of Police States , ecological disasters caused by surconsomation itself based on the myth that Economic growth is necessary. Historical subjects will address the various French revolutions like that of 1789 and Paris Commune. But also the Gladio networks, history of Freemasonry and apology of energetic wars under the guise of democratization. These globalist processes (not to be confused with the natural globalization which I think is not a bad thing) is an unprecedented violence for peoples and trying to create an individual uproot and standardized, a perfect Consumer. A man is not defined by what he has but by what he is. Trying to take off its roots to an human being, he will fantasize new ones. It is not surprising to see young offenders who have grew up with marijuana, McDonald’s, and detestation of the ground which hosts them, the while listening to music with messages crass materialists, like “big car, easy girl and misplaced manhood, without future or landmark suddenly become radical religious without having read a single book. According to the interpretative framework used “République” is an album that treats about History as well as actuality. I am trying to translate the lyrics. they are written in a literary French. I’ll post theim when the translation will seem to me proper and without distortion.

TO: Who do you consider to be your major influences on both lyrics and music?

JcReiss: Musically, our influences are bands with lot of orchestrations like Septicflesh or Anorexia Nervosa. We are influenced by them, but we wanted to keep an original personality.

For orchestrations, Dies is inspired by composers of soundtracks from motion pictures like Hans Zimmer…

Lyrics have been written in a precise chronology so they are important for understanding the themes of the album. However, I don’t know if another band wrote on the same theme.

TO: Tell us more about the writing process for the album. Was it different at all from the last one?

Dies : This album is a whole. It was not written track by track but at the same time as a whole. There are themes that are defined throughout as in a movie soundtracks. This required an upstream of work before thinking about the overall structure of the abum. This makes it very different of its predecessors. but undoubtedly it keeps Malevolentia‘s character

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TO: What is your favorite song to play on the album live?

JcReiss: For the moment, we can’t play on stage because our singer Spleen is waiting for a happy event. We work actively because we want a show on stage at the height of ‘République’. We should begin to play on stage in 2017.  Also, being a drummer, I prefer play on fast songs…

TO: Any thoughts on what it is like nowadays having a female-fronted metal band? It seems like the winds have been changing for for the better, but there are always those who see this as some kind of drawback.

Spleen : The black metal is intended to be emotionally charged. Women are generally more receptive to it. The origins of black metal were more trapped in the violence and ideals. The years have seen derivatives which, it seems, calls more to the emotions; perhaps with which a women can easily identify herself.

TO: What inspired you to form Malevolentia?

Dies : Malevolentia was born from the ashes of another project that stopped in 2001. I continued to compose despite everything and I finally had enough material for an album. I also kept this habit to compose all upstream and to offer to other members only almost finished songs which we refine together.

TO: Do you feel your home base in France has any impact on the music? How so?

JcReiss: In France, we have a small fanbase that rather well received ‘République’, which is logical since the lyrics are in French. But we have demands from other countries, this kind of black metal not being the most common. Also, as mentionned above, we are influenced by the band Anorexia Nervosa, which is a band from Limoges in France.

TO: What has it been like working with Epictural Production?

Dies : I am the creator of Epictural Production

Originally Epictural was not a label but a grouping of musicians / composers epic (hence the name). I used this structure thereafter to produce Ex Oblivion and negotiate distribution agreements. Over time we saw the additions other groups like Einsicht, Heimsgard and Karne and soon another group.  We also propose a distribution catalog mainly Epic and Folk/pagan bands but also more classical black metal. (www.epictural.fr)

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TO: What do you feel makes your band stand out from others in the extreme symphonic genre?

JcReiss: Malevolentia doesn’t use orchestration to fill and thicken the music. Orchestrations are an instrument in their own right. The idea being to give effect near a movie soundtrack. We also attach some importance to the coherence of the guitars with orchestrations.  Fastness is also a trademark of Malevolentia.

TO: Any thoughts on other popular groups that employ orchestral arrangements: Dimmu Borgir, Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse?

JcReiss; These bands are in the same symphonic spirit but they are not designed on the same way as Malevolentia. As I said before, we wanted to create a sort of soundtrack, with a thematic that a fundamental importance on the album. I must admit I like a lot Septicflesh, and Dimmu Borgir is great, but apart from the symphonic synth, I think that what they do is really different from us. I don’t especially like Fleshgod Apocalypse for me, except drums…

TO: Do you have a favorite classical composer?

Dies: I have a preference for large formations and epic symphonies. Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák but I do not spit on more baroque works like Heandel or Bach or more intimate works such as Chopin. I’m fairly standard about classical music.

TO: Could you share a band from the metal underground you feel deserves more attention and why our readers should check them out?

Dies : I would propose Allobrogia because I just discovered this weekend on a festival and I found it very nice on stage. But there are others. Imperium (the french one), Goatvermin for brutal black metal adepts or The Fall of Time for orchestrations dabsters.

TO: Anything else you would like our readers to know about Malevolentia or ‘Republique’? What comes next?

JcReiss: For the moment, we work on the live show, and at the same time we begin the future album. I think it will be a different theme, but always faithful to the spirit of the band.

There will also probably some surprises between the two opus…

I want to thank a lot all listeners of France and from other countries. Thank you for your support, we will not let you down…

‘Répvblique’ is out now.  Stream it in full below.

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