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The Ossuary Drummer Max Marzocca Discusses New Album, "Oltretomba", Future Plans And How The Ossuary Differs From Playing With Natron

Photo of The Ossuary

Band Photo: The Ossuary (?)

There's no school like the old school, as I'm sure you've heard before. It's true though. No matter how brutal and technical metal music becomes, there will always be a fondness for the old guard that launched the genre, even the bands not considered metal by today's standards. The seventies was a time of huge change. Music and movies were becoming a lot more brave and challenged the established notions of what was acceptable. It's not surprising then that so many groups are still influenced by this era and quite frankly, its kickass music.

One such band keeping this sound and spirit alive is The Ossuary, a quartet from the Italian city of Bari, who until recently, were more known for playing death metal in Natron (with the exception of vocalist Stiv Fiore.) Only a few months ago, this Mediterranean four piece unleashed their third album, "Oltretomba" and with it came more attention to their occult rock/proto metal leanings. To find out more about the album, I caught up with drummer and founding member Max Marzocca, where we discussed the meaning behind the album's title, music videos, live plans and more.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on the release of "Oltretomba." It's been a few months now. How do you feel the reception has been so far?

Max Marzocca: So far the album has been very well received and we obviously can't help but being happy with it. We look forward to get more promotion in order to make it known to as many people as possible out there. We played a couple of gigs by the end of 2021 and people liked it live.

Oz: What's the meaning behind the album title?

Max: It simply means the “Underworld”. This time around we were looking for one word to sum up the album concept so we ended to pick up an Italian world for it because it sounded more intense and impactful. "Oltretomba" is also the name of a horror-porn comic series well famous in Italy between the 70’s and the 80’s. The use of an Italian word was a kind of a statement to remind the world that we are Italian and we’re paying homage to our cultural tradition of cinema, music and art.

Oz What would you say makes "Oltretomba" a different album from "Southern Funeral"?

Max: I don't think the new album is much different than what we did with the previous two records. I just think it's another step in the evolution of our sound, it's a well done and well produced album where we can express ourselves better as a band. We have introduced in a more decisive way some new solutions such as acoustic guitars and there is a greater presence of synthesizers in the background, ultimately I think there was more desire to dare stylistically on our part. It's been some years since we formed and the band couldn't help but improve.

Oz: You recently released a new music/lyric video for the song, "Forever Into The Ground." How well do you think the video represents the music and the spirit of the album?

Max: We released it with the aim of lugging the "Ratking" video which has a more professional production by Costin Chioreanu who works with bands like Katatonia, Ghost, Opeth, Voivod, Corrosion Of Conformity and Diamond Head. A bigger budget was involved on that video and I recommend you search for it on YouTube and check it out because it's a great job. "Forever Into The Ground" is simply a lyric video that wanted to highlight the wonderful album cover. Honestly I don't really like videos with lyrics but this one turned out pretty well and doesn't give me that hateful karaoke effect.

Oz: The artwork for the record is superb. Who designed it and what's the meaning behind the omega symbol on the character's hands?

Max: We want people to recognize the band easily and we want to give a sense of conceptual continuity therefore that's why we always rely on the same person for our covers. The author is Rossella "Roxhell" Battista, tattoo artist, illustrator and our dear friend who has followed us since the beginning of the band. She has a very personal way of representing the band's concept at its best and we have always loved her wonderfully traditional yet visionary style.

She immediately understands what the group wants so the whole process is very easy, I just have to present her a draft design each time and give her a few directives and she comes up with something great. The two omegas on the hands are there to further represent the concept of this album. When you go beyond the world of the living there is no alpha, that is there is no beginning but only an end, the end of everything.

Oz: How does performing in The Ossuary differs from playing death metal in Natron?

Max: Well, I guess here I can talk only for me as a drummer. It is obviously a very different genre of music. I surely don't play as fast as I did for years in Natron. That drumming requires a lot of training to get in shape every time and to develop the stamina needed to tackle an entire tour. Not that dedication is not required with The Ossuary, especially if you think that the duration of our concerts are well over an hour and a half. Also in this case I need to be well trained and mentally focused because the music is much more varied and there’s more need for interpretation and groove on drums, but the difference is that at this stage of my career I am much more comfortable playing music of this type. I feel it closer to my style and my way of playing today, more than I did with my previous band. Anyway Natron don’t exist anymore but I still like to play fast with friends just for fun.

Oz: This is your third album in five years. Why is it that the band is able to get new music out pretty quickly?

Max: There's always a lapse between the end of the production of a record and its release date, a period of time where there is not much to do except some sporadic shows. Since we don't like to waste time we immediately get to work on new ideas. As a matter of facts we have already started to work on new stuff, a bunch of new songs have been written but obviously we're still in the early step of the songwriting. We want to take the right time to do things properly.

Oz: I've had some friends asking me about when they can see you live. What's your plans going forward in terms of live shows and "Oltretomba" promotion?

Max: We are back on track after a long hiatus of months due to Covid and - as I said before - we played a couple of gigs before Christmas 2021. Pandemic has made things very difficult and organizing a proper tour requires a lot of effort these days. Nevertheless we will shortly announce a series of Italian dates scheduled for this spring. Then we'll see what future holds after the summer, for sure we would like to go back on tour abroad.

Oz: Thank you for speaking with me and I wish you all the best with the album!

Max: Thank you very much for your great words on our last album and for your support! See you around!

The Ossuary's latest album, "Oltretomba" is out now and can be purchased, along with a range of other merch, at the Supreme Chaos Records website.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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2 Comments on "The Ossuary Enters 'Oltretomba'"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Graeme writes:

Got introduced to this lot by a friend. Their sound is awesome, really enjoy it. Let's hope they can get to the UK soon!

# Feb 15, 2022 @ 1:07 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. The Ossuary writes:

Hi Graeme, thanks for finding us, we hope to include a London gig in our next run outside Italy

# Feb 15, 2022 @ 2:56 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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