Track Premiere and Interview: Derhead Plunges the Depths of Black Metal

Ever since Derhead's 2020 EP Irrational I crashed into my head (and tape deck), the Italian one-man experimental black metal project has grown roots into my damp soul. Whether it be the unnerving soundscapes, the dissonant overtones, or the emotional wreck of it all, it unlocked that secret chamber of my heart in which only a few, very idiosyncratic bands can enter (Dødheimsgard and Odraza come to mind). Given this existing infatuation then I could not be more excited to present this second single from Derhead's upcoming full-length, The Grey Zone Phobia, due late March via the ceaseless Brucia Records. And as with everything that has to do with this Italian wonder, "The Death of Now" pulls from many sources: the experimental spirit of late 90s, early 2000s black metal, dramatic post-punk (you must check out his post-punk band Grieving Sea, birthed out of yet another cooperation with Void, his fellow Brucia chairman of the board), and that unmistakable spirit of exploration and unabashed experimentation. It's direct and bent, bombastic and modest. It's real music, is what it is. And, oh by the way, one of the finest black metal albums to have come out this year, and an early, and very serious AOTY-list card-carrying member. Check out the new track here, and check out a new The War Inside My Head-style interview with the man himself after the jump.

As always, check out our various interview projects and other cool shit. And if you'd like to keep abreast of the latest, most pressing developments follow us wherever we may roam (TwitterFacebookInstagramSpotify and now also TIK TOK!), and listen to our shitty podcast (YouTubeSpotifyApple), and to check out our amazing compilation albums– we just released anew one!You can support our unholy work here (Patreon), if you feel like it. Early access to our bigger projects, weekly exclusive recommendations and playlists, and that wonderful feeling that you're encouraging a life-consuming habit. On to Derhead.


What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?

I bought Soundgarden's – Superunknown when I was 13/14 in a Record Store in Genoa, my hometown. I saw the video for "Black Hole Dun" on TV and it struck me, and so did the song: So powerful and melancholic at the same time! So I decided to invest my little finances in that amazing record. In a moment of stupidity, I gave away that record years later.

What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?

The first one could be Cradle of Filth's Dusk and Her Embrace. I know, it could be strange today, but back in the time it was shocking: Incredible atmospheres, very complex structures, and a voice that went beyond the "classic" screaming, it was so expressive, so recitative. For me it was a sort of film soundtrack, not just an album. And, of course, their visuals were a bit "kitsch," but very effective to a teenager' eyes!

Another album that I spinned a lot was Passage by Samael, one of my first approaches with “industrial.” Amazing album: So cold, so epic, so melancholic and hard at the same time (I love those kinds of contrasts), so black metal without any cliché of the genre. I had it on tape and it was literally consumed (I had to buy a copy on CD!) [Read our Pillars of the 90s interview about Passage here].

And lastly, the masterpiece: Dødheimsgard – 666 International. I have no words to express how much I was shocked when I listened to it for the first time. A revolutionary magma: Humans and machines, extremism, melodies, chaos, research and freedom. Sorry for the conservative people, but for me this is the essence of black metal.

What albums taught you the most about the technical aspect of making music?

Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk was my first approach with a more “sophisticated” black metal. Great balance between all the elements, amazing arrangements, great taste. They weren't just symphonic, you could tell they were pioneers. In fact, I love their musical journey and also Ihsahn's albums.

Another fundamental album is Ulver's – Perdition City. Well, the reason is not really “technical,” but more about attitude. I think they taught me to mix different things and to look beyond the "present" without fear. In one word: Personality. Also, in this case I could say Ulver in general, but Perdition City is my favorite [Read our Albums of the Decade interview with Ulver here].

The third one is Deathspell Omega – Paracletus. Although my music seems to have no connection with them, I think they were a great inspiration to develop my guitar playing. I always loved “arpeggios” and DSO gave me a direction to use them in a multilayered mix.

What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?

Ok, here I have to promote a band from my label Brucia Records: KRVVLA. I think they are amazing and deserve more and more attention! I swear when we released X I listened to it continuously: It’s really well done, short, punchy, every track is recognizable unlike what other “dissonant metal” clone-bands often do. I always loved bands which take inspiration from different sources and manipulate music with no will to amaze with special effects, but with personality and spontaneity [We interviewed them a while back, check it out here]

What album relaxes you or centers you the most?

I've been a Depeche Mode fan since I was a teenager, and they are a sort of "comfort zone band" to me. Hard to pick an album, I could say Ultra or Some Great Reward are my favorites, but every album is amazing for different reasons. The first one I listened to was Songs of Faith and Devotion on a friend’s tape when we were maybe 14 years old, and from then they have gone along with me in my life.

What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?

Well, old stuff… Lately I have been listening to a lot of fusion, prog-rock and so on. One album, I can name is The Inner Mounting Flame from Mahavishnu Orchestra. I think they are a great inspiration if you are searching for something "weird" about harmony or rhythmic solutions. They also have a touch of “psychedelia” and some “melancholic” atmosphere that some open minded metalheads may appreciate.

Coil's Love’s Secret Domain is another album I listened to a lot recently. I am a huge fan of industrial black metal, so sometimes I do a sort of “back to the roots” from Industrial Black metal to the fathers of this kind of experiments. Anyway, apart from my research, I love their alienated atmospheres and that kind of electronics made with simple but effective solutions.

For the same reason I’m listening to Nine Inch Nails's – The Fragile. I admit that I never loved them, especially for the voice, but I wanted to give them other possibilities and, with the right interpretation, I can say that now I appreciate some aspects of their music.

What album is grossly underrated?

Diapsiquir – A.N.T.I.: They are not an unknown band, I hope you know them, but I can’t understand why this album is not on every black metal fan’s shelf! To me it's real punk (in the essence) and free, and mad. One of my all-time favorites!

What album would you recommend from your local scene?

Speaking about Italy, I can suggest listening to Hornwood Fell. I love their research, I think we have some similarity, at least in the approach.

Out of the metal boundaries, I discovered a band called Yalda that originates from my city and are in a friend’s label called Taxi Driver – please give them a listen!