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Italian Trad/Epic Doom band The Black have now been around for over 25 years. To mark the occasion, our colleague Aleks from MetalLibrary.ru spoke with founder member and main creative force Mario "The Black" Di Donato.

Interview with The Black.
The Black band was born twenty five years ago! Mario, let me congratulate you on that great date and wish you all the best with your artistic ways! I’m glad that we have such an excellent opportunity to discuss your band, but let me clarify this important moment – do you remember a day when The Black was born? How was it?
It's my pleasure! It's the first time I’ve done an interview for metal fans of Russia! The Black was formed in 1989. During that time I was playing with the Requiem, but I had wrote also unreleased songs. It was the bassist of the Requiem, Belfino De Leonardis, to propose to publish that material. I decided to do it with a group that would bring my stage name, and that it was the mirror of my human and artistic personality. They were born as 'The Black’.

How do you celebrate the band’s anniversary? And can you say what kind of present you would like to get? :-)
I have to say that there will be no special celebrations for the 25 years of my career. The best gift for me is to be still on the scene. Respected and appreciated both in Italy and abroad for my music and my art. I hope that this will continue for a long time!

How many gigs did you plan to play in support of The Black in forthcoming months? By the way, I had a problem trying to find any good videos of The Black on YouTube, do you have some documentary to share with your listeners from other countries?
In 2014 there was a change in management and so we are planning to schedule some gigs for 2015. There are no official videos on the net. For the future we should definitely do one video to our fans. Your observation has been very pertinent.

Mario, I remember that you told in a previous interview of your plans to re-release the “Refugium Peccatorum”, album which was released only as vinyl: is it already prepared? I guess that new version of the album has some differences in comparison with its original version, is that true?
The reprint of "Refugium Peccatorum" was made in 2013 in CD format and is output to the record label Black Widow Records. Compared to the vinyl version we have added two new songs ("Lux Veritas Est" and "Obscura Nocte") and a cover of the song "Hallows Victim" by St.Vitus.

And there’s more exciting news because I know that you’re working on two new albums; the first of them had working title “Metus Ostilis” and it’s dedicated to human phobias. Might you share more information about the instrumental component of this release?
The album "Metus Ostilis" is currently in the works. We are proceeding with the recordings. As you have rightly said the disc will be about the fears and phobias of man. All songs and lyrics were written by me. It will be an album in the classic The Black style with dark veins, strong and progressive.

What kind of phobias do you study in “Metus Ostilis”? And can you confess to your own phobias as well?
The fear of death is one of the main themes of the disc. One of my phobias regards snakes, I have a strange love / hate relationship with this animal.

Your second new album had the working title “Decamerone” as it’s based on the work of Giovanni Boccaccio with the same name. The original book consists of 100 novels: how much of it did you perform in your songs? And what is the central idea of the album? Does it coincide with some of Boccaccio’s creative intentions?
The album on the "Decamerone" is still a project on which I have not 100% focused. But I can tell you that I'm going to play all the instruments on the album, except for the drums. This will be another particular thing I want to offer to my audience.

Mario did you compose both “Metus Ostilis” and “Decamerone” at the same time? I just wonder how it could be difficult to keep two different conceptions in mind at once… And do these albums have noticeable differences among themselves?
As I said before, right now I'm focused on "Metus Ostilis." The disk on the "Decamerone" I'll develop it later.

The antecedent album of The Black (“Gorgoni”) was based, I note, not just on the Greek myth of Medusa but mostly onto its interpretation by Roman poet Ovidius: this album even includes trilogy “Metamorphoses”, poem of Ovid. How often do you take a literary work as a foundation of your albums?
I love literature, especially that of my country. In the past I have made "Infernus, Paradisus Et Purgatorium" which is inspired by the “Divina Commedia” of the the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.

And don’t you miss more straightforward songs with simple lyrics about “hell, skulls, death and damnation”?
I do not like to write simple texts and without a concrete message, using random words. The music and the lyrics are both important. Anyone who listens to my disk must immerse totally in the story that is told through the sounds and words.

You are the author of all ideas which are performed in The Black albums, but how do you collaborate with Enio and Gianluca composing and recording songs?
It's true. I write music and lyrics. Enio and Gianluca, however, are very important because during the recording may have some good ideas that then we insert in the disc.

Did you have some difficult moments as you work at “Metus Ostilis” and “Decamerone”? Maybe some conceptual ideas which were hard to perform, or some technical decisions which were not easy to fulfill in a studio?
It's clear that the development of an album of The Black takes a long time because, by looking for elaborate and original solutions, sometimes there may be difficulties. It's just a matter of insisting, also trying different solutions.

Mario, I see that you had some periods of rest: as I’m looking at a discography of The Black, there were 4 and even 6 years of breaks between some albums. Can you say that you have periods of artistic crisis from time to time, or do you just take your time occasionally to concentrate onto another aspects of your artistic life?
In addition to music, as you know, I'm also a painter. For this reason, sometimes, there were longer pauses. In addition, the life is not only art and, sometimes, puts you in front of the daily difficulties that may distract you from all the rest.

Mario, what was your latest work as a painter? (can you share it with our readers?)
The painting is part of my life and me every day. Therefore I can say that I paint and design always!

Thank you very much Mario! Let me once again congratulate you on The Black’s anniversary and wish you good luck, strong health, endless creative force and inspiration. Long live The Black!
Thank you for your support and availability. For me it is very important to bring knowledge of my art even to foreign audiences. Greetings also to the readers of your webzine. NUNC ET SEMPER THE BLACK!

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Interviewed on 2014-08-05 by Aleks Evdokimov.
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