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Closing off this series of interviews with Italian Prog/Doom bands, Comrade Aleks spoke to Luca Finaurini, ex-vocalist with the now disbanded I Compagni di Baal.

Interview with I Compagni di Baal.
"A few days ago, you probably saw our interview with Italian Progressive Doom band L'Impero Delle Ombre who have an album 'I Compagni di Baal' based on a French TV-series of the '60s. I was very surprised when I found another Italian band that had an album under the same title! Yes, there was the band I Compagni di Baal, and they have an album under the very same name released by Jolly Roger Records. So I felt the need to close this set and do my brief investigation: as a result – this interview with Luca Finaurini, I Compagni di Baal's vocalist".

Daniele Carnali Basso (Guitars) and Luca Finaurini.

Ciao Luca! How are you? Are you involved in any musical projects now that I Compagni di Baal is no more?

Hey, I'm good thanks and, yes, I have been involved with another project which I named Crimson Chariot. Actually, I've been involved in it even during my last year with I Compagni di Baal.

How was the band born? And why did you decide to name it after the French TV-series of the '60s, when your colleagues L'Impero Delle Ombre already had an album with the same name and same conception?

I was looking for a band and found an ad which led me to contact Daniele (guitar). After some time it was just me and Daniele left, because the guys that played with us at the time had quit the band. He asked me if we wanted to keep going and I thought we had a few good songs and that he was a crafty guitarist, so we started searching for other members. We quickly found our bass player, but had a couple changes at the drums before finding the lineup that went on to record a demo and a full length.

We decided to name the band I Compagni di Baal somewhere between 2009 and 2010, because we recorded our first demo in 2010 and had already named ourselves like that. The idea came from Daniele, and the general mood of the tv-series fit what our band was trying to do, and our love for those 60's-70's movies (most of Mario Bava's) and soundtracks. We picked that one also because some other options that we considered were already taken (example: Il Segno del Comando). I am not sure if we first named ourselves like that, or if the Cardellino brothers had already started working on their (wonderful) concept album, so let's call it a coincidence. Of course we loved the same things and had quite a few things in common, I mean…John helped us get a deal with Jolly Roger Records and was a guest on our album, that says it all.

The album of L'Impero Delle Ombre is composed in the same Progressive Doom vein as the album of I Compagni di Baal, what are the main difference between these records for you?

They define themselves as Cemetery Rock, and I find that very fitting. I think their style has quite distinct influences, while in our album I think you can hear a wider spectrum of genres. There's the 70's Italian prog, there's the Sabbath's doom, there's some classic heavy and probably more. Also, their album was a concept, while ours was a mixture of songs from our first demo that were brought to new life and new songs that we developed specifically for the debut album.

I Compagni di Baal – Official album teaser:

What were your songs about?

There were different things we talked about, spacing from fantasy or horror to more wider and realistic matters. I'll give you a few examples: "Il Dono Oscuro" was inspired by Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles; "Oltre La Luna" is about an original love story that takes place in a sci-fi scenario; "Sepolto sotto un cielo" talks about a feeling of oppression and to be willing to take chances to snap out of it; "La Danza del Sangue" talks about the true nature of men and the fact that history will most likely keep repeating itself.

What attracted your attention to this story of "I Compagni di Baal"?

The story was interesting because of where and when it took place, and the whole idea of the secret sect was something we identified into a little bit. We were part of the underground scene, but we played first and foremost for ourselves…selfishly, in a way. It was Daniele's idea, but we all agreed at some point that the name would fit the band.

What did you want to express through the music of I Compagni di Baal? What drove you to compose and record these songs?

We played what we liked, but we also wanted to prove that certain genres of metal didn't need to "live in the past", so to speak. That you could play it nowadays, without sounding like a tribute band and instead doing it with personality. I think we managed to revitalize the genre, even if just a little and even if just within the Italian borders.

Still, I think it was not about proving that to someone, but more than anything proving it to ourselves.

The band had a deal with Jolly Roger Records - why did the band break this deal with the label, as they released not only a CD but also a vinyl version of the first album?

When the band "broke" the deal I already was not in it anymore. The deal broke because the other members, about a year after I left the band, decided to change the name; by doing that they automatically broke the deal, which included an exclusive on the next album.

I Compagni di Baal – R.I.P.:

Why did I Compagni di Baal split up in 2014? How did it happen?

We were finally having success playing live and were already writing new material, when I got an ultimatum by the rest of the band. They wanted to change the direction of the band, they wanted to change what the lyrics talked about. They wanted out on the metal underground scene, they couldn't stand the average metal fan. I couldn't see a reasonable way to continue to work together, so I left the band during March 2013 and demanded to be kicked by the rest of the band, because to me it was them betraying what the band was about. I also demanded that we still played our last scheduled gig in May 2013 (Acciaio Italiano Fest, organized by Jolly Roger Records). We did and probably gave our best live performance, but of course it felt weird. Soon after I was officially not with the band anymore.

We could have left on friendly terms, still, but they wanted to keep going as "I Compagni di Baal" even thought it was clear that it made no sense because of the critical change of genre. I demanded that they changed the name even just to keep the project open in case we wanted bring it back to life at some point. They put out nothing for a year, then decided to finally change the name and call it an "official" split up. I have not heard anything from the rest of the band since 2013.

Last concert at Acciano Italiano Fest.

Did I Compagni di Baal play gigs apart from other bands? I mean, do Progressive Doom bands (I Compagni di Baal, L'impero Delle Ombre, Witchfield) in Italy stay apart from more Traditional Doom bands, or not?

We played both with more progressive bands and more "typical" doom bands. It was never really about the genre, it had more to do with the quality of the music. As with most underground scenes, bands tend to support each other instead of fighting for no reason.

With which bands did you play in I Compagni di Baal? And what is Acciaio Italiano Fest?

We mostly played with local bands, plus all of the bands that we met at festivals (Bud Tribe, Rosae Crucis, among others). Acciaio Italiano Festival is, as I said, organized every year by Jolly Roger Records to promote both the biggest and newest bands in the Italian underground scene. Has to be said that it doesn't only include bands linked to Jolly Roger Records but also bands that have deals with other labels, and there are no particular genre limitations.

Do you plan to take part in another Doom project, or maybe you already sing in some band?

I actually sing in a new, young band called Crimson Chariot. I don't think we can put ourselves into any specific genre yet, but there's surely a good bunch of doom metal in it. I like to define what we do as "nerd-metal", but it's more of a joke about us being fans of the music in the first place, before even calling ourselves musicians.

This is our official Facebook page.
And here you can hear our first EP.
Quality is raw-ish, but we think it's still better than an average demo recording.

Crimson Chariot.

Thanks for this interview Luca and good luck!

Thank you for having me, and to the readers: go to the gigs. Underground bands, popular bands, worldwide famous bands… it doesn't matter. Go out there and support what you like.

The album can be purchased from the Jolly Roger webstore.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the I Compagni di Baal bandpage.

Interviewed on 2015-10-15 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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