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Rossometile – Interview with Hela Pálsdóttir & ‘Desdemona’ Album Review
Jad | November 12, 2020
Most of us listen to music either in their own language or in a language they know. But there’s a great taste in listening to music in a language you don’t speak or understand as well. Many fans of Rammstein do not understand German, and still enjoy their music and special approach to Metal. And similarly, I have enjoyed listening to many bands that do not sing in a language I understand, such as today’s album and interview guests to FemMetal, Rossometile.
Rossometile is an Italian Symphonic and Gothic Metal band. Earlier in 2020, they released their album ‘Desdemona’. We had the chance to listen to the new release, and also had the pleasure of interviewing vocalist, Hela Pálsdóttir, and ask her about the new album, her band’s music, and many other things.
‘Desdemona’ is an 11-track album, and a garden where you can pick from a variety of colours and shades of Symphonic Metal music. Here are four things we loved about ‘Desdemona’.
Rossometile definitely didn’t settle for the colours already in their palette, and brought colours from all over the world of music to fuse in their Symphonic Metal sound. The progressive elements are found all over the album. And we’re not only talking about a rough vs. soft or fast vs. slow contrast many Power and Symphonic Metal bands use, we’re also talking about different approaches within the songs, unrelated to how heavy or fast the music is. We can hear that in songs like Storie d’amore e peste and the instrumental track Whales of the Baltic Sea Orchestra.
2. The vocals
Hela Pálsdóttir did a great job on the vocals of the album. The most impressive thing is her ability to sing in a tune that suites softer tracks like Oblivion and Sole che cammini, as well as heavier and faster-pace tracks, like Hela e il corvo. Her outstanding vocals made many tracks memorable and attractive to the ear. Her best vocals are heard on Rosaspina.
3. The general mood of the album
The album has an epic and fairytale like mood. For fans of High Fantasy, like myself, the last thing we want from the music we consume to be any reminder of the world we currently live in. ‘Desdemona’ was the album to do so. I don’t understand any of the lyrics or their meaning, aside from the few lines in English. But the mood we received through the melodies on songs like Hela e il corvo or Desdemona or Rosaspina was enough to take our attention to another world.
One of the factors that help indulging listeners into the album mood is the cover art of the album, which was brilliantly made. What a work of art! One of the best musical artworks for albums we’ve reviewed.
4. Favourite song: “Rosaspina“
Probably one of my favourite songs in 2020. You might want to slap yourself during hearing it to make sure this isn’t a dream. The song is excellent with its outstanding melody and some wonderful riffs, along with the majestic vocals of Hela. Epic!
We recommend ‘Desdemona’ to all fans of Symphonic, Power, Gothic, Progressive Metal. If you’re not one of our 1,200 Italian visitors this year, don’t let the fact the album is in a language you can’t understand stop you from checking it out. We guarantee you’d enjoy the album!
And here’s the interview we had with Hela. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Greetings Hela! It’s a pleasure to chat with you. How are you and the other members of Rossometile doing?
Hi and thank you for your interview! We’re doing good at the moment, thanks! We’re just far from each other because the boys live in another city than mine and with this crazy Covid-19 situation it’s impossible to meet, so we’re trying to stay safe but – despite the distance – we never stopped working to our projects!
That’s amazing to hear. Hope things will get better soon. We’re going to talk about your recent album ‘Desdemona’ soon, but first, how would you introduce Rossometile for our readers who are learning about you for the first time?
Rossometile was formed in 1996 by the guitarist Rosario Runes Reina and the drummer Gennaro Rino Balletta in Salerno, Italy. Later, bassist Pasquale Pat Murino joined the band. The band went through many changes in these twenty-four years, which made them deal with different genres and attitudes, maintaining their pop nature and most important the Italian lyrics. With their fourth album “Alchemica” (2015) they finally approached the gothic metal attitude which evolved into a symphonic gothic metal sound in “Desdemona” (2020), the album that marked my debut as the official vocalist of the band.
You’re definitely not the first Italian band we talk to on this website, but you are the first Italian band that sings mainly in Italian that we’ve covered. Do you feel that this could be in the way of achieving international success?
It is a difficult choice indeed, but we firmly believe in it! I personally accepted to join the band even for this reason: it was challenging! It’s interesting to combine symphonic metal sounds with an Italian singing, which preserves the modern/pop attitude of the band. We think it’s a good choice even for spreading out of Italy, because it gives to our music one more peculiarity and an identity on its own. We can say we consider it as our strength, the element that makes us different from the others. It’s also difficult to sing this genre in Italian language, I can assure you! Besides, we have many fans even in foreign countries such as Finland, Indonesia and Japan.
Your album ‘Desdemona’ has a bit of everything. There are a lot of progressive elements, but also a touch of classic music in it. Who would you name as the musicians and bands that had the major influence on your musical style?
Each of us counts many different influences: Rosario is mostly influenced by Slayer, Rino and Pat are progressive rock lovers, especially the Italian one. I grew up listening to everything, even folk music typical of various world zones, but I started as an Evanescence fan and evolved as an opera singer, studying classical opera and in the meantime listening to bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Within Temptation etc. Our music then becomes an authentic mix of all these influences, from metal to prog, maintaining that pop thing which makes it enjoyable even by people who are not used to metal at all – at least, in our homeland scenery.
Brilliant. In order to get to know you and ‘Desdemona’ better, how about we play a game. I’ll give you a certain task or scenario, and you have to pick a song that best fits for it. Ready?
Sure, bring it on!
Which song on ‘Desdemona’ would you use to introduce someone who never before listened to Rossometile to your music?
I’d say “Desdemona”, the title track. It contains many references to our style and recalls the style and sounds of the former album “Alchemica” but with a new maturity and a stronger sound.
Which song on ‘Desdemona’ would you use to lift up someone’s spirits after going through hard times?
That’s a good question! Since all of the tracks contained in “Desdemona” are pretty depressive at a first glance, I’d say “Rosaspina” only for its major key and its catchy rhythm . I would also recommend “Whales of the Baltic Sea Orchestra”, the instrumental moment of this album, to relax and chill out.
If all songs on ‘Desdemona’ came to life and became humans, which song would be your best friend?
Mmmh, maybe “Nox Arcana”, since it’s my favourite song in the whole album and portrays a situation that I’d say it’s very close to me.
If all songs on ‘Desdemona’ came to life, which song would be that friend who gets you in trouble for talking too much?
I think it would be “Oblivion”, it’s a song about nostalgia and the subconscious, it would probably reveal a lot of me and my past!
Which song on ‘Desdemona’ would perform in front of an audience including Freddie Mercury, Ronnie James Dio, and Ozzy Osbourne?
Sure it wouldn’t be easy to sing in front of these gods without dying with emotion! Anyway, I think I’d sing “Desdemona” because it explores my whole vocal range and is very impactful.
If aliens from a technologically superior planet invaded planet Earth, and it turned out these aliens have a single weakness, that their brains melt and explode once hearing heavy music, which song from ‘Desdemona’ would you lead the charge against the aliens with?
Definitely “Hela e il Corvo”, its rhythm and power would totally break them!
Thank you for playing Hela!
It was very fun!
Have you ever been in a position where you felt you’re being treated in a sexist way? How would you face sexism and what advice would you give to young people around the world who face any form of discrimination?
Yes, I was much younger and joined a singing contest, without winning. I knew one of the judges, he was a man I knew in my everyday life and a respected artist in my city, so after the contest was over I asked him what could I improve to grow up as an artist. The answer was that I had to wear high heels! As I said, I was much younger so it affected me a lot. This summer something similar happened: “Big projects (e.g. something similar to Ayreon) wouldn’t call you because you should show more of your body”, and I answered that if someone is interested in me as an artist, it must be for my singing and not for my body. The singer is the front image of a band, so it’s important for him/her to be attractive, but not in a mere physical way: a singer’s most important qualities must be his/her ability to entertain and to sing, and “showing more” shouldn’t be the priority. A person, and a woman in particular, has the right to be attractive for the public even having her body totally covered or even not “perfect” for the common canons. If someone receives comments like these – or even worse – he/she should be ready to nod and thank for the input, but not to give it much importance, because there are many other things that matter in art.
That’s great advice. Are there any projects for you and Rossometile in the near future you’d like to tell us about?
Yes, we’re preparing an upcoming album which will be a sort of “best of” of Rossometile’s production. It will be out next year for the twenty-five years of the band! As I said before, Covid-19 is keeping us apart, but we’re still working on it in “smart working” mode, preparing the pre-productions with our own home computers and discussing them via telephone or WhatsApp.
Can’t wait to hear it! Thank you for the interview Hela! It has been a pleasure.
So it was for me! Many thanks to you for your interest and your time!