Back in the early months of 2020, before the Covid pandemic and subsequent global lockdown, Italian death metal group Hideous Divinity were on a full US tour with Abysmal Dawn and Vader.
”We started in San Diego then went around the whole country in a loop, and our last concert was in LA at the end of February,” said the band’s guitarist/songwriter Enrico Schettino. “Then the next day we flew back to Rome and it was completely empty, the airport was deserted, like '28 Days Later' or something. Then we realized how serious it was, and things soon escalated here in Italy then. It got bad,” confided Schettino.
As the world locked down and began to experience an unprecedented era of transformation, toil, and ultimately loss, Schettino said that he immersed himself in movies and all aspects of music to keep himself sane during the his sequester. Along with the other members of Hideous Divinity, which includes vocalist Enrico Di Lorenzo, guitarist Riccardo Benedini, bassist Stefano Franceschini, and drummer Giulio Galati, the band did the best they could using technology to keep in touch and continue to rehearse and refine their craft. Given the extremity of the band's brand, too much time away from their instruments means a regression that just can't happen.
“The lockdowns were rough on us, but for a band like ours, rehearsal is like sports practice, it’s sweaty and painful but we just have to do it or we lose the ability to play,” Schettino said.
During this time, Schettino also said he began to rekindle his love of the Aliens movies and soundtracks. This reintroduction of sorts with such potent source material, led to the inspiration to create new music for Hideous Divinity. The resulting product is the band's latest concept EP in, LV-426. The effort features a collection of songs based on the James Cameron-directed epic, Aliens, and presents the perspective of a character in the movie known as "Newt," 6-year old girl, who was the surrogate daughter to Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the film.
“The idea and inspiration for this EP was a rather new fast idea,” Schettino said. “It was the middle of the second wave in the pandemic last year, and I was listening to a lot of movie soundtracks, including Aliens by James Horner. I was fascinated by how he had to write the score for the movie in just two weeks. I really got into the chord progression and thought about rearranging it. The next step was thinking of a release that would have a concept based on Aliens.”
Although Schettino was inspired by Aliens, he wanted to make sure that his interpretation was unique. “There are so many sub narratives from these movies, we had to choose one and take a different perspective on it. I chose the second movie Aliens because it was my favorite as a kid. It was the most memorable movie of my childhood,” he said. “It’s really a movie about Vietnam if you think about it, it’s about an ambush.”
The EP consists of three hard-hitting, brutal tracks, two of which are based on Aliens, and have music videos. The first, "Acheron, Stream of Woe," is an almost psychedelic lyric video that features the cover artwork. “This amazing artwork was done by Collin Estrada,” Schettino said. “He did an amazing job, and we knew we had to do a video once we saw the artwork.”
“The second song and video is a visual concept. ‘Chestburst,’ is about the creature called the Chestburster, the alien from the first movie, which pops out of your chest. This artwork was made by the artist we worked with on previous albums named Vladimir Chebakov.”
Schettino said he is grateful his music with Hideous Divinity has been expressed with such art. “It's such a relief working with an artist when you explain what's in your mind and they create what you imagine,” he said. “I’m proud and grateful to have my name on this art and these videos with my music.
The third song on the EP is an unlikely tune in, ‘Delirium Trigger,’ by Coheed and Cambria. Schettino confided that the project was ultimately his introduction to the band. “Being totally honest, I wanted to make a cover and rearrange a song and I was looking for metal songs about aliens or something different. Then I discovered this Coheed and Cambria song, but before this, I never listened to them.”
Schettino said that after listening to the prog power rock outfit’s song, he decided he would attempt an creative reinterpretation. “This band is not our style, but I felt like a challenge to rearrange it was accepted,” he said. “I tried to render this prog-rock ballad and convert it into a different sound, converting melodies and major chord structures into dissonance. I thought of what a band like Ulcerate would do with it.”
The result is something heavy, different, and challenging in a way that was invigorating said, Schettino. “This cover was a fun experiment. I was happy with the reviews I was reading because I think people appreciated what I was trying to do. I'm grateful people took the time to listen to this song. Our goal was to do something different, put in our own style, and I think we accomplished that.”
Though Schettino said he would love to tour the world with Hideous Divinity, he said realistically, things won’t happen in the immediate future. “In Europe, things might not get back to normal till perhaps next year,” he said. “We might have to postpone our next tour until March or April of 2022.” Such is the bleak reality for all too many artists now despite being more than a year into the stall.
However, the band is planning a live stream event in the month of June in an effort to showcase their work with a live iteration. “This event is something we hope to do, but we have to work out the situation with our guitar player who lives in the Northern region near Bologna,” Schettino said. “If we do it, we are planning to play the entire EP, but we have to figure out the logistics of how this can happen.”
Schettino assured fans that the band plans to tour once restrictions loosen up. “Of course we can’t wait to tour in Europe, but we miss playing in the US, the shows there were so amazing, the fans were so great, and we can’t wait to get back once it’s safe to do so.” In the meantime, Hideous Divinity have certainly put forth compelling material to keep fans satiated while they wait for a chance to experience their wrath live.
LV-426 is currently available from Hideous Divinity via Century Media Records. Get the EP - HERE