Immediately bursting with energetic, engaged vocals, picking patterns and hooks, “Tensioni e Distanze”, the newest high-octane offering from Como, Italy based ZONA D’OMBRA (English: SHADOW ZONE), explores some absolutely amazing melodic tinged riffs and overall delivery that harness a massive wealth of feeling and emotion that hit hard and leave its mark in your head. Mesmerized by its refreshing blend of old school inspirations and perfectly executed modern execution, we asked the band to give us some details about the project, explain this amazing record, give us their perspective on COVID-19 situation, as well as their local music scene in Northern Italy.
Zona D’Ombra (Shadow Zone) were born in the autumn of 2011 in Como, a small town a few miles north of Milan in northern Italy.
Up to now we have produced a demo in 2014, an EP in 2017 called “Unica Dimensione Di Vuoto” (One Only Dimension of Emptiness) , and two full lengths: “Guerra All’Apaia” “War on Apathy” in 2015 and “Tensioni and Distanze” released on March 1, 2020.
Over the years, between one disc and the other we underwent some line-up changes, respectively the entry of Teone on the guitar that took over from Magico in autumn 2015 and the arrival of Kanz on vocals at the end of 2018. Compared to our beginnings, which they were purely centered on old school Italian hardcore, we added a significant amount of melody in addition, while maintaining our original matrix. From being influenced mainly by bands such as Negazione, Sottopressione, Kafka, Grandine, Ingegno, Frammenti, PHP, we subsequently added elements from various other subgenres, from screamo to emo (Touchè Amorè) to more melodic-style hardcore (Good Riddance, Propagandhi and Ignite above all).
Lyrically, we have always tried to tell about the discomfort and dissolution of living in an oppressive and repressing world/society, which increasingly relegates individuals to the role of producers and consumers; and about the need to fight, each in his own way, to change or destroy in a certain way, this state of affairs. If initially the texts focused more on existential tensions, we subsequently decided to also tell stories with our songs, perhaps to give a more common and real perspective of what happens and what it entails.
We Made a lot of gigs all Italy, and made a mini tour in Europe.
Regarding our latest album “Tensions and Distances” we have precisely tried to further accentuate the melody and ease of listening to the pieces, for example by adding refrains (which has never been done) in all the songs. From a conceptual point of view, “Tension and Distances” precisely wants to be a concept around these two topics, fundamental aspects of everyone’s life. Arguments, however, seen from different points of view, some more intimate and introspective, others more concrete.
In “Tensione”, “Un Salto Nel Vuoto” (A Jump in the Void) and “Orizzonte Vanessa” (Horizon Vanessa) we talk about passions, struggle, confrontation with the state and its powers, metropolis to be abandoned or destroyed, revolution, dreams. But also of disillusionment and the duty to always deal with the reality of things, which is made up of both struggle, radical criticism, confrontation, but also of the relationship with everyday life, made of a thousand compromises and contradictions with respect to to one’s conscience.
“Da Angoli Bui” (From Dark Corners) speaks of a boy who grew up in a dreary province who finds his only relief valve in harcore in a world that does not understand him.
“Il Cielo Sopra Kamara” (The Sky Over Kamara) tells of the Greek anarchist reality, very strong and present in that country and how many young people are very determined in their struggle to achieve freedom (the real one) and their Utopia.
“Dust” that talks about a father who is leaving our world perhaps taking part of us away.
“Behind an opaque glass” which tells of the solitude of living crammed in micro apartments, each tied to himself, without really sharing his experience with others, of how individuals, although apparently always interconnected and close, are hopelessly more and more distant, distant, and how they are no longer really able to communicate with each other.
“Naufraghi Del Mondo” (Shipwrecks of the world) and “Nel Fango” (In The Mud) are centered on the figure of those who travel hundreds or thousands of kilometers to clandestinely reach rich Europe, which is increasingly closing like a fortress. People fleeing the war, dictatorships and poverty to achieve fictitious well-being, where they will still be exploited and used as a common enemy to be torn down for the propaganda of some reactionary politician on duty.
“Ali Bruciate” (Burnt Wings) is a criticism of a company that arbitrarily and critically decides what is normal and what is not.
“Distanze” (Distances), “A filo di Voce” (With Muffled Voice), “Scalzi Camminiamo” (Barefoot we walk) instead deal with the theme of relationships, with consequent tensions, bonds, but also breaks and distances. From a feeling that vanishes and alienates two people once linked, to the experimentation of other models of experiencing the couple, the body and the relationships.
All of the lyrics are full of ourselves, they tell of events that we have experienced firsthand or that close people have told us.
Plans for 2020 vs COVID-19 situation:
By 2020 we had planned a lot of concerts for the release of the album, with a European tour scheduled for October. Unfortunately, the situation of COVID-19 has forced us to shut ourselves up at home and postpone our plans for better times. We are taking advantage of it to write new material, even if after two years with few concerts as we are closed in the rehearsal room to compose the disc, we have a great desire to play live.
“The current situation in Italy is very complicated and difficult”
On one hand, we find ourselves locked in the house for the risk of getting sick and not to risk (there are healthy carriers) of not infecting anyone, on the other hand we are witnessing an unprepared state that as answer, it fills the streets with military and policemen, it forces people to stay closed in the house but in part it forces them to work (and therefore to risk getting sick) when it should be said that the responsibility for health failure is also due to the numerous cuts that governments have made in the past 10 years to the health system (about 47 billion euros).
So we think it takes responsibility and empathy towards people, but that it is right to also remember those responsible for certain issues. For example, numerous cuts have been made to the health system as I said before, but more and more money has continued to be invested in the production of warplanes and death machines, people are invited to stay at home when prisons are crowded and detainees get sick, the exasperated person blames himself for leaving for a safe walk, when people are sent to work to produce goods that are now useless.
“The Italian punk scene, very tied to political and anarchist circles, has not yet expressed itself in a very unified way”
I know that a compilation was made by a label from Turin which revenues will support many clubs that before the emergency they made many bands play, and because of this situation they risk closing due to lost earnings.
In northern Italy there have always been a lot of hardcore bands related to the environment of the occupied spaces.
People who without delegating to anything or anyone get together to organize the most beautiful concerts I have ever played.
The relationships that are created are not of convenience but real friendships and DIY has always been very active. A very nice thing done in recent years have been the “5 DIY days” in Milan: 5 days, 5 concerts in 5 different squats in the city, all the benefit revenues for political prisoners or to finance projects related to squats, dozens of bands that they play and meet from all over Italy; all organized by a collective of about ten people! In recent years, the focus on punk has fallen a bit and it is difficult to have a generational change, perhaps young people are more interested in other musical genres, but in any case we continue to make good concerts and spread material, hoping that the situation returns as the period between 2010 and 2017 which was very flourishing.