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The Listening Party: Paolo Raineri of Ottone Pesante

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The Listening Party aims to connect songwriters to their influences and speak to the inspired fan in us all. After an interview discussing songwriting methods, I choose music for artists to deliberate, and in turn they provide songs that have impacted their craft. In a perfect world, this would occur with libations and prolonged discussion. Improvise at your own will.

Horns have played an increasing role in metal this decade, and Ottone Pesante pushes their presence to the extreme. The Italian trio perform a death metal and grindcore hybrid but replace guitars and bass with trumpet and trombone. For fans of brass and heavy music, the outcome checks every box under the Hell Yes! column. I talked with trumpet player Paolo Raineri about their origins and influence.

How did the band form, and who influenced your sound?

The band formed in a very natural and spontaneous way. Me and Francesco (trombone player) started to play together when we were children. Later we became fans of heavy metal and all kinds of extreme music. We always played trumpet and trombone, so some years ago, we had the idea to combine our passion for extreme music with our brass instruments and avoid totally guitars and bass. It was an experiment, but we realized immediately it was a great idea!

Our sound is influenced by the many bands we love. All the swedish death metal scene from the 1990s, grindcore, doom, brutal and death metal.

We tried to make it real and play extreme metal with just trumpet, trombone, and drums, and it works! Of course it has a different sound compared of “classic” metal bands but we think it adds something new on this musical genre.

How does the songwriting process unfold?

The songwriting process is done by Francesco. He writes trumpet and trombone scores and very specific indication for the drums. Then we complete the arrangement in the rehearsal room adding effects on the brass and refining the drum parts.

The effects on trumpet and trombone is an essential part of Ottone Pesante. If you wanna play metal your sound must be distorted and “huge.” That’s why we use distortion, octavers, and other effects to have a wide range of possibilities and to create our wall of sound.

An increasing number of metal bands have incorporated brass into their sound. How do you see the trend continuing?

When we started to play live shows, we realized that metal is a very open-minded family. You can do whatever you want and if it’s good the metal fans will understand you and give you a lot of energy and great feedback. It’s not like this in others musical scene, but in metal, yes. Think about all the different kinds of metal that we have; they are different but they all belong to the same family. I think this is one of the reason why an increasing number of metal bands have incorporated brass.

It’s a good trend for us. Brass can add a different sound to the band and be really aggressive if played in the proper way. It’s also something new. I have no memory (I can be wrong of course) of many bands back in the day (1990’s) who tried this, but it really works if done well! So long live to Brass Metal!

Aaron’s Picks, Raineri’s Reactions

Blue Meanies — “The Great Peacemaker”
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Great combination! Looks like a kind of weird ska-punk band with the boost. Really enjoying the brass riffs. Reminds me a little [of] The Cardiacs who are also weird but great!

Sigh — “Soul Grave”

Really like the idea of this combination. Not sure 100%, but looks like there are keyboards trying to imitate brass. I’m not a fan of this solution ’cause you miss the warm and strong brass sound with keys. The result is very strange and freaky, but cool.

Imperial Triumphant — “Kaleidoscopic Orgies”

In this track, worlds collide. There is the extreme metal on one side and some kind of powerful free jazz on the other. It works, no doubt about it. I searched some info about them and they just released on a new album with a brass quintet (two trumpets, two trombones and tuba). Really enjoying it!

Ottone Pesante’s Picks

Sear Bliss — “Two Worlds Collide”
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Black Metal band from Hungary with a trombone in their lineup. Check this out!

Soldat Hanses taut

Folk Doom band from Switzerland. New album just released.

Jerseyband — “The Glad Hand”

One of our favorite bands who combine brass and wind instruments with metal and a lot of others influences. In the van we listen so many times to their Beast Wedding album. It’s so clever and full of ideas!

Follow Ottone Pesante on Facebook here.

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