Lorenzo "Otagron" Di Vincenzo


Holding up for the sake of freedom, few against the many without remorse or regret. Men's freedom has been challenged throughout history, and there were those that fought for it, bled and died for it. The Italian Black Metal band, Sirrush, wanted to make history remembered, in particular for the courage for the ideal. Following the release of their new "Molon Labe", Steinmetal had a talk with the band's Lorenzo Di Vincenzo, also known as Otagron, to find out more about the historical meaning and importance of freedom.
February 26, 2023
Sirrush's Lorenzo "Otagron" Di Vincenzo: "Molon Labe is an answer to a threatening question that goes against the natural principles of a man or his freedom…" interview
Hello Lorenzo, it is great to have you with me for this talk about the latest going on in the Sirrush camp, how have you been doing?

Hi guys, nice to hear from you!! Sirrush are in my art laboratory at the moment, where I'm dealing with the creation of costumes and scenery for our shows!! And I have to say it's going pretty well.

It has been a little more than a decade since the last time Sirrush was heard, with its debut EP released back in 2011. It appears that you took your time. What have you been up to all these years since the debut? Was it a need to stop and think or mainly holding a no pressure kind of policy as a band?

Well, the long break was mainly due to the line-up. The previous guitarist had to leave the band for personal reasons and finding a replacement was not easy at all, so in the meantime I decided to learn the guitar both self-taught and with lessons, so I began to write melodies that developed in the new Sirrush material.

Your full-length debut album, "Molon Labe", sets a surrounding that takes a different angle, in contrast to the happenings on "The Era of Išhtar". This time around, you go forward with Ancient Greece and its conquests in the Eastern part of the globe, setting the stage against the Persians. For you, is it a form of continuance of the previous EP or something else entirely?

The choice of the theme of Molon Labe came from a strong inspiration due to my interest in the Persian war, where through sources and books, above all, 'Gates of Fire' by Stephen Pressfield I was amazed by this story that I decided to write about it in the new Sirrush work. I don't mind the idea of telling important historical events under the key to our music.

One thing that I noticed was you took the role of the historian, other than the anti-religious protester. This is a change of mindset. Do you think that for the concept of "Molon Labe", it was a necessity, even if on a temporary basis?

On "The era of Ishtar" there was still the anti-Christian influence but linked above all as a protest to ''false laws'' and a little bit to my attraction towards that darker and demonic world so to speak, but over time it was abandoned due to the increasing interest towards historical events.

The translation presented for "Molon Labe" is "Come And Take". From my point of view, it is like "come and get me", but with "if you can". That saying, serving as the album's title, who said it, was it the Persian that were welcoming the fight to them or rather the commanding forces of the Greek army, who's vanity told them that they can do whatever they like and take whatever they like?

When King Leonidas presented himself with his army before the gigantic Persian army, King Xerxes sent a messenger to report to Leonidas that if he laid down his arms in submission his and Spartan's life would be spared, but he answered "Come and get them!" as a sign of defiance. This answer is also a motivating motto for many people today, especially for the Greeks.

Looking towards our present, in relation to "Molon Labe", is there an analogy that you can make for the concept of the album with our current state of affairs in the world as we know it?

Molon Labe is an answer to a threatening question that goes against the natural principles of a man or his freedom, and therefore I believe that it can be very well applied to every aspect of life and modern times in the field of injustices.

When it comes to morality, even though there is no real moral code in war or conquest, through your historical view of things on "Molon Labe", is there something to learn here that might make us better people in terms of understanding and making conclusions?

I'm a fan of war or want to promote it, but Leonidas knew it would end badly for him from his first day in Thermopylae, but he wanted to leave a message not only for Greece, but for the whole world. Freedom can be defended and obtained even with a few men fighting for this hope, and he confirmed all this by holding up for almost 3 days the innumerable Persians with a few men.

I understand that you painted the artwork for "Molon Labe". That is an amazing work, and it raises several questions. First, what was your inspiration to create it? Second, please explain about the characters, in particular the woman standing a float of the Greek soldiers?

I work in the world of sculpture and I rarely paint, in fact this is my first complete painting ever done, and I did it because I felt a very deep bond with this album and I wanted the artwork to come out of my veins even if not perfect. It was the vision I had for the journey of these soldiers traveling towards freedom, which in this case is represented by Athena showing them the path to follow.

Fusions aren't easy to create, and that is a fact in music. When it comes to "Molon Labe", I could find a balance between swift aggression and an enchanting atmosphere. The latter didn't have to be with a full orchestration or anything, mainly keyboards, but with enough to maintain the scenery. The aggressive end is tight, strong as it can be and foreboding. How can you describe the musical progress going on through the album?

This style that ranges between violent and melodic riffs has always been present in Sirrush, even in the first EP, and it is a side I wanted to keep because I like it a lot. On Molon Labe we managed to accompany the various phases of the story under the intensity of the notes, for example, in moments of battle melee we use violent riffs or more melodic riffs in the most epic moments or reflections within the stories, as if they were soundtracks of the scenes.

In terms of what makes Sirrush unique through "Molon Labe", other than creating a story that has historical values, in light of the many albums, providing the same kind of fusion between Black and Death Metal, what makes you look different in the horizon?

We will always try to keep this style because we love this aggressive riffing and melody in our music equally, besides the fact that it is our way of composing, they come out automatically, and it is nice that our creative process can flow freely.

Another challenge for bands is finding cohesion between lyrics and music. With "Molon Labe" being a concept album, and your music taking on an aggressive mode, at least most of the time, how were you able to channel the events of the story through the music in a way that the former would be represented properly?

We imagined that our music should act as a soundtrack to the whole story of the Thermopylae developed throughout the album.

The song structures on "Molon Labe" are diverse, as expected from twists and turns of the state of events, what can you tell about the writing, and arrangements of the material to become these stimulating songs?

I think it's my way of composing! I'm the one who usually changes passages of riffs not keeping them too linear and static, so it wasn't planned.

Marco Mastrobuono, along with the amazing drum recording efforts of Davide Billia, engineered "Molon Labe" to sound like a mixture of old school and modern based extreme Metal album. What is your take on the work done on the album and does this sound represent your ideals for how Sirrush should sound overall?

Well, we are very satisfied with Marco's work, even if working remotely was not easy at all. The more modern sound was our choice, and I think we will try to make it cleaner and more accurate in future works. Davide Billia is a war machine, and he was also quite inventive, because we told him we wanted a classic black metal drum set, but with his death metal style! And we were really satisfied!!

I believe that one of the songs that characterizes your musical efforts to the higher extents is "With Your Shield ...or on It". Whether its melodic aspects, brutal aggressive manner and the general created atmosphere, it works like a charm. Through this song your identity is revealed nearly to the fullest. What can you tell about the creative process of this track? How does it stand out in the record?

I am very attached to this track as it was one of the first ones, I was trying to develop during my guitar studies, as well as featuring riffs that Adranor ("The era of Ishtar" composer and current bassist) was working on before leaving the band, so this piece is very important to me because it marks the transition between the old and new Sirrush.

Creating a concept album is a challenge, may it be tough or less, which of the songs, other than the mentioned, were a challenge to you while working on them?

More than the music it was more difficult to be able to reconstruct the story to tell in the form of lyrics for the tracks, it wasn't easy at all, especially for "With your shield...or on it'' I recall. I took the right amount of time to make everything fit together without haste.

Looking forward to the live schedule for 2023, when and where do you intend to support the new album?

We have been taken in some foreign festivals and this has made us very proud. We can't wait to play in those countries since we are Italian, because I believe that this metal world works much better there.

Lorenzo, it was amazing to have you for this chat about "Molon Labe" and Sirrush, I thank you for time. Please continue with your strong efforts on making great extreme Metal. All the best,

It was a pleasure and an honor to speak with you Lior, and I thank you for that, I will try to bring new music and may the inspiring muse assist me in this journey!

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