One of America’s finest exponents of Swedish death metal, The Absence, continue to break new ground. In another rushonrock exclusive, Calum Robson caught up with guitarist Patrick Pintavalle.

rushonrock: First of all, I have to ask about your band name.  Who devised it?  And what does it refer to?

Patrick Pintavalle:  Our original drummer came up with it. It doesn’t mean anything or refer to anything. We just thought it was a cool name and it didn’t limit us if we wanted to play any kind of music we wanted.

rushonrock: How did The Absence come about?

PP: Jamie and I started the band back in 2003 with hopes of playing catchy melodic metal. We always knew we had a purpose to play music and we just followed through with it. We went through the correct lineup changes in order to get the right people who had the same ambitions.

rushonrock: Obviously you come from a place with a huge death metal scene.  You may follow suit in the brutality of your sound, but what do you think separates The Absence from other Florida ‘death’ bands?

PP: I would say definitely melody. I think we are more influenced by classic rock and roll and American song writers, but we aren’t really influenced by the American metal bands. They are a few who have definitely influenced us in our early years such as Metallica and others but as far as death metal goes, most of the  American death metal bands don’t really do it for us anymore.

rushonrock: We heard that you dig some of  the acts making waves on the Scandinavian scene. Are there any in particular that impress you at the minute?

PP: Right now I’m really into the latest Katatonia record and I am a huge fan of Opeth. I like anything that has good musicians and good song writing. I’m not a fan of a lot of the popular metal or heavy bands that have been getting most of the industry’s attention. It’s not because they are popular it’s because they are not good in my opinion.

rushonrock: What inspires The Absence?

PP: Mostly bad things inspire us. Music inspires us but bad times in our lives give us that drive to be better and the hope for success. It’s very hard to be in a band and have a family and a job and leave for tour and blah blah etc. etc. Usually when you write a good riff you know it because it’s also your escape from everything when you play it.

rushonrock: Lyrically, what themes are you dealing with in Enemy Unbound?

PP: The music industry is the main focus of the record. We talk about the promoters, booking agents, record labels and other fiends that are ruining the music. We aren’t kidding ourselves. We know that it’s business but there are better ways of doing business. We also talk about other subjects that relate to the music industry.

rushonrock: At the end of the last album, there was an eight minute silence before a hidden outro track plays, and on the album before that there was a similar silence in the final track. Why is it you do this?

PP: To be honest it’s just a secret track. There’s no reason other than we have always loved when the listener thinks it’s over and they are lying in bed and another song sneaks up on them.

rushonrock: How is Justin Reynolds doing?  It must have been tough having to leave him behind for live dates but I guess the show must go on, right?

PP: He’s alright now. And yes, the show must go on. Jeramie is back in the band now and we are ready to start writing the next record.

rushonrock: Do you see yourselves touring the UK or Europe in the future?

PP: We can only hope to cross the Pond. We feel we would do very well in Europe considering our style is influenced by European bands. If you like heavy metal and you like guitar leads and just good old fashioned songwriting then you will like The Absence. That goes for anyone, anywhere.