REPRISAL started out in september ‘96 from the ashes of a band called Statement, which just released a pretty good demo the year before. Because of that we already had a deal with Cycle Records to record for a split 7” with a band from Parma called Greed. Both me (Riccardo-guitar) and Alex Massa (the singer) were in that band. So we decided to call it quit and move on to a new project mostly because of a band-member who was slowly losing any dignity by falling into fascists behaviours. And the same was with the drummer who followed him into a grindcore project that only lasted for less than 4 months! As for the bass player, he started to skateboard full time manifesting his low interest in playing bass with us. Both me and Alex, the sole survivors of Statement, were pretty tired of the typical ‘hardcore mainstream jocks’ interested only in good music but totally lacking attitude. We wanted to built a new band with a strong and committed Straight Edge message. At the time we had a friend called O’hara (his name is Enrico, but his surname is Rossella, you guess why…) who just bought a bass, and short after that we casually met at the Brother’s Keepers show another guy named Raffaele, who played drums and lived in Cesena, only 3O kms far from our hometown. With this line-up we started the first outspoken 100% Straight Edge band of the whole Romagna region, the name is REPRISAL.
While we were waiting to record a couple of songs for the split 7” on Cycle records, Andrea Gatta entered the band as a second guitarist, and O’hara, due to school’s troubles (or that’s what he told us…) decided to call it quit. So we entered the studio to record our first two song with the following line-up: Riccardo-guitar, Alex-voice, Raffaele-drums and Gatta-guitar (he plays bass on those recordings). It was january ‘97.
The 7” was not out yet that Gatta left the band because of personal problems and was out of time to dedicate to the band (troubles with his girlfriend, I suppose…), so we got in touch with this guy called Andrea Alberghini from a little town (Boncellino, just 600 inhabitants) 25km from Forli (our hometown) who used to sang for a now split-up kind-of-HC band named Dungeon Of Soul. He bought O’hara’s instruments and proudly joined the band.
We had our memorable first show at Valtorto in Ravenna. Pure Straight Edge anger. The music was extreme death-metal and because of that we received the first criticism from the local scene, due to their envy and blindness, or most probably it was only the just reaction to out militant attitude, the fight begun.
The Greed/REPRISAL split 7” was finally out and we all were quite satisfied of the good quality of the bands and of the good distribution of the Cycle Collective. The split 7” sold out in less than a year. It was summer ‘97.
Raffaele (drums) got a bit tired of his situation, doing all the way to come down to Forli, everytime countless trains and buses just to practise. But there was not any other solution since there were no rooms where to play in his hometown. So according with us he asked Para Massimiliano, a guy who used to play guitar in the other Raffaele’s band Realize, to join the band as 2nd guitarist, so they could have came down together with Para’s car, and a 2nd guitar it’s always better than just one.
The Cycle Collective asked us about recording for a full length CD, so we started to work out things to put out brandnew songs. During that period we lost some chances to play around Italy because of Raffaele and Para, they were not really involved in the band’s ethics and worst of all, they were not so down with the whole animal rights lifestyle that began to play a relevant role in our attitude. We played Roma the 13th december ‘97 and
it was the first time that we got a really good crowd reaction, you sure know what I mean: violent dancing, stagedives, windmills and all that stuff. Seeing people go ape it’s always a good satisfaction for those playing. As things started to grow more seriously time came for Para to call it quit. His not real interest in the band was pretty evident to us all. Commitment demands dedication, and obviously REPRISAL weren’t a priority for him. Longo (who was playin’ guitar for Dungeon Of Soul near to the break up at that time) joined us to replace where Para left off. We played in Firenze after only a few weeks, and the response was super, not many people attending the show but it went ok with lots of singalongs and pile-ons. I even risked to have my guitar breaked!
Some shows went good other less, until we recorded our CD in may/june ‘98 with the following line up: Alex-voice, Andrea-bass, Raffaele-drums, Marco and me on guitars. But I was the one who recorded all the guitars tracks.
It was supposed to came out on Cycle Records but things didn’t worked out because not everyone at the Cycle Collective agreed with our music and attitude. I don’t know exactly how they were feeling toward us, but Stefano was telling us all the time that we were a good enough band to try to get a deal with a bigger label than it’s own. We still hadn’t a chance to ask anyone when a day Gabriele (the drummer for Absence) called me up to tell that a label from germany called Voice Of Life was interested to put out our CD. So we got in touch with those german guys. Frank, the one doing the label, was into putting out a 7” and a CD split with two other german bands, but we already had the recordings for a full lenght ready.
The 1st august ‘98 we played in Ravenna with 25 ta Life and Racial Abuse.
We finally met with Frank and Max of Voice Of Life at the Vort’n Viz festival in Ieper (Belgium) in the summer of ‘98. In the meantime the two german bands we were supposed to do the split with both broke up, and Frank fell in love with our sound so we shook hands and the CD release went planned.
It came out in november ‘98 with the title “Where Heavy Gloom Dominate”.
The months following a little european tour was booked, with gigs along with One Fine Day, Arkangel, Birthright, As Friends Rust, Purusam and tons of other cool bands, included the 31 december ‘98 super festival in Kortrijk, it was a dream coming true!
25 december ‘98: the harsh wake up! Unfortunately we had a quarrel with our drummer just few days before leaving and the day right before our first show he called andrea up telling that he was no longer interested to play in REPRISAL and therefore that he wouldn’t come on tour with us!!! Raffaele was the only one still eating meat in the band and because of its presence we always had a problem with the lyrics; you can’t speak of veganism with a meat eaters playing drums, uh? It was a pretty bad situation, when you have someone putting you out, always creating troubles and putting you in a bad light. Remember, it’s all about priorities! It’s all about what you put in the first place. So when he came up for the next time with his bullshit – ” you’re all vegan, we’ll be guests of vegan guys only, what I’m going to eat?” Alex ( the most hot-blooded/ ill-mannered of us ) couldn’t handle that anymore and exploded .
The tour was cancelled at the very last moment, and all our efforts and programs were vanified, all the free days from work wasted, everything fucked up for the joy of some morons in the fake Ravenna scene, envy kills.
We were near our last day and both me and Andrea were seriously thinking to leave our area for a place where the scene was bigger. So we made our decisions: ‘REPRISAL has to be a l00% Vegan Straight Edge band or things aren’t worth to continue’.
We started to look for a new drummer, we asked Pedro (the singer of Sentence) but he was too busy with his band, but he had a friend who was interested to play drums for us, Giacomo the name. He already had his own band and also parish church activities, so as you can easily imagine he only lasted a couple of practices.
Then Longo called it quit because of personal problems and the whole band was falling to pieces, we were desperated, a dark identity crisis was over our heads. This happened only three month ago. (2/99)
At last we found this guy called Francesco, he is Vegan and Straight Edge and actually he is studying more-in-depth drumming. He is technical but plays like a grizzlie-bear, he really hits hard and it’s not uncommon for him to break the sticks while playing!
NOW REPRISAL IS A 100% PRO-LIFE VEGAN STRAIGHTEDGE BAND. WE DON’T PLAY ANYMORE OUR OLD SONGS, BECAUSE WE’RE A LITTLE EVOLVING OUR STYLE.
we’re workin’ hard to be able to do a full set on stage,but read my lips “when we’ll come out again…you’ll ear of us”.
It seems that we’ll never have a solid line-up, Alex our singer and the one who built with me the band , due to a big lack of passion to dedicate for the band was replaced with Enrico , a guy who sung for a wanna-be-hc band…he’s a spirit filled hc VxSxE guy, he’s what we were searching of : someone who put the band first.
TO BE CONTINUED…
when Enrico joined the band (late summer 99) i remember it was a big push forward as he was a long time fan of the band and couldn’t believe to part of it, we all were stoked to have so much energy from every single member and not just Ric & Andy taking care of everything as it used to be.
In october we did our first mini tour, the first show with this line up was in italy the other shows were in belgium, switzerland and germany … trust me, it takes some courage and some crazyness to do such a move, people was asking us the old “where heavy gloom dominate” songs but we were playing the new songs only…the reaction was good thought.
At the GOODLIFE Recordings ‘99-2000 New Years Party we played as 2nd band (9 pm) and we made all the crowd move and everyone noticed us for the first time, Ed GL told us to send him some stuff, we had no recording of the new stuff, he asked for a live tape or something…we got pleased of the interesting but some of us thought that was better to hold the old deal with Voice of Life.
We entered the Fear rec studios in january 2000 with a verbal agreement with Voice of life rec, they said some things that didn’t happened at the end of the recording so we asked GoodLife rec if they were intrested in our band, they said to send the recording and if they liked they would release it.
We felt like not keeping our word to our friend Frank from Voice of life rec, but we had to have our recordings paid (we all were young and broke as fuck) and not to mention that back then GLR was on of the the main hc labels at worlwide level.
We knew there was something special happening while we were recording, we had some troubles at the beginning with the drum recording, …much of it has been hardly edited even if Francesco was 100% able to play those tunes (who saw us live can remember what a drummer he was), i was kind of obsessed by my guitar sound and i remember my hard work and my settings has been a turning point for many bands here.
The GoodLife team liked the record and unbelievale : has been released in just 2 weeks !
We started playing a lot of shows, always gaining more and more friends into our music… i remember it as one of the best times of my life.
I will never forget the show we did at the Rock planet in Pinarella di Cervia supporting Shelter, that show has been so good, …and i realized that night that we were like a stone running down a hill : it takes some work to push it down but once it’s going …there’s no way to stop it.
As we gained friends all over europe we had also a lot of shit from local people who thought that we didn’t deserve as much… like a deal with GLr and touring all over…we were young and maybe we were too much into xREPRISALx, i’m not saying that we were acting like assholes, we were just so proud of being one of the main bands around after years of eating shit.
Time passed by and we got less and less metal influencies, more HC, more beat down stuff… we started composing blending many things in our new songs.
Our record was everywhere and in august ‘01 for the 1st time we toured Japan very successfully: with 3 shows only we got plane tickets paid and extra cash… unbelievable : thanks to Statecraft, and Bill Muir for those great memories. It would takes hours to put into words what that tour meant to us…we were 4 kids living a dream.
In october 01 we entered the Fear studios to rec “Mail order knife set”,and totally unespected we had a show near our hometowns with Integrity, we asked Dwid and Micha if they wanted to jam with us and the day after the show we recorded “the Soulgate” incredible noisy tune we did all together, we really appreciated the guys for waking up after the hard party of the night before.
We had the feeling that GLr wasn’t behind us anymore, people spreading gossip of REPRISAL not being the band known for their bonecrushing metalcore riffs anymore… so many unsaid things between us and the label ruined things quite a bit, they believed we became more pop or rockish or whatnot…
When they had the recordings everyone had to shut up as they really enjoyed it, Ed himself told us of being positively surprised of the final result and that he couldn’t be happier BUT due to the fact they liked the record they refused our artwork for the cd saying that it was unappropriate…too much emo style and not looking aggressive, we didn’t look like the VSE warriors we always looked like and blah blah blah they wanted a cliché that we didn’t want to carry anymore.
The time for 7 songs in a row talking of animal rights was gone, we were still VSE but that wasn’t not our only concern for the band,…we were not anymore intrested in fooling people thinking that we were activists…i remember we had some talk about our old lirycs, if you read that you may think we were activists while we were just VSE kids with ideals of rebellion, some of us were into demos or activities but we thought that it was so stupid to let people think we were something we were not. Every single show we were talking with people about veganism and earth defense, on and off stage, i’m so proud when i hear kids saying that we were the band that opened or cleared their view about this, it makes me feel like we accomplished something if some people turned vegan or straightedge because of us, but with time we started to preach less.
All this crap about the artwork not militant delayed the release of “mailorder knife set” and pissed us off so much,…we had our faults for being late but we thought that their censorship to our rec was just unfair.
They forced us the black cover for the vinyl release of “mailorder knife set” and hided OUR OWN cover with a little different black cover on the cd version… all this floored our spirit and the trust in the label.
December 01 we leave for the Euro tour, 22 shows in 22 days, no roadie no merch guy, the weather was crazy especially in east germany where we were very popular.
Right after the tour Enrico didn’t come to practices for 2 months straight, he was terribly loosing ground with his studies and in early spring ‘02 he lef the band, i think it was something he was thinking from times before his departure, we didn’t take it positively.
We had some talking about quitting the band or not, we decided to go on but it was literally impossible to find a VSE singer able to have such a busy live schedule…like playing around every month, everyone here was into the band but couldn’t afford our touring.
Francesco Ristori from Florence joined the band, he lives 100km far from here so problems concerning practises came out, he had a better voice maybe compared to Enrico but he never kinda fit the role…
We bought a van and we left for a euro tour in june ‘02, in Spain near Bilbao our 2nd hand van broke up…we had to cancel so many shows, we were economically screwed, stuck in spain : the situation was horrible and we started arguing or better some unhappy situations took place, i see that time as the beginning of the end.
August 02, second tour in japan, 8 shows, still 8 nights carved in our hearts…but i remember me and andy sitting on the Shinkansen in the middle of an exciting and successfull tour, in a place were most of the kids of my age could only dream about looking at him and say :” it will come a day when we will get used to all this…”
Sad but true.
The chemistry between us was a little bit rusted but on stage we were a killer machine, some of the most energetic shows came out with this line up, Francesco was more friendly than Enrico and this was appreciated…we all kind of started being more easygoing i guess.
September ‘02, Andy leaves the band and this has been another big shock for REPRISAL especially for me as it has always been me and him, we were the brain of the band, the arm of the band,…but he was not into the HC anymore, and the bad chemistry turned for worst.
We found ourself into the same problem, who could hold bass guitar in REPRISAL? We needed a 100% member and we found in in Luca from Milan (370km from us!!!) he came from the old school scene so he had some hard times standing me yelling at him to learn songs fast! …we became great friends.
The line up was everything but solid, we toured Japan in may ‘03 and trust me i didn’t want to leave just because of the bad chemistry with some members… touring with my band, my life, my dream, became my nightmare…i started reconsidering my life, i felt like all my efforts were wasted by others, and others were thinkin my tyrant behaviour was unacceptable.