Shardana (Black Metal) - Italy

Shardana was formed early in 2008 with the intent of creating a metal band with epic and battling sounds, merging a Heavy Metal sound with Black and Viking ones. Historically speaking, Shardana was the name of the Sardinian pirates who sailed the Mediterranean sea in the second millennium BCE. Their history inspires the songwriting of the band to a large degree, and the lyrics are about the glorious courage and legendary pride of those people who contributed so much to increase the influence of Sardinia at the times of pharaoh Ramses or during the roman empire.

For this reason some of the songs are written in the Sardinian Language, such as: Sa Battalla (The Battle), Sa Sedda ‘e su Diaulu (Devil’s Saddle) and Bardanas (Raids). After a period of rehearsal the band started to play at some of the most important festivals on the island like “Heavy Sands Festival” in Cagliari alongside bands like Mnemic and Kaledon, “Eventi Metallici Fest 2011” with Destruction and Vision Divine and “Solk’n’Roll 2013” with Trick Or Treat and Hour Of Penance. In the middle of 2009 Shardana started recording their first self titled EP, released in March 2010.

After two years of promotional and live activities, the band started to work on their full length album. Mixed by Daniele and mastered by Ettore Rigotti (Disarmonia Mundi), “No Cadena, No Presoni, No Spada, No Lei” (No Chains, No Prisons, No Swords, No Laws) was released on 20 December 2014. In the following years, the band kept working on a new album called "Milli Annos", changing the sound and songwriting adding more black metal influences. "Milli Annos" was recorded, mixed and mastered at Elnor Studio by Mattia Stancioiu (Labyrinth, Vision Divine). They also kept playing live, supporting Marduk and Jinjer at "Rock'n'Bol 2019" Festival.

Enter Summer 2020 and Shardana found a label to release "Milli Annos" in Rafchild Records from Germany. The album was released on October 9th 2020 digitally and on CD, and was well received by press and zines, and following the replacement of Michele by Federico Sala on drums in 2021, the band focused on writing new material.

-Interview- (1/7/23)
1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Shardana" and is there any meaning behind it?

The name Shardana came from a Fabrizio and Daniele idea to form a band with Folk, Thrash, and Black Metal influences. Shardana is the name of one of the "sea people" of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe that lived between 1350 and 1100 BC. They were pirates, mercenaries (at the court of the Pharaoh Ramesses III) and related to Sardinia, our island. We thought that the name would fit properly with the sound we were creating and our first eponymous EP in 2010 represents exactly what we wanted to do. After that, we gradually abandoned folk tunes to embrace a more darker sound, steering to what we call "Epic Black Metal", and that's what we're doing today.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

We hope people just enjoy our music and our lyrics. Take our songs like stories, sometimes are linked together (as our little concept inside our last record, "Milli Annos"), sometimes are a one shot journey. Sometimes we took insipirations by books, movies, historical events and personal experiences. Our lyrics are not just in English, but also in our native language, the Sardinian, that we especially use when we're talking about historical stuff.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

As we said before, simple as that - Epic Black Metal.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

I'm glad you asked just for three bands, it would be a long list otherwise! Primordial, Ulcerate, Gojira

5. How has Covid affected what you do?

Very much, because we had to publish our last record during that time. But we were a bit lucky too, cause we managed to play some live shows between a lockdown and another. The band never stop to work and had the proper time to write the next album.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Black Metal?

We think it's pretty alive, there are so many cool bands around that are pure Black Metal (like Mgla) and they're reaching the top, and some of the old school bands that started it all that are still here publishing new music (you can debate if they're still true or not, but that's another story!)

7. What's the current music scene like there in Italy?

We are located in one of the main island of Italy, Sardinia, that has a very different music scene from the mainland, cause there are only two way to reach Italy and the rest of Europe: by ship or airplane. So it's very hard for "official" bands to come here and play, and very expensive for underground Italian bands, and for us too if you want to travel for a planned tour that someone else can do just by renting a van. On the other hand, we have in Sardinian a very valid Metal, Stoner and Hardcore scene, because even there are not so many venues, there is always a place to play on stage. Big fishes are not in our pond, so...

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

It's good to give the chance to let your music available so easily worldwide, but all these services must grant more royalties. It's not fair, if you also consider that a band have to pay to some third-party service just to ask if can be enlisted in playlists to gather a little more, crumb by crumb. That's very depressing.

9. What’s next for Shardana?

We're almost closing the preproduction of our new record, so we'll start to contact labels very soon for a new deal. Meanwhile, we're planning some live shows in Italy. Be ready!

10. Any shoutouts?

We're very grateful to our friends and our Sardinian Metal/Stoner/HC/Punk community. Thanks to all bands and the people involved, is a good time to play and share the music we all love.