|Also known as||SF|
|Genres||Neofolk, experimental rock, neotango, acoustic, folk noir, dark cabaret, neoclassical, symphonic rock, post-punk, electronica, post-rock, Italian progressive, martial industrial, swing revival|
|Years active||1999 - Present|
|Labels||Trisol, Cold Meat Industry, Old Europa Cafe, HauRuck!, SPQR, Misty Circles, Runes & Men, Oktagön|
|Members||Simone "Hellvis" Salvatori
Giorgio Maria Condemi
|Past members||Sten Puri
Piergiorgio "PJ" Ambrosi
Spiritual Front is a five-part neofolk act from Rome. Its members describe their music as "nihilist suicide pop", although elements of neoclassical and rock music, melancholic folk, as well as tango are prevalent, along with a recurring experimental feel. The group's work has been described as crossing a wide variety of genres and musical styles or traditions, and the band itself is considered[by whom?] highly unique among the modern neofolk and post-industrial scenes in Europe. The ingenuity and constructiveness of Spiritual Front's songs have gained them somewhat of a cult following since their formation in the late 1990s.
The band originated in 1999 as a project fronted by Simone "Hellvis" Salvatori, a guitarist and singer from Italy. They have since worked extensively —both solo and with several other neofolk projects— on their musical output. The group has performed subsequent tours throughout Europe.
Spiritual Front's so-called "Mafia-Folk" has been in release since 1999, in which time Simone Salvatori, the lyricist and conceptualist behind the band, has been known to create a unique feel within their traditionally folk style. Their most noticeable recurring output is Simone's charismatic playing of the acoustic guitar, along with martial drum beats characteristic of the neofolk genre, art rock and new wave influences and heavily decadent musical styles. Slow, dissonant and often melancholic vocals are often contrasted with cabaret-like, somewhat comedic pieces reminiscent of swing revival and neotango sound, bringing on a vast dichotomy in the musical output of the band. Emotional piano chords are also frequently featured, with occasional violin playing and solos as well as the utilization of a number of different instruments including synthesizers, lutes and pipe organs.
Over time the group's style has constantly and quickly changed: beginning with the dark ballads of the earliest years after their formation (as is present in such works as Song for the Will and Nihilist Cocktails for Calypso Inferno), through the more refined sentimental dark folk with the E.P. Satyriasis until their latest records such as Armageddon Gigolo and Rotten Roma Casino where classical folk and tango influences are evident. (Members of the Ennio Morricone orchestra were involved.)
The themes of focus in Spiritual Front's music vary and are extensive, though most often seem to be either quite personal or introverted, perhaps to lead singer Salvatori's own life. However lyrics in the group's music tend to be characterized by a type of broken English and some Italian, as well as free-verse type poetic styles influenced by decadent references to various, often obscure subjects. Therefore there is a tangible difficulty in deciphering the analogies behind the individual songs, and whether or not many of Spiritual Front's albums should be placed as concept works.
Patterns can be noted, however, in a great portion of the band's work as is devoted to the topics of love, romance and sexuality. A dichotomization between physical and material topics with open spirituality pervades major tracks, reinforcing the metaphysical aspects of neofolk music. (However a typical sense of heathenry is not so apparent as in many other neofolk groups such as Of the Wand and the Moon or Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio.)
Inspirations and lyrical references
Simone Salvatori, who composes the lyrics and much of the music for the band, quotes in a number of songs phrases from literature and film.
Several songs draw their inspiration from the controversial Italian cult film Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (English: Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom) by Pier Paolo Pasolini. The film is a reinterpretation and pseudo-adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom utilizing elements of Dante's Inferno; both the film and the Marquis's work incorporate sexuality coupled by extreme aggression or a "master-slave" archetype. The quotes include: "The limit of love is that, of needing always an accomplice," and "Nothing is more contagious than sin." (featured in the songs No Kisses On the Mouth and Jesus Died in Las Vegas, respectively.) The band made tribute with a number of other groups to Pasolini, contributing several songs to the 2009 compilation Songs For A Child: A Tribute to Pierre Paolo Pasolini.
The title of the song My Kingdom For A Horse (from the 2006 album Armageddon Gigolo) is taken directly from a famous line in Shakespeare's play Richard III: "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse."
The final track of Armageddon Gigolo, entitled Redemption Or Myself features a background track playing part of The Shangri-Las' Give Us Your Blessings.
- Songs for The Will - (1999)
- Nihilist Cocktails for Calypso Inferno - (2001)
- Armageddon Gigolo - (2006)
- Rotten Roma Casino - (2010)
- Open Wounds - (2013)
- Black Hearts in Black Suits - (2013)
- Twin a Tin Tin Towers - (2002)
- No Kisses on the Mouth - (2003)
- Nihilist EP - (2003)
- Slave/Cruisin'/Ragged Bed - (2007)
- Angel of Ashes: a Tribute to Scott Walker - (2006)
- Songs for a Child: A Tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini - (2009)