Τετάρτη 29 Αυγούστου 2012

ADRAMELCH interview with Vittorio Ballerio

History of Oblivion...
There are bands with names that echo with full respect among music fans. One of them is ADRAMELCH, one of the most legendary Italian bands. Earlier this year they released their third album "Lights from Oblivion" and singer Vittorio Ballerio joins Crystal Logic and speaks about everything concerning this album, plus many other interesting things from the history of ADRAMELCH.

How do you feel about the new album and which are the first reactions from the fans and press?

We are in a very positive moment Andreas: we know we dared a lot, but we have been rewarded! We worked really hard on this new album (7 years have passed...) but the outcome, from my personal point of view, is stunning. You know, everytime I hear myself or my band on CD I think that we could do something better (as far as execution or arrangements or sound or whatever is concerned...) and this time is no exception... but after all I should say with no modesty (sorry!) that I'm really proud of the final outcome!
And the first reactions are indeed positive! Very good reviews, even better than expected! I mean that since we know how "challenging" is Lights from Oblivion compared with Irae Melanox and Broken History, we knew that some of the "true metallers” was not going to be satisfied with it... But that's life. We only want to make clear that we did only what we wanted, only what we felt!

Once more, it took you many years (7 to be precise) since the last album. What were you doing all this time?

Indeed a too long time, you are right. As already said, we've been working really hard on these songs, rearranging them so many times in order to raise them to their real best possible: An extremely accurate 24tracks pre-production was recorded in our rehearsal... and also the search for the label was such a long walk! Moreover, during these 7 years, we took care of the reissue of Irae Melanox in deluxe special edition. It sounds strange, I see, but the "making of" this re-issue has been an incredibly complex and tough adventure! In the end the result is perfect: 2cds containing Irae Melanox remastered & the 1987 demo also remastered & 2 previously unreleased songs, written in the late 80s but recorded in 2010... it all wrapped in a very accurate graphic, and for the first time ever with the true cover, with its original colours, just like Gianluca, who painted it expressly for this album on 1987, had realized it.

Do your lyrics affect the music approaching of Gianluca?

No, the exact opposite way. Music comes first. You know, I don't want to be misunderstood, words are quite important, but we make MUSIC, we produce cds and what is more important (first of all for ourselves) is the musical side. Lyrics are affected by the music!

From the time of crusades you moved to oblivion. What is the lyrical content and the allegories of Lights from Oblivion?

Lights from Oblivion's lyrics are 90% by Gianluca (I only wrote Truth Lies words). I would say that there is no link at all among the 2 contexts. I had conceived the Broken History lyrics as a political critic to the power and the strategical use of the religious mask... Meanwhile in Lights from Oblivion lyrics are tied in some kind of concept because of their common tone... It tells of the obscure environment we are plunged in. This is a really dark age and of course financial and political issues are the most evident problems but probably its the lack of a cultural mix / ferment that scares more. The Lights are the sparkling flames that sometimes, somewhere seem to be noted... the hope is not dead.

Every album is different than the previous one, but now Lights from Oblivion, sound even more different that Broken History. Which are these differences for you?

Notwithstanding the 17 years in between, and the important changes in the line up, the differencies between Broken History and Irae Melanox are defently less than the ones between BH and Lights from Oblivion (“only” 7 years and same line up). How does it come? As you may know the BH stuff comes straight from the late 80s / early 90s: actually these were songs composed in those far times, ready to be the rest of Irae Melanox but the band disbanded and such songs remained... in stand-by. In 2003 Gianluca told me: “if you write the lyrics we can save these songs from oblivion”... And this was the only reason to re-built the band.
So, during that spring / summer I worked on such concept! (lyrics are affected by the music!)
Lights from Oblivion is totally another story. After the issue of BH we should close the story but one day Gianluca came at the rehearsal and presented to us some very interesting songs, in their very rough status... we were enthusiast! Probably that was the real birth of this Adramelch. That’s why Lights from Oblivion should be considered as our “debut album”: beacuse its music is CONCEPITA, arranged and played by this band... composed by Gianluca but arranged by this band...
Musically speaking the first point probably is that Lights from Oblivion is less heavy than its 2 predecessors and this is because some 25 years are between the old stuff and this album. And hopefully time doesn’t pass in vain.
We think that the common passion for Prog Rock claimed and obtained the room deserved. Since we are fully INTO this album, I like learning from the others how this album sounds like!
So: probably, one of the best definition of this music was given by a reviewer: a metal version of prog rock. But this is also a tricky matter, since another reviwer noted that since songs are on average shorter and some catchy chorus is present well, probably this CD is less prog than our prevuious production! So, where’s the truth? The only truth, perhaps is that “labels” in talking about music are necessary but they are often inadequate to explain, since music is music and so... Let the music do the talking! 

What was the writing and production process for the Lights from Oblivion?

Actually it was a long path. We had to improve a new way of working (starting from the rough structure brought by Gianluca, realizing a teamworking arrangement) in a someway different style… less heavy more progrock (?!)
After having wrote music and words and having arranged and rearranged (I can’t say how many times we passed thru that...) we spent a long time recording our pre-production that was mainly intended to be ready for the real recording sessions: we wanted to fine–tune as much as possible...
It was an accurate job that has been partially published: 4 songs out of 12 are the D side of the Vinyl edition of Lights from Oblivion.
Later on we started the search for the right studio: the winner was the Elfo Studio in Tavernago. A wonderful studio, absolutely perfect for the sound we were looking for (and located in the country, in a wonderful place...) And also we recorded with a different approach since we wanted to let this album sound as fresh and direct as possible…So we recorded the pure rhythm session (drums, bass and rhythm guitar) all together, and solos and vocals were tried many times to use electronic tools as less as possible…
For the Mastering the Mika Jussila’s Finnvox was choosen because of its great experience in both acoustic and more metal stuff (from the incredible Alamailmaan Vasarat to the scandinavian metal....): it was a perfect guarantee.
And the search for the label reached its goal in its birth, I should say! Since Pure Steel was probably the first label who declared its “total” interest in us and in our new CD, and after a long walk checking the possible alternatives, we understood that Pure Steel was the best choice for us: an indie label completely dedicated with great passion to their mission. Pure Prog came later on: it’s their brand new arm, committed to prog! We are their CD nr 1! Could we ask for more?!

I saw you in Keep It True festival buying a Pain Of Salvation CD, so what kind of music are you listening?

Huh! True! And thanks for this nice question, although the answer might sound a bit bewildering!
I might say that the only constant during the last 30 years of listening music is Prog Rock. On my very first jacket (when I was maybe 17) I had RUSH! And I still love them so much! Together with old and new names of progressive like Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson, Flower Kings, Agents of Mercy or Pain of Salvation, (before the Road Salt...) Beside progressive today I listen to a bunch of different musics... from Jazz to some Ethnic, to Rock and Jazz Rock... and also a bit of baroque!

How do you see Irae Melanox after all these years? What do you remember from the early years of the band?

The very early years of the band, the band had no name and played metal covers from the godz of metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Queensryche...). Then came the time of Adramelch, of our own music, a totally different story... it was 1987, actually we are celebrating our 25th anniversary!
Irae Melanox was a great album which today surely shows some sign of his so long life but, seen in its original context I should say it was so ahead compared to the music of those years... in Italy, of course, but not only in Italy... The fame it gained thru the years still wonders me indeed, but I should say that it’s the fame it deserved: Gianluca had composed an incredible mixture of ancient and extremely new that actually had no comparison.

What does the name ADRAMELCH stands for?

It’s the name of of a Bible’s demon. But also of a Phoenician King...  But its roots are plunged in the ancient aramaic: Ad = Lord, Ra = Evil, Melch (or Melech) = King. So the possible transations may give : Lord is the King of Evil or also the King is an Evil Lord... Or?!...

Why did you split after Ira Melanox and what made you reform again?

Well about the reform, as said before, it was the will to save such songs (the Broken History stuff) from Oblivion - About the split... I was the first to abandon the band because of relational problems with Gianluca... Isn’t it curious that Gianluca and myself are the only survivors? I think that the only possible interpretation of this fact is that we were and we are the ones who, for different reasons, are more devoted to Adramelch!

How do you see the Italian Metal scene. For me there are some high class bands, like you, Doomsword, Domine, Dark Quarterer and couple more, but something is missing…

In Italy there are very good bands but there is no room for good music. It’s not just a music business issue, but, unfortunately also a lack of curiosity in the audience... it’s a cultural issue (which of course is deadly worse). There are many new and old progressive bands, playing terrifically (Gran Turismo Veloce and Maxophone just to mention a couple of new and old)… but outside progressive there are so many good bands… our friends Holy Martyr, the incredible Fury and Grace, or the very young but still defently impressive Destrage… And then the Italian Jazz front is defently one of my favourite… but I don’t want to bore you!

Just add one word-sentence in each of the following names:

Gianluca Corona – a Great author. A full artist... that I’ve had the great luck to meet
Black Sabbath – unequaled
Judas Priest – first love
Manowar – sometime time passes in vain
Warlord –  one of the most understimated bands ever
Queensryche – some of the best metal albums ever...
Porcupine Tree – my today’s great passion

So, next year we will see you in Up The Hammers. How did you see Keep It True this year? Did you enjoy the festival? And what should we expect next year, in Greece?

Playing in Germany for us is always a great experience. There, like in Greece, we have great die-hard fans who loves our music! Last time at the KIT, we had some technical problem but it was a minor issue, compared with the feedback we got!
On the 8th of September we will play as co headliners at the Swordbrothers festival, together with the great Steve Grimmet’s Grim Reaper!
The 2007 UTH show in Athens was unbelievable I can’t wait to be there again! The audience was so hot... my remembrance of those days are wonderful and I hope that we will find the same warmth… we know that these are the toughest times for Greece!

Thank you for your time, see you in Up The Hammers, close the interview as you wish.

Thank you very much Andreas for your interest in Adramelch, for the room that you offer us and for your patience!!!
Hey Greek readers see you next March in your wonderful town, I can’t wait to sing for you, once again!

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