2003-03-11 Heimdall

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"The Almighty” heißt das aktuelle Album der italienischen Power-Metaller HEIMDALL, benannt nach einem nordischen Gott. "Allmächtiger" dachte sich auch Gitarrist Fabio Calluori, nachdem er sich im Rahmen der Grippewelle mächtig einen aufgesackt hatte. Hinderte ihn aber nicht am (englischen) Interview.InterviewIntroduction!

In 1994 my brother Nicolas (drummer) and I decided to play music that we love and, so, to give life a heavy metal band. After some changes of line-up, the bass player Giovanni Canu, the guitarist Carmelo Claps and the singer Claudio Gallo joined the band. With this line-up, we recorded a demo in 1997 that received great reviews by the specialized press and gave it the opportunity to sign a record-deal with Elevate Records. In May 1998 we recorded ”Lord of the Sky”, our first album. It is a concept-album based on the story of the Nordic god, Heimdall. ”Lord of the Sky” had immediately a great success from the public and from the press. Besides, it was licensed and published by Dreamchaser in Japan. In the meanwhile, Sergio Duccilli (keyboards) joined the band, giving a more symphonic and majestic aspect to our sound. At the beginning of ‘99, Nicola left us for personal problems and Ottavio Amato became the new drummer. With him, we went on tour together with Labyrinth and we completed the songs for the second album ”The Temple of Theil”. It was published by Elevate Records in Europe and by Dreamchaser in Japan. ”The Temple of Theil” received very good responses but after some months from its publication, there were some problems inside the band between Claudio Gallo, our ex-singer, and other members of Heimdall, that had begun during the recording sessions of ”The Temple of Theil”. The situation didn’t solve and got worse so, at the end, Claudio decided to leave the band. The period that followed this split was very difficult. The album had been just published and we cannot play live. It was a very frustrating situation. We checked many singers but no one revealed to be the right person until we met Giacomo Mercaldo. He is technically a very good singer but also he has a powerful and warm voice which is perfect for our music…surely what we need! With him, we completed the songs for the new album, titled ‘The Almighty’. The new album has just published in Japan in July - where it has already had very good responses from the press and from the fans - and will be out in the rest of the world in a week for Scarlet Records. Besides ”The Almighty” sees the return of Nicola on drums who has given again more power and energy to our sound.

Sound! Describe it.

”The Almighty” is a very various album, where you can find powerful-speed songs, heavy metal mid-tempos and more melancholic episodes. The melodies are epic and majestic but at the same time you can hear a sense of melancholy through them, probably due to the difficult period that we live as a band. The first song ”The Calling” introduced by a short keyboard-prelude, is one of the most powerful and speed episodes of ”The Almighty”. From the beginning, we understood that ”The Calling” was perfect to introduce the album. It’s a very epic song characterized by majestic melodies. ”The Search” is another powerful speed-song characterized by epic choruses and very majestic moments…probably the most symphonic track of ”The Almighty”. In the middle part, you can hear an opera singer - Paola Santucci - performing together Giacomo, creating a very evocative atmosphere, rich of pathos. ”Eternal Race” is a powerful mid-tempo, with a very melodic and catchy refrain! In ”Godhall” epic atmospheres, acoustic guitars, majestic choruses and classic heavy metal riffs blend giving life to one of the most emotional and epic episodes of ”The Almighty! ”Wanderer”, the last song that we composed before entering the studio and starting the recording sessions, is a metal song where you can find speed elements and powerful heavy metal riffs. The refrain is very majestic and melancholic. ”Return to the Fatherland” is a various song but, at the same time, direct with a very epic chorus. ”Last Journey” is a true metal riding! A power symphonic track, rich of evocative atmospheres and melodies that blend with the energy of ’80 heavy metal. ”Beyond” is a linear and incisive mid-tempo…together with ”Eternal Race” the song with the most melodic refrain. ”Symit” is the final track of the album: an acoustic melancholic ballad with a medieval atmosphere. I’m very bound to the music and the lyric of this song…surely one of the most emotional moment of the album.

These emotions we can find in your lyrics?

”Lord of the Sky” was a concept about the Nordic myth and the god Heimdall, from his birth to the final war - the twilight of the gods - and his death. In ”The Temple of Theil”, instead, we created a mythological and fantastic story, based on the deeds of two warriors, Sidgar and Iselin. ”The Almighty” is different. Each song has an own story even if the lyrics are linked by some common subjects. They are about the journey, often, towards something impossible to reach and seen through different experiences such as dream, death, art, love, war, glory, immortality. In ”The Calling” the epic melodies follow a lyric that talks about the journey towards the glory and freedom in the battle. It is inspired by those men who, during the history, have been able to lead their armies to fight in the name of what they believe in, even in the darkest times. In ”Return to the Fatherland”, a warrior goes back to his land after many journeys and many battles, but he discovers that it has been destroyed…in spite of this, he can still feel the power and the ancient grandeur of these places that will never die. In the lyric of ”Eternal Race”, the human existence is compared to a frenetic and melancholic race towards someone or something that appears always distant, a race where we often feel alone. What we do, what we create arises from a lack and from the wish to fill this gap. Art can be the only way to feel nearer what we search for. The main character of ”Symit” creates to live again a very single and deep moment, even if he realizes that the words cannot give back what he previously lived. Sometimes the impossibility to reach what we want transforms this frenetic race in immobility or wait for something. In ”Godhall”, an old pilgrim remembers his life, spent travelling and roaming in search of a noble and magic land. But only now that his power is fading away and his dreams and his hopes left him, he feels this land nearer.. In ”Beyond”, the main character is a semi-god. He has the power to make his creations live but, at the same time, he is a man and so destined to die. He would like to reach the world of the gods but he cannot so he feels immobile, imprisoned in this condition of suspension, condemned to roam in the ”land of no one”. This time also there are some links with legends or mythologies. ”Last Journey” is inspired by the story of the god Baldr, one of the most tragic figures of the Nordic Myth, who sees in his dreams his sad destiny of death. ”The Search” is inspired by the myth of the Grail. It talks about a knight who is destined to search for it. His life has an only aim: find the holy object and sees his mystery. When he discovers it, he dies.

Something about your image? Are you "true-metal-fighters”?

Our image is very simple, usually we wear in black. I think that it’s the best colour for our songs and it expresses the musical and lyrical aspect of the album and of our music in general: a journey inside ourselves.

What do you think about the ”war” between power-metal-fans and fans of black-metal for example?

I’m 27, I work, I listen to heavy metal - I like both power and black - and I play the music that I love…I don’t have time to think about this things. For me there is no ”war” and everyone can do and listened to the music who wants. I have read somewhere about an assault on the Hammerfall singer but I didn’t know that it was caused by some people who listen to black metal…I think that it’s simply absurd!

Back to music. Tell me something about the process of producing.

The recording sessions lasted about 1 month and half. We recorded the album between January and March at the Zappingsound Studio in Salerno, Italy. The producer is Salvatore Salierno. With ”The Almighty” for the first time we chose to record the songs in a studio closer to the place where we live, while we recorded our previous albums in Rome. So the atmosphere, during the recording sessions, was more relaxing than the other times, and I think that you can hear it in our new songs. In studio many singular situations happened during the break-time but nothing particularly funny…we worked very hard for the album!

How do you estimate the reactions concerning your previous two (did i count right?) albums (fans, journalistes, sales etc.)? And which chances are there for the future and the new CD? Because there are so many power-metal-bands. And: Do you see something like a sell-out?

The reactions to our two (you are alright!!) previous albums were great! ”Lord of the Sky”, our first cd, had enthusiastic reviews. It was album of the month on many magazines and, above all, the sells were very good. This response gave us the opportunity to play in some festivals and to take part to a tour together with Labyrinth. The reaction to ”The Temple of Theil” was enthusiastic, too, but unluckily we lost our singer after his publication and so we couldn’t play live to support the album. In spite of this, the results, both from fans and press, were very good! Our third album arrives after a stop of almost three years for different reasons like the change of the singer and the label, so we have to recover this time of absence. Sincerely I love ”The Almighty”; I think that it has very good heavy metal songs and that it’s a very personal album even if I’m afraid that some magazines will treat us in a negative way after a fast listening because they will have to give more importance to the creations of the market!
I don’t know because there are so many power-metal-bands, we started in 1994 when there weren’t so many. The reasons could be two. Many people love this type of metal so many of them want to play it. The second could be that many labels ask their bands to sound power to have more attention and to sell many more copies and this can explain in part because many prog-groups become more similar to power bands introducing in their sound epic and symphonic elements. Luckily we haven’t had this problem because we have always played this type of music!

What about touring?

In these days we are programming some gigs in Italy and probably we’ll do an Italian tour during the autumn. As regards an European tour now there is nothing sure. Of course, it’s very important to wait for the commercial result of the album. If they are good probably we’ll have the possibility to play also in the rest of Europe.

Where do you come from exactly? What about your local scene and the metal scene in Italy in general?

We come from Salerno, a city in the south of Italy along the sea, 50 km from Naples. As regards the scene in our city there are no more things to tell about because there are very few metal bands and we don’t have many places where we can play live. As regards the Italian metal scene there are good bands like Labyrinth and Rhapsody even if sincerely I don’t follow very much the new metal bands.

What means Italy for you? And what about things, that I am thinking of, when I think of Italy: football without goals, pasta, fiat, mafia, all that stuff and many, many power-true-metal-bands? ;-) Describe your native country.

Thinking about Italy the first words that come in my mind are art, culture, beautiful landscapes, intelligence, fantasy, beautiful girls, good food and wine, sense of melody, ”warmth”, and…of course…Heimdall!!

Tell me something about your private life? What about the members‘ jobs, hobbies, feel free to write...

Giovanni (bass) studies at the university. Giacomo (singer) studies too and he is at the conservatory. Carmelo (guitar) teaches guitar and plays as session in an orchestra. Sergio is inscribed at the university but in fact he just plays! My brother Nicolas (drums) and I work as employees in a factory that produces windshields for cars and buses!!! It’s a good job but sometimes it’s not so easy to conciliate this work with my musical activity. It can be very stressing! Do you want to know about my hobbies…ok when I don’t work or I don’t play with Heimdall…I listened to music, I write lyrics or… I play and record music on my computer…I love to produce music and in fact I’m building a recording-studio! Music is my life even if sometimes I like reading or playing football with my friends. Ok I’m not a champion but I amuse myself very much!

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