TOMMY VITALY – HANGING ROCK

Released 3rd May 2012 on Ice Warrior Records

Second strike from Italian guitarist Tommy Vitaly following up 2010’s rather average Just MeHanging Rock continues the neo-classical power metal tinted theme and sees Tommy team up with a stellar cast including Mats Leven (ex Malmsteen / At Vance), Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz (Evidence One) and Zak Stevens (Savatage) not to mention guest guitar solos from Norifumi Shima (Concerto Moon) and David Shankle (DSG) along with a two keyboard solos from Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell), quite a guest list for sure.  That said you all the guests in the world don’t make an album if the material isn’t up to scratch.

Hanging Rock is for all intents and purposes a better album than its predecessor with a more cohesive direction, yet is still let down massively by a weak production which will really hamper your enjoyment.  You get the impression a rough demo was created and then sent to the pressing plant, it kind of sounds like a budget version of Iron Maiden’s most recent awful Kevin Shirley productions i.e. lacking in power and any bite and polish.  Which is a shame as there is some good tracks here, notably in Run With The Devil, Hands Of Time, Idol and the sweet instrumental Misanthropy.

Overall it is an improvement over its predecessor, yet  sadly still lacking the edge to get it anywhere out of average.  Next time hopefully the production issues will be sorted and we will see a proper representation of Mr Vitaly’s work.

Rating – 68%

TOMMY VITALY – JUST ME

Out now on Ice Warrior Records

Italialian guitarist Tommy Vitaly is perhaps best known for his work with power metal band Seven Gates, yet has stepped out on his own for “Just Me”, a neo-classically inspired slice of metal. Backed up by some impressive names in vocalist Thomas Vikström (Stormwind), drummer Rhino (ex Manowar), bassist Andrea Torricini (ex Vision Divine) and some guest keyboard solos from Vitalij Kuprij (Artension, TSO) and Mistheria (solo, Rob Rock) the omens look good.

Unfortunately the hype suggested by the personnel is never really lived up to. The first thing to hit you is a poor mix which sees clipping on the bass guitar and bass drums and a very narrow sound spectrum. When the guitar is a dominant force like it is in neo-classical metal this has better be good, yet Tommy’s tone lacks harmonic content and depth and is as bland as dry toast.

On the song front vocalist Thomas Vikström screeches his way through the formulaic “Fly High Touch The Sky” which is home to every stock power metal motif in the book and sounds like a bad Helloween cover band truth be told. The other vocal track, “Ready To Die” fares a little better but once again the song writing is generic with a repetitive chorus that never really sells itself and on the whole its nothing special.  The instrumental side of things does fare better with “Storm Of Fire” being Malmsteen-esque in approach and the anthemic “Finally Free” showing off a nice melody. “The Fury” does what it says and is high in energy and showcases that Tommy can play having some nice unison runs with Kuprij.

Overall a fairly average debut, Tommy can play though and hopefully the quality control in production will be higher and the song writing will showcase more originality next time round.

Rating – 60%

IMPELLITTERI – WICKED MAIDEN (ARCHIVE)

Out now on Metal Heaven

Five years have passed since the patchy “Pedal To The Metal” and it would appear during this time guitar whiz Chris Impellitteri has re-evaluated what Impellitteri is all about. So out is the mish-mash of styles of vocalist Curtis Skelton of the last album to be replaced by something long-time fans have been wanting for some time. That’s right vocalist Rob Rock is back in the fold and Chris has gone about bringing the sound back to bands trademark brand of guitar intensive metal. Whilst the albums throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s were all mostly excellent the new album “Wicked Maiden” has an intensity not heard before yet also has all the melodic vocal trademarks and big hooks and even bigger riffs so many metal fans have overlooked. Chris is not simply a shredder, the guy can pen a song too and couple this with an excellent production and all round virtuoso performances from fellow band members James Amelio Pulli on Bass and Glen Sobel on Drums and this is a cracking slice of metal.

The opening trilogy of the title track ‘Wicked Maiden’, ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’ and ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’ are intense, with bone crunching riffs, fast tempos and melting fretwork not to mention pounding drums all topped off with Rock’s vocal wails should see most metal fans banging their heads in euphoric glee, a great opening salvo. The slightly more mid-tempo ‘Garden Of Eden’ brings in a 80’s pop metal style edge with its commercial main riff which is sure to delight fans of mid 80’s Dio with its potent chorus. ‘The Vision’ sees the tempo drop a little for the verses before picking up for the chorus, this transition is a little unorthodox in its how it builds and doesn’t always sit easy to these ears, yet there are enough deft musical touches to keep the listener interested. ‘Eyes Of An Angel’ takes up back to the commercial pomp of the ‘Stand In Line’ album with its bluesy vibe and it delivers a treat, a quite glorious pre-chorus builds nicely into the chorus which would have been all over radio stations 20 years ago, however, whether it will achieve this in the here and now is unlikely, yet with the advent of guitar hero bringing back a whole new crowd to the music styles of yesteryear you never know. Next up is the weakest track of the album ‘Hi-School Revolution’, musically its ok, kinda a bluesy Van Halen style shuffle (think Hot For Teacher), yet the lyrics are a little cheesy for men in their 40’s to be singing about, that said the chorus does have a slight psychedelic edge which the likes of TNT have been trying to pull off lately and failing, Impellitteri do fare a little better but it still is one track that has me reaching for the skip button more often than not. Thankfully things get back on the right track with the highly impressive ‘Wonderful Life’ which sees the tempos back to ‘burn’ and a very intricate musicality in the non-vocal sections with strong guitar and keyboard harmonisation. Vocally Rob is at his best here, and the solo section from Chris is one of the most vicious on the album deliver his trademark speedy runs with some Van Halen-ish bent taps over a chugging groove. ‘Holy Man’ is another stormer mixing fast and slow heavy riffs to perfection; the chorus is one the less obvious on the album with call and response in the vocal department. Final track ‘The Battle Rages On’ (not a cover of the Deep Purple track) has a dark mystic vibe beginning with keyboard and bass before Chris comes in with another sublime riff. Vocally Rob delivers one of his darkest vocals staying in predominantly lower registers which is a nice contrast to his normal higher pitch style. A nice way to end 40 mins of metal.

Overall ‘Wicked Maiden’ is a success, the best of the bands past is mostly here, present and correct and in terms of songwriting is right up there with the best of Impellitteri’s back catalogue. Sonically its one of the best produced metal albums I have heard in some time; yet I would probably rate ‘Eye Of The Hurricane’ as a stronger album all round. That said, it’s a massive improvement over the previous album ‘Pedal To The Metal’ and with a lot of press here in Europe being generated by new label Metal Heaven, along with some slots lined up on European festival dates and a high profile new endorsment with Dean Guitars, it seems 2009 is going to be a very good year for Chris and the boys. Hopefully this album will dissolve the stigma that Impellitteri is nothing more than guitar shred, long terms fans know there was always more to the band than rampant fretwork and ‘Wicked Maiden’ is another album that can only widen the world’s perspective on the band. Do yourselves a favour and pick this album up pronto.
 
Hot Spots : Wicked Maiden, Weapons Of Mass Destruction, Eyes Of An Angel.
Rating : 92%

CHRIS IMPELLITTERI INTERVIEW (ARCHIVE)

Interview conducted 22nd April 2009

Back after a five year absence, Impellitteri have delivered a blistering slice of metal in “Wicked Maiden”.  We caught up with band leader and world renowned guitar virtuoso Chris Impellitteri to discuss the albums making, the return of Rob Rock and much more.

Chris, many thanks for agreeing to this interview and may I congratulate you and the rest of the band on ‘Wicked Maiden’, it’s a great return to form.
Thank you Andy! I truly appreciate your opinion. We worked extremely hard to make “Wicked Maiden”…. So, having people enjoy the music is very rewarding!!

It’s been 5 years since the previous album, what have you been doing during this time and when did the initial writing for ‘Wicked Maiden’ commence?
It actually took about 2 years to write the music for “Wicked Maiden” first. I wrote many songs and recorded many different ideas in order to create something musically inspiring. Then, after the music, I brought in the band for live rehearsals, and it was those performances that really helped us create that live feel on the album and bring it all together. It’s all about confidence…Once the band felt confident with their performances we then went into the recording studio… and 2 years later, we had the record. Yes, it took some time to make “Wicked Maiden”, but without it, it wouldn’t be the album it is…”.

Rob Rock has come back on board, what led to getting Rob back in the band from a personal perspective?
The fans wanted it, simple as that! I also missed having Rob as the singer, but ultimately, the fans demanded it. We seem to work very well together, and after the “Pedal…. album, I realized I should contact Rock and invite him back to the band. Luckily he said yes!

When did Rob rejoin as there were numerous teaser hints on the Impellitteri website for a few months prior to the official announcement, why were fans kept in the dark for so long?
Rob was on board pretty much from the beginning. But, we did not want to release that to the press until we knew we could make a strong record. That’s the only reason we kept it a secret.

Musically the new album is arguably the heaviest of the band’s career. Previous albums have all had their moments (Crunch and System X in particular) yet nothing quite like this, what led to the more vicious slant?
In honestly it’s a return to our very first album ( The Black Impellitteri EP) …But, with a big production. We were always an aggressive metal band, but I often experimented with melodic structures and different styles of music depending on the target audience. “Wicked Maiden” is an original Impellitteri record, I’d say. It’s pure and honest. We are not copying anyone, and we are not chasing any trends. We are simply playing music we love. So, I guess we are a much heavier band than some people think?

Sonically speaking the album is massive, obviously great care and attention has been taken towards this side, but what were you looking for sonically from this album that was different to previous albums?
I wanted the guitar and drums to really stand out on this record. I worked really hard to create a unique guitar tone, and let the engineer, Greg Reely work on creating an amazing drum sound. I think “Wicked Maiden” definitely sounds original. I can tell you, the record cost a fortune to make, so there should be no one out there comparing this with low budget records others may have made…This album cost more money than some homes are valued at!”

You have said on your official website that this was a more collective team effort, in what sense and what benefits do you feel this has brought to ‘Wicked Maiden’?
The band worked as a team when recording the record, definitely. Each member created equally…, and, I think we had valuable input from each musician equally… Two heads are better than one, basically explains the answer to that question.

There is also a live performance video for ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’, what led to this track being chosen and where was the video shot?
That’s right…We shot the video in Los Angeles, California at SIR Studio with John Logsdon who’s directed Def Leppard amongst others…. We thought this song had a strong riff, good production, etc… and many people had expressed their liking for the tune….We also shot a music video for the song “Wicked Maiden”, but we’ve not yet release it!!

Who played keyboards on the album as I can’t seem to find that information anywhere?
I played the keyboards on the record.

The band profile seems to have exploded for this album – reviews, interviews and also much to my delight some European festival appearances lined up. I am guessing you must be pretty pleased with what Metal Heaven are doing so far?
Yes, I like this label. They seem to have passion. I’m the one responsible for getting the band on the festival – Sweden Rocks, but the label is doing a great job of getting the media involved with us.

I cannot remember any European dates since I became a fan in the early 1990’s, is this something you have been trying to do before and if so what ultimately stopped it?
I had been invited to play Wacken years ago, but I’d declined. Impellitteri were very popular in Japan, and the US., so we played mainly in those territories for years…. But, now it is time to hit Europe.

What can fans expect from the live shows?
Well, we will play all of the classic songs as well as many of the songs from “Wicked Maiden”…Ultimately, we are a fun, metal band!! So our live performances should excite you, and hopefully inspire the audience as well. I promise you, it will be something very special!

Guitar wise, you have got a new endorsement with Dean Guitars. How did that come about as I had you down as a die hard Strat user? What will the forthcoming signature model guitar feature?
OK. The owner of Dean Guitars asked me if I would like to have a Chris Impellitteri signature model. And, after playing some of their guitars I agreed. My model will be a modified Stratocaster. It will be based on an early 1970’s Stratocaster, but with a flatter fingerboard for low action (fast playability) and a humbucking pickup in the bridge, with a single coil in the neck. It will be the ultimate shred guitar, actually!! The paint job will be White, with a really cool thick, black Spider Web.

Was there anything different you did recording you guitar this time as it sounds more potent than ever?
Yes actually! I used 3 amplifiers when recording this time. A Diezel VH4, Engl Powerball, and a Marshall JMP-1. The speaker cabinets were Engl, stocked with 30 watt Celestion speakers.

Finally, what can we expect from here on in from Impellitteri?
More “Wicked Maiden” records!!

Chris, many thanks for your time and we wish you all the success ‘Wicked Maiden’ deserves. Any parting messages for our readers?
Thank you for supporting us, I truly appreciate it. I hope you get a chance to listen to the new record “Wicked Maiden” and hope everyone can check out our new myspace page and fanclub website.

MISTHERIA INTERVIEW

11th October 2010
 
About The Interview
Mistheria is one of the most critically acclaimed keyboardists in metal.  Having worked with the likes of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Rock, the Italian is now back after a 6 year gap between solo albums with his second effort “Dragon Fire”.  We talk candidly with the keyboardist about the album.

Many thanks for agreeing to this interview.   This is your second solo album and it’s been some 6 years since ‘Messenger of the Gods’.  Why such a delay between albums?
First of all, it’s my pleasure to talk about my new album “Dragon Fire” for virtuosityone.com!

Well, after “Messenger of the Gods” (released on 2004 by Lion Music too) I released “Solo Piano” on 2007 (by Videradio/RAI Trade), album which is part of my Classical/New-Age production and part of my discography, surely for different target of listeners/fans, but anyway an album that has been followed of many “Solo Piano” concerts and it meant a lot to me. In fact, soon the new album of this series will be released on 2011.

Then, then … a lot of things to do to survive in this music-world, you know! So I recorded, as session-man, for other artists and I did all other activities part of my job: touring, concerts, teaching, demonstrating, arranging and writing my new Classical album, and a lot of other things. Writing an album, for me, is a serious and important job, high-demanding regarding concentration, energy, and time. So, simply I couldn’t devote all myself on a new album. Furthermore, I know myself, fairly well, and I know when it’s the right time to sit down and start working on some new music … 😉 Moreover, I think it is not important how many albums an artist releases, but the quality of each of them.

Thanks to Lion Music for believing again in me and my music publishing “Dragon Fire”.

The new album represents very strong song writing within the neo-classical metal genre with a cast of great guest musicians.  What came first – the idea of the songs or the idea of putting together a project like this?
Song writing first of all, always, is the first step to make an album. Also the previous “Messenger of the Gods”, despite of the huge number of guests, started simply with song writing without thinking who will play and what. With “Dragon Fire”, in the same way, I wanted put together a good list of songs that represent, today, my musical ideas. After, when song writing and arrangement have been completed in my mind and on my computer, I started to think which musician could improve that material with great performances.

So when did writing for “Dragon Fire” commence? 
On January 2009, when I got full inspiration in Zagreb (Croatia) where I moved to live with my girlfriend Ivana (Ivana Greguric, Croatian song writer and keyboardist) and song writing continued incessantly! This is the “right moment” I mentioned before. By the way, “Dragon Fire” features a song that I wrote on 2006, it was just a piano demo that, with John West melody and lyrics, became a nice ballade titled “Now it’s never”.

What were the earliest songs that ended up on the album conceived?
I don’t remember exactly because I worked simultaneously on all songs, moving on the full song list at the same time. I can say that the first song I wrote on January 11, 2009 (A beautiful dream) has been the last completed song! 🙂 By the way, the instrumental tracks are for sure the first songs that have been completed before than others because I was able to finish the demo versions by me, without needing to wait for singers melodies/lyrics job.

How do you like to work on creating a song?  Do you play with different arrangements or have a clear vision of what you want straight off?
I sit on my Piano and follow my ideas and inspiration. It does not matter if song will feature or not Piano, my approach is always this. All other digital complications, at the early stage, make me distraction and concentration flies away … then, when the song is perfectly clear in my mind and on music paper, I turn on my “arsenal” (digital workstation, sequencer, keyboards, plugins, etc.) and I start the arrangement process that, yes, it’s already comprehensible in my thoughts … so I need just to make it real to make the demo version and start sending the material to the musicians.

Do you notate your works at all prior to even recording demos?
Yes I do. It is important for me and it is a process that I learned during my Classical music studies. Five good reasons: (1) it makes my ideas not forgettable and this is important because I hate when some good ideas are passing thru my mind and I cannot then remember; (2) it gives me the clear vision of song and arrangement; (3) I already have everything ready and under my eyes when I need to talk to musicians; (4) it is like manna when I need to work on that song after weeks or months; (5) it is quicker when ideas come ceaselessly and I’ve to fix them immediately, no other process can be faster for me.

Does this method of working differ to what you did on “Messenger of the Gods” and if so how?
Absolutely not. I always work in this same way. My first musical notes (my first attempts to write a music piece) date back to when I was 9 years old… (hey, I’ve just a few more by now 🙂

How do you feel you have grown as a musician in the last 6 years?
Musicians never stop to grow up. It is dangerous when we think the opposite. So, of course, 6 years are (I hope so) a good time to learn more and more, always, improving experience, ideas, song writing, generally the own music world. Collaborating, talking and making music with other musicians give back a precious treasure. I think that I followed this process so, hopefully, I grew up in the last 6 years … 🙂

So what led to you bringing in the personnel you did on the album? Did you have a list of preferred musicians and work from there or did some names crop up during the making of the album due to contacts with other musicians already involved?
During the arrangement processes, I started to think which musicians I wanted to involve. I already had some “irremovable” ideas concerning some friends I already worked with: John Macaluso on drums has been my priority! John Mac already played on my previous album, we spent time together and we are great friends, without mentioning the stunning and unique drummer he is. Anecdote: John Mac recorded all “Dragon Fire” drums in one day … 1 day!

Then, I was already in touch with other friends to make real some new collaboration: Titta Tani, George Bellas, Neil Zaza, Emir Hot, Roger Staffelbach, Rob Rock, Mark Boals. All of them don’t need presentation and, of course, their job has been top-quality as expected. I didn’t work before with Mark Boals but I wanted him already on “Messenger of the Gods” and finally we found the right time to work together on “Dragon Fire”. I always loved his performances; his voice sound and his vocal range are divine! Another singer always in my mind has been John West. I played live with John in Split (Croatia) for the Emir Hot concert. It has been a great experience, we met and immediately we established a friendly relationship open to future collaboration. So, we made it real, John sung five songs on the album; he did an extraordinary job with expected totally awesome results. John West moved my album to the next level!

While working on the album, I’ve been in touch with two musicians I never collaborated neither talked before: Lance King and Alberto Rigoni. Lance captured me in a moment when I casually heard him on the internet … I thought: “Wow! I want him on my album!” His captivating voice tone, his way to work on backing vocals and his lyrics writing are excellent. You can hear on the song “Two of us” how it ended … 😉

Regarding Alberto, some months ago, I was still working on the arrangements and I didn’t solve yet the bass player position. For some different reasons I was not able to get in Dino Fiorenza neither Randy Coven. Alberto contacted me (nothing concerning my album) and we talked a couple times regarding that subject he needed. Of course, I knew which band Alberto was playing with (Twinspirits) and I knew that his job was excellent so then, when I needed to complete the line-up, I asked to Alberto whether he would like to join “Dragon Fire”. He accepted and, although he had really short time to finish recordings, his job has been simply perfect! I want thank, once more, all the amazing musicians on “Dragon Fire” for their over-the-top job.

I believe the vocalists had free reign more or less on their lyrics and melodies, with the personnel involved this is a wise decision given their calibre.  Is this the only reason you chose to go this route with the vocalists?
The first reason why I chose that singers is that they are amazing vocalists! I knew also that they wrote melodies and lyrics by themselves so without thinking so much (because it doesn’t need if you look at those names) I’ve agreed with them about the job to do. For some songs I gave “carte blanche”, for some I gave melody and/or lyrics directions, for some I wrote melody, lyrics or both. In any case, we greatly worked together and I totally love the results of our collaboration. With such artists, everything is easy with maximum feedback.

One could look at some of the personnel (John West and Roger Staffelbach), see you as a keyboard virtuoso and think “is he trying to be the new Artension”, given the intricate arrangements yet strong vocal led songs can comparisons like this be unfair? Or would such comparisons be nothing more than a compliment?
This could be just a compliment to me, even if I don’t need at all “to be the new Artension” for the simple reason that Artension already exist (fortunately because it’s a great band with great albums) and my goal is different always pointed to the originality of my own ideas. Of course, bands which play and write the same genre share many music elements proper of that genre, but this is absolutely normal. To be clearer, my Metal/Prog-Metal song writing has different “genesis” that it is not connected with any Metal artist or band and I’d like this known to everybody: Classical music and my Classical studies are my solid background. Everything else came to my knowledge after many years, really late when I already have been totally “forged” by J. S. Bach, A. Vivaldi, W. A. Mozart, L. V. Beethoven, F. Liszt, F. Chopin and other masters like that. Curiosity: till some years ago, my home discography was found mainly on Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Alan Parson Project, Banco, P.F.M., Genesis, etc. And, of course, on the Classical genius above mentioned. The first album close to my playing style and song writing that I heard has been “Trilogy” by Yngwie Malmsteen that a great friend of mine (Alvaro De Amicis which is an incredible designer and made the “Dragon Fire” cover) showed me and it was an album I listened for long time. Relatively recent is my knowledge about Dream Theater, Symphony X, Rhapsody, Vanden Plas and other bands that someone could juxtapose to me.

I know a few years back there were some internet rumours regarding a rift between you and Vitalij Kuprij, but I gather this was all bullshit.  Can you give us your side of the story?
Vitalij and I are great friends. We met several times, we played together in Rome a couple years ago (it was an amazing show that we enjoyed a lot and that everybody can watch on YouTube), we had funny and nice time together, we ate and drink together, we talked and planned to make an album together. Vitalij is a talented musician and composer, fantastic classic pianist and amazing rock keyboardist. We estimate each other. I think I don’t need to add more.

Ok tell us about the songs and what they mean to you?
“Dragon Fire” is not a concept album; each song has its own story and meaning. I wrote lyrics for the title track “Dragon Fire”, I gave the concept for 2-3 songs, other lyrics have been totally conceived by the singers and “The Beast” by Ivana Greguric. I think each listener can get the own impression, emotion and feeling for each song. Only one purpose was in my mind: give to the album a great cohesion between music and lyrics. A perfect combination of music and lyrics (I mean the “sound” of lyrics and the “rhythm” of words) is essential to create that ideal song blend.

Our review is mostly very positive but does air a few concerns regarding the mix of the album, notably the lack of rhythm guitars.  Why was the decision made to have your keyboards seemingly mimicking rhythm guitars and not use the real thing?
I produced the album (mixing and mastering it) and, as you know, each producer “forge” his sound. This is my sound and I am totally happy and satisfied with it. I don’t think that the production “lacks of rhythm guitars”. If you ask to a bassist or a drummer maybe they answer (it has already happened to me) that guitars are too loud, if you ask to a guitarist maybe he answers that I doesn’t hear guitars at all. As producer, I can answer that the mix, in my opinion, is well balanced and “that one” is the sound that has always played in my mind and that I was looking for. When I push up the volume, really loud, I don’t want be “killed” by guitars or any other instrument but I like everything balanced (instead, generally, guitars play too loud on many albums, in my opinion). Usually, people listen this genre really loud: well, try to push up the volume listening “Dragon Fire”, never you’ll feel “…too loud!”, but you can always more … this is, for me, a great balanced mix.

Regarding the “real thing”: why albums are full of sampled/virtual instruments, including drums, piano, strings, bass, orchestra, choirs and no one comment nothing and instead regarding guitar sound it seems a “blasphemy”? Moreover, do we need always the same guitar sound? I don’t think so. Do we need guitars out of mix? I don’t think so. Do we need guitar solos “holing” our ears? I don’t think so. Guitars need “discipline” as other instruments in the band, which I name “counterpoint of mixing” directly borrowed from Bach’s composing technique. This is my point of view. I trashed many CDs because I don’t like to hear only guitars or, on the other side, I don’t understand the meaning of CDs without keyboards that add “colour” and “atmosphere”. But if guitars are missing it seems a scandal, instead if keyboards miss, it is just normal and not noticeable. And I don’t want to comment how keyboards are programmed (by guitarist, vocalists, bassists or drummers) on many releases (not all fortunately), but this is another painful topic. With reference to “Dragon Fire”, I think that guitars sound awesome on each track, I am totally happy with it and it is the sound I wanted to reach and I reached, “real” or “not real” thing, I think and listen always to the result not how I got that result. Then, of course, each listener can express comments and opinions, like it or not. I wanted just explain my method to approach and realize an album, and my honest point of view as sound engineer and producer.

Looking back is there anything you would change or is this your vision 100% of how you saw the album from the start?
I don’t need to change nothing because otherwise it would mean that I did a mistake giving the master to Lion Music. I am 100% satisfied of the album and, to be honest, it sounds better than in my early vision thanks to the amazing job that musicians involved did and, of course, mixing and mastering it by me I “forged” it exactly how I wanted. I wanted my album sound with “my sound”, to give to all of you the real Mistheria’s vision: song writing, arrangement, recording, mixing, mastering and production. “Dragon Fire” represents me and my music, this is important for me, showing sincerely and transparently which my vision of an album is.

John Macaluso has brought in a killer performance; you must be thrilled with his performances?
What John Macaluso did for my album is written in the legend of music and of my life! His performance is astonishing. When I started to get the tracks I was totally excited, feeling as a kid with his new toy … 🙂 The way John approached recording over passed my same thoughts; he worked on the demoed drums, that I programmed, as starting point then he filled each song with his superb ideas and majestic drumming!  Without John Mac, “Dragon Fire” would not have been the same.

Did any of the guest performers surprise you with what they delivered, and if so in what sense?
I already said about John Macaluso. Everyone delivered brilliant ideas and breathtaking performances: John West, Rob Rock, Mark Boals, Lance King, Titta Tani, George Bellas, Neil Zaza, Roger Staffelbach, Emir Hot, Alberto Rigoni. What I can add to what they already did in their career? Among all, I’ve to say that the two Italian musicians of the line-up surprised me or better confirmed me their stunning attitude and talent! Titta Tani is a superb vocalist which recorded both forceful songs (“Fire & Flames” and “Dragon Fire” in duet with John West) and a beautiful ballade (“A beautiful dream”); Titta can scream and sigh at the same time and also write excellent lyrics (“A beautiful dream” is a real gem). With him I already played live years ago and I appreciated his other productions but on “Dragon Fire” he did everything better and better. Alberto Rigoni (a bass player which I didn’t know very well before to start our collaboration) honestly and totally surprised me for three main reasons: his perfect performance, his warm and powerful bass sound, and his professionalism. Not as performer but as song writer, Ivana Greguric also surprised me because, even if a girl, she has written one of the most “heavy” songs (The Beast) of the album! 🙂

If you could sum up “Dragon Fire” in a few words how would you describe it?
“Dragon Fire” is a powerful, direct and melodic heavy metal album which includes stunning musicians/performers and represents the Mistheria music knowledge and experience up-to-date.

Any final messages for our readers?
I hope V1 readers can also have the chance to listen for “Dragon Fire”, because among all words, music is emotion, feeling and passion that can fly only by the air reaching our heart, not our eyes. As always I affirm: “people don’t need to understand of music, but listen and live music.”

Mistheria, many thanks for your time.
Thanks again for giving me the chance to talk about “Dragon Fire”, it has been really interesting interview and a pleasure.

WEB LINKS
www.mistheria.com
www.reverbnation.com/mistheria
www.myspace.com/mistheria