MetalKings.com: Heimdall is a Scandinavian god, but you are from Italy. Where is the connection? Is this a tribute to metal fashion or do you seriously take an interest in Scandinavian mythology?
Heimdall (Fabio Calluori, guitar): The choice of the name Heimdall comes from a real interest in mythology. When we started in 1994 we wanted a name that sounded epic and powerful as the music that we play. I like very much history, the ancient legends/tales and the mythology and, of course, also the Nordic one. We liked the figure of this god, and the sound of his name - so powerful and majestic - so we chose it for the band and we dedicated our first album - Lord of the Sky - to him.
MetalKings.com: Does your new album "Hard As Iron" also have a mythological concept? Is it in any way related to the previous albums?
Heimdall: No, in "Hard as Iron", all the lyrics are invented and there is no direct link to the mythology. I talk in them about death, madness, darkness, the lack of something in our existence, the human imperfection and so on. The lyrics are not totally separated. I have imagined that a man lost a very important person. So the lyrics are like a journey through the mind of this man and are expressions of the moods and the feelings after an important lost. The result is a portrait of a person cruel, revengeful, demoniac, mad but also melancholic, sad, alone. It's not so easy to speak about the lyrics of "Hard as Iron" because there are many aspects in them…I think that all the people who will read them can find something of their own.
MetalKings.com: What was the album "The Temple of Theil" dedicated to? And what or who is "Theil"?
Heimdall: "The Temple of Theil" is a mythological and fantastic story - created by me and my ex- girlfriend - based on the deeds of two warriors, Sidgar and Iselin. The temple, called Theil, is a mystic place of eternity and peace that we created and around which the story develops. I'm very satisfied about the lyrics of this album, because except some link with the figure of Cassandra that you can find in the character Iselin, everything, each passage has done by us and by our imagination…a very stimulating work.
MetalKings.com: My favorite tracks on the new album are "The Emperor" - an epic composition with choirs and complex melody lines, and "Black Heaven" with its beautiful string arrangement. Do you plan to work in this direction, making your music more complicated and rich?
Heimdall: I don't know. Even if I have already written two songs and I have some ideas for the others, I think that it's too early to speak about our next album. I don't like to program the music for Heimdall. However probably we'll write some more direct songs and some more complicated. About "Black Heaven", so far we have introduced an unplugged song in all the albums recorded, so probably there will be other tracks with the same style in the future. The two songs I write so far are quite speed but different: one is very heavy introduced by a killer guitar riff and very explosive, the other is more complex, not particularly long but characterized by many changes and atmospheres.
MetalKings.com: Your music isn't typically Italian - it's heavies, stricter, slower and gravitates towards the German school. Do you deliberately try to detach yourself from your compatriots from Shadows Of Steel, Labyrinth, Skylark?
Heimdall: No, we just want to follow our way, to concentrate only in our band and to play the music we love without following other bands. Besides don't forget that Heimdall plays from '94 and I think that we have a personal style even if our four CDs are quite different. About the bands you name, they are very good but our way to conceive and play metal is very different.
MetalKings.com: How did you get Eric Philippe to do your artworks?
Heimdall: Simply, our previous label asked him to draw a cover for our second CD and he accepted! I talked to him to explain what we wanted and he was very patient and very kind and I think that he did a good work!
MetalKings.com: I've visited your website and was terrified by the English version of your biography. While the English version is not finished yet, you need to change your translator asap, don't you think so?
Heimdall: I'm the translator!! I'm not an Englishman but I'm not so bad!! That bio was an automatic translation. With the publication of "Hard as Iron", we have a new version of the site and the English part is under construction. The guy, who follows the site, simply had to introduce the good version of the biography and now you can read it.
MetalKings.com: Your line-up was changing on every album. Why is that - your unaccommodating nature or is it the search for the "right" musicians?
Heimdall: No, I have to say bad luck!! My brother was obliged to leave the band two times, after Lord of the Sky and before the last Hard as Iron, for some personal problems. As regards Ottavio, the drummer in "The Temple of Theil", he was very good but he wasn't adapt to Heimdall, he wasn't really "inside" the band and his commitment was not always total. About Claudio, our previous singer, there were some problems between him and some guys in the band, so at the end he decided to leave.
MetalKings.com: Giacomo Mercaldo has a very good powerful voice. Did he sing in any professional bands before?
Heimdall: No, but he has a great experience in the field of the lyric music and he works also in some important theatrical productions. Giacomo is a very good singer and he arranged and realized all the choruses in the albums without the help of other singers except Paola Santucci for the female voices.
MetalKings.com: Are you planning to take part in any major international festivals like W. O. A., Bang Your Head, Tuska Open Air?
Heimdall: We'll take part to some festival this summer in Italy. While for this autumn/winter we are organizing a tour with other bands…we'll see.
MetalKings.com: If you were to compose the ultimate heavy-metal anthem, who would you invite as co-authors?
Heimdall: Glenn Tipton/Dowing on guitars. They have written the best metal songs. Then…Dave Lombardo on drums, Steve Harris on bass and Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Tate and Kiske as singers…if I could, I would like to call from beyond Criss Oliva: one of the best metal guitarist! A great band, don't you think?
MetalKings.com: Why do you think the Italian metal scene developed so much over the past couple of years? And why it didn't succeed so in the 80ies?
Heimdall: In the '80 the times were not ready: the organization around the bands - labels, recording studios, managements - was not good and the audience was only interested in the foreign bands even because those years the best metal albums were written by American and English bands that had all the attention from metal fans. Besides in Italy we don't have the rock/metal culture as in England, Germany, America etc but a strong Italian pop culture so the space for metal has always been restricted and to change this mentality needs time. Fortunately now the situation is improving and I hope that this beautiful music can have more and more space in the future. Now the level of the bands is very good and I'm happy to see that also the rest of the world is showing a very good attention to them.
MetalKings.com: And the last question. Ritchie Blackmore or Jimmy Page? What's your choice? (answer seriously!)
Heimdall: Ok, I'll answer seriously!! I like both, the style of Blackmore is great and surely he can be considered one of the fathers of heavy metal music but personally I love very much the way of playing of Jimmy Page and the music of Led Zeppelin. However in the band everyone has his tastes. I'm sure that Giovanni, Enrico and Carmelo say Blackmore, while Sergio Page.
MetalKings.com: Thank you for the interview! And your final words to our readers?
Heimdall: Thank you very much for the interview and for your support. Of course I would like to thank all people that have always supported our music these years and I would like to invite them to listening to "Hard as Iron", a very good work, rich of powerful, involving and intense songs!
HEIMDALL official website www.heimdall.it
Special thanks to Daniel Botti (Scarlet Records) for making this interview possible
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