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Stormlord

 
 

See past Featured Artists



This time, our featured artist selection is done by staff writer Michael De Los Muertos. Instead of a historical rundown on what the band has done, we get to see the band from the inside. If you are interested in an historical account of Stormlord, then please read their biography. The below article represents a much more personalized look at this fine up and coming band.

Be sure to also check out our interview with Francesco Bucci.

Stormlord Feature Written By Michael De Los Muertos July/August 2000.

 

By Michael De Los Muertos

To be honest, you don’t think of Rome and metal really going together - at least, not the same way that Sweden and metal, or even Tampa and metal, go together - but it’s sometimes very interesting to see what metal you can find in traditionally non-metal places. But if you had to name the metal kings of Rome, you would speak only one majestic word: Stormlord. For a few wonderful days in July 2000 I had the good fortune to experience Rome - and Stormlord - first hand. What followed was an experience which makes you thankful that the world of metal is very small, and very cozy.

Stormlord is a fast-rising quintet of blood- and beer-thirsty Italians who specialize in what they call “extreme epic metal.” Before you bemoan the spontaneous genesis of yet another classification of metal, you should know this term fits them perfectly. The sweeping grandeur and classical musical feel of power metal is mixed with the dark, evil artistry of black metal, and it is never more evident than on the band’s first full-length album, The Supreme Art of War, released in 1999 on the German label Last Episode. Trust me, you’ll be hearing more of Stormlord. The moment you begin listening to Supreme Art of War, you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of them up until now. With technical musical talent that easily tops many of today’s bands, and a large amount of prowess at the song-writing and song-planning level - something fairly rare in metal today - Stormlord have nowhere to go but up.

I arrived in Rome on the last muggy Thursday in July, ostensibly on vacation, and certainly on my somewhat leisurely way to a little town in Germany called Wacken. That, of course, is another story! Suffice to say, my first impression of Rome was, it’s hot! As I worked through the airport and Italian customs I had no idea what to expect, either from Rome or from my host, native guide and Internet pen-pal, Francesco Bucci, who happens by fortuitous chance to be Stormlord’s bassist. I find him to be a stocky, cheerful Italian guy in an ancient Twisted Sister shirt and wraparound sunglasses. “Welcome to Rome!” he bids me, in very thickly-accented but uncommonly understandable English. When we get to his car - a black VW - he says, “Would you like a hat of Luca Turilli?” He thrusts it into my hands - a black Luca Turilli baseball cap. Hmm, my first souvenir from Rome? “Thanks,” I say, eager to get inside the car where (I hope) it’s air-conditioned.

On the way into Rome from the airport, Francesco’s cellular phone buzzes. It’s Pierangelo, the band’s guitarist, with a studio report: they’re laying down the drum tracks as we speak. Time enough for Francesco to browse around Rome for a bit during the afternoon, but then it’s straight into the studio for the evening. You see, Stormlord happen - by total chance, this very weekend - to be recording a new mini-CD called The Curse of Medusa, due out in March 2001. For a few precious days at the end of this month, the band is booked in Rome’s Outher Sound Studios. Time is short and every minute counts, but Francesco tells me they’re ready. “We have been writing songs for a while,” he says. “They’re really good! You will see, tonight.” How can I pass this up? Pasta and ruins by day, epic black metal by night. It occurs to me that, aside from the band itself, I may be one of the very first people in the world to hear Stormlord’s new material, and being a big fan, of course I jump at the chance!

An afternoon of sightseeing around Rome - with native guide Francesco, who knows everything about everything - leaves me weary but very sated, and with a couple of rolls of amazing pictures. Statues! Ruins! Broken columns! The Temple of Vesta! The balcony from which Mussolini gave his speeches! Francesco’s urge for a cigarette catches him just as we walk up to the massive Colosseum, one of the greatest and most magnificent structures ever built by the hand of man, and subject of the Stormlord song “Where My Spirit Forever Shall Be.” “You know, I have that stupid Limp Bizkit song ‘Nookie’ in my head,” Francesco laments between puffs. “I fucking hate Limp Bizkit, but I can’t forget that fucking song!”

The studio turns out to be a small place nestled in a little block of shops and businesses near a tree-lined residential area on the outskirts of Rome. It’s a little stuffy inside, but right after walking through the door I know I’m in a metal recording studio. My only frame of reference is watching videos like Megadeth’s Evolver, but this one looks very much like I expect: wood paneling, two old couches in the lobby on opposite walls, and window-lined rooms filled with electronics, drums and other equipment.

Francesco introduces me as “a big fan of Stormlord from Portland.” I meet a dizzying array of Italian metalheads, including Pierangelo - a tall, thin guy with long dark hair - and Simone, the keyboard player, another tall, thin guy with long dark hair. There are also guests in the studio. Piero, the drummer for a band called Savers, and Giuseppe Orlando, who played for the band Novembre and is involved in the production of the new material. Cristiano is lounging on one of the sofas in the lobby. There is an intense clattering coming from another room. “That must be your drummer!” A vicious, double-bass blast beat is the answer. It’s a while before I see David, the drummer. He does not look very epic metal, but he can play a hell of a drum line!!

The studio is stuffy, and the air hangs with cigarette smoke; the pace is slow, but it’s clear Stormlord is making progress. Today they’re recording drum tracks, and David is working himself to the bone. I hear furious blasts of drums, and then occasionally he comes out into the lobby, drenched in sweat, mopping himself with a towel. It’s very clear that these guys work hard. If something isn’t right, he’s back in the drum room doing it over again. “We always want to be sure to do it right,” says Francesco. “My bass tracks took a long time.” The guys come in and out of the control room and the lobby, conversing in flowery Italian. Most of them know English. Piero asks me what the metal scene is like in the USA. “It sucks,” I tell him, and he seems to understand pretty well. Cristiano - who is frequently in the control room giving advice - is pretty quiet. At one point Simone does an ersatz King Diamond impression. The guys are cheerful and laid-back, but it’s clear there’s serious business going on.

After a while I begin to hear snatches of the completed tracks from the control room speakers. It’s pretty heady stuff. More powerful and more confident than their previous material. Indeed, what’s coming from the control room speakers sounds like metal you’d hear coming from a long-experienced European band with half a dozen albums under their belt. “It sounds good,” Pierangelo agrees, nodding. I don’t think any of these guys have a clue, at the moment, exactly how good it is. They’re too close to it. After all, it’s hot off the mold! I wisely keep my mouth shut. Eventually, it’ll hit them that they’re recording their best stuff yet, and the material that might launch them into the career they have come to deserve.

It’s a long evening in the studio. Francesco has brought me there midway through - Pierangelo and the others have been there for ten hours. But finally the drum tracks are nearing completion. “Want some Italian pizza with real mozzarella?” Francesco taunts, knowing I haven’t eaten a thing since I got off the plane. Hell yeah! It’s still a while getting out, but at last we leave the studio and move out into the warm Rome evening. All of us - minus Piero, who went home earlier - wind up at a charming little restaurant somewhere in Rome, the kind of place you only see in movies in the U.S. It’s got stucco walls and ceiling fans and a big tiled wood oven behind the counter. “What do you want?” Pierangelo asks me. Francesco says to him, “No, no, we will tell him what to get!” I’d look like an idiotic American trying to order my own stuff anyway. I get a thin, crispy-crusted pizza loaded with cheese - very different than American pizza. With our mugs of beer, we toast - to the international brotherhood of metal!

I spent two more days in Rome, and Stormlord remained in the studio for the whole time. On the final day, Francesco - still my native Rome guide - was to meet me in the evening after the band had finished their recording for the day. It wasn’t the absolute last day of recording, but the lion’s share of it would be done. After dinner, I wait at my hotel for Francesco to call. Nine o’clock…ten…eleven. Finally the phone rings. He’s on his way. “We are going to Tivoli,” he warns me. “We’ll pick you up in front of your hotel.”

After a bit more of a wait, a car full of Italian metalheads pulls up. Pierangelo is driving. Francesco and Simone accompany us, with only Cristiano and David missing from the line-up. Francesco tells me we’re going to Tivoli - traditionally the summer resort of Roman emperors - to go to a sandwich shop. It’s almost an hour away. “It’s worth it!” he gushes. “When you eat this sandwich, you will die!” After about thirty seconds in the car, as Pierangelo floors the pedal and we race past the Colosseum and the Temple of Vesta into the deep summer night, it becomes evident that the guys are wired. “We are almost finished recording,” Francesco says. “And it’s the best stuff we have ever done!” Simone’s head is about to go off, he’s so excited about it. Pierangelo, who is low-key by nature, is even visibly excited. They spontaneously break into song, all three of them, bellowing the chorus from their latest epic metal opus. These guys are amazingly hyped. “It turned out perfectly!” “It is true epic metal!” It occurs to me that what I was waiting for in the studio - for them to realize exactly how good they are - seems to have happened.

When we get to Tivoli - which is indeed an hour away, and looks like the set of some cheap 1950s movie about World War II - the energy is loosened. Simone goes nuts, leaping across mine and Francesco’s shoulders, flashing the devil horns symbol. “Metal rules!” Francesco keeps telling me how much I’ll love The Curse of Medusa when I hear it. We wait an hour for a sandwich (which is indeed very good) and eat it in the car, in the parking lot with the doors open. Nearby, a river flows by under an aqueduct built by the Romans thousands of years before any of us were born. It’s a pretty amazing thing. Here I am, on the other side of the planet from my home, in an ancient place I’ve only read about in books, and I have a kinship with these guys I probably would never have known under any other circumstances. What we toasted at the restaurant the other evening was something really meaningful. Brotherhood of metal. The chance to share with them the enthusiasm over their new material and the rewarding satisfaction of working hard to do what they wanted to do - play metal - was, far and away, the greatest thing about my trip across the sea.

Now, when I hear Stormlord, in addition to hearing some great epic black metal, I will always think of my weekend in Rome and the friends I made there. As I’ve always maintained, the best thing about metal is the people you meet along the way. Stormlord is metal which comes from these guys’ hearts. If the most important ingredients of good heavy metal are sincerity and conviction, rest assured Stormlord has both in spades. You can take it from me - I watched them pour it in.

 

Stormlord is:
Cristiano Borchi ~ Lead Vocals
Pierangelo Giglioni ~ Lead Guitar
Francesco Bucci ~ Bass
Simone Scazzocchio ~ Keyboards
David Folchitto ~ Drums

 
     





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