Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Heimdall
Guitarist, Fabio Calluori

Interview By JP

In our never-ending quest to bring you quality metal from around the globe, we are pleased to bring to you an interview with Fabio Calluori, the guitarist of the Italian power metal act Heimdall. The band has just released their third album entitled 'The Almighty" and is currently available on Scarlet Records.


Hail to Italy! Congratulations on the successful release of your third album. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

First of all, thank you very much for you congratulations. I’m very happy that you like our last work! “The Almighty” is a very important album for us because it represents our return after almost three years of absence from our previous CD “The Temple of Theil.” It is an album in which we believe very much. It sees the return of my brother Nicolas, the drummer who played on “Lord of the Sky,” and who gave again more power and energy to our sound. Besides there is a new singer. His name is Giacomo Mercaldo. Besides now we have a new label: Scarlet Records. We are satisfied about the result that we have obtained with “The Almighty.” I think that it has a good sound and great songs. I like to see it as a mix of energy, melody and anger pervaded by a sense of melancholy, probably due to the particular and difficult period - characterized by many changes - both for the band and for me when it was composed!


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What does Heimdall mean?

Yes, Heimdall is the name of a Nordic god. He is the Lord of the Sky and the guardian of Bifrost, the bridge that links the world of the mortals with the one of the gods, Asgardr. When we started in 1994 we wanted a name that sounded epic and powerful as the music that we play. I very much like history, the ancient legends/tales and the mythology - of course, also the Nordic one, and I think that they are patrimony of all people. We liked the figure of this god - noble and brave - who presents many values which we believe in and the sound of his name. So powerful and majestic. So we chose it for the band.



I noticed that you are credited with writing most of the songs. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you write most of the lyrics too?

I take the basic ideas and the vocal lines of most of our songs and I write all the lyrics, but I want to underline that, above all during the arrangements, the others in Heimdall play a fundamental role bringing our sound something of his own. For example, Carmelo, who plays the most of solos, enriches our tracks with his ideas. However in Heimdall a song can be created in different ways. It depends on the moment we write something. There is no a programmed way to compose a track. It can take origin from a particular mood or situation or also frm a melody that starts to run in my mind.


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Who are some of your musical influences?

Personally I love the old great heavy metal bands like Judas Priest, Savatage, Manowar, Virgin Steele, Helloween, Black Sabbath, Kiss, etc. I also like very much gothic, celtic/medieval music and rock: both prog - Genesis and Marillion - and modern - Creed. However, in Heimdall everyone has his own musical influences. Sergio, for example, also listens to Pink Floyd, The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Carmelo adores many jazz artists and together with Giovanni is fan of Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and many virtuous musicians like Malmsteen and Vinnie Moore. My brother (Nicolas) listens to metal bands like Judas Priest, Slayer, Vicious Rumors, Armoured Saint, Dio, and rock bands like MatchBox 20, Creed, Nude, Gianfranco Marziano band, and fusion bands like Vital Information, and Big Band Jazz and follows many drummers like Dave Lombardo, Terry Bozzio, Simon Philips, Akira Jimbo, Rod Morgenstein.



This is a tougher question. In some circles there is a slight backlash about the enormous number of melodic power metal bands coming out of Italy. Why do you think there so many, and are there too many bands on the scene now?

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 more ‘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!



I don't consider Heimdall to be one of the pack, as this is your third album and you have been around since the mid-90's. However, some fans may not take that into consideration. How do you stand apart from the many, newer younger acts in this competitive field?

We only think about ourselves and about our music and so our songs are not so symphonic like many Italian bands. What we want to do is write better and amusing ourselves playing the kind of music we love. Many people have told me that Heimdall have an own personality and I’m happy about that. For us it’s a great compliment and in effect with our music we don’t want to be similar to this or that band, but just to express our way to play music. When I compose a track, I try to follow only my ideas and my feelings and not to copy the other bands. Of course we like many old bands that obviously influences our way to write music.



You were recently signed to the label Scarlet Records. How did that come about? They seem to be treating you well, especially with creating the very nice didgipack version of the new album.

We had some problems with our previous label Elevate Records: the promotional work for our second CD “The Temple of Theil” was not good and, above all, they didn’t respect some points of our contract. So it was impossible to work with them again and it was natural to change. Scarlet Records has soon showed a great enthusiasm to produce our new album and so far it’s doing a good promotional work to support “The Almighty”.


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It has been almost three years since your last album. You had an album in '98 and then one in '99 but then a long wait until late 2002. Why did it take so long?

After the publication of “Temple of Theil,” 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, who is a great singer and very adapt for our songs. Besides in these years of absence, as I told you before, we have changed the label and the drummer - in fact my brother Nicolas, after leaving the band before the second album for some personal problems - has returned.


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How has the addition of Giacomo Mercaldo on vocals helped the band?

Giacomo is not technically a very good singer but also that he has a powerful and warm voice which is perfect for our music. Besides he has realized all the chorus that you can hear on the album. However when he entered the band the most songs were already realized and there wasn’t the amalgam that there is now in between him and the other members of the band, so I’m sure that his performance on the next album we’ll be better!



I understand you did some touring in October and November. Tell us about the tour!

Of course. In August 2002 - before the publication of the album - we started our live activity taking part to some festivals with bands like Destruction and Vicious Rumors and after the publication of the CD. In autumn we were on an Italian tour. We played some gigs as headliner and others with important bands like Shaman. It was a very amazing experience even if it was three years that we didn’t play many concerts and I have to say that the reaction of the audience was very good despite the years of absence. Now we are consider some possibilities for an European tour…we’ll see.


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What are your plans for 2003?

Of course we’ll go on supporting our new album with other interviews with magazines and radios and with some other gigs. However in these last two months we are concentrating on the composition of the new songs. We would like to publish the new record for the beginning of the new year always for Scarlet Records. We don’t want to wait for more than 2 years before we publish the new album! So far we have five tracks and I have to say that they are really killer! They are more heavy and aggressive, but at the same time very epic! We are very satisfied about these and I’m sure that our next album will be the best in our discography!



The floor is open. Do you have a last comments for our readers? Can they visit you on the internet?

Yes, our web site is www.heimdall.it , so you can follow us on it! However, thank you very much for your congratulations, for the interview, and for your support! Of course I would like to thank all the people that have always supported us. Go on doing it and listen to “The Almighty” - an album which we believe in, and full of very good, powerful and involving metal songs. Glory and Honor to you ALL!


Band Website: www.heimdall.it
Label Website: www.scarletrecords.it