Interview with Adamantis:
Evgeny Gromovoy – Drums
Javier Estrada – Guitars
Jeff Taft – Guitars
Jeff Stark – Vocals
Cody Pelchat – Bass
Interview by Kieron Hayes
Hey and thank you for your time. What first inspired the formation of Adamantis? Is there a meaning behind the band’s name?
Evgeny Gromovoy (Drums) – I used to play in bands when I lived in Madrid, Spain. Upon moving to Boston I found Javier Estrada, who also played in several metal bands in Madrid and with whom I had common friends. Soon we decided to create a real band here. At the same time Jeff Taft was also looking for people, and I knew Jeff from a common Fb group. We met, jammed, and started playing shows. Then we had a vote for the band’s name, and I ended up coining the band’s name. Adamantis is the genitive form of the greek word adamas, which means ‘invincible’. Adamantis literally means something derived from an unbreakable material, such as the hardest form of steel, or a diamond. It also captures the band’s character, unyielding, lasting and inexorable. Not a bad name for a heavy metal band!!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Evgeny G. – Epic power metal, but with a touch of classic heavy metal. It is versatile, and every listener may find a song of their liking. We aim at blending European and American influences, and the result is quite unique.
I believe your current vocalist Jeff Stark joined up recently, just this year. How did Jeff find his way to Adamantis?
Evgeny G. – We had a search among the local singers after our first singer left, and Jeff simply was the best. He had all we needed: power, stage presence, an absolutely fantastic work ethic and, most importantly, a personality that makes him a very easy person to work with. We are very lucky to have him. He brings a lot to the table and we grew up tremendously thanks to him.
Turning to your upcoming debut, Far Flung Realm, is there a concept or theme behind it?
Evgeny G. – While it was not conceived as a concept album, it is true that one can perceive a single theme, it as a voyage into a Far Flung Realm where the listener is presented with a series of vignettes, all told from perhaps form the perspective of the same character. The voyage starts on the cover, where the listener, represented by the rider, enters the sonic and imaginary Realm that we created, represented by the longship with the Thundermark rune on the sail (a nod to our debut EP). The listener then lives through epic battles, re-incarnates into literary characters, some based on real books, some imaginary, re-lives historical events, aims at understanding his/her own faith and the voyage eventually finding its dramatic ending on the Ravensong. So we do believe that this album is best served with the booklet in hand and listened from the beginning to end.
Do you have a favourite track from Far Flung Realm, or is that too much like asking you to pick a favourite child right now?
Evgeny G. – I think ‘Misbegotten Dream’ is my favourite song. We have just released it as a single, you can check it out on our sites. I came up with the idea to focus on the character that the song is about, and both Jeffs made a superb job at delivering a fantastic take on this topic.
Javier E (Guitars) – I am torn between ‘Imaginations’ and ‘Second sight’. The first one was composed by a European band member, but it sounds very american, with a cool Seattle vibe clearly coming from the amazing vocal line Jeff S put together. The latter is a very original power metal song, really groovy and with nice arrangements, plus I love that huge ride bell in the mid tempo parts.
Jeff S (Vocals) – I would have to say my favorite is “Fire and Brimstone.” It just shreds all the way through and keeps that blood pumping. I am also very partial to our new single, “Misbegotten Dream” as it really turned out great.
Jeff T (Guitars) – I really like how ‘Voron (The Ravensong)’ ended up – It was one of the earliest songs we started working on for the album and it just grew tremendously from the original idea to the final product.
Who did the artwork for the album?
Jeff T: Piotr Bednarczuk! (kenshin.pl/, www.artstation.com/kaenshin). We’re incredibly fortunate to have found him – He really took the concept we gave him and ran with it! There’s so much vibrancy of color and detail to his work in general.
You list various classic metal influences, especially European power metal bands. Do you personally have any major influences outside of those, anything people might not expect when listening to Far Flung Realm?
Jeff T – Outside of metal? Lots of 80s- 90s Japanese rock. I also love video game music from that era (and a bit beyond), particularly fighting games – You can hear a little of that in the main guitar melody in ‘Fire and Brimstone. I’m also a big AOR fan.
Evgeny G. – I listen to a lot to bands of the new wave of traditional heavy metal (acts like Traveler, Solicitor, Riot City), to a lot of epic doom (Scald, viking-era Bathory, Atlantean Kodex, to name a few), and to atmospheric black metal (Grima, Wolves in the Throne Room, Falkenbach…).
Javier E. – I am more into prog or symphonic rock than I am into power metal these days. I am a devoted Marillion fan, and avidly listen to bands like Pain of Salvation, Soen, Steven Wilson… I am also a classic hard rock fan, love the melodic approach to songwriting of those bands: White Lion, Whitesnake, Van Halen, you name it!
Jeff S – I listen to a lot of everything really, but I am very partial to the obvious Power Metal and just good classic Heavy Metal. I also have a major love for Industrial and Goth Metal like Megaherz, Oomph! to The 69 Eyes and Type O Negative. I am also huge into Prog Metal like Haken, Evergrey and Dream Theater to name a few.
Cody P (Bass) – I consider my top three most influential bands to be Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and Judas Priest. I also enjoy prog/symphonic metal like Ayreon, Andromeda, and Avantasia. However I also listen to a lot of 90s grunge like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.
What’s your process for producing new music? Does anyone tend to do most of the writing or is it more of a group effort?
Jeff T – One person tends to sketch out an idea for a song on their own, then bring them to the band to arrange and tinker with. A few songs have changed quite a bit as a result of this, like Voron, the album closer.
Have you been in other bands before, or even have on-going side-projects?
Jeff T – Mostly smaller bands – Nothing too serious, as it’s always been difficult to find people who want to do this style of music. I have a side project whose first album will probably be out in early 2021 that has more of a traditional heavy metal sound to it.
Javier E. – In the early 2000s I was the bass player of a female-led gothic/prog band called Thy Tempest. We made really cool music and, in retrospect, I believe we could have reached a greater audience back then. But, you know, we were in our early 20s, we all had different plans in life and different expectations.
Jeff S – I have been in a few bands more recently such as a Dark Prog/Power metal band Convergence as well as Prog metal band Catatone back west in Seattle prior to moving here to the Boston area. I am still currently in and have been in Seattle’s very own Malfunkshun for the past 5 plus years and in the Connecticut-based band, Piercing Immortality.
Cody P – For just over a decade I’ve been doing a solo prog metal project called Reich of Shadows, I actually joined Adamantis shortly after releasing the second album “Fortune’s Hand”. Recently during Covid I started a project called Curse Guard and released a single for it. It’s a purely remote project and we’re currently working on more material.
Do you think image is important to Adamantis, or to bands more generally?
Evgeny G. – Yes, absolutely. Image is critical, it represents your identity, and sends a message to the world. We for example play what we consider epic power metal, and therefore we took some pics on a shore with swords in hand. I think it sends the right message to the listener.
I assume that Covid has had a significant impact on your plans, as with so many other bands. Are you hoping to tour in support of Far Flung Realm once you can?
Evgeny G. – Yes, definitively, we would love to but we have not talked to any booking agency yet. We are aiming at hitting some festivals, maybe even in online form, and in real form as soon as they become available. But as you know, live performances are in crisis, so we do not expect being on the road anytime soon.
Do you have a dream band to play a show with?
Evgeny G. – I would love to play a show with Blind Guardian. Thomen-era Blind Guardian is the best power metal ever created, in my opinion. Their sound goes way beyond the Helloween/Kai Hansen trademarks that are so popular nowadays in power metal.
Javier E. – I would love playing with Gamma Ray. The 16-year-old inside me would be thrilled to play alongside Kai Hansen, and we all know our 16-year-old selves have a lot to say to the adults we are now.
Jeff T – Definitely Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray. They were my entry into power metal.
Jeff S. – I would love to share the stage again with Evergrey, Queensryche and Hammerfall, and I would also love to play a show with Blind Guardian, Helloween or the mighty Iron Maiden.
Cody P – Iron Maiden has been my favorite band for a long time and single-handedly got me into metal. To share a stage with them would be amazing.
Adamantis is currently independent. Are you looking to sign to a label, and if so would you be more inclined towards one of the big names or something smaller?
Evgeny G. – Funny that you ask, because we are talking to some labels at the moment. I would love to sign with a label that would believe in us and help us become much bigger. That can be a small but well positioned label or a big label through someone who really trusts in us. I know many bands doing great under small but very well-run labels. The key for me is to have a relationship of trust.
Are there any new bands that have caught your attention recently in your own listening time?
Evgeny G. – Tony Cordisco is one of the most talented people in the underground US metal community, and has a band, ‘Project: Roenwolfe’ I plan to follow closely. Also, shoutout to the newly-reformed Scald – the cult band is alive and are reading an album with Felipe Plaza (Capilla Ardiente) as their frontman and I am dying to listen to what this “new” Scald will deliver.
Javier E. – I will just mention Oceans Of Slumber. Their last work is an absolute masterpiece – Just go listen to it, several times.
Cody P – I have to second Javier on Oceans of Slumber, the new Ayreon album “Transitus” introduced me to their vocalist Cammie and after checking out their material I’m hooked.
Jeff T – I definitely second Project: Roenwolfe for the folks who are into progressive thrash metal. On the power metal front, there’s Lovebites. They’ve put out three albums and two EPs in just three years and all of them are simply fantastic.
Thank you for your time, is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Jeff T – This interview is quite special to me – I discovered so many bands through Metal-Rules when I was just getting into power metal around 1998, so I hope our album can be one of those cool discoveries for your readers as well. Thanks for taking the time to check us out!
1.) Into the Realm
2.) Unbound Souls
3.) Misbegotten Dreams
4.) Puppeteer’s Bane
5.) Fire and Brimstone
7.) Journey’s End
8.) Oracle’s Prophecy
9.) Second Sight
10.) Siege of Arkona
11.) Voron the Ravensong