Reviews from Alpha DraconisReview & Interview on Lords of Metal 02.09.10 - Posted in Alpha Draconis reviews
Lords of Metal from Holland conducted an interview with Distant Past's Mastermind Adriano and reviewed the new Album:
Distant Past - Alpha Draconis
file under heavy / power metal
MoL: Despite the fact that Alpha Draconis is already the third album by Swiss band Distant Past, the name won’t ring a bell with a lot of people. Because the album is self-released and therefore there is no label to support it, this will alas not change in the near future.
The band revolves around Adriano Troiana. Until 2001 he played in a band named Emerald, which until then had releases two albums, which where also self released. After departing Emerald, Troiana established the band Evil Eye, which he soon after that left. After he made a studio at home, Troiana started to make records under the name Distant Past. In 2003 and 2005 Distant Past released two albums, which were again self released. On these records there are a lot of guest musicians
, amongst which some are of Troiana’s old band Emerald. As said, the band is not really well-known. For me this was a first acquaintance as well. And it turned out to be an pleasant acquaintance. De music is a mix of heavy/power metal with here and there a dose of thrash metal. There are also influences from symphonic rock. And despite the fact I’m not a fan of clean vocals – which sound to tedious most of the time – it works very well on this record. What is also a good thing, is that the band don’t try to show off with endless solo’s and difficult structures, like bands like Dream Theater tend to do. This whole combination makes this record one which is very nice to listen to. It is surely not a record to bang your head to, but it is one you can put up the morning after when recovering from a hangover.
This band could address a bigger audience. One has to be able to put his mind to it, because it is not easy to put the band in a specific genre. For people how like the aforementioned genres it is certainly worth to give this record a try
The style of this album is hard to pinpoint and therefore Lords Of Metal asked founder and driving force behind Distant Past, Adriano Troiano (bass, vocals), about his sources of inspiration. Next to an enormous love for rock and metal, Adriano gets his ideas from conspiracy theories and aliens, about which his has interesting as well as, to some, bizarre ideas.
Since not everybody will be familiar with Distant Past, would you be so kind to introduce the band and its members to the readers?
Distant Past is a studio project founded by myself in 2002, after I left Emerald. I wanted to produce the songs I had written with help of my friends. You can consider the new album the first to make a big impression and the first to sound like I imagined. All of the members of Distant Past are members of other bands. I returned to Emerald in 2007, but I started to work on a new Distant Past Album in 2008, as I need this project to be creative, on my own. On this album joining me is Emerald Drummer Al Spicher, Chris Schafer (guitar / Orpheus), Alain Curty (guitar / Deadflow) and Angelo Schafer (vocals / Remote Lane). As well as other guests for solos etcetera.
The style of Distant Past is hard to pinpoint. It has 70’s symphonic rock, 80’s heavy/power metal and thrash metal influences. How would you describe the style of the band?
I describe our style as metal/progressive/rock, as I combine all the influences and styles on this album, which has lots of influences. “The Best of Metal”, is what a friend described the album. And yes, there are the ingredients of the styles I like a lot. For me it is all about the songs, if a song needs to be aggressive, it is more a thrash metal song. If it needs to be soft and mellow it is more of a rock song. I really think it is a good album which shows a lot of diversity and is an interesting and fluent album. Overall it is classic metal with some other elements thrown in for good measure.
Can you tell us which bands you are influenced by, and why these bands were so important for your musical development?
I am very much into band of the 70’s and 80’s. My favorite bands include Dio, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Hawkwind, Sammy Hagar, Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Omen, Talisman; the list is endless. Most important for me will always be R.J. Dio, as his lyrics and majestic voice made me realize how important the story is and how you perform it. The 70’s bands were really important, as there were no boundaries in where a song could go. Thrash and US-Metal bands brought that creative effort and combined it with the heaviness and the technical changes of the 80’s. I was certainly influenced by all of these bands, but I never try to copy them.
There were two Distant Past albums released before this latest release entitled ‘Alpha Draconis’. What is the difference between the previous records and ‘Alpha Draconis’?
The production and some of the songs are much better on the new album. The previous records are the way I needed to go, to get better with recording and production, as it all has been done in my home studio. I would not call them demos, as I like to do cohesive albums. The first one was a trial to do an album start to finish, it didn’t sound right. On the second album a friend helped me with the production, but the recordings lacked proper handling and the singer was not into metal. The new album has everything, great songs, great (metal) singer and a mix done by V.O. Pulver of Gurd, the number one metal-producer in Switzerland.
The recording process started July 2008 and lasted until January 2010. Why did it took such a time to record ‘Alpha Draconis’?
As I mentioned it all starts and ends with myself. I write and record the songs on bass, then I invite drummers, guitarists, guests and finally the singer to contribute their parts. As we mostly record on weekends, it is easy to see why it took that long. As we are not a “real” band, we never rehearsed together, all involved had to learn their parts first, So when finished with a drumtrack I mailed it to the guitarist, who came in when the had time. So normally it takes it’s time.
There is a lot of science-fiction in your lyrics. Can you tell us some more about the lyrics and the overall theme of ‘Alpha Draconis’?
The theme of the artwork is about the Reptilian Alien Species who hides on earth and slowly takes control over us in a covert operation. They are here and hide in plain sight. Open your eyes. The Reptilian Symbol is very dominant in the history of many nations. The lyrics have different topics: ‘The Interrogation’ is about mind control, ‘Trial & Error’ is about the hollow earth theory and ‘The Serpent...’ is about deceiving humanity with a re-written Bible. For me it is important that the song works, so many lyrics seem mysterious and some reflect my thoughts about a topic or a feeling (‘The Powers That Be’ and ‘Refuse To Be Denied’). I always like that kind of lyrics and I hope the listeners will enjoy it too, as it is not determined what it is about, but you can make up your mind about it. If you like to research the topics I am writing about, go ahead, this is the reason I made it: to open peoples minds.
If we talk about science-fiction we are not far from discussing aliens. Can you tell us what your views about aliens are and how they are connected to our daily lives?
I believe they have already arrived. They are suppressing us and hide to let the planet run and let us work. And they are very successful. If you see a UFO, you are ridiculed. The news never shows the true stuff, it is all filtered. It is a conspiracy theory and a really interesting one. The more you dig, the more you will find out. The truth is stranger than fiction. Humanity might as well be an experiment. I read a lot of this stuff, it makes some great stories and interesting songs.
As far as I know Distant Past is not signed to any label. How do you do the promotion for the album and the band? We received the promo material through Markus from Pure Steel Records. In what way is he involved?
Well, my main band Emerald has a contract with PSR, so they listened to the Distant Past album and liked it. But they could not offer me anything right away. I did not want to wait and produced the limited digipack (hand numbered) on my own. We will wait and see what happens. We have not contacted any other labels yet, I will be more than happy to wait what PSR can offer me and the band.
What is the reason you think that no label has signed the band? The reviews I have read were all very positive, including my own.
As mentioned above, we have not had the need to look for a label, yet. I think most labels need something that is easy marketable. Distant Past is very diverse, we are different, so they might not know how to sell the album. Yes, all the reviews have been very positive. When you have to listen to all metal releases, I think ‘Alpha Draconis’ is a breath of fresh air, as it is traditional but crosses the boundaries and really is something else.
Will there be a tour to promote the album? And if so, will you guys be visiting The Netherlands also?
Sorry, as mentioned we are more a project than a live band and the others have their own bands, so it will not be possible for the near future. We never know what happens, so we might do something at some point. But first I need to have people around me that are dedicated. To help me out on a record is one thing, but to be in Distant Past as a band is another. I know that this is not an option for Angelo, our singer. At the moment it is easier to concentrate on a new record, which would cost me as much time and nerve, like building up a “real” band from scratch that would play some local gigs. And I have been down that road before. We might do some touring with Emerald and visiting Holland soon, we will see.
Thanks for answering the questions! Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank you, Marcel, for the great opportunity to present Distant Past on Lords Of Metal. I hope many orange metalheads will support Distant Past and get our new album. It is available on our homepage www.distant-past.ch, in the special limited edition. Support the underground!!!