DRAGONHAMMER :  interview with Max Aguzzi  

organized by Mr. Max Aguzzi and GryphonMetal.ch

interview  by Boris "Azrael" Witta ___             

20/04/2004    mail interview

 review Time for Expiation



Boris: First of all thank you for the interview, Max, it’s a pleasure and honor for me because I really like your new album!

In the info-sheet of the label were some words about the story of your album. Can you tell me more about the concept “Time For Expiation” is based on?

Max: The album refers to the protagonist of the story: the "Eternal Sinner". He’s a man who has been refused from death and sentenced from God. His pain borns from the fact he has to listen to all the stories of men living all their feelings  without being able to put a word on them in any way... Every song is a story of a soul, of a life, in a exact moment: I’ve  thought it was a good way to link different themes in a single idea. 

What was the reason to leave typical Metal-themes like sword, dragon and blood instead of a history-concept?

We felt we wanted to talk about different things in confront to the past. We have treated more realistic topics but in a context somehow linked to our imagination. We  touch themes of modern life like ambiental pollution, lost of a love, difficult to trust in someone, that produce the same feelings of hate and anger that we often feel...

How do you write songs? Are you sitting together or has just anyone a riff or a melody or how does this go?

Usually I write the lyrics in the mean time I arrange the music; I think it’s a natural way to proceed. I also do the mixing of  tracks and I work for the recording of the  instruments. I know what I want to obtain and I think is better to try to do the job on your own to get what you had in your mind.


 From Italy, there are lots of Helloween-, Stratovarius-, Rhapsody- or whatever-clones. What do you think is the reason that there are so little origin bands from Italy? I mean, bands like Dragonhammer show that there are other ways to play Melodic Power Metal.

Thanx! I think  the phenomenon you’re talking about happens because in Italy we don’t have a proper “rock culture” and it brings us to take inspirations, and sometimes unfortunately to copy, foreign models. However I prefer not to enter in the argument...I’m not in the position to judge anyone.


Continuing the last question, what would you say are your biggest influences or inspiration? I think that’s interesting because I hear a lot of different elements in your music.

I was born as musician, like many of young metallers in the 80/90’s, by a strong influence of bands like Metallica or Megadeth, Ozzy and AC/DC... Growing up fortunately I had the possibility to look “over” and I take attention about all that staff that I think is good one, it doesn't matter who plays it. In the last times I was studying virtuous single artists, changing my approach to music and singing, Gae (bass guitar) is still strongly musically linked to 80’s bands, Alex and Raf (keyboards and drums) always listened, and still do, old hard rock and prog. I suppose this difference among our musical tastes is our strength and our possibility to go on with always different attitude.


I read some reviews about your albums and mostly, “Time For Expiation” gets better critics than the first one. Have you done something different in contrast to “The Blood Of The Dragon”? And what would you say is better than on the first album?

“The Blood of the Dragon” is different : marked influences and very fantasy lyrics. Personally I believe that in that album there were some good songs penalized  however from a low production. In “Time for Expiation” we tried to avoid the classic cliché that is part of a lot of Power bands: we tried to compose  more introspective and personal songs, without caring too much about following particulars, power marks of genre. Our wish was to try to found our proper style and sound, we really didn’t want to look like other bands around.


Can you tell me something about the Italian Metal-scene, I mean, is there a good holding together between the fans, are there Metal-locations, are there lots of concerts? Here in Switzerland, we have a big scene, but it’s a lot more Underground than for example in Germany.

From the way you describe me Switzerland’s scene, I can say that it looks like the Italian one. In the last years many interesting bands came out and finally catched the possibility to have a contract with some label, but unfortunately the most of Italian bands won’t have this luck. To add unluck on unluck we have to remind that in Italy we don’t have so many clubs that permit you to play live in good levels of sound and public quality, and this really slow the process of growing up of  Rock Culture. But Rock and Metal are always too strong to be stopped!


What were your best experiences of playing live?

Unfortunately we haven’t played live too much! The previous label really penalized us in this way, and we lost a lot of precious time. We don’t have nice reminds about that particular moment, but we’ve the intention to have back all that time with a new energy!


What do you think about Extreme Metal like Black or Death Metal? Do you like any bands of these genres or is this just noise for you?  And which style of Metal besides of Power Metal is you favorite?

Sincerely I’m not really into Black or Death Metal, because I don’t consider “growl” style a proper way to sing...even if musically many bands of those genres are very interesting. Except about Power I really love old metal, like Black Sabbath, Dio and Ozzy, and today I prefer listening to virtuous musicians (Becker, Kuprij, Sherinian). Regarding Nu Metal, well...just few names took my attention, someone like Korn and Nickelback are really good. Usually I listen to everything can take my attention! No prob what it is! Tastes are tastes!


Are there any plans for playing in Switzerland?

Anything already planned, but your country is one of those we want to visit...fortunately we’ve many fans among your people! We’ve moving to manage some live gig over there...you never know...


Now our typical GryphonMetal -last- question:  the Game. To the bands we interview for the very first time we propose the Game of the Tower: there is a very high tower, and on the top of this tower 3 bands are waiting for you. You must kick down 2 of them, saving only one. The 3 bands for you, Max, are: HammerFall, Marduk and Metallica.

Can I kick down Metallica twice? J Well...today’s Metallica of course....I respect and appreciate their very old albums. If I’ve to save one of these three bands I’ll save Hammerfall, even though Marduk are a band that knows what they do. Please don’t tell them I’ve kicked them too....they look like a bit....dangerous! J


Thank you very much for the interview and I hope you pass once through Switzerland!

Thank you very much even from the other guys from Dragonhammer. We hope to play live in Switzerland soon and to have the possibility to check your famous cheese!!! We’ll bring some pasta and wine eh? J



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