Into The Second Life of DragonHammer
Into The Second Life of DragonHammer
The almighty DragonHammer is one of the standout collectives of the legendary Italian melodic power metal scene. DragonHammer has been presenting rapturous sonic entreaties that set the imagination in flight for 20 years and counting. And now with their new album Second Life on My Kingdom Music, DragonHammer has unveiled a stunning new chapter to their music, and its symphonic reveries are well worth seeking out. Highwire Daze recently interviewed Alessandro Mancini of the DragonHammer brigade to find out more about the rich history of the band and their compelling Second Life magnum opus. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in DragonHammer, and how long the band has been together.
Hi Highwire Daze magazine, my name is Alessandro Mancini and I’m the guitar player and composer of DragonHammer. The band is 20 years old, and it has been around since the 2000’s.
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there?
The band DragonHammer was born, and it’s still today based in Rome, Italy. The music scene has worsened in the last few years and the pandemic dealt a heavy blow on a lot of live venues that are now closed, making harder for underground metal bands to play live.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Second Life?
Yes, there is indeed. Second Life is a concept album that follow the story of a man, a hero if you would, through his hardships, victories and transfigurations from the start till the end of his journey.
Select two songs from Second Life and what inspired the lyrics
Let’s choose Kingdom of the Ghosts and Sickness Divine.
Kingdom of the Ghosts talks about the oppression of the individual in his everyday life physically and emotionally.
Sickness Divine is inspired by the pandemic and it tries to describe its different aspects through the eyes of the protagonist.
Who produced Second Life and what was it like working with them?
Second Life was produced by Marco Mastrobuono at Kick Recording Studio. Marco, beside being a friend of the band, is a diligent professional who helped us in the making of this album with his expertise and external judgement in order to deliver the best product possible.
How did Mattia Fagiolo of White Thunder become involved as the new vocalist for DragonHammer?
While composing Second Life, we had a sound in mind and a specific kind of vocalist. After some searching, some scouting and some failed attempts as well, we found this young talented vocalist right in our home city. We talked about the project, we asked for some audition tapes of some of our songs and we liked what we heard. From there on out the road was down hill.
Introduce the other two new members Marco Berrettoni on drums, and Alessandro Mancini on guitar and how they became involved with Dragonhammer?
I was first introduced by the former drummer Andrea Gianangeli some time ago (2017) as live guitarist then after meeting the rest of the band playing and touring together we bonded and decided to stay. For Marco Berrettoni it was I that suggested him to the band since he is an amazing drumming machine as well as a delightful person to be around.
How did you tour with Freedom Call go and what were some of the highlights?
It was as always fantastic. They are great musicians and extremely professional. We were striked by how much thought out and well organized was their show and perfomance since the first time we played with them in 2014 during our European tour.
You also did some shows with Iron Savior. How did they go and what were some of the highlights?
Our tour in Spain with them went well. Super chill, easy going, approachable guys. And on stage they absolutely rock. It was a pleasure being able to be back stage with such a great band and to listen to their music live.
Has Dragonhammer ever played here in the States or plan to do so in the future?
No we’ve never played in the States. We would love to, but as you can imagine, it is not an easy task.
When you look back on the first DragonHammer album The Blood Of The Dragon released in 2001, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
The Blood of the Dragon has a lot in common with Second Life. It was the original sound of Italian Power Metal and of DragonHammer as a band. And as that first CD put DragonHammer on the map, this new CD was composed to give a second birth to the band. Even if Second Life, it’s definitely a step up in terms of songwriting and production, we wanted to bring back some of the traits present in The Blood of the Dragon (fantasy settings, less prog more classic power etc…) but as refined as possible and backed up by a more symphonic and orchestral background.
Do you still keep in touch with former member Max Aguzzi?
Yes absolutely we are in really good terms with Max. And him leaving the band was solely due to some reasons not related to his relationship with the other band members, but to Max private life.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Dragonhammer?
Yes almost every band member of DragonHammer as other project beside Gaetano Amodio.
For me it is my Pagan Metal project Dyrnwyn, for Marco Berrettoni is the Black Metal band Selvenas, Mattia with White Thunder, Flavio Cicconi with his Melodic Death Metal band Nanga Parbat and Giulio Cattivera (Neo Folk).
What’s up next for Dragonhammer?
We’re already thinking about composing something new even if our priority at the moment is to bring our Second Life to our audience and playing it live on stage.
Any final words of wisdom?
We just want to thank Highwire Daze magazine for being interested in out music and our story.
For the readers, I would say that if they like Power Metal as much as we do they need to check out Second Life. We did not want to reinvent Power Metal but make a great headbanging Power Metal album using all the spices that made this genre what it is and what has been throughout the years.
Do not forget to read the lyrics!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
DragonHammer on Instagram