Hi Andy and Martiria. Maybe we start this interview with the usual introduction of the Band. How comes the band started in 1987 (!!!) and released the first album last year?
Andy: Hi Alex. Well, we can say it was a joke played by destiny? ;) … joking aside, the group Martiria was born in 1987 but during the first ten years we just produced a few live exhibitions and two demo-tapes. During this first phase, also the sound was different, definitely more doom-oriented. Then, for several reasons, we decided to stop playing. It was only two years ago that I decided to resurrect the name “Martiria” for the band I wanted to create, since the sound I had in mind was clearly connected to my musical origins, I thought to give Martiria a second chance. In this new adventure I involved two friends I know since the beginning of my musical activity: Maurizio Capitini (ex Astaroth) that plays the drums and Derek Maniscalco (bass). Just before starting to record the first album, Rick Anderson (aka Damien King III, ex Warlord singer) and Marco Capelli, poet, writer and author of the lyrics of the two albums, joined us.
The lyrics of "The Age Of The Return" are based on the most epic opus ever written.. Which scenes of the bible does it cover?
Rick: Some of the most important stories in the Bible were chosen, such as: John the Baptist, David and Goliath, Judas' betrayal of Jesus, The crucifixion of Christ, The Second Coming of Christ plus many others.
Marco: Actually, it was sort of an instinctive choice, between the many stories of the bible, we just picked the ones that someway stimulated our imagination. Nevertheless, there is a thread between the different songs, even if it’s not the result of a deliberated choice… It’s some sort… of mystery!
Who are the characters you've chosen?
Rick: The main characters in those stories were chosen plus Peter and Mary Magdalene and many others .
How did you interpret the feelings, fears and hopes of your main actors? What was the inspiration?
Rick: Speaking for myself, my inspiration was my belief in God and my understanding of the Bible. It is kind of like acting out a part as an actor in a drama. But this was easier because this story is true.
Marco: Dealing with the Bible it’s always a great emotion, both for believers and not believers. I mean, it’s “the book” on which the whole western culture is built! Definitely, it deserves the greatest respect and it must be approached with the deepest humility.
Did the recent events in the Vatican influence you in any way?
Andy: No, absolutely. We decided to make this concept way before it happened. As you can see, the CD was already being printed when the Pope died.
What are your expectation towards the church and the new pope?
Andy: Personally I never thought about this in the past, nor I will begin now. I can only say that I hope that the Catholic Church will have the force to help to keep peace between people and religion. In this moment, it’s what we all need most.
What means religion and the bible to you?
Rick: For me, the story of salvation through Jesus Christ in the Bible means everything. It is the only way to find hope and the promise of eternity with God in Heaven.
Andy: I fear I can’t really say I am someone that lives in the full respect of religion, but I surely admire people that are able to do it. I have a very personal view of the relationship with God but surely I believe in God and I think that the Bible is the greatest book ever written. The only book that could guide the destiny of millions of human lives being their spiritual guide for more than two thousand years!
I've chosen some quotes from your album. Please comment them!
"Don't call me prophet! Why can't you see? I'm just a messenger"
"Not just a coin: it's silver. It is the price of a human life Look, how it shines!"
"When no one believes, When fear only rules, Still someone has not lost his hopes."
"Chains have no power"
The first three lines are from John the Baptist clarifying who he is.
The second set of lines is from Judas in "Regrets" referring to the money he was paid in exchange for turning Jesus over to the guards prior to His death on the Cross.
The last lines remind us that no matter how difficult things get, there is always hope. We do not need to remain in bad circumstances. Jesus was victorious over sin and death therefore we can have victory in life.
How long did it take to organize the recordings. I mean you had several guests to help - choirs, tenors, sopranos etc?
Andy: It wasn’t as difficult as it could appear. The chorus parts have been extracted by the synthesized chorus I had written for the keyboard, they have been simply modified a bit to adapt them to the different sections of bass, tenors and sopranos. Anyway, all was recorded in just one morning, after a couple of months of tests.
Was it hard to convince your guest of your music?
Andy: No, Master Marchetti is a very nice person, and he was keen to accept the challenge, I think it was a good experience for everyone… and anyway the most part of the singer in the chorus did like Martiria’s music!
Are you going to perform your music on stage? And how will you realize it then?
Andy: Unfortunately, this is a old problem. Till now we didn’t receive any offer that allowed us to perform in a live exhibition. All the offers that we received weren’t even enough to pay Rick’s plane ticket.
(annotation: Rick lives in Ohio, USA) I think we will seriously think about a live performance only if we will receive a really interesting offer.
Who created the cover-artwork?
Andy: I found this picture of “St.Michael kills the Devil” by Raffaello Sanzio browsing the net. I like it a lot, because it reflects the spirit of the whole album. The artwork is mine.
What is so special about Epic Metal?
Andy: I’m not quite sure, personally I only play music I like to play, without labeling it. Usually it is the listener that labels it. What I can surely say is that I like melancholic sounds, full of pathos, and that I love the power and the emphasis of opera. I believe that both these elements are present in the epic metal.
You are compared with Warlord pretty often: A compliment or a burden?
Andy: Absolutely a compliment! I deeply love Warlord, I felt in love in the moment I listened to their music for the first time and, since then, I never got tired of Deliver us, Just a penny for a poor man, Winter tears, etc. I believe that Warlord created a new way of making music and Bill Tsamis created a new way to approach guitar techniques… for me he is a genius and an example.
What are your visions with Martiria?
Right now, I think we will take a short break, but we will begin very soon to think about the next album.
Finally: Thanks for this highly exciting music. The final words are for you....
Andy: First of all, thanks a lot, Alex, for this interview and for the support given by MetalGlory. I want to say hello to all your readers and I wish that our “The Age of the Return” will be appreciated by many of them. Thanks again! Metal On!