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Shortly about us

Martiria is an epic/doom metal rock band formed back in the '80s and re-founded (after a long pause) in 2002. Seven album published (last one R-Evolution, with ex Black Sabbath Vinny Appice - 2014).

The band was formed back in the '80s. At the beginning the band was very much oriented towards Doom/Metal sounds such as: early Candlemass and Black Sabbath. After releasing just a few demos and featuring various musicians, in 1998 the members of the group decide to take a break for a while in order to experience different projects. (continue)

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Reviews / Interviews

Album: Roma S.P.Q.R. ( 2012 )


Date: March '13
Author: Nima
Vote: n/a
Language: English
Direct link: click here

Italy is one of the biggest exporters of epic heavy metal and in DoomSword, Wotan, Holy Martyr, Icy Steel and Assedium, the country has introduced a few very special bands so far. One of the lesser known names in the genre is Martiria. The band was founded in the eighties, but has only been really active since 2004 and has already registered a couple of good releases to its name. The bands most recent album, Roma S.P.Q.R., which was released last fall, however, is a very sturdy album that has the necessary goods to finally get the band the well-deserved recognition. And when you consider the fact that for the ext record they have managed to get none less than the legendary Vinny Appice (ex-Black Sabbath, ex-Dio and many others) to do the drums, you can almost bet that the recognition isnt far away. We try to contribute to that from our part by putting that band a bit in the spotlights with an interview with guitarist and chief Andy Menario and lyricist Marco Capelli. The gentlemen talk about the bands history and of course the creation of Roma S.P.Q.R..

By: Nima | Archive under heavy / power metal

W2 Den Bosch

First of all, congratulations on your new album Roma S.P.Q.R.. But before we get into that, lets look at the bands history! Martiria was born in 1987, in the glory days of heavy metal. How do you look back at the time when you started the band and your motives to start playing music and bring Martiria to life?
Andy: Hello Nima, first of all thanks for the interview. Martiria are born in 1987 as an idea, at the very beginning we used to play a genre very close to what is nowadays is called doom metal, with a sound that was heavily influenced by the 70s music. All what is left of that period is a couple of demo tapes. After a few years the band split up and every musician went to a different direction. It was only in 2003 when I started to work on some new riff, that I decided to resume the name Martiria for a new project that was connected to the old one, probably just by the fact I was the founder of both. To be honest, I can't recall what exactly brought me to form a band. Maybe just the passion for metal and the fact that I can't live without playing music!

What were your main influences at that time?
Andy: Well, I think that, at the time, I was mainly influenced by Candlemass and Black Sabbath Just in a second time, thanks to groups like Warlord, I began to be interested in epic metal.

How was the scene in your home country back then? Im not only talking about the amount of fans or the popularity of the scene, but also conditions of rehearsal rooms and possibilities to get gigs etcetera.
Andy: It was all very difficult. Not as difficult as it is now, but very different. Let's start with the audience: there is always a small group of real fans, that follow the bands and go to concerts, not only for the music but also to show the bands that what they do is welcome and appreciated. But they are always few in numbers. In Italy there is very little interest for underground bands. No curiosity, no attention. Very few people used to buy underground CDs back then and there are way less people do it nowadays. On the other hand there is a good availability of rehearsal rooms and they are normally of medium to good quality. But getting gigs... its almost impossible. Clubs look mostly to the money they can get for the night and never dare to invest in something new or not-canonical genres, booking agents ask you for money and then disappear, etc...

band imageIt wasnt until 2004 that your début album, The Eternal Soul, was released. In the 80s you only released several demos and it wasnt until 2003 that there was a sign of life in the Martiria camp. What was the reason for this long hiatus?
Andy: Simply, we preferred to play covers than to work on new material. We were also very young at the time. After we split up, we had a chance to work on very different projects, we learned a lot and then got to a stage, from where it came natural to begin to work at something new. Anyway, even in 2003 we didn't start with the idea of a new Martiria album. I had a couple of pieces I liked and I asked some friends if they wanted to try to record something. When we began to send the material around, we received a general appreciation we didn't expect and we decided to officially get back together.

But anyway, since the release of The Eternal Soul the band has been quite active, especially when it comes to releasing albums, and this year you are celebrating you 25tth anniversary with a new album. How do you look back on the bands career so far?
Andy: Since 2003 it was a very, very intense period. Full of little and some big satisfactions. None of us would have thought we would release five albums in less than ten years. Yeah, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band but guess what, we feel younger and more full of energy than when we were in our 20s, haha. Being more mature artistically that is, haha allows us to do things in a more natural way. Everything is simpler and the tunes come more easily. Mostly, with Derek (Maniscalco, bass Nima) and Marco (Capelli, lyricist Nima) there is a total accord, every time we start a new project, every one of us knows exactly what to do.

Marco: Well, let me add that when we say the band is 25 years old, we mean that the musicians involved have *ahem* a quarter of a century of experience, but apart from the songs collected in On The Way back album (2011), which are from the 80s, even if lyrics have been rewritten and tunes have been heavily modified, all our songs have been written and recorded after 2003, when the band was re-founded by Andy. So I think we should be proud of what we did so far, ten years seems to be a long time but, at the same time, it is not. We must say that, as much as it is easier nowadays to make music, it is also absolutely difficult to get a an audience and following. There are hundreds of bands and thousands of songs out there. Some are even good! And in such an ocean of proposals, an audience is fragment and almost impossible to reach, unless you have enough money to appear on the mainstream media, of course. Yes, there is internet, but everything you put on the internet unless it is completely crazy or weird is just a drop in the sea. As I said, we can be proud of what we did, but I do believe we can do much more. Were ready for the next step and we are ready to write better music, better lyrics, and better songs than ever.

Lets talk about the new album a bit. I admit that my first acquaintance with Martiria was with Time Of Truth, followed by On The Way Back, and that Im not familiar with your first two albums that well. I like the last two albums, but they were a bit too melodic for my taste. Roma S.P.Q.R. is definitely a Martiria album, but its more convincing. The album sounds more spontaneous, there are more fast parts and the metal part has increased a lot in my opinion. Also the album has much more feel and emotion than the previous works and I must say that Im really, really impressed. What did you have in mind for the direction of the new album when you started on the writing process?
Andy: That's a perfect analysis! We wanted to make something that was more immediate, easy to get and with a heavy dose of metal inside. So we tried to simplify a little the arrangements and we're very happy about the result. Of course the atmosphere must be epic and intense, since the theme we dealt with, so we worked on this aspect, both on musically and lyrically.

Roma S.P.Q.R. also embarks the début of the new singer Freddy. Freddys voice is quite similar to Rick Andersons. Initially I even thought we were dealing with the same singer. However, Freddy has a stronger and less melodic voice than Rick, and he also sings with much more power, conviction and variety. What were the criteria for the new Martiria vocalist?
Andy: Freddy replaced Rick only for this album, he was contacted because the band needed to play live and this was not possible since Rick lives in the United States. Moreover Freddy was a very good friend of mine and a great professional singer. He was very kind in accepting to help us and I must say, he has done a great job. Surely his voice is different from Rick's, Freddy definitely has a heavier colour, while Rick had a wider range of expression. But you must wait to hear the new singer, then we will have a chance to talk about power and aggressiveness!

I must say that thanks to Freddys voice the music also sounds more convincing and come better into its own. Was he also involved in the song writing process and responsible for the fact that Roma S.P.Q.R. has headed into a sturdier and faster direction?
Andy: No, Freddy has just sang on the melodies I had written. Of course every singer puts something personal in the interpretation of a song.

Lyrically Roma S.P.Q.R. has become a conceptual album, obviously dealing with the history of your ancestors. Can you tell a bit more about the lyrical concept of the album and the reason to do use this subject and dedicate an album to it?
Marco: For what it concerns the lyrics I was just really scared! How could I say something even barely original about Rome? I would have had to deal with the greatest poets and writers of the last twenty centuries, from Virgil to Shakespeare Not to mention cinema, TV, music and theatre
Well, in the end I decided to do it Martiria style; looking for clue moments inside the big picture and trying to put in evidence the feelings and the thoughts of the men behind the myth. Of course I cant judge if it worked therefore I take the control of the interview and I ask to the interviewer: did we succeed?

band image

Let me put it this way, although I pay little attention to lyrics in general sorry Marco, haha Hell yeah! I dont know if this is your first conceptual album or not, but what is different about making a concept album than a normal compilation of songs? I can imagine that its a hell of a job to create the right musical mood to go with the story, put the words into catchy lyrics, and not to forget the research for the concept
Andy: Absolutely! Everything must be carefully planned and then the plan must be followed step by step.

Marco: The Age Of The Return album (2004) was based on the Bible. Well, working on a concept is easier when it comes to pick the subject for every song. Because youve got plenty of material to choose from, but it obliges you to work on a continuous register, because all the songs must harmonize with each other so the camera must be kept always more or less at the same level. Like in a movie, you are free to move around but with a reduced degree of freedom. On the other side, a normal album requires a stronger effort in producing mental images and translating them into words.

Do you see Roma S.P.Q.R. as a new beginning for Martiria? Because in my opinion it sure sounds like it: the new album has a very energetic and enthusiastic vibe, you have a fantastic new singer and the fact that the album was realized only one year after On The Way Back also shows that there is a new found energy and enthusiasm in the band. Your opinion please
Andy: Surely Roma S.P.Q.R. is an important album for us. I like to consider it the normal evolution after Time Of Truth I put On The Way Back aside at this point, seeing that because it was like a band celebration and a collection of pieces from the '80s that were rearranged and re-recorded Roma S.P.Q.R. was the beginning of Martiria's new era, and the next album will be more straightforward and more powerful! It's not by chance that we will have the legendary Vinny Appice playing the drums!

Something different now: Italy is becoming one of the greater suppliers of epic heavy metal. Bands like Doomsword, Assedium, Holy Martyr, Icy Steel and of course the mighty Wotan have mastered this art as well. I wonder what makes you guys so talented in making this kind of music!
Andy: Well, with all what our government does to us daily... our struggle to survive is totally epic, haha!

Are you sure you dont use any spices in the food or that there is something in the water that makes Italians play epic heavy metal? Haha!
Andy: Yesred spicy pepper from Calabria, haha!

Just like the aforementioned colleague bands Martiria uses many influences from the NWOBHM and ancient epic heavy metal bands like Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol and also Omen. But you also take a lot from old-school doom and especially old Black Sabbath in my opinion. Again your opinion please, and in what way do you think Martiria distinguishes itself from the aforementioned colleague bands and fellow compatriots, and the current epic heavy metal scene in general?
Andy: Again, I couldn't agree more. We are tied to the NWOBHM sounds, especially if we consider the '80s. I was fed with bread and Black Sabbath so to speak but my source of doom inspiration are surely Candlemass. Nevertheless, I can't say that Martiria resembles to anyone of these bands. There are several influences in our music and all of them are present at the same time. And all this contributes to create the Martiria sound. Maybe a piece will remind you Black Sabbath, or even Virgin Steele, then in another one you might recall something connected with Omen, but every piece is different and there is always something more, something else. I'm also influenced by classical composers like Verdi, Vivaldi and Puccini and by 70s disco! Some of those tunes are incredible!

Again something totally different: This is a question I ask all Italian musicians, so Im afraid you can't escape it: What is your opinion about infamous "Innominabli" Death SS and their reputation and superstition around them in Italy? Haha!
Andy: Hahaha! I answer gladly, mainly because I dont know much about it, haha. I know very little about Death SS, and I didn't know about any superstition about them. Now I'll get some information about it and, next time, I will be able to answer properly. It's a promise.

What can we expect from Martiria next? Are there any plans to do more shows in 2013 to support the album, and are there also possibilities to see the band across Europe for a couple of shows?
Andy: Oh, well, this is the main problem. We're always available to play live, but we never get serious offers. Yes, we have played in Italy, Greece and the UK, but it is very difficult to get the right contacts. Right now we're closed in studio with Vinny to record and once the album is finished, you can be sure that we will do all what we can to promote it all over Europe. Of course, if there was a booking agent reading this, or a club owner, or an agent, we're here!

Alright then, I guess we can wrap it up for this time. Unless of course there is anything left that youd like to mention
Andy: A big thank you to you for giving us this opportunity to do our say and a special hello to all the metal head that follow your zine. Hopefully we will have a chance to meet soon at a gig.

© Nima


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