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Astronomikon - interview, February 2013

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    Posted: 22 Feb 2013 at 1:32pm
Astronomikon - to the starsThe eclectic power metallers in Astronomikon recently released Dark Gorgon Rising - an album that has received a lot of praise from critics and fans alike. We've had a chat with bassist Paris Lambrou about the making of the album, the band's style of music and inspirations, and the metal scene in the band's native Cyprus. Power metal fans should not miss out on this interview!


Firstly, congratulations on the release of Dark Gorgon Rising, on Pure Steel/Pure Legend Records. How has the album been received so far?

Thanks a lot!!! Well, the reviews we get are great! Our album is being received very well everywhere. Every day we get mails from people who want to thank us for our music. The reaction is very positive. It is also very important for us, that we had so many flattering comments regarding our song 'Witch Hunter' from people that we respect and people who influenced our music such as Ross 'The Boss' (Manowar founding member), Bill Tsamis (Warlord), Jack Starr (Virgin Steele founding member), Kenny Powell (Omen) and others. We are really very happy about it.


What can the worldwide community of headbangers expect from the album?

We have worked hard on every detail, to deliver a powerful and quality album. We promise everyone that they won't be disappointed.


How would you describe in your own words the type of music you play?

Our music is a mix of European and US metal along with the personal touch of the participating musicians of course.


Astronomikon is sometimes described as a melodic metal band and sometimes as a power metal band. How do you feel about you music being assigned those labels?

Well, these elements, power and melodic, are included, of course, in the album, but they are not the only ones. I believe that our music is different and unique, in the way that our rock and metal influences are blended together with classical, and our homeland's Mediterranean, or other exotic elements.


There are a lot of guitar melodies on the album, and, of course, the vocals are very melodic, too. How important is melody to Astronomikon?

Melody is one of the most important factors in our music. We try of course to support melody with strong and powerful rhythms. I think the powerful production combined with our orchestrations and way of writing music, result in a glorious, triumphant, epic sound.


I must say, I think that the vocals are really powerful. Nicholas Leptos must really be an asset to Astronomikon. How important is his singing style to the Astronomikon sound?


Nicholas has a really great voice. He is very expressive and talented. His performance on the album is magnificent. He is a founding member of this project and without him this band would just not be the same. We have worked together since 1999 and our collaboration is fantastic.


The music is at times quite epic and at times more in the vein of classic metal. How did you guys achieve this balance?

Well, you see? Now you have just used two more labels to describe our music Smile. This shows that our music contains elements from heavy, epic, power, melodic, classic' All of us in the band are fans of classic and epic metal, and these influences are obvious in our music, thus the balance is natural.


Were there any particular bands that inspired you when you created Dark Gorgon Rising?Demetrios Argyropoulos recording the ud

We love metal bands such as Manowar, Iron Maiden, Riot, Virgin Steele, Dio, Crimson Glory, Savatage, Fates Warning, Europe, Warlord, Judas Priest, Helloween, Accept, Queensryche, Yngwie Malmsteen and many others. My personal influences surpass the boundaries of metal and, as a musician, I can find interesting elements in all kinds of music.


What was the writing process like for Dark Gorgon Rising?

I wrote most of the music with preproduction software, while Nicholas took care of all the lyrics and also added some great vocal lines.


How about the recording process?

The songs were recorded in Germany, at Maranis Studios and they were produced/mixed/mastered by Evagelos Maranis, former vocalist of Sanvoisen. The overall outcome is great and the guitars sound really huge!!! We are very happy with his work. The recording line up of this project was Paris Lambrou on bass, Nicholas Leptos on vocals, Socrates Leptos on guitars, and Stefan Dittrich on drums. Keyboards were programmed by me and Socrates except the intro, orchestrated, recorded and produced by George Kallis. We also had some guest vocals on 2 songs by Constantinos Machairiotis, the fantastic ud playing of  on one of the songs, Evagelos Maranis on choirs and some backing vocals and finally Constantinos Constantinou played the guitar solo on the song "Rocka Rolla Sword".


The title of Dark Gorgon Rising and the cover artwork suggest a theme of Greek mythology. Does the album have an overall lyrical concept to it?

Yes, it is the fascinating story of Perseas, Medusa, Pegasus and Andromeda. It was a big challenge for us to work on a concept, as we had never done it before. We tried to bring the metal version of the myth of Perseas to life. Through the music and lyrics, we tried to achieve the contrast in emotions according to the original story. Each song is an episode of the myth.


By the way, the cover artwork is pretty cool. It has a very old school metal thing about it. Who made it?


Markus Vesper, a great artist, who has also worked with Manilla Road and many other bands!


The myth comes alive!To those of our readers who are not familiar with Astronomikon, what is the history of the band?

I started writing the songs early in 2008. Back then Nicholas Leptos, Sokratis Leptos and I, were finishing the debut album of Prodigal Earth and we were also gathering ideas for the second one. The musical direction of Prodigal Earth was straight forward heavy/power with socio-political lyrics, and my epic music didn't fit at all, so I decided to create a new project, but with a specific concept, the night sky that is the biggest book of mythology. I'm in love with the night sky, and mythology is something everyone in the band loves. Our songs are talking about the myths and legends of different cultures, around the world, depicted in the sky. The characters in our debut, Perseas, Andromeda, and Pegasus are all constellations in the sky. We tried to find a name that indicates what our songs are talking about, so we chose ASTRONOMIKON. After finishing the music for a couple of songs I asked Nicholas if he was interested to participate in this project. Arrayan Path were inactive, at that point, and he was positive to work together on some epic stuff. The rest of the members (Sokratis Leptos and Stefan Dittrich) joined the band in 2010.


I must confess that I do not really know anything about the Cypriot metal scene, so can you tell us what it is like?

The metal scene in Cyprus is at an infant stage but it is getting stronger. Recently, a few bands have started working more professionally. There are good bands in all kinds of metal like Blynd, Quadraphonic, Armageddon, R.u.s.t., Vomitile, Stormcast, Winter's Verge, Lethal Saint, Hard Raw, Soulsteal, Solitary Sabred and... Arrayan Path of course!


Returning to Dark Gorgon Rising, are you going on tour to support the album? Any chance of experiencing Astronomikon live in mainland Europe or perhaps in North America?

We already have some offers to play at some Festivals. At this stage we are examining all the options and hopefully soon a live schedule will be announced. I can't say more at this moment as nothing has been decided yet.


Are you planning to do more releases with Astronomikon in the future?

Very soon, we will start working on our next album. I have already written a lot of music, enough for many albums. Nicholas informed me that he also has some music for ASTRONOMIKON. So the plan is to offer people good music once every 1-2 years.


Where can the album be purchased, and where can people who are interested in Astronomikon go for more information?

For more info and to purchase the album, please visit our official website www.astronomikon.com. The album can also be purchased from Pure Steel/Pure Legend Records. We also have a facebook page www.facebook.com/astronomikon. And you can follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/astr0n0mik0n


Thanks for doing this interview, and, once again, congratulations on the release of a great metal album.

Thanks for the support and keep up the good work.

Astronomikon - keep an eye out for this logo


Edited by Time Signature - 06 May 2014 at 11:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2013 at 2:44pm
The cover artwork for that album is absolutely brilliant!!!
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