Arduini/Balich – Men on a Doom MountainFriday, 3rd March 2017
The “Arduini/Balich” name may not strike fear and/or interest into the average metal goer, but the sounds emanating from the band’s Dawn of Ages (Cruz Del Sur Music) debut should do the trick. The project of former Fates Warning/ current Freedoms Reign guitarist Victor Arduini and Argus vocalist Brian “Butch” Balich, Arduini/Balich is the riveting marriage of progressive and doom metal. Dawn of Ages is locked, stocked, and loaded with churning, deep riffs from Arduini, which serve as a departure from his normally nimble-fretted past. And Balich, per his excellent track record with Argus, turns in a convincing performance, one that Arduini compares to when Ronnie James Dio went from Rainbow to Black Sabbath. Bold words indeed, but the truth. Here’s Arduini giving us the scoop on the formation of the project, his past, and much more…
Dead Rhetoric: Your career has run the gamut of several musical styles, but your project with Brian is the first one that touches doom. Have you always been a fan of the style?
Victor Arduini: I’ve been a diehard fan of Sabbath since I was 14. Was lucky enough to see them in ‘78. Their songs and riffs changed my life forever. And I worshiped Ozzy up through Diary [of a Madman]. I can’t tell you just how deep I got into all the Sabbath stuff. I even played in a cool Sabbath tribute band when I was 18. No one did that back then. With that said, I got into bands like Budgie, Trouble, and anything that was in the vein of old Sabbath if it was good. There were some Sabbath influences that came out in Fates, especially on Spectre Within but obviously with John’s [Arch] vocal style as well as the many new influences like Mercyful Fate, we were trying to develop our own style which was not doom, but there are some cool riffs mixed in that came from our early influences.
Dead Rhetoric: As a songwriter, was it an exciting experience to write songs in a different manner? Obviously, Arduini/Balich sounds nothing like Freedoms Reign, Fates, etc…
Arduini: It was about time I let loose on what I like to do best. Those kind of riffs and songwriting are truly my inner passion and in the past few years I’ve been getting into many of the great underground doom/stoner stuff coming out like Bloodfsrmers, Weedpecker, Apostles of Solitude and of course, Argus.
Dead Rhetoric: What drew you to Brian? And, what was it like working with him?
Arduini: His voice and how he creates the perfect melodies to layer into the music. I’m very fussy about vocals and there are only a few who truly move me as much as the music. Brian’s passion and power resonates with some of the all-time greats.
Dead Rhetoric: You compared Brian to Dio when he went from Rainbow to Sabbath, which is easily agreeable. What’s your favorite aspect of his (Brian’s) vocals?
Arduini: It’s his tone, melodic structure and the conviction he commands when telling a story. While his vocals are powerful, he never comes across as wanting to be in top of the music, but rather a part of the overall presentation.
Dead Rhetoric: In terms of ambition or even ‘epic’ songs, Dawn of Ages has it. Did you foresee these songs becoming the challenging pieces they became when you started the project?
Arduini: I knew I had a lot in me and the riffs just kinda developed from each other while trying to flow into what naturally came next. Very organic and never intended to write lengthy songs. But I also didn’t place any restrictions.
Dead Rhetoric: A bit of a simple question: Did you guys discuss coming up with an actual band name, or did using your last names seem more fitting?
Arduini: It wasn’t a band and the more we worked towards the finish, it just seemed a natural presentation of the project.
Dead Rhetoric: With Freedoms Reign on hold, will Arduini/Balich become your priority?
Arduini: It is something I’m very proud of and I’d like to do another, which would be my priority but I’m keeping busy playing in a cool metal band called Entierro. More of a doom styled yet powerful old-school metal sound. Did being a guitarist and not having to lead a band or project. Brian’s main priority is and will always be Argus. They have established a great name for themselves with three strong releases. I’m dying to hear their new one.
Dead Rhetoric: Obvious question: Are there any live dates in store for the band?
Arduini: Not at the moment. We did this knowing it was a recording project. We’ll see how it does and if there was any real interest and would consider it in the future.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve been doing this for quite some time; more than 30 years. What ultimately keeps you motivated and/or interested in writing metal music?
Arduini: It’s just a passion I get from listening to it and creating cool riffs and developing them into songs is still a great joy. Especially when I have no pressure what to play or when it’s due. I’ve always said once I took the worry of making it big and making money that it became fun and pressure-free.
Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s on your agenda for the rest of 2017?
Arduini: Enjoy the release, find some new music to get into, go to Maryland Doom Fest and start working on some new music.