HyperioN – Charisma and EnergyFriday, 29th December 2017
While the Italian metal scene has had a couple of breakthroughs internationally (Lacuna Coil probably the biggest, Rhapsody (Of Fire) as well), it’s a scene ripe with talent in many sub-genres. HyperioN hope to add their name to the list for the classic/traditional metal follower, arising in 2015 and recently releasing their debut album Dangerous Days. The guitar play and spirit of older NWOBHM runs through these eight songs, along with a bit of Metallica meets Teutonic powerfulness from time to time – although the voice of Michelangelo Carano gives songs like “Ultimatum” and “Forbidden Pages” more of a Graham Bonnet edge to the proceedings.
Feeling the need to learn more about this group, I reached out to guitarist Davide Cotti and drummer Jason Beghelli to learn more about the quintet. Prepare to learn more about the debut album, the sci-fi oriented cover art, the fears of terrorism in the world, and future plans to take this material on stage to gain more fans to the fold.
Dead Rhetoric: The origins of HyperioN begin in 2015 – how did this set of musicians come together, were you familiar with each other in previous local bands, and did you know straight away the style of heavy Metal you wanted to develop?
Davide Cotti: Jason and myself have been friends since teenagers and have always been playing heavy metal, though in different bands. Decades later, after a 10-year hiatus, I dove back into my guitar and chance (occurred) for us to fortunately meet (again), totally random, in a rehearsal room. Jason was looking for someone to start a new metal band with, so I promptly jumped on the occasion. And we just clicked on our vision of that thrash-influenced, classic heavy metal style… so yeah, we started looking for other fellow musicians to join our gang right away.
Jason Beghelli: It almost took up a full year of auditions, but the line-up was ultimately definite: not only great guys but, oddly enough, people who shared our vision of heavy metal – and that’s pretty uncommon in an era of such flourishing sub-genres and different styles (I’m talking nu-metal, deathcore, emo metal and stuff). By all means today, it’s not so easy to find people who’d love to play classic stuff.
Dead Rhetoric: Dangerous Days is the group’s debut full-length. What can you tell us about the recording sessions – how long did the process take from initial songwriting to final product, and were there any specific challenges, surprises, or obstacles that took place?
Cotti: The recording and production process alone took about six months and ended in June 2017, but the songwriting began at the very inception of the band, in 2015. At first, we actually thought we were just going to release a four song EP, but we ultimately had so much material we decided to debut with a full-length album.
Beghelli: We actually had a major drawback near the end of the recording sessions, as our former bass player, Giacomo Ritucci, left the band on personal accounts. Thankfully, our guitarist Luke Fortini’s proficiency spreads among every single stringed instrument existing on the planet, and he was able to record the bass track for the last song on the production (“Forbidden Pages”) and save the day. It was a harsh time for us, having to record our album and quickly find a bass player.
Dead Rhetoric: At what point did Fighter Records come into the picture to sign the group? Were there other record deals you were seeking out – and if so, what became most attractive to be a part of the Fighter Records roster?
Cotti: The very moment we were done with the recording, we sought out a distribution contract all over the world. We weren’t holding our hopes too high, our project being an unexplored territory; nonetheless we got a couple of offers from both Italian and international labels. In the end we chose Fighter Records: we just thought they would suit us best, and I think we chose well enough, as we’re very happy with all the great work they’re doing with promoting our album.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the cover art? Does the piece exemplify a lot of the sci-fi oriented content with the lyrics – and are you all fans of sci-fi related themes when it comes to books, movies, television series, etc.?
Cotti: What we were looking for was some piece of art capable not only of exemplifying our themes, but also the core features of our sound: we’re talking energy, aggression and dynamism above all.
Beghelli: When we stumbled over that amazing picture by the Australian artist Alex Ries, we knew we had found what we were looking for. Some of our songs are clearly sci-fi related, as we all are big fans, so that cover art was a pretty natural choice.
Dead Rhetoric: Vocalist Michelangelo Carano possesses a unique delivery in comparison to the Dio, Dickinson, and Halford mold. Do you believe this is an important distinction to allow HyperioN to set themselves apart from other bands in the genre?
Cotti: For sure, it absolutely is. As soon as we heard Michelangelo’s voice singing “Hyperion” we just knew that he was the right guy for the sound we envisioned. He is also a true force of nature when performing live, flamboyant and charismatic as every metal front man should be.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe HyperioN in terms of a live performance? What do you hope the audience gets out of your music in a live setting, and what have been some of your more memorable shows to date?
Cotti: HyperioN is all about that classic heavy metal energy, that particular vibrating feeling you only get at a live gig. Our music is always composed and arranged with a genuine ‘live mindset’, so what you get on stage is basically the same material as on the album, only much harder and louder.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on your local metal scene in Italy? What are some of the challenges or obstacles that you work through to move higher up the ranks in terms of popularity or respect?
Cotti: I’d say playing heavy metal in our country is quite a challenge. The mass audience is mostly oriented to pop, easy listening music. In this scenario, you’ve got to work quite hard to get yourself a gig.
Beghelli: We’re a new band, we know we have to pay our dues in the underground scene and follow every step of the way, and we’re fine with it and ain’t looking for shortcuts. We’re actually excited to earn every fan’s heart sweating our asses off on stage.
Dead Rhetoric: Who are some of the major Metal bands that HyperioN look up to and would want to develop a similar career path, and how does the band handle the work/life balance that comes up being in a Metal band?
Cotti: There’s a good number of Italian bands that were able to gain global following. Just to mention, Rhapsody of Fire and Lacuna Coil paved the way for others after them. We’d be thrilled to achieve the success they did.
Dead Rhetoric: What concerns or fears do you have about the world that we live in today? What do you think the leaders need to focus on more to make the world a better place for future generations to treasure?
Beghelli: The first thought that pops in my mind is terrorism. It’s a complex matter, really, because every form of fundamentalism pushes human nature over a limit I don’t think should be crossed. Still, it’s our very same nature that prompts us across it, and it’s been so since the beginning of time. So of course, global leaders should gather together and make plans in order to preserve people in spite of interests and greed… and I know I’m talking utopias, but can you actually think of any way to survive other than extend empathy on a global scale?
Dead Rhetoric: Has work begun on the follow-up effort to Dangerous Days? If so, where do you see the major differences regarding the songwriting development – or are you content to stay within the style established with this debut record?
Cotti: At present we’re just browsing among ideas and concepts, so we still don’t have an answer to your question, if not for one sure thing: we’ll keep our heavy metal roots firmly attached.
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see the band in terms of a career say two years from now? Do any of the band members play in other side projects/bands – if so could you let us know what they are doing?
Beghelli: We’re walking every step on the path of fame, trying hard not to slip. And it’s a hard one, because there already are so many good bands. Still we hope to gain an honest opportunity to be recognized both on the Italian and European scene… hopefully worldwide, honestly.
As far as other bands and project, our guitarist Luke (Fortini) is the only one of us currently involved in another project, as lead guitarist of the symphonic-power Metal act Imago Imperii.
Dead Rhetoric: What are the plans for HyperioN over the next six to twelve months? Are there any possibilities for a proper video shoot for one of the songs off the record – or touring plans?
Beghelli: Right now, we have an urge to play on stage and do live gigs as often as possible, so that’s what we’re focusing on in the upcoming months. About shooting a proper video, I’d say that everything is possible… you should like our Facebook page to get all the latest news!