Brazilian power metal band Scelerata have recorded an exciting metal release titled The Sniper, an album with the added bonus of some prominent guest appearances. Sea Of Tranquility's staff writer Scott Jessup had the opportunity to ask drummer Francis Cassol about the band's third album and other things metal.
SoT: Hi and thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
Francis Cassol: No problem, we are the ones who should be thanking you, Scott, for giving us this opportunity to talk to the fans of Sea Of Tranquility!
SoT: What attracted you to heavy music and made you want to play power metal?
FC: I was attracted to rock and heavy music thanks to Rock In Rio 2, back in 1991. I was 10 years old then, watched the whole thing on TV, and was blown away by Guns n' Roses, Megadeth and Judas Priest. I instantly knew what I had to do right there. Then I got into bands like Metallica, Sepultura, Pantera, and later on I found out about the European Power Metal scene: Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, and also bands like Angra, Rhapsody, etc. When I met the guys that would later on become my bandmates, I found out we shared the same passion, so we decided to put the band together!
SoT: Who writes your material, does each member have their input?
FC: Yes, Scelerata is a very democratic band. The main songwriter is the guitarist Magnus Wichmann, but bassist Gustavo Strapazon also writes lots of great tunes! Renato Osorio, guitar, also has a great part in the writing process, but he is more important in the arrangement process, since he produced a major part in the past two albums. I come in with some 'drum riff' ideas and also I do most of the lyrics along with lead singer Fabio Juan. Fabio actually came up with the melodies for songs like 'Breaking the Chains', 'Drowned in Madness', 'Welcome Home' and parts of 'The Sniper'.
SoT: How long did it take to complete the new album from the start?
FC: We started working on the demos about a year before we began recording. Ideas just pour in during this process, and it's great to see how creative things can get. After recording all the songs, we sent it over to Charlie Bauerfeind (producer of the album and bands like Helloween, Motörhead, Blind Guardian, Halford, Saxon and others), and he gave us his feedback helping with lots of great ideas for arrangements. The recording process took about 5 months because we all have day jobs, and Fabio lives in Săo Paulo, which is about 600 miles away from where the rest of the band lives, Porto Alegre. We did our best and I believe things turned out pretty nice.
SoT: I haven't heard the band's other material; so how has does "The Sniper" compare to Scelerata's prior albums, and has the band's sound changed much?
FC: This album is more aggressive, no doubt about that. I think our first album 'Darkness & Light' (2006) has more prog elements and 'Skeletons Domination' (2008) is more power-metalish. 'The Sniper' combines both prog & power metal, but includes more thrashy stuff, which we love. We were always into bands like Pantera, Sepultura and Slayer, and this album is our way to pay a tribute to those guys!
SoT: How well did those previous releases sell? Eere you able to get the exposure you needed? I have to admit that until receiving The Sniper to review I hadn't even seen the band name before.
FC: Yes, we had a terrific feedback, especially here in Brazil. Our first album did very well, and our second could have done even better if we hadn't found ourselves without a singer after the first month of its release. But that's behind us now and we're only looking forward from now on!
SoT: What was the motivation for the band name Scelerata and also the title of the new album "The Sniper"?
FC: 'Scelerata' comes from the Latin language, and it means something like 'rioter', or 'bad influence'. Also there is a Roman legend where 'scelerata' was the name of a portal, gateway, and who ever passed that portal would have its fate cursed. But the main reason why we chose this name is because of how close it sounds to 'accelerated' phonetically speaking, in the Portuguese language, which is our native language here in Brazil.
About the title 'The Sniper', it came from the lyrics of the title track, which is about corruption in politics. Here in Brazil we suffer a lot with this issue. People just don't believe in politics or politicians anymore, because it's just ridiculous the way they fool the people. That's how 'The Sniper' was born, with this tremendous desire to get back at these guys. If you pay attention to the lyrics, you'll see what I'm talking about. And also, this word, sniper, is just so strong, and we thought it would sound great as the title.
SoT: How inspirational was it working with both Andi Deris and Paul Di'Anno?
FC: We've been working with Paul DiAnno (the original Iron Maiden lead singer) for the past 4 years as his backing Brazilian band, and when we started writing the songs for the new album we knew it would be great to have him as a guest appearance. In our last tour together, in 2011, we invited him to do these vocals on a day off and he agreed, which was great. And also we wanted him to create as well, since he is a very musical person. We just knew it would sound amazing, and indeed it does! Paul is a genius, an amazing musician and a great guy! We are very good friends!
And to have Andi Deris write a song for us was kind of surreal. When Charlie came to us saying that Andi really liked Fabio singing and that he had a song for us, we just couldn't believe it. Not only Andi is the lead singer in Helloween, which is a huge influence for us, but also he is an amazing songwriter, one of the best in the business. And this song is so good it could have easily been a Helloween hit! So we're very happy!
SoT: What countries would Scelerata like to have the opportunity tour?
FC: I lived in the USA for four years as a child, so it would be great to be back playing with my band someday. I just feel so connected to the USA, that it would be great. But we also aim the Japanese market, that is very much into Power Metal, and the European market, since the kind of music we play has a huge Euro influence.
SoT: Do you all still have day jobs besides the band?
FC: We all are music instructors, teachers, and we also produce local bands. Fabio is a web designer, and he created the band's website: www.scelerata.com.
SoT: Are there many other bands in Brazil similar to Scelerata that we may not have heard of and should check out?
FC: Yeah, Brazil has lots of great bands. There are some great thrash bands like Torture Squad, Leviaethan, Sacrario, Phornax and extreme metal bands like Krisiun. Also Achillea is doing an amazing job. My favorite Brazilian band unfortunately broke up a couple of years ago, Akashic. You should check their first album Timeless Realm, it's amazing prog metal!
SoT: What's the most popular style of metal there? Power Metal seems to have many fans.
FC: Yes, but it was huge until 2006. It's still big and popular, but the scene was better in the early 2000's. Extreme metal is very strong here now!
SoT: Thanks for the interview and all the best with your great new album.
FC: Thanx Scott! It was great to talk to you! Thanks for your great review of the album, and for spreading the word! Please don't forget to check our website at www.scelerata.com. Cheers from Brazil!
(Click here to read our review of The Sniper)