I Am the Way the Truth and the Life is the new release from Christian metal band Choirs of Veritas, a concept album of sorts brimming with symphonic passages, thunderous guitar, and soaring vocals. If you have any preconceived notions of 'Christian metal', Choirs of Veritas are here to convince you otherwise, as Davide Scuteri, composer and keyboardist with the band, shared some thoughts on the album with Sea of Tranquility Staff Writer Mark Antony Rossi.
SoT: I've never found the term "Christian metal" controversial. I often laugh when every fourth metal band out there is singing about demons, destruction and doomsday. At least you have a point of view and you own up to it. With all that said,
how can COV preach to the choir (no pun intended) and not push away rockers whom might not be acquainted with religious ideas?
Davide Scuteri: Well the first thing to say is that this project doesn't have a commercial goal, but
personal one. I know it can look strange because we've created an album which will be sold (I
hope), but the project is born mainly as an offer to God. My wish is to send forth His message to
the world. And in order to do this, I united the two things I love most: God, and this kind of
music. This is how the name of the band came to light: Choirs (music) + Veritas (God). Now, I
am not sure people will appreciate our work, talking about music and lyrics. I hope they will, but
at least I think God will like it.
SoT: There are many types of metal----speed, power, death, black, and progressive produced over the years.
Why did the band choose the symphonic approach to metal as the vehicle to orchestrate your talent and deliver your message?
DS: I am the only author of all music and lyrics, and I've always loved power metal and
symphonic metal. I simply wrote what I like to hear.
SoT: Releasing a concept album, regardless of quality, is always an artistic risk. Sometimes a commercial one too when considering record companies.
What lead to the group's decision to compose a concept album?
DS: It's true, it is a concept album, but every single song has its topic which can be read
individually. In my opinion I don't see the idea of a concept as a risk, but as an enrichment.
SoT: A symphonic sound is not the same as a couple of Marshall's stacked on a stage.
What preparations is the band making to take this show on the road?
DS: Each single member of the project has been playing live for many many years, but due to
several reasons we have decided this project will not be played live, at the moment. So far we are
satisfied with this result.
SoT: Christian metal bands of the past and present have been subjected to criticism by some in the Church.
Have you encountered this strange irony?
DS: Not at all! All my friends have always been really excited. Sometime maybe astonished by
the choice of musical genre.
SoT: Life as a musician, religious or not, is not for everyone. Many still hold jobs or go to college while putting in the hours to record an album worthy enough to be picked up by a record company. All of this with the hope that they can tour the region or the world and support that album and build a fan base. A tall order indeed.
What have been your experiences thus far?
DS: This is us indeed: we do have a proper job, we are not musicians and we play just for
passion. However everyone of us has played in a lot of situations, individually or together, and a
bunch of fans have been following us ever since. What the future be keep for us, as COV, only
God will know.
SoT: Technology, changing economies, even marketing strategies have altered dramatically over the past twenty years.
Has any of these changes effected how you create your music?
DS: We have seen a big change these years. But I always composed on my piano and recorded
ideas on my computer. Talking about marketing changes, this is one of the reason we don't want
to bring out the show right now.
SoT: I'm old enough (and fortunate enough) to have heard the very beginnings of Dream Theatre and seen them live as well. As much as I loved them it never occurred to me that they would have such a major influence on so many bands. I hear aspects of them in your music as well.
What other influences have shaped the sound of your most recent work?
DS: I thank you for comparing us to DT, which are unrivaled in metal and prog scene. I think the
music of COV is more power than progressive, in fact my songwriting is mostly inspired by
bands like early Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, early Nightwish, Rhapsody, Cain's Offering and
SoT: I have noticed it is nearly a standard in symphonic music to have a second vocalist who is usually female.
How is the second vocalist used to enhance the musical experience for the listener?
DS: Once more, there was not a blueprint planning about this. I just had a male power metal
vocalist in my mind. My dear friend Eliana Sanna is amongst the most talented mezzo-soprano in
Italy, and we just thought she would fit in perfectly . The same way for Alessandro Baglioni, a
very talented flutist: Ale was so happy about this project, so I called him in the line-up and
composed some flute session for him.
How Eliana improves the album? Well, you just listen to her voice!
SoT: Ironically what influences bands is not always the same thing they currently listen to.
What bands are on your playlist?
DS: I shall say the bands we listen the most are the ones I already pointed out, the same that
inspired my songwriting. As for myself, I would mention Mikko Harkin, former keyboardist in
Sonata Arctica, whom now mainly plays in Christian Metal bands. Mikko has always been great
inspirational source for me; this is the reason I decided to have a cover track from Mikko's
Mehida as the final song of my record: «Grace». This song is so wonderful and meaningful that it really moved me as I first heard it.
Mark Antony Rossi
(Click here to read our review of I Am the Way the Truth and the Life)