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InterviewsDark Horizon Discusses Aenigma, Their New CD for Underground Symophony

Posted on Sunday, July 08 2018 @ 23:24:01 CDT by Pete Pardo
Progressive Metal Dark Horizon is an outstanding Italian symphonic metal outfit first conceived in 1997 by keyboardist Alessandro Battini and guitarist Daniele Mandelli. In a first for this interviewer (Mark Antony Rossi) the entire band, Alex (keyboard) Luca (drums) Paolo (bass) and Daniele (guitar) fields my select questions with finesse and largesse.

SoT: Symphonic metal is growing larger and more diverse in approach and scope. It almost means different things to different artists and fans. What stamp or signature does Dark Horizon seek to bring to the musical table?

Alex (keys): The word "symphonic metal" now has its own boundaries. In recent years many sub-genres have been born, and many contaminations have profoundly changed the idea of ​​a musical style that united heavy parts of classical music. The ghotic with the female vocals of Nightwish and Epica, the cinematic metal of Rhapsody and Dimmu Borgir, the heavy neoclassical and progressive like Royal Hunt and Angra, the orchestral hard rock seems Ayreon and Avantasia. The Dark Horizon style is based on a classic metal meet elegant and emotional shades, focusing a lot on melody and symphonic arrangements.

SoT: What has you or the band learned from a number of lineup changes? Is it really just about keeping committed players? Or there something deeper that happens to the mood and the music?

Luca (drums): What I have learned is that talking about bands it’s easy to think of a family. This is because the lucky ones who have lived this context know that the connection created by music transcends collaboration only. There is so much more that is shared behind the band. There are dreams, there are emotions, there is union, there is brotherhood, there are real feelings. There are also many discussions, there are insults and collision but always with the aim of improving "the band". Unfortunately, when everyone puts so much of himself into a community even if restricted, it may happen that a separation is necessary for the good of all. So, I can say with certainty that even the lineup changes bring a positive sap that makes the band and all the components grow.

SoT: Music in general has been turned upside down with digital recording. Its sales and marketing are completely different and I hear from other bands that touring is the only true way to make a fair living. What are your thoughts on these changes?

Paolo (bass): When I was 16 I listened to the music that I liked with my Walkman or with the portable CD reader, I learned about the new albums reading the fanzines, it was a bit difficult to find what I liked… I needed to go to the big shops, later I used the mail order…. Sometimes I bought something of an unknown band, and maybe it could be a nice surprise !

Today everything has changed, there are no more surprise, we already know almost everything about the bands; most of the times the music is downloaded or streamed, only the collectors or the amateurs are buying the CDs or the vinyl’s, and the sales are guided by trends and masses.

I think that this change was inevitable, the music is more “liquid” and we return no more to physical CD or vinyl’s, I also think that the same future will be for movies and videogames for example.

This is a positive thing because every band can easily enter in a worldwide showcase, but the problem is that the offer is so big and wide that if you want to rise up you can only make really good music and nice live shows, where the fans can find you, support you buying your stuff and talking with you about music and their expectations.

SoT: I love the album’s title Aenigma which is a clever way to say An Enigma. This is not a classic concept album but it does hold together well in what you are describing. Is there a central theme or message?

Alex (keys): We have never used a song to identify the title of a DHs album and also for the new work we looked for something impactful. The idea came from the Jahnvision artwork and the words written by Roberto. The female on the cover, with the face covered by the hands, has a candid and angelic dress, but the horns that merge with the thorns, refer to a diabolical character. Furthermore, the songs deal with topics such as deception, gambling, the false promises of our society and religion, and from here we have the ambiguity of a word as an enigma, which soon became "Aenigma", simply because it seemed more appealing to us.

SoT: It’s almost par for the course that most symphonic metal bands have a great affection for past bands like Dream Theatre who might have accidentally invented the whole symphonic category. Are there others you feel inspired or indebted to that made a major difference in your artistic creation?

Daniele (guitar): Our love for Dream Theater is evident and we can undoubtedly feel their influence in our songwriting.
Anyway, there are a lot of other bands that I consider most important in our artistic path, mainly Angra, Savatage and Kamelot (that I consider as one of the real forerunners of this kind of music) as well as other bands that have changed the way we intend the fusion between power metal and symphonic music.

SoT: We have seen other genres of music i.e. disco, grunge, etc., come and go without much impact in the world at large but metal marches on in various themes such as power, black, thrash, progressive, symphonic, speed, etc. Do you ever feel you are part of something musically important and enduring?

Paolo (bass): I don’t think that grunge and disco music didn’t have an impact in the world: grunge has been an inspiration for a lot of people, in the 90’s many guys bought an instrument just to play Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, approaching to rock and metal thanks to the simplicity and the roughness of that music style; disco music is far from the metal, but today everybody accept some electronic insert also in rock music, and for some bands this is a trademark. Do you remember  Fear Factory’s “demanufacture” ? I think is a great album, really influenced by electronic music, and a lot of other bands tried to emulate that sound through the years.

I mean…. Everything counts, every style is a different idea, ready to be used, to be reinvented, to be developed…

Metal has many categories, we tried to create a different name for each one of them, and I love this variety because variety means creativity; I don’t know if Dark Horizon can be tagged precisely as power metal band or symphonic metal band….

Sure, that is the style, but I prefer to think that we simply play “metal”, because we will ever put our personal influences in the music that we compose, without thinking it is enough “power” or any other stuff like that. 

SoT: Unlike the past I noticed these days bands stay in touch with fans using different facets of social media. What is the band doing or plan to do to keep up the momentum and interest in Dark Horizon?

Alex (keys): We have an official Facebook page to share the DH news with our fans. Live shows, videoclips, album reviews, curiosity, pictures and much more. Nowadays the public forgets in a moment of your existence, the band needs to talk about itself and stay on the market with new initiatives using the social networks. we understood its importance and we had to follow the progress, even if we are very fond of our music in relation to these aspects of music business. Soon we will announce great news, so stay tuned on

Mark Antony Rossi

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