Drakkar (ITA)

Drakkar (ITA)
Dario "Darian" Beretta (Guitar Crimson Dawn), Davide "Dave Shot" Dell'Orto (Vocals), Corrado "Lo Sciura" Solarino (Keyboard), Simone Cappato (Bass), Eleonora "Why A Nickname" Ceretti (Keyboard), Christian "Hammer" Fiorani (Drums), Alex Forgione (Bass), Giulio Capone (Drums Bejelit, Betoken, ex-Pandaemonium (ITA)), Luca Cappellari (Vocals White Lilith), Alessandro "Long Island" Ferraris (Bass Edera, Lilith (ITA), White Lilith), Daniele "Rocky" Persoglio (Bass)

Drakkar was born in late 1995.

Since the very beginning, all they wanted was to make good power metal music. Thanks to a lot of hard work and passion, and a slew of telluric concerts, the band quickly gained a good reputation in the area of Milan.

The first demotape, live-recorded, came out in 1996 and was entitled "Sailing Alive". Having some songs recorded allowed the band to appear in a couple of local radios to grow their following.

The second demo, "We Sail At Dawn" was put together and released in early 1997. It was a more professional work, recorded on 16 tracks (ah, the old days before computer recordings!) with a 5-piece line-up, and brought the band to the attention of Dragonheart Records, a then-young but promising label in Italy.

They offered Drakkar a good deal, giving them what they wanted most: total artistic freedom. The band signed on without the shadow of a doubt and immediately began the preparation for the debut album. In January '98, the recordings for "Quest For Glory" began in Milan with the following line-up: Dario Beretta (guitars and backing vocals), Christian Fiorani (drums), Alex Forgione (bass) and Luca Cappellari (vocals).

Being still without a regular keyboard player, the band asked to their good friend Emanuele Rastelli from Crown Of Autumn to join 'em for the recordings. The result was a powerful epic-power metal debut, whose potential was only partially hindered by the low-budget production (remember, the days of home recording and computers were still to come!).

In June of the same year, shortly after the release of the album, they took part as opening band to the "Monsters Of Rock" festival in Turin (Italy), supporting bands like Saxon, Deep Purple, Primal Fear, Hammerfall, Dream Theatre, and so on, with a very good response from the crowd. In September, a few line-up changes occurred; Alex Ferraris replaced Alex Forgione in the role of bass-player, and Eleonora Ceretti was hired as keyboardist, officially becoming part of the band. The sales of Quest...

were very good, and the band easily found its niche in the uprising italian power metal movement, lead by the front by bands such as Rhapsody and Labyrinth. The band delivered a lot of good live shows to support the album before going back to the studio for their second opus in the end of 1999. The second album, "Gemini", released in the spring of 2000, was a huge step forward.

A more mature, better arranged and better produced album compared to the debut, it quickly became a fan-favourite, selling considerably worldwide (almost 6.000 copies) for a product of an indie label. The style was once again epic-power, with a bit more classical influences and a lot more space for keyboards.

On the album, there was also a special guest appearance by (now former) Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow, who placed two great solos on the song The Voice Of The Wind. Despite the fact that Gemini was selling good and getting nice reviews, June 2000 saw the ending of the bands' partnership with Luca Cappellari and Alex Ferraris.

Daniele Persoglio was then recruited on bass, while Davide Dell'Orto joined the band as their new singer. Unfortunately, the line-up problems were not settled yet, cause Eleonora, too, was forced by some serious personal issues to quit the band a few months later, soon replaced by Corrado Solarino. The new line-up, cemented through many live shows in all Italy, injected new influences and ideas that became evident on the third record, "Razorblade God", released in April 2002.

An heavier, more personal album that melted together different styles, from the epic-power metal of the previous records to '70 hard rock and american power/thrash in the vein of bands like Jag Panzer and Iced Earth. Included in the album, as a CD-Rom Mpeg file, was also the first Drakkar Videoclip, for the song To The Future.

A pretty fresh, original video that displayed a lot of CGI, still unusual at the time especially for an underground band like Drakkar. However, after many good shows to support Razorblade God, the most difficult period in the life of the band began. The sales just weren't there, despite the album being their best-reviewed record ever, proving once again that critics and fans often agree to disagree, and of course also showing that no undergound band could be immune to the hemorragy of sales produced by online file-sharing and MP3.

The musical world was changing, and Chris decided to do the same, moving to Mexico City. The quest for a new drummer began, but it wasn't easy, especially since the guys were pretty much depressed by the way things were going.

In 2004, Drakkar released a cover version of Alice Cooper's classic "Poison" on "A Tribute To The Glory Of '80's Metal", a tribute album published from Adrenaline/Steelheart Records; at the same time, they began recording some new songs for the fourth album, but real life, jobs and whatnot were taking a heavy toll, slowing down the band which was still strugglin' to find a replacement for Chris. The first of those brand new tracks to be released was Killer Elite, which was made available for download to those who would buy the italian comic book with the same name (written and drawn by some good friends of Dario, a huge comics-aficionado), starting from september 2005. Shortly after, unfortunately, Daniele decided to quit - in a very friendly manner - for his lack of time to dedicate to the band and was replaced by Simone Cappato, while Giulio Capone from Bejelit finally stepped in as the new drummer.

Finally, Drakkar had a full line-up again, but their struggle with bad luck and all that was not over yet. Despite the efforts, things were still going painfully slow. In 2007, the band decided to take the four new songs they had in their closet (Killer Elite included) and release them as a free-to-download EP (complete with printable inlay cards and booklets), called "Classified".

The EP showed yet another face of the band, with its mix of traditional power metal and pounding, melodic hard rock. The feedback from the fans was vey good, and the line-up finally started working on the fourth album with a bit more optimism.

However, when a lot of work on the new record had already been completed, Giulio decided to leave the band to concentrate on Bejelit and his many other projects, and so the future of Drakkar was once again in jeopardy, probably more than ever before. That was the moment when the survival instinct shared by all those bands that are fueled by passion, and not by money, finally kicked in.

Dario, Dave, Corrado and Simone decided that the fourth album had to be completed, no matter what. Rehearsals and writing sessions went on, with Dario taking charge of writing basic midi-drum lines to use as a template to give to whoever would have been the drummer in charge of the recordings.

Come the end of 2009, all the songs for the album were written. Dario contacted his good friend Mattia Stancioiu, former Labyrinth-drummer (with whom he already collaborated on the demo for his side-project, Crimson Dawn) and now owner and engineer/producer of Elnor Studio, and asked him not only to record the album in his studio, but also to sit behind the drums to help Drakkar make their full-lenght comeback a reality.

Mattia was glad to accept, and in 2010 the rebirth of the band was finally a reality, and the recordings for the IV full-lenght, entitled "When Lightning Strikes", could begin. In the same period, in a sudden - as well as long overdue - strike of good karma, Drakkar also found a new drummer for live shows in Paolo Pirola (from the band Cidodici). Completed in March 2011, "When Lightning Strikes" was once again an epic concept album melding powerful riffs, majestic melodies and a true metal attitude.

The story behind the lyrics is a tale of classic science fiction with hystorical elements that is sure to captivate the more imaginative listeners. The record was released on January 18, 2012 by My Kingdom Music, one of the most active and respected indie metal labels in Italy, and supported by a series of live shows in Italy and Europe.

When Lightning Strikes was acclaimed by the metal world with great reviews and considered by many to be the best Drakkar release yet. A new record is planned for 2014. Drakkar is most definitely back! Keep raising the banners!.

Epic Power Metal from Italy