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Angel Martyr's Tiziano Sbaragli: "I think sometimes being alone with our inner silence could be very painful as if ten thousand voices are screaming inside your mind"

Interview with Tiziano Sbaragli from Angel Martyr
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 February 2021, 12:12 AM

The never ending battle between good and evil, the forces of light and darkness, sometimes it would look like an actual battle but rather a string of events that would suggest that there is a confrontation but not in bludgeoning battlefield. There are no winners or losers, it is like ying and yang, always there, completing each other in a twisted dance. The Italian Angel Martyr, led by Tiziano Sbaragli, created a small universe of choices, dark thoughts, contemplations and decisions. With the coming new album, “Nothing Louder Than Silence”, via Iron Shield Records, darkness and light has a lot to tell. Steinmetal talked to Tiziano about the experience of the record, Traditional Metal, and more…

Hello Tiziano, I am glad to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing in these troubled times?

Hello there, glad about it too! Well nothing special, as many people in these bad times I just trying to go ahead, working, playing my music and spending time in my passions.

Slow and easy, I noticed that Italy is coming back to a form of normality after two strong waves of the pandemic over the country, which nearly toppled its health services. Do you feel that the Italian society is coming back to life or is simply the calm before another storm?

Ohm… not exactly unfortunately! I think we still have a long way to go for coming back in a normality mood! The virus is still alive; it keeps on killing people and destroying job places. The sanitary emergency is not as bad as the previous wave, but we’re still not out of this hell! Honestly, I am not positive at all about it.

I don’t believe that anyone took pleasure in staying at home for such a long time, needless to say that people lost their daily lives, whether at work, outdoor activities, enjoying culture, all was gone and for many, it still is. What do you miss most about the pre-pandemic period? Do you think that there is a chance to come back to it again, even in a different form and way of life?

I think people easily forget things in general… I mean, we saw military trucks bringing out from the city of  Bergamo so many coffins of many victims of this virus and last summer many people have been on holidays, discos, restaurants, etc. without wearing any mask… yes we will come back to normality, maybe some rules will remains to prevent future disasters like this (I hope so). Of course I miss concerts, being on stage, travelling and going to metal pubs and discos.

It is a first for me, to be introduced to Angel Martyr, venturing through the underground, and it feels as if there will be more to expect in the future. Once again under the Iron Shield Records banner, you guys release your sophomore “Nothing Louder Than Silence”. So what have you been keeping within you that wanted to lash out and explode with such a title for an album? What was your inspiration when you came out with it?

I usually take my inspiration from my living, my readings and my reflections. The title came out from my mind after I relived some mental trips about situations that make a person sink in a deep sense of guilt and shame. So I created a character that I made to experience these negative feelings, following lived episodes, certainly much more serious than mine! Then I made myself a question: which kind of sense of guilt could a person feel that would generate terrible actions in case of a new sense of humanity rising? How many heavy are all voices he would hear inside his head and in his silent moments? I think sometimes being alone with our inner silence could be very painful as if ten thousand voices are screaming inside your mind.

“Nothing Louder Than Silence” ventures through darkness, echoing from every corner, taking the supposed concept into regions of belief and the dark arts, as if it was a document of a segment of the never ending struggle between good and evil. What was your angle with the themes that lead this album? What points of interest did you wish to venture through the record?

More than dark arts I would rather speak of alternation between light and darkness in the human spirit. I would say that the record takes more into consideration the classic question “Is a man born good or evil? And for what reason?”. Certainly also in this record there are elements taken from the dark arts and from theology, an example is the last song “My name is legion” in which I tried to give another interpretation to this passage from the Old Testament! Very often religious people are too blind for giving a different vision of that who has been declared “Untouchable"…

In light of the album’s strong emphasis of the underworld along with the mentioning of Jesus and Christianity as a lurker above, it would be interesting to know what do you believe in? How does this record find you on a personal level?

I just found those stories funnys heheheh….. That's all!

A lot of artists have been finding ways to escape reality with such analogies or fantasy driven creations, to take one’s mind off the daily hardship and come to comprehend new stories. Did you try to form a measure of escapism with “Nothing Louder Than Silence”?

Yes I do, and I also used my music to reply to some inner questions

You have never been stranger to Traditional Heavy Metal, certainly not for the British kind, which personally I find it sacred as it is the origins of Heavy Metal, no matter how heavy or modern a band would sound, there are the creating fathers. Adding Speed Metal flavors to the mix, and “Nothing Louder Than Silence” is an energetic piece of old school devotion. How do you feel that you developed as a band when it comes to the work on “Nothing Louder Than Silence”?

For sure I am not that kind of person who regardless say no to all modern stuff, anyway, yes I think that Traditional metal is the Real metal! I think that about this album, and in Angel Martyr in general, we never prefix something like  “we must play that way" or something similar! We play what we feel, our attitude is classical, and all the songs are the proof!

What kind of peak do you believe that you have reached with the songwriting of “Nothing Louder Than Silence”? What do you think that makes it so special in regards to the old school Metal ventures going on nowadays?

Well I honestly believe that evaluation is a task for the fans! Although we often hear that classic metal is dead, but I still see some very good bands at the Underground level, and beyond! Visigoth are actually my favorite one! What I hope is that this record can carve out a place in the heart of some lover of the genre, that the CD can be put several times into the player without taking too much dust on a shelf! However, I can say that I am very satisfied with the final result, with the evolution that "Nothing Louder Than Silence" highlights compared to its predecessor "Black Book Chapter One", and I think this is a more objective than personal opinion!

In your view, what are the chief highlights of the record, it does have to be a song really, but rather colorful pieces or segments that you believe made the difference than your previous record for instance?

I think that the riffing is most mature, same thing for voice and guitars, the sound is most accurate and the tech level is definitely higher respect to te past.

When I listen to your voice, there is a certain Biff Byford meets Bruce Dickinson flavor, with the former being dominant in your vocal pattern. I like it. You sound British with barely traces of accent. Can I assume that Byford has been an influence on you as a singer?

Wow what a great compliment, thank you so much! Sure, Biff influenced me a lot, but honestly I think that my favorite singers, who mostly influenced me, are Dickinson, Shelton, Hansen and Dio \\m/

Talking about old school Metal, even though there is a swarm out there of newcomer bands, and reunited veterans, trying to relive days that some of them never really lived, contemporary Metal is in the public’s eye, taking much attention to itself. Do you believe that it is persona dependent, meaning older folks versus younger, or perhaps because Traditional Metal lost some of its spark and magic in a way?

 I believe it is actually a universal principle! Life is dynamic, in constant evolution, and the society in which we live every day becomes faster and faster. Just think of the new generations who manage to discover hundreds of bands in a very short time, since they have everything within reach of touch screens! People my age will remember how harder it was to discover new bands by setting aside weekly allowance to buy new records! Following this principle that I have just explained, it is clear that even the public's need to listen to new sounds comes over time…. it's normal! Just as the human race has evolved over the centuries, music has also had its own evolution and whether we like it or not, it will continue to have it!

The album’s high octane, Metal fuelled barrage, is a lot thanks to your new guy at the skins, Niccolò Vanni. How do you find his abilities on manning the drums on the record? What was his contribution to the end result of the record?

He is definitely a skin ripper, he just played death metal in Profanal and heavy metal in Axevyper. He gave a most powerful and technical sound to the band. He has a good fantasy direction that has been very helpful for caring the arrangements of the songs!

What forms of challenges stood against you while making the record? How did you engage these hardships and won or lost?

I could write a book about it hehehe! Firstly, I recorded the guitars just after surgery; I lived in a camper for 15 days in front of the studio in the height of summer. I couldn't stand up and I recorded the entire record almost lying on a sofa! After a couple of months of recovery I started with the vocals. However I had to deal with my job and the two hours' drive distance between my city and that of the recording studio (the Paraphernalia studio)

In short: I finished work in the late afternoon, got into the car and ate a sandwich quickly. After that I recorded for 3 hours, once I finished singing, returning, halfway through I was dying to sleep! So I always ended up, or almost sleeping in the car, and in the early morning I would return to work around 7:30 … all this for about 2 weeks hehehehehe. What can I say? I won heheheh

I bet that your wish right from the get go was to end up with an old school sounding record, therefore, who engineered the album? How do you find the album’s sound after suffocating it with listening sessions?

Honestly, I didn't fix it in my mind to make an old school record, it sounds like that because my style belong to the ancients, but I never give any rules to myself about composition! I can say I am satisfied about the result… but we can do better!

“Black Twin Rising” leads this album back to the glory days where Heavy Metal was solid gold, no doubt in my mind that it is one of the album’s strongest tracks, if not the mightiest, also creating a sensational feeling with colorful peak moments. What is your appreciation of this track?

The song talks about the difficult coexistence between light and darkness within the human soul! It is possible to always live under the sign of light, but life will always give you the opportunity to bring out that darkness that perhaps you did not even think you had! It's a song that partly concerns me, since I'm part of the zodiac sign of Gemini

Like a piercing machine gun, “Marked by The Woodblade” blasts through without mercy, a Speed Metal meets Maiden flavored tune that takes no prisoners. It doesn’t really stop really and its main melodic riff, and blazing solos, reminds where the essence of Metal is. What can you tell about this songs’ creation and its impact on the record?

I remember when I wrote this song I was at home in front of a bottle of Glen Grant, I was probably not in the best mood as you can guess … so I picked up the guitar and started strumming some furious picking! I made the riff but I was not sure about the lyrics for a long time. One day I watched a YouTube documentary about the dwarf Abhartach and his evil tyranny…. Somebody says that this Irish legend inspired Bram Stocker to write his masterpiece Dracula! I simply loved at first sight the story and I just said “ok, that's what I need for this song"…. So just go and read something about it!

In which of the tracks do you find yourself personally? I know it is a tough shell to crack, yet there is always that connection laying around

Definitely “Climbing the Walls of the Abyss", it's a kind of confession about personal problems of insane dependences and it perfectly describes my character: strong in the depths but fragile on the surface.

What are you planning ahead for Angel Martyr, depending if this pandemic will decide to end one day, this year hopefully?

For sure trying to recover the gigs we lost and fixing new ones to promote the new record!

Currently you probably have a lot of time on your hands, musically wise, since it is not possible to perform live. Is there a plan to start working on the next record?

Sure, I have almost all material that a new record needs, we will see how to use as best all time we have during this bloody pandemic

Tiziano, I wish you nothing but the best and many thanks for your effort on this interview. Thanks for releasing a great record. Cheers.

I was really glad to participate and very honored you appreciate our music! Cheers, enter the Martyr’s force!



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Edited 03 December 2022

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