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Dario Beretta (Drakkar)

Interview with Dario Beretta from Drakkar
by Rebecca Miller at 11 February 2012, 7:10 PM

DRAKKAR has returned to the Metal scene with a new album after nearly ten years without a full-length. The release of “When Lightning Strikes”, via the local label of My Kingdom Music, turned out to be quite amazing. Rebecca had a chance to have a small talk with the band’s guitarist Dario Beretta about the album and its interesting story along with the status of Power Metal.

 First off, let me just say that I loved the album, so of course, I have to ask, where did the story behind it come from?

Thanks! We have seen your review and we're glad that you liked the record so much. The story was conceived by me; it's a pulp science-fiction story, inspired by the classic American Sci-fi of the '50s and '60s. I tried to give it an atmosphere akin to that of things like Jack Kirby's comics, or movies and shows like "The Day The Earth Stood Still" or "Star Trek". The fact that it takes places through different ages allowed me to also add a touch of history, as the portions that take place in the past are inspired by real historical events, like, for example, the Battle of Borodino for "Winter Soldiers".

Did the album start out as this sci-fi concept, or were there other avenues you explored?

At the beginning, it wasn't supposed to be a concept. But at a certain point, I looked at what I had written up till then in terms of lyrics and I started realizing that there was a thread running through each and every song, a connection that I hadn't seen before. It made sense to take advantage of this and shape the record into an actual concept album. So I started to develop an actual story and I went over the old lyrics, changing what needed to be changed in order to fit. At the same time, with the other guys of the band we started working on a way to organize the whole storytelling, crafting the interludes, deciding the precise running order of the songs and so on.

How did the thought process for the album go? Did you think up the story first, and think ‘hey, let’s make an album for this’, or did you think ‘hey, let’s make an album with a story behind it’? Or did it all come together at the same time?

Like I just said, it was very natural, it sort of came together and took a life of its own.

So, if aliens really did come to judge humankind, do you think it would end the same way as the album did?

Honestly, I don't know. But I do believe that we, as human beings, can be a lot better than we give ourselves credit for. I know a lot of educated, caring and decent people. And if you look at our history, you'll see that it's full of conflict, yes, but also of achievements. For every Hitler, there's a Gandhi; for every man killing his brother, there's one who would gladly give his life for that of his son. We will always struggle with our dark side, we will never be perfect. But as long as there will be people worth fightning for, the human spirit will never surrender.

Were the humans always going to be judged as not that bad? Or did you consider having the aliens judge us as unredeemable?

No, I never thought of a "bad" ending. For two reasons. First and most important, I wanted the album to send a positive message, an optimistic one. We live in difficult times, there's no denying that, and the way I see it is that in such a tough situation a glimmer of hope, at least in our entertainment, can only be a good thing. The second reason is that it wouldn't have been adequate to the kind of feel that the story has. As I said, I wanted to deliver a classic, mid-XX Century sci-fi opus, and those were very optimistic times. I mean, look at Star Trek: in the end, it's the story of a better humanity in a better future.

The album cover is pretty awesome, how much input did you guys have on the design of it?

The guy who produced it, Alessandro Bragalini, is a very good friend of mine and a hell of an artist. He has been active both as a comic book artist and concept artist/director in videogames for quite a few years. When we started thinking about the cover, I immediately knew that he was going to be the right choice. I explained the major points of the story to him, and what kind of imagery we needed and, based on this information, he created 3 different proposals. In the end, he drew 2 of those and we used them both, one for the cover, the other for the interiors. He took into account our requests and opinions while at the same time giving an interpretation which is absolutely his own. With amazing results!

What’s your personal favourite track from the album?

Personally, I'd have to pick "My Endless Flight". It really has everything I like in a Drakkar' song: powerful riffs, a catchy but epic chorus, a lot of variey in the way it's built. It is one of the songs I am most proud of, not just from this record, but from our entire history.

How did you decide on the album title?

When we had most of the songs ready, we had a look at the proposed titles to find one that was powerful enough, and "When Lightning Strikes" had "METAL" written all over it. So, we decided to use that one. At that point, I came up with the idea that the lightning was a constant in most if not all the major events of the different lives of the protagonist, and made it part of the story. It's just a small touch, it didn't force me to change anything important, but I really wanted every little aspect of the narration to be justified.

I described the album as breathing new life into the Power Metal world, so what are your views on the Metal scene at the minute, especially Power Metal?

I was honoured to read those words, I really was. I have been in love with Power Metal since I was a kid, so if people think we're giving a contribution worth mentioning to the genre, that's like a dream come true for me. As for how I see the scene at the moment, I think it's on the rise again, quality-wise. After the masterpieces of the '90s, we had some years in which many bands were more or less treading water, maybe precisely because of those masterpieces… It's tough to top albums like "Imaginations From The Other Side", "Nightfall", "Land Of The Free" or "Black In Mind". But there is a lot of great stuff coming out right now; we are still missing some new game changers like the aforementioned records, but to me, this new decade has begun in a very positive way, with renewed energy and inspiration. Records like the latest Rage and Iron Savior are there to prove it.

Thank you very much for your time, have you got any final words for our readers?

I'm the one who have to thank you for devoting some space to us on your wonderful website. That said, I hope that the fans out there will like the album and purchase it. Believe me when I say that it has a wonderful packaging, with a big, fat booklet including the complete story of the album in detail. The booklet it's really an integral part of the experience. It should make every collector and CDs aficionado happy!


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