Austrian Power Metallers Dragony, have already released their brand new album called '“Viribus Unitis” via Napalm Records .
RockOverdose.gr and George Markogiannakis, had the opportunity to chat with the vocalist of the band Siegfried and seek more details of it and many more...
Rock Overdose: Hello Siegfried, it's George from Rock Overdose online Rock/Metal magazine from Greece. How's things these days in Austria with all the pendemic situation and lockdowns?
Siegfried: Hi George! Unfortunately it’s not going too great here at the moment… While we had a pretty relaxed summer with very low case numbers, the numbers went up in the fall and we are not in between our second and third lockdowns, which will go on until at least 18th of January.
So it’s not the best of times to be releasing a new album, but we will try to make the best of it!
Rock Overdose: So, how would you describe the upcoming Dragony new release via Napalm records 'Viribus Unitis'? Is it a concept album referring to the Austro-Hungarian empire?
Siegfried: Yes that’s exactly right! The title “Viribus Unitis” was actually the official motto of the former Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I. and translates to “With United Forces”, which I think is a pretty awesome title for a Power Metal album already!
And we are taking it as the basis for our concept story that puts the last Habsburg emperors of Austria-Hungary into an alternate, steampunk-inspired timeline filled with magic, demons, zombies and crazy technology.
The whole synopsis of the story can be found on our website www.dragony.net, but to summarize it briefly: History for the Austrian empire takes a different turn when crown prince Rudolf survives his fateful night in Castle Mayerling (where in real history, he commited suicide), and he becomes more and more mentally unstable in the following years.
After the assassination of his mother, Empress Elisabeth, he begins to dabble in black magic and ultimately tries to resurrect her from the dead. Naturally, this doesn’t go well, and Elisabeth comes back, possessed by a demon from the underworld, and raises an army of the undead that enters the battle against all of humanity.
In the end, only the old Emperor, on his death bed outfitted with a steampunk armor designed by Nikola Tesla, can fight against his former wife in a gigantic “Battle Royale”. So as you can see… our concept storyline is quite “out there”, haha!
Rock Overdose: Heard your brand new fist single 'Gods Of War' and wow, it has all these power metal elements that a power metal fan could ask for! Speed, melodies, great vocals & production. How was the experience working with special guest songwriter Tommy Johansson of Sabaton?
Siegfried: Thank you! Oh it was a fantastic experience! I’ve known Tommy for a while after meeting several times at festivals where he played with Sabaton and I played with Visions of Atlantis when I was still singing for them, and he is just a super cool and multi-talented dude! He already guested on our previous album “Masters of the Multiverse” where he contributed a guest solo on one song, and this time I actually reached out to him as well as his songwriting partner in the project “Symphony of Tragedy”, Tomas Svedin, as
I really liked the music the two of them had released under that project name, and asked if they might be interested in contributing a song to our new album. Luckily, they happened to be working on the song that ultimately became “Gods of War”, and we are very thankful and happy that they were kind enough to let us use it – it has that typical “Scandinavian” metal sound which we haven’t had in the past, and that therefore adds another new dimension to the Dragony sound.
Obviously we loved the song, and so it became not only the album opener, but also the first single!
Rock Overdose: Do you believe power metal in the year 2020 is still strong, still alive and has many bands to represent it well? Or is it a genre that belongs mostly to the 90's and early 00's?
Siegfried: Well of course the genre has its roots in the past, but so does metal in general, doesn’t it? I think there is still a pretty good place and market for Power Metal bands, and the recent success of acts like Sabaton, Gloryhammer or Majestica has shown that. We always wanted to make this specific genre of metal, as it is the one we grew up with and fell in love with, and that’s exactly what we want to do.
We are not here to make any great innovations or create a new sound – we will leave that to other bands. And I mean, hey… we are a band called “Dragony”. If someone doesn’t get the joke right away, then I guess our music might not be for them anyways, haha!
Rock Overdose: Talking about battleships and war, do you think Europe or globally the world threatened from an upcoming crisis....an upcoming infliction of interests, an upcoming war...maybe?
Siegfried: Well I think we are dealing with a massive crisis right now due to the worldwide pandemic. But I think it’s also a great opportunity, I feal that in the long run, a situation like this will help bring people together – especially once the disease has been defeated. Right now, the situation is tense, and there are a lot of diverging opinions out there… but once the stress eases up and “normality” returns, I think things will improve overall, as people will (hopefully!) take a bit more care about each other, the environment and the world as a whole, since as you know… you often only really appreciate something when it’s gone. This crisis could be a very clear reminder of that.
Rock Overdose: What are the main differences between your previous album 'Masters Of The Multiverse' and your upcoming one 'Viribus Unitis'? Do you believe you added some new elements on your music since 2018?
Siegfried: I think that “Viribus Unitis” combines the best elements of our early sound like on our debut album “Legends”, which was more straightforward Power Metal, with the orchestral parts of our later albums. Overall I think it is probably our heaviest album so far, since we put a lot more focus on the guitars this time around, both in terms of songwriting as well as in the production, where we turned to Seeb Levermann, singer/guitarist/mastermind of Orden Ogan, who is responsible for the mix and master of the album, and definitely gave our sound a more modern, powerful touch.
All in all I think the album strikes a great balance between straightforward Power Metal like on “Gods of War” and more elaborate, orchestra-driven parts in songs like “Golden Dawn” or “Battle Royale”.
Rock Overdose: If things with Corona virus remains the same and need to wait more for an upcoming tour, would you try to make a live-stream epic release show or will you wait until it's officially over and play shows in front of people?
Siegfried: We are actually trying to make a small live show happen as a release party here in Austria in February, but obviously the chances are pretty high that it might not take place.
In any case, we are also planning to do a live stream concert to introduce the new album to the audiences worldwide – this will be a very new experience for us, so I am very curious about that!
Hopefully in the second half of 2021, concerts and tours can happen “normally” again… I’m definitely looking forward to seeing (and playing!) some shows!!
Rock Overdose: Many people already stated that they are not willing to get vaccinated because they don't trust a rushed up vaccine that will pass worldwide from big pharmaceutical companies. Online ticket companies said that they will accept only vaccinated people inside the shows and show a proper covid passport, showing proof that it's official. Do you believe all this situation will affect the number of people that will attend to upcoming shows in an post-Covid world?
Siegfried: Well I guess especially in the early stages when things start opening up again and concerts start happening again, promoters and bands will need to take certain precautions in order to guarantee safety of their audience, which should always come first. Otherwise they could potentially even be held liable for people getting infected or sick at their shows; and I’m sure no band or promoter will want to take such risks.
So I guess there will be some measures in place and in the beginning, audience numbers may be limited and smaller. But I hope that by 2022, we’ll have normal shows like we all used to again, and can all party together like it’s 2019! 😉
Rock Overdose: So what's your upcoming plans for Dragony? Anything you want to share with us about the future of the band?
Siegfried: For now the focus is on the release of the new album, and of course we hope to go on tour with “Viribus Unitis” as well in the near future, as soon as the global situation allows it!
Other than that, we have a nice project planned for 2022 with some other great Austrian bands, but it’s sstill a bit too early to announce anything here… so I guess you will just have to stay tuned! In any case, I hope that I finally will get the chance to play a show in Greece as well, as I have many close personal friends living there and it would be fantastic to visit them once also playing with my band!
Rock Overdose: Finally i want to thank you for your time replying to my questions and the final part belongs to you, sending your greetings to your Greek fans out there!
Siegfried: Thank you very much for your interest in Dragony and our new album! I hope you guys enjoy “Viribus Unitis”, and I also hope that we will be able to visit you and play some shows for you guys very soon! Stay healthy & safe, and see you all soon!
For Rock Overdose
Interview/ Questions/ Τranscription: George Markogiannakis