by MythofRock

The power metal genre has grown to be one of the metal scene’s biggest hits. That umbrella includes Alterium , an Italian power metal quintet who recently released their debut album “Of War And Flames”. Come meet them and dive into their inspirations, challenges and much more.

by Christina X

Can you tell us how Alterium was formed and the story behind the band’s name?

We formed at the end of 2022. I (Nicoletta, vocals), Dario (drums), and Paolo (guitar) had already worked together on a previous project and, since we share the same desire to keep making music together, we decided to start a new project. A couple of months later, Luca (bass), a long-time friend of mine, and Alessandro (guitar), an excellent addition, joined the lineup! Most of the material for our album was already composed by me, but it was exciting to work on it together. The name was the last thing we chose for this new project, and it was the result of a few weeks of brainstorming, even with our label, AFM Records. We wanted a single word, easy to remember, and with a nod to our Italian/Latin roots: thus Alterium was born!

Your debut album “Of War and Flames” has received great reviews. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’ve always been a huge listener of power metal and all its nuances, and I’ve always tried to combine all the elements I love about this genre in my music: catchy melodies, grand arrangements, majestic choirs, and powerful guitar riffs. With this in mind, I tried to work on an album that could highlight all these features, and “Of War and Flames” is the result.

Can you walk us through your songwriting process? How do you usually start and develop a song?

It varies from song to song; for some, it starts from my idea of a melody, while others begin with the musical arrangement, and then we add the vocals and lyrics. Some songs are conceived with a clear idea of what they will be about, and that inspiration guides the music, lyrics, and intention. We then proceed with the pre-production of the song in the form of a demo, which we further refine during production and recording.

What are some of the themes and messages you aim to convey through your music?

Although it is not a concept album, there are some recurring themes in the album. It ranges from Greek mythology (“Siren’s Call”, “Chasing the Sun”) to Egyptian mythology (“Of War and Flames”) and video games (“Drag Me to Hell”, “Shadowsong”, “Crossroads Inn”), one of my great passions. Generally, I get inspired by what I read, play, or discover while traveling.

Can you share a memorable moment from the recording sessions of “Of War and Flames”?

Probably the end of production! While working in the studio, you are often so focused that you don’t even realize the full extent of the work you’re doing. When you reach the end of this adventure, it’s always wonderful to sit down and listen to what you’ve produced! It’s like hearing all your emotions come to life and take shape! One of the most fun moments, however, was when I taught our producer Lars Rettkowitz (Freedom Call) that you need to add salt when the water for the pasta is boiling, haha!

What has been the most challenging aspect of your musical journey so far?

Starting from “zero.” Even though we are all musicians with a great musical background, working on a new name and doing it well from the start is challenging and a bit frustrating. Sometimes it feels like you have to start from scratch, and it takes months or years of hard work before your band is recognized and remembered. But we are working well and already starting to reap some of the rewards of our hard work!

What role do each of you play in the band’s creative process and dynamic?

In addition to singing and composing, I also handle all the band’s management and social media, while the guys focus more on the musical and technical aspects (composition, recording, live production). I must say they excel in every aspect, and it’s very easy and stimulating to work together.

Are there any artists or bands you would love to collaborate with in the future?

We all love Symphony X! I would love to sing with Russell Allen! As for bands to tour with, I would mention Sabaton, for whom we also covered “Bismarck” on our album.

How do you stay motivated and inspired to create new music?

I must say that the feedback we received from the audience and the music press has been very encouraging, and we are already well underway with writing the second album. Having a friendly and relaxed atmosphere within the band also greatly helps production and composition; everyone contributes and brings their ideas, which we then develop together.

Can you talk about any songs that hold special meaning for you and why?

I am particularly attached to “Drag Me to Hell” because it was the first song I worked on specifically for Alterium. It’s a power metal track with great energy and was our debut single that opened the doors to this genre for us. We also produced a great music video with fiery and hellish tones!

Who are some up-and-coming artists that you’re currently listening to or find inspiring?

At the moment, I’m listening to the second album, just released, by Sunburst, and I’m really enjoying it. Definitely a band to keep an eye on!

How do you approach the visual elements of your band, such as album artwork and music videos?

The visual component is certainly a key element in the music business today, and I think it is essential for a band to present itself well, not just musically but also visually, with quality photos, album covers, and videos. Personally, we have invested a lot of time, energy, and money into these things, and I think they have helped convey from the beginning that, even though our band is just starting out, we are serious about it.

What is your favorite part of the music-making process: writing, recording, or performing?

My favorite part is definitely performing live, when you can finally connect directly with the audience. A concert is a magical moment where the artist gives to the audience but also receives so much. It’s a unique feeling that is hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It’s like seeing all the emotions you put into the music reach someone else’s ears and heart. The composition phase also stimulates me a lot; the search for the perfect, catchy melody is certainly rewarding.

What impact do you hope your music will have on your listeners? How do you prepare for live performances, and what can fans expect from an Alterium concert?

I hope to give our listeners everything that music has given me over the years: the feeling of being understood, the emotions, making the pain a bit lighter and shared, the urge to sing some lyrics at the top of their lungs! I hope to help someone going through a storm of emotions (whether good or bad) to find some relief or comfort. During our shows, we are “loud” in every way! We interact a lot with our audience, run up and down the stage… we promise you won’t be bored!

Can you share any upcoming projects or plans that fans can look forward to?

Besides working on our new album, we have scheduled a series of releases for some singles (both original and revisited versions of our songs) for the coming months: the idea is to keep releasing new music and keep all our social media and streaming platforms active, which today more than ever require great consistency for the proper promotion of a band. So, there’s a lot of music coming your way! In addition to this, we are working on our upcoming concerts to promote our musi.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting out in the industry?

Work hard and believe in it! Things have changed a lot compared to when I started in this field over 15 years ago. The competition is very high, partly because recording and distributing an album has become “easier.” Nothing should be left to chance; try to take care of every aspect of a production. And above all, write good music! It’s not a “fair” world, and there will be many times when you feel like giving up… always try to work to the best of your abilities and don’t “hold back” for a future that might never come. Good luck!

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