Featuring 17 songs by the band all sung in English, the double CD album is the first in a triptych of the complete work of Dante’s magnum opus with Purgatory and Paradise to follow, and will also feature duets with selected special guest vocalists, narrations of selected chants, and an orchestral accompaniment by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and Choir.
In preview to the upcoming album, the band is sharing the lyric video for the first single “Gate of Hell (Arrival of Charon)”,
“Chant III of Inferno, one of the best-known chants in the entire Divine Comedy, reflects the moment in which Dante and Virgilio arrive at the gate of Hell and read those famous words as a warning written on the door. These verses were treated with special interest, the weight falling and leaving the absolute prominence to the classical orchestra. As a curiosity, the inspiration for the creation of the melody for the intro, I have to say that it caught me by surprise in my free time and since it seemed perfect I was forced to write it on a napkin. During the song we will be able to listen to another duet, this time carried out by our singer Max Morelli in the character of ‘Dante’ and Mr. Mark Boals as ‘Virgil’. At the end of the song, ‘Charon’ the ferryman enters the scene, played by our guest star Mr. Ben Jackson, who everyone will surely remember as the guitarist of the mythical band Crimson Glory.” adds guitarist Oscar Grace.
Signum Draconis takes their name from the medieval knights’ Order of the Dragon, and has opted for a classic 80s-influenced metal sound in homage to the rock and metal icons that inspired them to be musicians, and aim to produce a truly musical, timeless and epic recording that will absorb and reward from repeated and dedicated listening.
Guitarist and composer Oscar Grace reflects on the history of the project: “The story of Signum Draconis can be said to begin in 2010, after two years crossing what felt like a personal hell, I was sitting in my car gazing at the sky when a message came to me as it were, a vision clear as day: ‘Put The Divine Comedy to music!’ At that moment Signum Draconis was born. I returned home immediately and hunted out an old copy of Dante’s masterpiece I had owned for years and began furiously reading. Two full years of study and research followed, reading and re-reading all three books many times and even traveling to Florence to visit the 13th Century poet’s own house, trying to envisage what it would have been like to be him and the world in which he lived his story.”
It took two years to extract the parts that would form the material for the songs, and a further year working with my good friend Frederick Pollock to compose the lyrics, bringing to each song its own meaning whilst maintaining the thread that binds all the songs together, at all times remaining faithful to the source and paying the utmost respect to the poet Dante with regards to the correct register with perfect meter and rhyme in English.
I believe Dante’s Inferno perfectly suits the musical style of Heavy Metal, but given the epic scale and cultural importance of Dante’s books, I wanted to bring something else to the music, something that lent grandeur and elegance, and to that end, I began to write parts for a symphony orchestra, in an old-fashioned way, with a fountain pen and sheet music and no new technology to guide my hand.”
Overall, this project took four years to compose the music for the band as well as the orchestra and along the way Oscar Grace searched for the companions who would join him on this voyage of grand musical ambitions. The first was Francesco Micieli, the drummer with whom he had already worked on other projects, then Max Morelli to be the voice of the band, and later on, after an arduous search, Oscar Grace found Filippo Martignano for keyboards and Stefano Antonelli on bass.
Once all the compositions were finished the band set about recording in the Domination Studio of San Marino, taking advantage of the experience and professionalism of Simone Mularoni as a sound technician. For the recording of the orchestral parts, Signum Draconis chose to work with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, having spoken with the director, David Hernando Rico, who helped them enormously and who showed such enthusiasm for the music and the project overall.
1. In the Midway of Life’s Journey (5:14)
2. The Mission of Virgil (3:44)
3. Gate of Hell (Arrival of Charon) (5:58)
4. The Borderland (4:48)
5. Whirlwind of Lovers (5:11)
6. Under Eternal Rain (4:50)
7. To the Edge of Stygian Lagoon (4:45)
8. Regnum Dite (2:36)
9. Burning Graves (5:50)
10. Phlegethon (The Bloody River) (6:00)
11. Forest of Suicides (5:48)
12. Firestorm (6:11)
13. On Geryon’s Back (1:10)
14. Ten Moats of Damnation (Interlude: The Ulysses’ Chant) (11:31)
15. In Hands of Titans (5:28)
16. Cocytus (The Ice Terror) (8:28)
17. Lucifer (7:46)
Special guests include:
RENATO CARROZZO as Storyteller
CHIARA MANESE as Beatrice
MARK BOALS as Virgil
BEN JACKSON as Charon
KSENIA GLONTY as Francesca
LUCA PAOLINI as Pluto
ANDREA RANFA as Brunetto Latini
FREDERICK POLLOCK as Ulysses
SIMONE MULARONI as Nimrod ‘The Titan’
OLEG SMIRNOFF as Count Ugolino
Band line up:
Max Morelli (Vocals)
Oscar Grace (Guitars)
Filippo Martignano (Keyboards)
Stefano Antonelli (Bass)
Francesco Micieli (Drums)