ALTERIUM – A thrilling world of war and flames

With their debut album, Of War and Flames (read our review here), Alterium has released a damn good debut. Nicoletta Rosellini, previously of Kalidia and currently of Walk in Shadows, has unleashed her new band Alterium on an unsuspecting metal populace. 

With their debut album, Of War and Flames (read our review here), Alterium has released a damn good debut. Nicoletta Rosellini, previously of Kalidia and currently of Walk in Shadows, has unleashed her new band Alterium on an unsuspecting metal populace. 

The album is everything a symphonic metal band could ask for and more, and, dare I say, the symphonic metal album of the year so far.  Recently, I enjoyed a nice chat with Nicoletta.  We covered a wide range of topics. Here is what she had to say.

Of War and Flames Alterium photo by Matteo Giannelli
Photo by Matteo Giannelli

Alterium debut “Of War and Flames”

Your debut album, “Of War and Flames,” has just been released.  How excited are you with the record?

We are excited and also satisfied because it’s been a week since the album was released, and all of the feedback we got from the fans and the press is impressive. Indeed, we were surprised to have such good feedback and we are enjoying this moment.

How would you describe “Of War and Flames” to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet?

It’s a good combination of power metal and symphonic metal, with strong and catchy melodies, great orchestration, and great stories behind the music. Many of the lyrics are inspired by mythology or fantasy stories.

A trip to Egypt

I wanted to ask you about some of the lyrics.  For instance, the song “Of War and Flames”.  What’s that one about?

The song is inspired by Egyptian mythology, specifically the goddess Sekhmet, the goddess of war, flames, epidemics, and healing. She’s usually portrayed with the head of a lioness. She also embodies the Solar race so that she can burn her enemies, which is why we decided to call the album “Of War and Flames.” 

The shooting of “Of War and Flames”

Please tell me about the video for “Of War and Flames.” It’s a great video with great scenery. Where was it filmed?

This story is funny because we weren’t supposed to record a video for “Of War and Flames”.  We initially planned to release a lyric video for that song, but we planned to do this lake video. It was supposed to be “Siren’s Call,” but in the end, that weekend, it was supposed to rain a lot – actually, it’s what you can see on the video for “Of War and Flames.”

So we decided to do the “Siren’s Call” video inside this old powerhouse with white walls.  That’s why we decided to do the videos indoors; it was raining a lot.  Anyway, we were already there, it’s a beautiful lake in the Dolomites called Lago di Tovel.  It was stunning, so we were there, and we said, ‘Let’s give it a try; let’s go there tomorrow and see what we could do.’

It was raining a lot all morning, and we at least managed to shoot my parts.  During the afternoon, we got some luck, and the rain stopped for an hour, so we were able to shoot some of the other instruments and aerial shots of the area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to bring the drum kit to the lake because there was a lot of mud, and it was impossible to place the drum kit by the lake. In the end, I think it was still worthy of filming.

Of War and Flames Alterium photo by Matteo Giannelli
Photo by Matteo Giannelli

Alterium the band

How did you come up with the name Alterium?  And what does it mean?

When we got signed with the AFM label we didn’t have any monicker, so we discussed it for a few weeks with the label. We wanted something that could recall our Italian/Latin origins, so we went with Alterium, which sounds like it’s from Ancient Rome. It doesn’t have a proper meaning. We thought it would sound cool, it could sound Italian, and also, I’m a huge fan of short band names that can be remembered easily by the listeners.

Inspired by video games

You are also inspired by video games when writing lyrics.  What songs on the record are inspired by video games?

We have “Drag Me to Hell,” inspired by World of Warcraft.  It tells the story of this brave demon who had to sacrifice himself and become a sort of evil being, but it was necessary because he had to keep all the other evil beings under control. 

That’s why it was a sort of hell for him; he became evil, but he did it for a good cause.  That’s the main inspiration for the song.  We also have “Crossroads Inn,” which is inspired by the game where you have to build, manage, and expand your medieval tavern.  It’s a funny game with this kind of engaging story going on. You discover that your innkeeper is also the secret son of the recently assassinated king, so inside the game, there is a lot of political intrigue. 

We also did this hilarious video; we recreated the whole medieval tavern, and also, we got featured by the creator of the game, Klabater – they are from Poland – and they were enthusiastic, so now the song is also the official track for the game.

The recording process

What can you tell us about the writing and recording process for the record?

As you probably already knew, I came from another band that I’ve been in until 2022 (Kalidia), so half of the songs that are on the album are songs that I already composed during that time, so it was mainly me and our producer Lars Rettkowitz from Freedom Call who worked actively on the songs. 

Then, when my previous band split, I still decided that those songs were cool, and I wanted to release them.  When I got the new band Alterium together, we started to work together, but most of the songs were already done. 

We finished the album with new compositions especially made for Alterium.  We are satisfied in the end.  The guys will be more involved in our second album, which we are already working on.  I’m happy with how they are writing music; it’s inspiring. They have a lot of ideas, and I think we are working well together.

Of War and Flames Alterium photo by Matteo Giannelli
Photo by Matteo Giannelli

New plans

You’re already working on some new material for a 2nd album.  Are you recording or just writing, at this point?

We’ve already recorded three songs, but those will not be on the second album. They will be released as stand-alone singles.  You can expect more music from us; it will be 2-3 months, and then we will release a new single. At the moment, for the album, we’re still writing.

Are you planning to tour in support of the record?

We are trying to get some shows. It’s not easy because, even if most of us are not new to the music business, the band is new, so most of the promoters have no idea who we are. It’s not that easy to get great shows at the moment. We’ve had some offers, so I think, something will come up for us.  We have some festivals for the fall, so hopefully, we can go on tour soon.

What about shows in North America? 

At the moment, North America is difficult because you need to provide a lot of paperwork to obtain an artist visa. As a new band, it’s not that easy.  We would love to tour North America, though.

The beginning of Alterium and Of War and Flames

Let’s go back to the beginning of Alterium.  How did the band first get together?

Dario Gozzi, the drummer, and Paolo Campitelli, one of the guitar players, were together in my previous band, Kalidia.  We decided to make music together, so half of the band was already there in October 2022.  And then Luca (Scalabrin), the bass player, has been a friend of mine for more than ten years, so it was an easy choice for me, also not only because he’s a great bass player, but also, he’s a great singer and a great composer.

He was a great addition to the band.  The other guitarist, Alessandro Mammola, I didn’t know him personally, but he was suggested to me by Paolo. I’m so happy because he’s an amazing guitar player and he is also very good at composing music, so I think I have the perfect lineup right now.

So, do you feel the chemistry within the band is where it should be?

Absolutely, yes.  Now that I have a band that works so well together, I curse myself because I say, ‘Okay, you lost so much time with the wrong people (laughs).  And now you know how it is to have the right people beside you.’

Of War and Flames Alterium photo by Matteo Giannelli
Photo by Matteo Giannelli

The other chapter: Walk in Darkness

Are you still a member of Walk in Darkness?

Yes. We are going to release a new single in mid-April. Of course, my involvement in Walk in Darkness is completely different from Alterium. I’m just a singer over there. I’m not taking care of the songwriting or management, but anyway, I enjoy their music, and I think they are helping me to explore my vocal range. As much as they will stay a studio project, I will go on with them.

Growing as a songwriter

How do you feel to have grown as a songwriter over the last few years?

I still remember when I recorded the last album of my previous band, Kalidia – it was 2017 – the moment I got into the recording studio with our producer, we changed a lot of my vocal lines during the recording session. 

Instead when I went to record this new album with Alterium, everything was already in place.  I think that my songwriting abilities have improved a lot; nowadays, I’m more able to find the proper vocal lines or melodies that are perfect for the song, while a few years ago, I needed more work and more help from the producer.  I think that’s a big improvement when you can write killer songs and killer vocal lines by yourself.

The single “Siren’s Call” from Of War and Flames

One of my favorite songs is “Siren’s Call.” It’s a great mid-tempo number. What’s the idea behind that song?

That song is inspired by Greek mythology. It’s taken from The Odyssey by Homer.  It’s what I imagine the sirens were saying to Odysseus. I also wanted the music to be as beautiful, melodic, and elegant as the siren singing.  That’s the idea of the song: to have great melodies, elegance, and super clean, melodic, and enchanting vocals.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Nicoletta.  In closing, do you have any final words for the fans?

I hope I can meet you all soon on the road.  Thank you so much for all the love and support we’re getting.  You’ve surprised us a lot.  Our album sales and streams were good in the first week.  Thank you so much for your support, and keep supporting the music you love because that’s the only your favorite artists can release new music.

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