Ritual is the third album from the Italian band Edge Of Forever since they reunited about five years ago, and their sixth overall. Vocalist Alessandro Del Vecchio (Jorn, Archon Angel, Silent Force) fills us in on their new record.
Chad Bowar: How did the songwriting process for Ritual compare to previous albums?
Alessandro Del Vecchio: For the first time since we actually reunited, this album has the whole band contributing to the songwriting. I’m still the major songwriter but in lots of the songs, especially in the “Ritual” suite, the whole band has contributed even in the vocal melodies department which is where I’ve always been kinda leading the game. But I have to say that this has brought a newer and fresher approach which I really like and I guess the result is proof of the strength we have when we all work in synergy.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I really enjoyed the whole recording process and as a band we’re always super chill and have fun when we’re together. As a collaborative though, nothing beats the songwriting process. This is where we always have the strongest moments because it is where we actually build the foundations of the album itself. I love when we gather ideas and go back and forth and challenge ourselves on which solution would work better.
What was the biggest challenge in recording it?
I won’t lie, the vocal recordings. This is definitely the most naturally fitting album I’ve ever recorded as a singer, but the amount of choirs and backing vocals really makes every song a mountain to climb. Since I’m the only singer in the band I have to jump on every harmony line and I normally quadruple every take and for songs like “Baptized In Fire” or “Taunting Souls” the hours spent to record all these parts become monstrous! Obviously, besides the price to pay, I honestly think there’s never been a record that I sang better than Ritual. My voice has really found a home here.
What’s the lyrical concept?
The album tells the story of two Haida twins, a boy and a girl, that have been taken away from their nation and brought to a residential school. Here they are divided so that they are not in touch with their culture and they can become civilized and fit the “white” world. The girl understands that she has to fake her becoming a civilized person while hiding her culture. The boy becomes a rebel and is able to escape from being burnt alive. His life then becomes a quest to find his sister whom he finds on his last days only to discover she has a daughter and a son and that they speak their native idiom. In the end nothing is lost and he can die peacefully knowing that the oppression of the residential school approach hasn’t been stronger than their Native roots.
How has your sound evolved from Seminole?
In my opinion, Seminole has a great melodic feel and features some of our best songs, while Ritual sounds more like the way we play live. We’re a much heavier sounding band than the regular melodic rock bands out there, so we simply went with what sounds natural and fits us the best when we’re on stage. Ritual reflects our live sound: heavy, raw, furious, but still melodic and with a great attention to epic choruses and anthemic melodies. Seminole, since it was written and recorded in the studio during the pandemic, couldn’t reflect that side of us.
Both Native Soul and Seminole were more my vision of the band because we almost never played live, just two shows, so we really couldn’t know what was our real nature with this lineup. As soon as Seminole came out we’ve been on tour with FM, Skid Row and played headlining shows and festivals, and after almost 30 shows we have discovered we’re not the typical AOR band, but we’re definitely a hard rock band. I really think we’re closer to early Rainbow than Survivor. And I have to specify that I absolutely love AOR, but Edge Of Forever is a different beast and we fit into a wider spectrum of what melodic rock can be.
How was the video shoot for “Where Are You”?
Physically it was complicated and tiring. In the last two years I’ve been diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease which has put my health to risk and, even if it might not show, I see I’m not 100 percent healthy, something that I embrace and accept. Probably this situation has given more strength to my performance and depth into the way we want to communicate our message of resilience and perseverance.
How important are videos in the promotion process these days?
I don’t know for the other bands, but for Edge Of Forever they are essential. It is the fastest way for us to translate our music and message to image. “Ritual Pt.1” has the story element while “Where Are You'” is more about the band performing in a great location. If you go back to all our videos from 2019 on, you can clearly see we always have a vision behind what we present to our fans and we always want to raise the bar and show the growth and evolution of who we are and what we want to bring to the world.
How much attention do you pay to reviews?
Not as much as in the past. I’ve learned that once you release an album, your truth is what really matters. I know we always give our 100 percent and beyond for each album and our job is to make sure we deliver something special. Obviously if you read a review that understands and supports your work it’s all good, but a bad review can be something that puts your work into a different perspective and might make you grow on details you didn’t consider in the first place. I have to say that in the past I’ve grown a lot thanks to some reviewers that I knew I could trust.
What has been your most memorable Edge Of Forever live show?
Zurbaran Rock Festival in Burgos this last summer. There were thousands of people and the energy we all had was incredible. Mike Tramp played after us and he simply said that was the best show of his life, and I have to say, it will be hard to forget an audience like that, singing your songs and supporting you that way. We posted a few videos but the one of the people singing along in a call and response with me was really incredible.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Because of my health we had to hold back for a few months. We’re playing at Orland Fest in Norway on October 28th and we’re planning a late winter and spring tour and we cannot wait to play these songs live!
With everybody in multiple bands, is it difficult to coordinate recording and touring?
Recording is easy as we have our own studios so in the worst case we record our parts according to our schedules, but touring is always a puzzle even if we’re really prioritizing Edge Of Forever over most of our stuff because we want this band to really make it.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I love nature and hiking and when my health is ok, I’m a marathoner, so unless I’m not forced in the house, anything that can bring me to the trail of in the wild nature is perfect for me.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
The prog band U.K. Eddie Jobson is a hero and their trio lineup with Terry Bozzio and John Wetton is definitely my dream band.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
First of all I cannot thank you enough for the support to our band and our new album. We’ll be releasing the album on Frontiers Records on October 13th and on the same day the video for “Freeing My Will” will be out. It will show the heavier side of our sound and definitely change the game for us since it’s a double bass power hard rock song with a long instrumental section that really shows the virtuoso side of our playing. I hope to see you all on the road and we cannot wait to have this album out!
(interview published October 12, 2023)
Watch Edge Of Forever – “Where Are You” Video