Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Milan, Italy based Trad Heavy Metal band Black Phantom. Huge thanks to vocalist Manuel Malini, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi, I’m Manuel, the lead singer of Black Phantom. The band was born as a solo project of Andrea Tito, bass player and main composer of Mesmerize during a break from the band’s activities, in 2014. He had a number of songs that were not complete thus had never actually been recorded. So, with the help of Andrea Garavaglia and Luca Belbruno (bandmates drummer and guitarist in Mesmerize) he started working on these songs, then asked me and the other guitarist Roberto Manfrinato if we wanted to join the project (both Roberto and I play in a traditional metal cover band called Eruption). Song after song we wrote and our debut album “Better Beware!”, was released by Punishment 18 Records in 2017. This was followed by intense live activity, thanks to which, we became more and more a real band. In the meantime, our current drummer Ivan Carsenzuola joined us and replaced Andrea G. two years ago. The music we play can be identified as Traditional Heavy Metal: we love the 80’s sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, so if you like these bands you can appreciate our band too.

How did you come up with your band name?

The name of the band was chosen by Andrea because he wanted a direct, simple name, that would fit in the “metal” world and that could be pictured by a real character: scary and menacing, if possible. If you see the covers of our records, they’re just about that. Let’s say that the name of the band and the visual concept were born and developed together.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We come from northern Italy, near Milan. The rock/metal scene here is not the best, there are only a few clubs that support this kind of music nowadays and even the organization of the various events is never easy. However, in our area there are good bands that make great music with which we collaborate when possible and with which we have good relationships.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

On March 20th our second CD “Zero Hour is Now” was released, again by the label Punishment 18 Records, and we are really proud of this work. I think we were able to raise the bar of the overall quality compared to the first album. These songs are the result of what comes from our heart, we write and play exactly what we feel and like, without calculations and I think the final result is there to show that Traditional Metal really flows in our veins in a genuine way.

Who have been your greatest influences?

I can only mention all the classic metal of the 80’s, from Iron Maiden to Judas Priest. Personally, I also listen to more modern things and try to go as far as possible in genres other than metal but in the end the imprinting roots always prevail!

What first got you into music?

I started singing as a boy almost as a joke, just to have fun with a group of friends. Things then became more and more serious and over time I always tried to get involved and improve with study and experience. I think at any level you have to try to improve and be curious to discover new things.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Iron Maiden was the band I’ve always listened to since I was a kid and it would be an obvious choice for me. The other band I really loved as a kid is Blind Guardian, so it would be real great to do a duet with Hansi Kürsch!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

There are some wonderful festivals around the world, and it would be great to play in all of them!! Maybe because of the importance in the “metal” world, playing at Wacken would be really an experience and an important part of any metal band’s career.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Unfortunately, nothing in particular! We are actually waiting for the launch of women’s underwear at the next live shows! Haha!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

I think that’s what we do with our music, which is to do what you really feel. As I was telling you, we do the kind of music that we love and really believe in. I believe that this kind of attitude then comes to light when you listen to our songs: the message is follow your heart, believe in what you do, and you will never have regrets!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

One of the greatest metal artists who left too soon and would surely continue to write great music is Chuck Schuldiner. Certainly him, then other big metal names like Ronnie James Dio or Lemmy.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

The best thing is always playing your own songs live and see the appreciation and enjoyment of the people who come to see you. Personally, I also appreciate the whole writing and birth phase of new songs, I always find it very stimulating. What I hate is all the bad business that surrounds the music world, I’m talking about stuff like “pay to play” or agencies / record companies that exploit bands by asking them to pay money for anything.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

You should go back to producing music and bring out who’s really good and offer something good. Today, by investing a lot of money, it is possible to play on the shoulders of large groups without any real merit.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

In metal, I’ll give you three: “The Number Of The Beast” – Iron Maiden, “Painkiller” – Judas Priest and “Nightfall In Middle-Earth” – Blind Guardian. Apart from that field, I think an absolutely perfect rock album is definitely “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. I love Pink Floyd.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

The way music is enjoyed has changed for sure in the last 20 years. Digital is now the main listening format among young people and of course we are also on the main online music platforms. Having said this, I’m still tied to the physical format whether it’s CD, cassette or vinyl. It represents in my opinion a different way of approaching music. I remember waiting for a record to come out, the magic of flipping through the booklet for the first time and the attention in hearing a record for the first time. Nowadays things have changed, and, in some cases, we have lost that very attention placed in the music and in the efforts of a band.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Supporting our first album we had the chance to play at quite important festivals, here in Italy: I can mention the Padova Metal Fest, one of the most important metal gigs in northern Italy where we had the pleasure to open for Necrodeath; the Rock Inn Somma, another very important festival; but also the support given to Iron Savior with our mates of Drakkar and Airborn.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

If I had more free time, I would spend it doing some sport, I’m very passionate about football, and I would always have liked to learn how to play tennis.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

One is enough. Candlelight dinner with Scarlett Johansson!

What’s next for the band?

The plans were to make a string of support dates for the new album, but unfortunately, what has happened with the Coronavirus, the resulting global quarantine and the total shutdown of all shows has blocked everything. Right now, in the absence of live shows, we’re focusing on writing new songs from home.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We have an official Facebook page www.it-it.facebook.com/bewaretheBP/

Please go there and leave a “Like” for our latest news.

We also have an e-commerce site www.blackphantom.bigcartel.com/

There, you can find our two CD’s and all the band’s merchandise.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Never tried, in Italy unfortunately they are not marketed; seen on the internet I can answer with … biscuit cakes!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

First of all, we thank you very much for your questions and the space you are giving us. I would like to invite all readers to spend some time listening to what Black Phantom has to offer! If you love the sounds of Traditional Heavy Metal, I am reasonably sure that our music will be just right for you!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Steel Raiser – Acciaio

Acciaio Cover

Steel Raiser – Acciaio
Iron Shield Records
Running Time: 42:53
Release date: 15/02/2019
Review by Lotty Whittingham

Through metal, a lot of strong bonds and friendships are formed. Often, it’s to the point where bands are formed. This is definitely the case with Italian Heavy Metal outfit Steel Raiser. They have unleashed their latest album “Acciaio” and the word translates to Steel from Italian. Coincidence? Given the sturdy material that this album offers, it’s far from that.

“Acciaio” gets off to a straight forward start with the tracks ‘The Fourth Seal (Intro)’ and ‘Demon Angel’. It’s well known that a great intro to an album can make a difference to how you enjoy the rest of the content. The atmospheric intro lures the listener in before they are treated to the musings of ‘Demon Angel’. First impressions? The production seems a tad quiet. If anything, it encourages the listener to crank up the volume to maximum power. Let’s be honest, that is the only way to experience those finger blistering solos and prevailing vocal work. They do say every cloud has a silver lining.

The style at first comes across as very old school Heavy Metal. Judas Priest comes to mind. That style is reinforced on the track ‘Heavy Metal Hero’. It’s a song that will undoubtedly go down as a classic in years to come. Particularly when the chorus swims around your head minutes, even hours after listening.

As you delve further into the album, some Power Metal influences can be heard. Particularly with the vocal work. Blind Guardian springs to mind when listening to the track ‘Rising Phoenix’. If you want a rough idea of what the love child of Rob Halford and Hansi Kürsch will sound like, then listen to the fantastic vocal work of Alfonso Giordano.

It’s quite rare to come across a song that makes you raise an eyebrow yet you can’t help but laugh. When it comes to “Acciaio”, there is a song called ‘Genghis Khan’ on the album. Songs about historical figures are usually fascinating to listen to as it encourages you to find out more about the person and how they made history. It also makes you wonder why the band decided to write about said figure. Anyway, going back to the song. When you start listening, you can hear Asian influences within the music alongside the Thrash elements. After listening to this track, you will be chiming “gong gong Genghis Khan” before you know it!

If ballads are your thing then “Acciaio” has a beautiful one. It’s entitled ‘Wherever’ and it tugs at the heartstrings. There are dramatic arrangements, passionate vocals and sweeping clashes on the drums, this ballad ticks all the boxes. The concluding track ‘Up The Fist’ helps you feel motivated and ready to go. More than apt. given that one of the lines is “Are you ready?”

It’s evident from the album that Steel Raiser are not a band to be messed with and “Acciaio” will ensure that their music is heard. Get the album, crank to the max and enjoy the ride!

01 The Fourth Seal (Intro)
02 Demon Angel
03 Heavy Metal Hero
04 The King Of The Night
05 Genghis Khan
06 Rising Phoenix
07 Highway Eagle
08 Wherever
09 Night Of The Duster
10 Spirits Of Vengeance
11 Man Of Rage
12 Up The Fist




Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.