Antonello Giliberto was born in Siracusa (Sicily) and is a remarkably impressive guitarist. His early influences were diverse and ranged from Johann Sebastian Bach to Yngwie Malmsteen. After the acquisition of the first and second degree of fusion guitar, he joined the teaching staff at the Sicilian Guitar Academy. Antonello has had much collaboration with Sicilian bands like the Flowers’ Grandsons, with which it has taken an average of about 100 concerts a year throughout southern Italy. From July 2011 to August 2014 he collaborated with the band Blue Train, playing rock-blues throughout southern Italy, and publishing an album entitled ‘Madness’. To top it off, in December 2011 he obtained his diploma 3rd level fusion at the Guitar Academy, examined by one of the best Italian jazz musicians: Antonio Tosques.
Antonello has performed with the power metal band Steelblade Sicily Metal Camp in August 2014 and worked with the French thrash metal band E-Force, led by former Voivod Eric Forrest, where he laid down some solos for their latest album ‘Demonickol’. He has also collaborated with the historic Italian thrash-metal band Schizo and performs in a Deep Purple / Rainbow cover band, Purpleized, which includes Tony Carey in its line up. His has released ‘The Mansion of Lost Souls’ in April 2013 (where he played all the instruments) and ‘Journey Through My Memory’ in 2015.
Antonello states “I began work on ‘Journey Through My Memory’ in September 2013, when by chance I was watching Frances Ford Coppola’s Dracula, which gave me the inspiration to write the album’s first track, Demeter (the name of the ship on which Dracula arrives in England.) From there I started down the path of writing through to July 2014, when I finished the track that closes the album, The Art of Ending. For this album I had in mind a symphonic metal sound, and so I included in each track some epic orchestral parts. I am a huge fan of soundtracks, especially those made for historical fantasy films, and I think this influence is evident on the album.”
“For Journey I wanted to improve the quality exponentially in relation to my first album The Mansion of Lost Souls, on which I played all of the instruments. And so I started to look around because I knew I could find a better drummer and bassist. I sent a few demos to some famous drummers, and I received some positive feedback from the great John Macaluso (Ark, Symphony X, James Labrie, TNT, Riot, Malmsteen) who agreed to play drums on the album. We scheduled our first recording session together in Siracusa in October 2014, and soon after we had all of the drum tracks laid down. In November 2014 Dino Fiorenza (Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Slash, Zakk Wylde) contacted me. John had played some of his songs for me, and knowing his style and virtuosity, I asked if he’d be interested in playing on the whole album. He enthusiastically accepted. We finished recording in December 2014 and started mixing right away at Dupin Studios in Catania.”
The best way to compare this album is to look at some of the other instrumental guitar shredders. With Joe Satriani and Steve Vai there is a hard rock feel, whereas Malmsteen has a neoclassical heavy metal approach. The latter is closest to Antonello’s style. There is a breathless rush of frenetic free-style guitar soloing in ‘Demeter’ and ‘Endless Labyrinth’, which only relents towards the end to allow you to gulp a few breaths. There is a slow build-up before we are submerged by the relentless waves of shred in ‘Journey Through My Memory’. Then there is the ecclesiastical awe of the melodic ‘Enigma of Eternal Night’ as it gently soothes your fevered brow.
There is the brief sound of monks chanting before the guitar flows thick and fast in ‘First Day Lights At The Monastery’. Obviously this is a monastic order that has forsaken its vow of silence and has devoted itself to the temple of shred! Then you are transported to another ancient time in ‘Avalon’s Darkness’ with its wind instruments and violin. It has an intricate acoustic guitar section with operatic and hushed female vocalisations.
There is a slow build towards the crescendo with choral chants in the triumphant ‘And Won Their Freedom’. And another long, slow climb in ‘Perfect Dream’ before it picks up with a sprint and then gallops along. The recent Tolkien film adaptation of the Desolation of Smaug comes to mind as ‘Flying With The Dragon’ crests the horizon with furious intent. Finally, there is the reflective part where you look back over the journey in ‘The Art of Ending’.
This is a neo-classical metal tour de force from a virtuoso talent. So if you are of fan of shredding, this one is definitely for you.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
2. Endless Labyrinth
3. Journey Through My Memory
4. Enigma of Eternal Night
5. First Day Lights At The Monastery
6. Avalon’s Darkness
7. And Won Their Freedom
8. Perfect Dream
9. Flying With The Dragon
10. The Art of Ending
Antonello Giliberto – Lead Guitars, Keyboards
John Macaluso – Drums
Dino Fiorenza – Bass
“The Mansion of Lost Souls” (2013) [review]
Record Label: Minotauro Records., June 2015
Video below: ‘Demeter’
Video below: “Journey Through My Memory” (Album Trailer)