Powering their way through the dangerous mouth of 2020, Dragony has come out fighting with a new release, Vibirus Unitis, January 15th, 2021. Full of fantasy, action, and adventure with some historical lessons, it is an album you won’t quickly forget.
Dragony began in 2007 in Vienna, Austria. Talented musicians; guitarist Daniel Stockinger and vocalist Siegfried Samer, started their epic journey with a vision of studio rock opera. Over the years, the band has developed into more of a traditional power metal band with members; Samer still on vocals, Fredrick Brunner on drums, Herbert Glos on bass, Manuel Hartleb on keyboards, Andreas Poppernitsch on guitar, and Simon Saito on guitar.
In 2012, Dragony released its first concept album, Legends. Shadowplay was released in 2015, followed by Lords of the Hunt in 2017. In 2018, Masters of the Universe made its’ way into the world.
Metal Nation sat down with Siegfried Samer and went over the journey of Dragony.
The album just came out on Friday but prior to that you had released “Gods of War”, how has the response been for that?
“I think it has been really good especially on YouTube where you can watch the video. As you know the YouTube comments section can be very dangerous terrain, *laughs* but it has been mostly positive. I was a little nervous before the release since we were switching from a smaller underground label to Napalm Records who has a much bigger audience, and the audience is used to the top tier bands and acts of all genres, not just power metal but death metal, rock etc. They have bands like Alter Bridge signed so they are used to a different level I would say. To be in the same mix you expect to have harsher criticism but generally the responses been really positive and we’re really happy about that. Video reviews have been decent with over 50,000 views (at the time of the interview which was in December), after about two and half weeks of being released. That is almost as much as our previous video from the album Masters of the Multiverse, after two years. Our Spotify is also doing well. “Golden Dawn” is the second release.”
Wonderful I really like that song. I have been able to listen to the album a couple times already.
“Do you like it?”
I do. I am new to the power metal symphonic metal community and I am really enjoying it especially with album concepts like you have done with this album. I am an avid reader, and I love music obviously, so stories put to music is perfect.
The video for “Gods of War” is really amazing and very entertaining, so I am not surprised it has done so well in a short period of time.
“We had to put a lot of stuff in there, so it doesn’t exactly play out like the story or the concept does, it just kind of concludes all the elements and permeates the concept. We just added in the technological aspect that is incorporated to the Nikola Tesla story and magic and a more fantastical aspect and of course we put in a more typical symphonic power metal Dragony stuff that I think it comes across really well. We had a really nice location where we shot the video so that was really good.”
It has a Dungeons & Dragons feel to it.
“Probably because the multi-number dice we put on the table at the end of it.”
*laughs* That is exactly why.
“All of us are into fantasy RPG stuff and fantasy literature and steam punk, those kind of eras and settings that are popular.”
This is your second concept album, your first album Dragony came out with, Legends, was also a concept album. What made you decide to go back to doing a concept album?
“I think it was mostly because of the last two albums and even the EP were all single song focused albums, each separate songs told its own story. We thought it might be time to circle back to the roots again. It was originally created to be more of a studio project, we wanted to do some sort of rock opera thing, but it never played out that way because we became more of a traditional band in the process. We thought it would be fun again and after we came up with the concept of the cyberpunk Joseph character it blended itself into creating a whole concept album and evolved pretty naturally from that.”
Are you a big history buff? Is that why you decided to do some Austrian history?
“Not in particular. This era is still very popular and very romanticized in the Austrian collective conscious. There are popular films about Empress Elizabeth that are usually shown around Christmas time every year. There are hugely popular stage musicals about Elizabeth and Archduke Rudolph who each have their separate stage musicals. So you can imagine how popular this subject matter is here. We thought why not do the same kind of thing and take characters from the same era and interpret them in a more not historically accurate way, more of an absurd and surreal side of the spectrum.”
Well it is still very educational because you have the platform of the storyline on your website, which I really enjoy how you have a broken apart explaining what each song means. This made me want to check out some history I didn’t know. So thank you for the history lesson.
“That was also a little bit of the underlying idea. We were doing this fantastical concept and taking these people out of their actual historical context and telling some inventive story, but there is some real history that transpired as well. This should encourage people to check out the real history behind it to determine what’s real and what’s not. In a world of fake news and YouTube University *laughs* it is a very relevant type of recommendation or maybe also to teach people to not take everything at face value or what is presented to them or believe something that anybody on the internet tells them, but actually do their own research and really research and find out what’s fiction.”
I like that. I also like the twist toward the end, that not only is entertaining but also can be very emotional for something that has facetious and satirical parts to it. I think it’s great you guys were able to balance this, where you can still feel emotional listening.
“That’s the ideal result I would say. If that’s the feeling that you get from it, then mission accomplished *laughs*”
I really enjoy the song, “Darkness Within”, with the chugging guitars and the solo in the middle that easily switches to keys.
“This song written by our producer in the studio Frank Pitters from Silverline Music Studios who has been working with Dragony since the beginning, so about 10 years. He is basically the seventh member of the band in the background. He has contributed a lot of the songwriting on the previous album and now this one as well. This song is about 90% his work. He is a naturally trained keyboard player so he likes to put in the keyboard solos. I told him to maybe add some organ in there as well, it is a really interesting song with a kind of midtempo thing and I think it fits really well there in the middle of the high-speed power metal stuff with a little bit about midtempo heavier punch as well.”
Yeah it does fit really well for standing apart a little.
Your drummer is a physics major, was he the one who wanted to do the concept of Masters of the Universe? Or is that something you are all into as far as quantum physics?
“That is mostly his domain but actually it was not him who came up with album concept, it was our bass player and myself that were talking about it and of course when we presented it he was very excited about it. We didn’t have to convince him a lot. *laughs* He has been more involved in the development of the concept with this album . We involved some real historical figures, but it was also a really hard time in our history if you think about the first world war. He was quite sensitive about all this and wanted to make sure that we treated it with respect and didn’t make a big buffoonery out of it. We put a disclaimer in the album booklet where we say, we know we are doing some weird stuff with characters that really lived especially around the time of the first world war and urge you to read up on the real history and not take this as a disrespect toward those characters families or history of people who were involved by the first world war.”
This story comes to an end with this album since no one survives, have you thought about doing a double concept album where you continue story?
“We haven’t really thought about this, but the good thing is when you put something in this fantastical context, and you add the element of magic, steam punk technology, you can always have the classic comic book twist where everyone survives. Or dimension too, like a different universe or multi-verse theory and in the universe they still live in, they come back or whatever. There is always a possibility if we decide to do part two. I think there could be some material left for sure.”
If the album does really well that would be a fun adventure to have with it.
“That would be awesome to do actually, and I have been pursuing to do a accompanying comic book that would tell the story. I think that would be really awesome but I’m not sure if that is doable because of the peer cost aspect of it. It would be surely nice to have. Let’s see if that something that is possible down the line.”
Really neat, especially if you do a re-release later and it could come in a package deal where the album and the comic book come together.
“Yes, a limited-edition *laughs*”
Yes exactly! The album starts with “On the Blue Danube”, which has a lot of history behind it. I read it is Austria’s second national anthem.
“You could say that. It is definitely one of those secret anthems that people identify with Austria. We had another song in mind for the intro originally, which was the old official Empress anthem, but that was written by the composer Joseph Haydn and is actually still in use today because it is the current national anthem of Germany. The label was a little concerned and we were also a little concerned even though it sounded really well and transitioned into “Gods of War” perfectly, but as a German anthem now, what does that say about the album especially since there is some history with Germany and Austria, it might put us in a corner we are really not and could lead to some strange questions. We don’t want to go that route so we went with “Danube” in the end because it is neutral work, and very popular, it also captures the spirit of Austria, especially Vienna because there is dancing you would associate with the balls and I think it is a really good image and fits well there.”
I had heard “The Blue Danube” was originally supposed to be carnival music, which I felt really worked for this album.
“It actually premiered in 1867 which is the same year that our storyline starts, which is also the year of the Austria Hungarian compromise.”
So it all fits! Viribus Unitis was originally a battleship correct?
“It was a battleship that’s true, the SMS, but actually the true meaning of this phrase is it was an official motto of Emperor Francis Joseph, Viribis Unitis translates to with United forces. I think this really fits with the power metal album that’s call with United forces. It is all already power metaly in itself and then you add the fact that it was the actual motto of the Emperor, I think it really fits to form the whole picture.”
*Discussed Lord of the Rings and He-Man in great detail, which was a very entertaining conversation*
How can people best support Dragony right now? dragony dragony dragony dragony
“We don’t need it as much as some of the other bands since we are not a band that does a lot of touring or anything, we all have our normal day jobs and don’t do music for a living, which has been good on one hand, but also it prevents us from getting bigger faster, which is the only way you can do it, if you tour often. We did lose the tour we are planning on going on in April, and some festivals got canceled or at least postponed until next year where we hope they can take place. The big touring dates are usually February which is when we would be touring on the cell phone but unfortunately that’s not gonna happen, so of course buying the album and merch, etc. It is good to support some of the touring bands that depend on the income that comes with their touring since they are being hit hard as well.”
Make sure you check out Viribus Unitis! It is an exciting adventure that keeps you on your toes until the very end.