The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

Asgard

drachenblutbandAlthough it began in Treviso (Northern) Italy, Asgard has strong ties to Germany as well. The origin is in a band named Fire Dusk, formed in 1984 by guitarist Massimo (Max) Michieletto,
drummer Marco Michieletto,
 basist Glauco Giacchello, and Alberto Ambrosi on keyboards. They became a popular local band, won many contests, and appeared on radio and T.V. Shows. Fortune smiled when they went to Ibiza, and got the chance to work with Nick Griffiths (former Pink Floyd producer), and recorded a few tracks. These ended up on the sampler “Italian Rock Invasion,” and another from a Dutch label called “Exposure ’88.” Soon after, Giacchello was replaced by Chris Bianchi d’Espinosa, and lead singer Francesco (Chicco, or Kikko, depending in which article you read) Grosso was also welcomed to the mix.

In 1991 they signed with German label WMMS, and were given to producer Peter Wustmann. This began the band’s heyday. The first proper release was 1991’s “Gotterdammerung.” In 1992 work was begun on an EP, but it evolved into a short album that became “Esoteric Poem.” This was also when the first lineup change occurred. Michieletto left, and was replaced by another drummer named Marco (this one with the surname of Ferrero). Later that year, a darker path was explored on “Arkana.” With three solid efforts under the band’s collective belt, the time was right to pull out all the stops. So, in 1993 (true to prog form) the epic concept album “Imago Mundi” was recorded. After its release, Franchesco Grosso left, and was replaced by Franco Violo. In late ’94, co-founder Max Michieletto also said his goodbyes. Andrea Stefani sat in to cover tour dates.

The website tells a tale of how two of the members wished to stay in Germany, while the others left the band and returned to Italy. Other sources site a financial dispute. The truth is most likely a combination of the two. So, Alberto Ambrosi and Chris Bianchi d’Espinosa would now remain the core of the group. In 2000, the urge to record again came upon them, and “Drachenblut” was released on their own label. This time the other positions were filled by Sergio Ghiotto on guitars, Peter Bachmayer on drums, and Ivo Gallo taking on lead vocals.

By the turn of the Millenium, Ramsau Germany was home base, and through the revolving door came vocalist Dietrich Kuhn, guitarist Michael Brandt and drummer Markus Hinzmann. Information suggests work being done on a fifth album to be titled “Ragnarøkkr,” using singer Priska Schwarz, guitarist Robert Schönleitner and drummer Thomas Kocher. It was scheduled to be released in 2005. However, there is no evidence (at this time in early 2008) to suggest that this album has been completed.

As you may have guessed, the name is taken from Norse mythology. The lyrics keep within this theme, yet the band says that they still relate cotemporary subjects. They claim Queensryche, Black Sabbath, Dream Theater, In Extremo, Spock’s Beard, Gabriel era Genesis, Pink Floyd, and Saga as their main influences. They are also cited as metal (or metal influenced) on many sites, but I actually hear Fish era Marillion more than anything else.Asgard

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