:: Interview with The Last Alliance
Interview with The Last Alliance
The Last Alliance are a small Thrash and Power Metal band from the USA. Their latest album 'Out of the Ashes'. If you are a fan of bands like: Helloween
, Sonata Arctica
, then listen to this John Ryan(Guitarist and Vocalist in the band) on why this amazing new album is for you!
Metalship : Can you tell us a bit about yourself, like what hobbies you have as well as playing your music?
Well on my off time I enjoy playing various sports. I love watching Movies, playing Video games, and I do A LOT of reading. Which gives me lots of subject matter to write about. Haha
Metalship : Tell us what you do in the band and who the other guys are?
I’m John Ryan, I’m the vocalist for the group I handle all of the lyrical work as well and play Rhythm guitar. The other three members are Ryan Berg the bassist and master
subsonic sound. Chris Montalbo, our insane lead guitarist and Joe Murawski the most ferocious drummer I’ve ever seen.
Metalship : As a child what music did you grow up listening to?
Growing up I listened to a lot of classic rock mostly. My whole family were children of the ‘60s and ‘70’s so I got exposed to a lot of music from those eras. I was around 4 (yes
4 years old) when I discovered Guns N’ Roses and never looked back. Their music was a huge part of my upbringing.
Metalship : What was your first experience of Metal?
A family friend of mine burned me a copy of Metallica
’s “Ride the Lightning” and insisted that I listened to it. Being a stubborn bastard I refused at first but eventually gave it a chance. One cold stormy night I popped it into my CD player and listened to it from top to bottom and was just floored at how good it was. That really got me going into the realm of metal from then on.
Metalship : How did you and the other guys in The Last Alliance meet up?
This is quite a long tale to tell. The band itself started way back in high school with myself and former guitarist and drummer Jonathan Ledesma and Peter Gozzi. We were never able to find a serious bass player who would stick around until finally around 2008/2009 we found this ad on myspace classifieds for Ryan Berg. We had one practice with him
and hired him
instantly and played a show that same night (that’s how awesome he was/is). Around that same time Pete had to leave the band due to outside circumstances, So Ryan drunkenly approached Joe Murawski and said, “Hey you play drums? You’re in my band now!” Luckily Joe didn’t write him
off as a drunken fool and took him
up on the proposal. Then we had a hit of bad luck when Jonathan Ledesma had to move to Canada due to unforeseen events. We hired a guitarist as a replacement as production on “Out of the Ashes” had begun but things didn’t work out so we approached Chris Montalbo (who was a very good friend of the band) to take up lead guitar duties and he was more than happy to help us out and we are happy to have him
. And that brings us to today with one album complete and a magazine interview still to go! Hahaha.
Metalship : Your new album is entitled ‘Out of the Ashes’. Who came up with the title and why did you choose it in the end?
We really didn’t know what to call this album. We had multiple brainstorming sessions and couldn’t all agree on one name that fit. So we decided to name it after one of the songs on the album. We all said “Out of the Ashes” sounds pretty good. But then I got to thinking how appropriate the title actually is. Because when The Last Alliance was going through its “revolving door” phase with many musicians quitting or being fired (WHILE we were trying to produce an album), I got a little frustrated and disenfranchised like “God this band could fall apart any second”. But we were able to overcome all that B.S and find a group that really clicked and solidified themselves in their positions. So “Out of the Ashes” for me at least, is the testament
to the constant tearing down and rebuilding of the band members, the problems that plagued us during production, and all the crap we had to overcome in order to get this album made! Plus it’s a damn good title.
Metalship : The sound quality on the album isn’t the best quality possible. Where and how did you record the album, and did you intend it to sound like this?
It may be interesting to point out at this time that this album was 100% done by the band members themselves. We used our own gear and knowledge and never set foot in someone else’s studio once. It was actually beneficial financially and creatively. Ryan and Myself engineered everything. Ryan mixed the whole thing and a good friend and mentor of ours Mr. Ernie Jackson Mastered it. I don’t know what the beef with the “quality” is but I think it sounds amazing for what we were able to do and what was at our disposal at the time. We’ve actually gone to studios and shelled out hundreds of dollars and never got something that sounded this good (those horrendous demos are still floating around somewhere out there)
Metalship : What metal bands inspire The Last Alliance and where do you try to take your sound from?
Me Personally, I’m just crazy about all these Bands from Europe they are just KILLING it in the metal scene. Bands like Blind Guardian
, Grave Digger
, Persuader, and Sonata Arctica
. I guess it’s something in the water over there but you guys definitely got the whole “Power Metal” thing down to a science. Germany’s Blind Guardian
and American heavy hitters Iced Earth
HUGELY influence the Band itself. And of course, every metal vocalist owes a debt of gratitude to Freddie Mercury.
Metalship : There are definite concept album themes to the record. Did you intend it to be a concept album, and if so why did you choose to go down that path?
Well there’s no one singular theme throughout the album so I can’t really call it a concept album. They are all concept songs though. Every song is about SOMETHING. That’s just how I like to write. I’m usually inspired by a book I’ve read or a movie I’ve watched and I try and come up with lyrics based around something from that. Some examples from this album: “Heaven’s War” is based off of Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost
’, “Keeper of Asgard” obviously being a nod to Norse mythology, and “March of Darkness” and “The Grey One” both delve into Tolkien quite a bit. So it’s completely varied on what each song is about. It might be fun to produce a concept album sometime in the future though that’s something to consider for us.
Metalship : What would you say are the main lyrical themes of Out of the Ashes?
Well as I said, I read quite a bit so I base my lyrics off of things like that. Usually fantasies, mythologies, or anything epic. I delved a little into Graphic Novels and films for inspiration on two of the songs (Fear N’ Bullets, The Name of Vengeance). Where as other songs were written from scenarios concocted in my own head (The Sorcerer’s Vision, The Dawn). I find myself incapable of writing about personal experiences (as many other song writers do) because I feel they would make for uninteresting lyrics Hahaha. I had a great childhood and a decent upbringing so no one wants to hear me sing about that.
Metalship : When you were writing the album, was it a multiple effort or which individual did it?
Most of the songs on this album were composed by former guitarist Jonathan Ledesma and myself and the rest of the band helped finish them after he departed. Ryan composed “Necropolis” and “The Sorcerer’s Vision” on his own. Chris wrote his own guitar solos, Joe had a hand in coming up with his drum patterns and I wrote all the lyrics. So you could definitely call this a collaborative effort haha.
Metalship : If you could play anywhere and open for any metal band where and who would it be and why?
Being that everyone in the band is a Blind Guardian
fanatic, Opening up for them would be so surreal. It would truly be a dream come true haha. Other than that I would love to play at some of the great metal festivals all over Europe such as Bloodstock in the UK or Wacken Open Air in Germany. Being able to share a festival stage with bands we all look up to and playing to tens of thousands of crazed metal heads for three days straight sounds like so much fun for us (We need more festivals like that here in the U.S)
Metalship : Thanks for your time guys; could you give our readers out there a brief summary of the new album entitled ‘Out of the Ashes’?
“Out of the Ashes” is our rallying call to all of you out there. An open invitation, if you will, to Join up with the Alliance! The Last Alliance isn’t just composed of the 4 guys in the band. It’s also made up of all our fans (present and future) united by one thing: a universal passion, appreciation, and love for all things METAL! So if that sounds like you, Go out and get your Copy today! (at cdbaby.com, amazon.com, and itunes.com) – sorry for the epic shameless plug! Thanks for taking the time to hear us and read this and we hope to see you all out there some day!
added by The Dark Lord, on April 28, 2011 for Metalship