BANDOLIRIUM: Prog Metal on Bandoneon

With Progressive Metal constantly expanding and reaching far beyond, it was just the matter of time when there will be a band that takes inspiration from Tango and mix it with Prog Metal. Bandolirium is a band led by bandoneonist Amijai Shalev, who will release their self-titled album in May.

We talked with Amijai about this unique project, and here is what he had to say about the band’s work.

What made you go for the name Bandolirium? I supposed the inspiration comes from your main instrument — bandoneon.

That’s right, it’s bandoneon-­derlirium, came out bandolirium, a way to say there are no lim­its… Tango and Prog Metal can and will be mixed!

How do you usually describe your music?

Instrumental Prog Tango ­Metal, there is no such genre, so that’s a new definition.

What is your writing process like?

For this album I composed all the music at home, using scores, pretty much like classical music, then our drummer composed the real drums bases on my reference, there were later on corrections we had to make in orchestration and also some guitar and bass parts that were too “keyboardist”, there’s one guitar solo that was composed by the guitarist.


Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?

To me inspiration is something that comes from nowhere, who knows… but the influences in this album are: dream theater, tool, meshuggah, metallica, pantera, and tango artists like Troilo, Piazzolla, Rovira, and others

What is your favourite piece on the upcoming self­titled album? Tell me something more about the each of the songs on the album.

My favorite is Falso Dilema, regarding the pieces they all have double meanings, as a whole the album goes from “Impulso” (impulse) and the last song is “Liberacion” (libera­ tion), so impulse is the force of life on one hand, on the other hand it’s the impulse to cre­ ate something artistically, second piece is ES3, which is Stress in spanish, that is the stress we live in when we don’t know what the hell are we doing here, but it’s also Es­3 (it’s 3) and the piece has three parts A­B­C­B­A. Third and fourth pieces are the Demon’s Milonga, milonga is folk Argentine music, the demon here is our deceptive thoughts that make us suffer, and on the other hand it’s an answer to Piazzolla who composed “the An­ gel’s milonga”, fifth piece is “Sombras” (shadows) it refers to the shadows we carry with us in life, believes left from the past, and the piece combines different musical influences, in­ troduction that is a mixture of tool with piazzolla, the middle part is like an old tango. Auto Sabotage, is all about self destruction, and so the harmonies are extremely dissonant, Falso Dilema (false dilema) regard to narrow thinking, and uses a motive that evolves through the piece, Liberation is a catharsis, spiritual and creative, it has a bandoneon solo opening, like a church organ, and the piece is like theme with variations. We also recorded an arrangement of “For whom the bell tolls” by Metallica, Bandolirium style.

Bandoneon in prog is already something unique, something you do not see very often. What is the feedback like from the prog fans on this in your experience?

Until now I got feedback from prog fans in argentina, it blew up their minds, they couldn’t believe it! It’s always exciting to hear new instruments in prog, in our case the bandoneon is part of the band and not just a color added to a song.

What should music lovers expect from “Bandolirium” (album)?

If you compare this album to prog albums, you’ll find many unusual things, the music is dramatic, something that comes from tango, there are some very dissonante parts vs. very melodic, there aren’t so many solos, the solos are basically melodies played as solo, and the structure of the pieces… well, you’ll hear.

What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your mu­ sic?

Emotions are a personal reaction, so I compose according to my feelings and then the music goes out… I don’t have any expectations, once it’s out it’s for the listener to experi­ence.

Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?

Both, but I prefer live shows more than studio.

Pick your three favourite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.

If it’s a desert island how would I listen to the albums? [laughs]

I wouldn’t take anything, just go and get to know the music of the local people… and if there are no people, just listen to the sea…

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