HARPAZO’s Debut Album “The Crucible”: A Progressive Metal Rock Opera Set in a Dystopian Future – Exclusive Interview with Gary Wehrkamp and Marc Centanni

From Concept to Creation: Inside Harpazzo's Journey with Marc Centanni and Gary Wehrkamp...

Interview by: DJ

 

 

Welcome to our interview featuring “The Crucible,” the debut album from HARPAZO, a groundbreaking super-group led by guitarist Marc Centanni and producer Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery, Ayreon). Released by Rockshots Records, “The Crucible” blends progressive and power metal with symphonic and Celtic influences, exploring a dystopian future where technology meets prophecy.

Spanning epic tracks across Rome, Jerusalem, New York, and Washington DC, the album unfolds a narrative of revolution and intrigue. HARPAZO features a stellar lineup including DC Cooper (Royal Hunt), Mark Zonder (Fates Warning, Warlord), and other legends from the progressive and Christian metal scenes.

With intricate compositions and evocative storytelling, “The Crucible” promises an immersive musical journey that reveals new layers with each listen. Join us as we explore the creative vision behind this extraordinary debut.

 

ALBUM PRE ORDER – https://bit.ly/HarpazoCD

MGM: Thank you, everyone, for tuning in to another episode of My Global Mind on our channel. I’m really excited today because we’re joined by two incredible musicians to discuss an exciting project releasing on June 28th. It’s from the band Harpazzo, and the album is titled The Crucible on Rockshots Records. This concept album is something rock and metal fans will definitely enjoy, featuring talented musicians and vocalists. Today, we have with us Marc Centanni, the creator of this project, and Mr. Gary Wehrkamp, whom many of you know from bands like Shadow Gallery, one of my personal favorites. Thank you both for being here to talk about this record. We appreciate your time.

Marc Centanni: Yeah, good to be here.

Gary Wehrkamp: Thanks so much.

MGM: Marc, I was listening to the promo today. We receive a lot of promos, so it’s challenging to keep up, but a couple of weeks ago, the press release for this one caught my eye with all the great names involved. Gary, I’ve been a big fan of your work with Shadow Gallery. There are other fantastic vocalists on this album, like DC Cooper from Royal Hunt, who is also phenomenal. Let’s start by discussing how you and Gary met and where the idea for this project came from.

Marc Centanni: Definitely. I came to Gary with around 25 songs initially, and he helped me narrow it down. The idea for a concept album came from my admiration for other concept albums like Operation: Mindcrime and Arjen’s Ayreon projects. The whole concept began when Gary introduced me to another project he was involved in with DC Cooper called Amaran’s Plight, which sparked the idea for my own project. We weren’t sure we could get DC Cooper on board initially. Mark Zonder, who Gary can tell you more about, was one of the first guests besides Gary. Gary had worked with Mark previously. Isn’t that right, Gary?

Gary Wehrkamp: Yeah, we had just finished another project together. I asked if he’d be interested in laying down a few drum tracks. Then, through another project with Flaming Row and Martin Schnella, we brought in more musicians like Nick D’Virgilio from Spock’s Beard for specific needs like the double bass on “I Am God.” My feet aren’t quite up to that speed anymore!

MGM: Mark Zonder was a great choice, known for his work with Fates Warning. His involvement certainly adds to the album’s depth.

Marc Centanni: He’s a hero of mine. Having Mark Zonder on board was incredible.

MGM: That’s fantastic. Today, I listened to the promo and took notes on some of the tracks. Progressive music demands attention and rewards repeated listening. Tracks like “I Am God,” “Two Witnesses,” “Ultimatum,” and “Change of Heart Part Two” stood out to me. Could you delve into the concept behind these songs and characters?

Gary Wehrkamp: Marc, that’s your area.

Marc Centanni: Sure. The inspiration came from my time as a news writer and my exploration of Christianity. I became fascinated with prophecies, especially from books like Revelation and Daniel. The album revolves around characters like Jude Solomon, a trillionaire envisioning a world where humanity merges with technology to live indefinitely. His right-hand man, Michael, initially silences dissenters until a pivotal moment in “Two Witnesses” shifts his allegiance. The album explores themes of faith, technology, and the struggle between humanity and machines.

MGM: Understanding the storyline enriches the listening experience, especially for concept albums. It’s like a sci-fi epic set to music. How did you approach composing the music, Gary? Did the concept influence your creative process?

Gary Wehrkamp: Absolutely. We focused on developing the storyline first to guide each song’s direction. Working with Marc on lyrics was collaborative; we met every Tuesday to flesh out ideas. Each track required a different approach, from setting the mood to translating emotions into music. For instance, “Two Witnesses” needed a Middle Eastern vibe at the beginning to match its narrative setting.

Marc Centanni: Gary pushed me to define the settings in various cities and translate those atmospheres into the music.

MGM: It sounds like a meticulous process. Were there any songs that particularly resonated with you during the creative process?

Gary Wehrkamp: “Change of Heart Part Two” and “I Am God” were special. They evolved naturally and remained powerful throughout production.

Marc Centanni: “Change of Heart Part Two” was especially meaningful for me. When I played it for my then-girlfriend, now-wife, Jessica, she was moved to tears. It was a magical moment.

MGM: That’s beautiful. You mentioned collaborating with renowned vocalists like DC Cooper and  drummer Nick D’Virgilio. How did you approach bringing them on board?

Gary Wehrkamp: Some, like DC Cooper and Nick D’Virgilio, were already acquaintances from previous projects. We compiled lists of potential vocalists who fit the album’s vision and reached out to them.

Marc Centanni: I emailed them with our proposal, and thankfully, they accepted. Working with vocalists like Les Carlson, Ray Para, and Christian from Narnia was fantastic.

MGM: The diverse vocal contributions add depth to the album. Speaking of collaborations, the artwork for The Crucible is striking. Who was the artist behind it?

Marc Centanni: The artwork was created by an artist Dusan Markovic known for their work on several metal albums, including The Three Tremors. They did an excellent job bringing our concept to life.

MGM: It’s always fascinating to see visual art complementing music. Gary, how do you feel this project has impacted your career, especially considering challenges like catastrophic house fires that happened several years ago?

Gary Wehrkamp: The fire was devastating and delayed many things. While Shadow Gallery hasn’t released new material for some time, we’re still active as a band. Harpazzo has been a rewarding focus amidst these challenges, and I hope fans will enjoy it.

MGM: That resilience is admirable. Did any musical elements from your past projects, particularly Shadow Gallery, influence your work on Harpazzo?

Gary Wehrkamp: Not significantly, except for a chord progression in “I Am God” that originated from a song with the late great Mike Baker for the Carved in Stone album. It never made it onto that album but found its place here.

MGM: Interesting. Marc, the name “Harpazzo” has a unique meaning. Could you elaborate on its significance?

Marc Centanni: “Harpazzo” is a Greek word meaning “rising up,” akin to “rapture” in the Bible. “The Crucible” refers to a severe trial, echoing the concept of tribulation. Both titles encapsulate the themes explored in the album.

MGM: The titles are fitting for the album’s themes. Gary, how did you settle on Rockshots Records as your label of choice?

Gary Wehrkamp: We considered several options but found Rockshots Records to be the best fit. They have a strong roster of melodic and progressive artists, which aligned well with our vision.

Marc Centanni: Enzo Donnarumma from Enzo and the Glory Ensemble recommended them to us, which was a decisive factor.

MGM: That’s great to hear. Lastly, what message do you hope fans take away from The Crucible, and are there any future plans after its release?

Gary Wehrkamp: We hope listeners appreciate the passion and effort we’ve put into this project. It’s meant to be enjoyed multiple times, unraveling its layers with each listen.

Marc Centanni: Another single will be released on June 28th, alongside the album. We’re focused on promoting The Crucible for now and will assess further plans based on its reception.

MGM: Thank you both for your time today. The album, Harpazzo’s The Crucible, releases on June 28th via Rockshots Records. It’s a concept record that progressive and metal fans won’t want to miss. Thank you again, Gary and Marc.

Marc Centanni: Thank you so much.

Gary Wehrkamp: Thank you.

 

More info: 
Rockshots.eu 
https://www.facebook.com/Harpazomusic/
https://www.instagram.com/harpazo_music

 

Singers

DC Cooper as Michael Lightborne
Gary Wehrkamp as Jude Solomon
Lee Lemperle as Princess Relena
Jennifer Eckhart as Ellie
Rey Parra as Moses
Christian Liljegren as Casimir Agnus
Les Carlsen as “The Stranger”
Michael Drive as “Pope John”

Lead guitars by Gary Wehrkamp
Bass by Gary Wehrkamp
Keys and Piano by Gary Wehrkamp
All drums performed by Gary Wehrkamp except: Niklas Kahl on “I Am God”, “Change of Heart Pt. 1” and Mark Zonder on “Ichor”, “Golden Crown”, “The Crucible”, “The Book of Life”. 

 

 

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