Greece's Casus Belli (Latin for 'Cause Of War') was formed in 1997 in
Athens. The band demoed material partly co-written with Peavey of Rage,
entitled Promo One. The former Condemnation man had also auditioned for
the role of Judas Priest frontman in London. The band issued Mirror Out
Of Time in 2001 (featuring Nightfall's Fotis Anagnostou on bass) and
Holy Gates demo in 2004. The band was on hiatus in-between these
releases. The Holy Gates lead to a deal with Germany's Limb which
In The Name Of Rose in 2005. This album featured Frank Huber guesting
drums. Furthermore, the disc featured the work of producer R.D.
and of the sound engineer Christian Schmid and was recorded in Germany.
CASUS BELLI - IN THE NAME OF ROSE - LMP
Here is the scoop: Casus Belli is probably the world's most under-rated heavy metal band. The group hails from Greece, plays spectacular and flawless heavy metal and nobody has even heard of the band. Casually inserting the disc into the audio system of Metallian Towers expecting another album soon becomes an epiphany. In The Name Of Rose is the sudden manifestation of music that is metallic, pure, in step with the forefathers, but also independent and original.
The band's foremost asset is its strong songs which will satisfy fans of traditional metal, a la Dio, Torch, Omen, Hellion, etc., to fans of modern metal bands like Primal Fear, Icarus Witch, Double Diamond, Hammerfall and Dream Evil. Speaking of Dream Evil, guitarist Panos Arvanitis is the band's second major asset. Gus G. has met his match! The riffs, rhythms and endlessly enjoyable leads impress like no other. Panos Dedes also puts in a dependable and solid performance on vocals thoroughly hitting the right spot. This rose has a name and its name is 'metal dream.'
Song after song on this album comes with a certificate of metal supremacy, but the guitar solo on Initiation (Promised Land) with its positive lyrics or the drumming on Isolation are worth the price of admission alone. Nary a listener will detect this, but Diamond Crown has hints of the old Swedish masters Torch. Edge of A Knife is probably the album's weakest song and even has some synthesizers on it. This is the album's commercial cut. Wrongly Right - now wouldn't that be the most appropriate label for right wing ideologies everywhere? - is the album's fastest song and hints at Megadeth in its riffing. The vocals and the melody later are, of course, far superior to anything Mustaine would come up with nowadays. Eastern Dance has another marvelous solo and the instrumental Whispering ends the album in a slower fashion.
Casus Belli is a great band with potential. The group deserves a chance. - Ali "The Metallian"
Casus Belli is not exactly a young band, but with two albums under its spike-adorned belt and next to no profile whatsoever the Greek heavy metal outfit is badly in need of some promotion. The band's brand of heavy metal is nearly flawless. The band's frontman, the cagey Panos Dedes, sheds some light on the situation and the band's music while speaking to Ali "The Metallian" recently. - 15.09.2005
METALLIAN: Panos, first and foremost, how did the band come about?
PANOS: First of all I would like to thank you for your interest in presenting our band on Metallian. It is our pleasure to answer your questions especially because you are from a country which we feel very friendly towards and with this interview you give us the opportunity to present our work.
So going back to your question, I had joined many bands, both in Greece and England, but the most important time for me was my acquaintance with guitarist Panos Arvanitis. I met him when he was playing in an almost 'family' band, namely Condemnation. They already had an album to their credit and I discovered that Panos was a very talented guitarist. It was in 1997 that we decided to begin a new project which was closer to our tastes and different from the sound of Condemnation which was a thrash metal band.
METALLIAN: Shortly thereafter you recorded a demo featuring Peavey of Rage. How exactly did this collaboration come about?
PANOS: Peavey Wagner is a very good guy. We met him in Greece through a common friend. He participated on a couple of songs on our demo. He was so professional. His participation incited the interest of a record company in our band and allowed us to record an album.
METALLIAN: At this point you auditioned for Judas Priest. How did that go and were your colleagues in Casus Belli disappointed that you intended to leave?
PANOS: I had sent a demo with a couple of songs that I had composed and they asked me to send another more "powerful" song so the second demo contained a song from Condemnation that Panos Arvanitis had composed. Judas Priest's coordinator Jayne Andrews kindly replied to me that the band didn't feel that I was the right person to become the vocalist of Judas Priest. I have always loved British metal and I think I must have had nerve to try to become a member of Judas Priest, not only because I wasn't ready for that challenge, but also because I prefer to play my own music. Owen was the best singer for Judas Priest being the understudy of metal God Rob Halford. Rob was the voice and the absolute frontman of Judas Priest. My colleagues were not disappointed because the name Judas Priest speaks for itself and I believe they would have been proud if I had managed to become the vocalist of Judas Priest.
METALLIAN: So you never actually auditioned before Judas Priest?
PANOS: No, my only approach to Judas Priest was when I send them a CD with the songs.
METALLIAN: Your debut Mirror Out Of Time was issued in 2001. How would you describe it?
PANOS: For me our debut came with our second album In The Name Of Rose because there are quite a few differences between our first album and In The Name Of Rose. The biggest is that Mirror Out Of Time was entirely recorded here in Greece and we did not see a professional behaviour from the studios here. There isn't any kind of set-up or know-how of metal here in the Greek studios. For example, for the recording of our first album we changed studios five times! It took us more than two years to finish the recording of the album! On the other hand in Germany we only needed 13 days and with the mixing twenty days for the recording of In The Name Of Rose.
METALLIAN: That album featured a different rhythm section
PANOS: Fotis Anagnostou played bass on our first album and he still remains the bassist of the band. The drums were handled by Fanis Balikos on our debut. He is not a member of the band anymore, but a very close and valuable friend of ours.
METALLIAN: Was Sound & Vision, which issued your debut, a proper label or your company?
PANOS: Sound & Vision actually was a distribution company in Greece. They had made an exemption for us and issued our album.
METALLIAN: I understand that you split up after the debut.
PANOS: It was an era when Panos Arvanitis and I took a short break from our co-operation. Of course, our love for the music and our true friendship brought us back together. In that period, we were planning to rejoin the band again (laughs).
METALLIAN: How did the deal with LMP come about?
PANOS: They listened to a home-made demo that I had made, they liked our sound and were interested in us and that is how it all began. We always make a demo before any release.
METALLIAN: There is some confusion out there regarding the drumming situation at this point. Some sources say Frank Huber played drums on In The Name Of Rose, while others mention Mark Cross.
PANOS: Frank Huber played the drums and Rene Merk played on a couple of songs. Mark Cross is an old friend and we have played together many times, jamming and rehearsing. At the time, we were contemplating recording the album with Mark Cross, but he went to Halloween and also had a health problem so he couldn't record with us. Mark Cross is a good friend of ours and perhaps we could co-operate in the future. Some websites are obsolete and haven't made the necessary updates.
METALLIAN: Let us tackle In The Name Of Rose. The album is impressive and pure heavy metal. To perhaps bring up a point of contention, why is your profile so low?
PANOS: Thanks for you nice words. I think that we must show the musical profile of the band and not the personality of each member however. True Music Promotion conducts our promotion for the Limb Music Product and they only manage the interviews. All the details of the band are on the new releases section of LMP's website.
It is very difficult for me to make any comment about our songs. You can understand that I cannot be objective. The fans are the best judges. They will hopefully buy our album.
METALLIAN: It is clear that you are influenced by the vintage heavy metal of '80s and beyond. How is the reaction to this sound in 2005 and is this sound different from your debut?
PANOS: We all love the classic bands and if you take a look at our web site's links section you will notice some of our preferences. Fortunately, those classic bands are still playing. About the sound, and as I told you previously, the differences between the two albums is that we have no keyboards anymore except for some mid-tempo songs in which we are playing the keyboards ourselves.
METALLIAN: As good as the songs and the singing are, the guitar playing is the stand-out. Is Panos Arvanitis active elsewhere and is he the Greek underground's answer to Gus G.?
PANOS: Panos Arvanitis plays only with Casus Belli. As for Gus G. I believe that people might say this because Gus G. is also Greek and any comparison between those two doesn't stand out. Both guitarists are very talented and they honour the Greek metal scene (laughs again).
METALLIAN: Is there a lyrical theme on the album? If so, do any songs deviate?
PANOS: I would say that on this album the lyrics are mostly anti-war since the last war's fiasco found me on the completely opposite side. I am also referring to the different kind of religions that exist around the world. I believe that they are mostly confusing and tormenting people instead of helping them. I grew up in a Catholic school and I surely know about religious oppression. Also, the song In The Name of Rose was inspired by the film of the same name which is based on the book of Umberto Eko. I changed the title a bit so there won't be any legal problems. Only two songs on the album deviate a little bit from the theme. These are Naked King and Edge Of A Knife.
METALLIAN: Panos, thank you for taking the time to speak to us here at Metallian Towers. Anything to add before we say goodbye?
PANOS: First of all we have a gig in Athens on the seventeenth of September at Underworld club and surely a tour for the promotion of the album is in our plans. We are talking with promoters to organise a tour especially in the USA.
We would like to thank you very much Ali "The Metallian" for you hospitality at Metallian. We send our greetings to Canada and to all our fans there. We wish you the best for Metallian and for your site's visitors. Stay heavy metal thunders and continue to listen and support great music.
Hell yeah! Find out more about the band at www.casusbelli-band.com and pick their new album up.