All In Music Review had a chance to talk with the guys from the rocking Italian Prog Metal
band Headless, where we discussed the origins, members, and influences of the band, their latest
video for “Misdirection” from their newest album Square One and of course what 2022 has in store
for the guys.
Headless is fronted by vocalist Göran Edman along with Walter Cianciusi and Dario Parente on
guitar, Martin Helmantel on bass and drummer Enrico Cianciusi
All In: Thank you all for taking the time from your busy day to talk with us today. First off, for those
who might be new to Headless, tell us a little bit about the band, your influences, and how long you
all have been together?
(Walter): First of all, thank you for this opportunity of dialogue. Headless has been around for a very
long time. An early incarnation of the band recorded a first E.P. back in 1996. But at the beginning of
the 2000’s our paths divided and each one pursued its own autonomous musical path. The band then
reformed around 2011 and the personnel of our comeback album was decidedly different from that of
the origins. In addition to my and Dario’s guitars, Göran joined the lineup on a permanent basis and
Queensryche’s Scott Rockenfield provided the drum parts as a session player instead. The Growing
Apart album (2013) therefore represents not only the beginning of a new course but also the first
truly professional product released by the band. As for the influences, there is obviously a common
passion for prog metal (that of Ryche and Fates Warning, not so much that super technical style à la
Dream Theater) but each contributes with their own taste. For example, I really appreciate the
classic rock of The Stones, the hard rock of AC / DC, and all the melodic rock of the 80s. Dario and
Göran are fans of prog rock and psychedelia. Martin is a fan of Van Halen. Enrico has strong
expertise in jazz.
All In: You recently released the album Square One (released on September 21, 2021). Can you tell
us about the album, where was it recorded?
(Dario): We started recording a demo containing a dozen songs in the spring of 2018. At the end of
April of the same year we stopped working on the new Headless album because one of our
promoters contacted us since the one and only Geoff Tate had been invited to play a couple of
festivals in Europe and at that moment he needed a band. His musicians were in the United States
and could not join him in Europe so, after playing these two shows with Geoff, Walter, and myself
incredibly, we joined his band. So, for the rest of 2018 and most of 2019, we were on tour with Geoff Tate. Only in 2020 due to the lockdown, we had the opportunity to work again on the material which then ended up on Square One. Obviously, it was recorded in several studios in Europe, partly because of the lockdown but to be honest we often work this way: we usually record guitars and drums in Italy in Walter’s studios, the bass has been recorded in Holland, in Martin Helmantel’s trusted studio and the vocals in Göran’s home studios. In a second moment, Walter reorganized all the tracks to start the mixing.
All In: With the whole world struggling with the Covid-19 Pandemic, how did you overcome all of that to be able to complete an album?
(Walter): There was a moment during the pandemic when I really thought: this is the end, what will
remain of me in this world? Little, very little, perhaps a grain of sand in the desert. So, I rolled up my
sleeves and started working day and night on the album, sure of having to deliver as soon as
possible a sort of testament including all my dreams, my desires, my opinions, and the best of what I
am capable of doing on the guitar. I think this spirit was common to the whole band. Just listen to the
vocals recorded by Göran, they seem sent straight from heaven. They border on absolute perfection.
He too wanted to strongly share his last words.
Things are slowly improving, and we probably wouldn’t be able to make such an effort today. But with
death on the horizon we were capable of a titanic undertaking!
All In: Do you have a favorite song from the album and why?
(Dario): My favorite tracks off the new album are “Woman in White,” “Langeweile” and “A Leaf’s Flight
Path” mainly because when it comes to metal I’m alot into Prog and Power but I really dig every
single note on Square One.
(Walter): My favorite is “Tail Down Low”, especially for lyrics. It is a poem written by my grandfather (he
too was called Walter Cianciusi) before he died. It has to do with old age, numbness of the senses,
loss of memory, and the reversal of social hierarchies in the last years of human life. I can’t hear it
again, without crying like a baby.
All In: You also have a new video and the first from the album for “Misdirection” How did you find time with everything else going on to shoot and produce a video?
(Walter): When we get something into our head, we don’t give up before we have achieved exactly
what we want. It was very difficult even to coordinate the flights and allow everyone to arrive
smoothly in Italy, where the video was shot. The fact is that Headless are a kind of family, so
regardless of the need to shoot the video we had a strong desire to meet each other and hug again.
It was a magical weekend; the chemistry was there, and musicians are able to recognize it. I’m sure
as soon as we all get together on stage we will spark!
All In: Why was this song chosen for the first video from the album?
(Dario): “Misdirection” was chosen by us together with the leaders of the label as the right song for the
official video. I think it was chosen for different reasons: it is an enthralling and immediate song with
a truly winning mix, it highlights the characteristics of Göran’s voice, it is representative of the style of
Headless and also from a lyrical point of view it is quite immediate. The lyrics of “Misdirection” were
written by Göran who, compared to me and Walter, tends to have a much more concrete approach to
lyrics, the song is in fact linked to reality. It is not at all philosophical.
All In: Are you planning on releasing another video from the album? If so, can you share what it is?
(Walter): Well…we released 4 lyric videos before shooting the “Misdirection” promo, so there aren’t
many choices left. We will certainly shoot a new video to promote the release of the two vinyl
versions of the album. This will happen roughly in April 2022. We are strongly oriented towards
Langeweile, the most prog track on the record.
Watch/Listen to Woman in White
Watch/Listen to Two’s Up
Watch/Liasten to Streetlight Buzz
Watch/Listen to Risin’ up
All In: What’s in store for 2022? Upcoming tour dates on the horizon?
(Dario): We are finding gigs to promote Square One, of course with Headless we are going to open
for some big metal act, but myself and Walter will be very busy with Geoff Tate as well. We are
going to play in Europe with Geoff (March/April 2022) performing Empire and Rage for Order in
their entirety plus we’ll be busy also on Geoff’s other projects.
All In: Do you have a favorite band, someone who has shaped your musical style and influences
(Walter): It is difficult to choose just one, but there are some names that still give me goosebumps
when mentioned. Queensryche, Megadeth, AC / DC. I wish I was Chris DeGarmo, Dave Mustaine
and Malcolm Young at the same time!
Not to mention Van Halen, but in that case, there is no remote hope either (laughter)!
(Dario): Well, we both grew up listening to the classic metal bands of the 80’s and then we both went
back to the discovery of the classics. In a nutshell, I’m more attracted by the progressive rock of the
70’s and the psychedelic rock of the 60’s while Walter loves blues, rock, and roll but also extreme
metal and some more modern bands.
All In: One of the questions I always like to ask is what you are currently listening to, what motivates
you as you are listening to other music.
(Dario): I’m an avid music listener and I like to be inspired by other artists. Lately, I’ve listened to a lot
of old Progressive British music: bands like Gentle Giant and Family, and I’ve studied a lot of Rory
Gallagher’s guitar parts too plus I’m listening to contemporary players like Tosin Abasi and John
(Walter): I usually dedicate one hour early in the morning to listen to new music. At the moment I’m
digging deep into Polyphia, Armored Saint, and Arch/Matheos.
All In: Guys, I really appreciate your time today and getting to know Headless a little bit better, In
closing is there anything you would like to say or leave with the Headless fans reading this?
(Walter): If you like Progressive Metal but at the same time appreciate melodic hard rock, Headless
are for you. We try to bridge the gap between these two extremes.
Thanks for the time you dedicated to us. Cheers!