British-born multi-instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter Andy Gillion is on the eve of issuing his first-ever solo album, Neverafter, via his own finances. Most purveyor of fine metals have witnessed our man shredding live for Finnish melodic death phenoms Mors Principium Est, but the prodigious guitarist is involved in a host of other activities, most involving music. When not writing mind-expanding, flesh-flaying melodic death, Gillion also moonlights as a composer to live theater, film, and, yes, even video games (Check out: Sword Surfer and Dude Man).
Back to Neverafter. Composed, recorded, and released by Gillion himself, along with some help from drum-master Samus Paulicelli (aka 66Samus; Decrepit Birth, Eliminator), the esteemed Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, ex-Nevermore), UK headstock-less shredder Paul Wardingham, and English vocalist Christina Marie. While most instrumental albums feel like albums sans vocals, Neverafter has a score-like quality that allows it to transcend status as a mere wood-shed platter. Of course, Gillion isn’t Poledouris, Jones, or Goldsmith, but he’s put down the gauntlet as it pertains to metal albums too afraid of vocals, of which there are precious too many. Neverafter is jaw-dropping journey through film scores, melodic and progressive metals, and space/time.
When Decibel and Gillion talked cooperation, we immediately thought outside the box, pairing Gillion’s wicked guitar work/humor with Australia’s (he’s now a resident of Melbourne) top killers. After all, Neverafter is all killer, no filler, so the theme vs. music fit like, as Paul Stanley once stupidly opined, a glove. Time to die…
5. Blue-ringed octopus: the blue-ringed octopus looks fairly boring until disturbed, so be sure to pick them up and have a play with them if you want to see their iridescent blue rings appear. The only drawback is certain death. If bitten, your body will begin to shut down until fully paralyzed, so you’ll most likely die because you’ve stopped breathing — but you’ll have seen a cool octopus light show that you’ll remember for the rest of your life! I liken this very much to my album — beautiful and colorful melodies, with a dark and powerful punch.
4. The Sydney Funnel-Web Spider: There are many dangerous spiders in the world that want nothing to do with us and just try to keep to themselves. This is not one of those. This spider is about as metal as it gets. Funnel-webs are jet black in appearance and their long fangs are strong enough to cut through thick leather. Renowned for being the most deadly spider species in the world (and the reason I live in Melbourne, not Sydney), you’d be pretty stupid to mess with one of these. The bottom line: this spider can kill an adult human within 15 minutes!
3. The Irukandji Jellyfish : This little bastard measures as little as one cubic centimeter (as small as a fingernail). If that’s not inconvenient enough for us, it’s also fucking see-through, so it’s impossible to see it coming! Now for the fun part — the sting on this precocious little scamp is 100 times as potent as that of a cobra, causing fatal brain haemorrhaging but not before “Irukandji Syndrome” sets in. This is a personal favorite of mine. “Irukandji Syndrome” is a psychological feeling of impending doom that has been observed in patients who have been stung. Doctors have reported people clawing at their beds screaming that they want to die after a sting from one of these. I’d rather stick a funnel-web up my arsehole and go out with an ounce of dignity. I liken this animal to the mind-expandingly hallucinogenic vibes of some of the more progressive elements of my album.
2. Dangernoodles: Otherwise known to the rest of the world as “snakes.” Australia is home to a plethora of “dangernoodles,” ranging from bites that’ll kill you within an hour, to ones that’ll kill you within 30 minutes. Second only to the Black Mamba in terms of human-killing capabilities, they decided to give the most terrifying thing from Australia (with the exception of Rolf Harris) the most harmless and bland name they could think of — “the brown snake”. It’s like calling the “great white shark” a “tooth fish.” Aussie’s don’t fuck around — some bloke pointed to this motherfucker one day after witnessing his entire village butchered by the slithering bastard and decided, “Brown Snake,” would suffice as a description for any unbeknownst bypasser who may encounter one in the future. Evolution didn’t give us much of a heads up on this one either to be fair, they look like a fucking tree branch. Make no mistake, the brown snake is no joke — this thing will kill you in less than 30 minutes and people often don’t even feel the bite! I very much liken the brown snake to my new record: a deceptively peaceful beginning, a venomous middle, while ending all too soon.
1. Magpies: And so we arrive at the most fearsome creature of all (bear with me on this one). For all the dangerous things in Australia, nothing compares to the hell-kite that is the Australian magpie. They say someone loses an eye every year to “swooping” — the act of a magpie soaring beak-first into their victim with no regard. Ever seen Hitchcock’s The Birds? It’s real and it’s happening right here in Australia. Just last month a man was killed after being swooped off his bicycle (I wish I was joking). It is such a common danger that cyclists here wear cable ties pointing vertically from their helmets as a deterrent to the birds. While perhaps not as venomous as some of the spiders or snakes here, magpies come with the added humiliation of you having been “pecked” to death by a small bird — something nobody needs mentioning on their tombstone.