Echoes Of Bronze. An international collaboration aiming to provide a high quality musical story. Ilium – Troy – is the outcome of an extraordinary as well as extravagant multinational cooperation, organized and led by two musicians, Carlos Mondragon from Mexico and Dion Christodoulatos from Greece. The vision and the implementation. The storyline and the opera elements. The songs and the performances. We caught up with Carlos and Dion. Alex was asking the questions and the boys kept on answering, giving us all inside details about this phenomenal album. Wot? Are they going to make it a music livewise? Stick around and have a good read. Oh, it will be good, believe me on this one. And when you’re done with reading, please give this album a spin. Before you know it, you are going to be hooked and probably share our enthusiasm and thoughts about having this beauty played live in its entirety.

Foreword by Costas Koulis. Special thanks to the boys; Dion, Carlos and Alex, for that great talk.


Would you please tell us how you got into music? When did you decide to become an artist?

Carlos: my father was my first point of contact with music; he was the guitar player and singer of various rock bands since the seventies and started teaching me how to play guitar when I was eight and drums at sixteen. I am not sure when I decided to become an artist, but I have always been fascinated by epic music and concept albums and I knew I wanted to create music for the stories that moved me, ever since I started playing guitar, but was able to do it formally until six years ago, when I started the writing process for ‘Ilium’.

How does it feel to be part of an international project?

Carlos: This album is a dream come true for me. I am thankful for the opportunity to feature so many great singers and to work with Dion in a story that is personally important to me and with such a major legacy as the Iliad. The project was envisioned to have a variety of characters and I knew I needed a variety of voices to covey it effectively. Listening to something you created with highly talented singers – which I’m not (laughs) – is surreal, especially when they deliver performances with such passion.

Dion: It is really wonderful to be part of such a large project that manages to combine musicians and singers from various parts of the world to create something so unique. At the same time, of course, I am proud that this work deals with an important story of the Ancient Greek Mythology. It still seems surreal to me, even after about twenty years of producing records, that we created a metal opera with the theme of the Trojan War proposed by a musician and friend from Mexico and includes vocalists from Greece, Germany , Portugal and the USA!


Who made this project come to life?

Carlos: I would say the seven of us; each did our part to move the fleet forward. I recorded the lyrics/vocal melodies and music for all instruments in my home studio for the demo and started the search for a producer to achieve a high sound quality product, which is when I found Dion; I was lucky he was interested and engaged from the beginning. He suggested to re-record the guitars to improve quality and I’m happy we did; he actually wrote my favorite guitar solo on the album (the main solo in ‘At The Shores Of Ilium’). He also reprocessed the drums and orchestration and provided really emotional vocals for “Odysseus”. Once we had the instrumental portion complete, I started reaching out for the singers, all of them were incredibly easy to work with and delivered more tracks than we could use in the album; as a matter of fact, I struggled to pre-select the vocal stems for the final version of the album, which was not easy among so many great takes and Dion completed the final mix and vocal comping at his studio, CFN Recordings in Athens.

Dion: The process of making a record is rarely a solitary endeavor. In our case it took seven people to complete the final result, as each and every one of us brought his own personality and style.

How difficult was the process of songwriting? What was it like combining such a wide range of musical influences and styles, so that you could captivate and so accurately describe pictures and emotions of such a remote era?

Carlos: one of the most important elements for me was that the lyrics and spirit of the songs were aligned with the underlying instrumental sections to narrate the characters’ perception of the events in the story, for example, that battle sections had to feel fast, powerful with melodic choruses, while more dramatic and melancholic sections were conveyed by acoustic instruments and orchestration, similar to a soundtrack. With that objective mind, I think one of the most difficult tasks was to select which portions of the story to tell and by which characters as that would set the tone of the lyrics and the music; the album is mostly focused on the Achaean point of view, with major dramatic events narrated by Odysseus, whom I consider the gateway between our modern “eyes” and the heroes (and values) of the Bronze Age, while staying true to the might and legend of Diomedes, Achilles and Hector. I also wanted female characters such as Cassandra and Andromache to bring an “inside the walls“ view and a balance to what otherwise would be a warfare album. I think all the singers caught the feeling the characters needed.

In terms of setting the tone I drew from a few musical influences that I grew up with, from epic power metal (Rhapsody) for battles, video game soundtracks for epic sections (Nobuo Uematsu), and classic rock operas (Jesus Christ Superstar) for album structure. I have always loved Greek mythology and tried to honor its legacy while still searching for a first person and more human view of the characters in the Iliad and The Fall of Troy.

The production of the album took place in Greece at CFN Recordings Studio. How difficult was this undertaking? Did the distance between you, Carlos and the other artists create any problems?

Dion: In recent years, especially since the era of quarantine and beyond, there has been an increase of remote collaborations, so I can say that such a collaboration does not seem as strange or difficult as it did in the past. Carlos reached to me online and proposed this project which seemed to me a very interesting challenge as a producer but also as a musician. Of course, I was impressed by Carlos’ knowledge of Greek music metal scene. He was well aware of my career with Sorrowful Angels as well as many productions I ‘ve been involved in. Carlos sent me his demos and then I recorded bass and electric guitars and most of the vocal lines so we could send them to the singers and be able to work on the result afterwards. The most difficult thing was to bring together the different recordings into a solid result that sounded like a record. The final result is something we are proud of and, I believe, sounds amazing!

Will we see you performing live in the near future?

Dion: This is really difficult to answer. There has to be a really great demand for us to be able to gather all the musicians from around the world to make such an appearance. But never say never!

Carlos: I would love to perform ‘Ilium’ live. There are some logistical challenges to resolve as we are all located around the world and my wish would be to have the original cast if possible. Let’s see what happens… (smiles)

Alex, I want to thank you for your support to our project, your kind words have meant a great deal to me. I think pouring your heart into any creation takes a lot from you and leaves you exposed. This project was no different for me; Ancient Greek mythology and military history is one of my main passions (only matched by my love for aviation) and I was afraid of the outcome/acceptance as I was born so far away from Greece. I may not have been born in ancient Greece, but I was raised and formed by its legacy in many ways and started this project out of pure love to honor them. Thank you for supporting Ilium in your program. Rock on!

Alex Galletti