Talking about the Belarusian guitarist, Victor Smolski, you soon discover that it's impossible to restrict yourself to just one superlative if you want to do justice to the unusual talent and the artistic diversity of this unique musician. He has made his mark not only as a guitarist and songwriter with the German metal act, Rage. His song "Straight To Hell", for example, has served as the soundtrack for two German movie productions and earned heaps of praise in the process. Smolski also continues to impress fans, colleagues and critics alike as a solo musician.
Victor Smolski, the son of Professor Dmitry Smolski, one of the leaders of the Belarussian composers of the present time, was born on 01.02.1969 in Minsk (Belarus). He was 6 years old when he began studying the piano and cello, the guitar followed at the age of 11. He played together with the Belarusian rock band Pesniary, which can be compared with the German band Scorpions, when he was 14 years old. Pesniary sold about 10 million records and was one of the most popular bands of the Sowjetunion. Victor awarded diplomas in classical education, rock and jazz guitar as well as in composing and arranging music.
1988 Victor Smolski founded the band Inspector. During 1989 and 1993 "Inspector" played lots of shows in Europe and released their CD "Russian Prayer" (Aris / Ariola).
1993 Victor Smolski decided to stay in Germany. He worked as a studio musician and produced his first solo-CD "Destiny".
In 1995 Victor Smolski joined the progmetal band Mind Odyssey, being successful soon. Europe tours with "Vicious Rumors" and "Savatage" were played and their video was regularly shown on MTV and VIVA. On the successful Mind Odyssey album "Nailed To The Shade" and "Signs" most of the songs were composed by Victor Smolski. He played all the guitar, sitar and keyboard tracks. In arrangement of both CD's Victor worked together with the "Belarus Symphonic Orchestra".
His father Dmitry is convinced of his son's work. Together they composed a symphony for electric guitar and orchestra, which they presented live in Europe.
In June 1999 Victor Smolski became new guitarist of RAGE and they presented their new line up on the "Wacken Open Air" for the first time. An Europe tour and a Russian tour followed.
In the beginning of 2000 Victor Smolski composed and produced his second solo CD, which was recorded in co-operation with the Belarussian Orchestra and his colleagues from RAGE. This symphony, a perfect mixture of classic and metal, entitled "The Heretic", deals with the time of burning witches. On this CD you cannot only find inspired guitar solos like the 7 minutes long "Hex of the Six Strings" but also historical deliveries, which were narrated in three languages.
His next solo album "Majesty & Passion" outshines everything he has done to date. The album's basic concept, the realisation of his ambitious project and the list of the renowned guest musicians is unparalleled even on an international level.
On "Majesty & Passion", Smolski transports music by Johann Sebastian Bach into the present, making it come alive with a new, surprising sound and a contemporary flair without changing the original notes. Modern versions of classical Bach compositions were recorded with the Inspector Symphony Orchestra (founded by Smolski) in Minsk and then complemented by his amazing guitar and numerous guests.
His greatest success Victor Smolski registered in 2001, as the song "Straight To Hell", composed by Victor for the RAGE album "Welcome To The Other Side" was used for the soundtrack of the most successful German movie production called "Der Schuh des Manitu". About 15 million spectators saw this movie up to now! In 2004 the same song was again used for another movie of Michael Bully Herbig called "Traumschiff Surprise".
Their subsequent releases from RAGE, "Unity" and "Soundchaser", met with equally enthusiastic reactions from press and fans alike, and the tours turned into veritable triumphal marches. In 2004 Rage celebrated their 20th anniversary with From The Cradle To The Stage DVD/CD, documenting the strongest Rage line-up since ever. The RAGE album "Speak Of The Dead", which was released in 2006, has also gone down super at the international press, and during a long European tour, the concert in St.Petersburg was recorded for a live DVD called Full Moon In St. Petersburg .
Together with the most successful Russian band Kipelov (ex Aria) Victor Smolski has recorded the CD "PekuBpemeH" as a guest musician, and played lots of concerts in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Israel. These concerts were recorded and released as a live DVD end of 2006.
It was a great honor for Victor, working on a compilation CD for the 20. anniversary of Nuclear Blast. It is an album with songs of 10 of the best metal singers like Peavy/Rage, Hansi Kürsch / Blind Guardian, Andy Deris / Helloween, Tobias Sammet / Edguy, Tarja Turunen / Ex-Nightwish and many more of Nuclear Blast history. Victor composed all songs, produced and recorded all guitars, keyboards and bass. The anniversary CD "Into The Light" was released in spring 2007.
It was great fun, as Victor and RAGE took part at the TV - show event "Stefan Raab's Stock Car Crash Challenge", broadcasted on PRO7 in October.
The doors to Victor Smolski's UNITY MUSIC SCHOOL in Hamm / Germany were opened in spring 2007 and he did so many workshops worldwide like never before. On these workshops, presented by Yamaha and ENGL, Victor played together with lots of famous musicians, like bass legend Billy Sheehan (Mr.Big, Steve Vai) at the Frankfurt music fair (Germany).
The most impressing events in 2007 were RAGE concerts together with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra, touring from Russia, Ukraine to "Masters Of Rock" in Czech Republic, and finally to the "Wacken Open Air" festival in Germany, where the show was recorded in front of 100.000 people. This material was used to become a bonus DVD for the upcoming RAGE studio album entitled "Carved In Stone" (date of release by Nuclear Blast: 22. February 2008). With a lot of positive response, the RAGE "Wacken Open Air" concert with the "Lingua Mortis Orchestra" was already successfully presented on television channels Premiere and WDR.
During February 2008, RAGE showed up at Stefan Raab's TV show "tv total" on Pro7 channel to promote the release of the new CD "Carved In Stone" as well as to promote the world tour "Carved In The Road", hiding from Europe to Japan and Russia. Right afterwards, the guys shot two video clips for the songs "Lord Of The Flies" and "Open My Grave", which was used as bonus material. Specially for the new computer game "Windchaser", Victor arranged the Song "Lord Of The Flies" into an orchestra version. During the Japan tour in July Victor did a clinic at the MI (Musicians Institute) in Tokyo, which was filmed and later released by Japan's biggest musician magazine "Young Guitar" on DVD.
Due to his many-sided engagement and co-operation with renowned companies like "ENGL", "Yamaha", "Siggi Guitars", "Thomastik-Infeld" and "Cordial" new products were born, for example the "Victor Smolski Signature Cable" from Cordial, "Victor Smolski Limited Edition" ENGL Amp and Signature Guitar from Siggi Braun Guitars.
In 2008, there was the official comeback of Victor's former band Mind Odyssey, releasing a "Best Of" Album. In 2009, Mind Odyssey signed a contract with Napalm Records for the release of the new album "Time To Change It" as well as the re-release of the complete back-catalogue.
With the release of the EP "Never Give Up", RAGE celebrated their 25th anniversary, not only on tour, but also with the live performance at Stefan Raab's "Bundesvision Song Contest" competition on Pro7 television channel, where they reached the 3rd position.
In 2009 Victor released his first instructional DVD "School Of Metal". The DVD was presented in spring at the music fair Frankfurt by PPV media and ment to be a top seller since the beginning.
In 2010 RAGE released their new CD "Strings To A Web", which was real successful on the market (3 weeks in Media Control Charts - #27, even 1 year at the readers charts of Rock Hard magazine). As Bonus Material you can see the show from Masters Of Rock and Wacken Open Air with a lot of special guests. Within 18 months the three musicians played around 70 concerts in more than 20 countries worldwide. The highlight was for sure the 70.000 tons Of Metal Cruise from USA to Mexico and the legendary headliner-show together with the Lingua Mortis Orchestra at the Rock Hard festival in the sold out Gelsenkirchen Amphitheater.
With their neck breaker "21" the power trio RAGE entered the German charts on a fantastic position #27. In Switzerland (#52) und Austria (#62) RAGE reached their highest chart entry so far. In Japan, RAGE made it on #81!
In beginning of 2013 RAGE and the Lingua Mortis Orchestra were again invited to the 70.000 Tons Of Metal US Cruise. This extraordinary festival was filmed for different stories by several TV channels.
From now on, RAGE and the LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA are two separate bands.
2nd of August – apposite to their show at the Wacken Open Air – LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA has released their new album via Nuclear Blast, concisely entitled »LMO«. The entire album was composed by Victor Smolski except "The Devil's Bride" and "Eye For An Eye" by Peavy Wagner and Victor Smolski. Victor cooperated with two orchestras from Spain and Belarus, enlarging the number of this mammoth project's participants to more than 100. Together with long-term co-producer Charlie Bauerfeind, Victor Smolski produced and mixed the record in "Twilight Hall Studio" Krefeld, Germany. »LMO« lyrics follow an exciting concept on the burning of witches in Gelnhausen in 1599 and based on a true story. Apart from the three RAGE musicians, three vocalists belong to LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA's regular cast: singer Jeannette Marchewka, soprano singer Dana Harnge and singer Henning Basse, among others.
2014 is a very special year for RAGE, because they celebrate their 30th anniversary with a new release and following world tour. After 15 fantastic years, 10 records and countless live shows Victor has decided to leave Rage and focus himself on new musical challenges.
In September 2014, the German version of the Victor Smolski book "Straight To Hell Or To Paradise" will be published on market. The slightly other biography about Victor will present fascinating insights into the metal- and classic world, into the fascination motorsport, interviews with Andy Siry (Nuclear Blast) and Peavy Wagner (RAGE) among others, guitar notes and tabs of Unity, Soundchaser and other RAGE hits, everything available on more than 300 pages with more than 200 pictures. The e-book can be ordered at Amazon. Since end of January the English e-book version of Victor Smolski's book "Straight To Hell Or To Paradise" is available at Amazon.
On Frankfurt music fair 2015 Victor presented his new band ALMANAC.
ALMANAC is the continuation of the concept, which Victor started back in 2013 with Lingua Mortis Orchestra. Working together with several singers, band and orchestra was so much fun for him, that he really wanted to carry on with it. The former LMO band member Jeannette Marchewka (vocals), as well as the new groove section with Athanasios "Zacky" Tsoukas (drums) and Tim Rashid (bass) are on board now. The two singers David Readman (PINK CREAM 69) and Andy B. Franck (BRAINSTORM) complete the line-up.
ALMANAC's debut album »Tsar« is a new, exciting, and very interesting chapter that has now begun. Traditional power metal in conjunction with classical music, world music with a modern sound make ALMANAC for an absolute listening experience. ALMANAC's debut album »Tsar« ( release date March 18th 2016 through Nuclear Blast ) has entered the charts at the following positions: Germany #74, Swiss #87
Since the band was founded two years ago, ALMANAC played around 50 shows in 10 different countries, their first CD "Tsar" was also nominated at the Metal Hammer awards as best debut album 2016.
ALMANAC recorded their second longplayer entitled »Kingslayer« at HeyDay Studios in Wuppertal, Germany, which has been released on November 24th via Nuclear Blast. Even there was hard christmas competition, »Kingslayer« reached position 71 at the Viva charts. ALMANAC has played a headliner tour in Russia just for release of »Kingslayer«.
»Kingslayer« is the logical follow-up to »Tsar«, just more compact, heavier and faster. The previous live experiences could be perfectly permitted during the recordings. The band got closer and well attuned, you can feel this unified energy within the new tracks. »Kingslayer« is a crafted metal album with a lively power sound!".
In 2018 / 2019, ALMANAC played a European tour and international festivals. In January 2018, Victor Smolski was on the road with a solo tour in Oman, Quatar, Dubai and at the NAMM show in the USA.
ALMANAC in 2020 consists of musical director Victor Smolski (guitars, cello, sitar, piano, keyboards), vocal tag-team Patrick Sühl and Jeannette Marchewka, bass player Tim Rashid and drummer Kevin Kott, with GAMMA RAY bellower Frank Beck and growl god Marcel Junker (ANAM) adding additional vocal oomph.
He can say that again; after having spent one year on the road with this current line-up, playing everything from packed clubs to huge arenas, ALMANAC return usually bombastic and refined, yet surprisingly heavy, fast and aggressive. With more than 30 years in the world of heavy metal under his belt, Smolski of course has long established his signature style you instantly recognize – throbbing riffs, bombastic orchestration, versatile vocals. More than ever before, however, the third album is marrying the bandwidth between symphonic grandeur and choking impact. Almanac never sounded that heavy, that gripping, that precise.
They’ve never been this dynamic before, either: “Rush of Death” is a split album whose mid-section is dedicated to “Suite Lingua Mortis Part 2”, a direct sequel to the much revered metal-meets-orchestra spectacle found on RAGE's “Speak of the Devil” (2006). Listening to ALMANAC going all in with the Inspector Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Virtuoso will enchant Smolski fans and avid RAGE followers alike. Simply no other metal band working with a huge orchestra manages to pull off such a direct and organic sound.
“Rush of Death” is not only the heaviest ALMANAC album yet; it's also the most contemporary. After a stint in Russian history and his gruesome hymns on murdered kings, Smolski is turning to the gladiators: The orchestrally driven mid-part is all about Ancient Rome's fabled fighters, the rest of the songs about their modern counterparts – racing drivers. “While the audience is getting one hell of a show, the drivers fight for life and death,” he says. “I am a racing driver for more than 25 years. I know what I'm talking about.”
Metal and a need for speed are his ultimate combination, backed up by a personal story; among lots of triumphs, Smolski was vice champion of the Division Supercars at the German Rallycross Championship 2018/2019, is 17-times class winner on the Nürburgring, Hockenheimring and Spa-Francorchamps and soldiered through the 24-hour race on Nürburgring a stunning 14 times. “I risked my life plenty of times, always asking myself afterwards how utterly idiotic I am. But adrenaline changes the way you think. When I put on my helmet, I am entering another world. The start button of my car is my reset button.”
Emotions rather similar to those behind the steering wheel take hold of him as soon as he enters a stage. “I entirely succumb to this energy, to this world. I am in the here and now, precisely in this very moment. Life behind the wheel and life on stage,” he says, “are equally intense.” His third record is finally uniting his two biggest passions. And both only follow one agenda: Pedal to the metal!
ALMANAC new album "Rush Of Death" includes a bonus DVD and will be released on March 6th, 2020. ALMANAC are going to play some headliner shows, joining the Finnish Horror Metal maniacs LORDI on their European tour, also.
contact & usefull links
Oberonstr. 20 / 21
59067 Hamm Germany