“I’ve been lucky to have worked with so many talented musicians who have helped me shape my sound and songwriting“
Part of the rock music scene since he was a teenager, Alexandre Santos is best known for his work and composition with the Portuguese melodic rock/metal band Scar For Life (2008–present) and for his collaboration with other established heavy rock musicians in the bands D.N.A. (2013) and Stagma (2018). Alex also established his own recording and production facility, PressPlay Music, in 2008 for which he has mixed and produced several albums.
Alex formed Scar For Life in 2008, alongside Marco Resende on vocals, Daniel Cardoso (now in Anathema) on drums and Sophie (Understream) on backing vocals. Aiming to create a brand of hard rock ‘from the most vitriolic, groovy assaults to soft acoustic pieces, and with a penchant for memorable hooks and vocal melodies’, the band’s debut album, Scar For Life, was released in 2008. Scar For Life opened for a number of Portuguese heavy metal bands, including the major Portuguese band, R.A.M.P., headlined multiple shows and played acoustic showcases around the country.
In 2010, Scar For Life released their second album, It All Fades Away, and again songs were composed by Alex and produced at PressPlay. It All Fades Away was well received and ‘deserving of any praise they get because their music speaks for itself’. Two years later, Scar For Life’s third album, 3 Minute Silence (2012) was the band’s most ambitious work to date. Joined by vocalist Leonel Silva and drummer João Colaço, 3 Minute Silence explored a heavier and more melodic form of rock and featured guests such as violinist Anne Vitorino d’Almeida, Finnish singer Kari Vahakuopus (Catamenia) and British keyboardist Ged Ryland (ex-Ten).
In 2013 Alex formed his first collaboration, D.N.A., with vocalist David Reed Watson and lead guitarist Neil Fraser (both Rage of Angels), bassist Mikael Carlsson (Lover Under Cover) and his Scar For Life colleague, João Colaço, on drums. Alex was the main songwriter and rhythm guitarist and D.N.A. recorded a five track EP, Life. To celebrate their five year anniversary, Scar For Life released a compilation, Retrospective (2013), with a new track featuring Neil Murray (Whitesnake) on bass and Neil Fraser on lead guitars. Scar For Life promoted the compilation with live performances in London and Portugal.
Singer Rob Mancini and Teen Asty (guitar, bass) joined Scar For Life in 2014 to record the band’s fourth studio album, Worlds Entwined. Released by Escape Music and mixed by Swedish producer Martin Kronlund, the epic new work featured songs composed by Alex and special guests such as Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Dio) and Mikael Carlsson. In August 2015 Scar For Life opened the Portuguese heavy metal festival Vagos Open Air, alongside such bands as Black Label Society, Destruction, Overkill and Within Temptation.
Late in 2015, Alex approached Neil Fraser (TEN) on lead guitars, Joe Petro (Heaven and Earth, Spelled Moon) on bass and drumming legend Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) to form a new heavy rock collaboration, Stagma. Alex composed eleven new songs from his studios in Lisbon, and Vinny laid the foundations for the album by recording seven tracks at his studio in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2016, Joe Petro and Neil Fraser joined Alex at PressPlay Music studios in Lisbon to record lead, bass and rhythm guitar, and drummer Patrick Johansson (Yngwie Malmsteen, W.A.S.P.) laid down four further tracks from his studio in Florida. In March 2017, Alex composed an additional song featuring drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio, Queensrÿche) and in August 2017, Irish singer Rob Mancini (Boneyard Dog, Scar For Life) joined Stagma as the vocalist and lead singer. The album was mixed and produced at PressPlay in Lisbon and the first single from the album, ‘Pokerface’ was released on 16 October 2017, In spring 2018, three further singles, ‘Bounty Hunter’, ‘Promise Me’ and ‘Rocket Machine’ were released and Stagma’s debut album was released internationally on 6 April 2018, featuring an introductory track, ‘Genesis’, and closing anthem, ‘To be continued …’, from Commodore 64 gaming composer Jeroen Tel (Maniacs of Noise).
Later in 2018, Alex joined the american band Kill Ritual and met them in Las Vegas for the Kiss Night Charity event where they played a couple of Kiss tracks.
In 2019, Alex created Architects of Rain along with his old-time friend Bruno A. AoR is the new Berlin-based-Lisbon-originated project, playing instrumental post-rock, while still venturing much further beyond those barriers. Ghost Notes EP was recorded and will be released in 2020.
After an almost six years break, Scar For Life will be back with their 5th album Wasteland, bearing 12 new tracks and some mighty additions to Alex Santos’ and Rob Mancini’s past tenure, the 2014 album World’s Entwined. Joining the line-up for the album are Marc Lynn on bass (Gotthard), Tobbe Jonsson on drums (Angeline) and guesting on keyboards Darrel Treece-Birch (TEN), reinforcing Scar For Life’s claim to fame and ambition to conquer even bigger ground.