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. In 2008, Alex established his own recording and production facility, PressPlay Music, and formed Scar For Life alongside Marco Resende (aka Rez) on vocals, Daniel Cardoso (now in Anathema) on drums and Sophie (Understream) on backing vocals.
With Scar For Life, Alex aimed to create songs ‘from the most vitriolic, groovy assaults to soft acoustic pieces, and with a penchant for memorable hooks and vocal melodies’, and the band’s debut album, Scar For Life, was released in July 2008. Recorded at Ultra SoundSystem studio facilities, with Daniel Cardoso as mixer , the reception of the debut album was very positive, called passionate and ‘honest [with] a clear vision of their sound and identity‘ (Metal Invader) and filled with ‘ace musicianship, and infectious energy’ (Metal Imperium).
To promote the album, Scar For Life opened for some Portuguese bands, including the major Portuguese heavy metal band, R.A.M.P., headlined multiple shows and played acoustic showcases in stores around the country. From these showcases, Scar For Life released the live album, Live and Acoustic. However, the band felt that the album’s quality wasn’t up to the standard of a formal live album so this was also released for a limited time via free download from the band’s website as an official ‘bootleg’ album.
Recorded in May 2010, It All Fades Away was the band’s second release and its reception surpassed the first album. Again all songs were composed and produced by Alex and the album was recorded and mixed at Alex’s PressPlay Music and Ultra SoundSystem. Considered Album of the Year by Brazilian Collector’s Room webzine, one of the top ten Portuguese metal albums of the year by several webzines and ‘deserving of any praise they get because their music speaks for itself’ by My Global Mind.
Released in September 2012, Scar For Life’s third album, 3 Minute Silence was by far their most ambitious work to date. With Leonel Silva and João Colaço joining the band, on vocals and drums, respectively, 3 Minute Silence explored a heavier and more melodic side of the band 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 started a side project, 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. Also in 2013, to celebrate their five year anniversary, Scar For Life released a compilation, Retrospective, for free download. With one 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.
The year 2014 began with some major changes in the line-up of Scar For Life. Singer Rob Mancini and Teen Asty (guitar, bass) joined the band to record the new album titled Worlds Entwined. The epic new work was released by Escape Music and mixed by Swedish producer Martin Kronlund, and featured special guests such as Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Dio) and Mikael Carlsson (Lover Under Cover). The album gained extremely good reviews and was voted top 10 album of the year by several magazines.
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 had an idea to create a heavy rock collaboration and joined forces with Neil Fraser on lead guitars, Joe Petro (Heaven and Earth, Spelled Moon) on bass and drumming legend Vinny Appice. Rehearsals were held in L.A. at the beginning of 2015 and the band is currently recording their debut album, the self-titled, Stagma, at PressPlay Music in Lisbon and at Vinny Appice’s studio in Los Angeles. The album is due for release in 2017.