19 Sep 2009

BOLT THROWER

Bolt Thrower are easily my favourite band right now. A midland band formed in the 80s, they're basically death metal but the vocals are arguably grind and they see themselves as a simply a (very) heavy metal band. They have an approach which is not super-technical but incredibly fussy with song structures and riff development. The fact their first (classic) album 'Realm of Chaos' was endorsed by Warhammer (and released on Earache) adds even more to their appeal. John Peel liked them a lot and they were instantly big in the UK but never crossed over like some of their contemporaries (Carcass, Deicide, Morbid Angel) in the early 90s. They had problems with the production on some records (which actually gave them more longevity as they aren't over-produced) and a few singer issues. But the original line-up is together now working on a new album and playing live sporadically.



They have kept going with a rare authenticity and have not put out a bad album. They're massive in Europe and in the last few years you can tell that their respect level is growing in the UK. This is because they're incredibly listenable and have some of the best riffs and heavy songs ever written. I loved Cenotaph (below) when I saw it on Headbangers Ball back in the day and I can't get enough of their entire back catalogue right now... if you like riffs you need this band in your life ASAP. They are without doubt one of best heavy metal bands to come from the UK.



Alone you stand - The final parody
Destined to silence - A memorial to mortality

Carved in stone - A tribute to the dead
For nameless victims - Whose litany is unread

Cenotaph

18 Sep 2009

INSECT WARFARE AT SKILL WIZARD

I can't believe I have contemporary true grind legends Insect Warfare playing Skill Wizard on 1st October. Three other cool bands as well. It actually will be fucking insane. The venue is way too small....

19 Aug 2009

INTERVIEW WITH WHITE WIZZARD

White Wizzard are exactly what I'm into right now. Dio meets Priest but with some heavy Rush riffing, holy shit! I spoke to their bassist and main man Jon Leon for Issue 20 of Sup Magazine...


There is a classic connection between heavy metal and fantasy right?

Yeah, there is definitely a sense of escapism or other-worldliness that heavy metal has. That’s definitely always been there. And I love dragons. I have two dragon sleeve tattoos. I’ve always loved The Lord of the Rings. And when I was young kid I was obviously into Dungeons and Dragons.There’s definitely an energy that we tap into: dragons, wizards and those old movies like Conan and Dragonslayer. Fantasy seems to have a bit of a symbiotic relationship, especially with power metal. The artwork and imagery evokes a certain kind of energy for sure.

FULL INTERVIEW HERE



20 Jul 2009

RUSH - ANTHEM


Rush kill me. They're amazing on so many levels: Neil Peart's drumming and liberal sci-fi lyrics; Geddy Lee's voice and look and the guitar's not bad either! I grew up with this track coming through the walls of my older brothers room. It's great that they've sold 30 million records or whatever. Above is one of the strongest rock looks ever - them in the '2112' era. And below is Anthem from 'Fly By Night' a few years prior...

17 Jul 2009

AN INTERVIEW WITH MOSS

I spoke to Olly, singer of the massively heavy and quality doom band Moss. He was at home in Southampton very hear where I grew up. (Photo by Sanna Charles)



Although it’s not that obvious, your sound and general vibe is quite ’70s inspired, isn’t it?


Yeah, ’70s horror and ’70s production techniques. Recently we brought an organ into the band. It’s a big old vintage ’70s organ with old amplifiers. It’s like something from Deep Purple. It’s great. And yeah, I pay more attention to ’70s stuff than pretty much anything else.

I love that decade, too. Why was the ’70s so cool do you think?


It’s weird. The occult was really big back then. And everything just sounded purer. When the ’80s came ‘round all the prog bands became shit. Production went crap. Everyone suddenly got a tinny sound and all these horrible digital synths came in. It just all went to shit really. The ’60s and ’70s are just really pure decades with innovation and new sounds. And they didn’t lose track. I can’t think of anything today that recreates that properly. It’s just a really big influence on us.

FULL INTERVIEW

TWO INTERVIEWS WITH SAVIOURS

I chatted to Scott Batiste from Oakland's Saviours before they came to ATP to hang out and watch Sleep's mind-blowing reformation gigs. Scott's a cool dude and the band really fucking shred now...



And after Roadburn you're popping to All Tomorrow’s Party’s in Minehead just to see Sleep’s reformation gigs right?

Basically, the Roadburn people were trying to get us a whole tour. They wanted to fly us out but they couldn’t afford to do it just for the one show. So I talk to all these people, but I don’t know, it’s hard to get people to correspond with me. So I was like ‘Fuck it. I’m just going to do this myself.’ So I booked the whole tour. And I saw Matt Pike one day at a practice and he was like ‘Dude, Sleep’s playing!’ and I said ‘Yeah, I know, it’s all over the Internet. People are talking about it.’ And so I booked the tour so it ends in London the day before. Matt was like ‘You’ve got be there so we can get blasted and shit.’ So we’re going to go to it and barge that shit, wreak havoc. Sleep seem really cool and excited.

FULL INTERVIEW

I also spoke to Scott in early 2008 for a doom website...

FIRST INTERVIEW

28 Jun 2009

DOWNLOAD 2009 FOR PLATFORM MAGAZINE

Download was great as always. I spent all of Saturday day grabbing kids for interviews, running around with a camera at 2am and generally having a laugh with Bob from Platform. And he made this piece from what we got... metallers are the best people.



DIRECT LINK HERE

19 Apr 2009

INVASION - CONJURE WAR

Super cool Camberwell grad and occult metaller Hans Lo got in touch offering a video. After seeing his work I bit his hand off to make the video for my bands first single from our album. He spent months filming VHS movies and created this fantastic montage of dark mysticism. I introduced him to the mighty Ramesses (who I did a promo for in 2004) at a Skill Wizard gig and suggested they hook up. He's working on an epic new piece for a track from their new album

INVASION - Follow the Smoke / Conjure War from Marek Steven on Vimeo.

20 Mar 2009

TROUBLE - ASSASSIN

I used to love Trouble (the band not the noun) in the 90s but stupidly always put off delving properly into the first album for some reason - I just had one track. Total idiot. Their debut album 'Psalm 9' (originally self titled) is simply mind-blowing and is exactly what I always wanted to be playing and listening to. It's pretty much the perfect combination of heavy metal (proto thrash) and doom with a tasty raw production and energy. Like Saint Vitus, Candlemass and Pentagram they were massively under-appreciated and arguably 20 odd years ahead of their time. The song structures, sound and playing on this album are as heavy as metal gets.

Check out Eric Wagners face when he says "Stupid man of hate!" at the end, incredible.