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Interviews

To date, we have conducted 1482 interviews. If your band is available for an interview, feel free to contact us and we'll see what we can do. Here are our latest:

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Serpent Omega Singer Reveals All About "II"

Looking at today's release schedule, there's so much to get excited for. While some of the bigger names may take centre stage though, one of the most interesting new outputs comes from Serpent Omega, a band which defies convention and labels by mixing sluge, black metal and crust punk to be... Well, Serpent Omega really.

It's been seven years since the release of their self-titled debut but finally the sophomore album is available. This week, I spoke with vocalist Urskogr about the record, why it took so long to come out, the artwork, the strange link between their music and Lars von Trier's, "Antichrist" and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Cult Of Lilith Prepares To Unleash Debut "Mara"

As discussed in the recent interview with Volcanova, Iceland's metal scene seems to be growing every week. Everything from doom to black metal is emerging from the frosty nation and perhaps most notably, death metal. One such band to sprout from the Icelandic death metal bed is Cult Of Lilith, hailing from the capital city of Reykjavík.

This Friday (September 4th,) Cult Of Lilith will be releasing their debut full length album, "Mara," through Metal Blade Records. To find out all about the record, signing to such a distinguished label, the rising tide of Icelandic and much more. You can watch the chat in full below.

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Elixir Guitarist Discusses Latest Album And NWOBHM

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal might not be so new anymore, but for those who love classic metal, especially younger listeners, there'll always be new discoveries when digging deep into the movement. While the likes of Iron Maiden and Saxon will always grab the headlines, bands like Raven, Praying Mantis and Witchfinder General will always be regarded as excellent bands that deserve more recognition. Another band which falls into this category would be Elixir, from the English capital city, London.

After releasing a truly stellar debut, "The Son Of Odin" in 1986, it would be another four years until their sophomore "Lethal Potion" would hit the shelves. While the band hasn't always been as active as some of their contemporaries, Elixir has always done their best to give fans slice after slice of high quality heavy metal. In March of this year, the group released, "Voyage Of The Eagle," their seventh full length album and undoubtedly one of the best in their long, storied career.

To find out more about the album, as well as the side project Midnight Messiah, sharing their singer with Desolation Angels, thoughts on the New Wave Of British Metal and much more, I spoke with guitarist and co-founder Phil Denton.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on the release of your latest album, "Voyage Of The Eagle." Could you tell us what the meaning of the title is?

Phil Denton: Thank you! The title refers to the name of the ship in our adventure, ‘The Eagle’. The album tells the story of how some sea-fairing folk overheard a tale of a dead man’s buried treasure from some drunken seamen in a tavern. From there, they press gang a crew, set sail, try to avoid the temptations of The Siren, survive storms, mutiny, and blood-thirsty crew-mates, to get to the treasure. I won’t tell you how the story ends, but the album documents the adventure, hence the title.

Oz: This is your first album for ten years. Obviously in that time you've changed some band members, but what would you say sets it apart from the previous album, "All Hallows Eve"?

Phil: We have changed one band member. Original bass player and co-founder, Kevin Dobbs, decided that he didn’t want to continue with Elixir in 2012. As we are a tight-knit group who had been together since 1984, we didn’t even contemplate replacing him with someone else, we just thought that it was the end of Elixir. Paul and I formed a spin-off band, Midnight Messiah, to carry on Elixir’s legacy.

When I started recording ideas for a new album, I felt that, as the lyrical ideas were based on a track called ‘Dead Man’s Gold’ from Elixir’s debut album, ‘The Son Of Odin’, that the new material should be recorded by Elixir. I contacted the guys and asked whether they would be interested in making a new album. They were all keen to do it, except for Kev, who still didn’t want to continue. He felt that we had ended on a great album, ‘All Hallows Eve’, and wanted to leave things there. However, he could see that we were all keen to do it, and so he gave us his blessing to get another bass player to continue. That was important to us, because, as I mentioned, we grew up together and are like brothers, so we didn’t want to replace Kev if there was any chance that he may want to continue.

We found a young and talented bass player called Luke Fabian to record the album. He did a great job on the recording, but when rehearsing for live shows it became apparent that Luke wasn’t quite right for us as a permanent replacement for Kev. He is quite younger than us and from a different musical background.

Just before the pandemic and lockdown happened, we had a great rehearsal session with another bass player, who I don’t want to name yet. We are intending to get a band line-up photo done and then announce him in September. We like him a lot, not just for his playing, but as a person we could relate to both musically and personally. When you spend hours together travelling in a van or stuck at an airport, you need to get on well with your band mates. He has been learning the live set and material from the new album, and after the rehearsal studios re-opened following lockdown, we have had a few more rehearsals with him. He is coming along a lot better than I had dared to hope, and is a pleasure to play with. We are sounding like a tight band again. He has stayed respectful to Kev’s legacy, maintaining Kev’s sound and replicating Kev’s bass runs where required, but also has been adding his own touches too. I feel that we have found the perfect replacement for Kev, and cannot wait to get out and start playing live shows again.

Musically, I don’t think there is a lot of difference between ‘All Hallows Eve’ and ‘Voyage Of The
Eagle’, they are both traditional classic heavy rock albums in our usual style. Four out of five band
members are the same, and our fans are telling us that the new album is what they had hoped for and expected from Elixir in 2020.

The main difference musically is whilst ‘All Hallows Eve’ is themed around the old Pagan and Celtic ritual of Samhain carried out traditionally on 31 st October, and has the 14 minute ‘epic’ song ‘Samhain’, the new album actually tells a continuous story, like a concept album, and doesn’t have any songs of such length.

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Ahab Drummer Talks "Live Prey" And Next Album

The ocean really is a never ending source for metal lyrics. The ongoing black abyss, the giant creatures that dwell within, the dangers and excitement, it's all the material is there to craft the heaviest music is possible.

I must confess, this hadn't occured to me until I spoke with Ahab drummer Cornelius Althammer, who a lot to say about the subject, as well as the band's first live album, "Live Prey," which was released last June through Napalm Records (as all their albums have been so far,) as well as progress on a new album, upcoming new material from Dead Eyed Sleeper, the death metal band which also features Ahab bassist Stephen Wandernorth and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Ages Attempts To "Uncrown" Black Metal Tropes

While Norway gained most of the attention when it comes to black metal, their next door neighbours in Sweden have always had a good track record themselves. From Bathory to Dissecction to Marduk and beyond, the elongated country has produced some of the very best the genre has to offer. This still rings true today, as listeners will find out tomorrow when "Uncrown," the sophomore full length from black metal supergroup Ages is released, boasting a soundscape and audio assault the likes any band would be jealous of.

To find out more about the album, I caught up with Daniel Beckman (AKA, Eldhrimnir, also of Twilight Force,) to discuss everything from why it took five years to follow "The Malefic Miasma," the reason why the band favours good production over the old "necro sound," artwork, the status of Twilight Force and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Manticora Singer Talks New Album, Book And More

Denmark is a country which seems to be overlooked when one discusses metal from Europe. Sandwiched in between Germany and Sweden, which unquestionably get more attention, the country of nearly six million has nevertheless given the world some fantastic bands over the years but much like Iceland, it seems to finally be getting some recognition with a wave of excellent younger bands like Myrkur, Baest and Konvent to name a few. Of course, every metal scene has its veterans and one band from the Copenhagen suburb of Hvidovre which has defied being pigeon holed for years would be Manticora.

Formed in 1996, Manticora has utilised everything from power to death metal to create their own brand of metal music and keep listeners on their toes. After a lengthy break in 2010, the group returned with "To Kill To Live To Kill," based on the book of the same name which frontman Lars F. Larsen had written. Appropriately, the book also is a heavy work, but with plenty of nuances itself, the perfect inspiration for a Manticora album.

On August 28th of this year, the band will release the second part of the double barrelled concept album, titled, "To Live To Kill To Live" and to find out more about it, I spoke with Lars F. Larsen himself. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Photo of Unleash The Archers

Band Photo: Unleash The Archers

Unleash The Archers Singer Invites Us To "Abyss"

If only YouTube views translated to dollars, some of the most exciting bands in metal would be getting the rewards they deserve. The site has definitely helped launch the popularity of a number of bands in metal and one such band who never fails to attract listeners with their bombastic sound and white hot tunes would unquestionably be Unleash The Archers, from the beautiful city of Vancouver.

In seven days time, the band will release "Abyss," their fifth album and one that promises to be another big hitter. Already the singles "Soulbound" and the title track are gaining a huge amount of attention and with a story that continues on from the stellar "Apex" album from 2017, Unleash The Archers are creating a legacy of boundless imagination as well as power metal greatness.

To find out more about "Abyss," the challenges it's brought and the innovative ways the quartet have been promoting the album at a time when touring is practically impossible, I spoke with vocalist Brittney Slayes, who had some truly eye opening revelations about the record. You can listen to it in full below.

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Volcanova Prepares To Unleash "Radical Waves"

Given it's frosty climate and heritage, the Nordic countries have always been a perfect place for metal music to be born and thrive. Over the past thirty years, the world has witnessed the rise of Swedish death metal, Norwegian black metal and Finnish symphonic metal, but now it's their cultural neighbours Iceland who are beginning to grow and make their own claim to be a new home of rock and metal of all kinds. In this sparsely populated nation, bands are signing with bigger labels and attracting a global audience, the ears of which are soon to be treated to the stoner metal/desert rock sound of Volcanova.

Forming in 2014, Volcanova, from the capital city of Reykjavík, are now less than two weeks away from the release of their debut album, "Radical Waves," which will appropriately reach shores on August 21st through The Sign Records. Iceland may not be the country one would expect the sounds of the American deserts to reach, but the trio have a brilliant take on the genre and could very well become one of their home country's most beloved bands in just a few years.

To find out more about the album and the band, I spoke with frontman Samúel Ásgeirsson and bass player Þorsteinn Árnason to discuss the record, as well as the vibrant artwork which adorns the front cover, the hilarious music videos for "Sushi Sam" & "Super Duper Van" and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Ingested Frontman Discusses New Album

It's a brutal time across the world right now and to paraphrase an old saying: Brutal conditions require brutal solutions. In seven days time (August 14th,) one of Britain's premier death metal bands Ingested will be unleashing their latest burnt offering, "Where Only Gods May Tread" through Unique Leader Records. The fifth full length from the Mancunian metallers has already got people talking with its visceral singles and eye catching artwork and the end result promises to be every bit as devastating as Ingested's previous outings.

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ingested vocalist Jase Evans about the album, working with renowned artist Dan Seagrave, how Crowbar frontman Kirk Windstein came to appear on the record and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the band. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Dark Sarah Spins Another "Grim" Tale

One of the wonderful things about metal music is how much freedom lyricists have. People can sing about political or social issues, create their own worlds and beings, share fond memories or wove their own tapestries to tell stories. There's been no shortage of bands who have made concept albums, but a band who dedicates themselves a particular story or character are much rarer.

Such is the case though, for Finland's Dark Sarah. Led by former Amberian Dawn vocalist Heidi Parviainen, the idea of the band was formed around the jilted bride Sarah, who would soon embark on a journey no one could see coming, least of all her. Now on to their fourth album, "Grim," the character of Sarah may seem to have finished her story, but the new protagonist, debuting on this record, may have closer ties to the band's back catalogue than initially thought.

To find out more about this amazing story, the history and future of the band and how Dark Sarah are coping with the global pandemic, I spoke with singer Heidi Parviainen earlier today. You can listen to the interview in full below.

To purchase tickets for the band's upcoming live streamed show (Friday August 7th), click here

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Let Us Prey Shares The "Virtues Of The Vicious"

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the music industry hard. Bands are unable to tour in most places and releasing albums is proving to be a different kettle of fish from the normal process. So what about bands who are releasing their debut album? This is exactly the dilemma supergroup Let Us Prey has had to deal with, but in keeping with the never say die attitude metal musicians embody, the group has forged ahead and their first full length, "Virtues Of The Vicious" has proved to be an absolute scorcher, one well worth the time of fans across the whole metal spectrum.

Boasting a stellar lineup as well as guest appearances from members of Anthrax, Testament, Autograph and the late Oli Herbert of All That Remains, "Virtues Of The Vicious" is as impressive a debut as there's ever been. To learn more about the album, I spoke with frontman Marc Lopes (also vocalist for Ross The Boss) about the record, how the collaborations came about and how the band has been dealing with the pandemic.

Diamond Oz: The album has so much to offer, particularly in the thrash department but it's also quite progressive. With such complexities, does it take longer to write songs for Let Us Prey than it does your previous bands?

Marc Lopes: Yes writing for LUP is quite a process for sure, it may appear to the listener at times to be sporatic chaos but its very organized chaos. (laughs) A lot of trial and error. Some come together easier than others as any artist will tell you.

Oz: Another notable feature of the album is the guests who appear. How did these collaborations come about?

Marc: All the guest are personal friends of mine. We all have wanted to work with each other, so this seemed like a great chance to collaborate like this with the kind of schedules we all have. It was fun and each person fit the tunes perfectly for what I wanted to achieve.

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Ensiferum Prepares For A Thallasic Journey

Folk metal has come a long way since it was pioneered by Skyclad and Cruachan. Other sub genres such as thrash, death and black metal have found their way, almost seamlessly, into the field. Nowadays much of the attention of folk metal seems focused on countries such as Finland, Norway and Germany and one such band who helped lead Finland to become leaders of folk metal was born in 1995 was Helsinki's own, Ensiferum.

Four years after forming, the band were signed to Spinefarm Records and have since released seven albums, with a new opus, "Thalassic," set to be released next month through Metal Blade Records. To find out more about the album, I caught up with bassist Sami Hinkka, who revealed all about the record, as well as the effect the global pandemic has had on the group and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Beyond The Black Vocalist Looks To New "Hørizøns"

While the world has slowed to a crawl, it's important to remember that albums are still being released. It goes without saying that it's a critical time for artists, but many of them are looking into new ways to promote themselves and treat fans to different experiences. One band who is about to release a brand new album hails from the city of Mannheim in south west Germany, a band guided by the creative vision of one extraordinarily talented woman named Jennifer Haben. A band called Beyond The Black.

Though only in their sixth year as a band, the group are just two days away from unleashing their fourth album, "Hørizøns," which promises to be explore new musical territories and boasts a guest appearance from Amaranthe vocalist Elize Ryd, whom BTB were scheduled to tour with before the pandemic struck. To learn more about the album, I spoke with Jennifer Haben all about the record, the expectations from fans and the surprises that they'll receive and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Jonas Stålhammar Talks New Bombs Of Hades EP

Sweden has given the world so much when it comes to rock music. From Blue Swede's classic sing along, "Hooked On A Feeling" to a legendary punk movement to a style of death metal all of its own, the Scandinavian nation has been very generous to headbangers. One band which has been steadily combining two of those three styles for eighteen years now is Bombs Of Hades, who hail from Västerås. This past April, the band unleashed a new EP, "Phantom Bell," their first release in four years and now frontman Jonas Stålhammar reveals that a new full length album is set to be recorded this September.

In addition to his work with Bombs Of Hades, Stålhammar is a recent addition to the At The Gates lineup and had some surprising revelations regarding the direction of the new album and when they expect to record it, as well as the progress of the sophomore album from The Lurking Fear, which features such other Swedish luminaries as Tomas Lindberg and Adrian Erlandsson. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Interview With Exulansis

Can you tell me a little about Exulansis--its origins, band members, and history?

James: Exulansis started in the winter of 2015/16 with Mark Morgan and I jamming as a two piece. We’d practice at the Morgan’s childhood home in Colestin, Oregon right at the edge of the California border. We were very much a black doom grind outfit. We added Alex Grey on bass in the spring of 2016 and played our first show at Club 66 (RIP) in Ashland, Oregon. In May we recorded “Chaos Reigns Demo'' and played our 2nd show with Steaksauce Mustache, Jay Jayle, and Sumac (also at Club 66). We were inactive until October 2017 while I was wildland firefighting in California. We came back for a few shows in fall of 2017 and were getting ready to record our 2nd demo “Cyclical Sentient Struggle''. We were trying to veer away from dissonant caveman riffs and go more in a melodic black doom crust vein. I had envisioned stringed parts and immediately thought of Andrea Morgan. We went up to Portland and recorded “CSS'' in her house with her partner Dave Clark. Her first time practicing with us was in the studio! During this time we had members in Portland, Southern Oregon, and Oakland, California, meeting up once a month for band practice in the Colestin. In late 2017 Andrea got us on a tour with Isenordal and Omens. After the tour we played two more shows in the summer of 2018 before deciding to part ways with our bassist Alex Grey. We were starting to lean heavily into the melodic and folk elements from Andrea’s classical training and my busking background. We played two more shows in late 2018 before turning these collections of songs into what would be our full length “Sequestered Sympathy”. We now are located in Martinez (California), Portland (Oregon), and Oregon City.

exulansis Photo by Tatiana Ray

Where did the name Exulansis come from?

James: I was looking for a name that embodied the project, and we were trying to avoid being pigeon holed into a single genre. Our lyrical content varied from personal, philosophical, to political. I found the word via a meme that was circulating and was like THIS!

Exulansis - The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

I resonated with the idea of not being able to express oneself. At the time I was having a hard time with communication as a person due to addiction and trauma, while being in a toxically masculine career and damaging relationships where I wasn’t heard or understood. It was also the best name we had in the running, so we went with it.

Exulansis doesn’t really sound like any other band to me (which is a good thing). However, occasionally I hear slight resemblances to Wolves In The Throne Room, Dawn Ray’d, and Giant Squid. How would you describe Exulansis’ sound and who are the band’s major influences?

James: I describe our recent album as Atmospheric Melodic Blackened Doom with some Dark Folk songs.

Influences include: Leech, Thou, His Hero is Gone, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Townes Van Zandt, Emma Ruth Rundle, and Elliot Smith

For someone who has never heard the band before, what bands would you say “fans of ______ band will also like Exulansis”?

For Fans Of: Embers, Sangre De Muerdago, Subrosa, Panopticon, Dead to a Dying World, Falls of Rauros, Vradiazei, Fall of Efrafa, Buried Inside

“Sequestered Sympathy” was recorded a bit over a year ago and has been out for over six months now. Can you tell us about that album’s creation and what the reception has been like?

Andrea: When we recorded this album in April of 2019, there was a lot going on personally for each of us, and the process of documenting this music was as intense as it was cathartic. It really brought us together and helped establish our foundation not only as friends and family, but who we are as an ensemble. It was clear after completing this album, that we were in this for the long haul. Our relationships with each other and our ability to communicate musically has continued to grow ever since. The reception of the album has been truly humbling. People from all over the world have reached out to us to express the challenges they were enduring when this music came into their lives, and the catharsis it has brought them. To know that the energy we put into making this music could then be transferred as a form of healing to those receiving it, reminds us of the powerful bond that is forged from unified intention. This exchange makes it all worthwhile and we’re so grateful for that experience.

Exulansis had a west coast tour planned for this month and were scheduled to perform from Tijuana all the way up to Seattle, but those dates were all cancelled due to COVID-19. How else has the pandemic affected the band? Have any new dates/tours been scheduled? Have you written any new material because of the lockdown?

Andrea: Though the three of us have been affected financially from the virus, we are extremely lucky to still have our health. There is not much more we could ask for at this point. We have experienced an outpouring of generosity from fans and fellow artists who have gone out of their way to support us during this time through donations, purchasing our merchandise, and reaching out with uplifting and encouraging messages of love and solidarity. Though we had no choice but to cancel our tour, we have been rescheduled to play at Northwest Terror Fest 2021 and hope we can reschedule some other shows we planned this year as well. In the meantime, already at a significant distance from each other before the pandemic, we have begun using the technology at our fingertips to exchange ideas and begin writing a lot of new material. All of this is helping us stay focused and look towards the future however uncertain it may be right now.

Let’s pretend you can tour any five countries with any two bands. What countries and what bands (and why)?

James: It’s hard to think about. We’re seeing huge ecological recovery from the lack of travel due to the lockdowns. Returning to “normal” will undo all of this progress. But since we are pretending: we’d love to tour Germany, Uruguay, Mexico, the UK, Japan and so many others.

As far as bands, we’d like to tour with: we want to go with bands who have a chill, humble, funny, positive attitude, and who aren’t xenophobes.

What’s your favorite album from 2019? 2020?

2019: Lingua Ignota - Caligula, Abigail Williams - “Walk Beyond the Dark”, Haunter - “Sacramental Death Qualia”
2020: Panopticon/Aerial Ruin - “Split”, Occlith - “Gates, Doorways, & Endings”, Tre Burt - “Caught it From the Rye”

You can pick up Exulansis stuff here. Listen to “Sequestered Sympathy” below.

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Tokyo Blade Launches The "Dark Revolution"

As was stated recently in the introduction to the Desolation Angels interview, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal gave the world some of the greatest cult favourites in the history of the genre. From Venom to Raven, Tank to Cloven Hoof, there are plenty of bands that inspired a loyal following. Another of these bands was Wiltshire's own, Tokyo Blade.

Since forming in 1979, the band has played with both melody and ferocity, crafting some excellent heavy metal over forty one years, especially their self-titled debut and superb sophomore effort, "Night of the Blade." Now in 2020, the band has another solid slab of steel in the form of "Dark Revolution," showcasing perhaps the best lineup Tokyo Blade has ever had. I had the pleasure of putting some questions to guitarist and driving force Andy Boulton about the album and more this week, who had some very interesting things to say.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on your new album, "Dark Revolution." This is the first time since the eighties that the band has released two albums in the space of two years. What is it about this lineup that you feel gives you so much momentum?

Andy Boulton: Basically the momentum part is easy as I’m a createaholic! I’m happiest when I’m creating new things and that’s always been the case. The problem with doing albums in the past is funding the bloody things. Studio time is expensive and record deals are few and far between. Deals where the company will actually pay anything towards the cost of the album is also rarity these days. Luckily I have had my own home studio for some years, the problem was having the confidence to make a commercial release. However as most of "Unbroken" our previous album was recorded at my home studio, owing to things not working out so well at the studio in France, Alan suggested that we do the whole thing here and he gave me the confidence to go for it.

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Secrets Of The Moon Welcomes All To "Black House"

We see so much evolution when it comes to black metal. From Venom to Emperor to Behemoth, it's a sub-genre which continues to evolve. While many bands themselves don't change their style too drastically, for others, it's part of growing as artists and musicians to utilise more influences and so it is with Germany's, Secrets Of The Moon. The quartet, founded twenty five years ago in the city of Osnabrück, have gone from being one of the country's best black metal bands to one of its most interesting, incorporating Gothic and progressive elements to create a sound of their own.

Now with a new album, "Black House" available worldwide. I spoke with guitarist AR about the record, the themes it presents, why there was such a big gap in between "Black House" and previous album, "Sun" and much more.

Diamond Oz: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. It's been five years since your previous album, "Sun." Why was there such a long gap in between albums?

AR: Thank you for your time and interest! It actually took us more than 2 years of constant work on that album. The first recording session started about 2 years ago, after that we took about a year working on arrangements and details in the studio. With the mixed blessing of working out of my own studio, we had the chance to revisit the songs over the time. After all, I think Black House profited from having a very thought through production. The year after we spent planning/ realizing the quite ambitious visual concept of the album.

It's a strange feeling now to share these songs after working on it for such a long time in private with the public. Suddenly they are not only ours anymore.

Oz: What makes "Black House" different from "Sun"?

AR: That's something that lies in the eye of the beholder and something that I don't want to influence too much with my point of view.

I've listened to “Sun” a few days ago for the first time in years and I became quite surprised about its intensity. It was an incredibly spontaneous album, we were all very struck by personal experiences at that time and I hear that in the songs. You can't plan an album like that, it's as if something spoke through us. “Black House”, on the contrary feels more like an architecture. We knew before what it should become. It bears more of a deeply personal message from us. If “Sun” was possessive, “Black House” is very obsessive.

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Photo of BlackLab

Band Photo: BlackLab

BlackLab Offers A Glimpse Into The "Abyss"

Doom metal truly is a fascinating sub genre. Detractors may point to the surface and say it's something stuck in the past and derivative from Black Sabbath only, but there's so much more to it. Since progenitors of the seventies such as Sabbath, Pentagram, Sir Lord Baltimore and Buffalo, the style has evolved and given the world some amazing artistry and seen some of the most creative and ambitious works from any band from the metal plains. This indeed still rings true today, with many festival favourites and cult heroes keeping the flame of counter culture burning brightly and in Japan, two women have poured their love of the music to create one of the finest albums of 2020 yet. Their name is BlackLab and their sophomore album, "Abyss" serves as both a reflection of the world in it's current state, and a vicious, pulverising lesson in doom metal.

Recently, I had the pleasure of putting some questions to the duo of Yuko Morino and Chia Shiraishi and found out all about the band, "Abyss," their previous album, "Under The Strawberry Moon," how the past has shaped their sound and much more.

Diamond Oz: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today. Congratulations on your new album, "Abyss." It's an incredible album. Why did you choose "Abyss" as the title?

Yuko Morino (guitars/vocals): Thank you for giving us time to speak. I'm so happy you liked it. The title of the album was the last thing we decided on. When the cover art was finished, I saw it and came up with the album title "Abyss". There were a few other ideas that combined "Abyss" with other words, but eventually, after we discussed it, we came to the conclusion that one simple word would be more affective. I really love this album title, and I think it's a good representation of the world-view of the album.

Oz: What do you think makes "Abyss" different from your debut, "Under A Strawberry Moon"?

Yuko: Soon after "Under The Strawberry Moon" was released, I started to write the songs for the next album. I thought that I'd try to create a bit more variety to the songs compared with the previous album, but still keeping the elements of hardcore punk and lo-fi. I also thought about channeling more traditional stoner rock elements like Kyuss. I had ideas like these, but there was no change in the recording method or our attitude. In terms of sound, most of all, the guitar sounds are getting more mad, the vocals are rawer and the drum sounds are more clearly defined. These are due to little changes in the mixing and mastering.

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Winterfylleth Frontman Hails "The Reckoning Dawn"

Britain has produced so many of metal's most beloved bands when it comes to metal. From the originators, Black Sabbath to Judas Priest to Motorhead to Iron Maiden and beyond. When it comes to metal's sub-genres however, many feel that the island often gets overlooked in favour of American or Scandinavian scenes, which is especially true of death and black metal. However, Britain has a closer tie with black metal than those who focus on corpse pain and church burnings might suspect, not least since it was Newcastle's Venom who coined the term to begin with. Over the years, a number of black metal bands have risen up from the green and pleasant land, but perhaps none have grabbed listeners ears the way Winterfylleth has.

Winterfylleth began life in the mid 2000s and in 2008, unleashed their debut, "The Ghost Of Heritage." Ever since then, a new album has followed every two years and each one has impressed black metal fans the world over and built their reputation further as one of, if not the best black metal to come from England. Today, Winterfylleth are treating the world to their seventh opus, "The Reckoning Dawn," which marks a return to their harsh sound after the 2018 acoustic effort, "The Hallowing Of Heirdom." I recently spoke with frontman Chris Naughton about the album, its themes, the history of the band, British black metal, Brexit and so much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Desolation Angels Opens Up About "Burning Black"

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal is the gift that keeps on giving. While everyone and their dog knows Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard, the movement contained so many quality bands that the deeper one digs, the more gems they find. Cult favourites like Tygers Of Pan Tang, Raven, Girlschool and Tank immediately spring to mind, but then even more excellent bands find their way into regular listening such as Dealer, Cloven Hoof and Desolation Angels.

Desolation Angels' have a particularly interesting history. Starting up in a London scene which also featured the likes of Angel Witch and the aforementioned Maiden, the band eventually moved to the United States to try their luck across the pond. They would call it a day in 1994 but it's very hard to keep the spirit of heavy metal down and so in 2012, guitarist Robin Brancher and Keith Sharp resurrected the band, eventually releasing the album, "King" independently in 2017.

Marching on with vigour and determination, the band now find themselves signed to Dissonance Records and with a new album, "Burning Black" almost completed, featuring production by Grim Reaper vocalist Steve Grimmett. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted work on the album for now, but I caught up with bassist Clive Pearson to discuss the album, the return of the band, the highs and lows of playing heavy metal, working with producer Chris Tsangarides and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Blaze Of Perdition Talks "The Harrowing Of Hearts"

Black metal has gone from strength to strength since Venom first coined the term. It's become perhaps the most infamous genre of music, taking its war based on individualism and opposition to Abramic religions to extreme heights from time to time. At its core though, black metal is all about expression. While Norway hosts some of the most legendary names of the genre, the country which follows the ethos of free speech and fierce philosophy must surely be Poland, home of such bands as Behemoth, Furia, Batushka and of course, Blaze Of Perdition.

Blaze Of Perdition began life simply as Perdition, before changing their name in 2007 and releasing their debut, "Towards The Blaze Of Perdition" three years later. Only a year later, the group released their sophomore effort, "The Hierophant," but tragedy was soon to strike. In 2013, the band suffered a horrific automobile accident, which killed bassist 23 and severely injured vocalist Sonneillon and drummer Wizun. Despite this, the band returned in 2015 with a new album, "Near Death Revelation" and ever since, have been getting bigger and stronger with each release, culminating in "The Harrowing Of Hearts," released this past February.

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sonneillon all about the album, as well as signing with Metal Blade, how the band tours without him, the power of the Catholic church in Poland and much more. You can listen in full below.

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Photo of Paradise Lost

Band Photo: Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost Guitarist Sheds Light On "Obsidian"

It takes a lot to become a successful metal band. It takes even more to make a real impact on the genre. Paradise Lost have never been what one would call an ordinary band however. From their first show supporting Acid Reign to headlining festivals around the globe, Paradise Lost pioneered death/doom, being credited with the invention of Gothic metal and even blending electronic influences perfectly with their sound.

Now, at the beginning of a new decade and thirty years on from their debut, "Lost Paradise," the Yorkshire quintet are back with their grim and grizzly new album, "Obsidian." Two weeks from today, the visceral and timely record will be available through Nuclear Blast, the perfect soundtrack to a worried time. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with guitarist Aaron Aedy about the album, as well as the pandemic, the history of the band and much more. You can check it out below.

Diamond Oz: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Aaron. The new album, "Obsidian" is right around the corner. How would you compare it to "Medusa"?

Aaron Aedy: My pleasure! Well, I’d say it has a little more diversity compared to Medusa. It’s a bit less doom-centric and it has many more all-round PL sounds within the songs - including some of our more Gothic moments too.

Oz: What's the meaning behind the title "Obsidian"?

Aaron: The artwork and title are synergistically tied by the dark earth stone, Obsidian - the forklore and superstition around it and how it brings totemistic good luck charms over the ages to help us and give us courage to do the things we must or do not wish, but have to do.

Oz: One of the highlights for me when hearing the album was the guitar work. It seems that you and Greg continue to outdo yourselves with every release. Were there any different approaches to songwriting and playing this time?

Aaron: We’ve always said that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. This has mostly been PL’s mantra for decades. Having worked with Gomez a number of times before, everyone is comfortable in their roles production-wise. The only difference this time is the guitars being recorded at Greg’s studio and then being sent to Gomez.

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Photo of Candlemass

Band Photo: Candlemass

Candlemass Vocalist On Opening The Door To Doom

Doom metal is sub-genre which is as old as heavy metal itself. After all, most people will point to Black Sabbath as the first band to perform both styles and soon after, bands like Pentagram and Witchfinder General were tuning low and playing slow much like the Brummie quartet. Since then, doom metal has gone on to become one of the most beloved, if not always most commercially successful of metal's vast offshoots and a big chunk of credit for its popularity is often given to a certain band from Sweden who unleashed their debut, "Epicus Doomicus Metallicus" in 1986; Candlemass.

Candlemass have, for over three decades, demolished everything in its path with powerful vocals, searing riffs and bombastic songs. The band are rightly hailed as icons of doom and their latest album, last year's, "The Door To Doom," shows that the band will not be softening their stance any time soon. "The Door To Doom" also marked a new era of the band, as it saw the return of vocalist Johan Längqvist, who previously had only recorded with the band on their debut.

This past week, I had the pleasure with speaking Johan over Skype, to discuss the new album, as well as the band's latest EP, "The Pendulum," how he feels singing songs from vocalists who came after him, the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the band, the guest appearance from Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi on "The Door To Doom" and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Åskväder Discusses Debut Album

"Rock is dead" is a phrase which has been used for decades now. It always seems though that in some shape or form, somehow, rock finds a way to keep breathing and maintain a loyal fan base. Whether that be the Chuck Berry-esque energy of Danko Jones or the Led Zeppelin fueled Greta van Fleet, rock is always able to stay fun and nest in the ears of listeners. Another band to take high energy rock and roll and release it into a new decade actually hails from one of the homes of death metal; Gothenburg. The band in question? Åskväder.

With their self-titled debut album now available through The Sign Records, I spoke with guitarist Martin Gut about the album, the new music video for "God's Grace," the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the band and the answer to the decade long question; Is rock dead? You can watch the interview in full below.

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Photo of God Dethroned

Band Photo: God Dethroned

God Dethroned Frontman Goes Behind "Illuminati"

Death metal is arguably the most popular sub-genre of the many that have spawned since heavy metal first rocked the world. When one thinks of the style, thoughts immediately spring to mind of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and Morbid Angel, but even back in the day, Europe had plenty to offer, such as Benediction, Carcass and Bolt Thrower from England, Vader from Poland and of course, God Dethroned from the Netherlands. After recording a demo of the same name, God Dethroned broke into the consciousness of death metal fans with their stellar debut album, "The Christhunt," though it seemed the ride was over nearly as soon as it started when they broke up in 1993. Despite this, vocalist/guitarist Henri Sattler put together a new lineup and in 1997, the band returned with full fury and a new album, "The Grand Grimoire."

Ever since then, despite another break up in 2011 and return in 2014, God Dethroned have been one of the fiercest names in European death metal, releasing a library of excellent albums, never being afraid to take artistic risks such as releasing a trilogy of albums focused on World War One and remaining at the top of the heap when it comes to live performances. In February of this year, the band released "Illuminati," a record which returns to occult themes and the darker side of spirituality and provided yet another reason why God Dethroned are so beloved. Last week, I had the pleasure of talking with Henri Sattler over Skype to discuss the album, the exploration of the first world war, the imposing music videos for "Spirit Of Beelzebub," "Illuminati" and "Book Of Lies" and how to promote an album while the world is in quarantine. You can watch the discussion in full below.

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