"some music was meant to stay underground..."


To date, we have conducted 1427 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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Toledo Steel On Debut Album And Traditional Metal

Heavy metal is a genre which has spawned more sub-genres that anyone would care to count. Over nearly four decades, we've witnessed the birth and rise of thrash metal, black metal, death metal and so on, but while the traditional take on heavy metal is sometimes overshadowed by its offspring, it will never go away. As time has gone on, many younger musicians have taken on the duty of keeping denim and leather alive, to the point some are even calling these groups, the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal, featuring such bands as White Wizzard, Cauldron and Amulet.

This past weekend, I caught up with one such band, Toledo Steel, from Southampton in the south of England, to discuss their role in this movement, why metal fans are still drawn to this style and their plans for a new album, among other topics. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: You're currently promoting your debut album, "No Quarter," which came out last year. Now that the dust has settled, how would you say the reaction's been?

Rich Rutter: For the most part it's been pretty positive, kind of mixed, but I'd say good overall really.

Oz: Good. I've seen one review on Encyclopaedia Metallum which was very positive. It's got some really cool album art as well. Who did the artwork?

Rich: Ah, that was an Italian painter who goes by the name of Velio Josto. He's done quite a few other bands' artwork over the years. I think he did Vulture's first two albums too.

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Salem UK Discusses New Album, "Win, Lose Or Draw"

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal gave the world so many great bands that it's basically a treasure chest, with so many gems to find. While some bands went on to massive success, others were unfortunately short lived, though would return to the stage later on, sometimes with greater output. One such band, which rose from the ashes of another NWOBHM band Ethel The Frog, was Hull's own, Salem, now known as Salem UK to separate them from the Israeli band of the same name.

Since returning in 2010, Salem UK has put out four full length albums, with their latest, "Win, Lose Or Draw" only hitting the shelves last Friday. The album comes only a year after their previous release, "Attrition" and could well be their best yet, rich in energy and good old fashioned hard rock/heavy metal. I caught up with vocalist Simon Saxby and guitarist Francis Gill to discuss the album, as well as the history of the band, the surprising news that they're already working on their next record and much more! You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Your brand new album, "Win, Lose Or Draw" is out now. What would you say makes it different from "Attrition"?

Simon Saxby: Well, the people on it are different for a start! Francis joined up with myself and Adrian (Jenkinson, bassist) who were the main members of the previous band and of course Francis being a completely different style of guitar player has brought a different dimension. I think it's a little bit more modern. It's got that new metal feel to it but then Francis is also steeped in tradition, like good old rock bands such as Deep Purple and that kind of thing. Hopefully it's just got a bit of an eclectic mix of newer stuff and and more traditional stuff, which of course when you're my age, that's what you do!

Oz: I think that's what people want to hear from Salem as well. Fans don't want to hear Salem go full on thrash or black metal. It's only a year ago though that "Attrition" was released so, having that new blood in the band, did that make you very eager to have something out?

Simon: Well yeah, I mean obviously when the previous incarnation of the band split, I'll be honest with you, me and Adrian for a little while didn't think about doing anything. It's hard work and so it was soul destroying when it all fell apart, so we weren't as keen as you might think to put our toe back in the water. So then we did a little bit of writing together and decided we weren't bothered about booking gigs just yet, it was better to see if we could find someone and Ade had worked with Francis previously and he said, "Well, he's that good he's never going to say 'Yes'", but he did so that gave us the impetus to go, "Right, well we'd better raise our game a little bit here!"

It was a real shot in the arm, exactly what we needed, so we became excited again and looking forward to doing stuff, which is why the album didn't take that long to record. Probably only about six months, I think, bearing in mind we aren't all in the same town, I have to travel from the south east up to Hull, so six months is quite a feat to get ten tracks out as quickly as we did. So yeah, with "Win, Lose Or Draw," it's definitely got a fresher, more raw edge to it and the production's different as well.

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Dayseeker Discusses New Album "Sleeptalk"

The summer may be over but that doesn't mean new albums are slowing down. Today marks the release of Orange County's post hardcore band Dayseeker's fourth album, "Sleeptalk," which has already got fans talking and interests piquing. The group has changed direction a little bit this time, adopting a more melody focused approach, but how are fans taking this decision? I caught up with the band to discuss all the more.

Diamond Oz: First of all, congratulations on the new album, "Sleeptalk." It's quite an intriguing title, what's the meaning behind it?

Dayseeker: Sleeptalk is basically a metaphor for my own guilt with an ex girlfriend. It depicts myself asleep, saying another woman's name while my girlfriend was lying awake next to me. Not a true story by any means but it seemed like an interesting way to express my emotions at the time.

Diamond Oz: In a press release, the new record is described as "cleaner" and "more contemporary". What led to this change in sound and do you fear any backlash from long time fans over this approach?

Dayseeker: We truthfully lost our passion for playing heavier music as the years have gone on. We'd find ourselves listening to Ed Sheeran, Khalid, a lot more pop driven and softer music overall and at some point, we didn't want to feel like we were forcing a heavier sound just to appease everyone but us. We feared backlash initially but the response has been overwhelmingly positive with the new stuff. Honestly even better than it was with our older material.

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Phil Anselmo On The Illegals And Playing Pantera

Over the course of my twelve years with Metal Underground, I've had the honour and pleasure of speaking with and meeting bands I grew up listening to, as well as some of my absolute favourite musicians such as Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ, Ashmedi of Melechesh and Barney Greenway of Napalm Death. This past week however, I was able to make a personal and professional dream come true, when I met up with one of metal's most famous figures; Phil Anselmo.

For many of us, Anselmo was an integral part of our youth, roaring the rage we felt as adolescents (and indeed, still do today) as the frontman of Texas based quartet Pantera. Anselmo has never been one to stay still though and in addition to appearing as a guest on albums by the likes of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, Crowbar, Anthrax and even Anal Cunt, he's also been involved in countless bands, fronting such other successful groups as Down, Superjoint Ritual and now, The Illegals, with more releases to come from the first and third of these bands, as well as newer projects such as Scour and En Minor. So how soon will we be able to hear these new records? What has it been like performing Pantera material again on the festival circuit and how shocked was the boxing aficionado by Anthony Joshua's loss to Andy Ruiz Jr? For the answers to all of these questions and more, read on.

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Talking Death Metal With Possessed's Jeff Becerra

Death metal is now one of metal's most famous sub genres. It's such an integral part in fact that some non metal fans erroneously believe heavy metal itself is death metal, arrogantly dismissing the music as "that shouting stuff" or in the case of The Simpsons, even labeling Judas Priest as death metal, (don't worry, Bart apologised for this on the chalkboard a week later.) But where does the genre come from? While it may be a matter of debate for some people, all roads lead to a band from the Bay Area, who amongst the emerging thrash metal scene, wanted a tag of their own, much like Venom had done with black metal, and so decided to call their first demo, "Death Metal" in 1983. That band was Possessed and last month they unleashed, "Revelations Of Oblivion," their first album in thirty three years, the relentless energy of which proving any doubters wrong.

This past week, the band, still led fiercely by vocalist Jeff Becerra, embarked on a headlining tour of Europe, beginning appropriately enough on June 6th in London. Before the show started, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff to discuss the new album, his intentions and visions for death metal, his courageous journey after twice being shot and the awesome new video, "Graven," featuring renowned character actor Peter Stormare. You can check out the interview in full below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: Obviously what everyone's talking about right now is the new album, "Revelations Of Oblivion." It's a relentless album, like a mugging.

Jeff Becerra: Yeah, that was us holding back!

Oz: It's a Possessed record and I think that's all anyone wanted. It might seem like a silly question but how do you see the album and how proud of it are you?

Jeff: Well I'm really proud of it. I got to write a lot of the songs and really show what my role in Possessed is and of course it's an honour working with Daniel Gonzalez, Emilio Marquez and just a fantastic bunch of guys.

Oz: Cool. One thing which is really striking about it is the artwork, who drew it?

Jeff: You know what, I know I'm going to pronounce his name wrong but it was Zbigniew Bielak, but every time I got near Poland or the Eastern Bloc, he'd come out and bring out these works and I had no idea who he was. But I loved his stuff, the structure of it. I knew I wanted to do a church because the original "Seven Churches" album cover was declined, it's really hard to do churches without making them cheesy so it was important to find somebody that was able to do that and Z is just a fantastic artist.

He's done work for Ghost and loads of other phenomenal stuff, I think he did Kreator... But that was a project in and of itself and I almost had to let him go towards the end because it wasn't finished and so we made a second one from the guy that did the Slayer cover, but Z said "Give me one more week" and two weeks later he came back with the finished product, so we've shelved the other one for later. He was really keen on seeing the lyrics in the song ahead of time and incorporating the lyrical structures and the hidden meanings into the structure of the church, which I thought was really cool, it's kind of like a Satanic "Where's Waldo?" so it's kind of fun. I think it's a masterpiece.

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Photo of Katatonia

Band Photo: Katatonia

Katatonia Guitarist Speaks On Chances Of New Album

When a musician starts out, their goals are simply to express themselves and hopefully make an impact with their band. Very few actually accomplish the latter and fewer still do it twice. Among this elite are Anders Nyström and Jonas Renkse, who formed the legendary band Katatonia in 1991, crafting beautiful works of dark melody and personal lyrics, before forming arguably the greatest supergroup in death metal, Bloodbath in 1998. Both bands have released some truly stellar works over the years and influence metalheads the world over.

After a hiatus, Katatonia are back. Trekking across Europe celebrating the tenth anniversary of their acclaimed "Night Is The New Day" album and bringing with them up and comers Cellar Darling and Wheel. When these sublime Swedes stopped in London, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Anders Nyström, who was joined by Katatonia bandmate Roger Öjersson (also of Tiamat) to discuss both of these bands, how one affects the other, getting confused with a Welsh pop rock group and of course, the chances of a new Katatonia album. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: You're back on the road celebrating, "Night Is The New Day," as well as other accomplishments from the past. The question everybody wanted me to ask you was regarding a new album and if you've got any plans to enter the studio or work on new material.

Anders Nyström: It's too early to tell yet. Throughout this year, we will focus on just celebrating this album's anniversary, which we're enjoying very much. In 2020, fingers crossed, we will look at working on a new album, hopefully get back to where we were. Once an album's recorded, the whole cycle just starts all over again, which for us is pretty much three years of promoting it by touring all the continents. So, it's too early to say anything about it yet but that's definitely on our minds.

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He Is Legend Uncages The "White Bat"

A lot can happen in fifteen years. It was in 2004 that Wilmington, North Carolina rockers He Is Legend released their debut full length, "I Am Hollywood" and since then the band has evolved into a sound of their own, shedding their metalcore skin and finding favour with fans of southern rock, stoner metal and even blues music. After a year's hiatus in 2009, the group returned focused and energised, releasing the albums, "Heavy Fruit" in 2014 and "few" in 2017, with a new album, "White Bat" scheduled to hit the shelves on June.

Whilst on tour with The Damned Things and Crobot, I had the pleasure of speaking to He Is Legend frontman Schuylar Croom about the forthcoming new album, "White Bat," the literary and philosophical themes behind the record and the anniversary of their debut album, "I Am Hollywood."

Diamond Oz: You're on tour right now with The Damned Things and Crobot, how's it going so far?

Schuylar Croom: It's been a fantastic tour. We're really getting along well with everybody and we're touring with some powerhouse names. It's been a really interesting tour. It's a joy to see these legendary musicians every night.

Oz: Absolutely. How did this grouping come together?

Schuylar: I've been friends with Keith Buckley for quite a while. So, we've got a record coming out at the end of June and I told him about it and he was like, "Perfect. Let's get it on!" so we just kind of made it work that way. So it was pretty organic. It's a really good, solid rock tour with a great lineup. It's almost over now, we've only got a few more days.

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Brujeria Frontman On New Album, Trump And Machetes

There are many ways of protesting. Whether one takes to the street with placards and chants, goes on strike or even riot, it's important to make your voice heard. Arguably the most popular form of protesting, especially since Vietnam, is writing protest songs. From Bob Dylan to Plan B, people from all over the world have contributed anthems to resistance, often with a focus on peace. One band that's always taken on the establishment and racism in their own way is one of the most beloved and talented supergroups in metal, or music in general, Brujeria.

Over the years, the band has featured members of such groups as Napalm Death, Fear Factory, Dimmu Borgir, Faith No More, and more, led by metal's own Pancho Villa, Juan Brujo, along with the equally confrontational Fantasma. Since their 1993 full length debut, "Matando Güeros," the band has been creating controversy with lyrics as vicious as the music, confronting issues such as people smuggling, former governor of California Pete Wilson and more recently, challenging President Donald Trump.

During their European "Amaricon Czar" tour, I had the pleasure of meeting head honcho Juan Brujo for myself, sitting down to discuss progress on an eagerly anticipated new album, the band's fierce opposition to political figures like Donald Trump and Pete Wilson and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Obviously right now you're promoting the new single, "Amaricon Czar." It was a little surprising when I saw the title and imagery, associating Trump with Communism...

Juan Brujo: Yeah, well Trump we think has got a little Communist in him. A little racist, you know, that way of thinking.

Oz: And then there's the b-side "Lord Nazi Ruso" which is kind of like a parallel.

Brujo: Yeah it happened to work out where our little buddy Lord Nazi Ruso (former YouTuber, Aleksei Viktorovich Makeev) was in Mexico and they went to go get him and lynch him. So there's a good little Russian mix there, a little Communist, a little Nazi (laughs)

Oz: And did they get him?

Brujo: Yeah they beat him up pretty good. If you go on YouTube you can see what they did to him. I think it's still on the Brujeria Facebook. It's pretty hardcore, not for children!

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Kevin Sharp Previews New Venomous Concept Album

Grindcore is a sub genre which has produced so many excellent bands over the years. From legends like Napalm Death in the UK and Brutal Truth from the USA, to up and comers, there's a lot to find. One of the most interesting things about the area though is how many musicians from different acclaimed bands got together to create even more bands and projects. So it was in 2004 when the aforementioned legends joined forces to create a hardcore punk style akin to the Japanese and Swedish bands they'd grown up listening to, as Brutal Truth's Kevin Sharp and Danny Lilker, along with Napalm Death's Shane Embury and Danny Herrera, along with Buzz Osborn of Melvins, forged Venomous Concept.

Releasing their debut album, "Retroactive Abortion" that same year, with a sophomore, "Poisoned Apple" following in 2008, the band took a break for a while before returning with "Kick Me Silly VCIII" in 2016 and are now working on completing their fourth full length. At their stop in London with Brujeria and Aggression, I caught up with Mr. Sharp to discuss all things Venomous, as well as his recruitment to Lock Up, the legacy of Brutal Truth, bandmate Danny Lilker, fallen friend Seth Putnam and much more. You can watch the whole interview below.

Diamond Oz: Well straight into it, I believe Venomous Concept are currently working on a new album...

Kevin Sharp: Yes. We're gonna call it "Fuck The Facts" and it's about sleeping on floors and paying dues... I'm just kidding man! I was just saying that to make Shane (Embury) laugh. Right now it's politics versus the erection. It's recorded. We've got some sounds lined up so when Shane gets back he's going to start slotting things where they go. It's a continuation of the same sort of thing but it's expanding. It's all generic answers. It's a little different but it's still like the same hardcore punk and two fingers fuck off, that kind of shit.

Oz: Well obviously you're still promoting "Kick Me Silly VCIII" at the moment. It's a very good album and "Anthem" for example is kind of like the go to Venomous Concept album for me.

Kevin: It's kind of a hilarious concept though. Writing an anthem to sell a war. That's sort of my sense of humour, I laugh at everything because it's better to laugh than cry.

Oz: Yeah and there's so much to be pissed off about...

Kevin: I don't want to live that way. I'm fifty years old and with the internet now, everyone's already there. It's a twenty four hate fest and life is fucking complicated, politics or whatever you want to make of it. Everyone has an opinion and the whole thing is nowadays everyone's lost respect for the other person's opinion. Everyone has their ideas on politics or social issues due to their lives and their experiences in life and because of that, when people fuck off their opinions they get weakened because it's like a loss of respect or whatever, so I don't wanna live in that world. Everyone's entitled to their own lives and their own opinions and that's sort of where this sense of humour is, I laugh at everything, even if it's worth crying about.

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Aggression Reaches Out For Canadian Thrash Tour

Much like its main influence, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, thrash metal is a treasure chest that seemingly has no bottom. While everyone talks about the Big Four and German stalwarts like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction, one country that's always put out quality work is Canada. From the roots being grown by Anvil to such bands as Exciter, Razor and Sacrifice, thrash fans can find so many treats in the Great White North.

One Canadian group which will delight thrash treasure hunters is Aggression. Formed in Montreal, Quebec, the band released one superb album, "The Full Treatment" in 1987 before going their separate ways, later being relaunched in Vancouver, British Columbia by guitarist Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe. Aggression are now more active than ever, releasing "Fragmented Spirit Devils" in 2016, before following this in 2018 with "Feels Like Punk, Sounds Like Thrash" and with another record already on the way. Doors seem to be opening left and right for Aggression and rightly so, as their abrasive brand of thrash metal packs one of hell of a punch.

At their first ever show in the United Kingdom this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with vocalist Brian Langley to discuss the new record, the band's resurrection, the secret as to why every album title begins with the letter F and the overall impact of Canadian thrash. You can watch it in full below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: It's great to finally have you over here. I believe this is the first European tour that Aggression has done.

Brian Langley: No, this is actually our second European tour but it's our first time in the UK. We're really excited to be here, especially with our label Dissonance Records being from here so we're on home soil, so to speak.

Oz: Obviously it's a really cool lineup; Brujeria, Venemous Concept, Sangre, how did you end up on the bill?

Brian: Well, we got hooked up with Mad Booking, who used to handle Brujeria and they're associated with Doomstar, who are putting on the tour. It was really great how it happened, we signed with Mad Booking and a week later we had this tour offer. I mean the band's been around, well it was formed in 1984, broke up in '89, reunited for a few shows in 2004 but the band never played outside of Quebec. So right now, especially with the album out, we're really trying to make up for lost time. There's a lot of fans who love the "Full Treatment" album and they never got to see the band play live so it's so cool when we play shows and fans come up to us, some of them almost in tears saying, "You have no idea. I've been waiting thirty two years to see this band play live. Never in my life did I think I would hear 'Frozen Aggressor' played live by Aggression" and it really means something to us because obviously without the fans there's no point in doing it.

In 2014 when Sasquatch was talking to me while we were in another band called Cradle To Grave, he said, "We're working on these songs and nobody's really picking us up, no label interess, but I keep getting emails about Aggression from festivals in Europe but I don't have a band." By this point, Sasquatch was living in the West coast of Canada and the rest of the old band lived on the East coast, so there was no way to make it work and not only that but there was limitation issues too, some of the past members weren't able to play the music due to medical issues for example or they weren't able to move out to the West coast because they've built lives in the East and so they're not willing to uproot and move to the West for a band, which is totally understandable.

The coolest thing is, aside from Gate, who sadly of course passed away, I've met every single living member of Aggression, except for "Butcher" and every single member that we've met, they've all been very supportive, they're really happy about the work that we're putting in, especially right now. Even Bernie, the original guitar player and the original bass player, they're messaging us saying, "Hey, you're living the dream that we had back in 1985 and we're so happy that it finally happened." So to have their blessing to perform with the band and do what we're doing, that to me is just so awesome. It feels really good to know they're fully behind what we're doing.

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Photo of Jag Panzer

Band Photo: Jag Panzer

Jag Panzer Talks Latest Album, "The Deviant Chord"

Power metal is an interesting genre. While some countries can't seem to get enough of it and hold up such bands as Blind Guardian and Iced Earth as idols equal to Judas Priest or Iron Maiden in metal music, it seems to be almost invisible in other nations. While Germany has long welcomed the genre, it's pretty rare to find a power metal show in the United Kingdom. Perhaps this is why, thirty eight years after forming, Jag Panzer, regarded by many as the fathers of American power metal, has only just performed in Great Britain for the first time.

Not only was I privileged enough to attend this moment in history, but I also had the pleasure of sitting down with founding guitarist Mark Briody to discuss the history of the band, their latest album, "The Deviant Chord," the return of bandmate Joey Tafolla, Dean guitars and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: It's been thirty eight years since Jag Panzer formed and you've finally made it, you're finally in the UK, so welcome!

Mark Briody: Thank you. We've been trying to get into the UK forever but Kerrang! never covered us. I don't know why (laughs) So I don't know if that had something to do with it but this is the first time we were ever booked to come to the UK so we jumped on the chance!

Oz: I was shocked when I saw the poster and it said "First ever UK show."

Mark: I was shocked when they made it work because I've always wanted to come. I grew up reading Metal Forces magazine, reading Kerrang! and so I've always wanted to play the UK so this is cool.

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Photo of Samael

Band Photo: Samael

Samael Frontman Discusses Black Metal And More

We often associate black metal with Norway. Perhaps rightly so, as the infamous scene in Scandinavia gave the world such names as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum and Emperor, to name a few. All of those bands however, would be the first to tell you that black metal came to be through the influence of several groups such as Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory and of course, Samael. Samael took the burgeoning genre into more extreme territory than it had before and after two landmark albums, "Worship Him" and "Blood Ritual," began incorporating new elements into their sound, introducing the world to industrial black metal.

At their recent show in London, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the band's founder and frontman Vorph to discuss the legacy of the band, their place in black metal, the latest album, "Hegemony" and the re-issue of the previous album, "Lux Mundi." You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: You're still promoting the latest album, "Hegemony," having just released a new video for the title track. It's a very interesting video. Very vibrant, which is strange to say about such a dark band.

Vorph: A friend of ours did the video, who also did the "Black Supremacy" video before. It's nothing special really, we just wanted to have some visuals to go along with the music.

Oz: Obviously "Hegemony" has been out for a little while now, having come out in 2017. Now that there's been time for it to settle, how do you see "Hegemony" in the grand scheme of things?

Vorph: We're still happy with it. Usually with time you get better at not disappointing yourself. I think we've played almost half of the album live already, some we're probably never going to play. The ones we've chosen to play so far work fine, but hopefully we have one or two more still to play.

Oz: I was going to ask you about that because I've read that the album was written with the live atmosphere very much in mind.

Vorph: Some of the songs yeah. I mean the song, "Samael," obviously because it's kind of an anthem for the band.

Oz: And of course, "Black Supremacy," like you've said, that's your anthem for the colour black itself. Have you played "Helter Skelter" yet?

Vorph: No. Maybe we will do at some point but we're promoting this album, we've just had a double re-release of "Solar Soul" and "Lux Mundi," so we're trying to have a mish mash of the new album and older stuff. It's difficult, we play an hour and a half, which is already something extreme for this music, so it could be a little too much to have that one in there as well, but it would be nice to try it at some point.

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Amulet Sheds Light On "The Inevitable War"

Traditional heavy metal can often fall by the wayside in the modern world. While legendary bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are still going, younger rockers can be tempted by the darker and more extreme side of metal music. There are still a number of traditional heavy metal groups going though, many of whom such as Cauldron and Night Demon are growing in popularity with every release.

One of the most exciting heavy metal bands on the rise in 2019 comes in the form of London's very own, Amulet. Today, they release their second album, "The Inevitable War" which has already seen the release of the singles, "Burning Hammer" and "Shockwave." At their show supporting Jag Panzer yesterday, I caught up with guitarist Heathen Steven and bassist Sam Mackertich to discuss the record, the growing fan base in Europe, plans for the future and more.

Diamond Oz: Well straight into it, tomorrow (May 17th) your new album is out, "The Inevitable War." How would you compare "The Inevitable War" to (debut album) "The First"? Obviously there's been a lot of lineup changes since then.

Sam Mackertich: Yeah. There's been a lot of time. A lot of different people that have made fundamental differences to the band but it's happened incrementally as the years have gone by. So actually, "The Inevitable War" is an amalgamation of all the changes and inspiration that we've had over the last few years, especially finding a new singer to just really cement it.

Heathen Steven: It's true, everyone left in sort of like six month bursts to get on with their own lives and we've kind of found people that are probably a little bit more technically adept but still have the same sort of passion, apart from myself I'm still not the best rhythm guitarist! It's been a gradual process, what it's done is given us four years to kind of hone the songs, so I think this album is a bit more complex, a bit more interestingly structured and we've consciously made the soundscape a bit more colourful as well, so hopefully it rewards with repeat listens.

Sam: Quite a big fundamental difference is there's synthesizers included within songs. Previously Amulet had only kind of used them as interludes. It came quite late but it was sort of like me and the producer Tom Blackford just sort of ran with it. We decided to do quite a lot of experimentation and we're really happy with the inclusion of real synthesizers with the music.

HS: I always wanted it in there myself but it was never really possible until Sam joined. It's still the same approach, it's the same band. We like long headed, riff focused, song orientated British heavy metal, but not obsessively British, we're very influenced by international heavy metal. It's kind of frustrating because people call us "NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal)" but that was like 1977 to 1984.

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Mayhem On New Album, Lords Of Chaos And More

What can be said about Mayhem that hasn't already been said? They are perhaps the most infamous band in all of metal, if not of all time, with a history drenched in blood and controversy. Arguably the leaders of the Norwegian black metal scene which of course included such other legendary names as Emperor, Immortal and Darkthrone, their debut full length, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" remains an essential part of any self respecting black metal fans collection and over the years, the band has pushed themselves and the listener with ever more creative and avant garde releases.

Now, in 2019, the band are preparing to record and release their first album since 2014's, "Esoteric Warfare" and have also been one of the year's most talked about metal bands once again, after the release of a controversial biopic, "Lords Of Chaos." Yesterday after their show in London with Septicflesh, Carpathian Forest, Shining and more, I sat down with drummer Hellhammer, the only constant member since 1988 to discuss these subjects, as well as future touring plans, the state of Arcturus and more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Obviously the big news right now is that you'll be releasing a new album in August. Have you begun writing material or do you already have some songs written?

Hellhammer: We have everything actually. We'll be in the studio in Sweden on the 24th of May. I'll be there for a week, we'll record the drums first and then the usual stuff.

Oz: So once you do the drums will you just go home or will you stick around for the rest of the process?

Hellhammer: I'll just go straight home.

Oz: Material wise, how does it compare to "Esoteric Warfare"?

Hellhammer: Well the pre-production stuff is always going to be different from the finished product. I would say it's very much more like the old stuff, like "Deathcrush" kind of thing. It's more basic but it's more dark and evil (than "Esoteric Warfare".)

Oz: Cool, very old school Mayhem?

Hellhammer: Yes.

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Photo of Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

Band Photo: Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard

Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard On "Yn Ol I Annwn"

Right now, metal may very well be the most exciting it's been for a long time. There's bands doing something new, there's others creating excellent material from time tested genres and then we have bands creating something fresh, from aforementioned sub-genres. A perfect example of this would be Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, the Welsh doom outfit who've been crafting a celestial and dream like take on doom metal. With a new album, "Yn Ol I Annwn" now available through BandCamp, I caught up with guitarist Paul Davies to discuss the record, as well as the history of the band, what the future holds and the importance of the Welsh language.

Diamond Oz: First of all congratulations on the new album, "Yn Ol I Annwn." What I've heard thus far is absolutely stellar. What would you say is different about this record to previous releases?

Paul Davies: Thank you. we had more time and more money basically. Also I had a clear manifesto from the get go on what I wanted it to be. I'd say it's more progressive and I wanted to expand on what we are about musically. Also to be nerdy I think the drums on this are fucking excellent. Carrat really pulled it out of the bag. The old joke was that he was the best shit drummer in Wrexham (our town) but the guy has really come along. He's never had lessons and can't play any other instruments but he just hits the drums like King Kong in his own style.

Diamond Oz: This is the final part of a trilogy which also includes "Noeth Ac Anoeth" and "Y Proffwyd Dwyll". For the uninitiated, could you explain the concept of the trilogy?

Paul Davies: Each album evolves into the next but its also a loop. There are subtle cues in the titles, lyrics and artwork that allure to the concepts and we like fans to make their own minds up.

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Darkane: "We've Chosen Ten Songs For New Album"

Scandinavia and metal music goes together like bread and butter. Over the past thirty years, the world has seen so many respected and beloved bands come from Norway and Sweden, while Denmark has given us one of the most exciting bands in recent memory in the form of Volbeat. Sweden in particular has a reputation for death metal, having produced such bands as At The Gates, In Flames and Entombed to name a few.

One such band with a more thrash inspired take on death metal came not from Stockholm or Gothenburg, but Helsingborg and they go by the name of Darkane. They released their first album, "Rusted Angel" twenty years ago and now the quintet is celebrating this milestone by performing the album in full, as well as looking ahead to their next album, following a six year gap from their last release, "The Sinister Supremacy." Before their show in London, I caught up with guitarists Christofer Malmström and Klas Ideberg to discuss these and other aspects of the band. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Photo of Rotten Sound

Band Photo: Rotten Sound

Rotten Sound On "Drain," New Music And Nasum

Grindcore is a law unto itself. The name of the genre was coined by former Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris and has since gone on to include some of the best names in extreme music such as Carcass, Bolt Thrower and Brutal Truth, though the first two have always been a matter of debate. While North America boasted such names as Terrorizer, Discordance Axis and the aforementioned Brutal Truth and the genre was arguably started in Britain, it's in Europe where we can find some of the absolute best grindcore has to offer, with one of the very best coming from Vaasa, Finland. They're called, Rotten Sound.

For twenty six years, Rotten Sound has put out high quality releases and become one of the most beloved names in all of grindcore. At their recent show in London, I caught up with frontman Keijo Niinimaa to discuss what the band has in store for the future, the twentieth anniversary of their sophomore album, "Drain" and his time spent fronting Nasum on their farewell tour. You can watch it in full below.

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Endeavour On The Struggles Of Young Prog Bands

Progressive metal is something of an enigma. While some of the best in the genre have seen some of the most commercial success over the last twenty years such as Dream Theater and Anathema, others have been granted the status of favourites or cult legends like Opeth, Queensryche and Fates Warning. It's a sub genre which can reach areas of the soul other metal styles can't and provides a more uplifting stance than the likes of death or black metal.

But surely it must be very difficult to get such long songs and ambitious musicianship off the ground when most of us in rock and metal clubs are craving a bit of aggression and a chance to go mental? This past Saturday in London, I sat down with Endeavour vocalist Chris Hawkins and guitarist Iain "GT" Davies to discuss facing such an obstacle, as well as their own material and growing popularity. You can watch it in full below.

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Photo of Sonata Arctica

Band Photo: Sonata Arctica

Sonata Arctica Looking Ahead To New Album

Since the release of their debut album, "Ecliptica," twenty years ago, Finland's, Sonata Arctica has gone from strength to strength, becoming one of the most beloved names in symphonic metal. Their latest album, "The Ninth Hour," is a prime example of their thought out arrangements and well researched lyrics, dealing with a number of subjects, while incorporating several different influences.

At their recent acoustic show in London, supported by Witherfall (with whom you can see an interview with here,) I caught up with keyboardist Henkka Klingenberg and bass player Pasi Kauppinen to discuss "The Ninth Album," progress on a new album and why the band has always been connected with wolves. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Flotsam And Jetsam Celebrates "The End Of Chaos"

American thrash metal is truly as much of a treasure chest as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Just as the new NWOBHM had it's stars, so too did thrash and both contain so many excellent bands that don't get the recognition they deserve. One of the best examples in the case of thrash, is Arizona's own, Flotsam And Jetsam. The band's debut, "Doomsday For The Deceiver" was released in 1986 and has been hailed as a true classic of the genre by those who actually know what they're talking about. Since then, the band has released a plethora of albums, with mixed results, but always true to themselves, with their latest album, "The End Of Chaos" receiving critical acclaim and delighting fans across the globe.

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the band's guitarist Michael Gilbert and new drummer Ken Mary to discuss the history of the band, "The End Of Chaos," the Arizona thrash scene and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Band Photo: A Pale Horse Named Death

A Pale Horse Named Death Discusses An Undone World

Storming out of the stable and never to be tamed, A Pale Horse Named Death is a creature all of it's own. Fronted by former Type O Negative and Life Of Agony drummer Sal Abruscato, the band has crafted three superb works of concentrated misery, though each with an element of hope behind it. Their latest album, "When The World Becomes Undone," is their first release in six years and one which some fans thought they'd never receive. There was never a need to fear however, as despite the commitments and personal tribulations Sal Abruscato faced, he always had A Pale Horse Named Death in mind.

At their show in London this past Friday, the first date on their European tour, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Abruscato to discuss why the band had been away for so long, the "When The World Becomes Undone" album, mental health and stepping out from the drum kit to lead the cavalry. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Witherfall Talks About "Vintage" Material

There's quite a lot to get excited about in metal today if one looks for more than five minutes. One band which has begun to really make a name for themselves since making their live debut at the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise in 2018 is LA's own, Witherfall. With a wealth of experience under their belts, including tenures with bands like Iced Earth and Sanctuary, Witherfall is a band which takes that pedigree and turns it into a completely different creation, crafting a style of metal which is not only heavy, but elegant and thought provoking.

At their recent acoustic show in Islington, London with Sonata Arctica, I had the pleasure of sitting down with vocalist Joseph Michael and guitarist Jake Dreyer, to talk all about their new EP, "Vintage" (which was released only yesterday,) their latest full length album, "A Prelude To Sorrow," the lush artwork which accompanies every release and the unbelievable story about their first gig among other things. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Overkill's Bobby Blitz Rides On "The Wings Of War"

Whenever the conversation turns to the subject of thrash metal, one name which simply can't be left out is Overkill. Unquestionably the great thrash export from New Jersey, Overkill has been going for almost forty years and at the helm every step of the way has been singer Bobby Blitz and bassist D.D. Verni, crafting a distinctive sound in tone and voice which may imitated, but never replicated.

Recently, the band embarked on their European Killfest tour, a fixture which thrashers in Europe always looked forward to as not only do Overkill always put on a stellar show, but they always bring some killer bands with them. This year they were joined by German thrash giants Destruction and Arizona veterans Flotsam and Jetsam, in what might be the best Killfest lineup yet.

Before the madness began, I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking to Mr. Blitz for the first time since 2016 to discuss their stellar new album, "The Wings Of War," new drummer Jason Bittner and whether there was any rivalry back in the day between American and German thrash metal. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Godsmack Discusses "When Legends Rise" And More

As mentioned in the recent live report (which can be read here,) Godsmack has gone from strength to strength over the past twenty plus years, selling millions of albums and headlining arenas across the globe. During their recent European tour, the band stopped off in the United Kingdom for a number of shows, including one at the Kentish Town Forum in London. Before the band took to the stage, I had the pleasure of meeting the group and discussing a number of subjects with frontman Sully Erna and drummer Shannon Larkin including their new album, "When Legends Rise," the hilarious music video for "Bulletproof" and how people have reacted to a slightly softer new sound. You can listen in full below.

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Photo of Extreme Noise Terror

Band Photo: Extreme Noise Terror

ENT On New Music, "Damage 381" And Vegetarianism

Recently, I was able to tick another band off my bucket list and finally see Extreme Noise Terror, the crust punk icons from deepest, darkest Ipswich. Formed in 1985, ENT pioneered the use of dual vocalists in hardcore, became a favourite of legendary BBC DJ John Peel and while rejecting the grindcore label, were able to appeal to fans of both punk and metal in the same way that the genre did.

Tragedy struck in 2011 when vocalist Phil Vane passed away but his replacement, former Gorerotted/The Rotted vocalist Ben McCrow has honoured the memory of the fallen frontman with his superb performances, which can be best be heard on the self-titled full length, released in 2015.

Before the band's recent show in New Cross, London, I was fortunate enough to meet up with the band and sit down with vocalist Dean Jones, the sole remaining original member, to discuss progress on new material, the era when Napalm Death vocalist Barney Greenway joined the band, following a case of trading places when Phil Vane briefly joined Napalm (see Barney's memory of the time here) and why he's no longer a vegetarian. You can check it out below.

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