Giles Lavery: "There Are Certain Attitudes Locally That Make It Hard Even Here"
Band Photo: Dragonsclaw (?)
In 2011, Australia’s Dragonsclaw made its mark on the traditional metal scene with the debut release “Prophecy.” However, coming from near geographic isolation, the band has faced an uphill climb to make a name for itself, even in the band’s own country. Through all the adversity, the band launched an internet campaign to release “Prophecy” and has seen steady worldwide attention since. Now, they are set to release an extended single this fall (“Judgement Day”) and a following up with the sophomore full length release in 2013.
Your author was afforded the opportunity to hear the demos for the upcoming EP and what they present is a more mature and progressive sound that builds on the successes of the first release. Singer Giles Lavery still hits the rafters, but introduces a lower end that really shows the true range of his vocals. The songs are longer, more progressive, but never lose sight of the band’s overall sound of traditional metal. Where “Judgement Day” retains the direction of “Prophecy,” “Eternally” and “Fear” are the most complete songs the band has written, incorporating keyboard work and epic themes giving the band an early Crimson Glory feel.
Vocalist Giles Lavery spoke with Metal Underground.com to unveil some of the details of what is in store for Dragonsclaw this fall and in 2013. The band is ready to dig in its claws, determined to leave a bigger impression on the metal scene.
CROMCarl: So Giles, word on the street has it that Dragonsclaw has been back in the studio recording the follow up to last year’s “Prophecy” debut. Can you give us a report on the progress of the album?
We are! We finished off the first album “Prophecy” writing wise around July-August of 2011 so we have had quite a while to work on newer stuff (I think we started about November 2011 after a short break) so it’s been pretty constant work.
We have about 15 tracks in various states of completion, and we are at the moment making the selection process of the strongest ideas… there will be an EP out around late November which will be in advance of the album… the title is “Judgement Day” this is our single and first taste of the album, it a very catchy metal track, similar in some ways to “Angels in White” off the first but a little harder.
Also on the EP will be 4 other non-album tracks, that are very, very good indications of the growth of the songwriting. Those tracks are titled “Watching My Every Move” “Fear” “Battle Cry” and “Eternally”.
Rounding out this rather long EP (for a low EP price) will be a couple cover tunes of some classic underground metal tracks many will know… and 2 live songs from our recent tour with Steve Grimmett.
CROMCarl: What can the fans expect sound wise from the new Dragonsclaw? Along the same lines as “Prophecy”?
Giles: The first album was very, very fast and intense, while we will retain plenty of that I hear this one as more of a classic metal style, with a greater focus on melody and some more orchestration and variety of keyboard sounds and different textures, it will be more diverse and very metal and epic in nature in places… part of the reason for having the 4 non album tracks on the EP was to not have too many in the same style on the second album, while the Ep will stand alone also as it’s own release with 5 strong tracks that themselves are all different from one another.
CROMCarl: Has the band settled on any song titles or album title as of yet? Target release date?
Well , you have the Ep/Single title and the new tracks there … the Album writing continues but some tracks we have so far are “Judgement Day”, “Fly” which is very Maiden like with huge orchestration and keys “The Vision” “Bullet” “Killing Ground” & “The Stranger At Night” all these are working titles and will probably change with the exception of “Judgement Day” and we will begin approaching labels soon with some of these tracks… we hope to have the full length out first half of 2013.
CROMCarl: How has the response been overall following the release of “Prophecy,” and where have you found the fan base to have spread the fastest?
Giles: It’s come from all over really, we get messages and emails from all over the world, Europe has been great, Greece, Germany and the USA which has surprised me a little as we are always told how small metal has become there… the album has had a great response from all who have heard it, distribution could have been better, but it’s there on iTunes, available in Europe and from our website, we would like to secure better USA distribution next time out.
CROMCarl: Now when anyone asks me to describe Dragonsclaw’s sound, I tell them that the sound is solidly based in traditional metal. I know that you, like I, are a bit of a metal historian so tell me some of the band’s that have had the biggest influence you over the years.
Giles: Yes we are traditional metal in it’s purest form… that’s how I’d describe us. My influences are Iron Maiden , Judas Priest, Riot, Savatage, Warlord, Scorpions, Jag Panzer, Rainbow, Dio/Tony Martin era Sabbath, Dio solo, Yngwie, Crimson Glory and bands like that.
CROMCarl: Now I know you are an old warhorse of metal like myself, so I’m going to name some bands and I want you to tell me the first reaction that pops in your head:
a. Agent Steel:
Giles: Orange boiler suits and very high vocals with weird Alien themes(laughs)!
b. Crimson Glory:
Giles: Awesome band! Midnight was a legend and still is… he would email me occasionally and very sad when he passed… I am looking forward to their new stuff
c. Jag Panzer:
Giles: Again , another brilliant band! I love these guys, great music, should be a lot bigger than they are! Their last album “Scourge Of the Light” is fantastic , do grab it if you haven’t already.
Giles: One of my all time favourite bands… beyond favourite… I adore this band and it was such a tragedy when mark passed away… Thundersteel and the Priviledge of Power are two all time classics of metal, along with their recent album “Immortal Soul” which was my favourite release last year .. we have a special track in tribute to Mark on the upcoming EP but you’ll hear more about that later.
CROMCarl: Tell me a bit about the music scene in Australia. With the isolation of the continent, do you think its easier for an Australian band to break out internationally?
Giles: Not really , it’s very hard, and there are certain attitudes locally that make it hard even here, the scene here is not strong in Sydney, and there is a lot of silly stuff, people saying stuff and carrying on… we just ignore those jokers and their jibba jabber and do our own thing, it’s hard to play shows here, but traditional metal has always been stronger in Melbourne, Australia rather than Sydney Australia, they have more fans there… so well head there for some shows at some point too.
CROMCarl: You recently did a short tour stint with Steve Grimmett in Australia. How was the fan reaction at the live shows?
Giles: Well Metal is very small in Sydney, Australia, so there was only the real diehards that came out , but we got a good response from them… there isn’t a lot of traditional metal here and no one really books shows like that, if they do it’s mainly the same 3 local bands and people get fed up of that pretty quick so you can’t play all the time… we are wanting to make it an event when we play so we’ll be booking our own shows most likely.
Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.
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