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70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Interviews

To date, we have conducted 1484 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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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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Cirith Ungol: Now, Then, Forever Black

Every band dreams of making an impact with their music. Whether that be financial success or better yet, a respected legacy, metal bands are driven by their craft and a warrior like determination. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than Ventura, California's own, Cirith Ungol. The band formed in 1971 and released their first album, "Frost And Fire," ten years later, becoming early progenitors of both power and doom metal in the process. Three more classic albums, "King Of The Dead," "One Foot In Hell" and "Paradise Lost" would follow before the band split in 1992. As is often the case, thanks to the internet, a new generation of headbangers would discover this legendary group and demand for their return grew ever louder.

Finally in 2016, Cirith Ungol returned to play the second Frost And Fire festival, with further headlining shows coming the next year and the wait for new material ended in 2018 with the single, "Witch's Game." Now, the band are preparing to release their first full length album in twenty nine years, "Forever Black," which based on the songs posted online, promises to be another megaton blast of classic Cirith Ungol. I recently had the pleasure to speak with drummer and founding member Robert Garven about the album, their return, their legendary artwork and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

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Death Angel's Will Carroll Interview

MetalUnderground’s Al Case caught up with Death Angel’s drummer, and recent Covid-19 survivor, Will Carroll to chat about a variety of topics. Will is also the drummer for Hammers of Misfortune and Old Grandad, host of “The Fool Metal Jacket”, and all-around good guy.

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Warbringer Loads Up The "Weapons Of Tomorrow"

Thrash metal no doubt had its heyday in the eighties. However in the mid to late 2000s, spurred on by a frustration with the prevalent emo and metalcore genres, it reared its head once more, prompting not only many of the legends and stalwarts of the day to reunite, but unleashing a wave of younger bands performing the style once again. Of course, there were detractors and criticism was placed on many for either being a rehash of particular bands or of being too tongue in cheek. That being said, every sub genre and every generation has their standouts and in the case of the new American thrash bands, it seemed no one was able to touch Warbringer.

Still going strong today and with a new album, "Weapons Of Tomorrow" available in less than two weeks, I caught up with Warbringer vocalist John Kevill over Skype to discuss the album, the thrash metal revival, politics and much more. You can listen to the discussion in full below.

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Anvil Discusses "Legal At Last" And More

While tours all over the world ground to a halt in the past two weeks, one band who have never shied away from living their dream is Anvil. The Canadian trio embarked on a lengthy European tour a few weeks ago, with three weeks in the United Kingdom planned. However, as luck would have it, shows were soon cancelled thanks to the COVID-19 virus and the band were forced to return to the great white north.

The final gig before flying across the Atlantic however, was in my hometown of Swindon and I couldn't have been more excited to meet some genuine legends of heavy metal in my backyard. Before their show at Level III, I sat down with frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow to discuss the band's scorching new album, "Legal At Last," the longevity of the group, the influence of swing music and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below with a transcript to follow.

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Grand Magus Hails The "Wolf God"

Sweden's long and rich history of music has given the world so many classic bands and groups. From Abba to At The Gates, the Scandinavian country has produced a library of legends many other countries would be jealous of. Despite the pop successes and house anthems, metal music is where Sweden has always excelled. Whether it be in the form of death metal like Entombed, In Flames or Dismember, the black metal stylings of Dissection and Shining or doom icons like Candlemass, Sweden has a lot to be proud of. Traditional heavy metal as its place in the nation though and in the modern day, perhaps no band captures that magic better than Grand Magus.

Currently promoting their ninth album, "Wolf God," the band has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, becoming one of the most popular traditional metal bands of the day. During their recent UK tour with Wolf, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Grand Magus drummer Ludwig Witt to discuss this latest opus, as well as traditional metal's place in the modern world and the band's longstanding association with wolves. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Right now you're still promoting "Wolf God," which has been out for just shy of a year. So far, how would you say the reception has been?

Ludwig Witt: Really good. We were talking about it yesterday actually and according to JB (frontman Janne "JB" Christoffersson) it's our best selling album. So it's cool.

Oz: And compared to other Grand Magus albums, how do you feel this one fits in the overall catalogue?

Ludwig: I think really well actually. Obviously I didn't play on "Iron Will" or "Hammer Of The North" which really are classic albums for us but out of the ones I've played on this is my favourite. I think it really fits in with the others well. It definitely sounds like a classic Grand Magus album.

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Wolf Reveals All About "Feeding The Machine"

Traditional heavy metal is a funny thing in today's world. While the likes of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest still sell out venues wherever they go, many of the younger bands who play a similar style are often overlooked in favour of more extreme strains of the genre. Nevertheless, even in the dark days of the nineties, there has always been bands keeping the uniform of denim and leather alive, one of the best examples of which, hails from Örebro, Sweden and this year turns the ripe old age of twenty five. Of course, I could only be talking about Wolf.

After a six year wait following the release of "Devil Seed" and with a new lineup in tow, the Scandinavian steelers are back with what could very well be their most ferocious album to date, "Feeding The Machine," which hits shelves tomorrow (March 13th.) Last night before their opening set for fellow Swedes Grand Magus, I caught up with vocalist Niklas Stålvind and guitarist Simon Johansson to discuss the album, why it took so long to be released, the striking cover art and more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Feeding The Machine" is out on Friday. There's been quite a long gap since the last album, six years. Why such a long wait?

Niklas Stålvind: A lot of different reasons. For one, it took like three years to write the songs and during that time, we were working full time day jobs so we really couldn't afford to get fired. That's one reason. Also Simon built a great studio, Solna Sound Recording, which is the studio where we recorded and Simon produced, but it was a huge project to build a proper studio. Years actually. He had four days off in a two year period so it was insane and I just kept focusing on the songs and going to the other guys, travelling to their town and rehearsing with them so they would nail the songs. So it was pretty inconvenient to take such a long time but I think the end result will be worth it and now Simon has a really good studio and we have a good producer and a really good band, so as soon as we have new songs, the next album won't take so long.

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Photo of Konvent

Band Photo: Konvent

Konvent Discusses "Puritan Masochism" And Equality

It's an exciting time to be a metal fan. All over the world, we're seeing bands emerge and performing excellent old school metal from various sub genres. One country in particular that seems to have a thriving scene right now is Denmark, perhaps previously best known for producing Mercyful Fate and Lars Ulrich. While some young Danish artists are a few albums deep into their catalogue now, one who has just come on to the global scene with their full length debut, "Puritan Masochism" in Konvent. I recently had the opportunity to put a few questions to the band, who had some very interesting insight into the album, their history, equality and much more.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on the release of "Puritan Masochism." I must say that I'm loving the record. It was the first I've pre-ordered in nearly ten years! So far, how has the response been?

Julie Simonsen: The response has been overwhelming. We didn’t expect it to go so great and that so many people would actually buy our music that we’ve worked so hard on. We are beyond happy!

Oz: I'm interested to know, where did the title of the album come from?

Julie: The title ‘Puritan Masochism’ (which is also the title the first single) is about how everyone has a tendency to do things, or thinking things that actually hurt us, but we keep thinking/doing those things because we feel like we have to – in order to fit into something or to live up to some imagined expectations. And sometimes we keep doing these things without even realizing it because you just go on autopilot. It’s sort of our way to say that we don’t have to live like that.

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Photo of Misery Index

Band Photo: Misery Index

Misery Index On "Rituals Of Power" And More

While it's only February, Europe has already been treated to one of the most stellar tour packages to come about in some time. Grindcore icons Napalm Death have been storming through Europe, with a new single, "Logic Ravaged by Brute Force" available, and the long awaited album, "Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism" along the way but they've brought together some of the most powerful names in extremity; Eyehategod, Misery Index, Rotten Sound and Bat, to help them crush everything in their path.

At the recent show in Leeds, Yorkshire, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Misery Index vocalists (and bassist & guitarist respectively,) Jason Netherton and Mark Kloeppel to discuss the tour, the band's latest album, "Rituals Of Power," their upcoming twentieth anniversary and Impractical Jokers. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: It's a really impressive tour package you're part of, with Napalm Death, Eyehategod, Rotten Sound and Bat. How did this come about?

Mark Kloeppel: We're all old friends really. Ryan from Bat is also in Municipal Waste and we played one of their record release shows way back in the day. We've known Shane from Napalm for a long time and the Rotten Sound boys, the Eyehategod guys, we've toured with them. So it's just a bunch of buddies. Shame was really responsible for selecting the package.

Jason Netherton: Yeah, it's also an easy package to put together. I think we're all with the same booking agent.

Mark: We did this whole thing, without Rotten Sound, in Japan and I think Shane just wanted to keep it going throughout the world.

Oz: And how long as the tour been going thus far?

Mark: A few weeks.

Jason: Today's the half way point actually.

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1349 Illuminates "The Infernal Pathway"

Over the course of metal history, certain places have become synonymous with particular sub-genres. One immediately thinks of thrash metal when the Bay Area is mentioned, or Florida whenever the topic of death metal comes up and there can be no doubting that when it comes to black metal, Norway is the spiritual home of the genre.

Though mostly known for its earlier bands such as Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor etc., the country continued to produce high quality black metal bands throughout the nineties and probably still to do this day, with one of the most revered latter decade bands being born under the name 1349. Over twenty years since their genesis, 1349 are still releasing intense and challenging music with a live show to match. It was at one of these performances, where they shared the stage with fellow Norwegian black metal kingpin Abbath, that I caught up with the band's bass player Tor Risdal "Seidemann" Stavenes, to discuss the group's latest album, "The Infernal Pathway," their early days and more. You watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Straight into it you're on tour right now with Abbath, as well as Vltimas and Nuclear. How did this lineup come about?

Seidemann: Well, to be honest we were asked to join as part of a package so the lineup was more or less set up by the time we actually joined. It's Abbath, which is great and there's Vltimas, who are "up and coming" kind of new but kind of not, they're all experienced doing great stuff and then of course there's 1349 and we're also experienced doing great stuff, if I say so myself! There's also Nuclear who are also experienced dudes doing great, South American proper metal, so it's a fantastic package and it goes really well together. It's a bit, for everyone. Not just pure black or pure death metal. It's good to have that variation.

Oz: Yeah, it's an exciting time to see 1349 as well because obviously you've just released, "The Infernal Pathway," which is a really strong album. I've seen a lot of people say it's the best one since "Hellfire."

Seidemann: The thing is, when you're in a band for a while you realise that you've always got to do better than what you've done before. "Hellfire" was fantastic but I love all our albums, but we always moved on and tried to top whatever we did before. We have to top it otherwise why? Even Motorhead, they did the same album consistently and it was good because it was Motorhead, but we can't do that, we have to move on and push on and we have to grow as people and musicians and get better. You have to know that what you're going to do next is going to top what you've already done otherwise what's the point? If you've peaked then maybe that's it, maybe you shouldn't do anything and that's why it takes a bit of time for us to do records now apart from all the real life bullshit.

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David Vincent Discusses Vltimas And Country Music

Death metal is without question, one of the most popular sub-genres in any form of music. There are countless bands performing the style today, as well as many groups who have used to create fusion genres and more. Its influence can even be heard in rap music via such artists as Necro and Jedi Mind Tricks. Of course, this all had to come from somewhere and one of the first legendary bands in death metal was Morbid Angel, fronted in the beginning by David Vincent.

Fast forward to the modern day and while Vincent is no longer with the band, he's still pushing boundaries, breaking barriers and experimenting with his new outfit Vltimas, which also includes former Mayhem guitartist Blasphemer and Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mounier, whose debut album, "Something Wicked Marches In" stormed its way into the ears and minds of metal fans the world over last year. Add to this his own take on Morbid Angel, I Am Morbid, as well as a solo career in country music, an autobiography and his past work with Terrorizer and it's hard to tell whether his past or his future is the more interesting.

Vltimas are currently on the road with Abbath and 1349 and I was fortunate enough to sit down with this titan of death metal in London to discuss all these projects, which can be heard in full below.

Diamond Oz: You've been putting your time to good use, most notably Vltimas. The album ("Something Wicked Marches In") is amazing.

David Vincent: Thank you for saying so. There's a lot of really good reviews that have come in at the end of the year. We got number two of the year in Aardshock, we're in a lot of the top tens, which is great because we put a lot of work into that record. Everybody worked very very hard.

Oz: It's very clearly important to you because you all made a point to work together rather than fileshare or anything like that.

David: No and I'm happy about that too. I have done that kind of thing before, I can do that. There's no replacement for the kind of magic that you get sitting in a room with people and the sharing of ideas on a cerebral plane like that.

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Une Misere Opens Up About Debut Album & Iceland

The great thing about the internet is that it's enabled not just fans, but labels to discover bands from all over the world. We're now seeing bands from such places as Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia break into the metal spotlight, whereas not so long ago, it was rare to find a band who weren't from an English speaking country, Germany or Sweden. One such country which now has a growing number of interesting artists is Iceland, thanks to its viking heritage and breath taking if cold scenery, perfect for heavy metal.

Recently, Une Misere, another group from the small Scandinavian country, released their debut album, "Sermon" through Nuclear Blast, a label which has seen its roster display great loyalty and in turn, receive much promotion. Since the release of the record, the band has gone on tour with Darkest Hour and next month will be embarking on a run across North America with Thy Art Is Murder, Carnifex and Fit For An Autopsy. During the trek with Darkest Hour, I caught up with vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson to discuss the record, promotion for the album and Iceland itself. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Straight into it, the full length debut, "Sermon" is out now. So far I've seen a lot of positive reviews and responses. Have you felt that to be the overall reception?

Jón Már Ásbjörnsson: Yeah, we've kind of always been waiting for that really bad review. There was one guy who commented that we were too much like Gojira, Behemoth, Slipknot and Hatebreed and he is said that as if it was a bad thing. I was like, "Man, that's the best review ever!" But yeah we've been getting some rave reviews and we couldn't be prouder.

Oz: Nice one and there's probably no better label to release your debut through than Nuclear Blast.

Jon: No. I've been going through it in my mind during this tour, where we would fit in if we weren't at Nuclear Blast and... No. It's just Nuclear for us.

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Agnostic Front Bassist Discusses New Album

Where would metal be without hardcore? Some of you may not want to admit it, but hardcore punk changed the face of metal, influencing thrash on both sides of America and even today one can still hear its presence in modern metal music. There's no question that hardcore as we know it was nurtured and evolved in New York, where a legendary hardcore scene led to thousands of imitators, a documentary film and of course, its own heroes and legends. Of these, one band will always be top of the pile when it comes to both quality and influence; Agnostic Front.

Agnostic Front has been going for nearly forty years as of January 2020 and has always flown their flag for their music and their home city, becoming not just icons, but ambassadors for both. Recently, the band completed a European trek as part of the Persistence tour, performing with such other heavy hitters as Gorilla Biscuits, Wisdom In Chains and Billy Bio. At the final stop in London, I caught up with long time bass player Mike Gallo to discuss the tour, the band's new album "Get Loud!," artwork and why Agnostic Front defies political categorisation. You can watch the interview in full at the bottom of the page, or read the transcript below.

Diamond Oz: It's very nice to speak with you, seeing as I believe it's your twentieth year with the band.

Mike Gallo: Next year. I joined in 2001. My first album was "Dead Yuppies."

Oz: Well one thing I know for a fact is that you have a new album out now, "Get Loud!"

Mike: Yeah it's been really cool. From the writing process to the artwork to the videos and to a great response for the record. People really seem to be digging this record.

Oz: It's classic Agnostic Front so what's not to like?

Mike: Yeah, that's what everybody says. We play as many songs as we can but it's tough because we only have a forty minute set, so there's only so much we can squeeze in but we're playing a couple of songs. When we come back in the Summer time, we'll give everybody more of the new stuff but for this tour we're doing the classics. But it's been awesome, we had Sean Haggart doing the artwork for us again and I've always admired and loved his art so it kind of ties it altogether which is a cool thing and it'll keep us on the road for another four or five years! Right now we're working hard on this record and trying to do as much as we can.

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Darkest Hour: Still Strong After Twenty Five Years

Metalcore is a genre which has had something of an image problem among the "true" metal elitists over the years. Frankly, it can be hard to define at times, so it's easier to lump some bands in with the style when they either never played it or moved on to something else. But there's always been bands in any genre which have shined bright and earned praise from even the harshest critics of a style. One such band which has received this status is Washington D.C.'s own, Darkest Hour.

During the band's beefy European tour, I was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist Mike Schleibaum, along with Fallujah (see interview here) and Une Misere, to discuss the trek, as well as work on a new album, their twenty fifth anniversary and what was learned from growing up in the D.C. hardcore scene. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Straight into it, right now you're on tour with Fallujah and Une Misere. How did this combination come about?

Mike Schleibaum: Right now we are on tour with Fallujah, Une Misere, Bloodlet and Lowest Creature. Lowest Creature is badass, they're from Sweden and they're fucking awesome. They were... not our pick or anything but they were the young band that, we just loved their vibe and after seeing them live I'm so excited about it. Then the second band is Une Misere, they're from Iceland and they put on an incredible show from the second minute and being from Iceland, you've gotta be really good to rise out of there.

So you've got a more old school new band and a more new school new band, then you have a very special band called Bloodlet, who are a band that has songs that are older than Darkest Hour and they're a band that influenced Darkest Hour. We sort of trudged them up from the Florida swamp and brought them out here just to remind everybody we come from all places. Old, hardcore, metalcore version one, whatever you want to call it. Then lastly is Fallujah who are there to round it all out because they're like insanely good musicians. Great, progressive death metal. Smart, forward thinking, good shit. So that kind of rounds out an awesome tour package and it's a long night but we've felt a lot of energy from people at the end so I think it's a good party in general.

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Cruachan Discusses Next Album And Folk Metal

Folk metal has become a hugely popular sub-genre over the last fifteen years. Bands like Korpiklaani and Finntroll have experienced commercial success and become regular performers at festivals across Europe. But to truly understand folk metal, one must go back to the roots and see why folk music itself is perhaps just as metal the genre it became fused with. Tales of misery, oppression and violence seem tailor made to be adapted to metal music and yet it wasn't until the nineties that this came to be, when Skyclad released their first album, "The Wayward Sons Of Mother Earth." Shortly after this, a young man from Dublin named Keith Fay took this idea and ran with it, embellishing the folk side and becoming a major architect in the sub-genre we love today, with a band of his own named Cruachan.

Fast forward to 2020 and Cruachan are as strong as ever, having finished their acclaimed "blood trilogy" with "Nine Years Of Blood" in 2018 and now looking at recording their next album, as well as performing no less than three sets on this year's 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise. It was on board this floating festival that I had the pleasure of meeting up with Keith Fay to discuss the history of the band, the genesis of folk metal and how it got to its current form. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: As we discussed before we started filming, you played last night/early this morning. You’re one of the hardest working bands on this ship as you’re performing three sets, including one in the pub. What can we expect from that set?

Keith Fay: Well we said to Andy when he asked us to do this, that we’re going to recreate a typical Dublin pub on a Saturday night, where all the tourists go. So it’s going to be all the rebel songs, the drinking songs. “Come Out Ye Black & Tans,” and all that kind of stuff. We’ve done a couple of covers of these throughout our career like “Rocky Road to Dublin” and “Ride On,” that type of thing, so we’re doing the proper acoustic version as they’re meant to be heard. It should be good. We’ve printed out booklets so the crowd can sing along. We’re a bit worried because so many people have said they’re coming along but that Ale & Anchor pub can hold maybe a hundred people and we’re expecting at least a thousand. We’ll see what happens!

Oz: Well right now you’re still promoting the latest album, “Nine Years Of Blood,” which is part of the “Blood trilogy.” Now that the dust has settled, how do you see that album in particular as part of the Cruachan catalogue?

Keith: The “Blood trilogy” was interesting. We did the first one on Candlelight Records from the UK, we see that as kind of a rebirth for the band, it was bringing us into the new era of metal and that kind of thing. We’ve been playing folk metal for twenty seven years but folk metal’s only become popular in the last fifteen years so we needed to do something a little bit fresh, a little bit new and that’s where “Blood on the Black Robe” came from. Then we did “Blood For the Blood God” on Trollzorn Records and “Nine Years Of Blood” on Trollzorn. They’ve been fantastic for us, the likes of playing festivals like this. We didn’t do this type of thing fifteen years ago. But we’ve just signed a new record deal with Despotz Records, the biggest metal label in Sweden so things are going really well for us right now!

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Fallujah On Shining The "Undying Light"

In the modern era, we can't help but fix labels to bands. Even if it defies characterisation, people will make up a tag for a band's sound. Since 2007, California's, Fallujah have been one such band that frustrates the label makers, with elements of prog, tech death, deathcore and more, they're not a band who can be pinned down in any way.

Last year, the band released their fourth album, "Undying Light" and now, they're kicking off the new decade by touring Europe with Darkest Hour, as part of a huge bill which also features Bloodlet, Une Misere and Lowest Creature. At their recent show in London, I caught up with the band's guitarist and chief songwritier, Scott Carstairs to discuss the record, as well as the introduction of new vocalist Antonio Palermo, artwork and more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Now that the dust has settled, how do you see "Undying Light" in the catalogue of Fallujah?

Scott Carstairs: Well it's definitely a lot different from the last album. We have a different lineup, we have a different vocalist. I've always been the one that does most of the writing and I wanted to try something new with this record, I wanted to try different textures and atmospheres, kind of inject a lot more air. Instead of having everything so tight and riffy, I wanted it to be more soundscapey. Then with Anthony, our new vocalist, I feel the way he does his vocals are a lot more kind of black metal, a lot more emotional, not as much of the death growl and brutal kind of stuff. That's cool but I feel like his vocals match the music more. I feel that compared to the other records, it kind of has this raw emotion to it that the others haven't had but it's still got some crazy leads and guitar parts.

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Venom On Changing The Face Of Metal

What more can be said about Venom? It's been nearly forty years since the band released their classic debut, "Welcome To Hell," which was followed a year later with the ground breaking "Black Metal" and in one form or another, the band has carried on ever since. The current lineup has been together for eleven years now and in that time, has released three of the most exciting albums in Venom's history, proving that they're not one of the "Whatever happened to them?" bands.

This year, the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise marked its tenth voyage and so it seems natural that such a milestone should be celebrated with a band as gargantuan as Venom on board. On the second day at sea, I caught up with the trio to discuss their live shows, their latest album, "Storm The Gates" and how they changed the game forever. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: What can fans expect from your performance based on previous times you've played 70000 Tons Of Metal?

Dante: If it's anything like the other two times, it's going to be fun, it's going to be rocking.

La Rage: Circle pits in jacuzzis!

Cronos: This is the tenth of edition of this (70000 Tons) and it just keeps evolving and getting better. Fans are so cool and they don't hassle you like they did the first time we played where it was just a scream fest and everyone was running around like headless chickens. We noticed the second time we did it that everybody had kind of calmed down and kind of got it. The fans and the bands are hanging out together and it, everybody's cool. Yes, you can go watch Michael Schenker from a jacuzzi if you want, it's not a problem but I just think that this thing's evolving to where it's so easy for bands to come and do this without any fear of getting hassled. We do our job, the fans get a great experience and you can hear from all the different accents that fans are from all over the world and I can't imagine it's any less expensive than going to a big festival nowadays, when you look at the prices of some of them.

La Rage: Just less muddy! Nobody's pissing on your legs in a field in Germany.

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Jinjer Bassist On "Macro," Micro," Reggae And More

It's an exciting time for metal music right now, with so many great bands emerging. One such band that's on everyone's lips right now is Jinjer, a band from Ukraine which defies categorisation. The quartet is comprised of supremely talented musicians and a vocalist which never ceases to amaze and regularly receive millions of views of YouTube. In October of this year, the band released their fourth full length album, "Macro," which has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Currently on tour in Europe, I had the pleasure of sitting down with bass player Eugene Abdiukhanov at the Thekla, a great venue on a boat in Bristol. During the conversation, we discussed "Macro," how much the previous EP, "Micro" influenced the record, the influence of reggae and the double edged sword that is their growing popularity. You can watch the interview in full below.

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The Agonist Vocalist Reveals All About "Orphans"

For every action, there's a reaction, as they say. As it turns out, an Agonist reaction is quite a thing. The band had a tough time following the release of their previous album, "Five," but now at the end of the decade, their new album, "Orphans" is stunning fans and being hailed as the best yet. Thanks to the clear boundary pushing and superb musicianship, the Montreal based quintet are kicking so much ass that they have to buy new shoes every week.

At their recent show in Bristol with rising Ukranian stars Jinjer, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the band's vocalist Vicky Psarakis to discuss "Orphans," the plethora of high concept music videos which accompanies it, how women are seen in metal music today and much much more. You can watch it in full below, with a transcription to follow.

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Infected Rain Discusses New Album "Endorphin"

All around the world, metal bands are beginning to make a name for themselves. One name which is becoming all the more familiar every week is Infected Rain, the eclectic quintet from Chisinau, Moldova. This year, the band released "Endorphin" their first album through a record label (Napalm Records) and praise has been quick and deserved.

This month, while touring as openers to Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie (see review here, I caught up with Infected Rain vocalist Elena "Lena Scissorhands" Cataraga to discuss the album, why now was the right time to sign with a label, representing Moldova in metal music, the perception of professional musicians and much more. You can check it out below.

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Photo of Lacuna Coil

Band Photo: Lacuna Coil

Lacuna Coil Sheds Light On "Black Anima"

It's been twenty years since Milan's Gothic metal favourites Lacuna Coil released their debut full length album, "In A Reverie" and with every record since, the band has only gotten stronger. Celebrating this milestone, the band released their new album, "Black Anima" last month, to overwhelmingly positive reviews and delighting many fans by bringing back older elements such as growled vocals.

Currently, the band are on the road as part of a co-headlining European run with Swiss folk metal outfit Eluveitie and will be heading back to North America next year as special guests to Apocalyptica. At the band's recent show in Bristol, I caught up with vocalist Andrea Ferro to talk all about "Black Anima," the band's first book, "Nothing Stands In Our Way," the possibility of doing an album completely in Italian and more. You can listen to it in full below, while some excerpts read as follows:

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Black Anima" is out now. It's brilliant!

Andrea Ferro: (laughs) Yeah it seems to be doing really well, both from the new fans and the old school fans and also most of the critics have been very positive.

Oz: It's a very heavy album, a very dark album, as the title implies. What led you to this darker musical path?

Andrea: Basically, I think it's a process we started subconsciously on the last record, "Delirium," where we were introducing a bit more double bass, heavier riffs and growled vocals. We felt it was time to refresh our sound a little bit because we've been around, we do have our signature sound that you can recognise in every release, but we also want, for ourselves and for the people, to hear something fresh from us so that it's still exciting for us to write, record then play for a long time.

We really just wanted to follow the inspiration without thinking too much, or focusing on the past. I think there are certain elements that, no matter what, are going to be in our music and there's nothing we can do about it because of the dual vocals or certain atmospheric parts that will always be there because it's in our musical DNA, but I think it's also important that we do something interesting. We still listen to new bands and with our record, we write for the year it's released. Obviously it's our record but it's 2019 so we want something that's meaningful for this year and time.

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Photo of Eluveitie

Band Photo: Eluveitie

Eluveitie Discusses New Album "Ategnatos"

Folk and pagan metal has come a long way over nearly three decades. Bands like Skyclad and Cruachan are often credited with creating or pioneering the genre, but as time goes on, many bands across Europe have taken the style and found commercial success with it too. One such band would be Eluveitie, from the Swiss city of Zurich. Since 2002, the band led by Chrigel Glanzmann has put out several high quality albums and become revered as one of the sub-genre's best and most engaging bands.

At their recent show in Bristol with Lacuna Coil and Infected Rain, I caught up with Chrigel Glanzmann to discuss the band's new album, "Ategnatos," the history and mythology behind it, how good fortune led to Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe to appear on the album and more. You can watch the interview in full below, with a transcription to follow.

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Moonspell Drummer On "1755," New Music And More

Four hundred and sixty four years ago today, a series of disasters hit the Portuguese city of Lisbon, causing massive destruction and making such a cultural impact that many philosophers rethought their stance on God. Of course, if any band was going to write an album all about this event, it would have to the country's biggest metal exports, Moonspell.

Currently on an extensive tour of Europe with Greek metal legends Rotting Christ, Moonspell are still as strong as ever. Their brand of Gothic and atmospheric extreme metal still resonates with listeners across the globe and in the live setting, they can set scenes like the best theatre directors. I caught up drummer Miguel "Mike" Gaspar at the band's recent show in London to talk all about the album, their biography, "Wolves Who Were Men," work on new music and much more. You can watch the interview in full below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: How's it going Mike?

Miguel "Mike" Gaspar: Really good, we just came from the signing session. We have our book, "Wolves Who Were Men," which was written by Ricardo S. Amorim, which is the same name as our guitar player so people are getting confused, but it wasn't our guitar player that wrote the book.

Oz: It's a really comprehensive book...

Mike: Yeah it's the first time we've seen the English version, which has some extras inside. It has some colour photos so it's kind of like a picture book too.

Oz: When was the decision made to make a book about Moonspell?

Mike: Maybe two or three years ago. I think it was a coincidence because we were doing this TV programme in the north of the country in Porto and at the same time, there was one of the journalists from Loud magazine, who had written a book about the Portuguese metal scene, which included us. We really appreciated the work he did on that and he asked us for a ride back home to Lisbon, which is like a three hour drive and while we were in the van, we were talking among ourselves and Fernando asked him if he'd want to do a Moonspell biography. The next day, he called him back asking if he was serious and he said, "We're serious. We really want you to do this because I think you're the perfect person for it" and he did an amazing job, taking the time to speak to each one of us.

At the time my daughter had just been born, so she was six months old and I asked him to come and meet me at my house to talk about the band. Of course I was in a different state of mind. He did the same with all the other members throughout the months, this was in the process of nearly a year. He also traveled with us to some shows abroad, like to Belgium for a big festival, so he could see what it's like outside of the country, because it's very difficult to explain to the Portuguese what it's like outside of your own country, you really have to experience it for yourself.

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Photo of Rotting Christ

Band Photo: Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ Frontman Unleashes "The Heretics"

Greece has given the world so much over the years. From philosophy to science, maths to the arts, so much of what we enjoy today can be traced to the beautiful country in the Mediterranean. Greece hasn't shied away from metal music either and black metal historians will be happy to remind you that before the infamous scene in Norway, Greece had their own black metal hive. From that era, which produced some excellent groups, comes one of the country's best known metal bands; Rotting Christ.

Thirty years and thirteen albums into their career and the band are arguably better than ever. Their new album, "The Heretics," earned a perfect review on this very site and they still pack out venues wherever they go. Right now, the Hellenic heavyweights are on tour with Portuguese legends Moonspell and at their recent show in London (see review here,) I had the pleasure of sitting down with frontman Sakis Tolis to discuss the new record, their biography, "Non Serviam," how the state of Greece affects song writing and much more. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: One thing I was quite surprised at tonight was that your show only featured two songs from "The Heretics." It's quite shocking because it's a fantastic album.

Sakis Tolis: We have almost two hundred songs available. So when it comes to making a setlist it's a nightmare. So we prefer to have only two new songs because... There is no because actually! At least this way people get to hear a little bit of everything, but it's very difficult for a band which has been around for so many years to prepare a setlist that can satisfy everyone.

Oz: As I said, it's an amazing album. It's very cinematic. Obviously the last three Rotting Christ albums have followed a concept, with "Rituals" focusing on just that and "Katá ton Daímona Eautoú" revolved around the underworlds from different mythologies. Is this a niche that's set in stone now?

Sakis: I have no idea. I'm the only composer in the band and it's a bit like a nightmare because I don't know what to do. I have too many ideas in my mind. Even if I sleep I think a lot. I don't know what direction the band will continue in, let's see. So far, we are in the middle of a really long tour, so I'm not in the mood to write something or make decisions. At the moment, we're doing our best every night to satisfy the people who pay for a ticket every night and who support Rotting Christ but when I get back home, I will do my best.

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