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

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


To date, we have conducted 1494 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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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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Photo of Megadeth

Band Photo: Megadeth

Megadeth Bassist On New Book, Solo Album & "Risk"

Every musician strives to make their band the best it can possibly be. Some are lucky enough to translate this into commercial success and fewer still are able to transform their band into bonafide legends, which make a lasting impact on music as we know it. One such man who has been able to achieve the dreams of thousands of headbangers full of aspiration is David Ellefson, the bassist for thrash metal titans Megadeth.

But it's not just Megadeth that occupies Ellefson's time. The man known affectionately by fans as "Junior" is also an accomplished author, having released his first book, "My Life With Deth" in 2013, with a sequel, "More Life With Deth" released four months ago. Not just that, but Ellefson owns his own label, EMP Music Group, has just released his first solo album, "Sleeping Giants," launched the MEGA Life Ministries worship service in Scottsdale, AZ, founded the coffee company Ellefson Coffee Co. and now has his own film company, Ellefson Films, who are preparing to release their first movie, "Dwellers." I recently caught up with Ellefson to discuss some of these new endeavours as well as the MegaCruise, the twentieth anniversary of Megadeth's controversial album, "Risk" and much more. You can watch the interview below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: You've got a lot on your plate at the moment, I didn't realise quite how much until I looked into it. Perhaps most important is your solo album, "Sleeping Giants." I heard a little bit of it earlier and it sounds really really good.

David Ellefson: Thank you. It's kind of a combination of some new tracks. In particular "Vultures," is a brand new track. "Hammer Comes Down" and "Sleeping Giants" was music I had but then my partner Thom (Hazaert) finished lyrics to the collaboration with DMC, "Sleeping Giants," did the collaboration with Eric A.K. from Flotsam And Jetsam on "Hammer," as well as bringing in our friends Mark Tremonti and Chris Poland who played guitar. Dave McClain of Sacred Reich and formerly Machine Head put drums down so it was fun to get the whole crew together and work on those songs. Then I put some of the old F5 demos from the 2000s and then some tracks that I'd written in 1993 when we had a break in the "Countdown To Extinction" album. My friend Pat Schunk, who I was introduced to by Nick Menza, we had a really fun collaborative season, wrote a bunch of tunes, had John Bush sing on "If You Were God," had David Glen Isley sing on a handful of tracks. So yeah, these were songs that were just sat in a box at home and I just ruffled through it and started putting together with Tom and thought, "If not now, when?" It's probably the best time to do it, especially with the new book, "More Life With Deth," it kind of brings the whole story together.

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Photo of Killswitch Engage

Band Photo: Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage Guitarist Discusses "Atonement"

Heavy metal endured a punishing time in the nineties. The rise of grunge and other genres increasing in popularity made it a difficult time for many metal bands and some thought metal was soon to be dead and buried. The next decade however, metal rose up once more, giving young listeners a sound which expressed their rage and discomfort in a time dominated by the War on Terror, paranoia and otherwise bland music... Not much has changed really. At the forefront of this metal revival was the metalcore genre, which may not have been loved by all, but was instrumental in bringing young fans into the flock. Perhaps the biggest band of this movement, though they might not appreciate the tag, was Massachusetts' own, Killswitch Engage.

Twenty years after forming and now with a new album, "Atonement" out, the band are still going strong. Their eighth album could well be their most diverse yet and has received strong praise from most metal media outlet since it's release in August. Last week, the band arrived in the UK to perform a headlining run with support from Revocation and I was lucky enough to meet up with guitarist Joel Stroetzel at the famous Brixton Academy in London to talk all about the album, as well as the band's twentieth anniversary and teaming up with former vocalist Howard Jones for the song, "The Signal Fire." You can watch the conversation in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album "Atonement" is out now. How's the response been so far?

Joel Stroetzel: We're actually really excited by how well the new songs are going over live. We're doing anywhere from four to six new songs in the set, so it's a good chunk of the new record. So yeah it's going over well, you never know playing new stuff live how things are gonna go. No complaints!

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Life Of Agony Bassist On New Album "Sound Of Scars

New York has produced so many incredible bands over the years. From The Ramones to Kiss, Agnostic Front to Type O Negative, the Empire City has given the world an incredible catalogue of rock, hardcore and metal. One band from Brooklyn who took these three styles and created a sound of their own was Life Of Agony, who took the frustrations which so many teenagers and young adults feel and channeled it into three superb albums in their initial run.

Back once again and promoting their sixth album, "The Sound Of Scars," the conceptual sequel to their classic debut, "River Runs Red," the band are now in Europe giving fans a taste of new material. At the first show of the tour, I sat down with bass player Alan Robert to discuss the new album, how new drummer Veronica Bellino shaped the direction of the record and filming the video for "Lay Down" in a haunted house, among other subjects. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "The Sound Of Scars" is out now. Why now did you decide to do a sequel to "River Runs Red?"

Alan Robert: Because you asked us! It happened really naturally, we were about four or five songs into writing the new record and... Well, I'll take you back. Last January we added Veronica Bellino on drums and when she joined the band, there was this new fire and passion in the band and we went back and listened to all the old records together so we could build a new setlist with her, to listen to the old stuff with fresh ears and new drive and everything.

She learned like twenty songs right off the bat and we played songs that we haven't played in, maybe ever. So by listening to things in that context, we noticed, for the first time from an outside view, that along the way we'd kind of abandoned certain songwriting elements like big gang vocals or breakdown parts in the middle of riffs that seemed non traditional. So we thought, "These things were so much fun to do, why don't we incorporate them into the new material?" So we were already in that mindset and so when we started writing "The Sound Of Scars," four songs deep, the word "scars" kept popping up in the lyrics and there's very similar themes (to "River Runs Red") and it seemed tied together in a lot of ways.

We've said many times that "River Runs Red" especially has helped a lot of people in dark times and we've been able to watch those people grow up with us, over the course of a few decades now and they look to us for inspiration and in turn they save our lives too because those songs come from real places. So to make a long story short, those people had a band like us to get them through dark times and we started to think, "What if this kid on 'River Runs Red' had something to get him through? What if he survived?" and that was really how we got there. So it happened very organically and when I presented the idea to the band as we were sitting and drinking coffee in Joey's house, it made an impression of everybody like, "Hmm, that's interesting."

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Aborted Frontman On "TerrorVision" And New Music

As I mentioned recently, death metal is truly a global phenomenon. It's generally agreed upon that the style was born in America, but bands from all over the world have been able to put their own spin on it over the past four decades and take it in all kinds of weird and wonderful directions. Perhaps the masters of brutal and grizzly death metal come from somewhere you wouldn't expect, the Belgian city of Waregem to be exact; Aborted.

With their latest album, "TerrorVision" out for a year now and a new EP on the way, Aborted are currently on a hectic tour with fellow death metal legends Entombed A.D. and up and comers Baest, bringing a hurricane of heaviness across Europe. At the first date of the tour in London, I caught up with frontman Sven de Caluwé to talk about "TerrorVision," the new EP, the use of horror imagery and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Let's talk about "TerrorVision," which has been out for a year now. Now that the dust has settled, how you feel the reaction has been so far?

Sven de Caluwé: I think it's been pretty good so far. It's been a great record for us. We've done some of our best tours, especially headlining so we can't complain. We're very happy with it still. We already have some new stuff which will be out sometime next year. Not an album, more of an EP, so we're very busy.

Oz: What's interesting about "TerrorVision" is that this is the first Aborted album to have pre-production. Why the decision this time to go that route?

Sven: Because we wanted to be really prepared when we went into the studio. This is also the first time we've recorded in split up teams, so Ken and I recorded in Germany and the other guys were in Holland recording guitars and bass. So we weren't physically present, so I think it was important for us to have a very clear idea of what we wanted. Plus Kohle, who we like to work with, likes to be involved and sometimes switches structures around and we figured if we do everything ahead of time and he has time to check it out, then we can do these excercises before we're there so it's less of a surprise and get the best performance possible in the studio.

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Baest Discusses New Album "Venenum"

Death metal has proved to be one of the most popular sub-genres of metal over the years. It seems you can't even get out of bed nowadays without tripping over a death metal band. Don't let this deter you however, there's as many great death metal groups today as there was during the young days of Morbid Angel and Obituary, from all over the world and with their own take on the style. One such band to burst on to the scene and immediately get tongues wagging hails from Aarhus, Denmark, armed with fresh ideas and an old school mentality. That band is Baest.

At the first stop of the Hell Over Europe tour in London, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Baest guitarist Svend Karlsson and vocalist Simon Olsen to discuss their new sophomore album, "Venenum," which was released only a year after their debut, "Danse Macabre," why concepts are such a big part of the band, how to make old sound new again and much more. You can check it out in full below.

Diamond Oz: Welcome to London. Is this your first time in the UK?

Svend Karlsson: No, we did a tour with Decapitated. *calls for Simon to join the interview*

Simon Olsen: Oh shoot!

Svend: Yeah we did a UK tour with Decapitated in January, we played the 02 Academy in Islington.

Oz: Cool. Well obviously the new "Venenum" is out now. I was listening to as much of it as I could before I buy it. How would you say it's different from "Danse Macabre"?

Svend: There's been some involvement in the song writing. We've been trying to make it a bit more progressive and trying to make the lyrics fit better to the actual riffs.

Simon: Yeah, I guess so and I believe that we've also worked a lot with the concept and writing music after the concept, not just the lyrics, so it's like it fits together better.

Svend: For example, the song "Gula" is about gluttony and over indulgence, so we made it really slow and really heavy, so that's a great example. "Vitriol Lament," the first song is about...

Simon: The whirlwind of lust! The circle of lust, so it has a very hectic, kind of swirling opening riff.

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Entombed AD Singer Explores The "Bowels Of Earth"

Sweden and death metal go together like bread and butter. Of course, something had to kick this love affair off and in the late eighties and early nineties, a string of bands put Sweden on the extreme metal map, perhaps none more well known than Entombed. Hailing from the capital city of Stockholm, their debut album "Left Hand Path" is considered a classic in the genre and as time went on, the group began incorporating their garage rock influences to forge a style now known as death 'n' roll.

In 2014, Entombed as we knew it ceased to be and instead, former members, led by vocalist L.G. Petrov released the album "Back To The Front" under the moniker, Entombed A.D. At the end of August this year, this fresh incarnation of the band released their third album, "Bowels Of Earth," which has been hailed as their best under this name yet. On the first night of the "Hell Over Europe" tour, which saw the band perform songs from the album live for the first time, I caught up with L.G. to discuss the new album, the death 'n' roll tag and the surprising decision to cover Hank Williams among other subjects. You can watch the video in full below.

Diamond Oz: This is the first day of the tour. Thirty shows in thirty one days... Are you ready?

L.G. Petrov: Yes! We hope so. You saw the state of the other guys! But after a couple of days we'll get back in the routine. So yeah, it's good. Today was a lot of travel but you get used to it. The body and soul remembers.

Oz: It's a hell of a lineup as well. Obviously you're headlining but there's Aborted and Baest too. It's like three generations of death metal.

Oz: Obviously right now you're promoting "Bowels Of Earth." This is the first show you've done since the album came out. How would you say it compares to previous Entombed A.D. releases?

L.G.: We feel it's new and exciting. We're looking forward to trying the new songs out live. I have some lyrics about somewhere, I'm still trying to get them into my head. After a few shows I'm sure we'll have it nailed, but tonight we might be a bit scared.

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Grim Reaper Singer Talks New Album "At The Gates"

Back in the seventies and eighties, Great Britain became known for its heavy metal bands. Part of this was thanks to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, which saw the rise of bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon, but there were so many bands before and after the NWOBHM that it feels like a national genre. One such band to come out swinging with metal imagery, soaring anthems and and enough power to light up London was Grim Reaper, a superb example of British heavy metal.

Over the years, frontman Steve Grimmett went on to other projects including fronting thrash metal favourites Onslaught for a time, forming a new band called Lionsheart and now, fronting a new version of his old outfit, named Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper. Only last week, the band released another stellar record in the form of "At The Gates" and I was lucky enough to catch up with Mr. Grimmett to discuss the album, his side project The Sanity Days with other former members of Onslaught and how kind America has been to the band. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "At The Gates" is finally out. How does it compare to the previous release?

Steve Grimmett: Well, people are saying it's heavier. Some people are asking, "Why have you gone that way?" but really, we haven't. What we've done is written a bunch of songs and that's it. There was no choices about going down any road it was just, a song has got to be good to be on the album.

Oz: Something I really like about it, as I do with all Grim Reaper albums, is the artwork. Grim Reaper's always had really cool artwork. Who did this one?

Steve: It's a guy who's in a band called Tysondog, Steve Morrison. He offered his services some time ago and so I explained the story of the album; Me in the hospital, me losing my leg, blah blah blah and I want the grim reaper at the gates. He came up with a few but that one was the one that really stood out to us all. He's probably going to get another job (laughs). Considering he's not a professional, he just does it for pleasure. An absolute natural.

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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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