Here at Eyesore Merch, it’s no secret that we’re big fans of Bossk, and are happy to be able to sell their varied merch exclusively in the UK. After reuniting and doing a UK tour with Dragged Into Sunlight last year and releasing the fast-selling Pick Up Artist/Albatross 7″, it’s safe to say that Bossk are rolling stronger than ever. If you’re as curious about the backstory for this comeback as we are, and what’s to come, then read on. Don’t forget to check out their merch here.
First of all, would you like to introduce yourself and what you do in Bossk?
I’m Tom, I play bass.
How did Bossk come into formation?
Was the merging of two friendship groups that had all been in local bands together. Coming together to make music that wasn’t like any of the bands that we had done before. We have all known each other for over ten years now. A lot of pot was smoked, a lot of riffs forgotten, but we spent some serious time in each other’s company.
What was the reason that you guys decided to take a break from Bossk in 2008? It seemed like every band on Eyesofsound was doing great especially with the likes of Devil Sold His Soul, Palehorse, Humanfly and Rinoa. It seemed totally out of the blue at the time.
It was a build of things really, not everyone was happy with the new lineup, and jobs, lack of money from touring so hard takes its toll on people after a few years. Watching some of the bands that we played with back in 2005-2008 are some of the best memories that any of us have together.
Now you guys are back, your fanbase seems stronger than ever and you’ve managed to sign up with Jacob Bannon’s (of Converge) label Deathwish Inc. How do you feel about that and how did the deal with Deathwish Inc. happen?
I have worked with Converge on several of their European tours doing merch and have developed a good friendship with Jake through that. They do things right, and I was asking Jake for advice on what direction to take Bossk in once we had reformed. We share similar principles of the music industry and what is actually important and relevant to the artists making and touring music they have spent months, sometimes years writing. Our fans are the best, we never anticipated the level of support we have had since announcing our first shows back, every show we have done has surpassed our expectations.
What was the recording process like for the Pick Up Artist/Albatross 7” and getting Daniel P Carter to do the artwork for it?
We recorded PUA with our good friends Phil Gornell and Lee Malia up in Sheffield, and Albatross in Kent with [a] friend, Martin Ruffin. Both tracks were recorded completely differently, but fit what we wanted each track to sound like. We hadn’t recorded together in a very long time, and was actually a lot of fun! Dan has become a good friend of mine, and I am a big fan of his work. His involvement in the BBC session we did made it feel right that he was involved in the art for this release.
Bossk are pretty well known as a band with its feet in the post-rock/post-metal genre, taking things slow and soft and then smashing in with big riffs and roars, as well as having only seven tracks to your discography (including the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross). Is this a conscious thing with the considerably short number of songs? Do you think that there’s an overabundance with releases each year with certain artists?
Not really, we wrote PUA as a stand alone track, not part of a collection of tracks, originally just to use as a free download on our website. We have always just tried to write music that was different to our last, but still retaining our own sound. I think that how we are writing music now is very different to how we wrote back in 2006-2007, we are currently demoing the whole album, which we have never done before, so that process is making how we write much faster.
You’re a band that’s quite well connected with others and you seem quite supportive of others, but who at the moment do you see as the bands or artists that you’re especially digging right now?
We always believed that no one gets anywhere without help from others, and that we have always tried to support other bands. For me I am really into a band called Canterbury, and been listening to lots of Crosses, Chino’s new project. I also recently rediscovered my love for Mogwai, and have been listening to their new album on repeat.
Bossk are playing Temples Festival this year, a new festival in Bristol that’s sporting an insane line-up for extreme metal and punk. How do you feel to be playing it and who are you looking forward to seeing there?
Honestly, as soon as I saw that bill coming together I really wanted Bossk to be part of it. Independent festivals that can have a lineup that impressive is worth supporting. The promoters for Temples, and for Damnation Festival, are some of the hardest working folk in the promoting world. It’s truly an honour to share a stage with Neurosis, pioneers of a sound that has continued to grow and evolve over the years.
Bossk has been known to do some unusual merch, with the rolling rest, hemp soap and soon the Bossk BBQ sauce. What’s the usual process in coming up with these sorts of merch? Is it hard to make these products?
Anyone can print t-shirts, we are trying to push ourselves to create music that goes beyond people’s expectations, and we just apply that to all aspects of the band. We made a lot of that stuff ourselves, or through small businesses based in the UK.
What can we expect from Bossk in the future in terms of future releases and tours?
You can expect all of those things. We are finishing demoing the album and have a bunch of shows announced for later in the year, ranging from Paris to Moscow, and a ton of other places we have never been. These will be our biggest run of shows for a while though while we finish the record.
The Bossk Pick Up Artist/Albatross is still available on Deathwish Inc, and be sure to keep up to date on all tour and news updates via Bossk’s official website.
Here at Eyesore Merch, we are happy to announce that we now haveCrosses – or ††† – merch in stock! The project formed by Chino Moreno (of Deftones, Team Sleep, Palms), Shaun Lopez (Far, The Revolution Smile) and Chuck Doom is something outside either of the former two’s usual style; although it should not come as a surprise if you know about Chino’s love for the likes of Depeche Mode and Duran Duran.
Crosses are a sort of pop-rock/electronic band that fuses synth-pop melodies with the occasional use of guitars to create big choruses – all the while Chino croons with dark romantic lyrics shrouded in mystery. So far, the reaction to this project has been nothing less than fanatical.
Even though they only formed in 2011, Crosses has managed to achieve a lot in its time so far, especially in consideration with each member’s outside commitments. Releasing the equally welcomed “EP 1” in 2011 and “EP 2” in 2012, they have contributed a track to the Batman: Arkham City game and a remix of the infamous Dragula track on the Rob Zombie remix album “Mondo Sexhead”. In 2013, they unveiled a track called Bitches Brew (a clear tribute to the legendary Miles Davis) and performed several live performances throughout the year. Now they have scheduled the release of their debut self-titled album for the 11th February 2014.
So it’s no surprise that we’re excited to be able to spread the name of Crosses here in the UK! We’re looking forward to what the future brings with this trio.
Greetings From Shitsville
Shame On Me
The Miles Away Girl
My Baby Is A Headfuck
News Of The World
Drinking About Life
Love U Til I Don’t
Caffeine Bomb Vs Sick Of Drugs
Got It On Tuesday Vs Schizophonic
You Beautiful Thing Vs Red Light Green Light
Naivety Play Vs Dangerlust
Mood Swings & Roundabouts Vs Now Is The Colour
Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus Vs Turning American
The Duck Song Vs Hate The World Day
Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes Vs Geordie In Wonderland
29 X The Pain Vs I Wanna Go Where The People Go
Last April my brother asked me to be his best man, an honour, for sure, but I’m not the most organised person. So when the Wildhearts announced a tour to celebrate Earth Vs The Wildhearts 20th Anniversary it certainly took a lot of pressure off my shoulders.
They’re not just a band who my brother and I share a love of, but also my girlfriend, her brother, several of our closest friends. All of whom made the trip over the Pennines for this gig. In the past I’ve been on road trips to Dudley, Nottingham and Scarborough to see them, as well as closer to home, so a jaunt to Manchester felt like the perfect choice for this stag do.
The gig had been upgraded from The Academy 2 to the main Academy, a fact that underlines the appeal that The Wildhearts, and more specifically the Earth Vs album continues to have. Thankfully tonight the line-up, which consists of Ginger & CJ from that era, together with Rich Battersby and Jon Poole, do the album justice. As does the sound in the Academy, Rich’s bass drum is particularly punchy during opener Greetings From Shitsville. The crowd is also in fine voice as well, singing the ‘So, So, KO’ line in TV Tan with gusto. The fact it’s a Friday night and most people are willing to lose their inhibitions no doubt aids this. During Everlone I even found myself pogoing for the first time in years, something my knees weren’t thankful for the next day.
Shame On Me is one of the less familiar album tracks, so there’s a slight lull, but the trio of songs that follows The Miles Away Girl, My Baby Is A Headfuck and Suckerpunch is pretty much unbeatable, especially the one-two combination of the last two. Suckerpunch sounds as frenetic as ever, echoing Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod in terms of its impact the first time I heard it, it was the song that converted me to the Wildhearts in the first place. Following this News Of The World is never going to compete, which is the inevitable issue that arises at shows such as this, whereas a straight ‘hits’ based set wouldn’t leave room for comparative filler. Still the meaty, almost thrash, riff near the end compels my neck muscles into action.
The outset of Love You Till I Don’t’s brings a touch of sunshine to the Manchester night, whilst later in the song Rich Battersby’s drum tattoo brings to mind the opening of another classic song from 1993, namely Anthrax’s Potters Field. Catchy choruses to kill for, thrash riffs, near industrial hit singles and a pop sensibility that has always served the band well, it’s fair to say that the band and Earth Vs in particular covered a lot of bases which explains the diversity in tonight’s crowd (More of which later). So far, so good.
The second half of the set offered that crowd a chance to select what the band played, an intriguing premise that despite being highly enjoyable initially was slightly flawed. There was a slight air of inevitability that when presented with a choice of Caffeine Bomb or Sick Of Drugs. The majority of the crowd opted for the former, which appeared on Earth Vs when it was re-issued in 1994. For me it would have been preferable if it had been featured in the main set and something else went up against Sick Of Drugs, perhaps If life Is Like A Lovebank I Want An Overdraft.
The next two choices presented an interesting dilemma, pip for the song you’ve heard of or go for a surprise in my case. Schizophonic won out, a track that originally appeared on the band’s legendary, initially mail-order only, EP Fishing For Luckies. The alternative was Got It On Tuesday, a B-Side from the Red Light – Green Light EP, which on the night I couldn’t remember. Both choices show how prolific The Wildhearts were from their early nineties inception right through to their initial split after 1997’s Endless Nameless. Nearly every single they put out came with 3 new songs, some of which happened to be amongst their best material.
I was at the bar during the next choice and a gent in what can only be described as glam-rock attire, including a fur coat, planted a kiss on my cheeks by way of an apology for spilling some beer over me. A gesture which underlines the love in the room for the band, having an uplifting affect on those in attendance. Had he spilt that beer in one of Manchester’s many bars later in the night over a less open-minded individual he may well have got into a physical altercation!
The next choice, You Beautiful Thing was a B-Side on the Suckerpunch single and was a fairly unanimous selection over the somewhat novelty Red Light – Green Light (The video for which is well worth looking up on Youtube just to contemplate how the band got away with putting it out). Granted there’s no guest saxophonist but just hearing such a gloriously hook laden song and realising that this wasn’t even the best B-Side on said single makes you realise how much the quality of that format has nosedived since the advent of downloading.
The crowd certainly seems to be largely populated by singles and rarities aficionados, who go on to select Dangerlust from the TV EP over PHUQ album cut Naivety Play and Mood Swings And Roundabouts, which came from the band approved re-release of Fishing For Luckies and wasn’t on EastWest’s cash in version (Are you keeping up, following The Wildhearts was certainly an exhausting pastime!) over Now Is The Colour (An Endless Nameless album cut).
The subsequent choice of Turning American from Don’t Be Happy…Just Worry over Deep In The Arms Of Morpheus was described as a forgone conclusion. Perhaps not surprising considering a recorded version of the latter has only surfaced on Ginger’s fan funded 555% in 2012. It’s similarly unsurprising that the audience implore Rich Battersby to come out from behind his drum kit in order to sing The Duck Song (The football chant style ending to 29x The Pain) rather than Hate The World Day; a Life Is Like A Lovebank… B-Side which itself ends with a rather memorable football terrace friendly chant (Something the band excelled at, Don’t Worry About Me still gets sung by the audience at the end of any of their gigs).
Geordie In Wonderland, which successfully mixes an almost Mediterranean feel with its lilting folk and lyrical subject, is a crowd pleaser that would have trumped most songs, so the chances of hearing Nothing Ever Changes But The Shoes were always slim, and so it came to pass.
The final choice of the night, described as a heavyweight clash by our announcer sees perhaps the greatest Wildhearts song (And one of my all time favourite songs), Suckerpunch B-Side 29x The Pain pitted against one of the band’s most popular singles I Wanna Go Where The People Go. It’s a close run thing. Thankfully, for me, the former got the nod and I was in heaven for the next few minutes.
Giving the audience the final say in the second half of the set led to some enjoyable moments, but it robbed that portion of proceedings of some momentum. That the audience frequently chose B-Sides suggest the band should have just stuck to the Earth Vs singles and played all the B-Sides from the TV EP, Suckerpunch and Caffeine Bomb. Five of them made it in anyway. There was also a noticeably less banter from Ginger tonight, but what little there was mostly revolved around the fact the band genuinely didn’t know what choices the band would be presented with. In that sense tonight was, for better of for worse, truly about people power.
If you want to have a hand in deciding what the band play next time round they have added another batch of dates in June:
21st June – Bournemouth Academy
22nd June – London Forum
23rd June – Bristol Academy
28th June – Leicester Academy
29th June – Newcastle Academy
30th June – Leeds Academy
On the first day of Hammerfest, a light drizzle has been flirting in the air. However, after Dyscarnate play one of the most intense sets at Hammerfest, the rain begins to pour down, and so the trio brave it so we can talk about touring, progression and the dreaded ‘third album’…
I’m here with Dyscarnate. Would you guys like to introduce yourselves and what you do in the band?
TOM: My name’s Tom, I play guitar and also vocals. HENRY: Henry, bass and vocals. MATT: I’m Matt and I play the drums.
First of all, how are you guys today?
MATT: Good, yeah! Bit tired, we had a long drive up – five or so hours – but good now we’ve played. Feeling good, having a few beers.
How did you feel about the reception you had for the set then?
TOM: Yeah, really good actually! We were a bit dubious before we started playing, we were looking out at the crowd and it wasn’t that busy, and we weren’t really sure if there were too many death metal heads in the crowd, but once we started playing it just filled out, people getting into it, pits and people headbanging… so yeah, it was good.
The reaction seemed really good, a mini-moshpit going on.
HENRY: Yeah, smurf moshpit! [Edit: There was a group of Smurfs in the crowd]
For anyone new to you, how would you describe yourselves? Maybe a little bit of history, musically to begin with if you want.
TOM: Style, I suppose, obviously death metal. Our influences are sorta taken from stuff like Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Cannibal Corpse – those sort of bands – and some of the newer stuff like, y’know, maybe elements of Whitechapel. People might not see that so much but they are a bit of an influence on us. HENRY: Anything catch really. TOM: Yeah, if you can bang your head to it… HENRY: Just the catchy heavy shit really, that’s what we like, that’s what we do. MATT: Hatebreed are playing this weekend, they’re a big influence on us, as well as Napalm Death. It’s halfway between Hatebreed and Napalm Death – all the grindcore blastbeaty bits with groovy bits as well.
That’s a pretty good description!
MATT: It works. Those are the two bands we’re really looking forward to seeing this weekend.
Anybody else you’re looking forward to?
TOM: I can’t think of anyone else who’s playing. MATT: Our mates Bloodshot Dawn are playing, Flayed Disciple are playing too. Our friends in OAF as well, just sorta bass, drums and vocals, which is pretty cool. Yeah, we’ve got a few friends playing, and I think for us, Napalm and Hatebreed. TOM: We’ve probably ruined one of your questions now, haven’t we?
Yeah, kind of, I was saving that for later! That’s one down.
HENRY: Fuck it, move on! MATT: Next! [Laughs]
Well, how long have you guys been together then with all the touring…
TOM: Overall, me and Henry have been playing music together since 2002, something like that, but we hadn’t been a serious band, with the line-up we are now, until since 2007-08. MATT: In 2008 we brought out our first EP, if you can call it that… HENRY: Pile of shit. MATT: Don’t say that!
I liked it – I bought it!
MATT: It’s a good CD! [Laughs] HENRY: Oh! MATT: It’s a bit under-produced compared to our later stuff, so you know, I think it’s pretty cool to have that just to show growth as a band; someone can listen to us chronologically and sort of… HENRY: Progressively gets better, in my opinion… although a lot of people will prefer “Enduring The Massacre”. MATT: I’d hate to blow our best CD on the first one and it will be downhill from there. Our plan is to always get better and better with every release.
Improve and change.
MATT: Definitely, yeah.
Last time I spoke to you was the Aeon gig [Cardiff] in January, how have things progressed in that short time? Have you had any exciting stories on tour?
HENRY: Aeon, we had a snowball fight with ‘em, that was quite fun.
How did that go, who won?
TOM: Errr… mixed bag [Laughs]. MATT: [Laughs] The Aeon singer was getting very into it. TOM: There was snow winner in that one, I tell ya. MATT: Oh… come on!
No blood then?
HENRY: No blood. Just every man for himself. MATT: We put them onto the wonders of Sainsbury’s hot food deli as well, and they were in awe of that, so… they were loving it. TOM: Chicken wings… MATT: Couldn’t get enough of that. TOM: Yeah, it was a good tour, we had a good laugh. HENRY: Dublin was the best night – we were all just completely battered and just pissed around all night.
Was the crowd insane?
HENRY: The crowd was the best as well I reckon. TOM: Really? MATT: Dublin? HENRY: Don’t slag them off! TOM: Cardiff was good.
Aw, you don’t have to say that.
TOM: It was good! MATT: London, Dublin, Cardiff. HENRY: Capitals. MATT: Exactly, yeah. Everyone’s brilliant, but London, Cardiff and Dublin… Dublin we love: the nights out we have in Dublin are always the best.
I’m sure you mentioned before that that was going to be the first Irish date you’d do.
MATT: Dublin? Yeah. TOM: No, it was Cork, then Dublin and Belfast. MATT: Yeah… but we’d played Dublin before with Fleshgod Apocalypse. After we’d been there once, we wanted to go back, Ireland is just fucking amazing to play shows in, some of the nicest people we’ve met I think. TOM: Yeah, along with the Welsh.
The last time I spoke to you, you mentioned you were planning a new album in 2014…
TOM: Yeah, 2014, we’re working on it at the moment.
No new jams?
TOM: Not at the moment, we’re sorta getting the pre-production tracks together, sorta piecing it together, nothing concrete down just yet. HENRY: It’s fucking hard, y’know? TOM: 2014 will be… HENRY: There’s an awful lot of touring life left to pass. MATT: Yeah, we’re gonna do that an awful lot more and get to a hell of a lot more places. HENRY: Problem is is that album number one is your life’s work, album two is the progression of that and album three is like “Oh hell, what do we do now!” MATT: You’re fucked! HENRY: So we’re just… MATT: We don’t want to repeat ourselves – we’re trying to find our ‘album three’ sound. TOM: It’s gonna be a “Black Album”…
It’s gonna be a worldwide seller!
HENRY: Yeah, it will be a “Black Album”. TOM: Enter Sandman… HENRY: There’ll be no blastbeats. TOM: St. Anger… MATT: We’ll fuck off death metal, there’ll be singing, we’ll have a female vocalist.
MATT: Yep, brilliant. HENRY: Of course!
I don’t know if you guys know, but not too long ago, Arif of Wormrot posted a video of one of your songs on his Facebook, said he really liked you.
ALL: Oh cool!
Is this the first time you heard that?
MATT: Yeah! We played with them a long time ago, at The Old Blue Last in London. HENRY: Yeah, at Hackney. MATT: It’s Islington isn’t it? HENRY: No, Hackney. TOM: It’s Shoreditch. HENRY: Shoreditch, that’s right! MATT: The Old Blue Last is quite a legendary venue; it’s quite a well-known venue. Yeah, we played with those guys, they were awesome. I remember the chicken impressions were particularly impressive. HENRY: Yeah, he was barefoot on stage, weren’t he? MATT: Yeah, it was really cool! Those guys are fucking awesome; we haven’t had any contact with them since then though.
He plugged you about maybe a month and a half ago.
MATT: Wicked! TOM: Cool. MATT: Twitter or something?
Nah, Facebook. Well, I was wondering, but you’re obviously quite happy about that then?
MATT: Yeah, cool band! TOM: What a man.
Well, I was going to ask who else you guys were excited to see, but er…
MATT: Well, Napalm and Hatebreed; I’d say our sound is halfway between the two.
Yeah, I don’t remember you saying that… So what’s in the pipeline for Dyscarnate in the future?
ALL: More of these [Laughs]. [Edit: This is a David Brent (The Office) joke I forgot at the time]
More gigs? More festivals?
HENRY: More of these, yeah. MATT: Yeah, we got more. TOM: Nah, we’re going to Russia at the end of the month, we’re doing a headline tour out there, so that’s like ten days in Russia. MATT: Ukraine as well. TOM: One day in Ukraine, yeah.
Pretty much an Eastern European tour?
TOM: It’s our first time, we’ve done like the Czech Republic and Slovakia before, but not been as far as Ukraine, so it should be interesting, should be good – we’ve heard good things about Russia so we’re looking forward to it, and er… there’s a festival in Indonesia at the end of April, it’s supposed to be a 35,000 capacity festival. HENRY: We’ve got stuff planned later in the year too, but I’m not sure if we can talk about it just yet. MATT: We’re headlining a festival in Israel as well, we’re doing Tel Aviv Deathfest, which will be pretty sweet. TOM: We’re the secret headliner for Bloodstock… nah, only kidding. MATT: [Laughs] Yet to be announced! HENRY: Yeah, we’re gonna headline Download [Laughs]. TOM: They tried to get Machine Head in but said ‘nope’ [Laughs].
That’s pretty much it, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans, in Wales or otherwise?
TOM: Yeah, for anyone who came down to our set in Hammerfest, we appreciate it, hope everyone enjoyed themselves and hopefully we’ll be back before the end of the year. We’ve got some stuff planned and we’ll be back in Wales. MATT: Yeah, what he said!
Doom metal at times can be very serious business, however Serpent Venom – who deliver a thick and filthy doseage of Electric Wizard meets Saint Vitus – may just win the prize for the friendliest guys in metal. After they put on a thunderous and crushing show at Hammerfest V, clearly having fun onstage, I caught up with Gaz and Nick to discuss Sabbath, influences and playing with legends…
First of all, would you like to say who you are and what you do in Serpent Venom.
GAZ: Sure, yeah. I’m Gaz and I do vocals in Serpent Venom. NICK: I’m Nick and I apparently play bass.
I kind of wanted to get a backstory of the band, like how did you all get together, meet up and form the band, all that kind of stuff.
GAZ: Paul, our drummer, met up with a guy called Pete, they were jamming in band called Orpheus Childquite a long time ago. They had a bass player called Tas, who left to join Electric Wizard. All his friends, they were doing that for a while, I was friends with Paul. Tas left, Paul basically phoned me up and said, do you fancy coming in and having a jam with us. I was like, yeah that would be great! We did that for a while… we needed a bass player, but we’d known Nick for a while through various gigs and things like that, and seen him about, having beers and stuff, and a mutual friend of ours basically put us in contact with him and me and Nick met up. I gave him like a CD of the stuff and said come down and try, and basically that was that. We recorded an album, Pete then left to move to America, then we got Roland in, who I used to be in a band with as well, a band called Sloth – again a guy we’ve all known for years and that sort of got us to where we are now. NICK: We got off the plane after going on tour across Europe and we were all standing there at Gatwick Airport, going; ‘that felt really fucking cool… So, do you fancy rehearsing next week?’ And he was like, ‘…yeah’. And there we go! [Laughs] GAZ: Yeah, we all had common interests and stuff, and I hadn’t been doing anything for a long time. I always was kinda talking to Paul about doing a band that sounded like a fucking dirty Pentagram, sorta stuff, and you know, he was like, well I’m in this band… NICK: Yeah, again, I got a fucking phonecall from Paul saying, ‘are you up for playing in a band?’ And I’m like, I grew up watching these guys play in other bands, and I was like… yeah, of course I fucking will! I mean, I’m a guitar player by trade – played extreme metal – and I thought, well, I can’t be arsed to play that anymore, and [he] said, do you want to play in a doom band? Of course I wanna play in a doom band. And I’d been arsing around on bass in a pisstake death metal band for a while, and yeah… it was nice, these guys set me up for it. Me and Gaz went down the pub and that was it really; we started rehearsing after, didn’t we? GAZ: Yeah, we did, yeah. That’s how it all sort of happened.
Just mingling in the circles then.
NICK: Yeah, I mean we all kind of knew each other really. GAZ: Doom scene really, doom gigs, mutual friends… NICK: Yeah, doing doom gigs and meeting friends and stuff. GAZ: Everyone knows everyone really.
It’s pretty good in London with the doom scene then?
GAZ: It is! Everybody seems to know everybody, yeah. NICK: Yeah, and if you don’t know someone; they know someone you know. GAZ: It’s kinda handy! NICK: It’s sorta like: ‘OH! You’re so-and-so’s mate in…’ and yeah, ‘the one who pissed themselves at fucking Cathedral and Electric Wizard’, ‘yeah, that’s right’. It’s cool, we have a good laugh, we get on really well. Just four idiots having a laugh, playing noisy music and doing alright, really… GAZ: Yeah, it’s not bad, not bad at all… NICK: For fuck’s sakes, we’re here. [Laughs]
Listening to your music you’re obviously influenced by Saint Vitus, I was wondering how excited you are to be playing alongside them?
GAZ: Something I never thought… I mean, we’re on different stages, but even to be on the same bill as them, on the same day… NICK: We wouldn’t have given a shit if we were on a different day! GAZ: Exactly, just to be on the same fucking poster with them is an honour. Candlemass, again, and Angel Witch as well… NICK: Everybody’s playing really… they’re all names, it’s wow! GAZ: Never thought that would happen, I mean, I was lucky enough – years ago – to play with Spirit Caravan with my old band and it still blows me away. Y’know, but yeah! [Laughs] I’m at a loss of words for this bit… fanboy worship, I suppose. NICK: Yeah, but the minute you lose that grounding, you might as well put your instruments down and fuck off really. We’re just human beings playing music for entertainment and we’re doing it for a laugh, for ourselves, and to be able to do it here, or anywhere! We build up friendships with all the bands we play with, great guys, y’know, Conan, Undersmile, Black Magician, Grimpen Mire… all of these guys we jam with and we always get on with them and we always become friends: it just goes to show it’s the best scene in the world. GAZ: The whole scene in England at the moment is really healthy, there’s so many good bands. There’s another band, Atragon from Edinburgh, who we played with last night… they just come out crushing. NICK: Blinding… well worth checking out. GAZ: Bast we played with as well… NICK: They’re fucking awesome. GAZ: There’s so many to mention at the moment. NICK: There are these hated bands for some reason, people just don’t quite get them, and it’s like, we get them involved in shows with us because then people will watch them, y’know… they’re stunning. Simply stunning. There’s loads of bands – millions, hundreds – everyone we’ve played with has been great. GAZ: It’s just brilliant. NICK: Christ, we’re just idiot fanboys and we love it. [Laughs]
Well it’s good you get to play alongside personal heroes…
GAZ: It is, we love it. Y’know, when you’re a kid listening to stuff like “Born Too Late” or “Hallow’s Victim” [Saint Vitus albums], you never imagine that one day you’ll be on the same bill as them. NICK: Even for me with the noisy stuff, we got to play a show with Voivod, and I love Voivod – and so does Roland – and we were both like, ‘Oh my god, we’re playing with Voivod… but we’re opening up for them, and Doom as well, oh my fucking god’. Crust punk legends! GAZ: I was on a honeymoon and got a text in Mexico from them saying, ‘We got a gig when you come back’. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, who with?’ and it was like… NICK: Voivod and Doom! [Laughs] GAZ: I nearly fell over the balcony! [Laughs] NICK: It was fucking killer mate, y’know, it was just a stroke of luck really. It was Roland’s other band, End Of Level Boss, couldn’t do it, they had some conflicting trouble with members living in other places, couldn’t fly down from Scotland and Harry, their singer, just said, ‘Put them on! They’re a good London band!’ And we did, we played, we were like, fuck… we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder with heroes. It never gets old. [Laughs] Never gets old!
I was just wondering what other influences you have, in and outside of music.
GAZ: I dunno really, generally a lot of it is the doom stuff, for me and Nick, we watch a lot of horror films and stuff like that. I read a lot of historical books and stuff like that, about the old battles of years ago, the brutal kind of fucking slaying people and stuff like that, and old kings… NICK: It’s ok, he is sane, he is sane. GAZ: Y’know, there’s all that…
I’m sure Kerry King does that as well anyway.
GAZ: Yeah, exactly. NICK: He’s sorta on the naughty side with some of his flags and memorabilia, him and Jeff [Hanneman], dodgy fuckers! GAZ: I think with regards to lyrics, I generally try… I mean, I try to veer off the horror thing because a lot of people are doing that, and I kind of look at the human mind. Sometimes I think real-life can be a little bit more scarier than fiction sometimes, y’know, with people going mental and doing fucking mad stuff. That’s what I kinda try to go towards now, especially on the lyrical side, definitely. NICK: Certainly with doom as well, it is particularly miserable music, and I think a lot of the time… me personally, I dunno, correct me if I’m wrong Gaz, but I think lyrically it’s all metaphors for stuff that is perhaps experienced. GAZ: Yeah, absolutely. NICK: You got the blatancy of Born Too Late and Dying Inside, y’know, it’s about getting the piss taken out of you for being who you are and being a chronic alchi and stuff like that. But some of the stories that Gaz is telling I sometimes think, I know what’s going on in his life and stuff, and I think he’s drawing on that experience and put it into a story, and people will look at that – as with any doom lyrics – they’ll pull their own interpretation out of it.
People can relate.
GAZ: Yeah, yeah, exactly. NICK: That’s what I do with fucking songs, I mean, Lord Vicar wrote a song called Endless November and it’s the most sorrowful fucking song in the world. GAZ: One of my favourite songs by them I think. NICK: Yeah! It’s just an acoustic number they did and listening to it back, its like, that fucked me up. I got really drunk and tearful one night, and Gaz is the same. GAZ: I don’t want to get too morbid on it, but my old man passed away when that album came out and I remember that song really hit a chord with me, y’know? Lyrically and the atmosphere of the whole thing… things like that, I think, in doom, there’s so much emotion in it. It can touch you man. NICK: Music in general, everybody’s got a favourite song for a sneaky little reason – it’s not just a riff where you’re like “WHEY” and banging your head like a nutter to Slayer or Morbid Angel or whatever. But there’s something there just grabs you and that is what drew me to listening to all this stuff, and the fact that I get to play this and make it all up as well is really cool, certainly with the level of people I’m with as well… I mean fucking hell, the guys I’m a band with, amazing. Me and Roland knock riffs off of each other: I’ll play a riff and he’ll say, ‘yeah, that’s quite good’, and I’m like, nod of approval, ‘yay, I like that, wicked!’; then he’ll play something and I’ll be like, ‘fuck’. Then we tie them into the new stuff and it’s amazing, y’know. It’s such a pleasure to bounce ideas off of everybody and have this situation… GAZ: Yeah, this is the easiest band I’ve ever been in. [Laughs] There’s never any conflict or anything. NICK: We’ve all been there and done it, we’ve experienced it. GAZ: We sometimes bang heads over certain riffs and what have you but generally we’re all in it for the greater good. NICK: There for the craic and the craic’s good. GAZ: Exactly. NICK: We all like a beverage and a laugh… and we’re very silly. [Laughs] The most silly, idiot doom band ever. We’re not My Dying Bride or Paradise Lost, just walk around moping, we’re actually quite up-beat and take the piss out of everybody and ourselves all the time.
That’s kinda what I think: Eyehategod are quite heavy and doomy, but at the same time, they have riffs you just want to get drunk to.
GAZ: Absolutely, absolutely. NICK: It fires you up, yeah. GAZ: Definitely, definitely man. NICK: I love that.
Those are the best riffs!
GAZ: Yeah, the riffs just make you wanna sit there and drink yourself into oblivion are kinda the best riffs I think. [Laughs] NICK: Pretty much, yeah. Or you just slap it on in the car and put your foot down and drive into a bridge or something for a laugh. GAZ: Or make you want to slow down to a complete stop and just fuck everyone else off. [Laughs] NICK: Yeah, I guess you could do that! [Laughs] Yeah, put You Suffer from Napalm Death – WURGH! – just slam your brakes on right in the middle of rush hour traffic… doesn’t make any sense, but you know, anyway… [Laughs]
2013 is going to be a big year for doom metal because of the return of Black Sabbath and the new album. Are you excited or nervous about the new album? I noticed you’re [Nick] wearing a “No Bill! No Sabbath!” shirt.
NICK: I think… yes, I was wearing that because I really think they should have sorted the fucking… whatever’s behind the scenes is driving them, it sounds so financial, it’s unreal; ‘Well, y’know you’re not writing riffs so you’re getting less’, so the whole percentages thing… whatever disagreements they have over that, I think they’ve been through too much, as friends.
They’ve been together their whole lives.
NICK: In and out. Remember when they got together and they just banged music because they wanted to? Forget all of the fucking money and the accolades, this, that and the other: you’re the biggest rock band in the history, invented heavy metal and invented a whole new fucking genre with doom. Remember you are four friends; just get over that shit and play, because you’re friends. So yeah, it’s a shame. The album’s gonna turn out and sound nice, I mean for fuck’s sake, who’s playing on it! GAZ: Yeah, I’m sure it will be great. NICK: Three out of four ain’t fucking bad. [Tony] Iommi’s the king of riffs. Oz[zy] might not have the same voice, when you think of the 80s, but give him a fucking chance. I’ve softened my attitude a little bit, well, it’s not going to be shit, is it? They’re gonna make sure it’s not shit, and the production is not going to be shit either, but… I would like to have his [Bill Ward] name on there just because I’m a silly fanboy dick, y’know.
Well, he was one of the original members.
NICK: Of course. Y’know, he had that jazz foot thing going on with his drumming, that slight swing where it’s not really swinging, the band used to thrive on it immensely, y’know, obviously… that, to me, was is the Sabbath stuff – sure, I loved the Dio stuff as well, a new era, and he’s my favourite singer of all time – but when you have that announcement, 11/11/11, Sabbath are back together, you think ‘fuck, they’re gonna give it one’. And certainly with Iommi’s health the way it is, it’s all up in the air, it’s all a big secret as to how he’s getting on. The swansong of that band in their later years, or their autumn years, as a band, it should be all four of them, for me. I don’t know. It’s very selfish, but I’m allowed to be a little bit selfish I suppose. GAZ: We were talking about it on the way up in the van, about that… NICK: It’s a shame. But they’re not gonna get anyone older in, are they? They’re gonna get somebody that suits them and where they are musically now. So… I’m looking forward to hearing it, but there’s a small evil part of me looking forward to saying, ‘Ha! It’s not Bill’, y’know.
It’s not the complete thing.
NICK: It doesn’t matter, they’re complete fucking legends and they can do what the fuck they like, y’know, I’ll still lap it up. A lot of albums people don’t necessarily like, that Sabbath have produced, I still like, because I’m a complete fanboy dick. Y’know, they can’t do wrong as far as I’m concerned, y’know… any more than some silly Metallica fan will love “St. Anger” because ‘IT’S METALLICA WHO DID IT’; even though it’s the biggest pile of shit in the world. Well… they topped that with “Lulu” didn’t they?
Well, who else are you excited to see? Obviously Saint Vitus, Candlemass…
GAZ: We’ve literally not been here long, we got here – we were driving up from London – just before Undersmile went on, so saw them. We kinda clashed with Angel Witch, which I kinda would have like to see, but it’s a bit, you know… I guess it would be Candlemass and Saint Vitus really! [Laughs] Because we haven’t had any time. NICK: Again, Angel Witch, going back to the friend thing, it was bloody Will [Palmer] and Bill [Steer], alright fellas! [Laughs] GAZ: Couple of our mates in there, so it would have been nice but it’s one of those things, you know… we’ve been running to and forth, we haven’t really been here. I’m not sure if Napalm Death have played yet?
No, they’re the last band because Sodom got moved earlier.
GAZ: I’m looking forward to seeing them then, yeah. NICK: Fuck yeah, man. We’ll go see the legends we want to see. GAZ: I’ve not seen them for a few years. NICK: We’ll see whatever really.
Just wander through…
NICK: Yeah. GAZ: I’m a bit gutted that Sodom were clashing with us as well. NICK: They were meant to be on quite late, weren’t they? GAZ: I was like, it’ll be 4 o’clock in the morning and we can have a few beers with them, but… NICK: Or we’d probably just wave our hands at them while laying on the floor, arseholed. Just, ‘Whey! Sodom!’ GAZ: Safe. NICK: Yeah, well… we’ll probably still scream that anyway… Yeah, Napalm Death, certainly. I’m a bit gutted that I missed Enslaved the other day because we were playing last night in London – I would love to see them. I like extreme metal anyway. GAZ: Lifer yesterday… NICK: Oh god, yeah! Just look at the line-up, it’s bizarre… that we’re sorta playing it. [Laughs] GAZ: It’s a bit weird, ain’t it!
Just sinking in now then?
NICK: Yeah! Well, we’ve finished now so we can just go and relax and got nothing to do but get pissed and have a laugh.
That’s cool! Well, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans, in Wales or whatever?
NICK: Oh yeah, we’d like to come here and play! GAZ: Yeah, definitely! NICK: If there’s like some promoters that are interested in doom stuff for some venues, you can have us, get in contact, yeah. GAZ: Anyone who’s happy to watch us, we’re more than happy to jump in the van and come up, absolutely. NICK: Do a string of dates. We mainly manage ourselves pretty much anyway – we do a bit with Future Noise and stuff – so get in contact with us, our email is quite easily available. We’d love to come and do some doom gigs with some local bands or bring some friends with us, like Conan and stuff. We can always sort it out. GAZ: Earls Of Mars as well, I’d like to mention them. NICK: Oh man! Absolutely! GAZ: Have you heard them?
No, I haven’t.
GAZ: Earls Of Mars, crazy, but probably one of the best bands I’ve seen and heard in a long time. NICK: If you get a load of horror DVDs and epileptics and nutters, and stick them all in a washing machine, that’s kind of what you’ll get onstage. They are mental. GAZ: Yeah.
I’ll have to check them out.
NICK: Definitely worth it; stunningly well live. It’s nice to have a mixed bill where you get a bit of everything, I think.
That’s what’s great about this festival, you get those different types.
GAZ: Exactly. I think sometimes when you get a bill where every band sounds the same, it can be a little tedious. Sometimes you need a bit of diversity. A band you’ve maybe never heard before or a band you’ve never been fussed about before, then you see them live and it’s like, ‘fucking hell’. That’s what you want, definitely. NICK: I think we find that all the time with everyone we play with really, we’re always pleasantly surprised with the bands we end up on bills with. Christ, the level of fucking playing is unbelievable in the underground, everyone’s just giving it their all, all their guns, ‘This is us! Let’s do it!’. You can’t get better than that, and that’s why particularly the scene we’re involved in and particulatly the bands we play with, they’re all… GAZ: Very strong at the moment, very strong. NICK: It’s immensely strong and it’s well up there with the rest of the world, isn’t it? GAZ: It’s a pleasure to be a part of it. Definitely.
Well, it was nice talking to you guys.
GAZ: Well, thank you, thanks for taking the time! NICK: Thank you!
In recent years, black metal has seen a popular renewal in the UK, and one of the many bands pushing its harsh sound is Manchester’s Winterfylleth – mixing a progressive black metal sound with heavy folk vibes, thus creating a unique and refined brand of BM. Before the band hit the stage at Hammerfest V, I managed to talk to Chris Naughton about influences, corpsepaint and remembering your roots…
First of all, would you like to introduce yourself and say what you do in Winterfylleth?
Sure, it’s Chris Naughton and I play guitar and do lead vocals in Winterfylleth.
So, have you played Hammerfest before?
No, never played Hammerfest before, played other festivals but never had the chance to come to this festival… so looking forward to having the opportunity to play next to Burger King, that’s a life-time ambition achieved right there, I think [laughs]. We played this ATP festival a couple of years ago, similar kind of set up to this, kind of holiday park. It sounds a sorta bit bent at first, doesn’t it? But it’s quite a nice thing when you get here, like there’s food for everybody – catering facilities and great big venues – and everybody gets to stay in a nice shack every night, so it’s good [laughs].
I know you’re touring with Enslaved, and you’ve only just arrived here, but I was wondering if there was anybody you’re looking forward to seeing tonight?
Erm… not really. I mean, we’ve missed all the bands we wanted to see today and we’re also touring with Ancient Ascendant; they’re great, we saw them last night. I was looking forward to seeing Enslaved again but we got here late and it’s been a bit of a mess about. Nobody else really, all the stuff I wanna see is on tomorrow. The bands – for me, today – is not what I want to watch, so…
Who would you like to see tomorrow, if you had the opportunity?
I’d like to see Candlemass, Napalm[Death], Saint Vitus, Angel Witch, all that sorta stuff – it’s much more what we’re up for. But it’s good to be here and it’s good to play alongside Enslaved again and just some of the smaller bands – we’re quite good friends with this band called Triaxis from South Wales, I wanted to catch them but we arrived hours after they finished, so… it’s been a messy day, so y’know… I just wanna get drunk [laughs].
They [Triaxis] had a good reaction though!
Yeah, they’re a good band! They recorded with this guy called Chris Fielding, who we record with, and he’s produced an album for them, and they’re starting to get an influence that’s absolutely positive for them, y’know, quite DIY roots, building a name of their own and they’ve not had the support of a label up to this point, so they’re getting their name out there and playing lots of shows, doing really well for themselves. It’s great to see people still do that and get to this level.
Especially in this digital age.
Yeah, completely. I think there’s too many folks downloading and all that sort of stuff… it does my head in man, but like, it is what it is and you have to adapt to it. A lot of people buy t-shirts these days rather than buying CDs, so that’s how bands make their money.
Vinyl’s making a comeback too.
I think so, yeah.
I noticed on your official website that you describe yourselves as “English Heritage Black Metal”, I was just wondering what that might specifically entail, musically or lyrically.
Well, I think it started as a kind of like a buzzy term really to sort of say we aren’t Norwegian black metal, that we aren’t Scandinavian or we aren’t USBM [United States Black Metal] or whatever. I think we’ve always wanted to… yeah, we all love black metal, but we’ve always wanted to do something that was our own. I’m not suggesting we’re reinventing the wheel because we’re not, it’s a black metal band, we’ve done songs in the spirit of that sort of stuff. I just think we try to put a uniquely, hopefully, English twist and talk about, well, stories of England and the British Isles and stuff that matters to us. Actually, y’know, the front cover of our new album is probably taken nearer to here than anywhere else, up in Snowdonia… so, it’s not specifically just about England but the British Isles and our collective history as a sort of… lump of land [laughs].
Yeah, there’s a lot of Celtic…
Of course, yeah. I think we haven’t delved into all that sort of stuff maybe as much, but y’know, we’re only three albums into our tenure as a band.
The fourth album is still yet to come.
Yeah, the third album has only just been out, whatever it is now… four or five months? We’re still kind of getting it out there and touring that; that’s why we’re touring with Enslaved and its come at the right time for us. So yeah, fantastic for us to be able to come out here and play some new songs for people and hopefully a few older ones and see a few heads banging.
Play the classics.
Well, do we have classics songs yet? I don’t think so.
Maybe, give it another year.
Well, related to that question: is there anyone else you consider to be in the same vein as what you’re trying to do? I know you’re good friends with Wodensthrone…
That’s right, yeah. Erm… there’s bands in a similar vein. I think the British, English, UK and Ireland scene at the moment is really kind of fruitful, there’s lots and lots of great bands coming out on the scene. I think everyone’s kind of coming from a similar perspective but everyone’s got their own take on it. We’re friends with quite a few of the great bands coming out of England, so y’know, Wodensthrone obviously, as you mentioned, they’re a little more Pagan, kinda bit more specific with their themes as opposed to like A Forest Of Stars, who are a bit more about the Victoriana and the occult, trance-mediums and bit more kind of obscure. Then you’ve got bands like Fen, a bit more Earth and nature, and then bands like Cnoc An Tursa from Scotland who are more about Scottish history, poetry, heritage, all that kind of stuff. So there’s this vein of bands coming out of England which are really great and got a similar vibe. I suppose maybe what we do differently – although I can’t speak for those other bands – but what we’ve tried to do with our stuff is mention the history and heritage that we think are interesting but also to link them to, I dunno, having a social undercurrent, I suppose, and stuff that actually resonates with people and means something other than singing about beer and losing your girlfriend and “eee-yeeer”… That’s fine, but it’s not what we want to do, we want to do something a bit more sincere and a bit more meaningful, so I think a lot of the English bands – Irish bands as well, like Alter Plagues and all that sort of stuff – there’s a real kind of sincerity and uniqueness about what they’re all doing, and it all stems from their relationship with where they’re from, their culture, their stories as opposed to trying to be a Norwegian band from England, you know what I mean, trying to sing songs about satan. It’s taking things on one step, maybe, and making it into something that’s relevant to us and not a parody of what lots of other bands have done before – content-wise at least. I’m sure there’s musical crossovers, but you know…
That kind of leads to another thing I was wondering about with Norwegian black metal: they’re heavy on the make-up, spikes and the leather, I was wondering because you don’t look like you play black metal, you’re quite casual in comparison to the Norwegian black metallers. What are your thoughts on the whole make-up and that stuff?
Well, I mean… from my perspective, I think that those guys created that look and that emotion and those sort of visuals as a reaction to their scene, to their social or musical or political or whatever kind of struggles they were going through at the time, and rebelling against death metal and all that sorta stuff… looking at the dead, and they were creating something new from it. I think it’s been done to death a lot, and I think for us to try and create something and pen it as English black metal, it makes no sense to me to parody early-90s black metal when we are [a] 2013 English black metal and we’re writing songs about our own experience, our own social/political problems, our own…
Environment, heritage, yeah… our own stories. It didn’t make sense to us to panda-up. I think that was their reaction to their situation; I think ours was to be a bit more… I dunno. It’s less visual image in that sense to me, I think the music is supposed to speak for itself: we dress quite plain onstage, jeans and black shirts, ‘cause it’s not about ‘Oh, they look evil and they’re wearing spikes’, because our music isn’t necessarily about being evil, it’s about challenging peoples thought processes and making people think differently about social situations or social pressures. So for us to dress up like Norwegians from the 90s it doesn’t make sense to me, that’s why we stay clear of it. I don’t necessarily hate other bands doing it but y’know… we aren’t singing about satan, we’re not evil. We’re people who care about who we are, where we’re from and our environment and macro-political stuff that’s affecting everybody and I think there’s lots of apathy within people; and think that if you don’t have somebody who’s prepared or willing to sort of say stuff to challenge peoples’ opinions that perhaps we have and hopefully continue to do through the stuff that we write, then why are you doing it? There’s lots and lots of metal bands that do it for the wrong reasons and just want to be in a band as opposed to having something to say and I think it’s really important to have something to say.
I guess the image distracts from the message a little bit.
I suppose, but you know, it’s not something that’s ever been super important to me. I think when you look at other bands like Enslaved, [they] don’t really have an ‘image’, they’re just guys in plain shirts and jeans who play amazing emotional music and has a real atmosphere to it that a lot of bands can’t create; and I hope we try and do something in our own way that’s similar to that. So, if you want to look at people wearing corpse paint, then don’t come watch a Winterfylleth show. If you want to hear music that’s atmospheric and hopefully affects you, then absolutely come and see Winterfylleth. That’s what we’re trying to do, so that’s why we don’t wear corpsepaint.
Another thing I was wondering about: You can hear a lot of influences outside of black metal, like in Mam Tor there’s quite a thrashy intro, I thought anyway, and you have an acoustic sets in your music, and sometimes doomy as well. What are your biggest influences outside of black metal?
Well, I can only really speak for me, obviously the other guys have got quite a wide spectrum of musical interests, but at the heart of it all we’re all just fans of extreme metal. Death, black and doom… I’m a big fan of ambient and drone and stuff like that, easy sort of stuff. One of my close friends runs Coldspring Records, sort of noisy-ambient-doom, weird black ambient – there is loads of stuff with bands like Inade, Sleep Research Facility, Merzbow, Zorn, Z’ev and stuff like that. I think, for me, that’s where a lot of my influences come from. Doomy-wise, we were in a doom band before we started Winterfylleth, in Atavist – we did five or six releases with that, I suppose some of that crept in a bit in the early days when we were finding our way with what Winterfylleth. We all love stuff from the whole spectrum of doom, from guys like Saint Vitus right through to the extremes of Evoken or Indesinence or like Esoteric, and stuff inbetween. I suppose in that sense we’ve got a broad range of metal that we draw on, I mean, it tends to be in the more extreme realms of things, more kind of… I dunno, underground maybe? But we’ve still got love for the things like Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Judas Priest…
You can’t forget the classics.
Yeah, I think if you do then you forget what these guys are doing. Like you hear these kids talking, going, “Oh, if only Black Sabbath recorded with modern production”, and you’re like… I know what you’re trying to say, you wanted to sound really punchy and massive, but you have to understand that these guys were paving the way…
It was modern back then!
Yeah, exactly! And try judging [after] having heard the latest Metallica album. These guys are the forefathers of it and you have to appreciate where it comes from and how you’ve got to where you are now from there.
They are the band that created “Kill ‘Em All”, so…
I heard that you hold down regular jobs as well as being in the band, I was just wondering if it’s safe to say what you do, or is it all secret?
It’s not secret, but it’s not important either, what we do… I dunno, I heard a great interview that Alan Averill from Primordial gave once, just sort of saying, do I really need to know that Ted from Darkthrone is a postman? No. All you need to know is that when the four of us come together outside our regular lives – we’re Winterfylleth and we bring the music that you hopefully love on the records and that’s why you stand in front of us, y’know. I don’t think many bands can make it in the modern world without having worked, so… yeah, we do work.
Yeah, Darkthrone hold down regular jobs.
Yeah, exactly, I think a lot of bands do. I think you have to. It is what it is, but I think we spend so much time thinking about this band that it’s almost the thing we love to do outside the need to eat and have a roof over your head and all that sort of stuff.
You recorded the last album in Wales; was that a joint decision by you all and how was that experience with recording?
Well, we recorded our last three releases in Wales actually, in a place called Foel Studios. It’s great, it’s done by Dave Anderson who used to be in Hawkwind and The Groundhogs and also Amon Duul II, there’s a real heritage in Dave, he bought the studio in the 70s, it’s in a place called Llanfair Caereinion – if you put a pin prick in the middle of Wales, in the middle of all the fields, it’s basically there. It’s like a 30-minute drive from the nearest shop, it’s great. He’s converted this old, massive barn outside it and two big properties that he owns, the studio’s all in there… lots of bands have recorded there, Napalm [Death], all that sort of stuff. The engineer Chris, really, was why we went there. We were quite friendly with this band Ingested from Manchester, quite slammy-death stuff, a couple of them used to be in Annotations Of An Autopsy – not music we’re necessarily or particularly love, but you know, they’re a great set of lads and they had a really good experience recording with Chris, so we fancied having a go with Chris. We started working with him and became really close friends, don’t think we trust anyone else to get the essence of what our albums sound like. It’s difficult, when you find someone you love working with it’s very difficult to try somebody else because…
… to go away from that.
Yeah, I suppose it’s the element of maybe getting a slightly different sound for the next record or doing something else and moving forward, but Chris captures this sort of organic, flowing – I use the word loosely – spiritual element we have to the albums.
It does show on the albums.
We’re really happy with that, that’s why we keep going there, because he’s the engineer there. He’s moved studios now, started his own studio, so it might be that we’ll follow him to his new place in the future.
So we can expect the new Winterfylleth there then?
Yeah, well we’ve already written about half of it, and we’ve recorded an EP that’s coming out inbetween on Seasons Of Mist, a split with… well, it’s like a folk compilation so we’ve done three folk songs. Its traditional English folk songs, done our own style, and one of the guys from the Ukrainian band Drudkh – he’s organised it. It’s gonna feature bands like Kampfar, I think Sólstafir are doing it, I’m not 100% though. A big compilation of like six or seven bands doing their own versions of folk songs from their own countries, and coming out at some point this year whenever everyone gets together with it and then we’ll start writing what will become the fourth album.
Yeah, well, that was my next question to be honest.
Yes, there will be a fourth album.
There will be a fourth album then, that’s good! Well, that’s pretty much it really, it was nice talking to you.
Pwllheli is a quiet place tucked away in the extreme rural area of North-West Wales. If you travel via Snowdon, you’re likely to cast your eye on small frozen waterfalls, big slate cliff-faces, fields of green and plenty of stone ruins.
However, from the 14th-17th of March, Penychain was invaded by a metal mass from all over the UK (and abroad) who were ready for beers and headbanging. Eyesore Merch was a part of it all and so here’s the rundown on the bands who stood up to the challenge of Hammerfest V and how they did.
The first slot for any festival is always going to be a hard one – the crowd will never reach its full potential as half of the occupants might not have even reached Penychain yet. However, undeterred, Goddamn Electric started the afternoon with their bluesy and slightly sleazy brand of Pantera-esque metal, vocalist Tommy seeming to mould both Phil Anselmo’s roars and M Shadow’s cleans. While the crowd was pretty thin, they managed to stir interest with offers of Jagermeister and throwing free albums from the stage. For an opener, they did good!
However, Dyscarnate were up next and within seconds of the trio kicking into their set a question screams to mind: Why in the hell are they playing a) Thursday, and b) so early? Dyscarnate are a visceral machine that rips throats and chews on bones, and for a band like that to start when the crowd is so small is a real wonder. For those unfamiliar to them, just think of some of the most technical and brutal death metal, and then exaggerate it with scary pinpoint precision. The guys also had the loudest bass/drums sound – trying to breathe at the barrier was almost impossible, feeling like you were repeatedly punched in the throat. Safe to say, Dyscarnate killed it.
Savage Messiah step up next and throw out their thrash-tinged heavy metal, although never really bringing anything new or mindblowing to the table, but the crowd seemed to enjoy. Vicious Nature followed with their grandiose take on old-school heavy metal and the entertaining vocalist could probably give Bruce Dickinson a run for his money when it comes to energy – the combination just making it a fun set. Sacred Mother Tongue on the other hand feels incredibly lacklustre in comparison, and their fairly predictable metal didn’t really help grab much interest either.
Sansara are the first band to open the Jagermeister stage at Hammerfest and are cursed with a small crowd, who are either too hungover or just uninterested to really show any enthusiasm. While they pump out a slightly chirpier version of Alice In Chain’s style of hard rock, there’s nothing that really grabs your attention.
Deadman Sugar do slightly better, delivering heavy metal with a doomy Black Sabbath edge, and manage to attract a livelier crowd throughout their set, thanks to the cheery and entertaining vocalist who spurred the crowd a little. Fire In The Empire unfortunately didn’t take advantage of the effort and pretty much played a straightforward heavy metal with a flat delivery.
Heading over to the mainstage, named Dragon stage, The Idol Dead play their sleazy rock’n’roll with a slight punkish delivery – a definite for fans of Velvet Revolver. It becomes clear as they churn through song after song that the guys would have probably done a lot better with a larger crowd, the one at this stage actually falling shy of the Jagermeister stage’s numbers.
Talking of the Jagermeister stage, South Wales’s Triaxis take to the stage and is the first sign on the stage of a band that knows how to stir some interest. Frontwoman Krissie manages to engage with the crowd between songs and even gets some sympathy when she announces that she’s ill, which doesn’t really show that much during songs. Bassist Owen also jumps around the stage like a banshee unleashed, and so while musically the band are pretty straightforward heavy metal, Triaxis upped the performance level a bit.
Ancient Ascendant unleash their torturous sound next, mostly death/thrash metal with slight black metal influences (mainly on the vocals), they’re the first band to push beyond the classic hard rock/heavy metal sounds of prior bands, waking the crowd up. They simply put on a thunderous set.
Iron Knights feel like a metal band that isn’t afraid to get a little battle metal with their sound, and frequently refer to the audience as ‘legions’ and set forth a kind of bravado throughout their set, making it entertaining at least. Back to the Dragon stage, Attica Rage blasts their old-school heavy metal with some fairly technical vibes, with a heavy dose of cheese on top. To add to the fun, the band had their own entertainers during parts of their show – at one point, two guys showering the sky with sparks with saws and metal rods, while during another song, a female fire-breather criss-crossed the stage. With plenty of silly riffs and charisma between songs, Attica Rage layed down a good fun show.
At the Jagermeister stage, RSJ are to come, but when the lights dim, instead of a roar of guitars and a “HELLO HAMMERFEST” we get some bubbly synthpop for a minute, until a sample of scientists talking about the Higgs Boson Particle rings out. The band walk onstage, soon jumping and riffing to the sample like rabid chimps. Vocalist Dan Cook looks ready to assault anyone at the front, while guitarists Guff Thomas and Dan Kentley slam their tools with no remorse. The sample stops and RSJ begins to plough through a pretty overwhelming set – imagine Converge, Will Haven and Shaped By Fate constantly cutting each other up: you get RSJ. Juxtaposing their intense music, songs are often broken up with humorous samples, Keisha’s Tik-Tok and Olivia Newton-John’s (Let’s Get) Physical being just some of the ones catching you by surprise. By the end of the set, one of the guitarists climbed over the barrier and proceeded to walk through the crowd with his guitar held above his head like a sacrifice. Needless to say, they put on a great show.
Iron Saviour filled the Dragon arena and basically delivered a ballad-heavy take on power metal which the audience seemed to enjoy – one tall fan in a white shirt working himself into such a frenzy that would exhaust any high-ranking athlete. Vocalist and guitarist Piet Sielck had a fair amount of cheery banter to keep the mood at a constant high too.
Chimp Spanner managed to gather a pretty big crowd back at the Jagermeister stage, mesmerising a good majority of it with incredibly atmospheric instrumental technical metal, or djent if you prefer. Although dealing without vocals is sometimes a barrier when it comes to a live setting, it didn’t seem to appear here, with a fair few people headbanging and fistpumping along. Next up is Bloodshot Dawn, who upped the ante with their technical death metal and actually manage to get a circle pit out of the crowd. Dyscarnate vocalist Tom Whitty joined the band for one song, helping Bloodshot Dawn to somehow further the brutality of their live set, and they absolutely nailed it.
Next up was one of the headliners, UK’s currently wave-making black metallers Winterfylleth, who came on to a roar of cheers – obviously a highly anticipated band for most people there. If you’ve never seen Winterfylleth before but heard their music, what you might expect visually is a lot different than what you get: no corpsepaint or inverted crosses but four regular guys in jeans and t-shirts. Without all the gimmicks, the band just rip through song after song with such a verocity that it feels like the skin on your neck is slowly being ripped away, and you could feel a small gust between the holes of the front barrier. While the band did experience some technical difficulties, vocalist and guitarist Christopher Naughton joked about ‘finally’ being able to play near a Papa John’s, which was met with laughter. They just put on amazing show that made the stage feel that bit bigger than it really was.
After that, Lifer came on to another lot of cheers and simply played an impressive set with their straight-up metal. The crowd seemed to love them and they no doubt made themselves a fair amount of new admirers that night.
Back at the Dragon stage, Germany’s thrash veterans Destruction are next, and you can feel the electricity of the crowd’s anticipation. Eventually the band walk onstage to excitable crowd, but what you don’t expect is just THREE people – usually there is a second guitarist but Mike Sifringer is the only six-stringer onstage. All doubts were cast aside once they opened with Thrash ‘til Death, instantly injecting the crowd with adrenaline and sounding pretty perfect – gaining even more enthusiasm from the crowd when they played another fan favourite Nailed To The Cross. Destruction were just perfect and being short of one guitarist did nothing to hold them back, the aggression, the heaviness and the speed were all present and delivered without a hitch. If you love your thrash metal, and haven’t seen Destruction, then you’ve got something to add to your bucket list.
The third day of Hammerfest V was a breaking point for a lot of people with hangovers, finally feeling it catch up with them, yet OAF was the ideal remedy to the problem. A two-man band and offered the most bizarre set of the weekend. On drums and backing vocals is James Rayment, dressed like a 50’s dad in a woolly sweater, tie, trousers and smart shoes with his hair slicked back; while on bass and lead vocals Dom Lawson, who looks like Corpsegrinder’s friendlier brother. This odd mix caught a lot of people’s attention, and so did their comedic take on punk meets prog, with song titles like Wanking With A Fistful Of Shit and Fuck Off Seagull (which featured guest vocals from Evil Scarecrow’s Dr. Hell), and a lot of dry commentary inbetween, often with the crowd. The whole crowd was in stitches and OAF were just the perfect start to the day.
Next up was a more serious matter, this time Flayed Disciple, who churn out a gruelling version of technical death metal that never lets you settle comfortably – a groove might last seven seconds before they spiral into another extreme direction. Vocalist Tim Whyte looks like a madman with his poses and facial expression, which sort of adds to the insanity of their music – especially during The Westboro Massacre. It’s pretty unfathomable to think of any complaints with a band that played as they did and it’s probably safe to say they won some new fans in the crowd.
Driven took to the stage next and for the most part sort of flopped in comparison to the two previous bands; which probably wasn’t helped by their easy-listening rock’n’roll style. Despite this, they eventually won the crowd over and loosened them up, even getting a big number of the audience to partake in a huge conga circle, which eventually morphed into a circle pit – which was pretty astonishing to see happen so early in the day, and so you couldn’t help but respect the band for their efforts and determination.
Monument followed with a sort of mix of power and old-school metal (just think Judas Priest and Iron Maiden), and while the vocalist, Peter Ellis, had a lot of flair in his performance and crowd interaction, the crowd stayed at a timid mood throughout – but did fill out a lot more by the end of the set. They also cranked out a pretty great cover of Deep Purple’s Black Night. Bull Riff Stampede came on next and gifted the audience with a nice mix of thrash and death metal, which got them a decent turnout.
Then Making Monsters arrived and it seemed that if there had been a bigger audience, the band would have had a much warmer reception than they got, ultimately left with a tough crowd. Providing metalcore with more interesting twists, the band clearly tried their best to get a reaction which never really came, despite vocalist Emma’s pretty intense activity onstage and impressive mix of cleans, screams and growls, and the performance of the band was flawless. It really seemed like a case of the wrong time with the crowd.
Oxford’s Undersmile soon began setting up, and during this time you see that Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown are both dressed in pretty red dresses, and being new to the band (as probably a fair number of the audience was too), expectancies were a bit all over the place. BUT… as soon as the band kicked in, it became obvious that Undersmile were simply practicing champions of doom/drone metal – just think of the sludgy moments of Jucifer, lather it with more reverb and a suicidal feel with monotone chants. HEAVY. The atmosphere throughout was nothing short of intense and compelling; which wasn’t interrupted by chatter from the band at all, something that would have surely ruined the sensibility of it all. Undersmile simply slayed, leaving the crowd literally screaming for more. Just go see them if you get the chance!
Serpent Venom followed with their own doomy goodness, this time of the sludge variety, and delivered a pretty straightforward performance, although bassist Nick Davies nips in some friendly banter with the crowd; a few of which are clearly good friends of his. Just imagine all the classic doom bands morphed into one Eyehategod style delivery, and that’s Serpent Venom. Just a great, solid performance!
H A R K from Swansea came on next and downright blew the crowd away. Vocalist and guitarist Jimbob Isaac, formerly of the great Taint, just shredded, pounded and yelled sludgy goodness, with a progressive touch. At one point, he announces how happy he is to be playing there and points to a member of the audience with a Welsh rugby shirt, and dedicates a song to him – which was enthusiastically met with chants of “Wey-ales! Wey-ales!”. For those who knew Taint, it felt like an immense sense of return to form for Jimbob, who was sorely missed in the South Wales metal/rock scene when the band called it quits. H A R K made a triumphant stand and just conquered the audience.
Heading over to the Dragon stage, Candlemass are soon to hit the stage and the anxiety is almost torture, especially when they run a little late. Yet as soon as the band strides onstage, joyful cheers are screamed towards them. Even though the majority of its members are old enough to be grandfathers now, Candlemass are rocking just as hard as much as the younger bands and vocalist Mats Levén proves himself more than worthy of standing in the frontman spotlight. Although their set is short, they manage to squeeze in many of the fan favourites like Solitude, Black As Time and At The Gallows End. Just a brilliant set by the doom legends.
Saint Vitus were next to be unleashed on the Hammerfest crowd next with their more stoner/heavy metal style of doom, which was just as warmly welcome too. Wino had the thousand mile stare and looked like he could rip heads off at any moment, while guitarist Dave Chandler seemed like the most friendly dude going. The band seemed to be experiencing sound problems too, but they continued blasting out a set of favourites with I Bleed Black, Let Them Fall, Dying Inside and The Bleeding Ground. And when it comes to soloing and pulling off guitar stunts, Dave seems too bring everything to the table; at moments biting the strings, sliding the guitar with his bracelet and an array of others. There was also a point where security began grabbing people near the front due to smoking, which angered the band into telling the security to leave them be – which seemed to work from a distance. Saint Vitus was everything you’d expect them to be and more, truly stunning.
Last up was the infamous (and rightly so) Napalm Death, the Birmingham grinders brought the the day to brutal end, leaving barely any room between songs for you to breathe (apart from two or three gaps where Barney explained viewpoints and song meanings). The crowd simply lost it throughout too with a sea of swinging heads, flying fists and a myriad of crowdsurfers; which seemed to be cultivated in Barney’s unpredictable and chaotic domination of the stage. The only unfortunate thing was that because of a recurring lateness of bands coming on, the set was fairly short, but not without playing the greats like Scum, Suffer The Children, Silence Is Deafening and the legendary You Suffer. Once they finished, walking offstage and the lights came back on, all you could see was sweaty but grinning faces, bringing Hammerfest V to a great end.
This year at Wales’s biggest metal fest, held at the Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park in Pwllheli, the Eyesore Merch team will be hitting Hammerfest 5: In Fear Of The Dragon, ready with a stall to satisfy your band merch needs!
The festival will be providing sets from the likes of the thrash-hards Sodom and Destruction, grindfathers Napalm Death, doomsayers Saint Vitus and Candlemass, hardcore vets Hatebreed, industrialists Killing Joke and death purveyors Ensalved. There will also be a big selection of popular acts from the underground with Winterfylleth, Dyscarnate, Flayed Disciple, Lifer, Bloodshot Dawn, Serpent Venom and many, many more.
Not only that, but you can expect a live review feed on both the official Eyesore Merch Twitter and Facebook pages, keeping you updated on who rocked and who slopped – plus we’ll be posting interviews as well!
Let us know who you’re excited to see and who are the acts not to miss over the three-day event
In the meantime, this is who we’re excited for:
Hammerfest is nigh! Really looking forward to hitting Wales again this year for some metal mayhem. This fest has been getting better every year and has some seriously cool bands to check out in 2013. I can’t wait for a dose of Killing Joke as I have never seen them live before. Massively excited to see Enslaved again, especially with new album RIITIIR under their belts as well as the dulcet doom tones of Candlemass and Saint Vitus. Oh, and I was surprised and happy to see the impressive Chimp Spanner on the bill. Looking forward to see how he handles the usually solo project with a full live band. Come by the Eyesore Merch stall, say Raaaaggghh, drink beer and buy merch! See you in 2 days people 🙂
If I hadn’t already seen Napalm Death before, they would be in the number one spot. However, I’m most excited to see Saint Vitus play on Saturday – one of the most influential bands in doom and stoner metal, and fronted by the legendary Wino, whose performance in will be without a doubt unmissable. I’m pretty hyped to see Candlemass and Destruction (NAILED TO THE CROOOOSS!) too, and Killing Joke will be cool to see as well.
Here’s a new feature where we let you guys know where and when some of the most awe-inspiring UK tours and festivals take place within each month. So here’s to March!
Who:STATUS QUO When: 6th-17th March Why: Despite reaching their mid-sixties now, the famous guitar duo Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are far from slowing down, still putting a lot of younger bands to shame. Plus, do you really need an excuse to go see these legends?
Who:CANNIBAL CORPSE& DEVILDRIVER When:7th-10th
Why: Cannibal Corpse may just wear the crown for the biggest and most influential band in brutal death metal, the band have been unleashing gore onto the world since the eighties and have found themselves in the centre of controversy and films (Ace Ventura, anyone?). Co-headlining the tour is California’s own metalcore troupe Devildriver, headed by ex-Coal Chamber maniac Dez Fafara. Definitely a tour worth catching.
Dates and tickets here.
Get your Cannibal Corpse merch here.
Who:CANCER BATS /w Brutality Will Prevail + Empress When: 8th-22nd March Why: One of today’s hardest working bands in hardcore/punk are set to tour the UK for two weeks without a break. Last year, Cancer Bats pulled off the “Pentagram Tour” in London, playing six shows in five venues in one day. Also, Welsh hardcore up-comers Brutality Will Prevail are a band you have to see.
Dates and tickets here.
Get your Cancer Bats merch here.
Festival:HAMMERFEST V: IN FEAR OF THE DRAGON When: 14th-17th March Where: Pwllheli, North Wales. Why: Basically, here are some of the big names in metal that are playing there, and you’d be a fool to miss them: Saint Vitus, Killing Joke, Candlemass, Napalm Death, Sodom, Angel Witch, Destruction, Enslaved, Hatebreed and a ton of promising and rising metal bands.
Day tickets are still available here.
Get your Napalm Death merch here, Angel Witch merch here and Enslaved merch here.
Who:GHOST, GOJIRA & THE DEFILED When: 18th-24th March Why: This is the Jagermeister Music Tour and metal’s favourite shot producers have put a hell of a line-up for this six-date tour. Ghost have garnered a strong underground following with their throwback to classic heavy metal, along with their love of theatrics. Gojira currently lay down some of the heaviest shows going with their incredible technical death metal, while The Defiled follow suit with a more melodic approach. All this for £5!
Dates and tickets here.
Get your Ghost merch here.
Who:THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM When: 21st-30th March Why: The New Jersey four-piece mix the both punk rock and the good old rock’n’roll feel of Bruce Springsteen, forming the soundtrack to many summer memories. These guys are climbing the popularity ladder pretty fast too.
Who:THE BLACK CROWES When: 24th-30th March Why:Still jamming out blues-infused rock, these catchy feel-good rollers have decided to quit the haitus and get back on tour – maybe it’s best to catch them before they go on a long-term haitus.
Pissed Jeans are a band whose sound is as dirty and self-depreciating as their name, and lash out a ridiculously even drunker and disorderly version of punk that can be traced back to The Jesus Lizard. Despite the noisy nature of their music, Pissed Jeans manage to fuse a good dose of catchiness into their sound. “Honeys” is their fourth album and their third on the legendary Sub Pop label.
The Pennsylvanian quartet have been around for nine years now and have released an incredibly impressive collection of albums so far, especially with their addictive last release “King Of Jeans”. However, there’s a change that becomes abundantly clear on “Honeys” within the first few tracks; the dry sarcastic and dire commentary that was signature to their sound has warped into a more seething and more dangerous level aggression. The band are still easily identifiable, this is not a big change, you’re not not going to recognise this as a Pissed Jeans album, but it does feel a more daring and angsty then previous efforts, which becomes clear with the first track alone.
Bathroom Laughter is an absolute drunken battering ram with it’s rumbling bass and opening drum roll, just before the vocals and guitars join in on the punk goodness. The track just brings forward a side you don’t often see with Pissed Jeans; there’s no sense of parody or joking cynicism but straight-up muddy punk aggression. The second track, Chain Worker, sort of follows suit but let’s up by slowing the tempo down to a hangover inspiring pace. Plus, the track is basically driven by vocals and bass alone for the most part while backed with fizzying feedback. Drums come in only on slamming injections like a fist banging on a table during a heated argument, which adds to the complete poisonous feel of the track, along with lines like “”My chain provides me with safety / So it always knows where I am”.
However, the ending of Chain Worker morphs into Romanticize Me, which sounds like the usual Pissed Jeans with a particularly strong Iggy Pop vibe with its playfulness. Their’ usual sarcasm returns with lines like “So you waited wondering when I’d wake up / When it comes to sleeping I’m a talented man” and the chorus “Take all my faults and twist them in your hand / ‘Til I look like a sweet and thoughtful man / Ro-man-tuh-cize me”, which just inspires you to pull some snotty David Yow moves.
Vain In Costume ups the ante further by pushing the pace faster and an overall catchier sound, especially with the jumpy verse riff. Simply put, it would fit in perfectly on “King Of Jeans”. You’re Different (In Person) is full of frustration and disgust, sounding like a bad turn in a night full of alcohol, especially with the gravelly moaned vocals during the frothing build-up sections. Aside from the chorus “You’re different in person / I’m different in person”, the track does prove a little forgettable.
Perhaps the downright funniest track of the album is Cafeteria Food, which is just a ridiculously dryly delivered monologue of an office workers despise for his project manager and a broker, and his joy in hearing of their deaths. The lyrics are just jaw-droppingly cruel with the likes of “One day I’ll get a message waiting at my desk / I’ll take the time to open it and feel it remove my stress / People walkin’ round looking sorry / Someone even cried / I’ll be feeling rosy / Because you’re dead, you died”. It’s just so monotonely delivered with the vocals and lazily-strummed guitar and bass, you can’t just help burst out in laughter at how brutally honest and common these feelings probably are in urban workplaces.
Something About Mrs. Johnson is simply a noisey interlude with a demo-sounding riff played going through effects, as well as some Lightning Bolt-esque distorted vocals of ramblings and la-la-las. Male Gaze, like You’re Different, is slightly forgettable and never really brings a catchy or infectious moment through it’s acidic attitude – it feels like something is about to come at you through the whole song but never really steps forward at the opportunity. Cathouse tests the water more, providing a more memorable riff, but again feels slightly ‘filler’ in comparison to some of the earlier tracks, but does feature a pretty neat (and short) guitar solo.
Loubs has, dare I say it, a Queens Of The Stone Age feel with its mid-paced grooving feel: even vocalist Matt Korvette sounds borderline sleazy (with a touch of nonchalant satire) in delivery as well as lyrically. It’s also the longest song at 4.51 minutes long, and does feel it – not in a negative way; but in comparison with the rest of the album rarely reaching 3 minutes, it’s pretty lengthy. Health Plan kicks some spark back into the album with an adrenaline rush of relentless drums and fast guitars, while humorous lines like “Yeah, that’s why I don’t do it / I stay away from doctors / No I’m serious man, I’m not an idiot / I stay away from doctors” being barked at you, it’s just completely entertaining.
Closing track Teenage Adult just falls short of the 4-minute mark and just contains a guitar riff that would, in form of a human face, be the drunken, snarling image of Russell Crowe. The band just pound on at a sluggish pace while Matt does his signature snarling vocals… which is just about it for the track, feeling like a slight let-down as an album finisher.
That said, “Honeys” is a solid release. Perhaps it’s not as fulfilling all-round as “King Of Jeans” was, but it’s still pretty decent. The portion of humour that has always existed in Pissed Jeans’ music has definitely decreased as a result of the bitterness and envy in their sound being more prominent, but the album has its noise-punk bangers. While some tracks can be considered fillers, there’s still plenty that hook you in with a catchy riff and melody or with simply humorous lyrics. Pissed Jeans fans should have no problems with this.