Doom metal, what some say and what I believe myself to be the purest form of metal. Metal before it split and fragmented into the mirade of genres we have today. The original vision of Iommi if you will. Doom has always been perhaps the least popular genre in metal but has always been one which has a dedicated following of fans who spread the word whenever a good doom band comes along. Dread Sovereign are a band I have been aware of since the offset largly due to my complete love and repsect for mainman Alan Averill better known as Nemtheanga's main band Primordial. But even if I didn't their name is one I hear a lot when I talk to fellow fans of doom and rightly so the quality and honesty in this bands music in undeniable. Formed in 2013 and releasing their debut Ep 'Pray to the Devil in Man' the same year. The band are prepairing to release their second album 'For Doom the Bell Tolls' in March.
I read online somewhere that you hated being asked a lot of the same questions over and over and that people tended to ask you deep questions so with that in mind here we go
- well in time interviews become more of a chore than something I enjoy, I am fine generally with speaking to people, but typing which seems a duty of engagement when you are 24 becomes a labour of tedium when you are older. S
When you started the band I know that a lot of the songs you had been carrying around with you in the back of your head waiting for the right line up to come along in order to play them, how much is this the case with the new album, 'For Doom the Bell Tolls', is it all new material or are some of the songs older?
- Doom is all new ideas really. The previous Ep and Lp were a combination of maybe 75% old riffs or things I’ve been kicking around for a while. This new release is fresher. I guess someone might be able to tell as the writing itself is more musical. Not my intention but just an unavoidable fact of playing the guitar all the time.
Some of the new album and in fact your privious album although firmly placed in the doom style has many atmorspheric
parts and hypnotic sections, for example on the new album there is a song called 'The Spines of Saturn', which has a almost Hawkwind quality along with some of Soundgardens more off the wall moments, how close am I, are these two bands in any way an influenece?
- Soundgarden means absolutely nothing to me, let’s clear that up, in fact I detested that whole scene. Hawkwind now we are talking! yeah I got really into Hawkwind and wanted a song with this driving bass line running through and even some people think it sounds a bit goth or nu-wave. I don’t know but I guess it has this space rock feeling to it.
Who is the metaphorical devil you often refer to in your lyrics does it represent something in particular, some aspect of humanity?
- Well I’ve written lot of lyrics so I need to make a separation between Primordial and DS so they have a completely different tack. I mean some of the tracks on the previous album dealt with the Cathar rebellion in France in the 12th and 13th century and the birth of the Inquisition. Sure the language is often dressed in the cloak of traditional heavy metal but they are not fantasy. It’s always my intention to have something real within them. The opening track is about the hanging of Sarah Wildes Averill in Salem, the first woman hung as a witch….who has the same surname from me and comes from the same area in England as my ancestors. Do the math…….
In the the song ‘Tweleve Bells Toll in Salem’ you sing I am dread sovereign, who or what is dread sovereign, or do you prefer to leave lyrical interpretation up to the individual listener?
- Well the early pilgrims on board the Mayflower referred to King James as the Dread Sovereign, feared ruler if you will. At least as how I interpret it. You can take it as you wish….sometimes a lyric just fits into the syncopation of the song and I sing on the spot, not everything has a clinical meaning.
You play the bass in Dread Sovereign and not only that but you play it well, in fact some of the interplay between the bass and quitar on the new album is phenomenal like when Geezer and Iommi play together in unison. Do you play any other instruments, do you write many of the riffs for your various projects or do you tend to focus more on the lyrics?
- Well I’ve become better over the last few years to maybe reach a place where I can say I am a bass player. I wasn’t in the beginning, very crude but it never bothered me as I knew how to compose a song. Now I am reaching a more solid platform and understanding more about music. Basically I can’t stand the way many modern albums bury the bass with this wall of compressed mid range guitar without any separation. DS sounds like a band playing live, it’s about tone and shade…so I work very hard on making the bass sound like this, and it filling up the bass end. Leaving the drums fighting less with a wall of guitar. You can hear this in old recordings…..Turn many modern albums up loud and it becomes a wall of noise, tours ours up and it still has distance and tone. Learn from Lemmy……the bass must be seperate. I write maybe 90% of the riffs for DS. Primordial just lyrics and then structure but I don’t come with riffs.
The album is out on March 3rd and I already have the promo, how do you feel about the album being out their almost three months before its offical release?
- I don’t know….it ain’t 1994. Having said that blog downloads are not the thing they were either. DS is not a huge selling band anyway so I’m not sure what difference it makes really?
What about the internet in general, I know you can remember the late 80's and early 90's tape trading days, do you think the internet is just an extension of this if on a somewhat larger scale?
- yes and no. a blessing and a curse. the biggest problem right now is that paid downloading will slowly disappear and everything will move into streaming. As internet speeds get faster and roaming charges come down, less people with mp3 players, music = phone. this spells really bad news for bands, if you thought you made little before digitally now anything with less than millions of streams wont make anything worth discussing…..which is all of us. It will help the few multinationals who have the huge pop starlets with 50 million streams but the rest of us? I won’t ever pay the rent digitally let’s say that…..Spotify won’t even link to bands merch pages. However of course it’s great discovering new bands on a youtube journey, just try and buy something from them….
You play what can be described as doom metal with Dread Sovereign but who are your favourite doon metal bands?
- Candlemass are the gods, always will be. When I was a kid I was always into doom alongside the fast stuff, seemed no problem to me to listen to Trouble right after Slayer. Most of my friends hated it but I persisted, there’s something so pure about real doom. Hard to fake. However that said I really don’t like this whole gear bands bullshit….set up 20 pedals, downtune, set up your Sunn or Orange stack and play open chords and scream like Eyehategod….punks playing doom. Nah, more Solitude Aeternus less sludge.
The band which made you want to be in a band were?
- Many….to play doomier, sing clearer and make more epic music, Candlemass, nemesis, Celtic Frost on ‘Into the pandemonium’, Trouble, Autopsy, Pentagram, but also very important perhaps the most is Cirith Ungol! Venom….Bathory…..
The song you first learned to play was?
- Fuck…..I have no idea The Ramones ‘Blitzkreig bop’ maybe?
Your top three metal riffers are?
- Iommi…..I mean who else? Leif Edling has to be up there…..Malcolm Young, I worship the bass tone on the old Manowar, Lemmy of course, Tom G., JB, KK and Glen, Quorthon, Mantas, Wolf Hoffmann, Michael Denner, Piggy, Sakis Tolis, Jon Nodveidt, Jon Perez get back to it!!!! we need you
Who is the master of the riff?
- ah come on it’s Iommi right?
The song which is the soundtrack to you life is?
A song you wish you wrote or a band you wish you were in was?
- so many….and I still hear them! Just now I wish I wrote ‘Non Serviam’ by Rotting Christ as I was listening to that and now ‘Push the sky away’ by Nick Cave and I thought damn I wish I could write some lyrics with this prose.
Riff for Riff your five favourite albums are?
for riffs?……ah who knows….changes all the time, how about
Holy Terror ‘ mind wars’
exodus ‘bonded by blood’
slayer ‘ hell awaits’
accept ‘restless and wild’
destroyer 666 ‘unchain the wolves.
Five Irish metal albums every metalhead should own are?
primordial ‘to the nameless dead’? can I say that :)
thin lizzy ‘thunder and lightning’ yeah it’s metal……
mourning beloveth ‘sullen sulcus’
the dagda ‘threefold’
then anything you want from dread sovereign, vircolac, malthusian, zom, wizards of firetrap mountain, no spill blood, corscadh, darkest era, morophosis……