STUDIO REPORTS – with new releases due later this year from Holosade and Rekuiem we check in with Phill Brown and Steve Slater (below) to find out how things are progressing.

STUDIO REPORTS – with new releases due later this year from Holosade and Rekuiem we check in with Phill Brown and Steve Slater (below) to find out how things are progressing.
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Phill Brown, HOLOSADE

How things are progressing? How’s the album sounding so far?

“The album’s going to be called ‘Anastasis’ – it took a few hours to come up with the title but it means ‘resurrection’ which is what Holosade are kind of doing. So, after checking no other band had used that title, we all agreed. By the end of 2019 we had an album’s worth of material plus more in demo format and so it was time to sort out recording. At the end of January / early February Adam Sayers went in to do a week’s drum recording in a studio in Newcastle: the idea was to get the drums recorded to get the live sound instead of using programmed drums. But after receiving the tracks Adam Ironside who is mixing the songs noticed that every drum track was slightly out of synch which was a puzzle and is very difficult to rectify (and to this date we still don’t know what happened in the studio). Adam I spent a considerable amount of time trying to sort out the tracks but to no avail. The only way was for Adam S to go back into another studio but this was now March and Covid-19 had struck: the guitars could be still worked on but studio work was out of the question so we all decided to contact a session drummer called Hugo Ribeiro, who did the drums on the Armortura album which Paul and I recorded in 2017. He agreed, but as he does other projects he could only filter a track at a time which is slow, but better than nothing. He’s since joined Portuguese metal band Moonspell, by the way, who have quite a fine following. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Hugo’s completed nine of the twelve tracks, so the remaining three songs should be done by mid-July 2020. The backing guitars are being added by Adam I at the same time as each drum track comes in, and the vocals will have to added as soon as there is an opportunity once when recording studios fully re-open. We are considering getting someone who has the expertise to master the full album when the mixing has been completed, and up to now everything is sounding immense!”

What are you writing about, lyrically?

“I’ve  written most of the lyrics for the album, and I have a passion for horror / chiller thrillers, be it books or films, so I tend to write about that genre. I also like history so if I can incorporate the two, even better – similar to Steve Harris out of Iron Maiden, you know, storylines with catchy choruses I guess. But I’ve hit on a couple of other subjects about world disorder, another about a dystopian world, one about somebody losing control… Also a song about someone who, no matter how hard they try, nothing seems to go right. As I’ve had an immense amount of time because of Covid-19 I’ve changed the lyrics around, chopping things, swapping different words so many times to suit the tunes better, and then changed some back to the original versions! I think what I have written down is going to stick until the recording.”

How does the album sound in relation to days gone by?

“I think when ‘Anastasis’ is released it will a great contrast to the ‘Hell House’ album. You have to remember that that was a long time ago and was recorded, mixed and mastered in just six days. I do feel that it will be a polished product as we all don’t want to put out something substandard. There will be some different styles as time has moved on, and I just hope people will understand that. I honestly think it will work, but we’ll have to wait and see. We’ve approached Darkgrove Artwork to design the cover for the album as they do an excellent job (they recently did the ‘Titans Of Creation’ cover for Testament). The idea is for five people to be rising above a dystopian world. Well, that’s the concept anyway,  and we’re really looking forward to what they come up with. We’ve also got Very Metal Art to design the new Holosade logo and that will be incorporated on the cover of the album.”

Gigs?

“Well, we had a couple of shows cancelled, obviously, due to Covid-19 but, fingers crossed, we’ll be able to get some gigs booked when all’s clear. We’ll need to get some rehearsals in first though. Like most people, we’re just playing the waiting game…”

Steve Slater, REKUIEM

You must be very pleased with the re-issue of ‘Time Will Tell’ – it’s had some very good reviews…

“Yes, the re-release of the ‘Time Will Tell’ album has received some fantastic reviews in print magazines, online metal websites, and on several radio stations. It’s fantastic that the record seems to appeal to a broad spectrum of rock and metal fans. Of course, there are the webzines and internet radio stations that specialise in NWOBHM music and readers and listeners of this genre form the basis of the Rekuiem fan base. Our band started and released its first record way back in the early days of NWOBHM in 1980 and these hardcore fans have never deserted us. But it’s also great that the record seems to be reaching a far wider audience with reviews in mags such as ‘Powerplay’ and in gaining airplay on classic rock radio stations worldwide. Both myself and Karl [Wilcox, drums] have been busy giving interviews, so it’s fair to say the album is going down very well indeed.”

How are things are progressing with the new album?

“Well, aside from the interviews to promote ‘Time Will Tell’, we’ve been working hard in preparation for a brand new album, ‘Raise The Dead’. All the new songs are already written and have been successfully recorded to the demo stage.  I wrote them some time ago and it’s simply been a case of waiting for Karl to have some free time from his busy Diamond Head schedule to go over all the arrangements with me and for us to make any minor changes before starting the recording of final drum takes. Of course the Covid-19 situation has not helped us, but the final drum takes are now in progress and things are looking good for the weeks ahead. 

“So the album is still very much in the early stages of recording and production. But the drums are sounding fantastic and so they should with a full twenty-four microphones around Karl’s Rekuiem drum kit. The final guitar soundchecks are also starting to take shape and are sounding full and meaty. This album should really kick ass when it’s finally finished. The vocal melodies and hook lines will hopefully really hit home with rock and metal listeners. We also plan to use a few keyboard parts on the final mixes and this is a direction we’ve experimented with in the live environment.  Keyboards have worked well onstage, so we thought, ‘why not include some keys on the next record?’” 

What are you writing about, lyrically?

“My lyrics tend to be written about the dark side of life and are hopefully both enlightening and thought-provoking. For the new record I have chosen to write one song about a prophet who foretells the end of the world: those who will not listen are doomed forever. On another song I continue the theme by writing about the raising of the dead after Armageddon. There’s a song that describes a warrior’s life in battle and his struggle to keep his mind together amongst all the slaughter. Another song discusses human sacrifice…  These are the types of subject that I like to write lyrics about. It’s all very doom based which I’m sure is what you’d expect from a band who takes its name from what is a musical mass for the dead!”

How does the album sound in relation to ‘Time Will Tell’?

“We have tried to maintain a similar direction in material, style, and sound with the new album. Keeping the same line-up of musicians was important to us and it’s great that fans will see a continuation of both members and musical genre from one album to the next. I have seen so many bands fall by the wayside through changing direction too radically from one album to the next and we would much rather be seen to make a steady progression in style. We want to reach new fans but we also want to look after our existing fanbase. We are trying to bring the late Seventies / early Eighties genre of hard rock / heavy metal into the twenty-first century. The style of songwriting harks back to the classic years of rock and metal, but we are also trying to bring this to a new audience in a more modern and sonically-pleasing way. We were very pleased with the overall sound production on the ‘Time Will Tell’ album, and if we can improve even further with the new album then we will have achieved our goal for 2020.” 

Both ‘Anastasis’ and ‘Raise the Dead’ are set for release later this year. In the meantime, to buy or stream a copy of ‘Hell House’ or ‘Time Will Tell’, click the links below