If you think you can hear some rather Awful Noise, then you're probably right... no it's not your next roadworks or your stomach rumbling, it's Australian noise-makers Awful Noise giving your ears a good pounding. Having delivered their second single "Synchronized Drowning" and released a COVID-19 split with Canadian and Belarusian hordes Mendacity and Grimentity respectively, the new kids on the block are priming themselves to leave their mark on the national metal scene, whilst securing a record label deal for their debut album. They've dealt with COVID restrictions and bushfires rampaging their homeland of Queensland, and now they're setting on navigating the choppy waters of the music industry... vocalist Lindon Faynes elected himself to be interrogated by GMA, as Fosters would say 'good call'.
For those who have not heard of Awful Noise, could you tell us how the band came about and how the name was chosen?
"Our original bassist Brady Irwin and myself started hanging out and writing tunes with the idea of creating a more of a jokey style of grind band, then we recruited Chris Perkins from Those Who Endure on guitar who had a handful of riffs written and was looking to make a step outside of the deathcore genre. When we had enough material written I hit up my mate Pete Robertson (TazerTorture / Xyanix / Malakyte) for drums as he had put his hand up to play some grind beats. Chris came up with the name 'Awful Noise' and it took a bit of influence from the Finnish band, Rotten Sound. It's a fun name to use for sure!"
You released your 2nd album single "Synchronized Drowning" back in December, what was the reception like? Will we expect similar sounds on your forthcoming debut album?
"People liked the song and we've sold a few of the single art t-shirts that were printed with the release. It's our punkiest song so far but all the other album songs still have that savage grind attitude"
What can you tell us about the debut album so far? How is the creation process coming along, where are you currently with it?
"The album has been ready for 2 years now, unfortunately after we recorded the album as a 3 piece our drummer Pete decided to step down. I had to basically sit and come to the conclusion that either the band would die there or would go on with a new lineup. Chris and myself are the only remaining original members with new bassist Robert Needham jumping in after the album."
You mix brutal death metal with grindcore, what makes your music stand out from other bands playing both said genres?
"Whilst I wouldn't say we're unique or anything like that, we do strive to write outside of the normal grind cliche and our recordings are a lot cleaner than typical of the genre."
Do you take any music inspirations outside of metal? If so who and how do their sounds fit in with your music?
"Besides punk/hardcore influences we don't really add anything else soundwise."
Do you feel that the Australian metal scene is often forgotten about by the rest of the world, at least in part due to its geological position?
"Yes and no, you'll always find dedicated international support for bands like Parkway Drive, Aversions Crown, Portal, Psycroptic etc"
Alongside COVID-19, Queensland had to deal with bushfires - talk to us about that, how did it start, is it an annual thing? How was the threat mitigated?
"Yeah COVID-19 put a holt to a lot of future plans in the music and art industry. When people were able to leave isolation, Chris, Rob & myself went into the studio and recorded 2 tracks for a COVID split with Mendacity from Canada and Grimentity from Belarus. Our friend Ben Davies (Kaerulean) did the drums and his guitarist Blake Nevarov handled the recording. As for the bushfires, they started in various ways: some by lightning, some by human actions, including arson. However, it's the climate conditions that provided ample fuel for the fires to grow and spread. Before the fires ignited, Australia was already enduring its hottest and driest year on record. Also our Prime Minister decided then to take a holiday to Hawaii despite the warnings so f*** him and his handshake."
What plans does the band have for the year ahead (COVID depending)? Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out?
"Awful Noise is now a 5 piece band with our new drummer and 2nd guitarist yet to be announced. I've recently started talking to labels and distributors about the album so hopefully soon we can finally announce the album title and art, once we know when the album is ready for launch we'll look to gig / tour for it once we're allowed to do so ie covid. We'll give a shoutout to everyone has supported us during this time and to you Rhys for your support. Grind on!"
Interview Interrogation: Edward Warren and Dan Charlton from Ironstone (Australia)
"[Melbourne is] definitely the best metal scene in Australia... lots of bands from Brisbane, Adelaide and other cities go to great pains to get to Melbourne to do shows"
They may have only been going a couple of years, but arguably Australia's Ironstone have so far had a really good run - supporting Rhapsody at a small festival, lining up their debut EP at the end of May, gathering fans from Europe, joining up with arguably Australia's finest PR in Black Roos and all at the average age of 20; Dan being the oldest at 22... they are destined to go far with their work ethic and attitude. Watch this space. To fill in the details, lead vocalist Dan Charlton and lead guitarist / vocalist Edward Warren spoke with GMA about said achievements, the Melbourne Metal scene, how they got their unique name and how Lewis Capaldi has had an impact on Dan Charlton.
Don't worry we know this is an interrogation, we didn't spit roast them on a BBQ on the beach... instead we inoculated them with Fosters... good call!
Hi guys could you tell us how Ironstone came about and what the band name means?
"It started quite a long time ago. It was initially a cover band with a couple of mates and I. We were just young kids. We played gigs in pubs; played AC/DC and all the classics and it developed over time until we started writing original music and creating our own sound. It came to a point where we wanted to take it more seriously and really define ourselves as original artists and not just be a cover band.
The singer at the time lived on ‘Ironstone Road’. We just liked the sound of that. We discussed the name and thought we’d leave out the ‘road’ part because it sounded a bit ‘country’. But we really liked ‘Ironstone’ because it's nice and ambiguous. It can mean anything in terms of genre and creative freedom and it sounds pretty cool too, so we just went with that."
Nowadays it's even harder coming up with band names due to names already in use or having to be changed due to legal reasons.
"Yeah one of the criteria of the name was that we could get the web address and social media handles, because some bands pick a really cool name then because a lot of people already have it they have to put 'official' or something after it, blurring the lines between who is actually this band or that band. So we were really fortunate with our name."
Now you've got your EP 'Prophecy' coming out on 29th May, are you doing at-home promotion for it? Would you release it on vinyl and CD?
"Yeah we're just plugging away with our social media, trying to keep as active as we can, which is important because of self-isolation. We're doing everything we can... including PR to help with international coverage which obviously leads to interviews and reviews. We think this is a weird time to be releasing, but might be slightly advantageous because more people are on the internet and the industry is pretty quiet at the moment.
Oh yes we want to release it on vinyl so badly. I love vinyl. If I had a CD right now and you said I'll give you $100 to play it, I would be pressed to find something to play it on.”
"The good thing about vinyl is that it's really coming back, CD's are not going out but a lot of the new cars don't have CD players any more. Everything is online now with Spotify where you can instantly play music, but I guess people some people still want to go analogue, old-school."
With the EP, have you got a favourite track that stands out for you?
"Well the thing is that we generally love all the songs so much. 2 weeks before the EP we will be dropping our new single and music video 'Downpour'. The video was shot just before all of the closures and was edited during lockdown. It's very thematic and has this kind of Middle Eastern, South-East Asian sort of flavour, it's really very exotic and spicy."
How long did it take you to write, record and finalise the EP?
"Half of the songs were written 12 or more months ago, the other half in the last six months since Dan joined the band and started writing with us. The drums, guitars and bass were tracked very quickly…in less than a week. Jack our drummer then sorted the stems out and got everything organised. Start to finish it was no more than a month I think. The whole process gave us confidence and experience that enabled us to push forward.”
"Vocals took the longest, vocals took about 3 weeks or so and then once we had it done we sent it through and had it mixed and mastered by Chris Themelco at Monolith Studios; absolute legend, who managed to do it so quickly. The first revision was almost perfect, apart from tiny nit-picky stuff. It was good as well because Chris really liked the songs and is a big fan of ours. We were rapt about that because we have so much respect for the guy. He is very highly respected here."
Would you therefore say that's the direction metal is heading, by tapping into other flavours to expand?
"I think it's heading in that direction, there will always be old-school, kind of more pure traditional metal, but I think for bands who are trying to be more progressive and cover ground in thinking, it's going to become more prevalent in exploring different cultural influences, scales, etc., I know there's a lot of Japanese scales, Middle Eastern scales that have already been explored. You could get into Bulgarian scales, Slavic scales, there is so much you can do musically because every single culture has a different slant on the scale of music.
It's inevitable that the progression will lead to change, making it something different."
"I think it's also the younger generation. Old-school metal in the 70's and 80's is a lot different to the metal in the 90's and early 2000's. Metal has has changed over the years in the same way other genres like pop have changed."
Outside of metal music, do you take influences from elsewhere?
"Oh for me even though I listen to metal, I'll also be listening to pop music - a lot of the chart stuff, I'm a massive fan of Lewis Capaldi's voice, specifically the tone of his voice which has brought a lot of inspiration to my vocal technique.
Our sound is like what Eddie says. You can show it to your friends who are really into technical metal and they get into the riffs, but then you can also show it to your parents and they'll be like 'Oh that's a nice song, I like that, that's catchy'. That's definitely not something to be afraid of, being commercial. I think it's a great thing; not aiming for super-duper niche, I just want people to listen and enjoy the music."
"You've got the case where a lot of Progressive Metal bands have really clean beautiful male vocals and then really brutal screams. Dan’s vocal style is kind of like a rock 'n' roll, grungy, really emotional voice over Prog which is something that gives us a particular sound that's really unique and kind of hard to place.
I do love movie soundtracks and stuff like that, people like Hans Zimmer for example, orchestral music, ambient stuff... I really get chills when I listen to stuff from soundtracks and video games; such as Battlefield.
Our drummer Jack used to make trap music, he used to make a lot of dubstep and stuff like that so that's crept its way into the band. I definitely appreciate dubstep for build up and suspense. I guess Prog Metal is kind of dubstep played with guitars, you kind of build it up percussively.
I think our music has a particular musicality and palatability at the same time. I love screams and complicated, percussive feels and breakdowns... whereas Dan's got a real mind for pop and structured melodies. When you combine the two, you get this sort of strange blend. You potentially get people who are normally into Meshuggah and Periphery style of music clashing against pop-influence metal."
Is learning music and music instruments encouraged by schools / colleges in Australia?
"I'd say so as much as anywhere else really, there's always school bands, school programs. There's always this constant reminder that it's an option or a path for you to go down, which I think is a really good thing."
Before now have you had any fans contact you from outside of Australia?
"Yeah we get messages on Instagram all the time. Since we started promoting the release internationally we’re suddenly getting fans from places like Latvia, Romania, you know all these places that we haven't considered as potential fan bases. It just makes us realise how big the world is.“
"Yeah we've got quite a few messages either personally or through the band page just saying that they found us over Instagram or YouTube, saying that they really like us and they want want to support us in any way in they can."
What is the Melbourne Metal scene like in general?
"Generally it's really good, it's definitely the best metal scene in Australia and there are a lot of bands from Brisbane, Adelaide and the other cities who go to great pains to get to Melbourne to do shows and gigs. We've been fortunate enough to play some really fantastic shows in Melbourne, so I'd say the scene is great. Unfortunately with the coronavirus everything has shut down, but I'm sure it will all wake up once this is over.
It's going to be a big deal as there's a lot of bands, not just in Australia but all over the world withholding releases and so when this is all over it's going to be insane."
Dan: "It's gonna be huge when it bounces back."
For metalheads visiting Melbourne, bars / venues and festivals could you recommend?
"That's kind of tricky because we actually live in Bendigo which is a 2 hour drive away from Melbourne, so we don't actually live in Melbourne.
Dan knows more about the venues than me. I've only just turned 18 and so I haven’t attended many things as a punter. Dan is 21 so he’s been to a lot of festivals and gigs."
"Venue wise there’s Festival Hall which has had a lot of really big acts play there. That’s personally one of my biggest goals… to play there, it's so iconic.
Another place I do like is Max Watts, it's like this kind of underground metal heaven really... it's just crazy and amazing, playing there was one of the best things ever. We supported Rhapsody there at the Southern Gathering festival which was awesome.
Aside from Download, there's a new festival that's just come out called 'Good Things' which is more towards Punk music, but over the past couple of years it's gotten heavier and had Parkway Drive headline last year; I went to that and it was absolutely phenomenal; there are some really good musicians.
[Edward chips in with Unified] Ahh! Unified is an awesome metal festival, alongside Download and Good Things, they are probably the 3 biggest metal festivals."
What are some of the everyday challenges that metal bands in Australia have to face?
"Certainly the biggest challenge musically would be trying to become well known, it's quite hard with music let alone being an Australian metal band."
"The thing is also we've got a country that's very large, something like 13 times the size of Germany and has a very sparse population. So if 1% of the population likes the music then out of the world's population that's like 709 million people, but with only 24 million in Australia it's considerably less with people being spread out. Plus it's hot so no one wants to do anything. It's just difficult trying to get that foothold and finding good bands to do shows with, finding a band that's within the niche Prog Metal / Djent, that sort of genre which is what we're going for.
The financial aspect also is there, if you're in Europe you'd play a gig and then could just pop through France. But we have to drive 10 hours and we've nearly reached Sydney! The distances here are vast. But we're really lucky, we live not far from Melbourne and it takes about 2 hours to get there for a gig"
What plans do you have for the back end of 2020 and going into 2021? Were any postponed?
"I think the ultimate goal from whatever means necessary is to do a UK / Europe tour (and to get our music out there). We just want this lockdown to end and for this thing to be over... we just want to do gigs."
"Yeah just play as much as possible in Melbourne, might travel up to Sydney and maybe Adelaide, but for now just want to focus on Melbourne and build on our following."
Have you got any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to fans, friends and family?
"Thanks to all our fans for sticking by us at the start, and to all of the new fans that come after 29th May, and to the stadium full of people (laughs)."
"Thank you to the families for supporting us, the band members for always being consistent. We've got a unique case where all of the band members (except Dan) go to school together so we're already absolutely best friends. Then we've got Dan who may as well be my older brother; comes to my house all the time, stuff like that. Great people we work with like Chris Themelco and Michael Lueders from Black Roos Entertainment who make our life just so much easier. Thanks to everyone who helps us out and supports us."
"Prophecy" is out 29th May via an Independent Release
Australia has always had a rich history in rock and metal music, from the days of AC/DC to the modern reverberation of the Metalcore and Deathcore contingent alongside the hellish Black Metal underground. But aside from that, one genre that seems to be simmering underneath is Industrial Metal and it falls on to bands like Darkcell to keep that burning flame alive. Having released their self-titled album this year, vocalist Jesse Dracman was happy to chat to GMA about the band's history, the local scene and future plans among other things.
"Our annual Psycho Circus this November will close one of our most exciting years to date."
For those who have not heard of Darkcell, could you give us the back story to how the band formed and the meaning behind Darkcell?
"Darkcell formed around 8 years ago initially as a studio project born from the ashes of a previous band Matt (guitars, electronics, production) and I had. We wanted to create a more Industrial heavy style that we love and grew up with. The debut album was half written when we got a call to open for Combichrist and the rest is history.
What is Darkcell? It’s open to interpretation and while we don’t claim to reinvent the wheel, we’ve certainly put our own definition out there. We’re the best band you’ve never heard!"
As an Industrial Metal band, do you feel the genre is not as prominent as it once was or is it amidst a revival?
"It never went away. People just got distracted and missed a lot of good music."
How would you describe your sound without the use of genres?
"Like a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza with all the intensity and finesse of a James Brown concert if he was possessed...was he?"
You released your self-titled album this year, what was the reception like?; have you had any fans get in touch from outside of Australia?
"It was the best reaction we’ve received yet. The streams and reviews have been our finest yet. It’s been an exciting cycle for us."
Will you look to play outside of Australia in the foreseeable future or have you done already?
"Always on our minds and we’ve toured Europe this year as well as the USA in 2015."
For metalheads visiting Brisbane, what sights / attractions would you recommend in seeing? What are the best bars and venues?
With 2019 closing up, what plans have you got between now and going into 2020?
"New music, bigger noise. Ain’t that always the aim? Here’s to a rad one. Our annual Psycho Circus this November will close one of our most exciting years to date."
Do you have any greetings, thank you's, etc that you wish to send out to friends, fans, etc?
"We are forever grateful to the fans that continue to support us and to those just finding us, welcome. Hail!"
Of all of the most isolated places on Earth, Norfolk Island is not one you would expect to have tasted heavy metal history. Sure it's proximity to Australia and New Zealand would probably argue against that, but it's the same with Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the latter owing to an active metal scene and the former with no metal music history at all.
It's only a matter of time before other Oceanian nations / areas get tinged by metal music, it's progression to Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Hawaii suggests this. But for now our focus is on Norfolk Island, a dependency of Australia with a population of just under 2,000 (the UK's smallest city St.Davids in Wales only matches this with a hundred or so difference). GMA spoke to Ben Boerboom, a former Norfolk Islander about his experience growing up on this almost-isolated island, the struggles of the metal scene and his thoughts on metal music as a whole.
"The [Norfolk] island has a pretty laid back mentality, and the islanders will support anything local, whether it be metal or otherwise"
Can you tell us how you first got into metal music? Who inspired you and what are you listening to now?
"I've been into metal since I was 2 years old (according to family - I wouldn't know!) I used to share a room with my older brother, who would listen to AC/DC & Iron Maiden around me all the time. My dad was also into a mixed bag listening to everything from ABBA & Creedence, through to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Uriah Heep. Mum was into everything Woodstock plus Led Zeppelin, whilst my older sister loved 80's pop like A-HA, Madonna & Duran Duran. So, I had a very mixed musical upbringing, but it was metal that struck a chord. I don't know whether it was the dark imagery or just the music itself, but everything else failed in comparison. Plus it was always cool to be the outcast at primary school when most boys & girls my age loved music in the charts, whilst I would bring in WASP & Iron Maiden to listen to in class.
As I got older, I yearned for heavier (as I believe most metalheads do) and I discovered Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth & Slayer, which eventually progressed to the darker sh*t like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary etc.
Iron Maiden was the band that made me want to drum. Metallica was the band that made me want to learn guitar. Nirvana, Green Day & Pennywise were the bands that made me want to form a band. I don't know why, probably the sheer simplicity of punk & grunge made me realise, you didn't have to play like Kirk Hammett, you just need to write a good tune.
Right now I listen to pretty much everything rock / metal and I can tolerate any type of music due to having a 9 year old daughter (except country - although southern blues rock is almighty close, and I don't mind that). Basically my phone has a 64GB SD card full of albums, and it sits on random play. Everything from Richard Cheese (awesome lounge / comedy act) & TISM (Aussie music at it best) through to Whitechapel and Impaled Nazarene."
You were situated on Norfolk Island for a period of time, was the metal scene you were a part of short-lived or is still active?
"Norfolk didn't have a metal scene as such. At one point (around the late 90's) there was a select few who listened to punk & metal - mostly surfers and my mates. It was also around this time I started a radio drive-time show playing rock & metal for an hour & a half, which gained a small, but loyal following. I also started a band with a couple of mates called Caktus. We recorded and sold a demo tape around the island and played a couple of gigs before disbanding due to my mates moving off the island for work / university. Its then I began to write, play and record everything myself, only playing live in cover bands. I haven't lived or been back to Norfolk Island for over 10 years, so whether there's still a following over there, I'm not so sure. However, the island has a pretty laid back mentality, and the islanders will support anything local, whether it be metal or otherwise. Country music is the genre that is most popular."
What are the challenges of being a metal music fan or band in the Australasian continent?
"With today's technology, there really is no challenge any-more. Everything is available 24-7, music videos on YouTube, online shopping etc. When I was younger, things were a little different. Any band that wasn't on a major label was hard to obtain and very expensive.
Live gigs in Australia were limited to major rock / metal bands, and with no dedicated metal festivals, smaller bands didn't have a chance in hell of getting here. Even Iron Maiden, struggled to get out here, I think they toured Australia in '82 then '84 then didn't come back until the early 90's. The only upside to never seeing bands or struggling to get material, was it added a certain mystique. I still remember that at 10 years old, I believed that Alice Cooper killed people on stage. Now, you can watch last night's gig from Montreal, Canada - learn the set-list and buy the tour shirt online. PUT YOUR PHONES DOWN PEOPLE!! ha-ha."
Outside of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia, do you know of any metal bands from other countries in Oceania e.g. Fiji, Tuvalu, etc?
"Unfortunately, no. But there is a really cool metal band in New Zealand that sings in Maori, can't remember their name though (ed. it's Alien Weaponry), one of their songs made the NZ mainstream charts...very cool."
Are you surprised about the global spread of metal music? What for you does metal music represent?
"No, I'm not. Metal was destined to be big. It strikes a chord with people on so many levels. Ask any metalhead what their favourite song is, and most will struggle. It's not a flash in the pan thing, fans genuinely love the music, the scene and the people involved, whether that be the band or other fans. It has longevity, chart music is here today, gone tomorrow. Hell, even I hear chart songs from the 90's / 00's and go "Shit, I'd forgotten about that song!"
However, again, with today's technology, metal may be spreading a little thin. People want shit now now now, and when they get it, they just want more more more. I'm just as guilty. I couldn't tell you the last time I absorbed an entire album over and over until I knew every word and riff back to front - but that's because I'm not a moody teenager any-more, lying on my bed all day listening to CD's! I guess that's just age though, most of the old stuff brings various memories back, so the new stuff has to be really good for me to take notice. (I really liked Decapitated's new album & COF's new one too)
Metal, for me, represents opposition in numbers. Whether its political, social or religious, metal seems to be the perfect outlet / release for anger, negativity or any sort of anti / "f*ck you" attitude. It represents musical freedom, with no set boundaries or rules. A genre that can mix with anything and still kick arse. Rap metal, Symphonic Metal, Metal / Reggae, Industrial, etc etc. A genre that can provide 15 minutes epics and still be taken seriously. Band members can wear codpieces, spikes & weaponry and not be laughed at. As long as the music is good, the fans will follow. That is why I love Metal."
Would you ever try to setup a metal band and or scene on Norfolk Island in the future?
"No, I have no real plans of heading back there, although, I think it would be awesome to organize a huge festival over there. But, airfares etc are just way too overpriced, and it would cost an absolute fortune to do. Also, its hard enough to get bands to Australia & New Zealand, let alone a tiny island in the middle of the South Pacific. But you never know, maybe one day in the future when they have figured out teleportation."
Australia. The very mention of the country's name sparks off the thoughts of sandy beaches, BBQ's, stray kangeroo's and the Sydney Opera House. Underneath all the glitz and glamour of this glorious nation known colloquially as 'down under', Australia has a savage metal scene that has seen the likes of Ne Oblivicaris, The Berzerker, Buried In Verona, Thy Art Is Murder and Destroyer 666 among others break out into the wider international metal community over the last 2 decades.
But despite the success of the bands above, the scene as a whole seems rather isolated when it comes to touring. It's down to bands like Aetherial who look at the challenges ahead, take them head on and forge their own path to progress forward. For Aetherial this is through the concrete metropolis of Melbourne, famed for it's Grand Prix circuit. GMA spoke to Cassandra, the band's bassist to unearth what the band is all about, what the scenes down under are like, their new single, visiting local attractions and 2018 plans.
As Fosters put it. Good Call.
"I don't see why metal [bands] can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - they would have to be creative [with music exposure]. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
Hi guys, for those unfamiliar with Aetherial could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you / are you in previous / current bands?
"Hey, thanks for having us Global Metal Apocalypse! I’m Cassandra, bassist in Aetherial.
Currently, we are based in Melbourne, Australia. Aetherial was formed by Shep and myself in 2013. Previously, we both played in a stoner / metal / grunge band called Cave Of The Swallows which also featured our friend and original Aetherial drummer Mr Paul Gatt. Shep was also the former vocalist in the South Australian-based Stoner / Southern Rock band Mammoth, with ex-Suffocation / Autopsy member Josh Barohn.
We recorded our album, 'The Still Waters of Oblivion' over a two year period at Everland Productions. In 2016 we signed with New York-based management company Extreme Management Group and most recently this year to Imminence Records in the US and Truth Inc Records over here in Australia, who will be jointly releasing the album worldwide November 10th."
What is the Melbourne and wider Australian Metal scene like? Do most bands do a tour of Australia and New Zealand than SE Asia?
"From a Melbourne perspective, the scene is pretty small, there are a handful of good venues to play at in the city and some good regional venues that work hard to keep live music going outside of the city. Unfortunately over the past 5-10 years quite a few great live music venues have closed down in Melbourne due to residential developments and noise restrictions, which has made it difficult for smaller bands to get a gig. A smaller population in general will always impact audience size and peoples interest and engagement in metal, particularly as its not common in mainstream culture here.
It is common for bands over here to tour the East Coast in the main cities, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a few stops in-between. But the sheer distance in-between and cost that is involved with getting to these places often prevents many bands embarking on a full national tour. You see a few bands heading over to New Zealand and Asia, generally larger more established bands though."
What are the challenges of being an Australian Metal band?
"Getting your music seen and heard!! There is a lot of really good music over here, if people would take the time to listen to it! Getting people to shows is another massive hurdle over here. People will have no hesitation paying $150+ to see established bands, but will not pay $10 to see 4 local acts?
Breaking through to reach people outside of the country, even reaching new fans interstate is also very challenging. It is important to utilise social media to try and get out there and engage people, it is a continual and ongoing aspect of being in a band now, particularly with reach being limited on Facebook and now Instagram for bands unless you pay for it. Many Australian bands head overseas to Europe or the US, simply because they can reach more people and play more shows!"
You just released your new single 'The Fallen Mark The Way' from your forthcoming album, what has reception been like?
"Great thanks! We have had a lot of good feedback from our fans and made a bunch of new fans too! It’s always great to hear positive words from people who get inspired from hearing our music."
Check out the lyric video for 'The Fallen Will Mark The Way' (taken from Aetherial's forthcoming debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion') below.
Seeing as Oceania is slightly isolated, could you see metal music ever emerging from countries like Fiji and the Solomon Islands? Is metal music in Australia widely accepted?
"Yes, it is rather isolated over here! We don't get a lot of bands touring here. It is a long way to come and quite expensive to travel here. Due to our smaller population the audiences are a lot smaller compared to overseas as well.
Metal music generally is not part of the everyday culture over here, like it is over in Europe. It’s accepted by those involved in the scene and other musicians, but in the general population it’s not particularly well known, well received or publicised. For example metal or even hard rock is not played on commercial radio, it’s really only played on dedicated metal or hard rock community radio shows. People over here still have a lot of preconceptions about the music, artwork and general themes of metal; most people don’t / can't understand it, they seem to find the content too confronting and don't want to be involved. Hopefully though with some amazing bands coming out of Australia now more people are becoming interested in the genre.
I don't see why metal can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - There’s probably already some killer bands over there! However, I think they would have to be creative with how they get their music out there. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
For metalheads holidaying in Melbourne, aside from the Grand Prix, are there any attractions / sightseeing locations you would recommend?
"Yes!! You could seriously spend months here and not see everything - the great thing about Melbourne is that there is always something going on and to discover! There are some amazing music stores where you can pick up some vintage and / or rare guitars / amps / pedals like Found Sound or The Swop Shop. For art lovers, there are so many tiny galleries all over the city showing local art and The National Gallery has killer diverse exhibitions from Van Gogh to Dior to Mid Century Modern Furniture.
For wine lovers, you can take a day trip down the coast to the Mornington Peninsula or The Yarra Valley, for amazing wine and scenery. You can visit boutique spirit distilleries like Starward Whisky in Port Melbourne or Four Pillars Gin in the Yarra Valley - which seriously gives some of the English Gin a run for it money! Melbourne is paradise for lovers of good food and coffee!! With markets like South Melbourne and Prahran Markets and amazing restaurants on every corner. There are festivals for Beer, Cheese, Salami and now even a chicken nugget festival. The Great Ocean Road makes for a good drive- for beautiful rugged coastline, Healesville Sanctuary for meeting kangaroos, koalas and other native animals. And of course you can catch some local bands at The Brunswick Hotel, The Bendigo Hotel or Cherry Bar, folks over here are always up for a chat and a beer."
With your debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion' out in a week's time, will there be a tour supporting the album?
"There definitely will! The Australian Tour will take place early next year with hopefully some International dates to be announced as well! But you’ll have to stay tuned to our social media pages to get the details."
What plans have you got leading into 2018? Do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
"Lots of touring and promoting our record! We currently have some killer merch available now at Merchnow and there’s some brutal new merch coming out soon! Shep and I have been co-hosting a heavy metal radio show once a month on Melbourne’s 3CR called The Heavy Session, so along with our friend and host Chris we have some awesome plans for the show as well.
We’d love to send a massive hello, to all our friends and fans over in UK - we’re working hard to come over and play for y’all in 2018!!! Thanks very much for the support!"
This time the victim to fall into the GMA interrogation cell is guitarist Bizz, of whom formerly played with the American industrial metal act Genitorturers feat. David Vincent of Morbid Angel. Bizz now plays with the Australian Industrial Metal / Alternative Metal mob Our Last Enemy and it was time for GMA to get the low down behind why Our Last Enemy could be the next big Industrial metal export since the glorious days of The Berzerker (minus the grind). No musicians were harmed in the interrogation process.
By Rhys Stevenson
So Bizz, how long has Our Last Enemy been going and what would you say the band's music style is without the use of genre tagging or cliches?
Our Last Enemy was formed in 2006. Our music is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. I'd say it's 50 / 50 but it only takes moments to dream up some killer riffs, but it takes a much longer time to work out the finer details to get the most out of those cool riffs and other musical parts. In other words, inspiration comes easily. It's the arrangements and the finer details that require lots of attention. I think that's where most bands go wrong. They just slap a song together and call it 'good enough'. We don't do that. Sure, it ALWAYS starts with inspiration, but to end up with a final product that you're truly happy with, it takes a lot of work. That said, there is the occasional song that just seems to write itself, and it all comes together quickly. But even with songs like that, we like to dig deep into it and make it the absolute best it can be. I think it's called O.C.D. Haha! But seriously, after all is said and done, an artist must know when the painting is done. And that is one of the reasons we run this band as a true democracy. We vote on what stays and what goes, until the majority feel that the song is complete. From there, the songs just sort of mutate naturally somehow. Just like my answer to your question just did.
And who inspired you to become musicians and who do you idolize?
I don't remember. I've loved music since I was old enough to sing. I don't 'idolize' anyone. I think idolize is a strong word. It sounds like worshiping someone. I bow to no man. Except maybe Alice Cooper haha.
I like a lot of bands from different styles of music. Over the last 13 years, I've been listening to a lot of Japanese metal and Visual Kei. But my influences spread across a many different styles of music, including (but not limited to) Punk, Industrial, Metal, Goth, 80's New Wave, etc. If it's good song writing and it has a cool vibe, I probably like it. But especially if it has a bit of a dark vibe or lots of attitude.
Focusing on New South Wales, how do the metal bands in cope during the times of wild fires?
Well, I think we all just sort of watch the news and hope the fires don't reach our own houses lol. I dunno. I've only been living in Australia for a little over 4 years. I guess I should say that we do benefit concerts or something cool to help the less fortunate. Like maybe give out free Our Last Enemy t-shirts or free dinner dates with teen heart throb and lead singer of Our Last Enemy, Oliver Fogwell.
Seriously though, we haven't actually done any benefits for wildfire victims that I recall, but we'd certainly be happy to do so should the opportunity arise. So there you have it. Our hearts may be black, but at least we aren't heartless. Oh, wait...maybe it's not our hearts that are black. It's our........lungs.
On a whole what would you say the trickiest thing about being an Australian Metal band would be?
Breaking out of Australia. Also, The Wiggles give us metal bands a run for the money in terms of heaviness. Those guys are really brutal with songs like Rock-a-bye Your Bear and Toot Toot Chugga Chugga. It's mindblowing. I mean, how could any of us ever compete with that sort of brutality?
How does mainstream media cover metal in Australia?
Oh, come on. We've got to keep some air of mystery about our country!!! lol
Reverting to Our Last Enemy, what plans does the band have for 2013 and beyond?
I personally don't want to say too much just yet, but it looks like it's going to be a very big year for us, which means it will also be a big year for our fans. Lots of exciting things in the works.
What is the local town / city metal scene like?
Sydney is a great place. There are a lot of good bands and loyal fans.
Finally any thank you's, hello's and any other messages you wish to say?
Thank you for your interest in Our Last Enemy. It's zines like yours who make a big difference to bands and music fiends alike. I'd also like to send a big thanks out to all of our fans, future fans, and to anyone else who has allowed us to pollute their minds by reading this interview.
We hope to see you all in the UK at some point in the not-too-distant future. Until then, remember to question authority and don't forget to do whatever you want.