Intervju (Engelska)

Video interview: BARONESS

Baroness video intCriticalMass.se kicks off a series of video interviews by Bella Qvist with BARONESS.

It’s been just under a week since the tour bus of American progressive sludge metal band BARONESS crashed, sliding off a slippery road near Bath in the UK and leaving the bus completely trashed. The accident not only saw the band cancelling the rest of their European tour, but it had several band and crew members hospitalised. Left with broken limbs and a couple of fractures vertebrae, the touring band had a lucky escape.

Two days before the road incident, Bella Qvist interviewed BARONESS lead singer and guitarist John Baizley. Captured in the videos below, John not only talks about the latest album but opens up about the terror of sharing true emotions with an audience, dealing with stage anxiety and the challenge of finding good food in Europe.

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“It's all about keeping it fresh” – on the road with SILVERSTEIN

silversteinCanadian emo rockers SILVERSTEIN recently finished their biggest European tour to date, visiting as many as eighteen countries. Whilst the band was still on the road, Critical MassBella Qvist got a quick chat with the humble bassist Billy Hamilton who spoke about their many hardcore fans, magical connections and making every day count.

Billy picks up the phone. He is in Malmö in the south of Sweden, hanging with his best friend Jana. Having started out in 2000, him and his band SILVERSTEIN have travelled the globe many a time and now Billy meets familiar faces wherever they go...

Läs mer: “It's all about keeping it fresh” – on the road with SILVERSTEIN

"Not worrying is the key" – an interview with OVERKILL's Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth

OverkillThrash pioneers OVERKILL formed in 1980. During the 80's, the band struggled along-side bands like METALLICA, ANTHRAX, SLAYER, EXODUS and TESTAMENT to bring Thrash to the people. Few, if any, would believe that the band would still be standing strong 2012, much less still deliver some of their finest material ever; OVERKILLs last album “Ironbound” was praised by both fans and critics, and the initial reactions to the band's just-released sixteenth album “The Electric Age” have been just as good.

Singer and main man Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth explains what he believes is the recipe for success, and how the band balances between progress and heritage trying to create a record that sounds fresh without sounding like something they're not:
– If we ever had goal with any release at any time in our history, it's been to have it sound contemporary. Sure, we have a past, and those roots will show on almost every record, but I think that the important thing is that the approach to each record is fresh, that it should be contemporary, and it should have value in its time. We don't want to reinvent the wheel, but still have it sound up-to-date. It's much more important to be what we are, as opposed to what we were, you know.
–The biggest challenge is doing something we haven't already done. I have notes all over the room I'm sitting in right now, in my office, and all the notes say "Don't repeat yourself". (laughs) It's a constant reminder; it's on the bulletin board, it's taped to the window, it's taped to the studio I have here, it's taped to my books, and on the walls. It becomes the biggest challenge, but it also becomes the biggest motivator, and knowing that it is possible to repeat yourself, repetition is wrong, but style is a very close cousin of repetition. I think that, on this record, we have achieved style as opposed to repetition.

Läs mer: "Not worrying is the key" – an interview with OVERKILL's Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth

LaBrie – The Voice Of DREAM THEATER (with old and new Swedish connections)

DREAM THEATERDREAM THEATER is starting their European leg of the tour supporting their new album "A Dramatic Turn of Events" in a few days time. I get hold of singer James LaBrie who comes across as very relaxed about how the band is going but also about his own solo career.

As for DREAM THEATER, everyone knows that this last year has been turbulent concerning the fact that founder and long time drummer Mike Portnoy suddenly left the band last fall. Still, I start out by asking where's he's at right now:

– I'm at home right now, in Canada. And then I leave on Friday to fly to Finland. 

So, James... you have recently released a new album that has been surrounded by a lot of turmoil, "A Dramatic Turn of Events", are you happy about it? 
– I am ecstatic about it! Seriously, I think that it's probably one of the strongest albums song wise that we've ever written, as far as I'm concerned. It forced us to look much deeper inside of ourselves in order to pull out the best that we could do, due to the circumstances. People would be much more scrutinizing and maybe have more room for criticism than for other albums due to the change. So it was up to us to prove that we're still the same band, and we had to write one of the best albums and I think we succeeded. We are all extremely pleased with the outcome.

Läs mer: LaBrie – The Voice Of DREAM THEATER (with old and new Swedish connections)

VENOM – Bootlegged Sons of Satan

VenomNobody can refute the fact that Newcastle-born black metal-pioneers VENOM are anything but one of the most important bands in extreme music history. Their first four albums are legendary and there are more bands hailing them for influencing their sound than there are bands who don't.

After over thirty years VENOM with their new album "Fallen angels" prove that there still is plenty of go left in the band, serving up their strongest efforts since "Possessed" and maybe even "At War With Satan". Because of this we just had to have a talk with the main man, and only remaining member of the classic original line-up, Cronos (born Conrad Lant).

You've said that this new album is the best VENOM has made since the eighties and I'm inclined to agree. Was there anything particular that you did differently this time to make it come out a head above the previous albums?
– Well, you know, you always try and do your best. For every band their newest album is always "the best they've ever made" because it's new and it's fresh. It's hard to put your new product into perspective but I've tried to learn from past mistakes with this one. Things that I may not have been so happy with on the previous albums that we've could've done differently, you know. We created the original sound of VENOM from a very innocent perspective. We had no masterplan, we had no great expensive producers and super-fantastic high-end studios or anything stupid like that, Cronos explains.

Läs mer: VENOM – Bootlegged Sons of Satan