Phil Weller sits down with Stoneghost guitarist Andrew Mathews ahead of their show together at Sound Control, Thursday 25th June
"London metallers Stoneghost have released their début album New Age of Old Ways to widespread praise. Here are 10 tracks of burning fury that are battering down the doors of potential new fans, demanding their attention and stealing their beer in the process.
As a collection of songs, it threatens to bring out your inner masochist, such is the pummelling these songs give you. Like a louse from the woodwork it crawls out for adventure, impending chaos palpable in the air. Lead single Faceless Ghost is a viscous piece of music that whetted our appetites for the full length, alongside Devil’s Motion which was given away as a free download on the Metal Hammer site. The opening duo of the record, they race out of the blocks with Pantera fashioned grooves combining with blood curdled vocals to create a wall of sound akin to the likes of Machine Head or a slightly slower, but equally as devastating Lamb of God."
Read the full album review here.
So, the reaction for the début album has been really positive, that must be a really great feeling? You've had rave reviews, been on a Metal Hammer cover mount CD and loads more.
We couldn’t be happier with the reaction to the album, so yes it is a great feeling. The coverage it’s been getting has really blown us away. Even magazines that aren’t normally associated with our kind of music like Q and Classic Rock have picked up on us.
It's becoming increasingly rare for new bands to get so much media hype, do you think too many people are ignoring new acts?
Possibly, but I think that may be because there is now such an abundance of new bands and DIY releases that it’s getting increasingly difficult for listeners to keep track of everything that comes out. Likewise, I think that makes it harder for bands to find a wider audience when there is so much competition out there.
You're currently off touring the new album across the country. What can we expect from the Manchester show, have you played here before?
This will be our first time in Manchester and we can’t wait! Expect a lot of great sweaty riffs, raw power, more riffs and more raw power!
My band, Prognosis are opening the show on Thursday, what kind of debaucherous rock n' roll backstage activity should we prepare ourselves for?
Look forward to seeing you! To be honest, it’s likely to be very tame backstage. In the debauchery stakes, we’re a pretty feeble bunch.
Jokes aside though, New Age of Old Ways was produced by the magic hands of Russ Russell, what was he like to work with?
Working with Russ was great because he seems to instinctively grasp what it is we’re trying to do. I actually met him at Bloodstock a few months before we recorded with him. We were talking about how we like guitars to sound and we just clicked! He’s also a very easy-going bloke and likes to put people at ease, which is a great quality for a person to have when you’re spending hours and hours in the same room as them.
This is an album that very really didn't happen with the birth of Jason's child, so looking back, can you believe just how much has happened since then, and how difference things could have been?
It’s been a crazy turn-around! Making New Age of Old Ways was a real do-or-die situation for us and we all knew this going into it. We were determined to make one killer album that we could look back on and be proud of, even if the band had run its course. We were still writing right up until the week before tracking started and we had to put a lot of our own money into to it, so it was a bit of a crazy gamble. Ultimately, it paid off. The last hurrah turned out to be just the beginning!
For me, I feel the best metal bands nowadays - with some exceptions - are the ones that play a variety of different styles, be it thrash and groove with a hint of black metal and doom etc., and I read that you're influenced by everything from Jefferson Airplane to Decapitated, so how important to you is getting a musical diversity like that into your sound?
I’m inclined to agree with you. Variety is very important in music, but it’s also important to make sure that it’s done in a way that feels organic and not contrived. Between the four of us, we listen to a decent variety of music so a lot of different things naturally trickle into our sound. We have to keep things varied for our own sakes - we’d get really bored otherwise!
Our bassist, Danny, loves your cover art, was that something you guys played a big part in creating; what was the vision behind the cover?
Our singer, Jason, actually drew it by hand! He’s a tattoo artist by day and loves making all these crazy pictures, so it was a no-brainer to have him to do the artwork. The cool thing about it is that the cover image is just a small section of a bigger piece - if you unfold the CD inlay, you can see the full thing!
And you guys are already jamming out new material?
We’ve got a large chunk of the next album written already. We’re going to spend some time next month refining the material we’ve got, maybe putting together some more new songs and demoing a few things. We're really excited at the prospect of doing another album!
Cheers for taking the time to chat with us guys, see you Thursday...just don't bring any brown M&Ms!
My pleasure, see you on Thursday!
Words & Interview: Phil Weller