After 25 years, California metal masters CIRITH UNGOL have hauled their undead corpses from an untimely grave. IRON Fist scribe J. BENNETT spoke with drummer and co-founder Rob Garven about life, death and resurrection.
Originally printed in Iron Fist Issue 19
It’s a Tuesday evening in late August, and Cirith Ungol are sweating their balls off in a Ventura, California practice space. “Some previous band blew up the air conditioner so when we come in here at night it’s like 100 degrees,” drummer Rob Garven explains. “We were gonna fix it but it’s like $10,000, so we bought a fan instead.”
A few weeks after we speak with Rob, Cirith Ungol will play their first show in 25 years when they headline the Frost and Fire Festival, a weekend-long metal extravaganza in Ventura that will also feature appearances from elder statesmen Grim Reaper, Omen and Ashbury alongside young guns Midnight, Visigoth and Night Demon. For Rob and his bandmates — vocalist Tim Baker, guitarist Greg Lindstrom and guitarist Jim Barraza (with Night Demon main man and festival organizer Jarvis Leatherby filling in on bass) — it’s pure vindication for a career plagued with label calamities, poor timing and bad luck. The band slugged … Read More
There are always those bands you’ve never heard of, but worth every single note when you do finally stumble upon them. For many readers out there, Quicksand Dream from Sweden might be such a band. Born from the ashes of an old cult act named Epic Irae, Quicksand Dream took shape as duo with Göran Jacobson (vocals) and Patrick Backlund (all instruments) performing music from the heart, inspired by Black Sabbath, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road and similar iconic legends. Sixteen years after their debut album (that got a proper release years later) they came back with ‘Beheading Tyrants’, without the urge to follow a specific style, but rather give something personal to a dedicated audience. The music of Quicksand Dream has a strong and solid vibe from the past, and Patrick Backlund is here to explain the dream…
Before Quicksand Dream, there was Epic Irae. Give us a brief recap of your early years in music, the creation of Epic Irae and the transformation to Quicksand Dream. Epic Irae was the original name of the band, formed by a bunch of schoolmates in the autumn of 1988 inspired by the likes of Candlemass, Manilla Road, Cloven Hoof, Stormwitch and Celtic Frost to … Read More
Epic hard rockers ASHBURY have been enjoying renewed popularity in recent times, thanks to the rediscovery of their private-press LP from ’83, ‘ENDLESS SKIES’; a true lost-classic of melodic hard rock which marries the melody of Wishbone Ash with the delicate vocal lines of James Taylor and the grandiose scope of heavy metal. In light of this much-deserved renaissance, the band has regrouped for several successful appearances at metal festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, this weekend will see Ashbury tread the boards at Frost & Fire II Festival in Ventura, California. JAMES BLACKFORD caught up with band-leading brothers, ROB and RANDY DAVIS to revisit ‘Endless Skies’ and survey the band’s long history…
ON DISCOVERING MUSIC… Rob: “Our Dad was in the Army, so we moved around a lot, living in France for three years, as well as in Oklahoma and Georgia. Dad played guitar and loved Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Fats Domino. He owned a state-of-the-art Telefunken stereo and bought records every week, so growing up we didn’t watch TV, we just listened to music. Music and family were Dad’s passions in life, although his first attempts to get us to play guitar were useless! We had no interest, … Read More
“I may lose a lot of underground cred and some hipster points here, but I believe in being completely honest.” Jarvis Leatherby isn’t kidding about honesty. Corresponding with us by email from the three-piece’s 60-date headlining tour of the US, Night Demon‘s bassist and vocalist is big enough to admit that they played to 20 people in New Orleans. But fuck credibility: we’re just plain surprised they didn’t take their name from the classic cut ‘Night Of The Demon’.
“We didn’t even know about Demon until after we started this band,” he reveals. “We were Googling our own band name and found their stuff through that. They quickly became one of my new/old favourite bands. Especially the first three albums.”
Turns out that Night Demon just wanted a name that was also a song: ‘Night Demon’, featured on their much-touted debut EP, was the first song they wrote. “We were surprised that nobody had taken the name. It’s difficult to find cool band names that are out there for the taking, so we just ran with it.” Formed in 2011 in Southern California, the band’s debut full-length has just dropped – and ‘Curse Of The Damned’, released by SPV/Steamhammer earlier this year, is a stone-cold … Read More
With albums from Atlantean Kodex, Argus and Age Of Taurus riding high in our albums of the year lists, and of course the final ever album from the true masters, Cathedral, it seems that traditional doom, steeped in the roots of heavy metal, is, once again, genre du jour, and now Esslingen’s Mountain Throne are joining the ranks with their debut album ‘Stormcoven’ on Cyclone Empire. Forming in 2009 guitarist A tells Iron Fist that he, “always wanted to have a band playing this ancient kind of metal” and had been writing songs in that vein for years. Drummer J joins A in the doom band Mirror Of Deception, while cracking singer F and bassist S are in the power metal band From Beyond, so the cachet is hot for this German four-piece. When asked what attracted them to the traditional doom genre, A says firmly, “It’s the choice of champions really, isn´t it? There is a sense of a tradition… knowing where things came from and how they developed. Real heavy metal and classic hard and heavy rock are incredibly soulful. In real metal you definitely have that spirit. For me, this magic is epitomised in the songs of … Read More
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