British thrashers Onslaught returned with Killing Peace... Now they have a live album on the way. Time to talk a bit with Onslaught guitarist Nige Rockett about the past, present and future!
Its been a long time between the last release In Search Of Sanity and the your re-union. What convinced you to return to the stages?
Onslaught finished in a bad way for us, there were many problems and we made big mistakes around the of ISOS. I guess, we feel we had lots of unfinished business and wanted to show our fans that we could still make some cool music... It wasn't a re-union just for fun, it was serious situation to put bad things right... And to move Onslaught onwards and upwards, we still have many ambitions to drive us forward...
As you have mainly members of the old days, how difficult has it been to get the band back together? And what did you do during all those years?
No, it was easy to get the band back together once again, because we all had the same feelings about the band, we knew we had to do this to lay the ghosts of the past and create some more chaos...
A few of us worked on some musical projects after, but there was a bitter feeling for me personally, so I just left my guitar for many years... But now I cannot live without it...
Have you ever thought about changing musically? Thrash wasn't very popular, even if it seems to be back now...
NO, thrash metal is all I wanna play... Nothing else really interests me musically. I still listen to all the classic thrash album, all this new stuff just don't work for me... And it's great the popularity is really back!
How was working in the studio after all those years? Or have you recorded anything meanwhile we don't know about?
It was great and real easy too... Onslaught learnt to record in the studio the hard way, by rehearsing over and over to make things very tight. We still have that attitude today, so combined with modern studio technology making album is very painless for us... Haha No, there are no secret recordings...
The album is called Killing Peace. Did you choose the title, coz the song is presenting the album well? Or is there any other reason?
We chose the title for 3 reasons... 1, because 'killing peace' is what we do best... :) 2, because we hate religion and that also kills peace... 3. it was the strongest title to represent our return.
What does Killing Peace mean to you? And what does the band name Onslaught meant for you in the early days? Did the meaning it has for you change through the years?
Killing Peace was a massive album for Onslaught, it was the record that we would stand or fall by on our return. It would either kill us or bring us back into the world of metal. Luckily for us, the record was greeted with great respect by fans and press alike...
Onslaught has always had the same meaning to us from day 1, pure energy and aggression and that will never change. Onslaught means 'ferocious attack' that's why we took the name.
Thrash metal is live even more intense... And so playing live is essential. How was playing a sold-out show at home after all those years?
It was awesome and amazing to know that the fans still cared. We could have sold out that show many times over. We were a little rusty, but that night was a huge inspiration for us to move things on, it felt so good to be back on stage...
After Killing Peace you presented us a live DVD and also a new 'Live' album... Why not a new studio album?
The DVD was released only a few months after the Killing Peace album, which was cool as the profile was really high and made the DVD very popular.
The new Live Damnation album was an idea Steve and our sound tech came up with only a few weeks before the Damnation Festival in England last year. We thought the album would be great to give our profile a kick while we work on material for the next studio album. Plus Onslaught have never released a stand alone live album...
It's a pretty cool package as there is a bonus DVD, with some fan cam footage and interviews with the band from the festival plus 2 live video tracks.
Have started writing songs? And can we expect a studio album soon?
Yeah, we have written over half the tracks for the new album. It's coming along real, real well... It's been a slow process because we have been playing so many shows since the release, but we're not gonna rush things because again this is a huge album for us to make... It's gotta be right!
Now you have Live Damnation out. How was it to play the festival?
Damnation Festival was great! It was such a cool idea, having all the big extreme UK bands on one bill - Onslaught, Napalm Death, Carcass and Benediction. The crowds were fucking nuts!
Pretty often the recordings can't transport the atmosphere... the live feeling. Are you satisfied with the turn out of the album?
Yeah, that's sometimes the case, but Andy Sneap has mixed our live album and he has done an amazing job! It is so fucking heavy and has captured the real energy of Onslaughts live show, we're totally stoked with the results.
You'll now play some shows with Testament... Are you looking forward to play with the Bay Area legend?
It's gonna be a great tour, I think. We've played some shows with Testament before and they're cool guys, we all come from the same era. So I guess, we kinds have the same mindsets and attitudes towards the music we make...
Looks like there are a couple of festivals on your schedule allover Europe. Will you keep the set list from Live Damnation or can the fans expect something different?
Yeah, we got a few cool festivals this summer, we're gonna be mixing things up a little just to keep everything fresh. And we'll try out some new ideas and add a couple of different tracks into the set... We're really looking forward to the summer.
And how do you choose songs for a festival show? Is it different compared to a club show?
We always look at what the potential crowd is gonna be, we will choose songs on the basis of the crowd reaction, because that's what live shows are all about. Festival crowds are very different to club crowds, so we will choose the set accordingly. Club crowds tend to be more violent, so we'll play more of the faster songs, also festival stages are too high to dive from.... Hahahaha
Last, but not least.... Give us a brief view into the future of Onslaught!
Live album released 20th July... Lots of shows in 2009. Possible US / South America tour in Sep. / Oct.... Complete writing the new album...
New studio album early 2010 and then play as many shows as possible, because that's what this band truly lives for.
That's our perfect plan for the immediate future. :) We'll be happy thrashers, if all goes well, especially if our fans are happy too.
The live album gives a good idea about how Onslaught are live, so if you get the chance to see them on stage, make sure you won't miss them! And I can't wait for the new studio album to get out... But at least it's on the way, so listen again to Killing Peace or Live Damnation to cut short the time til the new album is in stores!