Exclusive Interview: Hellforged talk debut EP, Bloodstock and Essex!

While they sharpen up their blades in the rehearsal space and prepare to do battle at Metal 2 The Masses for the chance to play the New Blood stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival, we took a moment to have a casual conversation with Essex Metal act Hellforged. Their debut EP “Live at Stag Studios” had prepared us for that, an intriguing offering that has found a home for itself between Metal and Grunge with some soulful vocals and old school riffs galore…

Obvious question really but what made you decide to record your debut EP live in the studio as opposed to going the usual route? How have you found the reaction to the record so far? “It was mostly a budget decision. As we are a new band and currently unsigned we couldn’t afford to spend thousands of pounds on studio time so we had to go for a cost effective option, which was to record all four of us playing together live, rather than isolating the instruments and playing to a click or backing track. We had to knock out all four tracks of the EP in about five hours or so over one day. No pressure! The reaction has been very positive so far, we have had a lot of positive feedback”

You’ve bagged a slot in this year’s Metal 2 The Masses competition; how much would it mean to you to play the New Blood stage at Bloodstock this summer? “To play at the same festival as some of our heroes like Megadeth would be absolutely huge. Bloodstock carries a weighty reputation. If you’re up there playing on the new blood stage, you’ve earnt that spot. It’s a serious achievement, and of course would mean the world to us. We would be absolutely honored to grace that stage!”

We called the solo in “Undead Missus” an absolute face melter; who do you consider your guitar heroes and why? “For rhythm it would have to be Iommi, Hetfield and Mustaine. Both their riffs and songwriting are legendary for a reason. For lead there are too many! If i had to narrow it down to just a few it would have to be Eddie Van Halen, Marty Friedman, Dimebag and Synester Gates. Those guys not only have outrageous technical ability but also create such amazing melodies that give a uniqueness to their playing that can’t be replicated. In fact, the intro lick in the ‘Undead Missus’ solo was inspired by a lick in Dimebag’s ‘Cowboys from hell’ solo”

If we are made up of our genes and our influences, what is in your jeans and who would you consider your influences? “We all have heavy metal music in our genes. We are all hard-working and ambitious, and want to make great music for people to bang their heads to! If we had to limit our influences to just two bands each it would look like this –

Ben [Guitars] – Metallica, Black Sabbath
Michael [Bass] – Devin Townsend, Pink Floyd
Matt [Drums] – Killswitch Engage, Slipknot
Luke [Vocals]- Slipknot, System of a down”

We’ve noted a few other bands rising from the Metal scene in Essex including Beyond Extinction; what is the scene like there, what has it done for you and are there any hidden gems of bands that we should check out? “To be honest, it isn’t a huge scene, but there are some cool little venues, which host metal nights, and of course the metal to the masses Essex competition which is a great opportunity for new and emerging metal bands. So far we have actually played more shows in London than we have in Essex”

What’s next for Hellforged? “We have just been booked to play the O2 Academy Islington on the 25th March. We’re also at the Hunter Club in Bury St Edmunds on 7th April and of course the metal to the masses competition, which kicks off on March 9th. We are also working on new material, and as soon as we feel we have enough tracks we are going to get started recording on our first full length album”

Live at Stag Studios” by Hellforged is out now and available everywhere you’d expect it to be like Spotify, Apple Music and so on…

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