– Hello, thanks for taking your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything going into the band’s camp with the release of your debut album?

Thank you for taking the time to interview us. At the moment, apart from doing quite a bit of media work, we are preparing to play some shows and waiting for our album to be released. Spirits are high, even if playing the waiting game is always a drag.

– You were formed in 2010 and you are playing a really traditional style so, how was the band born?

The seed for Convent Guilt was sewn while Matty and I were still in Shackles. We’d long been fans of pure heavy metal and hard rock and I had a couple of sonsg along those lines that wouldn’t quite work with Shackles. That said, I’ve never been a big fan of side-projects, so I wanted to focus on this band or not bother with it at all. When Shackles split the time was right. Dario, Shackles’ lead guitarist, was quickly on board and an old mate of ours, Brent, took on drumming duties.


– 3 of the 4 band members also played in SHACKLES, but considering the different music styles between both bands I assume CONVENT GUILT wasn’t born from the ashes of that band…

Convent Guilt very much rose from the ashes of Shackles. Shackles always had a very strong heavy metal heartbeat (tracks such as ‘Inquisitor’s curse’ and ‘Exorcised remains’ for example) and eventually that took over. Dario was always a more traditional heavy metal fan, so his guitars are more suited to what we do now. The only challenge was the vocals, but they are improving with time.


– And some of you have also had activities with bands such as TRENCH HELL or ASSAULTER, so even though CONVENT GUILT is a new band, we can’t say you guys involved are new comers. What’s your musical background?

No, we’re definitely no heavy metal virgins haha. We’re all aged between our mid-20s and mid-30s and have been playing in bands for years. I formed Shackles around 2000, with Matt and Dario joining a few years after that. Brent has played all sorts of instruments in all sorts of bands, including his killer death/thrash project Sluggard. I have enjoyed all the bands I’ve played in, though I would say that Convent Guilt is the most ‘personal’ one so far.


– As I said, you were formed around 2010, and your first demo came out in 2012 so, if you don’t mind, I would like you to tell us how was the path until the demo and what kind of activity did you have during that couple of years.

It took us a little while to find the right line up for the band. A couple of demo songs: ‘Convent Guilt’ and ‘Bailed up’ were already written, but we had to settle into our style. We rehearsed a bit and played some shows, before preparing for the demo release. As with everything in music, the time from an idea’s incipience to its manifestation is immense. We never wanted to rush things just to get a release on the shelves. There are plenty of bands doing that and their music suffers because of it.


– The 4-track demo was quite well received into the underground. Do you think you managed to create som buzz with it? Did it open new doors for the band?

It was generally well received. There was criticism of the vocals, which I accept, though there was also a lot of positive feedback due to our rough and ready, honest and passionate style. With this style of music there is usually a bit of a buzz – and given the contacts I’ve built up over the years it wasn’t too hard to spread the word. It certainly opened doors, as a demo should. It led to us getting three record deals and other expressions of interest, so it well and truly served its purpose.


– And now you are about to unleashed your debut full-length album so, how are you feeling about it?

We’re excited, as you’d expect. I won’t deny that I’m a little nervous as to how it will be received, but at the end of the day we’re thrilled with the recording and can’t wait to get the finished product in our hands. As long as we enjoy it and our fans enjoy it that’s all that matters.


– Starting to dig into the album, how did you come up with its title («Guns for Hire»)? Do you think it portraits, not the music, but the spirit of the band?

The title refers to us being heavy metal guns for hire. You know, we’re here to serve the music we love, to deliver it to the masses and to sell our souls to it. And that is a positive thing, rather than negative. It certainly does portray the spirit of the band, though also the music as well I think. The title is tough and full of attitude, just like our tunes.


– Here you are displaying no-frills Heavy Metal, with a huge influence of the NWOBHM I could say, but also with a lo of Hard Rock elements. What bands could you point as the most influential ones for CONVENT GUILT?

I can’t argue with any of that. We all love a lot of NWOBHM bands (Holocaust, Trespass, Turbo, Sparta, Bleakhouse, Arc, Le Griffe, Dark Star, Saxon, Iron Maiden and on and on and on…), though we don’t specifically aim to sound that way. It’s more the convergence of hard rock and heavy metal (with raw vocals and some ‘punk’ drumbeats) that brings about these comparisons. Bands that inspire us are legion, but they include AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Scorpions, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Witch Cross, Mercyful Fate, Mindless Sinner, Gotham City, Omen, Riot, Savatage and WASP


– Anyway the album has a good amount of diversity, for instance «They Took her Away» has an almost Folk start and several acoustic passages. What could you comment on this tune? What’s the story behind it?

I think that many of the best hard rock/heavy metal albums display a great degree of diversity – especially in the ‘70s when that’s what was expected. We try to explore different aspects of our sound and expand our song-writing capabilities. ‘They took her away’ was an idea I had for a few years and always wanted to record. It is based around old Irish ballads and the Australian bush ballads that they inspired. The story is one I concocted, though life ended up imitating life to some degree. There will lyrics printed with the album, so people can then get a true sense of what the songs are about.


– I think CONVENT GUILT is not just about music, but also about spirit, attitude, something that shines thorugh your honest music. What kind of personality or ethos do you think the band portraits?

Thank you, that is one of the best things someone can say to us. I read reviews where the person commenting on the music has absolutely no understanding of where it is coming from, but you got it in one. Hard rock and heavy metal should always be about spirit, it should be drenched in attitude, it should come to life in your speakers. We are passionate about our music and want to convey that to the listener, rather than show off our technical mastery. If we can be seen to portray honesty and passion for our music and lyrics then that is a pretty fair compliment.


– Your demo was released with Abysmal Sounds, and now «Guns for Hire» is coming out via Shadow Kingdom on CD and Cruz del Sur on vinyl. I don’t know if these are bigger labels, but I think they have a bigger promition and distribution. Do you think or have you already noticed CONVENT GUILT is now reaching more people?

Yeah, we have noticed it already – and the album is not even out yet! It is fascinating to catch a glimpse of the work these labels do for a band in terms of promotion. Abysmal Sounds was perfect for a demo, as they are friends of ours and based in the same country. For the album we always wanted European/American presence and that is certainly what we got. I should mention that Dying Victims Productions will also be releasing the album on cassette. I’m not sure I want Convent Guilt to ever be more than an underground band, but it is great to spread the word far and wide.


– And did you consciously look for a company to release a vinyl edition? As I think for a band like you that’s the format that fits the best.

I’ve been a vinyl collector for 20 years, so there was never an option: we had to have an LP release. It certainly suits our style and our image and I can’t wait to see that rustic artwork on a 12” sleeve. That said, you need to have a CD release as well and that will look great also. The tape release is more superfluous, but there are still tape die-hards fighting the TDK fight.


– All this about «Guns for Hire» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Heavy metal wildfire


– You are hailing from Australia, a country that has always had really good bands, but specially into extreme Metal, more specifically into Black/Thrash, such as D666, ASSAULTER or HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH among many others, but there are also coming out really interesting Heavy Metal bands such as JOHNNY TOUCH. What other bands into a more melodic style could you suggest?

I grew up with the extreme scene of this country: Sadistik Exekution, Bestial Warlust, Slaughter Lord, Armoured Angel, Destroyer 666, Gospel of the Horns, Vomitor and the like. As far as pure heavy metal goes, Australia was always in the thrall of AC/DC style hard rock. There were bands in the ‘80s such as Taipan, Godspeed, Ion Drive, Zen Venom and Taramis, though it was impossible to make it really big here due to labels and venues focussing on ‘pub rock’ over heavy metal. In recent times there has been a resurgence, though still in an underground sense. As well as the killer Johnny Touch, there is Demons Gate, Doomed Beast, Outcast, Raven Black Night and The Wizard who are all worth checking out. One great thing about the Aussie scene is that most bands don’t sound alike. Compare that with Sweden or Germany where there are great bands, but also a lot of generic wannabes.


– And how’s the scene over there? Is it easy for tours and such to be greographically isolated?

Scene? What scene? There are very few quality bands to play with and even fewer venues to play. The distances between cities is great (generally 1,000 km or more), so touring is hardly viable or profitable. That said, the distance and isolation creates real die-hards. We always have people travelling from other cities to see us play, as other bands also do. And the quality bands in Australia all know each other, so it is never difficult to arrange some shows or a party if you want to. The reality is however that eventually, if you want to reach the next level, you need to make your way to Europe or America.


– Anyway you aren’t a band that plays many shows, only occasionally I think but are there any shows coming up soon? Or a release party?

We are very selective with the shows we play, but we do have some in the near future. This weekend we headline a festival in Bendigo in country Victoria. Then in late November we play at a biker festival in Bathurst, before travelling to Tasmania the week after for a show in Hobart. There will be a proper release party early next year, once all formats of the album are out.


– Finally, what are your near-future plans?

You always reach something of a crossroads after the release of an album. You have to reassess what you want to do and where you want to go. You generally have no songs left, so you have to get writing and hope you can improve on what you’ve done before. We’re at that stage now. We have a couple of new tracks written, but we’ll be working hard (sometimes) to get a batch of even better songs ready for our next release.


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thanks Tania, I appreciate your interest in Convent Guilt. As well as being a Queen of Steel you are an Angel in Black Leather! ‘Guns for hire’ should be out soon and is recommended to all fans of catchy, melodic and honest hard rock/heavy metal. Check out www.facebook.com/conventguilt for more information, bad attitude and fire down under.


Tania Giménez


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