– First off thank you so much for answering to our questions. How is the band currenly doing with the release of the new album?
Gary: Hi , the new albums doing really well , we are delighted everyone recognises it as a true «Avenger» album and that the continuation from our earlier albums is obvious to the listener we are very happy about that.
– Have been 30 years since the last time you released new material, we will later talk about the band’s history and these last years. Was this the right moment to release new stuff, as you have been reunited and playing since some years ago?
Ian: We could have easily released an album earlier , but certain circumstances prevented it , However with the current re-surgence of interest in NWOBHM and Classic old school music we now think this was maybe the best time to do a new album.
– Your new album is entitled «The Slaughter Never Stops», tell us a little bit about this title and the meaning the cover artwork holds. What does AVENGER sing about nowadays?
Gary: Well our previous albums had quite blood thirsty titles so we decided to stay in that vein and also make a statement «THE-SLAUGHTER-NEVER-STOPS!!! almost as if we the band are declaring «we still want to make metal music!!!» «we still have good things to come». «this is not over yet!!» the cover had deliberate connections with all our earlier releases , some are obvious and some you need to look hard for . The song ideas are quite varied and mostly darkish . Science fiction and fact , History , Religion , Global issues such as global warming and its effects , serial killers (twice!!) and the dark side of life today , that’s about it.
– Listening to the album it has been a nice surprise for me; it sounds quite traditional, as you used to, and keeps that British vibe from that period. Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Ian: Yes we are very satisfied , we all agree it worked out almost exactly as we all hoped. Most importantly to still sound like Avenger and English in the real Maiden/Priest sense of a UK sounding band.
– Do you think this is the right evolution after so many years without recording? Or did it just come out like this in a more spontaneous way?
Ian: Well we were conscious it needed to be familiar to everyone who knows us , but it was not all that hard , the sound quality is better but everything else happened quite spontaneously as you say , looks like we still have our chemistry.
– I would also like to highlight the album’s length, as it really nice to listen to albums that sound straight-forward and that are easy to listen to. Did you have more songs or did you focus on not having a too long album?
Gary: There was a few more songs but this combination seemed to work nicely , we didn’t focus on it , it just felt right , a flowed nicely.
– You have choosen to cover a song by IRON MAIDEN, and it has ended up superb. How did the idea of recording «Killers» arise?
Ian: For a long time we had performed Killers live it was popular and so we recorded it to see how it worked out in the studio. Many people said you should have it on the album so we did it!!!! We made a «nice» video of it too.
– As I said earlier, there’s certain NWOBHM vibe on a lot of the harmonies, but at the same time we can find certain moments close to Speed Metal or Thrash Metal riffs without abusing though. Is this also a way to updated your sound to the currrent times?
Gary: The original Avenger material was all composed for two guitars but back then we could not find a second guitarist , we actually struggled keeping one!! so today all that material is played as it was meant to be played originally and the new stuff written for two guitars too , so both live and in the studio there is a lot of harmony guitars. Back in the 1980’s many people also referred to us (and Raven/Jaguar ect) as proto thrash or early speed metal , so if it gets heavy and fast today we are just doing our usual thing maybe!! 🙂
– As I have the chance of interviewing you, I would like to review a little bit your history. How did AVENGER born and how were those early days of the band?
Gary: Avennger was formed in 1981/82 by Mick Moore , Brian Ross and myself shortly after the original formation of Blitzkrieg split up. We had all been in a lesser known NWOBHM band called Unter Den Linden and were not really happy so we decided to form our own band and that became Avenger. Those early days were hard financial times in The UK but the newly emerging metal scene made it a very exciting time to be in a band especially when your 16!!!
– In 1984 and 1985 you released your first albums. Both «Blood Sports» and «Killer Elite» are nowadays cult albums. Tell us about those releases and what did they represent for AVENGER.
Ian: I think they display the development of a young band and also a small legacy that would see us reform In 2005 to continue playing!! for ten years now twice as long as the original band. We would never have believed back then they would endured as they have. And thanks to everyone for sticking by us and those two albums. Cheers!!
– You fit within the NWOBHM. When I interview British bands and I ask tem about the NW, they tell me both that it was just a mere tag or a really singular sound that only a few bands had. What was the NWOBHM for you?
Gary: We are very proud to be regardedas a NWOBHM band , it means a lot to us and it would never be just a «tag» not to us. NWOBHM for us was the potential next 30 years of developing metal style laid before everyone , we knew even back then!!! and also a green light!!! You didn’t have to be Led Zeppelin to tour other countries and make albums , ordinary kids could really do this….like us!!
– What are some of shows or festivals you recall the most from that period?
Ian: Maybe the first festival gig in Europe we ever played in Diepenbeek Belgium , we couldn’t believe people knew the words to our songs!! Also one show at the Cavern in Middleburg Holland when the crowd had a snowball fight with us and the crew after the gig then took us out drinking until dawn!!! La- Amours in New York our first gig in America!!! as only Raven and Venom had played in the USA from the Neat records label at that time , we were quite proud of that , they are much bigger bands than us. Theres so many!! its hard to choose.
– It wasn’t until the 00’s when you toured again. I remember you opened our festival in Barcelona, Metalcova Fest. We have already done 7 editions. Do you remember that festival? What were your feelings on it?
Gary: We remember it well , I was hot , crowded and the fans were crazy!!!! it was also our first gig in Barcelona and it was an honour to be part of the line up and play to such a great audience and visit such a beautiful city (we want to come back!!)
– I later saw you again at the Doctor Metal festival with a different singer. What prompted Ian’s departure and how was the comback like?
Ian: I had personal difficulties at the time , not related to music and it worked out hard for me tocontinue with Avenger… I knew the door was never completely shut though and when the new album was starting to become a possibility Gary contacted me and asked did I not want to do it , in case we did not record anything else , That way there would be a direct solid link between the old band and the current band , same singer , same drummer 75% of the original song writers etc . I agreed and I’m glad I did , its been great being back , getting onstage and seeing all our friends both old and new.
– How was the return period? Were you much active? Have you found or noticed that thanks to newer technologies you are more known?
Gary: The return has been cool, people are happy to see Ian back and before that too we have visited many places we didn’t back in 1984 , Brazil ect so really cool. Modern technology!!!! I wish we had the internet back in the 1980’s…it makes things a lot easier…just doing this interview for example!!
– Was the aforementioned maybe some of the reasons why you came back and started recording again?
Gary: No!!! we always felt we had unfinished business , and had not reached our true potential…it was not as easy as that but we are still at it playing and we missed that too I think…playing these songs.
– And back to the present times; how’s the live situation to support the album? Are there any tour or festival dates for the next year?
Gary: We have just played Brofest 3 a few weeks ago and play more UK dates in July/August and September including the Muthas of metal festival with Spartan Warrior , Deep Machine , Tytan and more!! also the SOS festival with Blaze Bayley . In October we play in France , Belgum and Holland please go to www.facebook.com/avengeruk/1 www.avengeruk.com for full details
– As the end of the year is drawing nearer, could you please tell us what have been your 3 favourite albums of 2014 and your less favourite one?
Ian: I will let Gary do this or it will get complicated!
Gary: Here goes
Obituary : Inked in Blood
Judas Priest : Redeemer of souls
Primordial : Where greater men have fallen
Tryptikon : Melana Chasmata
– That’s all from our side, our best wishes and hope to see you soon in Spain. Lots of thanks
Gary/Ian: Thanks for the interview Paco and Sergio we really appreciate the continued support sorry for the delay with this.