Blood & Iron Interview
MG: Hi, its great to meet you, I will be totally honest with you Blood & Iron are totally new to me and I think coming from India intrigued me to listen and fully check out the band, and I am so glad I did , could you give me a Brief history about the origins of Blood & Iron.
Ashish: Hi, It's great to meet you too.
Thank you for checking out our music and for this interview. Blood & Iron was formed in Chennai, India, in February 2005, when I was a freshman in college. I had picked up my first guitar a few months earlier, and went about finding other metal heads in the city to jam with. I wanted this band to have a pure heavy metal sound.
The metal sce ne in the city was, and is very small, and was dominated by extreme metal bands. A few months in, and I knew most of the musicians there. Over the next two years, we had more line-up changes than I can remember. By late 2006, we were looking for a second guitarist, and happened to meet Vikram who was also looking out to join a heavy metal band. Few months later, Praveen met me at the Unwind center - a popular live music venue in Chennai, and joined us as a full-time drummer. The line-up eventually stabilized and we released our first album in 2007.
MG: Why the name Blood& Iron
Ashish: Otto Van Bismarck's famous 'Blood & Iron' speech was the inspiration. We wanted a name which was gritty and undeniably 'metal' - and that fit our sort of music perfectly.
MG:The albums excellent do you have any personal favorite tracks.
Ashish: Thank you. My personal favourite track is 'Your Own Voice'. 'Ghost of a memory', a song which was inspired by George R.R. Martins 'A song of ice and fire' series, comes in at a close second.
Our vocalist was in Australia, two members in India, and I work in Dubai - so making this album was quite the challenge. This was a 'long-distance' album and the song writing, and recording process, differed from what we did in the past.
The guest contributors to this album are all fantastic musicians and friends of mine. Youmni provides backing vocals on all tracks, and takes over lead vocal duties in certain sections of a couple of songs (Ghost of a Memory and Burning Bridges), he’s the lead singer of the Dubai-based heavy metal band ‘Ascendant’, which I’m now a part of as well.
Vin Nair is the ‘Narrator’ in Ghost of a Memory, and he’s the lead vocalist of the Dubai-based rock band Vin Sinners.
Riju “Dr. Hex” plays bass on Eternal Rites, and his band Albatross is one of the finest metal bands in India.
MG: Personally I love "Eternal Rites" the whole album is Proper Metal !
Ashish: Eternal Rites is a straight-forward, no BS metal song and has all the elements of Blood & Iron's music represented in it. We thought it would be a perfect opener to the album.
MG: I love the album artwork did the band all have an input into the design
Ashish: The album artwork was done by Ishaan Kumar, an artist in Singapore and a friend of the band. Yes, I had the basic idea of the album art in my head, and Ishaan's rendered it beautifully, adding his own interpretation to it.
The artwork has the statues of three ancient, extinct Gods – ie. Poseidon, Isis and Odin (Left to right). We wanted a symbolic representation of how though the times seemingly change, some traits and characteristics are forever entwined with the human experience. These traits have survived despite an ever changing world.
MG: I understand this is the bands third album, how much of a progression is "Voices of Eternity" from your previous work.
Ashish: Our sound has evolved with every album. Our debut album ‘Blood & Iron’ was a concept album – a story told from the perspective of a Soviet soldier in World War 2. Musically, the album had prominent orchestral parts, and certain progressive sections.
Our second album, ‘Dynamite World’, had shorter catchy songs. The songs dealt with certain socio-cultural issues and political ideologies – and how the rigid fanaticisms they inspire are threats that affect us all.
‘Voices of Eternity’ takes a back-to-the-roots approach. No pomp, no over-the-top theatrics. We were a 6 piece band prior to 2010 and now we have four core members with others contributors being guest musicians. We have discarded the use of keyboards entirely, and so it’s a pure heavy metal sound.
The album has 9 tracks and the song topics range from epic fantasy, to politics, to songs which are deeply contemplative. I would say it’s our best and most mature effort, to date – with greater emotional pull in comparison to the last two albums. The production of this album is also superior to our previous work.
MG: Does India have a big Metal following?
Ashish: There is a growing metal scene in India, but it’s still a relatively fringe or unknown genre of music to most people. It's also prone to being misunderstood - like anywhere else in the world, I guess.
India has a very rich musical tradition and most people are open minded enough to give this kind of music a listen before forming an opinion. The kind of talent that’s coming up in India now is unbelievable! It is tragic that most metal bands here disband after about 3-4 years, because it’s not feasible to make a living playing rock and/or metal, and there is very, very little exposure of Indian bands in the International metal scene.
MG: Are their other Bands from India we should be checking out?
Ashish: There are some great metal bands such as Albatross, Kryptos and Providence leading the charge for Indian metal. I’d highly recommend checking them out.
MG : Plans for the rest of the year
Ashish: Voices of Eternity comes out on Sept 26th, via our label Pure Steel Records.
Apart from that, we've begun composing album #4. We've completed a couple of demo songs so far, and it's definitely heading in the right direction.
MG: What first got you guys into Heavy Metal?
Ashish: I’d say what got us into heavy metal are the bands that to this day we still count as our heroes. Iron Maiden, Savatage, Primal Fear, Megadeth, Fates Warning, Queensryche, Annihilator, Dio, Hammerfall and Edguy.
We also listen to a host of other bands such as Theater of Tragedy, Dark Age, Dream Theater, Wintersun, Pink Floyd, Nightwish, Avantasia, etc.
MG: Who would be your ultimate bands to share a stage with
Ashish: If I could share the stage with Iron Maiden and Savatage, I would die a very happy man.
MG : If I had never heard Blood & Iron before which two tracks would you have me listen to
Ashish: 'Your Own Voice' and 'Ascendant'
MG : Four words to describe Blood & Iron
Ashish: True Metal, No BS.
MG: Final words for your fans
Yes, for the people who already like our music and are fans - thank you. It means the world to us that you enjoy our music.
If you haven't heard of us and you're a fan of pure heavy metal, then check out some of our songs on our website (www.bloodandiron.in), pick up a copy when it released on Sep 26th. If you like it, then please spread the word. Cheers \m/
MG: Thanks for the interview ..
Ashish: Thank you, very much.