Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with SATAN and BLITZKRIEG vocalist Brian Ross. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On writing tracks for SATAN's new album, "Cruel Magic":
"We actually started working on 'Cruel Magic' pretty much as soon as we'd finished recording the last one. Russ [Tippins, guitars] had gotten a few ideas, and there were a couple of ideas that we had been working on for inclusion on the last album. We hadn't finished them off, though — there were a couple of things that we needed to do to them. We started working on those; Russ came up with ideas for some riffs, verse patterns, and so on. Once things start to move into the realms of more what you'd recognise as a song structure, then I start with lyrics, and we move things around a little to get the lyrics where I want them to be, and so on. The process has taken a few years to sort of get it to where we felt we were ready to go into the studio to record. It's the way we write things, I guess, in SATAN. The process in BLITZKRIEG is totally different — we do it from a different angle — but this is the way we do it in SATAN. It's different, and it's probably the way most people write. It kind of suits the way we like to work."
On the track "Doomsday Clock":
"I'm a massive 'Doctor Who' fan. I would like to think that if I had a T.A.R.D.I.S., then I could travel back in time and go to a point where everything went wrong, and try to do something to change it. The thing is, with time travel comes the responsibility of 'Can you really do this? Can you change the course of history?' Of course, we don't know. None of us have time machines, but that is what the song is about. It's about a guy who travels from way in the future back to a point where everything got screwed up; he tries to do one cataclysmic thing that changes everything, and basically stops the world in its tracks so we don't make the same mistakes again. That's what 'Doomsday Clock' is about. It even says in there '… Time after time / Lord, we've tried.' It's a little pun, if you like."
On signing with Metal Blade:
"We had a great time with Listenable Records; they're a great bunch of people, and it's a great record label. We were looking at the offers though, because there were a few record companies that had gotten in touch with us and offered us new deals. With the first two or three labels that got in touch and the first offers that we had, Listenable said, 'Well, I can match that,' and so it went on, really. Metal Blade came in and made an offer that we couldn't refuse. As it says in the old phrase, in terms of ladders I guess, they're the next rung up the ladder. I think that's where SATAN needs to be, and that's no disrespect to Listenable Records at all. As I said, they're a wonderful bunch of people. Without their help, the last couple of SATAN albums wouldn't have happened. We're eternally grateful to them, but at the same time we need to sort of move on, and move up as well if possible — get the band a higher profile, bigger and better gigs, and so on. That is the reason why, and it's the same reason for BLITZKRIEG, really. We were offered a much better deal, and one that we couldn't refuse."
On whether he considers SATAN to be part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement:
"To be perfectly honest, I don't know. JUDAS PREST get lumped in with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, as does MOTÖRHEAD. Are these bands New Wave? I'm not sure, because JUDAS PRIEST were around, and the very phrase New Wave Of British Heavy Metal would suggest that there was something before that, and of course we all know that there was. We had bands like JUDAS PRIEST for instance, who were around way before that, as were BLACK SABBATH. You look at that, and you think 'Are they really New Wave?' Maybe they are, or maybe they aren't. They were the guys that the guys in New Wave looked back on, and said 'We wanna be like that.' So, I guess maybe. Personally though, from the point of view of SATAN and BLITZKRIEG, I've never, ever considered either of the two bands to be New Wave bands. Both bands were sort of around… I personally prefer to call both bands classic British metal, really. New Wave is kind of a style; it's a lifestyle, I guess, rather than the actual bands themselves. Under the umbrella of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, there are many different styles. BLITZKRIEG is totally different to SATAN; it's totally different to RAVEN and it's totally different to VENOM, and yet we're all together under the same banner if you like. I'm not gonna knock the New Wave, because it's been good to me. I was proud to be part of it back in the day, but I think now, are we still New Wave? I don't know. That's for other people to answer, I think, really."
On how long SATAN will continue for:
"I'm 64 this year, and I think, 'Well, how much longer can I keep doing this?' The answer to that is I really don't know. Nobody knows. Next week, I might get a phone call where one of the guys says, 'Let's get together, because we need to talk,' and then we sit in a room together and go 'I think this is the end.' Hopefully, it's not gonna happen. I can't see it happening, because we're all so very happy with what we're achieving right now. I think as long as people out there still appreciate what we do, they still come to see us, and they still get the albums and so on? As long as that continues and as long as we're healthy enough to carry on, I can see us going on for quite a bit longer, to be honest."
Read the entire interview at Metal Forces.
Photo by Stefan Rosic