Piercing Metal recently conducted an interview with MERCYFUL FATE/FORCE OF EVIL guitarist Hank Shermann. An excerpt from the interview follows:
Piercing Metal: As someone who has been in the music industry for over 20 years, what is your take on the current state of heavy metal music? We see big guns like JUDAS PRIEST reuniting, IRON MAIDEN and OZZY OSBOURNE still holding on. I was curious for some of your input on this.
Hank Shermann: "It's amazing that the giants from the '80s still are the giants regarding 'classic metal' that's something. It could be that the songwriting is not as strong as it was it the '80s. PRIEST, MAIDEN and so on has so much to offer regarding good songs...But suddenly we will see a new Halford or Tate, maybe even a new Van Halen / Schenker or likewise. And the metal has also become so broad and diverse spanning from extreme death metal to melodic metal. It's a very saturated market... But you know, the good stuff will always surface at some point. The commercial market is also a completely different game than it used to be. Positive thing is that bands now can have an open window to the world in form of a website...very good indeed."
Piercing Metal: There is so much talk of the "new metal" sound which does not have the wonderful guitar breaks we are all so familiar with. What is your take on this, and honestly do you think it will hold up over time?
Hank Shermann: "I am coming from the '70s metal started by JUDAS PRIEST so that's my 'fave' style. But the new is very aggressive and brutal sometimes, which I fully understand and am impressed about. But I have a hard time listening to a band if there is absolutely no melody in there. Yet the youth seem to love it as that's their thing. The very best will likely hold up over time but there will be tons just fading away as well I'm sure."
Piercing Metal: This is a two-part question because I want to see on each side of the ocean who you like the best. From the crop of recent bands, who stands out in your eyes, who has the potential too do this as long as you have? I am speaking for the Europe scene and the American scene.
Hank Shermann: "Wow, thorough question. I have a hard time finding a band with the qualities. To me bands like, let's say PRIMAL FEAR or HAMMERFALL, are just a clone of something that has already been there, with respect of both bands though. Today there are so many brilliant singers and musicians but I don't see or hear a new original 'JUDAS PRIEST' coming anytime soon here in Europe. For the USA its bands like SLIPKNOT and so on that kind of dominate the 'sales' but for classic metal I'm not too sure either. In the '90s I think PANTERA really did some reinvention of metal and they had the stuff. Unfortunately this was ended by a freak. But I have to pass with any other names since I'm too old and have been around too long and as result can easily hear where all the new bands are getting it from. So then I prefer the originals...But hey there are so many good bands out there. I'm just glad that JUDAS PRIEST is STILL leading the pack , since they are my favorite."
Read Hank Shermann's entire interview with Piercing Metal at this location.