ONSLAUGHT Frontman: 'Thrash Metal Is Coming To A Peak Again'

Luxi Lahtinen of Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with ONSLAUGHT frontman Sy Keeler. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Metal-Rules.com: How would you compare this [upcoming] album ["Killing Peace"] to your previous releases content-wise? Would you say it's kind of mixture of both your debut album "Power From Hell" and your second album "The Force", having a bit punkish feel of your debut album "Power From Hell" and dark and heavy thrash metal feel of "The Force"?

Sy Keeler: You've got it there! You hit the nail on the head, that was exactly what we were aiming for was to mix those completely. "In Search Of Sanity", nobody really liked that album, the songs were good but it was far too polished. So we returned to "Power From Hell" and "The Force".

Metal-Rules.com: Are you going to use some new elements on "Killing Peace" that may even come sort of surprise for some ONSLAUGHT fans?

Sy Keeler: I wouldn't say anything new. We've all improved as musicians, definitely, despite being ten years older. "In Search Of Sanity" was released in 1989. 15 years ago. Steve [Grice] is a far better drummer. The songs are faster, some of the fastest songs ONSLAUGHT ever recorded. I think we will surprise ourselves. I have surprised myself with my voice. Hopefully you will hear a more aggressive Sy Keeler with all the Sy Keeler trademarks intact, I still hit the high ones.

Metal-Rules.com: How did you end up on Candlelight Records anyway? I guess it wasn't the only offer you received from labels when you were looking for the most ideal record company to release your reunion album...

Sy Keeler: Yeah. We obviously approached a fair few labels and a fair few labels approached us when they realized that we were back together. Candlelight seemed to show the most interest. As far as rosters go, Nuclear Blast, just as an example, has 30 or 40 bands of a similar genre to ourselves. So we're thinking "Hang on a minute, if they have that many bands on the roster, who are they taking care of?" They can't take care of everybody all the time. And Candlelight showed a huge interest, we got basically a worldwide release on that label. They have offices in the United States, Japan and of course in Europe and their distribution in Europe is second to none. Eventually we came down to three or four labels that showed a great interest and we chose Candlelight. Not because they were prepared to give us more money — these days money isn't thrown around like it was in the '80s. We arranged a deal ourselves with Andy Sneap and got a very good deal so they were quite happy to hand over the money that we had agreed on.

Metal-Rules.com: Did it has something to do with the fact Candlelight Records is a British label?

Sy Keeler: Of course it did! Their head office is in London. Their distribution company is Plastic Head based in Oxford, which is about an hour drive from where we live. We can be there at the drop of a hat, but there haven't been many meetings actually. It's been very smooth. It's nice to be with a British label.

Metal-Rules.com: I can already tell you there are a lot of old-school ONSLAUGHT fans in the audience waiting to hear the old songs, especially from "The Force" [the interview was conducted prior to a gig in Finland in August 2006]. Like people near by my age — and over.

Sy Keeler: That's right, at the festivals most of the people who have come specifically to see us have been your generation and my generation, the old school fans. Obviously we are quite another generation now from the guys and gals in their late teens or even early teens. Their mothers and fathers could play them ONSLAUGHT albums. I've got friends who have kids at 15 or 16 that are being introduced to old-school thrash metal and they're loving it. But it's great to have the old guard there for us, that's great, but we obviously want the new generation of fans there as well, because we're so much faster and more aggressive now and that fits what the teenager of this generation are listening to. And thrash metal is on the up. SLAYER have never really gone away but their new album has charted top five everywhere in the world I think.

Metal-Rules.com: I think SLAYER's new album "Christ Illusion" was No. 2 on the official Finnish chart just last week...

Sy Keeler: That's right, number two. In the U.S. I think it went to number five. In the U.K. number five or number four. Thrash metal in general is coming to a peak again, so I think this album will be released at the right time. It looks like it will be put back until January because we're a little late in recording the album. Andy Sneap had to fit something else in. we were due to go into the studio again on the first of July but we're a month late because he had other projects that he had to finish. We were originally looking at an October release for the album, but once you start to go into November it gets close to Christmas and it just gets lost. No one releases metal albums that time of year. It's just Paul McCartney, it's all pop and Christmas songs, so it would probably get lost in the mess that is Christmas. So we will wait and I think it's scheduled for the end of January.

Read the entire interview at www.metal-rules.com.

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