is an English thrash metal band from Bristol, England. Initially they
were active from 1983 to 1991, and the band reformed in 2004. The band
initially drew influence from the second wave punk rock bands such as
Discharge and The Exploited, and then adopted a straight forward thrash
albums from the eighties, ‘Power From Hell’ (1985) and ‘The Force’
(1986) have a well deserved place in the collection of any old school
Metal fanatic and the British quintet continues to release quality
Thrash records. After being disbanded in 1991, the band returned in 2007
with ‘Killing Peace’, the musical equivalent of being hit in the teeth
with a sledgehammer, featured the high speed Thrash the band is
notorious for, combined with crushing mid tempo tracks, with Keeler
soaring on top of that more powerful than ever, and was a fist in the
face of anyone who deemed the Brits dead.
On january 28, the U.K. thrash metal veterans
ONSLAUGHT released their fifth studio album, “Sounds Of Violence” ,
through AFM Records. The album includes a cover version of the Motörhead
classic "Bomber". The follow-up to 2007's "Killing Peace", was recorded
and mixed at Hansen Studio in Ribe, Denmark with acclaimed Danish
producer Jacob Hansen (Raunchy, Mercenary, Volbeat, Heaven Shall Burn).
In order to
get to know all about their latest album we tracked down Nige Rockett
(Guitar) to answer some questions. Here you can read what he had to
say to the readers of Metal-Experience.com.
First of all, congrats with your new album, how are you
Hi Eugene, I’m doing good thanks, how are you my friend…?
Of course I am very aware of Metal-Experience and thank you for the
been four years since your comeback album
came out, so it seems you took your time to create the new record. How
did you launch into writing material for
and how much time did you spend on the songs?
been a long time but we sure haven’t
in fact the demand for live shows since the release of ‘Killing Peace’
has been amazing and this is the main reason for the long delay…
We love playing live so much, we find it impossible to say no to a cool
show offer haha…..
but at the start of 2010 we agreed we had to draw a small line in the
sand just to make sure we finished writing this new album in time for
the 2011 release…
The actual song writing process was pretty fast, what we
did take our time for was the final pre-production of the songs before
recording. We demoed every song and fine tuned everything down to the
last drum beat before we entered the studio, we wanted to know these
songs inside out so we could deliver maximum energy into the
Which approach did you choose to make this album, did you
go for a more raw exposition.. or something more reminiscent of your
previous other works, or something all together different?
this album to sound raw / very live & modern but with an Old School vibe
and attitude, so a kind of different approach to previous releases I
guess.. It was so important for Onslaught to make a record that was
heavily aggressive and very strong for the 2011 world of metal music,
a lot of competition out there right now and we wanna be competing with
Did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them
down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
us the ideas did come kinda easy, which was cool, we always felt real
confident and creative while making the SOV album but at the same time
we also took a great deal of care with the compositions…
The arrangements were worked on constantly until the song flow was as
smooth as possible and then everything was placed around the structures
How can we imagine you work on new songs, what's the
typical writing process like for Onslaught?
90% of the
new songs were written by myself and Andy in our studio.. It was a real
good way of working because we could record everything as we wrote it,
that way we immediately knew if the parts worked or not…
We used drum programmes for writing which really helped.
What were the goals you had in mind when you started to
any elements you definitely wanted to include on the album?
The first thing we had in mind when making SOV was that
it had to be the best Onslaught album so far, we didn’t want it to be 2nd
best to ‘The Force or Killing Peace’, we could have never been happy
We said from the outset that the album needed to be very
aggressive and very heavy, that was the initial template, also with a
lot of variation… Onslaught is a band that appeals to Death / Black
metal fans aswell as Thrashers and that is something that is very
important to us, so we are always aware of this when writing new
material… We are real lucky to have quite a wide spectrum..
Could you please describe the implications of the title
what does it stand for and is there a special meaning behind it?
of Violence’ is all about true and brutal events throughout history….
I wanted to make a very dark, thought-provoking album to
paint a very violent picture.. Violence is real, violence is extreme,
violence is a part of everyday life….!!! It was a deep journey for me
writing these lyrics, I did a lot of research and discovered some
amazing and scary shit….
Of course the main themes of the songs are clear, but
where do you get your inspiration from? Can you tell me something more
about the lyrics, are there any stories behind them?
My one and only lyrical inspiration for SOV was true
life.. This world has always been a potentially violent place to live in
and it always will be.. There is always gonna be some fucking maniac out
there that wants to cause death, mayhem and destruction….
give you a brief breakdown of the album track by track….
“Born For War”
is about child soldiers, you see these kids on the TV news, like 6 years
old holding an AK47, they know nothing of life, only the realities of
war and many are dead before they are 10….
Sound Of Violence”
Onslaught are friends with a Battallion of troops fighting the war in
Afghanistan (Their combat call sign is named after the band) We talk
with these guys regularly and they tell us all the stories of what goes
on at the frontline.. This song is about the view of war through a
is about an American religious cult which still exists and spreads its
filth and corruption today..
“Rest In Pieces”
details the actions of a very ruthless mass murderer, who killed and
tortured countless people in the name of medical research…
the rise of an extreme & violent superpower…
is a very personal lyric to me about religion, my family and my
upbringing through a religious childhood…..
my thoughts and observations of the atmosphere at an Onslaught show…..
The ultimate in violent sacrifice, taking one’s own life…!!!
I have known 2 people who have committed suicide and I can only imagine
what was going throught their minds at the time, we will really never
know, but I’m sure there are 2 voices talking in the mind, one saying
‘Do it‘ and the other trying to reason for life..…
How important is it to you that people pay attention to
the lyrics apart from listening to the music?
It’s hugely important to me, I spend as much time on
writing lyrics as I do writing the music, the lyrics are what gives you
the visual effect in your head as you listen to the sound..
If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not
listen to the music, what would you hope they would take from them?
I hope they would see the lyrics as nothing more than a
brief lesson in the history of our violent world, it’s not pretty but
it’s the stark truth of how inhumane the human race can be…
What is the utmost important ingredient for a song
according to you?
A great catchy riff first and foremost.. Thrash metal
thrives on cool tunes, that’s what it’s all about.. Then comes the
chorus for me, lots of vocal hooks are real important, people wanna sing
along however extreme the vocals are…. You can still write brutally
heavy music and make it memorable…
How did the recording process proceed and how much time
did you spend in the studio?
We did things in a slighty unusual way this time around..
We recorded the real guitar parts first, to click tracks / programmed
drums.. We programmed the drums with hugely aggressive beats and pushed
the tempos up to the max so we were right on the edge for playing the
riffs.. It really got the adrenaline pumping and made the final recorded
guitar parts very intense and angry.. Then we layed down the drum
tracks, Steve was now playing his parts to perfect brutal rhythm guitars
so he had to match the intensity, he really had to raise his game this
time around hahaha, which he really did… The rest was kinda
straightforward with Jacob really pulling some cool performances out of
Sy for the vocals, that was real cool to see… We don’t like to hang
around in the studio, I think Killing Peace took 12 days and SOV took
around 16 days, we learnt the old school way so all the new technology
makes our studio life a walk in the park J
the story behind the Motörhead cover you recorded with Phil Campbell and
We just felt it was the right time for us to do another
cover song, it’s been many years since we did one and it’s always a
blast making it so we thought why not… I think Steve came up with the
idea of doing a Motörhead track..
been jamming away with “Bomber” in rehearsal and it was sounding pretty
cool but not
there if you know what I mean. It was missing that little spark, it had
all the Onslaught Thrash attitude but it was missing the Motörhead vibe
and we really wanted to do this justice.. So I sugggested we give Phil
Campbell a call to see if he was up for putting down some guitars on our
version, he really loved the idea.. As soon as Phil came into the studio
and laid down that awesome riff everything fell into place, however much
we played that tune we could not make it sound the way Phil did, it
really gives it a
In regards to Tom Angelripper, we have become good
friends with the Sodom guys after playing many festivals with them over
the past 4 years and I thought Tom would sound great sharing the vocals
I knew Sodom were in the studio making their new record so we gave him a
call and Tom said
me the backing tracks over right now,
wanna do this”
there it was made….
it was real fun doing this “Bomber” version and I’m
pretty sure fans of all 3 bands will find it cool…
What do you think are the most typical differences
between Onslaught anno 2011 and Onslaught back in the eighties?
Experience definitely, that counts for so much, we were
only kids back then with so much to learn, very naïve, everything has
gone up several levels for us, we‘ve improved as people and as musicians
/ songwriters and performers…. There’s so much more energy and anger in
2011 that we can channel into our music and live shows, it’s a totally
different beast altogether..
The new album was produced by Jacob Hansen.
In which elements on the new album can one clearly hear
his vision and ideas?
Black”, purely for the vocal performance and delivery, I was totally
amazed when I heard the finished result, Jacob got Sy to add many layers
to certain parts ot give it a real dirty, evil tone, totally awesome..
To speak in general about the album, what impressed me
about Jacob was the way he has got everything so heavy and full of life
but yet sounding so clear, that is a very clever and special Producer…
How would you describe this album to someone that has
never listened to the band before?
That’s a tough one without blowing one’s own trumpet too
If I was trying to sell it to someone who has never heard
of the band before I guess I would say: “SOV is an album that contains
all the cool and crucial elements of Old School Thrash but with a real
modern twist. There is an infusion of Death / Black metal elements
running throughout the recording and blends perfectly to make an
unmistakeably violent sound…It’s definitely an album for people who like
their Thrash dark, aggressive and heavy..”
What do you think are the main differences between your
previous album ‘Killing
and the new one
is much more technical I would say with lots more intricate arrangements
on the drums and guitars.. I think the production / final mix really
captures the band’s live energy in a much heavier way.. It sounds like a
much more thought about and diverse album all round to me.
Which element of the CD are you most proud of?
It’s difficult to single out one thing, on a personal
level the actual song writing is what I’m really stoked about, I put so
much time and effort into this album and the end result for me is
perfect.. This is the first time I have ever been totally happy with the
finished album, from Music right through to the artwork…
Can you tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of
things that motivate you in your writing, your poetry, and your lyrics?
What are you personally into?
I’m a pretty extreme type person, everything I do I
commit 110% to, I could not live with myself if I did anything with a
half heart… I have very strong beliefs and I will fight tooth and nail
to defend my philosophy even if I am wrong hahaha…
I take inspiration from many different things in life,
positive / strong actions & characters are a huge motivation for me, the
words I write are always very dynamic in their own way, I’m not one to
write negative depressing words…
My 2 passions along with music are Football and
travelling, whenever we are not touring, I am watching matches at every
possible opportunity and luckily because of our music we get to travel
so much with Onslaught… So I’m very happy with life right now, although
my team need to win some more games J
Could you respond to the following terms in just one word
Thrash : METAL..!!!!!
Underground : DARK
Internet : NECESSITY
Religion : HATE
Politics : BULLSHIT
The Netherlands : AMAZING
England : SUCKS
What have been the highlights and low points throughout
We are lucky enough to have had many many highlights in
our career, we have been so fortunate to play so many amazing places and
meet so many great people along the way, it really has been a
rollercoaster ride for Onslaught and there’s no sign of it slowing down…
The low point definitely has to be the ‘In Search of
Sanity’ period.. This was a time when we should have really pushed
things forward and established the band in a big way, but a run of bad
luck and some terrible decision making by the people around us
completely destroyed the band… it is only now we feel we are laying
these ghosts to rest.
What is your opinion on the thrash scene these days? Is
there anything missing in the scene?
The Thrash scene right now is really very cool, most of
the key original bands are still here and making great records and
playing great shows… There’s a lot of life left in this genre as there
is now a whole new generation of metal heads discovering these amazing
bands… Nothing in the modern era of metal can compete with the monster
that is Thrash Metal..!!! The Big 4 tour proves that without doubt…
Is there anything missing…? Hmmmn I can’t say we have
anything to complain about right now, so things must be real good in the
scene I guess.. It would be nice to see some new Thrash bands coming
through but all the more recent bands just want to be Old school and
that’s never gonna work when all the originators are still playing it
from the heart & out there kicking asses hard..
What makes Onslaught different from the other heavy metal
metal bands out there?
You like giving me tough questions Eugene, haha… I know
we have quite a different attitude compared to many bands out there, not
all of them of course but a lot of bands.. We always make huge efforts
to meet and hang out with the fans whatever the circumstances after the
shows, wherever we are in the world.. This is real important to us… Egos
aren’t allowed in or around this band, if one should ever appear it will
get shot down hahaha…
Which goals did you have when the band started out and
how do those goals stand now?
We have never been a band to set ourselves goals and
targets, that can only lead to disappointment if things don’t go to
plan… Obviously we wanted to get signed to a label at the beginning and
make records but that was as far as we ever thought ahead… And that
philosophy still remains today for Onslaught.. We just take things as
they come and see what the next day brings…
What can we expect from Onslaught in the near future? Any
Well I’m sure the next 2 years are gonna be real busy in
support of the SOV album… For the immediate future, Firstly we are gonna
be heading out on tour in Europe for a month during April, taking in all
the northern territories before starting on the European festival
We’re also going back to Japan and South America this
year, going to Russia for the first time and then a more extensive Euro
tour later in 2011... Writing will begin for the 6th studio
album in any down time we have so that there is not another 4 year wait
between albums, haha, will I get any time to watch Football this
A last statement?
I’d just like to say a huge thank you to all our fans and
press that have been so supportive of Onslaught throughout the years and
especially since 2005, it’s been an amazing time.. We hope you all
massively enjoy the new record and we’ll see you all very soon on the
Road to Violence…!!!
Sy Keeler - Vocals
Andy Rosser-Davies - Guitar
Jeff Williams - Bass
Steve Grice - Drums
Nige Rockett - Guitar
Jase Pope - Vocals
Paul Hill - Bass
Roge Davies - Vocals
Paul Davis - Bass
Paul Mahoney – Vocals, Bass
Jase Stallard - Bass, Guitar
James Hinder - Bass
Rob Trotman - Guitar
Steve Grimmett - Vocals
Tony O'Hora - Vocals
Alan Jordan - Guitar
1985 - Power From Hell
1986 - The Force
1989 - In Search of Sanity
2007 - Killing Peace
2011 - Sounds Of Violence