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With ‘Pillars Of Creation’ (review also in this edition) released, Dendera is one of the major promises of British heavy metal. Compared to the debut ‘The Killing Floor’ the voice of Ashley Edison has improved considerably and also in terms of music this band has been paving the road. The international music press is even starting to draw up comparisions with Iron Maiden, a band also held in high esteem by Dendera. Impressed by ‘Pillars Of Creation as I was, I decided to contact this singer Ashley Edison with a couple of questions.

By: Jori | Archive under heavy / power metal

Hi Ashley and congratulations on your new album ‘Pillars Of Creation’. Before we will dig into this one, please tell us something about the formation of the band and the early days.
Thank you! Well, Dendera started off as a local band based in Portsmouth formed by our former guitar player, Tony, and Steve, one of our current guitars players. They wanted to form a band together and one by one we all joined. Unfortunately, Tony left the band just after the recording of ‘Pillars of Creation’ but we’ve found another amazing guitar player, David, who played his first gig with us at our headline show in London recently.

Dendera really had a flying start, for a few years after formation you have played support shows for the likes of Saxon, Firewind and UFO. On top of this, your debut album was received very well by the music press. So how does it feel to be one of the greater promises of British heavy metal?
It feels amazing to be where we are at the moment. It’s hard work, but it means so much to have people say these sorts of things about us. It’s genuinely touching and to be honest it’s the reason we do it.

How have the reactions on ‘Pillars Of Creation’ been so far?
We’ve had nothing but praise so far. Our album release show was held in London recently and it couldn’t have gone better! We’re very glad people like this album as we’ve worked really hard on it and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved with it. A lot of people seemed to like the last album but everyone so far has said this is a step up, and we think so too.

’Pillars Of Creation’ turned out to be a very versatile album. All songs breathe a different atmosphere and yet the album feels as one whole entity. Is there an overarching topic to be found on ‘Pillars Of Creation’? Please tell us something about this and the lyrical themes found on the album.
There are all sorts of themes really, ranging from movie and TV shows to the creation and destruction of the world, altogether they have a running theme throughout, all coming back to how it all started and how it all might end one day.

While most of the songs are stuffed with metaphorical lyrics, an obvious exception is ‘Unholy’. No secrets seem to be hidden here as the lyrics are very straightforward. Is this song based on real personal hatred of something or someone?
Not really a personal hatred as such, I guess it’s just about pushing someone to their limits, sometimes you can hold in anger and frustration and I guess this is a song that just shows how it’s vented. You can look at it in many ways. When I was singing it I was thinking about things that make me angry and I hope it shows when you hear the vocals.

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’Edge Of Tomorrow’ is definitely the crown jewel on the album, with it’s almost nine minutes duration and multiple great guitar solos. Yet the lyrics in the first half of the song strike me as absolutely insane. What is the message from this song? And will you play this song live?
Haha, well it’s about many things; personal struggle is something that came to mind while working on these lyrics. We played it live at our album launch recently. It’s one of our favourites so it’s definitely one we wanted to play live and share with you all. It’s possibly the song I’m most proud of too.

You have been compared in the press to the likes of Iron Maiden, a band you also cite as one of your major influences and rightfully so. In what ways did the mighty Maiden influence Dendera?
Well, being compared to them is something we all find quite humbling and motivating. I often hear people say things about me sounding like Bruce and I take it as the highest compliment. That being said I feel ‘Pillars Of Creation’ is a lot less “Maiden” sounding and more modern.

I have some other questions for you now. Where does the band name Dendera actually come from?
It was actually Tony (our former guitar player)/Steve that came up with it. I don’t know too much about it but there’s some links there with a town in Egypt I believe. It has many meanings I think but I think at the time it was just looked at as a cool name for a band haha!

You have a lot of shows planned in Britain. Any plans to take the boat to the mainland of Europe, or perhaps Bruce’s plane as opener for Maiden?
We definitely plan to visit Europe in the near future, as we have been asked many times to go out there and it’s something we’ve always wanted to do, so it’s in the works for certain. We would love to open for Maiden! Who knows, we might one day!

Any other plans for the near future?
We have a couple of tours lined up, including Anvil in July and Queensrÿche in August. We’ve also got some other things in the pipeline that we can’t wait to share soon.

Are there any other things you would like to share?
We’re just very happy with where we are as a band at the moment and would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far either from buying our albums, coming to our shows or just generally supporting our progression. We wouldn’t be where we are without our fans so we’re very grateful.

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