Hails and welcome back to the metal front and of course congratulations with your new album, ‘Metal Machine’. The album has been released now for a while. Are you satisfied with the feedback so far and still happy with the result?
Thanks, Nima. It’s good to be back. Yes, we are very happy with the result. It’s a big step forward for us in terms of production, song craft and response. I mean, we all want to change the world but we’ll take whatever recognition and opportunities the record brings our way.
Your last album ‘Patents Of Control’ came out in 2006! The first sign of life, release-wise, was in 2015 with the ‘Battle Scars’ EP. What happened after the release of your last LP that it took so long to deliver new material?
We were seemingly on the verge of breaking out, especially in Europe, but our tour plans fell apart due to a band member who was unable to travel abroad. We had already cracked the scene with 2005’s ’Lies In Black and when ‘Patents Of Control’ dropped we were primed to take the show on the road. We ended up working ‘Patents Of Control’ the best we could stateside which admittedly wasn’t enough to promote our magnum opus. We continued to write and perform occasionally between records but it wasn’t until 2014 that the stars aligned once again and we tracked ’Battle Scars.
Musically ’Battle Scars’ continued on the same path as your previous releases. Although your music still has those progressive elements we heard on the previous works, ‘Metal Machine’ shows a sturdier and a more direct and straightforward approach in general. A bit “back to basic” so to speak. What did you have in mind for this album and in how far do you think you have realized it?
All true. ‘Battle Scars’ still has some of the progressive thrash elements of our earlier work but we definitely streamlined the song structure to get the point more quickly. We took that a step further with ‘Metal Machine’. It was an exercise in editorial songwriting. I think we succeeded in getting back to basics and both honoring and paying tribute to our influences.
Your previous albums have been successful, but years of “non-activity” release-wise is never in a band’s advantage, especially in the underground. And of course the scene has not stayed still. Did you feel that you had something to prove and make clear with ‘Metal Machine’, and has that had any influence on the fact that the new material is more in your face and hard-hitting in general?
Our inactive years were still productive for us in terms of remaining a performing entity. The core of this band, Robbie Hett (vocals), Paul Shigo (bass), Matt Ohnemus (drums) and myself have been Resistance since 2001 and despite our break from recording, I think we all still considered ourselves an active band. I don’t think we ever made it our mission to prove anything to the masses with ‘Metal Machine’; we simply wanted to continue to evolve our sound and refine it to a more universal appeal.
Being a big fan of a straightforward approach and the traditional ways, I must say that I was absolutely blown away by the record and that ‘Metal Machine’ is definitely my favorite album from you guys so far. I do wish that the record was a bit on the longer side. Because with seven original compositions and a playing time of less than half an hour the album a bit on the short side, don’t you think? Haha…
Thanks. I think we opted for short and sweet on this record. ‘Patents Of Control’ was epic out of necessity due to it being a concept album. We needed all eleven songs and 60-plus minutes to tell that story. With ‘Metal Machine’ we tell seven short stories and honor one of our musical idols, The Scorpions. Bigger isn’t always better and while we left some music on the table during these sessions I think we released our most focused effort yet.
’Patents Of Control’ was a concept album that dealt with a lot of social and political issues. On the lyrical side ‘Metal Machine’ seems more an ode to heavy metal in general. In how far is my interpretation right? And what more can you tell us about the lyrical content of the new album?
That’s a great way of putting it, an ode to heavy metal. Maybe we should have subtitled it that way. On the title track, ‘The Metal Machine’, the lyrics transform the five of us into an earth-crushing mechanical warrior. Kind of a comic book approach to show our unity as a band. ‘Hail To The Horns’ is an homage to the mighty Ronnie James Dio, who we all love and respect. ‘Rise And Defend’ is a look at the ancient warriors of Sparta with a bit of the history of their gods thrown in. ‘Some Gave All’ is a tribute to military and law enforcement personnel around the world who help keep law and order. In this particular instance, the hero gives his life to the cause of freedom. ‘Time Machine’ recalls our journey in music. ‘Dirty Side Down’ is about riding motorcycles. Matt and Robbie both are active riders and they both wanted to put that passion into song. ‘Heroes’ is about all of our musical heroes who have fallen. Every year sees the passing of yet another one of the greats and we felt it was time to honor and remember them. We closed this album with Scorpions’ ‘Blackout’. We challenged ourselves to cover this classic while doing it justice.
You know, the way I feel about it, and of course I could be wrong, is that ‘Metal Machine’ is the dawn of a new era for Resistance in general; you have kept true to your sound and style, but have adapted it in a way (and by that I mean showing a traditional approach by sounding contemporary at the same time) that you apply to a larger audience…
It is a new era for us. I think our time on the road, especially in Europe, helped broaden our musical sensibilities. It’s easy to follow the charts and listen to what’s trending online but in seeing bands bang it out at festivals you really get a sense of what works live.
Something different: ’Metal Machine’ is released by No Remorse Records. According to Metal Archives you have your own label, Metal Machine Records, now. It seems that a lot of bands nowadays are taking matters into their own hands. In how far does managing everything on your in your advantage and disadvantage?
While we do have Metal Machine Records, we still believe in physical media. We’re definitely old school that way. For that reason, we needed a distribution partner and No Remorse fit that bill for us. They’ve managed to make our records available everywhere, and that makes sense and is a huge advantage to us.
You have done a few shows this year, but you haven’t been that active on the live front in general. Are there any plans for a multiple-dates tour for 2018 and maybe returning to Europe?
We’re in the planning stages of a multi-date European and North American run for 2018. We also have a few area dates coming into focus so we expect 2018 to be our busiest year yet.
In how far has the “live-situation” changed for you since that last album? I mean, it’s obvious that nowadays it is not easy to get a decent gig, and I can imagine that not having released new material for a long time hasn’t been exactly helpful either…
Our bass player Paul is also our manager and our booking agent. He works tirelessly to keep us active by choosing the right shows. He also deals with all of the logistics of getting us where we need to be on time and in shape. The back to back releases of ‘Battle Scars’ and ‘Metal Machine’ have really helped to keep our name out there and along with all of the positive feedback we’ve received it has made booking easier than ever.
What can we expect next from Resistance. I, at least, hope that the next album won’t take as long to be released…
We’re already working on our new album so the wait for new music won’t be long. We’ve taken over much of the recording process so we expect to have more music out much quicker than in the past.
Well then, I guess we can call it a day for now. Unless of course there is something left that you’d like to mention…
I just want to say thanks to you, Nima, and everyone at Lords Of Metal for putting together one of the best e-zines out there. And to all our fans and fans of metal at large Hails!