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This month, the North-English Armortura surprises with their debut CD. The album is full of old-school thrash in the same style of Testament, Kreator and Annihilator. The record was also noticed by Jeff Waters, mastermind and guitarist of the latter band. The band got him to play a solo for one of their songs. Guitarist Paul Trotter tells us how that came about and what has caused the debut album to sound so damn good.

By: Henk | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Hey guys, congratulations on your very good first album. Since you are a new emerging band would you be so kind to introduce yourselves to our readers and tell them what they can expect from Armortura?
Hi Henk, firstly, thank you for your compliments on our debut album and for the interview with Lords Of Metal, we’re very excited to give this interview!!

Armortura was formed by me (Paul) and Phil after re-connecting at a local Rock Night. We’d lost contact for a few years, but after talking about our shared love of metal, realized we needed to give the music scene another push, so starting up the Armortura chapter made so much sense. We felt we still had much to give in terms of creating new music. So, we’re a five piece band from North East UK and we’re made up with Phil De Sade (vocalist), Paul Trotter (lead guitar), Adam Ironside (rhythm and lead guitar) and Steve Smart (bass). We are in the process of securing our new drummer, so this is a very exciting time in the bands development. Me and Phil were both members of Holosade (Phil was the founder member). In the early days Phil was also the vocalist in local band, Dark Heart. We have Adam Ironside on guitar; he’s an awesome guitarist who has also released two solo albums from his own projects and you’ll be hearing a lot more from him on future recordings. Steve is our bass player and boy, can he make those strings sing. He’s very talented and we’re lucky in that we can have a bass player that either provides a thumping undertone for the guitars to riff over, or he can just as easily provide fast twinning lines to double up with the guitars.

What is the secret behind the fantastic debut album? You only started in April 2016, which is not that long considering the tightness and maturity of the songs on the album. Are the songs all new on the album or did you guys have some material from previous bands you played in?
All of the songs were written specifically for this album by Phil who wrote the lyrics and me writing the music. So they’re all new and have never been part of any other band. They were all created before the formation of the full band for live shows. The drums you hear on the album are played by our good friend Hugo Ribeiro and we really think he nailed the feel we wanted for the album. Hugo lives in Portugal so all of the drum writing was done remotely. Phil and I would record the tracks in my home studio and send them to Hugo to add the drums. Hugo is very creative so he preferred to be given the tracks without any drums laid down at all (guitars, bass and vocals only). We’d tell Hugo the idea we had behind the songs and he’d go off and work his magic!

You mention the song maturity (thank you for that); I suppose the way in which they were written helps to make them sound more mature. We’d have an idea for a song with one or two melodies or main riffs and we’d lay a very basic track down to form the song ‘idea’. We’d then usually leave it for a few days before having another listen. At this point we’d be saying that’s good, that should be different or that should be in a different place and so on. We’d do this iterative process maybe a dozen times or more, developing the arrangement, riffs, harmonies and vocals before we were happy with how the song sounded. This is the point the songs were sent to Hugo for writing the drums.

I described in my review for the album your style as a mix between Testament, Kreator and Megadeth just to name some bands that came to mind listening. Also the sound and production did remind me of an Andy Sneap production. Can you explain where this great sound comes from and what the role of your producer James Stephenson was in making this album?
Ah, great question! For sure, Testament, Kreator and Megadeth have released some awesome productions over the years! When it comes to guitar tones, I prefer a fair amount of mids to come through as for me it creates a very aggressive, full and throaty tone which really makes the guitars stand out. All of the guitars on the album were recorded using the Kemper Profiler with a profile containing the Soldano SLO 100 head into a Mesa Traditional 4x12 cab.

James Stephenson of Stymphalian Productions, recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered the whole album for us. He’s an amazing guy with a real talent for metal music production and we honestly don’t think we’d have an album of this quality without having James on board. Everything we asked for during the recording process was delivered with ease, whether it was experimenting with different guitar tones, vocal effects, drum mixes, it didn’t matter, he kind of just had the knack of knowing what we wanted. I guess that’s a sign of a good producer. Funny you should mention Andy Sneap, I know James has the utmost respect for Andy and will be overjoyed to read of your similarities with some of Andy’s productions.

Speaking of influences. What would you say are the biggest influences on the music of Armortura?
We totally love all of the bands you mentioned and I suppose they have all contributed in some way to the style of the album. We try not to sound like anyone in particular (although it is very difficult to create something completely new). We just try to write songs that we personally think sound good and make us think, “Yup, I like that!”. But ultimately you tend to write music you like listening to, and these are the bands we like listening too, so although we always try to write original music, there’s always going to be elements that sounds similar to other bands. There are probably a lot of bands that have influenced us and I think you’d have to include; Anthrax, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Annihilator, Killswitch Engage to name a few.

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The album is released on Mighty Music records from Denmark. How does an English band wind up on a Danish label and were there also other labels interested?
Actually, we had three offers on the table from record labels, so we did a lot of research before making our decision. We looked at their presence in the industry, how active they were at promoting their bands, the kinds of marketing and PR they were producing, reviews, social media presence, contractual details to name a few, but in the end decided to commit to Mighty Music. We know a couple of the other UK bands who are also sighed to Mighty Music so we talked to them and they had nothing but praise for the label, so this was a significant factor for us. Before and after signing with Mighty Music, Michael H. Anderson and his team have been fantastic with us and we’re sure we’ve made the right choice. Long live a solid relationship between us!! The fact that the label is in Denmark and we are in the UK has minimal meaning these days. Many years ago communication and music transfer was a lot more difficult if the label and artist were in different countries, but in this highly technological digital age all that stuff is really easy. Everything to do with the album i.e. tracks and artwork is transferred country to country in a few clicks of the mouse. And there are so many options for chatting to one another it’s unbelievable. Hey, you can even use your mobile phone to speak to someone these days!

What would you say is the one song people should hear that describes Armortura in the best way?
Wow, that’s a really difficult question to answer. I’d hope they all represent us, but I suppose the one song that encompasses all elements of thrash, speed, melody, lyrical storyline, harmony guitars, shredding and pounding drums would have to be 'Flight 19'. When Phil wrote the lyrics for 'Flight 19' it actually gave me shivers and still does when we play it today. For anyone not familiar with the story of Flight 19, please read up on it. In short it’s about five bomber pilots who went out on a training mission over the Bermuda Triangle and sadly never returned.

So now the album is released it is probably the idea to tour and promote it properly. Any plans for that or contacts also for the main land of Europe?
We’ll be having an album launch show not too far from our hometown in North East UK, following it up with several more dates throughout the UK to promote the album. Logically, we’d love to play several dates throughout Europe in 2018. I think thrash metal in general is much more popular in Europe than it is in the UK, so we’re hoping we can generate some excitement over in Europe. Having great reviews from you guys certainly does help us with that and it’s greatly appreciated.

Armortura is a very original band name. Where did it come from? And who was responsible for the great old school heavy metal album cover?
Oh dude, it only took us FOREVER to come up with that band name. We must have proposed and dismissed hundreds of band names due to either the name had already been used, or Phil didn’t like, or I didn’t like it. We loved the idea of warriors in battle, whether it be Samurai, or knights, or even fantasy type warriors, so something they all had in common was Armor! We started trying to tie things in with Armour and eventually came up with ‘Armortura’. We dropped the ‘u’ from the Armour to give the word ‘mort’ in the middle of the name giving the sense immortal (with ‘mort’ being in the middle of that word), but still encompassing the meaning of Armour. Ultimately, the name Armortura came out and is a generic term for ‘Suit of Armour’. Anyway, it still took us forever to arrive at that name (laughs).

The Armortura logo was created by a friend of ours, Steve Baron, who is actually a tattoo artist, but the album art was created by a guy in the US called Riaj Gragoth of Luciferium War Graphics. We told him our idea of wanting some kind of battle warrior in armour with maybe a fantasy twist and the cover art you see on the album is what he came up with. It took a fairly extensive search to find someone whose art matched closely with what we wanted, but hopefully we found him. The artwork may not scream ‘thrash metal’, but we like it and maybe the album isn’t just for thrash metal fans anyway. We’ve used the same artwork for our T-shirts too.

The question that needs to be asked is of course how you managed to get Jeff Waters to play on the album? That must have been a real bonus to have him on the album.
Jeff is a really cool guy and we’ve admired him and Annihilator for many years. It was before Jeff was about to set off on his Annihilator tour with Testament and Death Angel, we thought we’d send him some of our music, knowing he likes to promote up and coming bands and to occasionally guest on their songs if he thinks the material is good enough. Jeff replied back right away saying it was (and I quote) “kick ass thrash” and would love to guest a solo on it. After he’d recorded it in his own studio, he added that he loved the whole thing and would definitely be up for recording another in future. We’ve been in touch with Jeff on a number of occasions since and he even has one of our Armortura T-shirts. Look out for it when he’s on tour.

So thank you for starting 2018 in a very good way for all thrash fans out there. Are there any things you would like to say to our readers or did I forgot something to ask? Thanks for the interview. Hope to see you guys live in the Netherlands sometime soon!
Thank you so much for the interview, it’s great to be able to tell everyone about us as we’re very excited about getting our music out there for all our fellow metal heads to listen to. We’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has shown us great support in the early days of Armortura! We’re going to keep making the music we love, and hopefully you’ll love it too. If we’re out touring or playing one-off shows anywhere, please come along and say hello, we thrive on meeting fans and just having a good old chat! Live in the Netherlands? HELL YEAH!!!! As soon as we get that arranged we’ll be letting everyone know. We’d be absolutely honored to play for you guys. Thank you fellow Armorturians!

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