Amulet, The First, interview

Since Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath, we know that English metallers are very conservative with music. But who can complain about it when it’s good ? With the album « The First », Amulet delivers a very good set of songs inspired by the New Wave Of Britrish Heavy Metal circa 1982. The vocalist, Jamie Elton, answers to our questions.

For an old fan of heavy metal as me, it's always cool to see a young band refer to the NWOBHM. How do you consider this musical era ? Why did you decided to play this music as Amulet ?
Jamie Elton : We play music inspired by what we love. The sound of Britain circa 1982 particularly rings in our ears, but we are just as influenced by heavy metal bands from the 70s and the bands that furthered this sound later into the 80s.

How did you come to sign with Century Media for your first album ?
J.E. : The classic tale of a record label hearing a demo tape and enjoying what they heard. We kept in contact for a while - I think they wanted to see what we would do after releasing 'Cut The Crap' - and eventually they offered us a deal we couldn't refuse. We are very happy with them so far, we think it's great partnership.

Can you tell us more about the recording process of "The First" ?
J.E. : We spent a long time writing songs, practising, rewriting, practising some more, gigging the songs and then rewriting them again. Practise makes perfect, it's how the bands in the 70s got so tight and rockin', so we took that approach ! Discovering our new lead guitarist, Nippy Blackford, also really helped us, as we finally have a “real” musician in the band. His fresh influence certainly made us try and improve our game to match his. Once we felt the songs were ready, we hit the studio, with the goal of producing something that sounded heavy but honest, no fake drums or plastic guitar sounds.
We wanted it to sound “real” like all our favourite heavy metal records do. I couldn't be happier with the outcome !

What's the story behind the artwork ?
J.E. : We are very lucky to have our own talented artist in the band… Bill Dozer, our bass player, has drawn all our artwork and the band logo, so it was very much his shining moment. He came good with an album cover to match the sound and feel of the record... No pressure Bill ! He did a great job, inspired by our love of the Fantasy genre and maybe with a nod towards the lyrics to the track “Heathen Castle” - itself a small tribute to Ursula Le Guin's "A Wizard of Earthsea" trilogy. It's the ultimate heavy metal subject matter; the battle of good and evil, wizards, magic, fire and the endless night.

With the short lenght of the songs, how many are typically in an Amulet set list ? Are you playing covers ? 
J.E. : About 10-12 songs generally. We play with full energy every set, and carefully order the tracks to follow this. Sometimes we will play a cover of “Wicked Woman” by Coven, recorded as a bonus track for the CD, but not always. If you are really unlucky you might catch a glance of the Noose from the mysterious Hangman who haunts our stage (and shooting videos) on occasion.

Can you present the Well'eavy compilation ? The bands ? Did you have "Metal For Muthas" or "Heavy Metal Killers" in mind before releasing it ?
J.E. : We live for those early heavy metal LP compilations. In an era before the Internet this was one important way to discover new bands. With so many talented international allies we wanted to present something that would showcase to the world that real underground heavy metal is not dead! The hardest part was taking a very very long list of bands and working out who to ask for this first edition... We could easily have made it a Triple LP !

What will be the next step for Amulet ?
J.E. : We just want to bang our heads and play our music loud !

Edited by Laurent Gilot
Photo : DR

Amulet, The First (Century Media)
Out on september 22nd 2014

Amulet, Live in Glasgow, full set, video